COLUMBUS 694P 'TRANSISTOR 6' (1959)

The Columbus 694P was manufactured for Columbus Radio Centre Ltd by Radio Corporation of New Zealand Ltd in 1959. It's part of the Columbus Portables series of radios.

One of Columbus' first Transistor portable sets from 1959.  Not as commonly found these days as its big brother, the PZ-117

It's unusual that while these two sets were often advertised together, they look significantly different to each other, and have vastly different model numbers.

The Columbus 694P is part of the Columbus Portables series of radios.

This series contains all the known Columbus portable radios - including a few transistor portables from the final few years of the brand.

The radios in this series are:

Technical Information

Valves (6 Transistor, 3 Diode): 2N412, GEX34, 2N410, GEX34, 2N410, GEX34, 2N408, 2N270, 2N270

Intermediate Frequency: 455kc/s

Frequency Bands: 1

Chassis Notes(most schematics can be clicked to download a full size version)

Service information (Columbus_694P_Transistor_6_Service_info.pdf) here

1959 Columbus 694P 'Transistor 6'

General Construction Notes for Radio Corporation of New Zealand Ltd:

The first digit of the serial number typically indicates the year of manufacture of RCNZ chassis' (although not the decade - that requires a little knowledge of the valves, construction, etc). Sets from around 1934 onwards were often (but not always) constructed in a distinctive pressed 'baking pan' style chassis, seemingly unique to RCNZ.

Model codes beginning with a 0, for example the model 051, are Osram valve versions of the model without the leading 0. Technically the 0 should be an O (for Osram), however the digit 0 was used throughout the site before this fact was discovered.

The E suffix indicates a magic eye option is fitted (in models which were available with or without, such as the model 25).

A and B suffixes appear to be simply updates to the current model, R also appears to be simply an updated model ('R'edesign, perhaps?)

P indicates either a permanent magnet speaker version of a model which also came with an electromagnet speaker (the model 26 for example), or a portable model (like the model 694P).

N and M indicated miniature valve versions of a model which started with all (or a mix, ie: model 5) of larger valves. One of these two codes may indicate a transitional mixture of octal and miniature - clarification is required.

S often indicates a stereo model.  It can also indicate 'self-biased' in the transition period between back-biased and self biased sets where there were models with both methods employed (53S for example)

Finally, other suffixes and prefixes make occasional appearances in the RCNZ lineup - like the 66W (a variant of the long-running model 66) and the 75XA (a 10-valve version of the model 75 with a separate amplifier chassis).