- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Ten-Tec 1253 9-Band SW Receiver (Regenerative) Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec 1253 9-Band SW Receiver (Regenerative)
Ten-Tec 1253 9-Band SW Receiver (Regenerative) Reviews: 33 Average rating: 3.6/5 MSRP: $69.00
Description: The classic "first radio kit" is back better than ever! We've combined the very same audio output circuit of Ten-Tec transceivers with a modern FET design
for classic regenerative SWL receiving plus one-button electronic band switching. The result is an easy-to-build shortwave radio that's fun and interesting for the whole family. No alignment required! Simply install all parts as directed, put together the high quality mechanical parts and start enjoying the magic of shortwave radio. Explore 9 smooth tuning SWL and ham bands from 1.8 to 22 MHz at the push of a button! Receives AM, SSB and CW.
Product is in production.
More info:
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Ten-Tec 1253 9-Band SW Receiver (Regenerative).

<— Page 2 of 4 —>

ROBWIN12000 Rating: 5/5 May 18, 2011 19:11 Send this review to a friend
Great Regen Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have built about 6 of the Ten Tec 1253 radios in years past . I have also built a lot of other kits from crystal to superhedrodyne sets . Now days my eye sight has gotten a little worse and I am unable to build these sets anymore without a magnify glass . I really liked this set as it works real well for a regen set . I found one on ebay for 60.00 + 11.00 shipping . To me this is a great set for that price and already put together . Well I got the set in did not know what kind of person put it together , someone with no building experience or a professional . Well I got lucky and whoever put this kit together was a experienced builder . Now the set is a little more complicated then a regular regen set . It has a high output mono audio amplifier . It also has a buffer , and a voltage regulator . I remember from the last ones you can set the regen control just below the point of oscillation and you can tune in a whole band of stations without touching the regen control . This makes for a easy to tune set . Usually you have to adjust the regen control for each new station you tune in . Not so with this set . The volume also gets real loud . This set has a rf antenna trim so you can adjust a long antennas input . I like the fact that you can tune a lot of stations in one band without using the regen control . This is a excellent set to own .
WA7WYW Rating: 2/5 Apr 20, 2011 10:06 Send this review to a friend
Not good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First I bought my kit on e-bay and it has no guarantee, so I accept the fact that it is all mine. I have a suspicion that there were at sometime a supply of these kits classified as distressed property, and they found their way into the market. I think I got one.
I made my way through the tests at the end of phase 4. Everything was well, so I proceeded to the end. When finished the unit would not tune in the bands, and I found that the main tuning pot had very little effect. Actually the 180 band was overloaded by a strong AM station and would not function at all. I have an LM 7 surplus signal generator that I intended to use to line up the bands. I found that the bands were nowhere near their intended frequencies.
Taking things apart and making test I found that the pots were flakey. Any pot passing RF was suspect. I ordered replacements from Allied, and replaced all but the volume control. This required some redrilling. My test of the replaced pots leads me to believe that a supply of cheap poorly constructed pots found their way into the kit. The 100K trimmer was also replaced. The kit now works, but I am still not satisfied with the two highest bands. They do not work at all.
I replaced the power on toggle with a dpdt center off so that I can switch in L10 and have power on in both off center throws.
I am also inclined to pronounce this kit a piece of c**p, but will stop just short of that as I am only interested in using this kit as a medium for some testing.
K6SLR Rating: 2/5 Feb 10, 2011 01:01 Send this review to a friend
Almost, but not quite  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I was pretty excited to get this kit and when it arrived quickly after ordering, I got right to work, reading the manual thoroughly (it's just what I do) and then proceeded to build.

The fit and finish are superb. The case is stout, powder-coated and screen printed. Well done, Ten-Tec! The manual is well written, if not a bit finger-wagging at times, humorous others. I did have some difficulty with the format, which was a good idea, but fell apart in a few places, leaving me confused and thumbing through pages to see what I might have missed. There was a single page of errata that explained the changes to components, process and/or procedure. That was helpful and some of the past problems, noted in reviews here, were addressed.

The coil inductors are extremely difficult to discern the color bands on the green bodies. It wold have been more helpful if Ten-Tec had just identified them in some way. I'm 99% sure I got them right, but I don't like that 1% uncertainty when building a kit. The parts should be obvious, not something one has to sleuth over to make sure they're right. It's our responsibility to build it right, but it's the manufacturer's responsibility to assure that the process is understandable and the parts are all included, indicated and intact.

The build was another story entirely. The first test, of the power amplifier stage, worked fine but then later failed (the volume pot would give all it's range in the first 1/4 turn and then noting after that) after I finished the regen circuit. I immediately called Ten-Tec and the fellow said it was likely a bad pot and sent me out another.

But that was the first of my troubles. After I finished the Band LC stages it was time to test again. Same problem: the volume would only work in the first 1/4 turn and I couldn't get the thing to oscillate on any band. I decided then to install the optional LC choke that is meant to increase sensitivity and while that definitely worked, it made the radio TOO sensitive (at least with my 100' long wire antenna), so I removed it and was back to the same problem: no oscillation, no receive.

Of course, my next step was to check and double check my work. All the soldering was good, no misplaced or omitted parts. I'm still stumped and can only think that it's a component failure...but, which one? This is a problem.

The overall build is a bit tedious, with lots of fiddly bits and wires that need careful attention or they'll weaken and break at the solder pads. As I said, it's beautifully made, well thought-out but, at least in my case, it didn't work at all like the sales webpage says. I'm fairly skilled; this isn't my first kit. I only shudder to think what this would have been for a beginner, perhaps even a kid who was really excited and then got this result. What a disappointment.

I'm really disappointed with this product. I expected much better, but clearly the "good sets" seem to have been shipped years before. Maybe they changed component suppliers, I don't know. All I know is the cost has gone up to $90 and I've now spent that and have a pile of silicon and metal that doesn't work. I cannot recommend this kit.
LUNAN1968 Rating: 1/5 Dec 29, 2010 13:15 Send this review to a friend
not as expected  Time owned: more than 12 months
Built this RX a few yrs ago. I'm NOT a beginner so knew what I was doing. After careful build set did not oscilate.Very few stations resolved.Contacted manuf by eml they were helpfuland sent a few transistors they thot were at fault.No better.I suspect the large IC is/was at fault, but TRY getting that off the circuit board!Spent far too many hours of my life on it!gave it up as a very bad job. Just finished building a 1930s design valve SW set from scratch 100% efficient! Thumbs down to the 1253.
Hardware ok just the set is c**p
KE5LZL Rating: 5/5 Dec 26, 2010 15:59 Send this review to a friend
Educational  Time owned: more than 12 months
Built it twice. first in 1999. was in a rush and messed up and had to send it for repair.
Then in Dec, 2008. Took my time, and done an excellent jobe...I had installed a switch for one of the extra chokes it came with. to choose between them.
these kits will work great if done right.
they take time to build, that's what kit building is. I plan on building another one soon.
Ten Tec, Good job.
WB3T Rating: 5/5 Oct 24, 2010 20:07 Send this review to a friend
A Winner!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I don't agree with the comments here that final assembly is difficult. I had no problems. Nor the comments about selectivity. Mine works great. Nor the calibration - I took the time (a fun project itself) to cal each band and the frequencies are repeatable and stable. I can find the station I'm looking for easily.

This radio worked the first time I flipped it on and sounds excellent. No missing parts, no problems, just a whole lot of fun. I wish I had it to build again, but what would I do with two? This was my fourth regen radio and easily the best one.

Once set, you can listen to your station and enjoy. Just remember that to properly use a regen you need to learn to adjust the RF Gain and Regen controls against each other - then you get the selectivity and cross-talk free operation a good regen can deliver. Set the Regen up just short of oscillation to get max selectivity, then retard RF Gain to reduce cross-frequency interference. Re-adjust both 2 or 3 times and you've got it.

For CW and SSB, set Regen to oscillate (to get the beat note) and cut RF Gain back. Adjust Fine Tune, Regen, and RF Gain for best sound.

I am pleasantly surprised how well this radio works.
W4QQI Rating: 4/5 Sep 20, 2010 17:30 Send this review to a friend
Great First Build Kit  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ten-Tec did a fine job with a quality kit. Due to the three different power up tests, I would recomend using quite a bit longer power wires so you can position your power supply further away.
The color bands on the inductor coils were difficult to read so you might get into trouble on two of the bands. This was mentioned in the kit instructions which was excellent. Called tech support to ask what ampreage required for external power power supply ( 1amp) and they were pleasant and helpful. Would recommend and build again. Nice job Ten-Tec!
NJ3X Rating: 2/5 Aug 26, 2010 09:05 Send this review to a friend
not so good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
this kit is more work than fun. all went slow doing all the tests along the way. when it was completely wired it showed led's lighting, etc. but it wouldn't receive anything. and then came trying to put it in the case. forget it. if you get this kit, good luck. mine is in the junk pile for spare parts.
TERRYW Rating: 3/5 Mar 23, 2010 01:43 Send this review to a friend
Learn why Superheterodyne became the standard  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This was my first kit and I found it a lot of work to build. Work, not fun.

Tuning the regenerative circuit is half fun and half pain, which is a strange masochistic mix. The selectivity is very poor. The variation in volume is extreme. I do enjoy listening to hams on it, but not the AM broadcasters.

I'd say get this as an intermediate kit and know you are building a circuit which rightfully went the way of the dinosaur.
NG9D Rating: 5/5 Feb 19, 2009 19:20 Send this review to a friend
Great kitbuilding fun  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a fun kit to build and use. It works well on all bands. You can see and hear it at
<— Page 2 of 4 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.