Transistor Radios Around the World

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Before '54 --- North America --- Western Europe --- Japan and Pacific --- East Europe and USSR


"Leningrad" radio

Pocket radio, thermoplastic cabinet
5 1/8 x 3 3/16 x 1 9/16 inches / 130 x 81 x 40 mm)
MW, four transistors (2x П-13, П-15, П-402), one diode
Superheterodyne reflex circuit

This radio has been a mystery to me ever since I bought it in 2013 or 2014 on the now-defunct Russian auction site, Molotok.ru. I was the only bidder for the set, something unusual in itself as the site had many Russian radio collectors bidding on other radios all the time. And with all my searching since then, I've never found any reference to this set, not even a photo, not even on the massive Russian vintage radio site, Domestic Radio Engineering of the Twentieth Century. These two factors lead me to suspect that the "Leningrad" radio was a home-brew job, something refitted from some electronic device other than a radio -- maybe a hearing aid? Shortly after getting the "Leningrad", I wrote to a prominent transistor radio collector in Russia, asking him if he had any information. He was able to provide me valuable info about the transistors used in the set, but he didn't have any info about the radio itself.

My notions on this set have been stalled since then, until this past weekend (November 2019) when a Slovak transistor radio collector and retired engineer looked at this set. He was unequivocal in his belief that this set was originally produced as a radio and was produced in a factory -- his thinking was that it was one of the many "experimental" models that had been made in Russia in very low batch numbers (usually in the hundreds) and then abandoned without going into mass-production. Having looked over this set since then, I'm now pretty much convinced he's right about it having been a factory-produced radio and maybe even an "experimental" unit. One thing I think that goes against the experimental unit idea is the mfr date of one of the transistors in it, the P-15 (П-15), produced between 1960 and 1966. From what I've been able to gather, most experimental units were made in the mid- to late-1950s. So mysteries remain.... I'd really love to hear from any Russian radio collectors who have thoughts on this set -- my email is worldtransistors@gmail.com

There are two worded references to Leningrad on the cabinet, one on the front and one on the back. Also on the back are the Russian words that translate to, "Hero City", a title Soviet authorities had given to Leningrad in 1945 in recognition of it survival of the horrific 872-day siege by Nazi forces from 1941 to 1944. With its figurative relief-imprinted designs on both front and back, this cabinet is much more ornamental than a typical transistor radio cabinet.

And the cabinet plastic itself is also intriguing: soft and translucent, with a "butterscotch"-colored front half and a "caramel"-colored back half, a beautiful color combination only made better by the plastic's translucent quality.

The two P-13 (П-13) transistors were produced at the Светлана (Svetlana) plant in Leningrad. The P-15 (П-15) transistor with the "T" stamp was produced at the Новгородский (Novgorod) plant, Russia, between 1960 and 1966.

Leningrad

"Leningrad" pocket radio — the tuning dial knob is missing


Leningrad

"Leningrad" pocket radio


Leningrad

front face detail


Leningrad

back face


Leningrad

back face detail


Leningrad

chassis — click on the photo for a larger image —
note the seldom-seen white star painted on top of the П402 transistor: according to
transistor collector and historian Andrew Wylie, the white star designation indicates
that a transistor marked this way was originally designated for military applications.


Leningrad

pc board — click on the photo for a larger image

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