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 Post subject: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Thu 08, 2013 1:31 am 
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Joined: Feb Sat 16, 2013 12:23 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Cape Town RSA
On a local audio forum and some other places, there has been keen enquiries about this radio - ie individuals looking to purchase one.

My wife (not a Zimbabwean) was given one of these radios by her parents prior to 1975. When we moved to our present home in 1978, the Supersonic became faulty and eventually ended up on a window sill in my workshop.

It stayed there for several years until one fine morning my wife insisted that we clear up the clutter as she wanted to clean the windows. So, the poor Supersonic radio probably ended up in the rubbish bin, I'm sad to say. However, there might just be a slight chance that I put it on the rafters in my workshop as I know I kept its PS/built in ac adapter and I know where that is.

Would anyone know why people are looking for this radio? Why is it collectible? Recently, I even had an enquiry from someone in France looking for its powersupply. Why the individual contacted me I don't know.

We had some email exchanges and he sent me some part no's for the PS he was looking for and the numbers on my PS transformer differed only by one digit. I asked him why this interest and he replied people in many places are looking for the 'right' Supersonic PS transformer for building guitar amplifiers of all things.

Is this all there is to this riddle?

dauphine

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Thu 08, 2013 1:55 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9837
Location: Middle Tennessee,USA 37174
You mention a guitar amp and a 'certain ' transformer needed to build it. I can see no reason one transformer would work better than another, if the specs are the same or better.
In the world of audio and musical apparatus, there seems to be those that hunt for a special part, thinking that they will hear a difference in the sound. Personally, I think it is a lot to do with the imagination.

I have never heard of the brand Supersonic, or anything made in the former Rhodesia for that matter. If it was just a simple AM/FM radio I wonder how robust the transformer might be, especially in a guitar amp.
Is it anything like the one pictured here?
http://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/show ... hp?t=93643

There is a page of info on Radio Museum
http://www.radiomuseum.org/dsp_herstell ... ny_id=4378
Take care

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Thu 08, 2013 2:14 am 
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Joined: Jul Sun 21, 2013 12:21 am
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Location: Vieques,PR 00765 USA
There was some chatter here on ARF about 2-3 years ago regarding this. Apparently some well-publicised famous English 'musical genius' found one in a bin and it became publicised as the 'best' little amp ever created. Lots of interest by that crowd to the extent that people were wanting to replicate it and retire on the proceeds.

I'll not offer any opinion on the whole bizness since it speaks for itself. Hopefully you can find the earlier thread using the search methods. It had links to the offsites that went into greater detail.

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Thu 08, 2013 10:04 am 
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Joined: Feb Sat 16, 2013 12:23 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Cape Town RSA
Hi Gary Rabbit

@ Bill M

Thanks for the links and your comment. The images in your first link doesn't look like the radio all the apparent hoohah is about. The item twittered about had no push buttons on top.

I'll do some more research and try and find a picture. In the meantime, I'll attach a pic of the real thing's PS. I also can't understand the special interest in the PS transformer.

Regards

dauphine


Attachments:
IMG_5697.JPG
IMG_5697.JPG [ 120.75 KiB | Viewed 10640 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Sat 10, 2013 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Middle Tennessee,USA 37174
Hi Bill,
I don't see what the huge difference is using that transformer. I think it's all hype and hoopla. Because someone said "it's the best little amp...." doesn't mean anything. World's best hamburger, or best fried chicken doesn't mean anything either. What does the guy base this on, I wonder. Maybe he has a large supply of these transformers,and is creating a frenzy, asking large prices for the trans's. I don't know.
If I could sell that thing for big bucks, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Unless there is some silver or gold inside the thing it is pretty much just a transformer.
I think I found other sets made in that country, but didn't match what you were looking for.
Take care.

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Sat 10, 2013 9:52 pm 
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Location: Vieques,PR 00765 USA
Dauphine, check this thread.
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=213655

My time machine earlier was displaying an incorrect date. It was just several months ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Sun 11, 2013 4:54 am 
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You do NOT want to deal with this individual regarding the Supersonic radio.
He was banned from this forum. 'nuff said. :evil:

~ Mitch ~

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Sun 11, 2013 6:30 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 6012
Location: Sunnyvale CA
PBPP wrote:
You do NOT want to deal with this individual regarding the Supersonic radio.
He was banned from this forum. 'nuff said. :evil:

~ Mitch ~


Oh yeah, THAT guy!

Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Sun 11, 2013 10:16 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 16, 2013 12:23 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Cape Town RSA
PBPP wrote:
You do NOT want to deal with this individual regarding the Supersonic radio.
He was banned from this forum. 'nuff said. :evil:

~ Mitch ~


Thanks for the interesting read. I can also assure you that a) I am NOT Yuri and b) I have no interest in the PR80 other than curiosity about all the hoohah.

What is correct is that one of these radios sat on a window sill in my workshop at home for several years until my wife wanted me to remove the junk as she wanted to clean the windows.

Now, I don't easily discard all manner of things as I'm a hoarder. Since I kept the transformer, it may JUST be possible that the rest of the radio is still here somewhere - either on the rafters or in a storeroom filled with who knows what.

For now quite frankly, I have more than enough things to do than to start going on a wild goose chase looking for a Rhodesian relic.

I take this opportunity to thank all ARF members for their kind interest in my post and apologise to all if I wasted your valuable time.

Regards

dauphine/andre

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Sun 11, 2013 10:26 pm 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 19020
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
Back in January, I received a PM from Yuri begging me to sell him my Supersonic. I didn't because it performs well and has great band coverage. But mine has a stamp in the plastic back that says "Made in S. Africa". Was Rhodesia part of S. Africa then?

Image

Image

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Sun 11, 2013 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 16, 2013 12:23 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Cape Town RSA
Hello Dave

No, the former Rhodesia was never part of South Africa AFAIK but thinking back many years, there could have been some wishful, 'what if' rumours or speculation during the time of the late prime minister Ian Smith about incorporation of that country into South Africa . There are several audio amateur 'historians' on our local forum who may know more about Supersonic the brand and the people who made the radios. I cannot supply a link immediately but I once did a google search and came across a Zimbabwean website or blog where I found a reference to Supersonic. While reading, I found mention being made of their 'bush war' and how this little radio accompanied troops while engaged in conflict.

Here in South Africa from the 50's through the late 80's, our industries were booming and entrepeneurs found it relatively easy to fund a wide variety of diverse audio and radio related manufacturing concerns. When I was able to join here, I posted some details of a restore of an HMV console made locally in the mid 50's, for example.

How and why your PR80 has "Made in South Africa" stamped on it is a mystery. I read somewhere this radio was 'designed' by an engineer employed by the former Rhodesian broadcaster. During this time, South Africa had a far more developed industry and perhaps it is possible that Supersonic radios were never actually manufactured in the former Rhodesia but here in South Africa. This is just speculation of course.

If you and ARF members would like to know more, I can certainly make some enquiries by PM to someone I know on the local forum.

Regards

dauphine/andre

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Mon 12, 2013 1:20 am 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 19020
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
I did a little internet research and found a seller in South Africa offering an older Supersonic radio marked: "SUPERSONIC "CHIEF", MANUFACTURED AT BULAWAYO, S. RHODESIA BY CHASSAY BROS. (PVT) LTD."

http://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/26117178 ... DESIA.html

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Mon 12, 2013 3:44 am 
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Joined: Feb Sat 16, 2013 12:23 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Cape Town RSA
Oh, my word :D Chassay Bros definitely rings a bell as I saw this firm's name somewhere before.

By the way, your Supersonic looked similar to the one my wife had, except perhaps for the speaker grille, the two antennas (ours had a single telescopic) and maybe slightly different knobs. At the time the Supersonic was removed from my workshop window sill, I was busy building an electroplating machine. This equipment has a radio volume pot installed to regulate an airpump. I think I used one of the Supersonic's knobs for the airpump's potentiometer.

Regards

dauphine

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Mon 12, 2013 3:51 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 27, 2012 1:24 pm
Posts: 1533
Very interesting. I wasn't aware that radios were made in the former Rhodesia, although I know they had a fairly wide range of industries because of international sanctions declared on Rhodesia after UDI (their "Unilateral Declaration of Independence" from the UK) in 1965.

Which leads to a dumb question: would the Rhodesian builders of Dave's Supersonic radio have placed a "made in South Africa" sticker on the radio to skirt international sanctions?


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Mon 12, 2013 4:37 pm 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 19020
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
Just for clarification, my Supersonic radio is a PR-127, not a PR-80. It could be that the company moved to South Africa between the times when the two models were built. It does use the same audio module, however.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Mon 12, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 6779
Location: Grand Chute, Wisconsin
Renton481 wrote:
Which leads to a dumb question: would the Rhodesian builders of Dave's Supersonic radio have placed a "made in South Africa" sticker on the radio to skirt international sanctions?
Doesn't appear to be a sticker, it appears to be cast into the plastic from the original mold.

.


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Aug Wed 14, 2013 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Mar Tue 27, 2012 1:24 pm
Posts: 1533
wiscojim wrote:
Renton481 wrote:
Which leads to a dumb question: would the Rhodesian builders of Dave's Supersonic radio have placed a "made in South Africa" sticker on the radio to skirt international sanctions?
Doesn't appear to be a sticker, it appears to be cast into the plastic from the original mold.

.


True, I realised that a few hours after I posted it -- but though it isn't a sticker, the question remains the same: could they have placed it on the radio to skirt sanctions?


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Nov Wed 05, 2014 3:33 pm 
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Posts: 1
To try and clarify a few points brought up in this discussion, I was employed at Supersonic Radio in Bulawayo (Rhodesia) Zimbabwe from 1969 to 1988.
At one time It was the largest Radio manufacturing company in the Southern hemisphere.
The company produced all it's own components other than transistors, caps, resistors etc. All the coils, transformers, circuit boards, chassies, injection molded housings etc were done in house.
The company later opened a factory in Petersburg in South Africa to which a lot of components were shipped and assembled - this is where the "made in Southafrica " comes from. I still have 2 working units in my home today.


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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Nov Thu 06, 2014 8:40 am 
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Location: Aurora Colorado
Welcome to the forum! Can you post some pictures?

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 Post subject: Re: Supersonic Portable Made in the former Rhodesia
PostPosted: Nov Thu 06, 2014 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2356
Location: Monroe, NC 28112 USA
I used to have a very good Italian friend now dead that made many business trips to South Africa in the 1990s, He actually lived in Rhodesia for about 10 years in the 1960s. He was a very knowledgeable radio collector. I asked him to acquire sets for me. The only Rhodesia set he could find for me is the little blue pocket set shown here. He says that it was only assembled in Rhodesia from mostly Japanese & Taiwan parts. The radio has zero markings for branding or country of origin.

The other set flagged RSA is a WRS brand from the early 1990s. I thought it interesting because it is powered by two 'D' cell torch batteries.... My old friend told me that was because flashlight batteries were much easier to obtain than 9 Volt or 'AA' sized batteries.

When the Freeplay wind-up radios were first manufactured in South Africa, my friend purchased one for me.... By the time it got here, I owed him $200! But I was happy to add it to my collection...

I do also have a Barlow Wadley XCR-30 --- Still no African built valve sets.

Robert


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