Transistor Radios Around the World

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1959—1963 Stern "Sternchen"

Coat pocket radio, thermoplastic cabinet
5 3/4 x 3 5/16 x 1 9/16 inches / 146 x 84 x 40 mm
MW, six transistors (3x OC44, OC811, 2x OC816), superheterodyne circuit
One 9-volt battery
Manufactured by VEB Stern-Radio Sonneberg (1959,1960) / Berlin (1961—1963), DDR (GDR)

While not the first DDR radio to incorporate transistors in its circuit (that was the 1958 2-tube/5-transistor VEB "Stern 1"), the Stern "Sternchen" was the first all-transistor radio manufactured in the DDR. It was much more stylish in cabinet design than many of its West German counterparts (Exhibit A: the Telefunken Partner, Exhibit B: the Grundig Transistor Boy), and it came in a great variety of vivid cabinet colors, some translucent: red, green, blue, yellow, tan, purple, orange, gray, and white. Its cabinet design clearly was influenced by the circa-1957 Japanese Kobe Kogyo KT-6 transistor radio cabinet exemplified on this site by the Realistic Hi-Fiver.

Out of at least fifty examples (really!) that I've viewed on (eBay Germany) over the past three or four years, only one or two had a metal piece (gold-colored) in the dial pointer depression, and none of the several new-in-box examples had the pointer piece. Most likely, a poor adhesive would explain the absence of a metal piece in all of these examples, but that's only a guess on my part.

The Sternchen was manufactured over a period of at least four years. The example shown here was made in 1963. The transistors used in the Sternchen models varied over the years — the transistors used in this example include one black oval HWF OC811, one silver can OC816 with an "Fo" logo, one black oval IHT OC816, and three OC44 black Euro Common Type transistors. As transistor collector and historian Andrew Wylie has noted on his DDR transistor history page, all transistors made in the DDR were manufactured by Werk für Bauelemente der Nachrichtentechnik (WBN), and designations of transistors made by WBN included "HWF", "IHT", and the "Fo" logo noted above.

Stern Sternchen

Stern Sternchen

back cover

inside back cover label


schematic of the original 1959 Sternchen

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