My first 'unboxing' item
Since we're being all Russki around here,
I figured I ought to have some Soviet Stuff. So I ordered a 1980's Soviet transistor radio [VEF 214] from Ebay. Wanted to have a new toy as an end-of-project treat.
It came today. Haven't heard it yet. The AC cord has a Russki plug and is meant for 220 V 50 cycles. So battery power is the only choice. Will try it out tomorrow after picking up some C-cells. .... Oops. C cells are too small. NOTE: The specs for this radio say C cells, but the radio actually takes D cells.
Mostly I wanted to see how it was built, not hear how it sounds. And the construction fits nicely into Orlov's
account of the secret of Soviet survival: it's REPAIRABLE.
A stuck tuning dial gave me an excuse to open the case immediately, but I would have opened it anyway.
It's solid and chunky. The case opens with four long screws that run all the way from back panel to front panel. After removing the screws, the front and back panels come off, leaving the middle part standing. The screws thread into captive nuts in the front panel so you can open the case as often as necessary. (Most American = Chinese consumer gadgets use self-tapping screws into plastic, which you can open 4 or 5 times before the thread is gone.)
Note how the case divides the interior into 'rooms'. Everything inside is hand-soldered and hand-assembled. This radio gave jobs to real Russians, not robots. Note the IF transformer cores reachable for alignment; also the twisted wires to speaker and pilot light for AC noise cancellation. The dial cord is real cord, running over several pulleys in traditional 1940's style. Unsticking it was easy; someone had forced the pointer all the way to one end, and a little push brought it back into normal range.
= = = = =
Distraction: As it happens, the radio arrived while I was trying
to fix my 4-year-old Kodak printer. Yesterday it started giving an Error 3527 Printhead Blah Blah. These Printhead Blah Blah errors usually turn out to be software glitches which disappear after swapping out printheads and ink cartridges in no particular pattern for several hours. Printer is bored and decides to pull a prank on User. Ha ha ha, I made User look funny. User just wasted a morning fucking around with my cartridges! Now his hands are black and red and green and yellow, and his face is red! Ha ha ha! You been punked, User!
But this time it was a real physical failure. The cogged belt that moves the printhead has little tabs on it (circled) that hold the printhead in place. One of the tabs broke off, so the printhead no longer stays with the belt. No fix possible, had to order a new printer.
Nice comparison. Similar pulley arrangements. One is still working after 30 years, the other is broken after 4 years.
= = = = =
Back to the radio ....
It has 6 bands, all calibrated in meters instead of kc or mc:
LW 1000-2000 m (300 - 150 kc)
BCB 180-550 m (1660 - 540 kc)
SW1 the usual 25 m international band
SW2 ditto 31 m
SW3 ditto 41 and 49 m
And the bonus:
"UKV" 4.1-4.5 m (73 - 66 mc)
This is the Soviet FM band.
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Got batteries, putting them in.... Hmph. Well, after all that it doesn't work. No power at all, as in a blown fuse. Oh well. Would have been more fun, but this was enough
fun. As abovementioned, hearing it wasn't the main purpose. I'll check to see if the problem really is a blown fuse, but I'm not going to spend a lot of time and effort if it's deeper.
Next day: YAY! It does work. Wasn't the fuse, but it was equally simple. The AC jack has an interlock thingamajig that disconnects the battery switches when the line cord is inserted. The interlock was dirty and not quite fully released. I wiggled it and made it release, and immediately got results. This radio has a BIG sound. It picks up some 25m SW stations and BCB, all very clearly. SW reception has never been good here; Spokane doesn't pick up skip from Europe, and my house has aluminum siding. Nothing is heard on the Soviet FM band, which isn't terribly surprising.
So: the radio had two problems. Both just needed a little wiggle. Tools: screwdriver, fingernail. That's REPAIRABLE.
Later observation. The 'art' on the PC board in this 1983 radio looks like American PCB 'art' from the '60s. It doesn't look anything like German
etching from the same period. This stylistic difference is hard to describe but clear to an experienced eye. Russian cars showed the same American tendencies in underhood and inner details,
even while their outer styling was closer to German.
Labels: Danbo, new toy