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Vintage Radio

It's not common to see two sets that look almost identical on the outside but which are completely different on the inside. Such is the case with the Philips BX462A (Dutch) and 115 (Australian) receivers. In fact, the closer one looks at the chassis of these two sets, the more the differences become apparent.

By Rodney Champness

Back in the JUNE 2012 issue, Vintage Radio ran a story on John de Haas and his collection of Dutch and Australian vintage receivers. This month, we take a look at two receivers from his collection, the Dutch Philips BX462A from 1946 and the Australian Philips 115 from 1948.

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The rear panel of the Philips BX462A carries diagrams to identify the various sockets, ie, antenna and earth, external loudspeaker and turntable.

These two sets are built into cabinets that are, to all intents and purposes, the same. Apparently, Philips Australia obtained the mould pattern for the cabinet of the slightly earlier European receiver and then designed and fitted a chassis to suit the Australian market.

From the outside, the most obvious differences between these two sets concern the dial-scale markings. For Australia, the dial scale is calibrated for the 530-1620kHz broadcast band only, whilst the Dutch version carries markings for a triple-band receiver. That’s because in addition its broadcast band (536-1765kHz) facility, the BX462A is also capable of long-wave (150-424kHz) and shortwave (5.8-18.5MHz) reception.

Another external difference involves the number of controls. The Dutch version has two controls on the righthand side of the cabinet for tuning and band-switching, while the lefthand side carries an on-off/volume control and a tone control. By contrast, the Australian 115 carries just the tuning control on the righthand side, with the volume and on-off/tone controls on the left.

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This view shows the Australian model 115. Note the unusual “pop-up” dial scale, a feature it shares with the Dutch BX462A receiver.

Their perforated cardboard rear panels are also different (although, unfortunately, the rear panel is now missing from the 115 set in John’s collection). As shown in one of the photos, the Dutch BX462A also carries a number of diagrams which indicate the functions of the various chassis-mounted sockets, which are accessible through matching cut-outs in the rear panel.

An interesting feature of the BX462A is that the power lead must be unplugged before the rear panel can be removed. This provides protection against electrocution – at least until the power lead is reconnected. In this set, there are a number of exposed connections on the power transformer along the back edge of the chassis, near the mains plug. By contrast, the AC power connections are better protected against accidental contact in the Australian 115.

In fact, Australian manufacturers generally provided better protection against accidental contact with high voltages compared to most European receivers.

Another interesting feature of the BX462A’s rear panel is that a large section of the inside surface is lined with foil. This is connected to the receiver’s antenna terminal when the rear panel is in place and can be used as the sole antenna in strong reception areas. The Australian 115 set has a similar foil antenna, although this is glued to the underside of the top of the cabinet (see photo).

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They may look the same on the outside but they use completely different chassis as these inside views of the Philips BX462A (top) and 115 receivers show. The Australian 115 covers the broadcast band only while the Dutch BX462A is a 3-band receiver and is much more complicated.

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