American-Made Zeniths Battle Foreign Competition

1962--Again Producing American Radios in a Japanese Dominated Market

I will list this new radio in 1962, since it was introduced late that year. The real production was for 1963. Zenith introduced a upgraded Tranoceanic radio marketed as the Royal 3000. The biggest change was the addition of FM reception to the Transoceanic. Also, an additional IF amplifier stage was added. The radio has the chassis designation of 12KT40Z3. The radio entered the market at $275. Because of the extremely fragile nature of the handle/collapsible antenna system on both Royal 1000's and Royal 3000's, I recommend never picking your radio up by the handle; always from the underside. For a look at an interesting Zenith Transoceanic clone radio, read the page about the Heathkit GR-43A all-band portable receiver.

Here are a front and rear view of my Royal 3000. My radio is the 3000-1 which would not be introduced until 1964. In order to accommodate the FM tuner, the rear cover had to be extended. The grill was given a new material as well as the relocation of the front knobs. The radio runs on 9 "D" cells, 8 for the radio and 1 for the dial light. Like the Royal 1000 & 2000 radios, it will run for years on a fresh set of batteries.


Another 1962 introduction was another upgrade of the popular Royal 50 series radios. The new radio was the Royal 50L. The model has the tuning knob accessible from the top. Therefore it will work in a shirt pocket without knocking the tuner off frequency.

The is the chassis 6KT40Z1. The radio sold for $19.95 and was available in four color combinations. My radio is the off-white front, yellow-back model. The high quality performance of the shirt pocket radio remained unchanged. Requires 2 "AA" cells for power.

Another radio introduction for 1962 was the Royal 265. This radio is almost identical to the older Royal 275, however it is only a 6-transistor radio. To cut additional costs, it does not have an audio output transformer, but rather a direct coupled output circuit.

This radio is frequently found with chips in the top corners. Again, from owners trying to pry off the back for a battery change, not realizing until too late that it is retained by a screw!! This radio sold in 1962 for $29.95. It is really not a bad performer.

Another radio introduced in 1962 was the Royal 675LG. This was the last upgrade of the original Royal 675 which was originally introduced in 1959 under the marketing name of "Independence." The radio no longer had the appearance of the Royal 700, 750 series radios. While some minor circuit improvements were made, the radio's price had dropped to $39.95. Again, rather than true leather case, it was made from the material know as "Permawear." Many of this particular model are missing the knob "brights." Zenith must have used a poor quality glue on the aluminum knob inserts. Even though it is a 6-transistor chassis, the sound quality is good through its 4" speaker.

It took over a year to find a Royal 675 with a good case and both knob "brights."

For 1962, the Royal "Super-Navigator" 790Y radio was introduced. This radio included the 2-4.9 MHZ band in addition to 150-400 KHZ, and broadcast bands. This 8-transistor radio is an outstanding performing set. It was marketed for $99.95. Using "C" cell batteries, it will play for a long time on a fresh set.

My Royal 790Y has the black leather case


There were a number of other radios introduced from 1956-1962; I just don't have them in my collection. For a comprehensive study on the Zenith transistor models, I recommend Norman Smith's book, Zenith Transistor Radios Evolution of a Classic, published by Schiffer Books for Collectors.