There are some Russian or East European ex-Soviet / USSR tube plants still in production meeting the demand for valve P.A. and “HiFi” Amps.

There are VERY many Russian Tubes. The late 1950s Berg is nearly 700 pages.
Some are merely Russian versions of USA tubes.

During some periods after 1929 when Soviet naming system was used valves sometimes used European or US designations transliterated to Russian

Common English usage is now to use lower case for transliteration of valve/tube  letters:

П = p
Ж= j or sh
Б = b
B = v
P = r

Categories of Russian Tubes

  1. Exact equivalents of Western Mains (Indirect Filament)
  2. Similar types that can be replacements of Western types but may differ in heater current (no use for series use) or capacitance (problematic for VHF tuners), same pin connections
  3. Potential replacements but with different pin connections
  4. Russian mains (indirect) types with no similar Western type
  5. B7G Battery tubes. Often these are not compatible for series use and many are 1.2V rather than 1.4V with a higher filament current
  6. Miniaturised Wire ended versions of B9A  (mains, indirect cathode with heater) Western or Russian types with similar characteristics. May have slightly different heater current and usually lower power and voltage ratings.
  7. Sub-miniature wire-ended pinch and button base versions of Western Sub-miniature Military & Hearing aid types that are roughly compatible. Mixture of Indirect Cathode and Battery Filamentary Cathode types as with Western Pencil Tubes. Some of the Western Pencil Tubes were used not just in Hearing aids but USA and Japanese Pocket Radio sets.  USA 5nnn series and European Dx7n and Dx8n series.
  8. Rod Pentodes: These have no Western equivalent and never used in Domestic equipment. Like the Western Pencil Tubes, some are for communications equipment and some for Proximity Fuse (US Fuze ) use.

Three systems of tube marking are used:

  • Western part numbers (USA and European schemes)
  • Cyrillic  transliteration of Western part numbers
  • Russian part number schemes using Cyrillic.

Russian GOST system

Receiver tubes

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.

The 1st element (from left to right) is (for receiving tubes) a number specifying filament voltage in volts (rounded to the nearest whole number), or (for cathode-ray tubes) the screen diagonal or diameter in centimeters (rounded 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.
  • tz, 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 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 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 (L Russian: Л) – cathode-ray tube.
  • y or ye (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) – sub-miniature glass envelope (5 to 8 mm in diameter) with flexible leads.
  • b (Russian: Б) – sub-miniature 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 susceptibility to noise and microphonics).
  • r (Russian: Р) – even better than V.
  • y or ye (Russian: Е) – extended service life.
  • d (Russian: Д) – exceptionally long service life.
  • i (Russian: И) – optimized for “pulsed” (i.e. switching) mode of operation.
  • k (Russian К) – vibration resistant

For instance, -yv (Russian: -ЕВ) added after 6n2p (i.e. 6Н2П-ЕВ) signifies that this variant of the 6N2P has extended service life and low noise and microphonics. More often than not this means actual differences in internal construction of the tube compared to the “basic” type, but sometimes designators like -v and -i simply mean that the tube was specially selected for those characteristics from the regular-quality production at the factory.

The new designation convention was applied retrospectively to many of the previously produced types, as well as to those produced afterwards. For example, a Soviet-produced copy of the 6L6 was originally manufactured in the 1940s under its American designation (in Latin lettering), or sometimes a Cyrillic transcription of it, 6Л6. Under the above convention the tube was re-designated 6p3s (Russian: 6П3С). The 6V6 tube became 6p6s (Russian: 6П6С). However, many specialized Russian tubes, such as special military or transmitter tubes, do not follow the above convention.

Some of the better-known Russian equivalents of West European and American tubes are the 6i1p or 6i1p-k (Russian: 6И1П), an ECH81 (same as ECH83),  6p14p (Russian: 6П14П), an EL84; 6n8s (Russian: 6Н8С), a 6SN7; and 6p3s-e (Russian: 6П3С-Е), a version of the 6L6.

Transmitter tubes

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) – centimetre 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. Letter can be used here in some special cases (ГМИ-6 – impulse modulator); 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.

Based on

Russian Rod Pentodes

The ONLY Rod tubes that can be bought, they are also very plentiful.

Model Cyrillic fmA Ik Max HT Application
(Very Obsolete)
1j17b 1Ж17Б 49 5 60 Oldest type
1j18b 1Ж18Б 24 5 60 g3 connected to cathode

(Last Generation Rod Tubes Most are 1975 to 1991 production. There are MILLIONS of NOS).
1j24b 1Ж24Б 13 1.6 60 Lowest power
1j29b 1Ж29Б 54 8 90 AF or RF PA or front end (500mW)
1j29b-v 1Ж29Б-B 54 8 90 More durable version
1j29b-r 1Ж29Б-P 54 8 90 Most durable/reliable. Different connections
1j37b 1Ж37Б 59 4.5 60 Mixer, AVC/AGC, Detector
1j42a 1Ж42A 15 1.3 Mixer 6V HT (One Supplier known, quantity unknown)
1p24b 1П24Б 198 25 150 AF/RF PA: 3W Class A triode, 8W Class B Pentode
1p24b-v 1П24Б-B 198 25 150 More durable version

Other Rod Pentodes known to have existed.
(Like gold dust very sought by collectors. No-one selling them)

Model Cyrillic f mA IkMax Application
1k12b 1К12Б 60 ? Small signal
1j36b 1Ж36Б 75 n/a Shell fuse1
1j30b 1Ж30Б 15 1.5 Mixer 12V HT
1p5b 1П5Б 120 <10 P.A.
1p22b 1П22Б 115 17 P.A.2
1p22b-v 1П22Б-B 115 17 P.A.
1p32b 1П32Б 210 n/a Shell fuse1
2p5b 2П5Б 198 25 P.A.