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Russian devices in the Tubes pages

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Forum » FAQ - click for boards » FAQ about the radio pages » Russian devices in the Tubes pages
Michael Watterson
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27.Oct.11 01:01
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While the site software does support Cyrillic lettering not everyone's browser does. Also a consistent method of transliteration to the Roman/Latin lettering is needed

a b v g d e j i k l m n o p r s t u f h z ee ze ya

To reduce confusion transliterated Cyrillic letters in Roman/Latin are typed in lower case as in the table.  You can use the Character Map tool in Accessories in all Windows versions to type Cyrillic. Similar tools are in Linux, Solaris and OS X. When first discussing a part it's a good idea to put the Cyrillic designation in bold in brackets at least once after the transliteration above.


Common Variations

Ж has in the past often been transliterated zh, ZH, sh or SH.
Ц may be transliterated z, but "ts" as in Tsar is regarded as better as З is usually transliterated "z", but can be also "ze". However the table above reflects the German document here.
Я may be represented as ja, yu, ya or a (it's not very common with Tubes)
Э and З look similar
The Russian characters may look more distinctive and traditional in a serif font rather than the plain san-serif font of the table above.


Г-807 = g-807;      ГУ-29 = gu-29;       СО-241 = so-241;     ВО-188 = vo-188


Russian Tube (valve) coding:

In the 1950s a 5-element system (GOST 5461-59, later 13393-76) was adopted in the (then) Soviet Union for designating receiver vacuum tubes. All Russian tubes have factory logo and date of production (year and usually also month) possibly engraved on glass and ink stamped quality control number (ОТК)

The 1st element (from left to right) is (for receiving tubes) a number specifying filament voltage in volts (rounded off to the nearest whole number), or (for cathode-ray tubes) the screen diagonal or diameter in cm (rounded-off to the nearest whole number).

The 2nd element is a Cyrillic character specifying the type of device:

  • d (Russian: Д) - diode, including damper diodes.
  • h (Russian: Х) - double diode.
  • ts (Russian: Ц) - low-power rectifier (kenotron).
  • s (Russian: С) - triode.
  • n (Russian: Н) - double triode.
  • e(Russian: Э) - tetrode.
  • p (Russian: П) - output pentode, or a beam tetrode.
  • j (Russian: Ж) - sharp-cutoff pentode. (also transliterated sh or zh)
  • k (Russian: К) - variable-mu / remote-cutoff pentode.
  • r (Russian: Р) - double pentode or a double tetrode.
  • g (Russian: Г) - combined triode-diode.
  • b (Russian: Б) - combined diode-pentode.
  • f(Russian: Ф) - combined triode-pentode.
  • i(Russian: И) - combined triode-hexode, triode-heptode or triode-octode.
  • a (Russian: А) - pentagrid converter.
  • v (Russian: В) - vacuum tube with secondary emission.
  • l (Russian: Л) - cathode-ray tube.
  • e (Russian: Е) - "magic eye" tube (e.g. used as a tuning indicator).

The 3rd element is a number - a series designator that differentiates between different devices of the same type.

The 4th element denotes vacuum tube construction (base, envelope):

  • p (Russian: П) - small 9-pin or 7-pin glass envelope (22.5 or 19 mm in diameter).
  • a (Russian: А) - subminiature glass envelope (5 to 8 mm in diameter) with flexible leads.
  • b (Russian: Б) - subminiature glass envelope (8 to 10.2 mm in diameter) with flexible leads.
  • s (Russian: С) - glass envelope (greater than 22.5 mm in diameter), typically with an octal base.
  • n (Russian: Н) - nuvistor.
  • k (Russian: К) - metal-ceramic envelope.
  • d (Russian: Д) - glass-metal envelope with disc connections (for UHF operation).

For all-metal tubes the 4th element is omitted.

The 5th element is optional. It consists of a dash ("-") followed by a single character or a combination of characters, and denotes special characteristics (if any) of the tube:

  • v (Russian: В) - increased reliability and mechanical ruggedness (such as low susceptibilty to noise and microphonics).
  • r (Russian: Р) - even better than V
  • e (Russian: Е) - extended service life.
  • d (Russian: Д) - exceptionally long service life.
  • i (Russian: И) - optimised for "pulsed" (i.e. switching) mode of operation.

There is another designation system for high-power tubes such as transmitter ones.

The 1st element (from left to right) is always g (Russian Г, for "generatornaya").

The 2nd element (with some notable exceptions such as the Г807) is:

  • k (Russian: К) - shortwave (<= 25 MHz) tube.
  • u (Russian: У) - ultra-shortwave (25-600 MHz) tube.
  • s (Russian: С) - centimetric-wavelength (> 600 MHz) tube.
  • m (Russian: М) - modulator tube.
  • i(Russian: И) - impulse tube.

The 3rd element consists of a dash ("-") followed by the design serial number. If the tube has to be force-cooled there might follow a letter 'A' (Russian 'А') for water-cooled or 'B' (Russian 'Б') for air-cooled.

Types of Russian tube devices commonly available


Some useful phrases and words to "read" Russian data sheets

сетки= grid

анод= Anode

экран= Screen or Shield

катод= Cathode

накала = filament

минус= Minus / Negative

плюс= Plus / Positive

ток = Current

напряжение = Voltage (Symbol is В as that is Cyrillic for v!)

управляющая сетка= Control Grid (g1)

экранная сетка= Screen Grid (g2)

подавлениесетки= Suppression grid (g3)


This article was edited 27.Oct.11 01:51 by Michael Watterson .

Hans Völkening
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27.Oct.11 04:57

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RMorg (correctly) serves content with character encoding set to Unicode UTF-8:

See page source:
content="application/xhtml+xml; charset=utf-8"

Nowadays (2011) every (decent) browser should default to Unicode UTF-8.
Regrettably not all browsers are 'decent.'

Some of the 'less decent' browsers default to Western(ISO-8859-xx) or Western(Windows-125x) and don't respect the content definition in the (X)HTML-source.

In many cases this can be compensated by forcing the browsers preferences to UTF-8.
This should be possible with every browser from 2009 or later.

Btw: Firefox and all mozilla-childs belong to the 'decent' ones ...

Hans Völkening

This article was edited 27.Oct.11 04:59 by Hans Völkening .

Bob Isaac
Bob Isaac
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09.Nov.11 11:17

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 Thank you so much for taking the time and going to the trouble of providing this very useful bit of information.  I have several boxes of old Soviet tubes that I've had little success in correctly identifying.

What you have provided makes a lot of sense to me, and I'm fairly sure that with this information I should be able to ID most if not all of them.

Thanks again!


Bob Isaac

Michael Watterson
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04.Aug.13 12:08

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Do note that the scheme is only to ensure that there is a 1:1 unambiguous transliteration (reversible) for devices (i.e. tubes, valves, neons, VFDs, transistors, diodes etc).  As the database now supports Cyrillic text all Models should be entered with the original Cyrillic text and the English name as used by Russian Exporters or customarily used.

So while  Ц  -> Z and З  -> Z typically for Models the rarer transliteration of З  -> ze was suggested for devices to avoid ambiguity and Ц  -> z not Z on valves/tubes.

In any case the Original Cyrillic (or Chinese) should be used as well as the English today in all cases and the Transliteration scheme only for unique mapping of Device part "numbers" to English which is why  small letters are used, capital letters indicating a Roman lettered part.

Thus 6J5G (Roman/Latin) versus 6j5b (Cyrillic 6Ж5Б) tubes even though the Cyrillic was Upper case.

Note that the Ц (z or commonly Z) is common on Russian tube designations and З (ze or commonly Z) is not even on the standard list of type designations for Tubes.

Note Звезда is given as Zvezda as that is how it normally written in English and both are on the Model page rather than "zevezeda".