Zenith Trans-Oceanic
1942 Zenith Trans-Oceanic Clipper

The Zenith Trans-Oceanic Clipper was the world's first portable, battery powered short wave radio. Originally developed for sailing enthusiasts who needed a radio to get weather reports while saililng on the Great Lakes, the radio, introduced in January, 1942, became the go-to radio for soldiers and civilans following the action of WWII. The radio had a very short run as production ended in April, 1942 as civilian radio production at Zenith was halted.

The radio shown here, which belongs to a client, has the familiar "bomber" speaker cloth, but early Clippers had a sailboat cloth, as seen on the companion Universal 6G601 radio. The bomber cloth was adopted to show Zenith's patriotism during the war. The original price was $75, which in 1942 was the equivalent of nearly $500 in 2017, which is about what you would pay today for a working example in decent cosmetic condition. Very nice examples, such as the one shown here, can go for much higher,

Rubber insulated wiring was used extensively in the circuitry of the 7G605 chassis, and this presents a big problem today, as the rubber dries out, cracks, and crumbles away. I originally built and shipped a replica battery pack to the owner of this radio, but it only played for a short while before some exposed wiring shorted out three of the tubes in the radio. The owner sent the radio to me for repair.

I found that the radio had been recapped, but the old wiring had not been replaced. The leads from the battery plug were exposed and shorted where the leads passed through the rear chassis apron. I replaced the bad wiring and the three shorted tubes, and the radio played again. I also made a new dial cover for the radio as the original had yellowed and shrunk over the years.