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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF+UHF models) | Ten-Tec Century 21 Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Century 21
Ten-Tec Century 21 Reviews: 33 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $299
Description: Morse only medium power rig of the 1970's.
Product is in production.
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N0TES Rating: 5/5 Jan 29, 2014 20:23 Send this review to a friend
Used for hundreds of hours  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ok, so my life growing up was only about amateur radio and sending CW. Nothing else really mattered to me. For years I pounded a brass key on my Century 21. Full break in, yes. Fun? Yes? It was reliable till the day it was hit by lightening. Fortunately that was about the time I started college, which was probably a blessing, or I'd have just continued on sending CW rather than graduate, date, and start a business that builds amateur radio antennas. Oops, back to amateur radio! Guess I've come full circle! - Steve, Alpha Antenna
N3HEE Rating: 5/5 Jul 23, 2013 05:22 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding Fun Radio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently found a super clean Century 21 at a local hamfest for cheap. Took it home and fired it up and it worked just fine with only a few minor issues. The dial was way off in frequency, the offset knob was upside down and the drive button had been disconnected. After calibrating the dial and correcting the offset knob the rig is a real joy to operate. The PTO operates very smooth. This radio was way ahead of its time. This is my first Ten Tec radio and wont be my last.
KC2SIZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 13, 2013 07:45 Send this review to a friend
CW operator's dream  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wonder if there is ANY modern, commercially-built rig with QSK as beautifully smooth and silent as this rig's. I seriously doubt it. If you like CW, do yourself a favor and pick a Century 21. You will not be disappointed.
KA0HVE Rating: 5/5 Jul 2, 2013 13:25 Send this review to a friend
Solid, no frills CW rig.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
In 1980 when I was studying for my ham license I was going to buy either the C21 or a Kenwood TS520SE. I got the Kenwood (and still have it) but kept wondering about the C21.

Well, I got a C21 late last year, life got in the way, then Field Day a week and a half ago got me motivated and I set up the C21.

I've been wanting to work CW at QRP power levels for years so I cranked down the drive so that my power meter shows under 5 watts. The little rig just amazes me. Simple to tune, good filters, good receiver, clean tone, etc. I wish I had bought one of these in 1980.
KB3RMX Rating: 5/5 Jan 27, 2013 17:46 Send this review to a friend
About The Best  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Of all the high end and low end transceivers I have owned(I've had just about all of them),I have to say the Century 21 is about the best I've owned. Bought mine off of Ebay a few months ago. Found it very simple to use, not quite qrp, but puts out enough for cw use. The only drawback I had on mine was the cheesy push buttons for the zero-beat and drive, they kept getting stuck in the in position. I replaced them both with newer push button type switches and they work great. I have the digital model (574). The readout is not 100% some of the pixels in one slot does not light up, but thats very minor for me. Was wondering if that can be fixed. Needless to say I am very happy with the rig and have made quite a few contacts with this rig. Its built very well. I like the modular construction of the circuits
I've always been an Icom user, but I'm thinking about going TEN TEC for a base rig. I'm going U.S. made this time. Great work TEN TEC.
NZ0T Rating: 5/5 Sep 4, 2012 16:29 Send this review to a friend
Fun ole rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have always been interested in the C21 and found one a few days ago at a hamfest for a song. I've been having a ball with it. Once I figured out the nuances of the direct conversion receiver I have found the C21 is easy to use and performs very well for such a simple design. The 20-30 watts it puts out are plenty for CW work and the filtering works well. It's not perfect nor did I expect it to be. The DC receiver makes the bands seem crowded and I really wish it had WARC bands but I highly recommend the Century 21 for simple CW fun.
KA0AAM Rating: 4/5 May 1, 2012 12:28 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Why it didn't get a 5. . . .

The finals. . .the finals on this rig are very poor. About once time a year, I would have to replace the finals. . .even when running a flat SWR. I tried lowering my output to 50 watts, but to no avail.

Now, with that said. This radio is the absolute BEST CW rig on the market. You can't have a better cw rig IMO. I worked many countries, states, and counties. It is easy to operate, you can tune BOTH sides of the CW signal, and the CW filter is fantastic. It was my main rig for many many years.
K1YRW Rating: 5/5 Jan 8, 2011 11:35 Send this review to a friend
Old Reliable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my Century/21 new back in '80 and for a few years it was my main rig. Worked pretty near 100 countries using the rain gutter for an antenna. After a few years ran it mobile in my Jeep with a ham stick antenna. Eventually the rig quit and it sat on my basement floor for about 10 years until last summer when I decided to bring her back to life. All she needed was a 40m and the 80/20m xtals and an alignment. The whole repair including a good cleaning took about half an hour. Got the xtals from Ten Tec. Seems like they still support this rig. Surpriseingly enough the PTO was just fine. Now she looks and works like new and once again is sitting proudly in my main shack ready for the next 30 years of QSO's.
K4RT Rating: 5/5 Jan 7, 2011 06:01 Send this review to a friend
Simple, Reliable CW Transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first rig as a new ham was the Ten Tec Model 570 "Century 21." I used it exclusively for two years until I upgraded and obtained voice privileges. It's a simple, stable, excellent solid state CW transceiver with Ten Tec's superb QSK. Very useful features include three receive filters, RIT, BFO, adjustable drive and overload protection. The CW sidetone volume is adjusted by turning a thumbwheel accessible through a hole in the bottom of the chassis.

If you are thinking of buying a Century 21 you should note that it does not feature an S-meter, although I don't know of any '21 owners who mind. You may need to rebuild the PTO to eliminate backlash in the tuning dial. I rebuilt the PTO in mine years ago using the kit from Ten Tec, which includes detailed instructions. The rebuild can be done in a few hours. If you are working inside the cabinet on something other than the PTO, care should be taken while soldering or desoldering wires connected to the original style round gray push-button switches for ZERO BEAT and SET DRIVE as the plastic housing is easily deformed or damaged by heat and it's my understanding that the original style switches are no longer available from Ten Tec. Prospective owners might contact Ten Tec to ask whether they still offer parts and service for the Century 21.

I recommend the Century 21 to any CW operator who appreciates a well designed, simple, nice looking CW transceiver with excellent QSK that's fun to use.
WT8D Rating: 5/5 Sep 26, 2010 06:18 Send this review to a friend
Most fun rig ever!  Time owned: more than 12 months
What can I say, the tears are making it hard to see the monitor! My first rig ever was a Century 21. Why I sold it I will never know. Owned every kind of radio since then but something always felt like it was missing. Saw a Century 21 for sale on Ebay and just for fun I got it. It's been sitting on my shelf for 10 years. Fired it up last week and I have been on the air nonstop since then. Everything still works perfect. Feels just like old times again!! hi
Now my fancy-schmancy rig will be gathering dust on the shelf.
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