Zenith Model T600 TransOceanic Radio (1955)
The 600 series of Zenith TransOceanic radios succeeded the earlier H500 models and it persisted from 1954 until 1962, when finally Zenith discontinued the tube TransOceanic line in favor of its newer transistor versions.
This model T600 dates from 1955. It looks a lot like
the H500 sets that predate it in my collection, but a closer look reveals
While the gold dial surround is essentially the same, the 600 series
TransOceanic has a slide-rule type dial that's
easier to tune and to read than its predecessor.
The following photos show the rotary 500 dial on the left and
the slide-rule 600 dial on the right.
also included a momentary-depress dial lamp switch, whereas earlier models
omitted a lamp to avoid accidental battery drainage. Also visible
on the frontpiece (at lower left) is the headphone
jack, moved from its former location on the chassis inside the case.
Looking at the front of the radio, the gold Zenith crest still stands at the top of the flip-up lid,
but underneath it, where the Wavemagnet antenna formerly hung on clips, is a
compartment containing the operator's manual and the Zenith Dial-O-Map,
a compact listing of worldwide broadcast stations and
Not visible in the previous photo is the detachable Wavemagnet antenna in its new location,
lying in a recess behind the carrying handle on top of the case.
Earlier Wavemagnets were stowed with clips on the back
case cover, and it was a bit of a Rube Goldberg manuever to
get one unclipped, plugged into the back of the radio, and
suction-cupped onto a window. This Wavemagnet is easier to pop loose. You
just push a finger up through a hole inside the case top, and
when you pull up the Wavemagnet, the cable follows through a second hole in
top of the lid—a simpler solution all around.
Another convenience feature is the spring-loaded power cord reel. It's the big black round thing at upper right in the following photo.
This is handier than the loose cord
of previous models, and if you look at the rear view, you can see
that the TransOceanic interior still had plenty of headroom, even after adding the reel.
The 6 in model 600 TransOceanics indicates six tubes, which are
1U4, 1L6, 1U4, 1U5, 3V4, and 50A1. The 50A1 tube is employed
as a "thermal regulator" to protect the other tubes from fluctuations in the supply current.
The T600 was introduced in the 1955 model year and sold for $139.95.
For an extra $20.00 you could get a brown cowhide case instead of
the standard Black Stag leatherette. (I own one leather TransOceanic, a Model A600L.)
This set still has the original owner's manual, the little gold book
lying under a clip inside the back cover.
I haven't yet restored this radio's electronics.
Before starting any electronic restoration, you should
get a schematic to guide your work and help you understand the electronics.
TransOceanic service manuals can be obtained from
or one of the other sources listed in our Parts page.
Zenith TransOceanic 600 Model Numbers
The 600 series model numbers follow a semi-logical pattern. For some time previous, Zenith had been using alphabetic letters to denote the year of manufacture. When they launched the 600 TransOceanic series in 1954, they had gotten up to the "year letter" L, so the earliest 600 model TransOceanic became the L600.
Later models were designated R600, T600, Y600 (and after reaching the end of the alphabet and starting over), A600, and B600. Not every intervening letter was used, so there was no S model in the series, for example.
Just as with cars, the model numbers indicate "model years" which may overlap calendar years. So a Model T600,
for instance, might have been manufactured or sold in 1955 or 1956.
The final tube TransOceanic model was the B600, introduced in 1959 and last sold in 1962.