Zenith Model 1000 TransOceanic Radio (1959)


Model 1000 was the first transistor-powered TransOceanic radio. Introduced in 1957, when transistors were still novel, it didn't instantly replace its tube-powered counterpart.

Zenith continued to make tube TransOceanics for several more years. The B600 was introduced in 1959, two years after the first Model 1000 came along, and it survived until 1962, when the last tube sets were closed out.

Price was probably the main reason for the persistence of tube TransOceanics. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, model 1000s were priced at $275, while series 600 tube TransOceanics sold for $139.95, roughly half the price.

Although physically smaller than its "hollow state" predecessor, this is still a hefty set, especially when loaded up with the nine flashlight batteries that it requires.

The design is a total departure from the old luggage-like TransOceanic look. Black leatherette is still used on the front and back covers, but the designers made liberal use of chrome and brushed steel, resulting in a clean, high-tech look.

In this model, the front cover swings down instead of up and it is hinged about two-thirds of the way up. Inside the cover you'll find international shortwave listings and other information. The paper manual slips into a narrow compartment inside the cover, upon which the world map is printed.

The old Radiorgan tone switches are gone, replaced by a single rotary tone control, and the telescopic antenna is now hidden inside the carrying handle. When you release a catch on the left side of the handle, it folds up from a hinge on the right side, letting you extend the antenna upward.

The hollow hinged handle is a weak point of this radio's design. Its thin plastic is easily broken. I always carry the radio from the bottom to avoid any risk of cracking the handle. Some people strengthen it by packing the voids inside with epoxy putty.

Another weak spot is the chrome plating, which is thin and tends to blister under damp conditions. If your 1000 has blistered chrome, there's no cure except to completely disassemble the radio and send the chrome parts out for replating.

The Model 1000 tuning dial is a slide-rule type that takes up less visual space than the old 600 series dials. This dial design persisted until the end of the TransOceanic series.

The dial is smaller because it displays only one band at a time. And, in place of the old pushbutton-style bandswitches, now you rotate a hinged knob on the right side of the radio, both switching the band and rotating the cylindrical dial to bring a new frequency band into view.

Model 1000 was the last TransOceanic to include Commander McDonald's detachable WaveMagnet antenna. The chunky black plastic rectangle under the handle has an embossed wave design and the WaveMagnet logo. But in this set the Wavemagnet has been moved back into the case interior where it started out. You can read more about the WaveMagnet in my Clipper article.

Unfortunately, both of my model 1000 TransOceanics are missing their Wavemagnets, perhaps an indication that this feature had outlived its usefulness.

The inside of the model 1000 is crowded, as you can see from the rear view.

The plastic battery case is the grey rectangle at lower right in the previous photo. It holds nine 1.5-volt flashlight batteries. Eight cells supply 12 volts to the receiver and a ninth supplies 1.5 volts to power the dial light.

On the back cover of both 1000 and 3000 models is white lettering with the radio's name and model number. If you have a model 1000-1 or 3000-1 TransOceanic, the -1 indicates that it can accept an external AC adapter power supply. Any adapter can be used, if it supplies 9 volts DC with a 3/32-inch diameter male plug whose tip is negative. The specs call for a 12-volt adapter, but many modern 12-volt adapters supply more than 12 volts. Your radio will run just fine—and more safely—at 9 volts.

It's easy to add an AC adapter to any solid-state TransOceanic that doesn't have a jack. The book Zenith TransOceanic, the Royalty of Radios explains how to do this.

This set still has the original printed service manual, which includes a schematic and parts list, plus some precautions about testing those "new-fangled" transistors.

Model 1000 TransOceanics are quite plentiful. You should be able to find a nice one in original condition for $100 or even less. I paid $40 for this one.

Zenith made two more solid-state TransOceanics after this one, the 3000 and the R-7000. In my article about the R-7000 you can find a photo that compares all three models.

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 1000 service manual from one of the sources listed in our Parts page.

©1995-2024 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved