Just to let you, the reader, and everyone else knows, I do not own the featured image on this page. Truth be told, I cropped it from the Radio Shack Catalog.
I had been collecting various weather radios since the Summer of 2012.
In the latter part of 2018, I was divorced from my first wife and suddenly had much more financial freedom than before.
I will also say that on October 28, 2022, I married a wonderful young lady and I hereby declare that she is my biggest blessing ever. I find myself frequently thanking God for her.
Nonetheless, in the latter part of 2018, I had more financial freedom than ever before.
And for the record, my finances are in better shape now than in 2018.
So because of this financial freedom, I was able to enhance my weather radio collection among other interests.
I had seen some vintage commercials about the Realistic Mini/Pocket Weatheradio 12-162 on YouTube and wanted one.
I thought those commercials were so neat. Furthermore, they truly captured the time in which they were recorded, namely the early-to-mid 1970s, especially with the emergence of soft rock. The scenes from the bedroom window showing nighttime thunderstorms and then the waves crashing on the shore and the calls of seagulls make me think of the many soft rock hits of the era.
So, I was romanticizing such a weather radio and I ordered one, not knowing that the antenna was damaged. I ended up selling it for parts.
I ordered a duplicate in 2019 and used it on and off.
The Realistic 12-162 was put on the market before 1975, which means it technically was not supposed to tune in to the third weather radio broadcast channel (162.475 MHz.) That said frequency was introduced in 1975.
However it was able to tune in the first two channels 162.55 MHz and 162.4 MHz and since 162.475 is right dab in the middle, with patience it can also be tuned in on this radio since it employs a rotary tuner.
I was able to get footage of mine receiving KIH23 out of Morgan City, Louisiana which indeed broadcasts on 162.475 MHz.
Sadly, I lost my second one to a very wicked woman named Ida.
If I would have lived closer to a weather radio station that broadcast on one of the two original frequencies and it would have been the 1970s, this radio would have been halfway decent.
It appeared to be built to withstand light rain and uncomfortably hot or cold temperatures and maybe even a little sea spray (as the commercial implies) because of its tough plastic cabinet.
In other words, this weather radio was meant to be used outdoors to get vital weather data whilst outdoors and on the go.
This was also Radio Shack’s first pocket-sized dedicated weather radio.
The Realistic 12-162 was first introduced in the 1974 Radio Shack catalog and came up for sale on October 1, 1973.
In 1974, it sold for $14.95 which would have been the equivalent of $90.37 in 2022 US Dollars.
The price peaked in 1975 at $15.95 or $88.35 in 2022 US Dollars, although there were sales of $5 off according to the aforementioned commercial that caught my interest in the product. I would assume that commercial aired in 1975 so if it was on sale for $10.95 in that year it would be the equivalent of $60.65 in 2022 US Dollars. This means that inflation may have been worse in the 1970s than it currently is because a pocket-sized, entry-level weather radio retails for about half of what it would have retailed for in those days, inflation-adjusted.
According to my digital collection of Radio Shack catalogs, the Realistic 12-162 was not listed in the 1976 catalog.
In 1977 and 1978 it sold for $11.95, which would be the equivalent of $58.77 and $54.62 respective American Dollars.
In 1979 it was replaced by the Realistic 12-156, which I do not yet own at the time of writing this piece but do hope to own one day, God willing.
I don’t understand the use of blue for the cabinet color of the 12-162 and 12-156. Yellow would have been a far better choice.
I mean Radio Shack had other types of radios in the color yellow, but maybe the shade of blue was associated with stormy weather.
When the Radio Shack 12-162 was on the market, Weather Radio was still in its infancy or at least early childhood and nowhere as mature as it is in 2022.
I do appreciate the compact size and rugged cabinet, but the antenna is flimsy as can be.
However, this radio would have been quite useful for those in maritime hobbies or occupations, farmers, hunters, and travelers, especially anyone commuting on foot.
If it was before 1975 I would give this product a 4.5 out of 5 stars because I do not dig the flimsy antenna.
However, the Realistic 12-162 was a huge milestone because it was the first dedicated weather radio that could indeed be EDCed.
I guess this, therefore concludes my review of the Realistic 12-162.
I hope that you, the reader, have been informed, enlightened, and maybe even entertained.
May God richly bless you.