Click here for Audio and Video
The all-transistor Zenith Royal 1000 was Zenith's first transistorized Trans-Oceanic. Shortly after its introduction in 1958, a modified version, the 1000-D, was added to the line. The 1000-D added a longwave band to pick up aviation weather bands. Attractive gold and bronze trim on the front cover and knobs distinguish it from the original Royal 1000.
My 1000-D was most likely manufactured during June, 1962, the final year of production for the D version. This example has excellent chrome, with virtually no pitting or delamination, and other than some shrinkage on the front cover, the black vinyl Permawear covering, as Zenith named it, is in excellent condition as well. The dial indicator was slipping, and it was necessary to increase tension on the spring on the intermediate drive wheel, between the tuning knob shaft and tuning capacitor, to get the dial indicator to track properly. Before tackling the tuning problem, I plugged an iPod into the phono input and got nice audio sound from the radio. However, when I repaired the tuning dial and turned the switch back to radio operation, I got nothing. I then noticed that the small transistor that serves as the oscillator was almost out of its socket. I pushed it back in, and the radio immediately came to life and picked up stations nicely along the AM band. Both dial lights were burned out, so I replaced those as well. Other than cleaning dust from the chassis, and shooting some contact cleaner into the tone and volume controls and the coil tower contacts, no other electrical restoration work was done.
A common problem with the 1000 and 3000 series radios is cracking of the handle which serves as a cover for the Waverod. This one was no exception. I repaired the handle by packing it from the inside with epoxy putty. The rest of the cabinet cleaned up nicely with some dish detergent, rubbing compound, and Nuvis.
My primary purpose in acquiring this model was for the phono input. Among the transistorized Trans-Oceanics, only the Royal 1000 and 1000-D appear to have the switchable phono input. It's missing on the 1000-1 model introduced in 1963, and the Royal 3000 series, which updated the radio with an FM band, and replaced the phono input with an output connector for the FM tuner. A portable CD player or MP3 player can be connected to the phono input of the Royal 1000 or Royal 1000-D. An ideal combination with this radio would be an MP3 player with a built-in FM receiver. I'm using my iPod Touch, which not only allows me to play downloaded music through the radio anythime, but if I have a WIFI connnection available, I can play Pandora Radio and PBS or other FM apps through it. Some MP3 players, however, such as the iPod Shuffle, don't seem work through the phono input.
To connect a CD player or MP3 player to the phono input, you will need an audio cord with a stereo 1/8" male connector on one end and a mono RCA phono plug on the other end. You can make one, or use a patch cord with 1/8" male connectors at each end, and add a 1/8" stereo to RCA mono adapter. If you want to shut the back cover of your radio, you will also need to add a right angle RCA phono adapter. I made a short adapter cable, as shown at left, and below, that allows the cable to pass through the back cover to the right (Zenith provides a cutout in the back cover for this purpose). The radio/phono switch is now easy to reach, and I just leave the adapter connected inside the battery compartment when it's not in use. You can make your own with cables and connecters from Radio Shack, or you can purchase our custom audio adapter cables online here. Check our Products Menu for specialty cables.
The Royal 1000 and 1000-D models are battery-operated only. Eight D cells power the radio, and a ninth cell powers the dial lights. The radio should play well in excess of 300 hours with a modern set of alkaline D cells. Occasionally, a 1000D with a 12v input for an AC adapter turns up. It is unknown if Zenith ever made a 1000D-1 as the model would have been designated. The 1000D was discontinued in 1962 and Zenith did not modify the 1000, 2000, or 3000 models for an AC adapter until 1964. Most likely any 1000D with a 12v AC adapter was an aftermarket modification, perhaps by a radio shop.
The sound quality of all the Trans-Oceanics is very good, but the transistorized models are excellent as well as being much more convenient to lug around than the tube models, at least in size; they weigh about as much or more than the tube models. Whether you just listen to AM or SW broadcasts, or play contemporary music or oldies, like I do, though your MP3 player, you'll enjoy the great sound and experience of playing your music through a vintage radio that represents one of the high marks of American design and manufacturing.