The magic of the wireless - when words and music crackle into life, seemingly summoned from nothing but thin air - will bring hundreds of people together in Canberra on Sunday to appreciate, buy and sell vintage radios.
The beauty of Bakelite and the vibrancy of valves will be on display at Exhibition Park in Canberra's conference centre when members of the Historical Radio Society of Australia open stalls to the public.
Society president Kevin Poulter said there were 1200 members all over the country with a wide range of interests and specialisations.
"Why does anyone collect anything? Once they love a radio, they're hooked, they've got to have two, they've got to have four, they've got to have six," he said.
"I know people with 400, so it's the love of the old tone and the looks of the product or radio. Just the nostalgia. Some of us owned one of these once and so it's reliving the past and connecting."
Members got the chance on Saturday to bid on some highly collectible radios, with a restored 1932 AWA C105-110 cathedral radio attracting the highest price of $3700.
A 1925 CAV Horn, a unique early celluloid speaker, sold for $1625, while a 1937 AWA R37 Radiolette, known as an empire state because of its shape, sold for $750.
Radiofest organiser and auctioneer Richard Begbie said it was not only complete radios or speakers that attracted a high price from eager collectors.
A single valve from the early 20th century - a key component in many radios until the mid-1960s - sold for $900, he said.
But Mr Begbie said society members were often interested in more than just collecting.
"The society is not called the Historical Radio Society for nothing," he said.
"There is a very strong element within the society of people with an interest in social history, that is in 20th century history. And that is absolutely reflected in the day when radio was king and the whole family would sit around the radio of an evening.
"[They would] listen to Bob Dyer, or Jack Davey, or the Amateur Hour, or the Quiz Kids, or The Argonauts or any of these programs which will resonate with people over 50. So you will see a fair few people over 50 here at the radiofest."
Mr Begbie, a former Canberra Times columnist, got involved with the society after he wrote in the paper about the joy of the crystal set, a simple radio powered solely by the power of the transmission it receives.
"Even now words are inadequate to the sense of glory - not my own, nor even that of my quaint assemblage of wire, galena [crystal] and matchsticks," Mr Begbie wrote in 1994.
"It was to the phenomenon entire, a latterday philosopher's stone, whereby Casals' cello was transmuted via the vast silences of space to a resurrection in my earphones."
Members of the society wrote to Mr Begbie and he said the rest was history.
At Sunday's market, the range will cover the earliest crystal sets, the whole of the 20th century and beyond the turn of the millennium.
- Radiofest market at EPIC from 9am Sunday. $5 entry or $10 for families.