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
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
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
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.
TransOceanic service manuals can be obtained from
or one of the other sources listed in our Parts page.