These two Hi-Lite YTR-601’s were manufactured in Japan circa 1961. I’m unsure who the manufacturer was but the 6 Fujitsu transistors or the company that distributed these radios (AFCO) may hold some clues as to who made these little beauties...

They feature a rich textured metal speaker grill with the overlaid chrome name plate acting as the dial pointer. They have little cloisonné badges at the bottom of the speaker grill highlighting the 6 transistors found inside. I have also seen these radios colored black.

They measure just 3.6”H x 2.4”L.






These Hi-Lites were distributed in the USA by AFCO. AFCO was founded by Abe Ferer in 1937 and they were based in Oakland California. After World War II AFCO formed trade ties with Japan and began to export clothing and the like. During the late 1950’s AFCO began to import transistor radios from Japan which led to them becoming AFCO Electronics.

During this time AFCO distributed electronics to Wal-Mart, K-Mart and others. In 1959 AFCO began to distribute transistor radios for Matsushita Electric Corp (Panasonic). They also distributed radios from other Japanese manufacturers as well with some branded as AFCO. AFCO Electronics is still going strong today.

Out of curiosity I contacted AFCO in the USA and spoke with Ms Sandy Gross. I thought she might be interested in seeing a little piece of the company’s history displayed here.

She sent me the following email dated Friday, July 20, 2007.

"Thank you very much. The man who really would have enjoyed seeing all this was my uncle, Erwin Ferer. He passed away last October at age 84 but AFCO Electronics was his life. He was active with us until the last few months. He and my father Al Gross, (still active at AFCO Electronics) were partners and they were the two that in the late 50's started importing radios from Japan. Your history is pretty accurate. They actually were selling rags and cloth to Japan after the war and they had no money to pay AFCO.  Erwin went over to Japan and decided to import transistor radios as compensation for payment.  That is when we got into electronics. Erwin grew up tinkering in televisions and electronics so it was a natural for him to choose these radios as compensation.  I will ask my father if he can add any more information for you. Thanks again Sandy Gross."








These petite and classy Hi-Lite’s are highlighted (excuse the pun) in Roger Handys excellent coffee table book ‘Made in Japan’. They can also be found branded as a Commodore YTR-601 and HiFi Supreme. I have also seen a two transistor ‘Boys Radio’ variant.

There is also a Selfix YTR-601 shirt pocket radio from this period that shares the same model number but looks completely different.


These attractive Hi-Lite’s come with their original gift boxes, leather embossed cases, leather earphone cases, earphones and AFCO Electronics Guarantee Card! They also come with two plastic bags that held the radios. These bags are stamped ‘MONARCH Inspected & Tested In The U.S.A’.  I’m not sure who MONARCH were/are, perhaps some testing agency? Maybe someone can enlighten me.
















The transistors inside are marked with an 'S' symbol but no makers name. Perhaps someone can enlighten me as to their origin? This may give a clue as to who manufactured these Hi-Lite's. The insides are also devoid of commonly found manufacturers lables on both radios.

Update: I received the following email from collector Alan Kastner dated July 2nd 2008.

"Those components (transistors) are made by Fujitsu Siemens. In that era, that would essentially mean they are made by Fujitsu under license agreement with Siemens. You should be able to spot the stylized "f" running through the middle of the "S".