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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Patcomm PC-500 Help

Reviews Summary for Patcomm PC-500
Patcomm PC-500 Reviews: 20 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $395. plus $25. mic additional
Description: Dual-band HF transceiver, 1-15 watts and keyboard CW capability. Choice of bands from 160 to 6 meters. SSB and CW only.
Product is in production.
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WA2SI Rating: 5/5 Feb 21, 2013 13:50 Send this review to a friend
Still Going Strong!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had this rig for about eight years or so now and it's still a great rig to operate. It's stablemates are an Elecraft K2/100, an Elecraft K1, a Ten-Tec Jupiter, and a Ten-Tec Argonaut V. The Patcomm's performance is right on par with very little discernable difference in receive quality. Overall, a great bargain and it was made in the USA. Sadly, Patcomm is no more but their contribution to amateur radio is well appreciated.
W3KC Rating: 5/5 Aug 31, 2007 17:20 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I really enjoy this little dual band radio. Build quality is impressive. Receiver is quite sensitive, has nice audio, and the variable filter is very effective. The QSK works very well.
K7VO Rating: 0/5 Jan 1, 2006 21:21 Send this review to a friend
Honestly the worst radio I have had the misfortune to own  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have absolutely never given a radio a zero before and I've written quite a few reviews here on eHam. The Patcomm PC-500 was honestly the poorest excuse for a ham rig I have ever owned. It is truly worthless. My rig was Rev. G and was built in 2004 so it appears Patcomm never got this one right.

I did some A/B comparisons with the Ten Tec Argonaut V and the old (mid '80s) Kenwood TS-430V and the Patcomm fared poorly. Even with the preamp in the sensitivity was poorer than either of the abovementioned rigs. Also, much as the ARS Lab Review stated the rig suffers from much internally generated noise in the receiver. It's bad enough to obscure weak signals. In addition, the synthesizer is noisy when tuning the rig, much like the PC-9000. You hear each and ever synthesizer step audibly regardless of the tuning rate. This is annoying at best and could cause me to miss a weak signal when tuning at anything but the slowest rate.

The rig has birdies, though the flock isn't as bad as in the PC-9000. It still isn't good, though. This is probably the least objectionable of the glaring faults in a truly crappy ham receiver.

On the transmit side the rig was OK, I guess. Power output, as with all Patcomm rigs, was a little less than rated power.

Finally my radio died. Patcomm is out of business so I sold off the remains on eBay.

I don't know how this rig gets good reviews unless people have nothing to compare it with. The ARS lab review was truly dreadful and I found all the flaws they did and then some. This is truly one radio to avoid.
W0AZ Rating: 4/5 Dec 6, 2002 18:21 Send this review to a friend
Good Value--not perfect  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have owned this radio for around 6 months. with it, I've added some 40 countries to my DXCC QRP list, both phone and CW, working very sporadically when time permits. Overall, I'm very impressed. I won't repeat at length the good things others have said; I agree with them. The receiver is extraordinary--selective, sensitive, extremely quiet--for any radio, let alone one in this price range. The "punch" on sideband is incredible at low power. I never used to bother to work sideband QRP, now I love it. The QSK is as good as any I've used, including Ten-Tec.

But there are problems. Since virtually all functions are software defined, the processor works overtime. It appears to a bit stressed. Static discharges that other radios ignore can cause it to self-oscillate and blow fuses. The keying is not well-timed, and sounds truncated; that is, the individual dot and dash elements are too short for any given speed making the keying unpleasantly choppy. The manual keying works sometimes, sometimes it only causes the transmitter to key extremely rapidly, sort of like a buzz. This wouldn't matter, except that one of my hoped-for interrim fixes for the poor internal keying was to use an external keyer with the radio set for manual keying. It is a bit disconcerting to be in the middle of a QSO with the external keyer keying wonderfully, have that cease functioning, and return using the internal keyer with your fist sounding terrible.

Every now and then the unit will act funny, display weirdly, or lock-up requiring a reboot, which is accomplished by turning the Transceiver off. waiting a few seconds, then turning it back on. This is nothing new for anyone familiar with computers; it is, however, something new to me as far as radios go and we might think about it a bit before we all jump on the "software-defined" radios bandwagon.

Although the radio looks great, the anodizing on the front panel is a tad thin and already wearing off. Instead of solid black, the panel is beginning to show the shine of the metal beneath it in places.

Finally, customer service:
Customer service is a measured, at least as far as I'm concerned, by two things: Courtesy and action. The folks at Patcomm are wonderfully courteous. Emails are promptly answered, there's always a pleasant and knowledgable person there answering the phone. I've discussed many of the above problems with a very nice fellow at Patcomm. Many of the difficulties I observe, especially my problem with the sound of the keying, can be remedied with programming and a new chip. Days after opening the box and putting the unit on the air I called to discuss it with them. A new chip was promised. Follow-up calls have offered fixes for the static problem (soldering a ground strap across the backs of the offending controls where static seems to enter. I used plastic knobs, instead,--it is working)and the promised chip that will fix everything else is always coming shortly. Courteous. Knowledgable. But no action. I assume the popularity if this little radio has them stretched a bit thin, and that is understandable. But after six months, with these little annoying things still not fixed, I cannot give even this remarkable radio a 5.

Which is not to say that I don't just love it. I do. It is an extraordinary radio for the price, showing evidence of some truly brilliant engineering. I'd buy another, even though it, like life, is far from perfect.
VE3RPF Rating: 5/5 Nov 28, 2002 18:48 Send this review to a friend
WOW WOW WOW  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just finished checking into a net on 40M running approx 5W in to a Slinky Dipole in my attic. When I told the net contoller I was QRP running 5W he didn't believe me! He said my signal was very strong and my audio very powerful. Then other stations started to come back with reports from hundreds of miles away. Band conditions very noisy but the DVF (Digital Variable Filter) and low noise floor of the PC-500 make short work of that. This is a real bargain rig and I would recommend it highly. >Receiver is hot
>TX audio is strong and clear
>DVF works fantastic

Patcomm has a real winner with this rig and you won't be disappointed with it.

N2PH Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2002 10:06 Send this review to a friend
Fine Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a fine radio. I use it for CW on 20 and 30 meters with an 30 meter end fed zep antenna and 20 meter vertical and am very happy with the results. The receiver is very sensitive and selective. It "hears" much better than my Kenwood ts 830. In addition, you can't beat the price. If anyone wants to go QRP this is an excellent choice.
AG5P Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2002 07:26 Send this review to a friend
Go Patcomm! Very Nice  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Received my PC-500 the day before Field Day 2002,
and yes I was sweating the delivery. Arrived with
40,20 and 15 meters for a FD evualation. Using a
40 meter horizontal loop at 15 feet, making the
contacts on 20 and 15 SSB at 5 watts output were
just way too easy. This is a terrific SSB radio.
Those of you who know me are chuckling, because
its rare that a mike is in my hands. A check out
on CW at 5 watts output on the bands was just the
same as before, its a terrific CW transceiver.
Now for the variable filter, on SSB you need to
get used to having it instead of the typical old
style fixed filters. For CW, of course this is
FD so its at full squeeze and with the variable
tuning rate, WOW, no ringing and super selectivity
which I did not expect.

Right out of the box, there is a friendly little
radio that goes on the air with little effort.
After the PC-500 trained me to use the RIT and
the Split, cause it is a bit different with
the xmt and rcv freqs being continously displayed
this rig is a pleasure to operate. The PC-500
is almost a month old and I am still amazed its
this good for the price. This transceiver is the
only commercial rig in the ham shack, everything
else is optimized homebrew for CW.

I like the factory support, suggestions and
honest production/shipping estimates. Yesterday,
a call to the factory was in anticipation of the
second PC-500 getting ordered and the options.

I am giving this rig a #5, not that it is perfect
but it is way better than anything in its price
range and includes CW, SSB and PSK-31 compatable.
Now, what's needed, more documentation and some
quick-release locks for the top cover!

K1VP Rating: 5/5 Jul 7, 2002 15:49 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There are several reviews of the 500 under QRP Radios also.
I have enjoyed this radio for over a month. Overall it is a great value. The receiver is outstanding. I have been amazed at how well the transmitter works on SSB as it seems to have great "punch". The filter, preamp, split features, and variable tuning rate work very, very well. It is a distinctive and unique radio...not just a clone of the major brands.
I have worked some great DX on SSB and CW with it. I have used it at FD and some casual contesting during which it did excedingly well. It has consistently performed beyond my expectations for a 15W rig priced at $395. It is very clean on receive and even very weak signals can be copied easily. While lacking the bells and whistles of more expensive rigs,it has the essentials and they work as they should. It is a great little rig that is very enjoyable to use.
K1VP Rating: 5/5 Jul 7, 2002 15:11 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have used this rig for a little over a month and am very pleased with it. The receiver is quite sensitive and clean. It hears better than most low/mid-range transeivers. Easy to listen to for prolonged periods. Although I operate mostly CW, I have been very impressed with the SSB. It seems to have excellent "punch", and I have worked some great DX with it via SSB. It does not have many bells and whistles, but what it does have works well. When you kick the preamp in the signal gets louder and more intelligable which is as it should be. Working split is a snap and I especially like the fact you cannot transmit over the DX station by mistake. The filter really works and it seems sharper than the
500Hz crystal filter in my Icom 718. I used it during FD and it performed as well as anything else being used in a rather hostile RF environment. I was pleased with its ability to work very weak stations duuring FD. Seems very well made with quality components. It is not just another plastic clone of the dominant brands, it looks different and has a unique personality. Overall, it is a great little rig and well worth the money.
AB0IQ Rating: 5/5 Jun 16, 2002 02:15 Send this review to a friend
VERY NICE RADIO  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
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