RCA Model BX-6 "Globe Trotter" Tube Portable (1950)

RCA made more than one "Globe Trotter" portable over the years. This one was made in 1950. A very similar tube portable (Model 8BX6) appeared in 1948. I have a transistor-powered Model 1-T-5J Globe Trotter from 1959.

These radios cover only the standard broadcast band (i.e., no shortwave), so perhaps the name just suggests portability rather than serious long-distance listening. All three Globe Trotters share a brushed aluminum face, thumbwheel knobs for volume and tuning, and a cylindrical dial cover that also switches the power on. Many portables sport covers of one sort or another, and some of them, such as my Motorola Models 5A5 and 51M1U, have covers that turn on the power. The cylindrical dial cover is an elegant solution, however, since it slides up into the cabinet like a rolltop desk instead of getting in the way.

At 13 x 10.5 x 5 inches, this is one of the largest AM tube portables that I own. My Zenith TransOceanics are even larger and heavier, but they're different creatures altogether, offering shortwave as well as AM reception.

Inside, you'll find a typical set of miniature tubes (1T4, 1R5, 1T4, 1U5, 3V4). Many tube portables demand two separate battery supplies, but this set takes a single battery, specified on the inside sticker as RCA VS-019. Since the plug on the battery cable has five pins, I assume this battery was a compound unit supplying more than one voltage.

This big-shouldered radio has a masterly tone, but the aluminum components are pretty light-gauge stamped material. And the overall fit and finish of the set is inferior to my 1959 Globe Trotter. Still, it makes a handsome "older brother" to my transistor set.

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