Limburgs Dagblad, December 12, 1964

Some time ago I got a copy of the daily Limburgs Dagblad of December 12, 1964. Before giving it away to somebody born near that day, I decided to go through the journal to see if there was any news that could be of interest to collectors of radio equipment of that period.

The headlines of December 12, 1964

A few days before, the Belgian army had undertaken some action in the African colony of Congo; ten years before, the local population had cheered their European king (fragment right). Now there are fights between rebel leader Gbenye and national troops under supervision of prime minister Tsjombe. The whole affair will be discussed by the United Nations in New York.

Also on the front page we find two news items about television broadcasts. First, TV-Northsea, broadcasting from the artificial REM-island, has proclaimed to continue their broadcasts until the bitter end. The broadcasts were illegal, and forbidden by the Dutch government. But another front page article discusses the new Broadcast Act. The Parliament has spoken against commercial television in March 1963, but perhaps the REM broadcasts can be converted to a third Dutch channel. In any case, advertisements on television should become a reality soon.

Small advertisements

Page 4 of the newspaper has small advertisements and here we can see how expensive it is to buy televisions or radios. Some people offer radios as low as 20 guilders, but for second hand televisions, amounts from 300 guilders and upwards are mostly demanded. The addition met 2e programma requires some explanation for modern people who are used to buying a television for 80 euros and receive 40 programs plus teletext on it. TV broadcasts in the Netherlands began in 1951 with a single program. Years later a second program was added, and to broadcast this in several regions, new (higher) frequencies had to be used. The older televisions only received the lower frequencies (VHF band, channels 1 through 4). It was possible to buy a converter, a kind of tuner that would convert the UHF broadcasts to lower frequencies, but newer televisions were of course made with the high frequency tuner.

On the right, please see what a new television cost in 1964! This was about two months wage, the television would be black and white and gave only two programs, broadcasting about four to five hours per day!

Vienna Alert!

In 1964 we find ourselves in the middle of the Cold War, and Europe is entirely divided in Capitalist and Communist. Berlin and Vienna are hot spots in this Cold War, with the Berlin Wall just being erected and Vienna a breeding place for spies from both sides. Fortunately, the ever alert Austrian police has arrested a group of spies, operating for East Germany! What makes the item interesting for us is the fact that the gang had hidden radio equipment in the ground. Police officials says that radio receivers and transmitters were packed and hidden, and the packages were so well done that the radios would remain usable for many years. The exact location of the digs is not revealed in the newspaper, but who knows, it might be worth while to dig around a bit if you live in or near Vienna.

Hams in Limburg

There is a full page article about radio amateurism in Limburg; clearly, miracles are still found in this part of the world. For a radio amateur, it is the most common thing in the world to chat with collegues in all five continents on a single evening. The article explains about the various licences, Morse code, and the QSL-card collection that is the pride of every ham. It is reported that there are 140.000 hams worldwide, thereof 100.000 in the USA. Television stations are currently too expensive for amateurs.

Radio advertisements

The last page of the Limburgs Dagblad of December 12, 1964, has an advertisement for radios and televisions. Here you see a few of the cheaper models; you see that the cheapest model of this year is the small Philips radio, but that one gives Medium Wave reception only. I think the Philips B0X15U a few years before was a little bit cheaper still. To receive FM you have to buy the more expensive one for 158 guilders. The Heli radio looks more beautiful and has a wood case; Philips was not a very cheap brand in those days, but it had the name of good quality.

If you have ever taken a Plano apart you will understand why. Philips radios were very precisely assembled, and very durable. On the right you see the collection of Stereo Planos, I think the one advertised here is the Philips B5X43A, successor of the B5X23A. Even the smallest part is mounted with several bolts, all come with centering rings and the like. A single radio already contains hundreds of bolts and nipples, and the amount of work necessary to assemble it must have been enormous.

Stereo broadcasts had just begun in 1964, and these radios were the first generation with a stereo demultiplexer built in. In the fifties, stereo broadcasts were made by sending the right signal over Hilversum 1 and the left signal through Hilversum 2. Neighbors could cooperate by putting their radios together in one room, and enjoy the stereo broadcasts together. This social tradition ended with these beautiful radios, allowing to listen to Stereo broadcasts with a single radio.

You see that these Philips radios, also tho mono Plano above, is considerably more expensive that the foreign imports, like the Heli radio.

Gerard Tel