GE 7-1600C Headset Radio

GE 1600c Photo

The GE 7-1600C was one of General Electric's first entries in the "Walkman-style" arena. I picked this up as a promotional item in a grocery store in the fall of 1984 (save those blue cash register tapes...).

The reason this unit is presented here is due to its: (a) incredibly sensitive tuning circuitry; and (b) great audio (through headphones, of course).

I first got this radio to use while working out. Over the years, it's been by the pool, in the woods on a jog, or around the yard as I do outside work. I've picked up other "walkabout" radios over the years, but I always seem to come back to this favorite when I want good quality AM/FM reception.

I remember one incident when the 1600's reception qualities blew me away. I was shoveling snow during one of our wonderful Chicago Januaries (in 1992), and I thought I was listening to a show on WLUP-AM (1000 kHz). When the station ID came up, I realized I was listening to WLIP-AM (1050 kHz) in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and it was coming in as clear as the local stations! I knew it wasn't a fluke, because I compared it with the reception on my car radio, WLIP's reception was pretty noisy. Since then, I have made this my alternate "goofing around DXing" radio. It gets almost no "ghosts" or images of strong signals of any kind. Just for grins, I used to pair it with my Select-A-Tenna loop to see what I could get.

The audio on this unit is great, too. This radio was made in the years before "Mega Bass" and other such advances in audio technology, yet it never fails to completely amaze me. It sounds a lot better than some of the newer units I've tried.

Controls on this radio are very simple: there is a tuning knob on the right side of the cabinet, a three-way slider switch (Off-AM-FM Stereo) on the front, and two independent thumbwheel controls for volume, one each for left and right. This latter feature is something I have not seen very often on this type of unit. The headphones plug into a jack at the top of the cabinet.

This unit was probably discontinued by GE around 1986 or so. I remember seeing it in a K-Mart store around that time, and it was slightly redesigned with a grey case instead of the silver you see here. It cost somewhere around $15 at the time. 

Since posting it here on the site, I have heard from a couple of people who still use their 1600c radios well into the 2000s and they love them!

If you see this radio (or others that look like it which are probably in the same 1600 family), grab it. You will be impressed.

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