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What an interesting story...

All of this took place in 2002/2003:

I have sent an R-390 to China!!! I traded it for a Chinese (Army) Type 77 HF Receiver. Note I mean my R-390-non-A... NOT my Chuck Rippel-rebuilt           R-390-A. What an interesting adventure this has been.

I had seen emails soliciting R-390s for a couple of years... and finally decided to take the plunge with my R-390. It was only possible because the R-390 is a modular-plug-in receiver. If you take enough of 'em out, you can just get it through the weight restriction of 44 lbs / 20 kg. There is a girth restriction of 72 inches. That means that the height, plus the width plus the depth of the box must not exceed 72 inches (~183 cm). That leaves ~ an inch (2.5cm) all around the R-390. Not very much!!! ...and oh yes: Chinese regulations state NO WOOD.

But the packing store guy is a friend, and though he groaned a lot, he really came through for me! He first built a double-walled cardboard box around the unit. Then he built double-thick top and bottom pieces that left about 5 inches (~13 cm). Taping the top and bottom pieces made for a very secure package-or rather, a package as secure as it could be with these restraints. It was easy to pick up-considering its weight.

So now, on to the post office. I had several packages, and had to make more than one trip from the car. Hoisting the big box onto the postal counter, and telling them it was for the Peoples' Republic of China got some *** very *** raised eyebrows!!! I had been told there were two important points about the Customs form: 1) the total value had to be no more than 90 yuan (~$85); and, 2) the description of the item(s) my friend suggested was: "old radio for collector". I followed this... but added: "(1955)". I didn't want some potential thief anywhere throughout the passage to think it might have been an Atwater-Kent!!!

I hadn't-yet-discussed my choices. I could have-in exchange for the R-390-either a "NOS (New-Old-Stock)/ NIB (New-In-Box) w/ spares" Type 222 tube receiver; or a similarly NOS/NIB Type 77 solid-state receiver. My friend has both for trades. I gave this a lot of thought. I had photos of both receivers (see below). I was leaning towards the Type 77. If there were any tubes in the Type 222 that didn't have European/American pin-for-pin equivalents, and something failed, once the "spares" were gone, you were just plain out-of-luck. On the other hand, you can manage to replace *** any *** transistor. The final decision was made by my friend in China. I asked him which he thought was the better receiver, and he said that-although it was uglier-the Type 77 was much better. Well... that did it for me.

So... my R-390 was sent on its way to China. My Type 77 HF Receiver arrived in ~ 4 weeks; and the R-390 got to my friend in ~ 6 weeks. Below are thumbnails of both the Type 222, and the Type 77... plus a hand drawing my friend did for me to interpret the Chinese characters on the front panel (the numbers are standard Arabic.)

The receiver accepts either 220 VAC (but has a dual-primary transformer, so it should easily change to 110 VAC) OR 12VDC (with -6VDC required for AGC and something else I forget.) The quality of design and the construction is mostly 1st rate, with only one or two things that are probably more oddity than defect. It is very solid, with a die-cast aluminum frame. The frequency R/O is via a very-finely-silkscreened fan-shaped partial-disc. The ingenious rapid-band-change mechanism is very impressive.

More-to come...

First the Type 222 (that I didn't get):


Now the Type 77:







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