Transistor Radios Around the World

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Before '54 --- North America --- Western Europe --- Japan and Pacific --- East Bloc and USSR


1959 Zenith Royal 500D, chassis series 8AT40

Coat pocket radio, nylon cabinet
5 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches / 146 x 89 x 38 mm
Eight transistors (Zenith round cans)
Superheterodyne circuit, vernier tuning
Four 1.5-volt AA cells
Manufactured by Zenith Radio Corp.; Chicago, Illinois

An additional RF amplifier transistor and a huge cosmetic improvement to the cabinet face just by modifying the speaker grille made this the nicest version of the round-grill Zenith 500 series. The unit shown here has a 8AT40Z2 chassis.

And I can't help saying here that this 500D holds a special place in my heart — it was the first transistor radio that I bought as a radio collector: I found it at a yard sale a few miles from my house in June, 1988 for $3.50 — I actually walked away from it ($3.50 for a transistor radio? — that was outrageous at the time!) and then I came back several hours later and bought it.

It played well, and long after I had collected many other transistor radios, this 500D continued to be the radio I actually used, mostly to listen to Red Sox day games in my back yard. After I moved to Europe in 2004, I used it for MW DXing and logged stations from all over Europe and North Africa. I'm sure I could have done even better with my 500H, but this 500D was "my radio"....

1959 Zenith Royal 500D

1959 Zenith Royal 500D

1959 Zenith Royal 500D

1959 Zenith Royal 500D

1959 Zenith Royal 500D

chassis — click on the photo for a larger image

1959 Zenith Royal 500D

four pages from the Zenith Royal 500D operating booklet

1959 Zenith Royal 500D

gray flannel carrying pouch — this pouch came with this ivory Royal 500D radio — it's the only one I've ever found
among the many Zenith 500s of all iterations I've owned — as you'll note, the lettering on the pouch says only,
"Zenith Royal 500" — so it's not clear to me whether this "extra" came only with 500Ds or with other 500s as well....

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