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Monday, December 20, 2010

AL7RV's Zenith Transoceanic from Vietnam days


Glad the junk box is providing useful. Enjoyed your Blog about the great Ham Radio day you had. I got the same feeling when my Paraset 350v power supply came alive without letting any of the all important 'smoke' out. I did get 'bit', and had a flashback to the days of my youth that involved my Weller Soldering gun and a GE tube manual. I tried to build every circuit in the back of the manual and got 'bit' by most of them. Heck the shocks keep our batteries charged right?

I'm side tracked on a project to construct a 455Kc BFO for a Zenith Trans-Oceanic 3000-1. I purchased the radio at the Tan Son Nhat BX/PX during my first month in country. (~68). The radio spent a year in Vietnam and a little over two more years in Thailand. Used to wrap my fatigues carefully around it and pack tightly in the center of my duffel bag. Held up pretty darn well.

I've dug the radio back out and am having a ball with it. It's helping me a LOT with my Spanish language relearning efforts. But I do lament the lack of English programming on shortwave today.

The Zenith became our main source for news rather then the much edited and heavily censored AFRN. I would patch the audio output of the radio into a spare MUX channel going off to another signal site and they would in turn patch it to other sites in Vietnam. I head stories that in some camps the local AFRN low power FM radio transmitter feed would be pre-empted with the BBC World News that was coming from my Zenith.

Hey, are you enjoying the cold weather! hihihihi...

73 -- Natchez Jim


  1. I remember the Zenith Trans-Oceanic very well. My uncle had one that he let me play with when I was a kid, probably 9 or 10 years old. I remember a tray that you pulled out from beneath it, that had that compass symbol on it, and the flip-up display on top with all the time zones and continents. At that time there was still a lot of English language broadcast content beamed to North America, and between that and the ham signals (and some other unidentifiable utility stations making mysterious noises), I had a ball with it. I liked hearing all the different jingles various countries would play before their broadcast would begin. And in the pre-internet days, this WAS my internet, giving me direct access to global information few adults had. No wonder I later got hooked onto ham radio!

  2. John Bryant and Harold Cones co-authored a wonderful book, Zenith Trans-Oceanic, The Royalty of Radio, which details the history of the TO's. It also has great photos and advertisements of all TOs throughout its run.
    On my 13th birthday, my parents bought me a B600 (tuber). The transistorized 1000 had just come out and the dealer couldn't give it away. I picked up a working B600 in good shape years ago and the plan is to re-cap it when I find a roundtoit.
    Gil NN4CW


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