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Radio Volksempfanger 301

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sideband
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I have at last managed to secure a Volksempfanger 301 in not too bad condition. One valve is original, a Telefunken REN 904 clearly marked on the back cover as well so I know where that goes. Now also with the set is an MKT4 with a side contact on the base, clearly not an original! However I think that is supposed to fit in the middle of the three since there is a lead which obviously connects to the side contact. Now the mystery valve which I think is completely wrong. It only has three pins (but fits a B5 base) and an obscure 120 stamped on the base. I initially thought it was the rectifier but I've never seen a mains rectifier with a mesh anode. It seems more likely a signal diode. Can anyone enlighten me?

js1024 759 0908
js1024 759 0907

 If it is the rectifier then I have a full complement of valves which is a good start. 

 
Posted : 25/11/2023 2:15 pm
Nuvistor
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@sideband Found various circuits online but not one with a half wave rectifier. There is one with two anodes shown and the other circuits are battery operated ones. The rectifier in the circuit I found was a RGN10?4, not sure if it’s a 0 or 6 with question mark.

You probably know quite a bit about the sets but new to me, it seems there were quite a few different 301 designs with a different suffix.

Frank

 
Posted : 25/11/2023 5:45 pm
sideband
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Interesting.....I have been given at least half a dozen circuits with the set and they all have halfwave rectifiers.....I can't see why they would ever have anything else! The mystery valve is certainly a rectifier of some type, it just doesn't look like a mains rectifier. I suppose a good Google might reveal something but I don't have time at the moment.

 
Posted : 25/11/2023 7:02 pm
Nuvistor
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@sideband Found this RGN1064 valve in a 301. It has two anodes but used as a half wave rectifier, I.e 4 pins.

https://www.radiomuseum.org/tubes/tube_rgn1064.html

 

Frank

 
Posted : 25/11/2023 7:21 pm
turretslug
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I'm sure I read somewhere that rectifiers and output valves whose anodes tended to get significantly hot in use often had mesh anodes in the early days as they were were easier to thoroughly clean and de-gas then- which seems counter-intuitive to me but maybe I haven't thought it through deeply enough.

Was the hk intact on this set, or had it been filed out?

 
Posted : 25/11/2023 9:15 pm
Cathovisor
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@sideband An MKT4 is far too powerful a valve for this set - the nearest English equivalent I can think of is a PM24, assuming this is a VE301W (AC version).

This may also be of interest: https://www.radiomuseum.org/forum/3b4_dl98_3b4wa_als_ersatz_der_res164.html#1

 
Posted : 25/11/2023 10:39 pm
sideband
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Hi Mike, Yes it is a VE301W. I did a bit of Googling last night and I think the rectifier is correct....at least looking at pictures it looks OK. It's an RGN354.

Typically I sold a PM24 a few months ago thinking I would never use it!! Oddly enough it looks like the MKT4 has been in there for a long time. It's been fitted with a cathode bias resistor and bypass capacitor but they are very old and if I didn't know better, I'd say it looked original. I think the Hunts bypass cap is the giveaway though. It's a cardboard type as well so presumably pre-50's (bottom left first picture). Looks completely original and has (I think) a moving iron speaker...not seen one before. It was disconnected and I expected the coil to be o/c but it has a resistance of 1.85K so it looks OK. 

js1024 759 0911
js1024 759 0909

Looks like all the main capacitors are in the metal box so that will probably need restuffing. I've checked the primary of the mains transformer and that checks out OK. There is no continuity across the mains lead (which has been badly wired) because the mains fuse is O/C so I think first tests will be with rectifier removed to check the the other valves light up and the transformer stays cool. 

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 10:38 am
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Cathovisor
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@sideband Yes, the tin box has the caps in and note the voltage ratings on the two large ones. The speaker is indeed a moving-iron one and it sounds like you were lucky with it.

Regarding the output valve, I have seen these sets modified to use a PC86 triode in the past. As you can see, the whole set was engineered to be very cheap to make/buy (from memory, 65RM at a time when 1RM = 1 shilling) and also to run too. When going, they are - with a bit of fiddling with the aerial taps as they do hark back to pre-1933 techniques - quite good. Performance-wise they're no worse than any other Det-LF set of the era and we made plenty of those in the UK at the time, e.g. Marconi 246 and 248.

The smaller, improved model with the glass dial (the VE301Dyn) was named as such because it was fitted with a dynamic, i.e. moving coil loudspeaker.

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 11:35 am
Lloyd
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I’ve got one of these knocking about upstairs, got it from the NVCF when there was a stall (or 3!) loaded with them and the other models, still haven’t done anything with it. I have one of the smaller ones too, also done nothing with that either! I think that one has an entirely cardboard speaker.. 

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 11:56 am
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @lloyd

I have one of the smaller ones too, also done nothing with that either! I think that one has an entirely cardboard speaker.. 

That's the DKE - that sold for 35RM. Not only does it have a (mostly) cardboard speaker, the chassis is rather like paxolin but with eyelets set into it for the VCL11 to act as sockets. That set had a very long life: shorn of the swastika it was used by Blaupunkt and Siemens after the war (there's even a Siemens version with shortwave, the SKE-K) and in the 70s a transistorised repro was made with FM for the German catalogue company Quelle. It also appeared in a wooden cabinet as the Blaupunkt 2GW145.

These sets are very surprising indeed - they even have a degree of negative feedback in the audio path.

The last valve versions were made c.1951 by a firm called Edly, using a UCL81 and either a UY2 or a solid-state rectifier:
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/edly_kleinempfaenger_4.html
https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/edly_kleinempfaenger_2.html

 

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 1:49 pm
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sideband
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Posted by: @cathovisor

@sideband An MKT4 is far too powerful a valve for this set - the nearest English equivalent I can think of is a PM24, assuming this is a VE301W (AC version).

This may also be of interest: https://www.radiomuseum.org/forum/3b4_dl98_3b4wa_als_ersatz_der_res164.html#1

 

I have a few 4V heater valves knocking about so I'll see if any might be viable. I have a PM24M in my Philips Superinductance 274 but I don't really want to start robbing that although it will be OK for a test. I also have another with an intermittent partial filament short that works OK if you tap it....! I've also got a PC86.....Interesting use for a UHF mixer valve.....!

That mod described on the Radiomuseum using an ATP4 looks very interesting and there seem to be plenty about.....

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 2:18 pm
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @sideband

I've also got a PC86.....Interesting use for a UHF mixer valve.....!

It is - I think one of my VE301s has been modified thus.

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 2:46 pm
RichardFromMarple
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As well as keeping costs down, the sets were basically engineered to only be able to pick up domestic stations.

I heard that was a myth! Some have said that they were deliberately made insensitive so that 'the people' could only hear local stations and thus not be made aware of what was going on in the wider world. Apparently when working, they are no better or worse than typical TRF sets made elsewhere.

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 3:27 pm
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @richardfrommarple

As well as keeping costs down, the sets were basically engineered to only be able to pick up domestic stations.

I heard that was a myth! Some have said that they were deliberately made insensitive so that 'the people' could only hear local stations and thus not be made aware of what was going on in the wider world. Apparently when working, they are no better or worse than typical TRF sets made elsewhere.

It is indeed a myth. The basic design is indeed that of a local station receiver but the idea that this was done deliberately to keep people "in the dark" is utter BS, uttered only by the ignorant and the profane. The earlier models, such as @sideband has had a huge market in accessories too - from a simple dial light for the mains sets, via sophisticated wave-traps designed to improve their sensitivity/selectivity all the way up to a superhet converter made by the prestigious manufacturer Körting - yes, the very same firm that many on here will recognise as a colour TV manufacturer. Hardly accessories to limit the set's performance! The Det-LF configuration was chosen so that it did not affect the sales of the main manufacturers' usual output whilst providing a set the less well off could afford, whilst the better-off could buy them as second or even third sets for the home.

A well-known collector, now departed, used to opine that you could only buy these sets after the Nazis came to power. This is utter rubbish and only forum rules prevent me from writing what I actually think of that and the person concerned: these sets were sold as well as the usual output of set manufacturers, not instead of. I understand that it was a requirement to listen to what were propaganda broadcasts, hence the desire to get radio into every home in Germany - it wasn't that long prior that the Weimar Republic collapsed with hyper-inflation.

In early 1939 an article in Wireless World pointed out that where a full-length long wire aerial was available, even the DKE could pick up Droitwich after dark.

I think were you to compare one with a contemporary Det-LF set made by Cossor or Marconi you'd not notice any difference. One thing I was told by some highly respected German collectors - and this could be a myth in itself! - was that the sets made in Austria by the likes of Eumig and Radione had better coils to cope with Austria's mountainous terrain.

It wasn't until the war escalated during 1939 that it actually became an offence to listen to foreign stations in German law - then a little tag could be hung on the tuning knob of the set to remind you of this.

 

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 5:37 pm
RichardFromMarple
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Posted by: @cathovisor

Posted by: @richardfrommarple

As well as keeping costs down, the sets were basically engineered to only be able to pick up domestic stations.

I heard that was a myth! Some have said that they were deliberately made insensitive so that 'the people' could only hear local stations and thus not be made aware of what was going on in the wider world. Apparently when working, they are no better or worse than typical TRF sets made elsewhere.

It is indeed a myth. The basic design is indeed that of a local station receiver but the idea that this was done deliberately to keep people "in the dark" is utter BS, uttered only by the ignorant and the profane. The earlier models, such as @sideband has had a huge market in accessories too - from a simple dial light for the mains sets, via sophisticated wave-traps designed to improve their sensitivity/selectivity all the way up to a superhet converter made by the prestigious manufacturer Körting - yes, the very same firm that many on here will recognise as a colour TV manufacturer. Hardly accessories to limit the set's performance! The Det-LF configuration was chosen so that it did not affect the sales of the main manufacturers' usual output whilst providing a set the less well off could afford, whilst the better-off could buy them as second or even third sets for the home.

A well-known collector, now departed, used to opine that you could only buy these sets after the Nazis came to power. This is utter rubbish and only forum rules prevent me from writing what I actually think of that and the person concerned: these sets were sold as well as the usual output of set manufacturers, not instead of. I understand that it was a requirement to listen to what were propaganda broadcasts, hence the desire to get radio into every home in Germany - it wasn't that long prior that the Weimar Republic collapsed with hyper-inflation.

In early 1939 an article in Wireless World pointed out that where a full-length long wire aerial was available, even the DKE could pick up Droitwich after dark.

I think were you to compare one with a contemporary Det-LF set made by Cossor or Marconi you'd not notice any difference. One thing I was told by some highly respected German collectors - and this could be a myth in itself! - was that the sets made in Austria by the likes of Eumig and Radione had better coils to cope with Austria's mountainous terrain.

It wasn't until the war escalated during 1939 that it actually became an offence to listen to foreign stations in German law - then a little tag could be hung on the tuning knob of the set to remind you of this.

 

I thought that would be the case!

 

 
Posted : 26/11/2023 10:25 pm
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