WW2 German Radios
Old German Tube Radio: Volks-Empfenger
The People’s Radio (German Volksempfänger, Volks-Empfenger) is a unique, unparalleled program launched in Germany in 1933. We are talking about the manufacture of completely identical radios by different firms on the basis of a single design documentation and using the same parts and assemblies. Volksempfänger should have allowed every family to listen to the radio. The device cost 76 Reichsmarks - despite the fact that the regular price of the then radio receiver was about 400 Reichsmarks.
Adolf Hitler (called "Führer") ordered shortly after his rise to power in 1933, German radio manufacturers to produce the Volksempfaenger "People's Receiver" named VE301 as an inexpensive, means to give every German family access to the Nazi Party's Radio broadcasts, to ensure that the Nazi propaganda machine was able to transmit to all homes. The name VE301 was taken to remind at the 30.1.1933 day of Adolf Hitler's rise to power ("Volksempfänger der Nationalsozialistischen Revolution am 30.1.1933").
The first model, was the Volksempfanger model VE301. The cabinet was designed by Walter Maria Kersting, a well known German architect, which has a hybridised art deco styling, merged with German gothic.The "gothic" being the arch-like styling of the tuning dial.
The first VE set was certainly innovative, but lacking in quality. This prompted further developments, before finally being abandoned in 1938 for the smaller VE301 DYN. This set was available in AC/AC-DC formats, and was technically much better over the earlier VE301. Also at this time, the even smaller Deutscher Kleinempfanger - DKE was released to the public, and this set actually continued into production to as late as 1950 (without political logo).
Another set worthy of mention was the "Deutscher Arbeitsfrontempfanger", known simply as the DAF1011. This set was produced mainly for factories, and was intended for workers to whistle while they worked to nazi propaganda songs, political speeches, and classical music. Unlike the other political receivers, this set had no inbuilt speaker, and was intended to be connected through the workplace speaker set-up. Stylishly deco, in a metallic or bakelite cabinet, but very much monolithic in style.
These sets were built by various manufacturers. All manufacturers organized in the WDRI could or had to produce Volksempfangers. The following list shows the German and Austrian (then Ostmark) members of the WDRI. The particular manufacturer usually is indicated on the back cover or on the chassis:
Until 1937, approx. 2.6 million Volksempfangers were sold. Here some production data 1939-1943:
When you want to buy a Volksempfanger: Pay attention to agreement of the manufacturers label on the chassis and the back panel. There are many "people receivers" where there is disagreement on this count.
Receiver performance. It is maintained again and again the people receivers could only receive the local broadcast station were very insensitive. That´s not right. Reception of European stations (receiver location Germany) was often possible during night. Even today the receiver performes quite well. Here a test certificate of the German periodical "Funktechnik", 1938.
Main characteristics of receivers:
Vacuum tubes for German military radios
Volks Empfänger VE301
Nora VE301dyn GW
VE301dyn GW with shortwave addition plugged into the base of the VF7 and connected to the coil. With the small lever on the bottom right was switched to shortwave. For the addition, a hole had to be cut in the rear wall for the antenna sockets and the switch.
Deutscher Klein Empfänger DKE
This most popular of Volksempfängers was the small regenerative receiver DKE produced 1938, as the second and cheapest of the tree different VE models, in the year before WW ll and cost only 35 RM or 32,50 Reichs Mark as battery receiver. It was identical in operating principle to it's larger brothers but was physically much simpler, built with parts specially designed for this receiver - like speaker and even it's two tubes VCL11 and VY2.
The all-power supply of the DKE allows the operation of the device both on AC and DC voltage. To this a special tube was developed specifically for the DKE, the VCL 11. This tube, together with the VY 2, formed the tube technical conditions for all-stream operation and to simplify the circuit complexity.
Additional VE parts
All models VE 301 had a single resonant input circuit. However, the circuit of the input circuits made it possible to increase the selectivity due to external devices, for connection of which a special 8-pin connector was provided on the left wall of the VE 301.
It must be said that a whole industry of various accessories arose very quickly around "People's Receivers". They were engaged in the production of both well-known companies and small companies whose names now will not tell anyone anything.
For the VE 301, not only additional circuits for increasing selectivity were produced, but also antenna switches, backlit scales, filters to reduce electrical noise, etc.
Circling circuits were used to improve the selectivity of the simple receivers, hide the strong local transmitters (since otherwise no other station could be received) and also to receive weak transmitters (mostly banned foreign stations) which were lost in the "Wellensalat" or deliberately disturbed.
Who was not satisfied with the simple design of the people receiver or the limited usability, could hereby remedy itself. Some companies offered interesting additional components for self-assembly, with which easily the cheap community receiver pieces could be upgraded for each piece. This ranged from the simple barrier circuit on additional scales to special attachments with which some Models could be upgraded to two-wire and even to a powerful superheterphone receiver...