Transistor Radios Around the World

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

1958 Motorola 6X39A "Weatherama"

Small portable radio, aluminum cabinet
5 7/8 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches / 150 x 89 x 64 mm
2-band MW/LW, six transistors (Motorola, 2N169, 2N192, 2x 2N241, 2N293, 4JX2), superheterodyne circuit
Four 1.5-volt AA cells
Manufactured by Motorola, Inc., Chicago, Illinois

One of the only US transistor radios to have a long wave band, in this case for North American weather beacon broadcasts rather than for the standard LW broadcasting stations found throughout Europe at the time. (The only other US transistor radio I can think of from this time that had a long wave band was the 1958 giant multi-band portable Zenith Royal 1000-D). As shown in the advertisement below, the Weatherama's sale price was $79.95, around $670 in today's dollars — clearly the market value of this and most other vintage transistor radios has not nearly kept up with inflation!

It's pretty hard to ignore the elephant in the living room here, the Weatherama's monstrous antenna/handle. Because this set operated on LW as well as standard MW, two ferrite rod antennas needed to be housed outside the aluminum cabinet, and thus in the "handle". Putting a MW antenna in a handle was an OK solution for Motorola's AM-broadcast-only radio models such as the 56T1 and the 7X23E, but here it comes close to ridiculous — the volume occupied by this Weatherama's antenna handle almost equals that of the Sony TR-610's cabinet! Certainly GE had a better idea with its P-715 and P-716 models.

Motorola 6X39A "Weatherama"

Motorola 6X39A "Weatherama"

inside label

chassis — click on the photo for a larger image

advertisement in June 1958 issue of "Flying"

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