Zenith Model B600 TransOceanic Radio (1962)


The B600 model Zenith TransOceanic was significant for a couple of reasons. Not only the last tube-powered TransOceanic, it was also the last tube-powered portable radio manufactured in the United States.

With this set, built from 1959-1962, the history of "hollow state" TransOceanics drew to a close, overtaken by the all-transistor TransOceanics that had been growing in popularity since the introduction of the model 1000 in 1957.

For tube radio fans, this set represents the culmination of the TransOceanic story that began 20 years earlier. Who knows, maybe one of these was carried to Vietnam by the child of a World War II GI who went to war with an original Clipper.

Unless you're addicted to serial numbers and subtle color variations, the B600 looks identical to other 600 series TransOceanics.

An important difference is the age, of course. The newer the set, the newer its components, and the less likely it has been abused. While I treasure my older TransOceanics, I feel a little more confident when using my B600s, whose innards are about 20 years younger. I don't know about you, but I was in much better shape 20 years ago!

In my T600 article, you can read an explanation of the 600 series model numbers.

I formerly owned a second B600. I gave the duplicate to a friend as a Christmas present several years ago.

If you wish to restore the electronics on one of these radios, you should get a schematic to guide your work and help you understand the electronics. You can order a TransOceanic model 600 service manual from one of the sources listed in our Parts page.

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