Zenith 'Trans Oceanic 7000' vintage shortwave radio receiver, $20.

Shortwave radio aficionados are all over eBay, and one of the most desirable and recognizable of the vintage shortwave radios they're looking for is the Zenith 'Trans-Atlantic' radio. So as you learn more about what these fanatical buyers are after, don't forget that newer is not always better!

Anyway, although I haven't seen one of these old radios in months, it's right up there on my profile list, and I knew exactly what it was as soon as I saw this one. Note that the antenna, which I cropped out of the pic, actually extends up about five feet and is in perfect shape.

The Trans-Oceanic multi-band radio is a remarkable piece of equipment for several reasons. This radio was in production for over 40 years, and was carried into battle by American troops in three wars. Since it was designed to provide its user with the very best in global radio listening, it was made to the highest standards with the best components, which means that it cost a fortune when new.

Due to its quality, performance and immense popularity, the Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio is an institution among shortwave radio enthusiasts of such importance that books have even been writted about this radio! Combine all these factors and you get a very popular and collectable item that does very well on eBay. So, learn and remember the term 'Zenith Trans Oceanic!'

So, be sure to learn this radio's profile well. Notice that except for the really old ones, some of which are even more valuable than this model but less likely to be encountered, they all have that same general big, boxy look to them.

The models you're most likely to encounter are the 1000 and 3000, and the main visual differences between this 7000 and the other models is that the 7000 is much thicker, front to back, and the 7000's handle retracts into the top of the radio, whereas the 1000 and 3000 handles are fixed.

And now, the warnings.

Always be sure to check the battery compartment! Those older alkaline batteries were responsible for the destruction of countless electronic gadgets, as they leaked their corrosive contents all over the delicate insides.

Check the antennae. This actually goes for anything with an antenna. It's not hard to check over an old radio carefully, only to discover when you get home that you didn't notice the snapped-off or horribly bent antenna.

Physical condition is very important! This warning goes along with the usual 'check to see if it works' warning. Now, I'm not saying that a broken radio will be worth as much as one that does, but you should must know that an inoperative radio in otherwise beautiful condition will still be highly prized by users and collectors of these radios.

Don't forget that the fact that the radio doesn't work can often be an opportunity for you, since few sellers will think their broken old shortwave radio will be of any use to anyone. So be sure to use the fact that the radio doesn't work - or that you cant test it to make sure it works - to your advantage.

This radio sold on eBay for $290.

Photo of Zenith Trans Oceanic 7000 shortwave radio