Posted 7 years ago
This is one amazing radio. As completely different from a 1000 as you can get. The Rarest of the rare. I had purchased this radio off of ebay thinking I was taking a gamble at it being a hacked R1000. I did not think it was that big a gamble although because it had the model plate with R1000 (M) and a schematic on the back cover with the old desigantion lined out and the new one printed in with the (M). I could not see anyone going through the trouble of doing this. I speculated as to why there would be a need to move switches etc. from the back inside to the top of the radio and why someone would have installed a military style antenna in place of a perfectly good SW antenna in the handle. I put a bid in on it anyway and won it. I then ran across a picture of the military VZ-5 in the rear pages of the TO book by Cones and Bryant and noticed that it had the same battery meter and a military style antenna, although it was a far cry from a 1000 civilian radio.
I ordered the smith book after running into an old thread discussing the VZ-5. The thread had quoted some specs on the Zenith military TO's. To my surprise there it was on page 80-84 showing it in a canvas carring backpack with a tape recorder and a power supply. As stated in the book it was not known if any of these radios still existed or how many were produced. We know there were at least 72 of them made as this one in Serial number 72. I received the book a couple of hours before the radio was to arrive and now I was more anxious than ever to get the radio. It had already been two weeks and I was starting to get worried.
Upon opening it up I was pleased to see that indeed it was the one from the book, making it probably the most rare TO out there. I nor anyone else on the Antique radio forum had ever seen one before and we may never see one again come up for sale. It is a very different radio than the R1000 in a number of ways.
1.) The tone switch is actually a BFO switch
2.) The ear phone plug on the front is actually a full sized RCA jack for military headphones.
3.) There is a Tape played jack on the top along with a switch to go between the radio and the mic when recording, allowing the unit to record either incomming signal.
4.) There is a mic imput on the top next to the switch.
5.) The front cover has no log chart or cover and the two pieces of the front cover are screwed together making it impossible to fold them.
6.) There is an extra support bar layed across the front cover and a piano hinge holding the front cover on. These are held in place by rivets going through the vinyl atributing the rips and bubbling of the material as it shrank. All Transistorized TO's have shrinking of the vinyl.
7.) There is an extra plate inside the radio with what looks like a padder switch and an extra transistor.
8.) The band barrel has completely different desigantions than a normal TO with numbers 1-8 instead of designations.
9.) The rotary side knob has numbers 1-8 instead of band desigantions.
10.) There is a battery meter installed above the volume switch.
11.) The dial lamp switch is actually the battery check - tuning meter switch, and activates between the two.
12.) The regular hande assm that appears on the 1000- 7000 series TO's was never installed adn in it's place a military style base adn tape antenna were installed.
13.) To fill the gaps and to support the new antenna base, special plastic plugs with very wide undersides were produced and utilized the existing screws in the casting. Very neatly and professionally done.
This was Zeniths first attempt at a transitorized military TO. There were two other radios after this one but they did not look like TO's. I found two problems with the unit keeping it from playing. It had one wrong Tranistor installed and someone had hooked up the SW antenna to the ground lug. Now it works perfectly, amazing after all these years. One has to wonder how this unit made it into the private sector.