Efim Alexeyevich Levitin


Efim Alexeyevich Levitin (1906-1972) was a Soviet radio engineer who made profound contributions to the development of the radio industry in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and to equipping tanks and aircraft of the Soviet Army with radio communications during World War II. He authored a number of publications on receiving and amplifying radio tubes and broadcast receivers and was awarded with the Order of the Red Star.


Efim A. Levitin was born in Khislavichi of the Smolensk region (Russia) in 1906. In school years he acquired knowledge of French, German and English. He got carried away by detector receivers. After graduation from school he worked as an installer of telegraph lines, then studied at the University of Smolensk.

In 1930, after graduation from the university, he worked at the Central Radio Laboratory in Leningrad (CRT), later transformed into the Institute of Broadcast Reception and Acoustics (IRPA), where he supervised a group that measured the characteristics of radio tubes, and by the second half of the 1930s E.A.Levitin was recognized as one of the main developers of radio receiving technology in the country. In 1936 and 1938 his first publications on electron radio tubes came out.

In 1937, when the USSR acquired the license from the American corporation RCA for the production of radio broadcasters and radio tubes in their country, Yefim Levitin was sent to the RCA Victor plant in Camden, New Jersey, USA, where he supervised the development of a 6-tube radio receiver 6H-1, 9-tube radio receiver 9H-4  and automobile radio in accordance with the technical specifications previously prepared by him. Yefim Levitin also supervised the purchase of American samples of items and materials for future manufacturing radio receivers by factories in his country. Reports on his business trips to the United States were published.

The purchase of the license and manufacturing radio receivers (the so-called "Russian Americans") in the USSR was extremely important for the radio industry of the country. First, the whole technological chain of assembly production immediately lined up with the world's most advanced cycle at that time. Secondly, the production of the newest radio tubes allowed the USSR to raise the existing backward technological production base to the modern level. Thirdly, even before the licensed radio tubes production line was constructed, some of the purchased radio tubes were immediately sent for development and production of professional and military equipment. And the newest samples of household radio devices after some modifications were used as professional devices. The colossal significance of the issue of licensed 6N-1 household receivers can be judged by the laconic phrase of the order of the USSR People's Commissar for Electrical Industry No. 348ss of December 15, 1941, paragraph 2a of which reads: "To organize the production of military radio stations according to the RB type from the details of the 6N-1 receiver ..

Upon his return to Leningrad, Yefim Levitin, under the auspices of IRPA, worked on the implementation of radio receivers of the 6N-1 on the basis of the American sample of the receiver into production at the Elektrosignal plant in the city of Voronezh.

At the beginning of the war in 1941, he was drafted into the military in the rank of Private, but at the moment of his registration at the military enlistment office of Leningrad, paramilitary messengers delivered the order of the People's Commissar of Defense to send him to the Voronezh plant, as a designer for the urgent shift to the production of radio equipment for the front.

In the fall of 1941, when the front line approached the city, he, together with the federal level leader Konstantin Nazarovich Meshcheryakov, organized the evacuation of the equipment and the employees of the Voronezh Electrosignal plant to Novosibirsk. Being the chief designer of the new Novosibirsk plant "Electrosignal", known in those years as  Plant  # 590, A. Levitin contributed to the development and production of radio stations for tanks, airplanes and infantry, and to the fast setting the enterprise in motion. In 1942, the plant was mentioned as the only plant in the NCEP system, which was able to begin production of military equipment very fast, thanks to the fact that they had evacuated both all equipment and all necessary available materials. The imported  licensed receivers and radio tubes  played a significant role in those achievements.

In 1944, the plant and its director K.N Meshcheryakov  were awarded with  the Order of Lenin, and one of the four main specialists, who made special contributions and were awarded with  the Order of"Red Star, was Yefim Alekseyevich Levitin.

In 1946 E.A. Levitin was sent to Moscow to the Ministry of Electrical Industry of the USSR. Then, in 1947 he had a difficult time as his only source of income was limited to publication of directories on radios, but  that made him very  popular among radio amateurs. Some of those directories are still popular. 

Later, Yefim Alekseevich Levitin, a born teacher and organizer, taught radio engineering at the Moscow Electromechanical Technical School and at the Moscow Radio Instrument-Making College.

Was married. Sons - Leonid and Alexander. Efim  A. Levitin  wrote several books in co-authorship with Leonid.

On the website of the russian Radio Front there is a separate forum called "Yefim Alekseevich Levitin", where EA. Levitin is called the father of "Russian Americans", referring to his services in the development and mass production of 6H-1 and 9H-4 receivers, under the RCA license, in the USSR.


Many books and reference books of E.A. Levitin are still popular, especially among collectors and radio enthusiasts of retro-technology. The radio circuits of the receivers, the operating modes of the radio tubes and semiconductors from these publications are invaluable data for the restoration of radio equipment. In addition, reference books include materials on the physical principles of the operation of various radio engineering devices and familiarity with the methods of their calculation.      

The particular importance of these reference books was succinctly and figuratively characterized by a radio amateur - a witness of the post-war hungry years - “He gave us bread in our hands”      

Under the influence of Jacob Perelman, who published more than 40 scientific and informative books, Efim Alekseevich Levitin, in collaboration with L.V. Kubarkin, created the book Entertaining Radio Engineering. The book sets as its main task to awaken the reader’s taste for the study of science and technology, to instill the skills of understanding the physical essence of phenomena. Considering the key issues of radio engineering, their essence, meaning and meaning are revealed by examples closely related to life and are often considered not from a standard angle. Published for the first time in 1956, the book withstood three editions in a rather large circulation.      

The most popular directories and books are digitized and, with the permission of the descendants of the author, can be purchased free of charge on the Interne websites. Links to electronic copies of these books are provided on the “Publications” page of this site (in Russian).

Models of various radio devices are presented on the Device Models page of this site (in Russian). These devices were developed directly by E.A. Levitin and with his participation (1936-1945), as well as radio equipment created on the basis of these devices and are the direct heirs of the 6H-1 and 9H-4 radio receivers of the American school of radio development.

The rapid development of the radio industry became possible thanks to cooperation between the two countries - the USSR and the USA, which began in 1936 after the signing on September 30, 1935 of the Agreement between the Main Directorate of the Electric and Low-Current Industry of the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry of the USSR, GLAVESPROM, and the RADIO CORPORATION OF AMERICA Delaware, USA hereinafter referred to as RCA. The full text of this Agreement is posted on the Agreements page of this site. Efim Levitin was a direct participant in the events that took place in the United States and Russia in accordance with this agreement.

The 6H-1 Radio Receiver: What Radio Was Like in the Late 1930s

Andrei Lysenko, a radio amateur from Essentuki, spoke in great detail about the legendary 6N-1 radio receiver in his video, who restored this receiver and we can personally see and hear the real "tube" radio. You can enable subtitles to be automatically translated into English.

For more information about the creation of "Russian Americans", their production in the pre-war and war years, about the people and enterprises where they were made and created, see the События (in Russian) page. 

A documentary-fiction film about the Electrosignal plant and the role of E.A. Levitin

In this documentary-fiction film on youtube the main characters are plant director K.N. Meshcheryakov and chief designer E.A. Levitin:

The newspaper "Za Radio" of JSC Electrosignal (Voronezh) posted the text of this film with additional photos of the film's characters in its May 2020 issue. With the kind permission of the newspaper's editorial board, the full text is published on this website on the page Завод№590 (in Russian).

As it was already mentioned, on January 21, 1944 under the decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR plant №590 of People's Commissariat for Electrical Industry ("Electrosignal") was awarded the Order of Lenin for exemplary performance of orders for the front of aviation and tank industry. As part of it 33 workers of the plant were awarded with orders and medals. In the chief designer's department the award was given to:

6. Efim Alekseevich Levitin - chief designer - Order of the Red Star

23. Chernykh Arkady Dmitrievich - chief designer, developer of all objects - Medal for Valorous Labor

See the full list of plant employees awarded see on this site on the page Электросигнал

In 1946, the other participants in the development of the RB-M and its predecessor RB were awarded the Stalin Prize of the third degree (Prize for 1943-1944):    

Source (in Russian):  №39 - Third Prize

Chief Designer of Plant 590 Efim Alekseevich Levitin with employees of Department No. 7 - Chief Designer Department of OGK


Order of the Red Star (1944)

Special thanks to the radio amateurs, workers of Electrosignal plants and radio collectors who had a great influence on the creation of this site (Names, Nicknames, Callsigns):

Valery Mirgorodsky (Well), Vladimir Shapkin, Yury Rumyantsev UA9OF, Nikolai Kretov, Valery Gromov RA3CC, Nikolai Dorundyak, Leonid Soloviev, Igor Fefelov, Nikita Troshkin, Bogdan Burlakov, Sergey Proydisvet, Yuri Barmin, Sergey Smolokin, Alexander Khrisanov, Andrey Zuev, Andrey Lysenko RN6HI, Evgeny Kirillov, Andrey Sergienko, Galina Ignatkina, "ламполюб", "fantastron"

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