Dial from Zenith Royal 76 vintage radio

The tuning dial from the Zenith Royal 76 "Symphony" (also known as the Royal 820) AM/FM radio, manufactured in Chicago from 1964 until 1968 or 1969. The linear radio dial was typical of the time, though the vertical orientation of the dial was less common than horizontal dials. The use of the Microgramma font gave the radio an up-to-date look for the 1960s. Oddly, a later radio descended from the Royal 76, the Royal 92 "Weather Commander", went back to an older-style font when it was put on the market in 1968.

"AFC" referred to automatic frequency control, a common feature on FM radios in the 1960s and even the early 1970s, designed to make it easier to tune stations on the FM dial. Circuit designs still tended to permit the radio to drift off-frequency after being operated for a period of time. AFC fell out of favor in the 1970s. For one thing, it wasn't needed any more. It also made it difficult to tune weak stations that were close to strong stations. Even so, Zenith retained AFC in many of its designs until it quit making radios altogether.

The dot above the "100" is a marker for an FM station Zenith owned in Chicago, WEFM (now WUSN), at 99.5 MHz. It was said that Zenith used the station as an aid in aligning radios manufactured at its Chicago factories.

Radios I Have Known

In 2021, I don't expect to be writing many radio reviews. I'm kind of saturated with radios. I plan to revise some of the older reviews. Thanks for reading!

Most recent update, December 28, 2020: Added review of the Tecsun ICR-110 AM-FM radio/media player/recorder, a sibling of the Tecsun ICR-100 reviewed earlier in the year.

Radio still has a place in the crowded media marketplace. It doesn't have the prominence it once had. But it's still around, and radio receivers are providing more value for money than ever. This site reviews some of the best of the radios being produced today, using digital signal processing (DSP) technology. In addition, there are articles about AM stereo radios, pocket radios, table radios, vintage radios, and others.

I have purchased all the radios that I've reviewed, except for a few received as gifts from family members. I don't accept review samples from manufacturers or retailers.

AM Stereo radios

The Sony SRF-A1 and SRF-A100 articles also contain a brief, opinionated history of AM stereo in the 1980s and 1990s. A few AM stations in the United States are still broadcasting in stereo.

DSP radios

Widely available since 2009, DSP-based radios usually feature strong FM performance as well as features to make AM-band listening more pleasant. Some can be categorized as pocket radios, too.

» CC Pocket Radio (versions 1 & 2)
» CC Skywave (review updated in 2019)
» Digitech AR-1780
» Degen DE1123
» Elpa ER-C57WR
» Grundig G8/Tecsun PL-300WT (discontinued)
» Insignia NS-HD01 (HD radio)
» Prunus J-125 (new in 2020)
» Radiwow R-108 (also nearly identical Sihuadon R-108)
» Retekess TR103 (new in 2020)
» Sangean DT-160
» Sangean DT-800
» Sangean HDR-14 (HD radio)
» Tecsun PL-100
» Tecsun PL-118
» Tecsun PL-310ET
» Tecsun PL-380
» Tecsun PL-390
» Tecsun PL-505
» Tecsun PL-606
» Tivdio V-115 (moving to the Media players and recorders category)
» XHDATA D-808

Headphone radios

These are radios made exclusively for listening with headphones. The innovator in this field was Sony, which has produced numerous Walkman models since 1980. I have written an article that spotlights notable models, also comparing their performance to DSP-based radios. In addition, the hi-fi manufacturer Proton produced a legendary headphone radio from 1981 to 1984.

Media players and recorders

In the last few years, radios with recording capabilities have appeared. They can also play back media files. Earlier, some media players included FM tuners and recording capabilities as well.

» Meizu M8 (media player)
» Rolton E500 (Bluetooth speaker, FM radio, media player)
» Sansa Clip (media player)
» Sansa Fuze (media player)
» Tecsun ICR-100 (FM radio, speaker system, etc.)
» Tecsun ICR-110 (AM/FM radio, speaker system, etc.)
» Tivdio V-115 (primarily a radio; also known as Retekess V115, and other names)

Performance tuner

The NAD 4300 has been my reference tuner for FM performance, and has good AM reception as well.

Pocket radios

The radios shown in this section are conventional pocket radios, even if the pocket has to be rather big in a couple of instances, with varying degrees of performance capabilities. All of them have built-in speakers as well as headphone outputs.

Table radios

A small collection of radios designed for everyday household use.

Vintage radios

Mostly from the 1960s, these radios tended to emphasize AM performance over FM performance. The GE Superadios, from the 1980s, are especially prized for their AM reception capabilities. Many of my vintage radios are from Zenith, most of them made in Chicago and built to last. Also included in this category is one of the 1990's top travel radios, the Grundig Yacht Boy 400.

Other electronics

Articles on electronic devices that aren't radios, but that either are of historical interest, or that are useful for radio listening.

Other radio articles

Miscellaneous articles, including a couple of Usenet posts from the 1990s, and excerpts from a Zenith radio brochure from 1963.

Mark Roberts
Oakland, California
E-mail: Please see the Contact Information page.

Copyright notice: All material not otherwise credited at this site, copyright 2007-2021, Mark Roberts. All rights reserved.
This site was originally created March 30, 2014. Ongoing list of changes removed June 25, 2020 because it was just getting too long.

See the colophon, the site information page, or the site history page for more details about this site.

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