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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | swan 500 Help


Reviews Summary for swan 500
swan 500 Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $swan-500
Description: hf radio w/ssb
Product is not in production.
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N1RND Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2014 07:15 Send this review to a friend
Like an old musclecar.  Time owned: more than 12 months
It is hard rate an old radio like this because what are you comparing it against, a modern radio? That would be unfair.
I give it a 5 only because I have had lots of fun working and using this radio.
Anyway, it reminds me of an old muscle car from the same time period, lots of horsepower and no creature comforts.
I recapped my 500C and then re-aligned it. It works well for what it is. After an hour of warm-up it does not drift too bad.
The only "mod" I did was I spliced into the speaker line of the 117xc and installed an Autek QF-1A audio filter. This makes CW reception easier on a crowed band. I also replaced the speaker in the 117xc with a modern full range driver (direct bolt-in) and packed some fiberglass around it.
So all in all if your interested playing around with an old tube type transceiver one of the old Swans just might fit the bill.
 
AC4WY Rating: 3/5 Oct 24, 2012 16:06 Send this review to a friend
Not bad for an old refugee...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had and used a 500c on a daily basis for years. The good? Decent, hot enough receiver. Good audio. Definitely preferred it over my first SSB rig, a Drake TR-3. Solid. Kinda pretty, even.

The bads? It would drift a little till the rig warmed up good. And...you had to be really careful with the finals. Very easy to melt down for the uninitiated.

Do I miss the old Swan sometimes (the ex-wife disposed of it before I could get it out of her clutches)? Sometimes, but only sometimes. ;-)
 
W5GW Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2011 19:46 Send this review to a friend
Great Value - Use Mine Daily  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I was fixing up a white dial 350 for a ham and entered into another deal to get a basket case 350C (intended for parts) and this 500C with two power supplies. Well I ended up selling the 350C after I decided the 350 white dial really didn't need as much TLC as I had thought and I got the 350C working. That left me with a 500C and PS/Speaker combo with about $75 total investment. The PS needed the 12 VDC circuit repaired and the 500C then took off like gangbusters except for a lot of drift. DeOxit in the bandswitch and VFO variables and trimmers fixed drift (with less than 400 Hz in 5 minutes and +/- 100 Hz after that on 40) and it puts out 375-400 Watts on 40 SSB. I use it regularly to check into a 40 meter net and have built N3ZI's digital display for it. See a picture of it on my web site at http://w5gw.com
 
N0WYO Rating: 5/5 May 20, 2011 15:34 Send this review to a friend
A nice blast from the past  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I just picked up a swan 500 at a hamfest. I used to have a 700cx, and kick myself for ever parting with it. The radio is rated at 125 watts output, but the guy selling the radio didn't know that. He thought it did more, so I got the radio cheap with a spare set of finals!

This is a good radio for a beginner in boatanchors. The finals aren't very pricey, and they're easy to tune.
They have a punchy, strong audio and The old timers will know what you're running when they hear that relay 'click' when you key it up.

 
KE7SZC Rating: 5/5 Mar 9, 2011 20:18 Send this review to a friend
A fine rig to repair..  Time owned: more than 12 months
This particular rig, and all Swans in general have a load of publicised documentation, making it easy to troubleshoot and return the radio to service, I have honestly enjoyed the ones that I had owned, and sorely regret letting them go.

This particular rig is capable of substantial output power from the radio itself, I saw nearly 300 watts on 75m with a NEW set of finals, and the radio is still running strong with it's new owner.

There is much to be learned from these radios, they are the starting point of my first experiences with HF radio, and with safety in mind, they are easy to work on and even easier to operate.

If you can find one that's not beaten to death, and have some skills, they are a great building block for any operator that wants to do more than talk.

It's a shame that the company faltered such as it did, but there are many "Swannies" left out there to make sure that these rigs stick around, the only drawback right now is the increasingly scarse "Sweep" tube finals, however, the ones in this rig are still around, though no longer in production, and will last indefinitely if treated with care.
 
WA7OCZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 28, 2010 19:22 Send this review to a friend
Great Old Tank!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine because of a morbid want to be ready for "the big one" meaning EMP wiping out my fancy schmancy transistorized gear. Yes, it has a few semiconductors, but only two transistors in the VFO and a few diodes in the rig and power supply. Easy to protect replacements just in case they need it.

Now I really like this old boat anchor!

I listen to it all the time. The audio sounds great to my old ears and it just LOOKS solid and cool!

I wish it had a sidetone, though. I'm mostly a CW guy and end up turning on my Drake 2-b without an antenna to get one.

People complain about them being drifty. Mine hardly drifts at all and once warmed up is very stable. If you get one that does drift, try cleaning the contacts first. Dirty contacts can add capacitance which can change as the temperature does. While I didn't have to clean mine, I will anyway just to keep everything in good contact and lubricated.

Sure, it has 17 tubes and gets hot but that was easy to fix. I found two very quiet 12 vdc fans on ebay for about $5. Made a simple half wave rectifier circuit tapping the front panel light supply. Fastened them on to the rear grills using panduits and now the final box stays nice and cool while the rest of the cabinet barely gets warm at all.

My recommendation? If you can get one, get one. This old girl was a little over $200 with power supply/speaker and Turner mic on ebay.

Sure, you gotta do the dip and peak things and it has no frills whatsoever. You actually have to either remember or write down the frequencies you use (gasp how archaic!), To an old dial tweaker like me(I built a DX60 myself as a kid and had a HQ160 receiver to go with it) , it just adds to the fun of being a ham.



 
K7QQH Rating: 5/5 Feb 26, 2010 12:45 Send this review to a friend
Great Old Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my Swan 500CX since buying it new at the Oceanside, CA factory in 1972 while stationed in San Diego in the Navy. Throughout it's long life, it's been run mobile in many various vehicles and always worked great (the matching Swan Model 45 mobile antenna will handle 2KW and I also use it/set it up for portable operation. With the coil taps set up correctly, it'll work 10-80m including the WARC bands when using other modern rigs).

Since new, I have recently ugraded the original 117XC power supply by installing the PC board kit, replaced the finals and gave the rig a complete electrical and cosmetic overhaul. Wow! It's just like new, and while it's not the greatest CW rig compared to other rigs of it's time (i.e, the Drake TR4 series transceivers are superb), it'll definately hold it's own on SSB against anything out there (as I also fondly remember when getting it new in the 70's).

A joy to own, very reliable, and easy to work on. If you can snag a good one a reasonable price, buy it!

73's de K7QQH (Roger C.)
Lynnwood WA
 
AD7JR Rating: 4/5 Feb 26, 2010 11:31 Send this review to a friend
Good Old Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had one of these back in the mid '70's. I only worked CW on it. It did a good job, but the finals were easy to blow out for someone without much experience. I like those older radios because you can actually take them apart and work on them.
 
KE7WAV Rating: 5/5 Jul 21, 2009 07:14 Send this review to a friend
I love it!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have been using a Swan 500C on CW and SSB for about a year. It is ancient but WOW what a rig!

I love peaking the grid and dipping the plate then busting a huge pileup with this old boat anchor. I laugh when I fly through the pileup on my first or second call. This radio can transmit far better than any other rig I have worked so far.

That said, the receive is definately good; but not as great as other rigs I have used.

If you like the glow of the vacum tubes pouring through the holes in the case casting spotted patterns across the wall. Or you like a rig that will heat your shack in the winter. Or just a fantastic radio to reach out and contact the world then try it.

With a homebrew dipole up only 11 feet I have contacted HI twice from my QTH in UT with only a few hours in the log book (not to mention heaps of other great QSOs and ragchews). Imagine what you can do with an ANT up at a decent hieght. It is a great radio for any age!
 
W2IL Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2009 12:10 Send this review to a friend
A classic & I Love it  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a SWAN 500C which I purchased in July 1968. Other than changing out the finals(6LQ6's)it has worked perfectly for 41 years.I use a fan to cool the finals and use it almost exclusively on 20 meters. The less you switch bands and tune it up, the better. No drift after a brief warm up, it has great audio and a delivers a strong punch ( I use a Shure 444 mic). Much better than my PRO III for breaking a pile ups. I do not run an amplifier. Puts out a solid 300 watts and the receive is good but I even make it better with a Timewave DSP-599zx to assist. I also have a back up 500CX which I recently had John Bruchey give a complete alignment. (He is the man for Swan service) Both my Swan rigs are in mint condition and I can't ever see myself parting with them.
 
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