The German manufacturer Nordmende made some very nice AM/FM transistor portables in the early 1960s. This is a Transita Deluxe - or one version of it. Looking at other presentations on the web, there are several versions under this model name, distinguished by the bands and tuning range. Most of the units displayed on the web (mostly in Europe) have long-wave, medium-wave and UKW (FM) bands. Others - such as this one - have a short-wave band instead of the long-wave band. Perhaps this was a change for the North American market, where long-wave would have been of little relevance. Also, the FM band on some units only extends to 104 MHz, on others to 108 MHz. This unit tunes:
The cabinet is wood covered in leatherette, several colors were available. The wood cabinet results in a very nice sounding radio. The cabinet is sealed well enough to turn it into something of an acoustic-suspension speaker enclosure - the sound changes noticeably as the cabinet back is tightened into place.
The white button on the right side covers a receptacle for a standard Motorola antenna plug, allowing an external antenna to be plugged in (the connector is that typically used with car antennas). The intended power supply is a 9V battery, this unit has no external power connector, nor is there a headphone connector, although a Nordmende schematic shows both connectors. Of the 5 pushbuttons on top, the leftmost is power on-off, the middle 3 are band selection, and the rightmost is a treble-cut switch.
9 transistors are used. 2 of these are reserved for the FM front end, the AM converter doubles as a 1st IF stage for FM, followed by 2 more IF stages, then 3 audio stages, the last of the 3 being a push-pull output.
There is a stamp inside the cabinet back from the Canada-USA border crossing at Douglas (near Vancouver), from 1963.
While this unit was grubby but otherwise in fairly good physical condition, some deteriorating materials in the construction are a problem. As with many early plastics - particularly the softer, more-flexible ones - there is some chemical instability. Some pieces of foam under the corners of the dial decayed and reacted with the paint of the dial labelling. Similarly, where the dial paint has been in contact with the leatherette around the dial perimeter the paint has discoloured. The leatherette itself has discoloured in several areas. At first, it appeared to be just dirt embedded in the bottom of the grain, but it does not scrub out. It may be glue reacting and showing through under the thinner portions of the leatherette.
Repair summary (2011 Sep):
Nordmende Transita Deluxe