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Author Topic: Swan 500CX transceiver  (Read 4374 times)
BRIANBURNS
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Posts: 28




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« on: December 31, 2011, 11:49:15 AM »

Hello All,

A Swan 500CX transceiver with power supply has just become available to me for a reasonable price.  I'm wondering about any "gotchas" it might have, like availability of final tubes and the like.

The rig has been sitting around for several years, and is in "as-is" condition, being part of an estate. The owner was an electrical engineer, as well as an active ham, so it probably wasn't abused.

My only reservation is about the quality of its AM, as I'm interested in using it in that mode. I've read that SSB rigs that double as AM rigs don't sound very good on AM.

Thanks,

Brian
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W3HKK
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Posts: 621




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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 05:54:06 AM »

You bring back memories.  I had  a Swan 500c, bought it in London, hauled it around Africa, and back to the States. Used it from 1969 til 1980 when I bought a Yaesu FT901dm.  Never used it  after that and gave it to  a new ham to get him going.

Never used it on AM but on ssb it had  a 2.8khz bandwidth as I recall, with outstanding audio - both receive and transmit.
250w. was a nice power level on the bands.  And listening to the signals was a pleasure through the built-in speaker.  Found a Shure 444 was a perfect mic for it.

In summary, I totally enjoyed  using it.  The only problems I ever had were:

1. blown diode in the PS. (in Africa, possibly due to less than perfect AC)
2. as the rig aged, the mechanical band switching became stiff and the screw on the linkage came lose and I had to tighten it a few times.  Finally, the electrical contacts on the bandswitching became corroded or worn and I had to jiggle the switch to establish electrical contact. 
3. The finals dont take to audio processing or compression very well.  I built an add on audio processor and while it worked well, the finals would go soft after just a few months of operation.  So watch the power output. You cant push those tv sweep tubes. 
4. Good question on the finals. Can you still get them?  TV sweep tubes might be hard to find since tv's dont use them any more. They used to be available at Radio Shack for about $5 each, back in the day. Maybe NOS (new old stock) online?

Good luck. I considered it a very good rig.
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K8KAS
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Posts: 570




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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 09:39:13 AM »

I would be very careful using it on AM, the sweep tube finals work OK on SSB but they with steady carrier will not last. 25 watts steady carrier maybe and no more on AM. AM was not a big thing when this rig was popular. I as well don't remember there even being a AM position on the radio, you can use SSB and offset the carrier balance to get carrier but then have to receive with the BFO on??? It has been a few years but this is what I remember. I would look for an FT101 A-B-E they were good on AM. Drake TR-7 and of course the Drake Twins..The Swan might be asking for trouble. IMHO Denny K8KAS
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13576




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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 01:27:01 PM »

While the previous owner might not have intentionally abused the tubes, the Swan designs
pushed them to their limits - and beyond - to reach the nominal power levels.  While
replacement finals are still available on eBay, they command high prices and haven't been
manufactured for many years.

The 500CX and similar rigs were designed for SSB, and did not have an AM position that
I can remember.  Even CW operation was less than ideal - I used to be able to tell when
I was working a station using one because it generated a short burst of off-frequency
carrier as the switch was turned through the tune position between RX and TX.

If AM is your interest, I don't think it would be a good choice.  You would be better off
with an earlier rig designed to operate AM.
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20666




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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 09:55:10 AM »

Hello All,

A Swan 500CX transceiver with power supply has just become available to me for a reasonable price.  I'm wondering about any "gotchas" it might have, like availability of final tubes and the like.

The rig has been sitting around for several years, and is in "as-is" condition, being part of an estate. The owner was an electrical engineer, as well as an active ham, so it probably wasn't abused.

My only reservation is about the quality of its AM, as I'm interested in using it in that mode. I've read that SSB rigs that double as AM rigs don't sound very good on AM.

Thanks,

Brian

Modern DSP rigs mostly sound fantastic on AM, as good or better than old heavy iron boat anchors did.  The miracle of modern technology.

However, the Swan 500CX is not an AM rig, at all.  It has no AM receive mode, and the only way to transmit AM is via "carrier injection," which yields single sideband + carrier and doesn't sound very good.  If one of my goals was AM operation, I wouldn't use this particular rig.
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BRIANBURNS
Member

Posts: 28




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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 05:10:49 PM »

Hello All,

Thanks very much for all the good advice! I think I'll go ahead and get the Swan as trading stock. It is owned by a guitar making student of mine, and he is willing to trade it for guitar making wood, with which I am over-stocked.

With the economy being in the tank, horse trading is the only way I can get ham gear. "To get a guitar maker off your front porch, you pay him for the pizza".

In my heart of hearts I would like to have a Viking Ranger, and perhaps someone would be willing to trade one for the Swan.

Cheers,

Brian Burns

See my website at :  www.lessonsinlutherie.com

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W3HKK
Member

Posts: 621




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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 04:51:59 AM »

As soon as you get it,  measure the output on all bands, into a dummy load, and put it in your new folder labelled SWAN500CX. . Then youll have a way of measuring the current and future shape of the finals.

good luck.
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