Edward restores a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 portable receiver

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_2Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who writes:

This is a “mystery brand” radio that I picked up at a swapfest for a buck, I never heard of a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 by the HOKUYO MUSEN KOGYO CO in Japan. This portable behemoth is not “lite”, It is heavy (13 pounds).

The only thing I came up with is Sam’s photofact that refer to radio. (I am not about to buy a service manual for something that is not broken). There is a Chrysler Town & Country station wagon, which is also a behemoth that swamps out all Google searches. This set appears to be made in the mid sixties. I was told that is was on a fishing boat as evidenced by its condition it was very dirty with a lot of corrosion on the bezel and missing a tuning knob.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_3

I fabricated a tuning knob on a lathe, which was a 2-piece affair. The outer knob is tuning and the inner knob is the fine tune. It cleaned up well and I had to repaint the bezel. The auto parts store said that the Chrysler of that area did not use metal flake paints but they matched a touch-up spray can of a Toyota millennium silver.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_5Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_4
This radio has 8 push-button bands: long-wave, AM, short-wave 1.6 to 26 MHz, and FM along with tone controls. The sound is surprisingly good it is a 6-cell battery only (no AC). It has reasonably good short-wave drift-free performance. The paint job looks good, there is a rusty chrome bumper next to the push-buttons. I decided to to restore this part. It is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumpers.

While you would not take your Panasonic RF9000 your Transoceanic or Grundig, This radio is my “beater” to take to the beach.

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_1

Does anyone know about the Star-Lite brand?

Thank you, Ed, for sharing this.  I am not at all familiar with this make and model of radio. I must say…I’m most impressed that you were able to fabricate a tuning knob! It would have been a challenge to find a replacement knob otherwise.

I bet she plays well, too–looks like a decent ferrite bar inside and a substantial telescoping antenna.

And you’re right, Edward, it is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumper! Now take that girl to the beach! 🙂

Post readers: please comment if you’re familiar with the Star-Lite brand!

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11 thoughts on “Edward restores a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 portable receiver

  1. Bill

    I recently bought a Risingmaster FM-820 which is the same radio. I grew up listening to a Rising FM-500 also made by HOKUYO MUSEN KOGYO, and a few years ago found that exact same FM-500 with the brand label Merc. The Merc has the “Rising” logo on the back of the speaker.
    Doing some research I found out that HOKUYO MUSEN KOGYO had offices in Japan (of course) but also Berlin, which explains why I found this radio in Germany. It appears that the difference from yours is the choice of internal batteries or AC (220 v).
    The Rising FM-500 was a nice radio on just 14 feet of wire. I literally heard the world on it. My FM-820 needs to be have the battery holder installed and connected but is in nice physical shape. If it’s merely as good as the FM-500 I’ll be thrilled, but that radio only had a single tone control, no longwave coverage and most importantly no fine tuning, yet station seperation on every meter band was no problem even back in the 1980s, when all frequencies were filled with big gun transmitters. I expect the FM-820 to be better still.
    Great find!

      1. Bill

        I just ordered that SAMS TSM-54 for $8 shipped. I will be happy to photocopy the FM-820 information for you when it arrives.

  2. Mario


    Very good point! I remember when portable radios had the number of transistors as part of the radio labeling, and the more transistors, the more “noble” or “cool” the radio. When I was in school most of my friends had 6 or 8 transistor radios, they were more fortunate. I had a wimpy 2 transistor and was ashamed of it hi hi. I

    I do remember something about two transistor radios; because of the low transistor count they were considered toys and thus were exempt from import duties or something of the such. Could be wrong on this, maybe someone with better knowledge could chime in.

  3. DanH

    Congratulations for restoring a non-famous brand name radio to useful service! This reminds of the radio marketing days of the fifties and early sixties when the transistor count was all that mattered. If I recall there was something of of scandal when it was discovered that some radio companies were soldering non-functional transistors onto their boards just to boost the transistor count.

  4. Mario

    Very nice restoration job Edward. Hope you get many years of enjoyment out of it. Like the Corelleware too.

    1. Edward

      Built like a civilian battleship. Just don’t drop it on my foot, besides the injury aspect it could ruin the flooring.

    1. Edward

      Update: I found a Japanese trademark site that refers to the HOKUYO MUSEN KOGYO CO went defunct in 1980. so it must be older than that.


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