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National Panasonic RF-947 Y/B Radio

by Al Cappucino

The first thing that strikes me about the National Panasonic RF-947 Y/B radio is the sound quality.  For a portable radio the quality is really good and rich.

On the top are four buttons to choose between FM, MW, SW1 and SW2. 

Also on the top is a button to press if you'd like to light up the display. 

On the very left of the display is a small indicator, indicating the strength of the station being received. 

Four easy to work buttons on the front are used to control the operation of the radio.  The first button is the volume button, and the device is also switched on by turning the volume up from minimal.  The button next to it controls the tone, low or high. The third button works "Spread";  I'm not sure what spread does but I'm assuming it narrows or broadens the scope of the frequency being focused on, because sometimes turning this dial makes the station being listened to clearer.  Last of course is the Tuning button, to move to the various radio stations.  

On the side of the unit are two headphone plugs, to listen to this radio without disturbing anybody else. 

On the back are three in/outputs labeled ANT., EARTH and PHONO. 

Also on the back it has this nifty world timetable, with a rotatable center you can use to work out the time differences between various cities in various countries: 

The working life expectancy of this radio seems to be 50 years plus. 

The finer technical spec. details have unfortunately rubbed off it seems, but here they are: 

It appears to say:

NATIONAL PANASONIC

MODEL RF-947 Y/B

FM-AM 4-BAND 12-TRANSISTOR /-D... (illegible)

BATTERY:  FOUR "D" SIZE FLASHLIGHT BATTERIES ... (illegible)

(NATIONAL UM-1 OR EQUIVALENT)

MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA BY BARLOW'S MANUFACTURING CO. LTD.

...(illegible)... MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.

I have not been able to find information on it online, but have found two models similar in look and in all likeliness family: 

radiomuseum.org 1

and

radiomuseum.org 2

People call them "antiques" but I'm still using mine in modern times as an everyday radio while working in my studio.  It has a rich, pure sound and strong volume. 

National was a brand used by Panasonic Corporation (formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.) to sell home appliances, personal appliances, and industrial appliances and was the first name used by Konosuke Matsushita's electric firm to sell his battery-powered bicycle lamps, hoping that they would be a product used by all of Japan, hence the name "National". It was arguably the first well-known brand of Japanese electronics.

National was formerly the premier brand on most Matsushita products, including audio and video and was often combined as "National Panasonic" after the worldwide success of the Panasonic name.

Due to its historical significance and recognition in Matsushita's native Japan, non-audiovisual Matsushita products (mostly home appliances or white goods) were branded "National" until September 2008. As of October 1, 2008, Matsushita changed its company name to Panasonic Corporation. Non-audiovisual products that were branded "National" in Japan are currently marketed under the "Panasonic" brand.


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