eHam Forums => SWL (Shortwave Listening) => Topic started by: N3PDT on January 22, 2012, 07:17:07 PM

Title: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: N3PDT on January 22, 2012, 07:17:07 PM
I have a chance to pick up an H500 Transoceanic in good working order for a decent price. It would not be my #1 SWL rig, but the wife thinks it's nice enough looking to be living room decor, so her blessings would be a plus.

Is this still a decent choice for a SWL and BCB baseball game rig, or really more a collector piece?


Doug N3PDT

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: SWMAN on January 22, 2012, 08:08:56 PM
Hi Doug,
My dad gave me his Zenith Transoceanic
R 3000-1 radio about 20 years ago. It was new in about 1968 when he bought it. It is still in perfect working condition and almost mint. I still use it because of the fidelity that it has for an AM mode only radio. The SW reception is just great, better that my TS-570. If you don't want to buy it from the person would you let me know. Thanks and 73 Jim. W5JJG

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: N3PDT on January 23, 2012, 04:41:54 PM
Got it. Works great. Wife likes the way it looks on the antique kitchen table. Paid a fair price. All is good.

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: AD4U on January 24, 2012, 05:58:01 AM
I love Zenith Transoceanics.  I have every one of them (7G605 through the R7000-2) except the military version.  Name just one current production AM SW radio that will still be working (or that you can find parts for) 70 years from now.  Because most of these radios still work unless they were abused, I think this is a testement to Zenith quality.

If you have one of the tube type Trans Oceanics, you can buy after market battery converters for $100.  However if you ever want to operate any of the tube type Transoceanics from a battery, may I suggest that you buy a 12V 7A (or smaller) rechargeable gell cell battery that was retired from alarm service at a hamfest for a few dollars or brand new for $25.  Connect it to one of the little 70 - 100 watt inverters that cost around $15.  

Install and secure the battery and the inverter in the Transoceanic battery compartment (plenty of room) and plug the Transoceanic's AC plug into the inverter.  Then enjoy this 70 year old radio on battery power at the beach.  You will attract a lot of attention.

I can get over 100 hours of operation with this combination before the battery needs to be recharged, which it can be hundreds of times.

Dick  AD4U

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: WN2C on January 26, 2012, 08:33:40 AM
Zenith - "Quality goes in before the name goes on"

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: N3PDT on January 26, 2012, 03:45:49 PM
After a few days of having it now, I have to say it's very impressive for a 60 year old radio in original condition. Only have used the internal antennae so far, but it has great sensitivity and awesome sound. Looking forward to hooking it up to a decent wire.

Thanks for the battery tip, Dick. The beach is a two day drive from here, but it will probably go on a picnic or two with us come spring.

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: N4NYY on March 15, 2012, 06:21:00 AM
I have been looking at the 1000 series. I found one at an auction as I was outbid by a flipper (missing wavemagnet), dial broken, untested. The flipper did not realize this, but he was going to have a hard time making money on that. They go about $75-100 on ebay complete and working. Anything more is overpaying. There are simply too many of them to pay so much money.

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: K3NRX on April 02, 2012, 05:49:58 PM
Love my transoceanics.....go to my page and you will see the picture of mine.....I always look forward to sitting outside on the patio and listening in the summertime.....I only stop to worry about turning it on one day, only to find nothing by wall to wall dead air as this once glorious aspect of the hobby has greatly changed.....I long for the days of RAI, the BBC, Radio Netherlands, Deutsche Welle, Kol Israel and a host of others that abandoned us over the last 10 to 15 years......Back when radio was radio.....can't beat the transoceanics for great audio too.....


Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: KQ6EA on April 18, 2012, 12:53:53 PM
I have one of the leather covered 600 series. It still has all the original tubes, and has never given me any trouble. It's starting to develop a hum, so I think the filter cap is finally going out, but they're wonderful radios for general purpose listening.
73, Jim

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: N0MKC on April 19, 2012, 07:43:09 AM
The Trans-Oceanic radios are wonderful!  I've an H500 and Y600L (leather-covered) and (along with my Sony ICF-2010) would probably be the last radios I'd ever part with.

There is a rather active T-O community on the Web, with a good-sized Yahoo group devoted to it.  You'll find just about everything you need to know about the T-O there.

A couple of things to keep in mind - it was built in the days when AC power was nominally 105-110 volts, so you may wish to run it from a Variac or something to drop today's 115-120 volts down a bit.  This puts less strain on the internals - the 1L6 tubes are quite scarce and rather pricy.

There are some people who have worked up solid-state replacements for the 1L6; I've heard that it works well, but requires realigning the radio for best results - not quite "plug and play".

Also, there are plans out there showing how to make up a battery pack for it; requires 2 voltages, 9 VDC and 90 VDC.  The 9 volt section is usually made up of D cells, the 90 volt section uses 60 AA batteries in series (you could also use 10 9 volt batteries in series, with a reduced run time compared to the AA batteries).  There's even artwork available to print out to make the DIY pack look like a period-correct battery pack!

I don't recall off-hand if the H500 uses a selenium rectifier; as I recall, the 600 models do, and it's regarded as a good preventative measure to replace it, as they have been known to go "poof", spreading selenium dust around - not healthy.

You're going to really enjoy your T-O!

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: WD4CHP on April 22, 2012, 06:49:47 AM
Although not a Transoceanic, I have a RCA Victor Model B-411 SN B 268591.

It is a 4 tube AM portable.

It uses 1-1 1/2Volt "A": RCA Type VS036 or VS001. The alkaline D cell Lasts a lot longer than the original carbon/zinc cell.

1-67 1/2 Volt "B" RCA Type VS016.

I snapped 8-9Volt batteries in series giving me 72 volts. I salvaged the connector off the original battery and made an adaptor for my battery pack.

The pack fits where the original battery goes.

The pack will give good service until the voltage reaches about 50 volts.

When it finally quits, I go to Sam's Club and buy another multi pack.

The A battery lasts several B batteries.

If any of you would like. I will send you a series of photos showing the instillation.

Just send me an email requesting them. My address is OK on

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: N3PDT on April 26, 2012, 11:26:24 PM

It's been three months now. H500 is still a fun and great looking radio. It mainly gets used for listening to baseball games and stronger SW broadcasts. It's been supplemented with a very nice TO Royal 7000-1 that gets more use on the SW bands, and, because of the BFO, the amateur bands. Wife was disappointed that the H500 didn't have FM capability, and now she listens to the 7000-1 almost every morning.

Both radios get a lot of use and give a lot of enjoyment.

Thanks for the battery tips on the H500. Haven't gone that route yet, but with nice weather here, it's time get that old girl at least out on the deck running on batteries.

Title: RE: Transoceanic still a decent choice?
Post by: N0SOY on April 30, 2012, 02:48:30 PM
The Black box Zenith radios are great radios.  I have one and i would take several more.  It is a great sounding radio.  The large wood box causes the audio to resonate like a stereo speaker so the sound is far better then the small speakered/cased radios of today. 

If anyone has one they do not want I am sure I can find a home for it.  ;D