This radio was found in what is perhaps my favorite antique shop. The shop is in Ballarat, Victoria, and is crammed so full of old things I have to shuffle sideways to get through. He has a quite a number of radios, most of which are well over priced, possibly because he doesn’t want to part with them. The Philips 198 was marked at a reasonable $35, but I managed to talk him down to $20.

Battery sets go for nix because the batteries are no-longer available. However, this runs on 9 volts and a standard common garden variety 9 volt works.

This was Philips first attempt at a transistor set in Australia, and I didn’t really expect it to work. However, with a little cleaning of the volume and piano keys, it came to life.

It’s quite sensitive and sounds OK. It’s also surprisingly heavy.

Philips produced these from 1958 almost a full year after AWA produced the first transistor set in Australia. The case, based on the valve 196, is shaped like a woman’s handbag or cosmetics case. This was obviously an attempt to appeal to the fashions of the time. In contrast the AWA radio is shaped like a large brick.

198 Front

The radio as purchased. The 198/199 was described as having: “Thrilling power and penny-wise economy from seven transistor and two diodes. Three push-button controls with hi-low tone selector buttons. Long range noise-free reception from high-gain “Ferroceptor” rod aerial. Slim, compact, lightweight (less than 5 lb. complete with battery), and dust-proof. Genuine leather case in three springtime colours: luggage tan, atmosphere grey, spring-fever red.

198 Dial

Close up of dial. The NSW ring is hard to read as it is under the rim.

198 Controls

The controls consisting of volume, off button, and hi and low tone buttons, that also turn the radio on.

The strap is split (plastic) and the leather stretched and unstiched.

198 Inside

Inside the back of the radio.

198 Lable

The lable showing the key parts, how to disassemble for servicing, and the alignment frequencies.