JVC Nivico TH-2770Z Transistor Radio (1961)


This large transistor is a product of JVC, the Japanese Victor Company. I'm guessing it was made around 1961, although I nothing in the radio gives an exact date.

The design is futuristic in a restrained sort of way. The front panel is clear Lucite with vertical louvers and the dark grille cloth has swirly silver threads.

The cabinet is made of thin, solid wood panels painted medium brown. The dial bezel is aluminum with a satin finish and the knobs and handle are maroon plastic. As the nameplate declares, this is a two-band transistor set.

I wasn't familiar with the Nivico name, but members of the rec.antiques.radio+phono newsgroup told me it means Nippon Victor Company. Perhaps the company was in the name-changing process when this was made, since JVC became standard later on.

Using eight transistors, the TH-2770Z receives the standard broadcast band as well as shortwave from 3.8-12.5 megahertz. Opening the rear cover reveals the chassis, with four D cells in a carrier at the bottom. Visible in the upper right corner is a two-position tone switch (L and H).

Although it uses a printed circuit board, the components are larger than those in newer transistors. The radio worked fine on both bands after I popped in a set of fresh batteries. Someone apparently added a power switch on the top of the case. I'm not sure why, since the original power switch still functions.

The tuning mechanism looks slightly crooked, although nothing is binding up. As long as it continues to work smoothly, I'll leave it alone.

The inside back cover gives the radio's model number as well as the name of the original owner, a member of the US Air Force.

The cover has a brown perforated metal panel in its middle. A thin elastic strap stretches across the inside. The perforated panel initially puzzled me, since you wouldn't expect a battery-powered transistor to generate a lot of heat.

Members of the r.a.r+p newsgroup noted that the opening improves the acoustics, since a sealed case will generate unwanted resonance. A trip around my office revealed that almost all of my transistors, large and small, have some kind of opening in the back, something I hadn't really noticed before. In this radio, the two audio output transistors have heat sinks, so perhaps a little extra ventilation was welcome, too.

The elastic band may have been there to hold an owner's manual. If it included shortwave listening information, like the booklets in my Zenith TransOceanics, something to hold it in place would have made sense.

I own another early transistor with a wooden cabinet, also multi-band and roughly the same size: a 1963 Nordmende Transita de Luxe. This JVC actually has more in common with European portables than with most American transistors of the time.

I found a little information about this set at radiomuseum.org, suggesting that it was not sold in the United States. That would be consistent with a military owner buying it overseas. If anyone knows more about this model, including its date of manufacture, please send me an email.

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