VEF 206 Radio

VEF 206 Radio

The VEF 206 (Táskarádió) is an 8-band 10-transistor AM radio receiver, manufactured by the Tento Company of USSR and sold under the Vega brand name. It receives long wave (LW), medium wave (MW), and six short wave (SW) bands. It was an improvement over the 1971 model VEF 204, which cost only £13.97 at the time of introduction. The VEF 206 SW bands are 13 m, 16 m, 19 m, 31 m to 25 m, 60 m to 41 m, 187.5 m to 75 m, and it does not have an FM band. Its intermediate frequency (IF) stage operates at 465 kHz. It is 240 mm × 305 mm × 105 mm in size and weighs 2.7 kg.

Band Selector and Tone Knobs

On one side, it has a large band selector knob, with a ball-bearing and spring-loaded mechanism, which engages making a “clunking” sound. Turning this knob rotates an internal plastic drum, which houses the tuned circuits and their contacts for each band. This arrangement is very similar to the Zenith 3000-1, except on that radio the tuning dial also turns, whilst this radio has a fixed tuning dial.

Russian Space Technology

Russian Space Technology

With the launch of Sputnik, the Soviets gained an instant worldwide reputation for being leaders in the radio electronics industry, and for many decades, this thought played within the minds of the public. When I was a whippersnapper, I remember reading newspaper advertisements for “Russian Radios”, and how the Soviets were the leaders in space technology. There were even reports of the KGB using these radios for espionage, and a completely new genre of science fiction emerged from this.

However, growing up in the decadent West, under the heel of imperialistic capitalists :-) I have to say my knowledge of Soviet electronic industry was rather limited. I had come across names such as Rigonda, Vega, and Selina, and vaguely knew that these were associated with USSR or countries linked with that region. I do not remember VEF, however at one time they were an extremely successful producer of radios and electronic products. They were producing super-heterodyne receivers at a time when many in the world were still using simple TRF receivers.

Russian Radio

1971 Radio ad

I managed to dig up this 1971 advertisement for the VEF 204. It was a budget-end radio with high-end functions. I liked the following line in the advert.

“The Russians have really surpassed themselves this time proving again their ability in the field of space communications.”

It certainly does fire the imagination, with UFO-shaped Russian transistors, lots of slug-tuned coils, and large colourful resistors. After all, they utilised this technology for their earlier satellites.

Tuning Knob

For my knob-head decadent friends in UK, all the knobs are plastic with chrome finish paint. Their fabrication is not to high standards, but it is cheap and cheerful and performs well enough.

Telescopic Aerial

This is a multi-page article, and in the following pages you can see the inside construction of this radio, printed circuit board, Russian components, and schematic design.

London Calling Moscow. Здравствуйте!

To me, this radio signifies a time when the Russian people were full of hope and ambition, with dreams to ascend into the stars, but something happened which stopped their progress. Perhaps they became too nationalistic not realising that intelligence can come in any colour. Instead of becoming open and inclusive, they became closed-off and exclusive. Mikhail Gorbachev had the right idea with Perestroika and Glasnost, but it requires great courage to keep moving in that direction.

The Red Army Choir - "Kalinka"

With the VEF 206, you can sit back, relax with a glass of cola, some raspberries, and listen to the Kalinka!

This Article Continues...

VEF 206 Radio
VEF 206 Schematic
VEF 206 eBay
VEF 206 inside Look
Russian Transistors and Components
VEF 206 Band Selector Switch
VEF 206 Variable Capacitor
VEF 206 Power Supply
VEF 206 Plastic Case
VEF 206 Radio Chassis
VEF 206 Repair
VEF 206 Dial Light Switch