Russian Radio

February 28, 2011

Some interesting sounds have been emitted by this little radio. It was purchased in time to witness the last few months of the original 60s pop pirates. It was the radio that I used to listen to the first days of Radio One and the early broadcasts of RNI. It was with me on a beach that August saturday in 1970 when RNI were boarded by rival businessmen. It witnessed the drama of the RNI fire the following year, Radio Veronica, the return of Radio Caroline in late 1972, the short-lived Radio Atlantis, the Dutch Marine Offences Act of 1974, John Peel, Pick of the Pops, the disappointing beginnings of commercial Radio in the UK, local land-based pirates and so much more. It was my only radio for 10 years and in hindsight it’s amazing the variety of radio stations it managed to pick up. Most of my recordings of Radio Northsea were made using this little transistor radio.

From what little research I’ve managed to do in the last five minutes it seems this Selga 7 transistor Radio was manufactured in the USSR with various merely cosmetic differences between 1963 and 1979 at the Popov Radiotechnika plant in Latvia. Early models were designated 402, 403 and 404. I don’t think this model was actually called a 405 though despite finding a fuzzy 5-minute-long YouTube video describing this exact radio as such.

These radios were really sturdily assembled utilising a long lasting PP3 9v battery and the genuine leather case made them virtually indestructible. The 7 transistors were of the early germanium type and still work to this day. Its frequency range was supposedly 1605 – 525 Khz (they actually called them Kilocycles in the 60s) which was 190m to 570m but I could sometimes pick up things even lower down the dial such as Manx Radio on 1594 Khz (188m) when on holiday. Of couse it also had LW but there was never much of interest there apart from a few French stations.

Above is a similar Russian radio from the 1980s. I’m sure internally it would be almost identical to my 1967 model. At some point in the 1970s Russian radios (like Russian cars) stopped being imported into the UK. I suppose they didn’t face-lift their products often enough for the West’s liking. They just carried on churning out the same (reliable) products.

Nothing to do with any of the above but here is my Philips N4302 tape recorder ready for action now I’ve found a suitable DIN lead to connect it to my laptop.