Tag Archives: Zenith Transoceanic

Photos from the 2015 Dayton Hamvention Flea Market

Weather yesterday morning at the Dayton Hamvention was quite pleasant even if a little fickle at times. I had time in the morning and an hour or so in the afternoon to browse the various treasures scattered about in the flea market section. Here are a few photos of the vintage gear I found:

IMG_20150515_155324563_HDR-001 IMG_20150515_155434678_HDR-001 IMG_20150515_155443439 IMG_20150515_155448977_HDR IMG_20150515_155454414_HDR Zenith-Transoceanics RCA RCA-Dial HRO Zenith-Transoceanic-7000 BC-348 Sky-Buddy IMG_20150515_080420028 IMG_20150515_080728372 IMG_20150515_083338068_HDR IMG_20150515_084608184_HDR IMG_20150515_084618551_HDR IMG_20150515_084624951_HDR IMG_20150515_084715842_HDR IMG_20150515_090737380 IMG_20150515_091306152 IMG_20150515_092249982_HDR IMG_20150515_092652251_HDR IMG_20150515_093056292_HDR IMG_20150515_093106560_HDR IMG_20150515_093155333_HDR IMG_20150515_093210149_HDR IMG_20150515_093216094 IMG_20150515_094335853 IMG_20150515_094524046_HDR IMG_20150515_133437879

My friend and ETOW volunteer, Christine, purchased the mint condition Zenith Transoceanic above. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better example of a vintage Transoceanic 7000 for sale. A good bit of well-deserved beginner’s luck for Christine!

If you’re also at the Dayton Hamvention, please stop by table 411 in the Ball Arena and introduce yourself!

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How Bob found his Zenith “Bomber”

Zenith-Bomber-Clipper-1

After posting a link to Paul Litwinovich’s Zenith Transoceanic article, SWLing Post reader, Bob LaRose (W6ACU) sent me the following message:

“Just a quick story to follow-up on the excellent Zenith Transoceanic article today. It brought back a lot of great memories!

About twenty years ago I decided to collect some of the things that I couldn’t afford when growing up. I acquired quite a number of Hallicrafters receivers and other “heavy metal” including several transmitters (including my Viking I AM Transmitter). In the process of our last move, I got rid of a lot of the collection. One part of the collection that I did keep was my Transoceanics. If I remember correctly I have every major model except the military one mentioned in the article and the very last one.

Here is my story is about obtaining a “Bomber” as described in the article. I was visiting a gun show at the North Carolina Fair grounds in Raleigh (I went there with a friend who is into Civil War collectables). Anyway, we were walking around and I spotted a small dusty suitcase on a table in the back of a booth. It was closed and to anyone else it looked like an old carrying case. However, by the size and the brown leatherette-grained case I thought it just might be a “Bomber”.

I tried not to act too excited and asked the seller what it was. He said it was an old radio and I asked him to bring it out. Sure enough, it was a Bomber! Still trying not to act too excited, I tried to let on that I didn’t know what is was and asked him if it worked. He said he didn’t know. I made a point of saying that it was missing the dial cover (but the pointer was there and unbent and the inside looked pretty clean and even had its “Wave Magnet”).

I asked him how much he wanted and he said $100. We haggled a bit over the condition and I finally got it for $75. I walked away very happy and excited!

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I spent some time cleaning it up, de-oxing the contacts and then used a VARIAC to slowly bring up the voltage to reform the electrolytics. But guess what? IT CAME TO LIFE!

I was even able to get the Sam’s manual and do an alignment. I don’t recall that I had to change any electrical parts or tubes and I even found a guy that made a replacement dial cover! It’s not as shiny as the one in the article but it was sure a great find. It proudly sits on the bookshelves in my office along with the Zenith “Sailboat” AM receiver mentioned in the article and my other Transoceanics. I’ve attached a picture of the two side-by-side. [See photos above]”

Many thanks, Bob, for sharing your “barn find”–or should I say “gun show find”(?)– Zenith “Bomber.” What a great story. I’m glad it’s in the hands of someone who has restored it and can appreciate its history. Indeed, your story proves that you never know where you’re going to find a vintage radio deal.

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Paul Litwinovich sheds light on the “Royalty of Radios”

Zenith Model 7G605, the first in the line of Trans-Oceanic radios. Credit P. Litwinovich collection via WSHU

Zenith Model 7G605, the first in the line of Trans-Oceanic radios.
Credit P. Litwinovich collection via WSHU

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul, who points out this excellent article about the Zenith Transoceanic by Paul Litwinovich of WSHU.  Litwinovich’s article covers a brief history of the Zenith Transoceanic series including photos from his amazing collection (check out his model 7G605 above).

Here’s a short clip from his full article:

“The first version of Zenith Trans-Oceanic line of portable shortwave radios, the 7G605, [above] was released less than two months before the Pearl Harbor attack. It bore the sailboat image, and continued to be known as the “Clipper.” It sold for $75, and was an instant success. It was just the beginning, though, of the series’ long and colorful history. Zenith planned to heavily promote the radio for the coming holiday season. Then, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor came. Most manufacturers halted production of consumer goods for the war effort. Zenith had other plans for their new radio, though. They changed the image on the grill from that of a sailboat to the likeness of the B-17 bomber. The change was implemented in such a hurry, that collectors have reported finding the bomber grill inserted over the top of the sailboat grill.”

Click here to read the full article at WSHU…

By the way, we’ve mentioned Paul before here on the SWLing Post–I would encourage you to bookmark his excellent article thread on WSHU’s website.

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Zenith R520A/URR Transoceanic Radio on eBay

Zenith-Transoceanic

Since I’m a complete sucker for Signal Corps radios, my buddy David Korchin (K2WNW), thought it would be a great idea to tempt me with this recent listing on eBay: a rare Zenith R520A/URR.

Let’s be fair. It’s gorgeous. 

And I would like to know the full story behind this radio.

Fortunately, the reserve is $1200 US–high enough that I know I need not bid.

For Zenith folks, though, this would make a handsome addition to their collection.

Click here to view on eBay. I’ve also pasted the full description below.

Very curious if this radio will make its reserve price.

Description of Zenith R520A/URR:

“Up for auction is a rare Zenith Transoceanic R520A/URR. It comes with the Zenith headphones that plug into the rear of the chassis.

It was restored electronically replacing capacitors, resistors, and tubes that needed to be replaced. All tubes are NOS.

It comes with the Zenith headphones that plug into the rear of the chassis. It also comes with a modern battery holder that has been placed into the green battery box that I painted up to look a little more authentic.

It plays wonderfully on all bands with amazing sensitivity on the shortwave bands. Broadcast band can receive stations as far as 750 miles away. Antenna is straight and extends fully. The wave magnet antenna has the metal post that allows it to be placing into the handle so you can rotate it for best reception.

The chassis is extra clean and has all the tube shields.

This has the original cord with a NOS plug with new fuses incorporated.

Both fuse boxes on the back door have been filed with NOS fuses.

Has the manual that came with it and many specs that I printed out for this radio.

The exterior is very clean and the brass was polished and then sprayed with gloss clear coat so it cannot tarnish in the future. Knob inserts are new solid brass that were polished and sprayed as well. The I.D. Tag is an exact reproduction of an original tag.

All the feet are original and in excellent shape.

The cabinet has all the original military markings and are in excellent condition.

Runs wonderfully on AC or DC. I have always run it on batteries.

I have shipped quite a few of these transoceanics and the average cost for the lower 48 states is around 49.00 shipped via USPS Priority Mail.

My reserve is set at 1200.00. If it doesn’t reach this amount, I will keep the radio in my collection.”

Click here to view this item, along with several detailed photos, on eBay.

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A Photo Tour of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum

On Tuesday afternoon, I made a pilgrimage the to the National Capital Radio and Television Museum in Bowie, Maryland, USA.  The museum is located in a modest and beautiful historic house on the corner of Mt. Oak and Mitchellville Roads in Bowie.

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Museum Curator and volunteer, Brian Belanger, kindly gave me a private tour of the museum collections (the museum is closed on Tuesdays). Brian

Many thanks to Brian for taking time out of his day for the tour, and for allowing me to take some photos for the SWLing Post!

The museum has a number of display rooms with radios broadly grouped by style and decade. The first room offers examples of some of the earliest radios produced–including the venerable crystal radio (below).

[Click photos to enlarge.]

Miracle

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Like Brian, numerous volunteers work to keep the collections in working order. This isn’t a place where vintage radios come to die; they actually come to life here.

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1920sRadioEven examples of some of their earliest radios are on the air and can be tuned to local and international stations.  Radio5

RCA-Radiola-60 RCA-Radiola-60Dial

This RCA “portable” (below), housed two batteries on either side of the center faceplate. Note the ad on the wall above–a couple enjoy the RCA as they recline on a beach.

RCA-Portable RCA-Portable-Dial Radiola-X-RCA Radio10 Atwater-Kent-Black Atwater-Kent-Black-Interior

Speakers of the day were pretty amazing, too–check out this hand-painted 1927 Air Chrome Double Cone Speaker, below.

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The museum also has an extensive collection of studio and off-air recordings that can be played over an AM carrier throughout the building.

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By the late 1920s and early 1930s, radio manufactures built gorgeous console radios, features in the living rooms and parlors of many lucky homes.

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This E.H. Scott All-Wave 23 console (above and below) sported not only twenty-threee vacuum tubes, but a large, robust internal speaker. Radio collectors consider the All-Wave 23 to be one of the finest performing radios of the vacuum-tube era. Scott-Console-Radio-Dial

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The museum also features the Zenith 12-S-232 tabletop radio with working shuttle dial–a futuristic band-switching mechanical wonder with a stunning dial.

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A number of tabletop and portable radios that span the decades have found their homes in this museum.  No doubt many SWLing Post readers cut their teeth on these classics!

Zenith-Trans-Oceanic-6500 Zenith-Portable American-Radio-AssociatesRealistic-Model-12-173 Garod-Model-582

I love the design of the Garod Model 5A2–wow! And I’m sure many kids of the fifties wished they had an official Hopalong Cassidy AM radio (below).HopAlongCassidy-Radio

The museum, of course, also houses a large number of classic televisions.

Pilot-Model-TVHallicrafters-TV Philco-TV Philco-TV-ControlsRadio stations and benefactors have also donated many items used in the industry, both in broadcast and retail.

NBC-Chimes PhilcoSign Midwest-Magazine SylvaniaSigns 980KC-MicBrian was also kind enough to take me to the building, next door, where they repair radios and store others for eventual rotation into the collection.

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Museum volunteers also teach radio repair and restoration classes.Repair1 Repair3

GE-RadioThe number of classic ham radios, home brew receivers and transmitters was simply amazing. Indeed, I felt like a kid in a candy shop!

Radio1 National-NC-46 HalliDial Hallicrafters-SX100 Hallicrafters-SX62A Hallicrafters-SuperSkyrider Hallicrafters-Super-Skyrider CollinsTransmitterBy the end of the tour, I had decided to become a member of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum. Even though I live a few states away, I like knowing that my membership funds not only help preserve vintage radios and televisions, but also provide me members-only access to many of their scanned archives. Click to view a full list of benefits for a modest $25 membership.

Again, many thanks to Brian Belanger for the amazing tour of this wonderful museum!  Brian, I’ll be back next year…

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