Zenith Trans-Oceanic Radio

Published: September 23, 2021
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The Trans-Oceanic (abbreviated T/O) was the name given to a series of portable radios produced from 1941 to 1981 by Zenith Radio. The history of the Trans-Oceanic goes back to 1939. Because standard broadcast reception at his Canadian fishing lodge was very poor, Commander McDonald asked Zenith's engineering staff to develop a wave battery-operated portable radio. With this set aboard his electric trolling boat, the Commander was able to tune in weather predictions by short wave from Lorain, Ohio, and, out of curiosity, even programs from London, England. Then discovering that this original model required micrometric fingers for tuning, he instructed his engineers to design a combination broadcast and short wave receiver with spread bands for easier tuning.

zenith transoceanic 7000

After 2.5 years of research that resulted in the presentation and rejection of 20 different experimental models, Commander McDonald finally approved a sample that met his rigid requirements. This first Trans-Oceanic portable radio was put into production in 1941, and during the war won world wide fame for its superlative performance and durability. Of the many products of Zenith Radio, the 'Trans-Oceanic' series of portable radios were among the most famous.

Zenith Transoceanic models

  • 7G605/8G005Y series (approx. 110,000 produced)
  • 500 series (approx. 365,000)
  • 600 series (approx. 273,000)
  • Royal 1000/3000 series (approx. 320,000)
  • Royal 7000 series (approx. 160,000)

Military units

Long a companion of kings, presidents, trans-oceanic yachtsmen and world explorers, the Trans-Oceanic was also carried into battle by American troops in three wars. Some of these were reportedly air dropped in small numbers during the "Bay of Pigs" invasion. Zenith was contracted to build 250 containers for this purpose. It is rumored that Fidel Castro made one his personal radio for years afterwards. Since there were so little made, these are quite collectible.

The Zenith Trans-Oceanic radios were characterised by their heavy-duty, high-quality construction and their performance as shortwave receivers, but by the time of the 'R7000' in 1979, fierce competition from Sony in Japan—who, with their digital readout tuning dial had, in many ways, a superior product—meant the end of a famous radio line.

Its great popularity in spite of a very high price can be laid at the feet of several generations of armchair travelers who used the shortwave capabilities of the Trans-Oceanic as a window on the world.


Browse other Zenith radios

Trans-Oceanic 7000Trans-Oceanic H500

Zenith Trans-Oceanic Radio value and price guide

What's your Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio worth in 2022? Here are some recently sold items with prices.

Item Title Date Price
Zenith ZENITH TRANS OCEANIC A600 1958 ZENITH TRANS OCEANIC A600 1958 01/2022 $995
Zenith Zenith 7G605 Transoceanic Zenith 7G605 Transoceanic Radio Bomber 10/2021 $600
Zenith ZENITH Trans Oceanic Royal ZENITH Trans Oceanic Royal 7000 R7000 AM 12/2021 $599
Zenith Zenith Transoceanic R 7000 2 Zenith Transoceanic R 7000 2 12 Band 10/2021 $530
Zenith Zenith 7G605 Transoceanic Zenith 7G605 Transoceanic Radio Bomber 10/2021 $465
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices01/2022-.--

Trans-Oceanic forum

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