The Zenith Trans-Oceanic

"The Royalty of Portables"

A site for all I know about the T/O

Why This? Why Now? An Introduction

When I first became interested in the Zenith Trans-Oceanic tube models, I was encouraged by my experience with British tube portables and the fact that a decent,  complete T/O could be had from Ebay for US$40 or less. I was somewhat disheartened to find that there were few 'dedicated' websites (ie: less than a handful) covering this wonderful radio and I wondered why this was so.

Sure, there are other sites that give excellent technical advice on some of the more obscure aspects of the operation of the Zenith T/O. There are others that devote themselves in lavish detail to particular models - such as the 'militarised' R-520/URR and R-520A/URR.

What I wanted to try and do was to bring some of this together (and build upon my own experience) to offer the tubeT/O enthusiast a comprehensive resource. A place for help, advice and guidance on restoration, power options, avoidance of known problems and issues, sources for labels and literature...and other related topics.

I don't claim to be an expert - there are folk out there who are far more knowledgable than me - and I certainly don't have all the answers.But I do hope that this site will be of use to some folk out there and enlighten them on the subject of the Zenith Trans-Oceanic...The Royalty of Portables.

Thanks are due:
  • To the late Commander Eugene F McDonald - founder of Zenith Radio and dominant force behind the T/O
  • John Bryant and Harold Cones - for the painstaking and meticulous reasearch that forms their scholarly work on the Zenith T/O
  • A. Padgett Petersen - for insightful and thorough research on issues surrounding the 1L6 vacuum tube
  • NostalgiaAir - for thorough information and schematics

Inside this site, you will find the following pages (which will be added to and updated as time and resources permit - time is in shortest supply!)

History An overview of these wonderful radios, their development and maturation - includes a timeline.

Models Lineup Photos and data of the post-war T/O's.

Power Options Notes on providing portable power to your T/O with comment on the various options. 

Notes on "The 1L6 Issue" Comment and notes on the thorny issue of the 1L6 - the tube made from 'Unobtainium' - with notes on alternatives. Updated with details on the all-new solid-state 1L6!

Restoration Notes and comment on the best ways to bring out the best of your Zenith T/O. PLUS an ALL NEW PAGE of help, opinions and tips from Peter Wieck

Downloads & Links Things that are useful - labels, instruction books, charts & logs - and may replace what is missing. Links to other like-minded folk. 

Ebay Price Tracker
For most enthusiasts, Ebay is a easy and convenient source for items to add to a collection. Critics say that Ebay has the effect of driving prices up. Is this true? See for yourself as an attempt is made to track the sale price, on a monthly basis, of the Zenith Trans-Oceanics available on the internet.

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Last update: 31st May 2008 Comments & Suggestions to