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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Ten-Tec Century 21 Help

Reviews Summary for Ten-Tec Century 21
Ten-Tec Century 21 Reviews: 35 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $299
Description: Morse only medium power rig of the 1970's.
Product is in production.
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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.
NC2F Rating: 5/5 Aug 4, 2009 06:39 Send this review to a friend
My favorite rig from the 70's still viable today.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The Century 21 was my first
rig I bought new after having a used Heathkit HW-101. The Century 21 was so much
more a pleasure to operate and I immensely enjoyed the transistionto the Century 21. I can
imagine this is why the Century 21 remains a favorite for many today. It's so fun a rig to
operate, I'd buy another in a heartbeat if I found myself without one. I just treated my Century 21 to a new custom Vinyl dust cover as it has remained a centerpiece in my shack.

I've also noticed more people talking tech about these as the 570 seems to find new owners fast when used ones become available. So I decided to start a Model 570 Century 21 Group on Yahoo so fellow owners can discuss all the aspects of this fun transceiver. So if you have a Century 21 or looking to acquire one and want to join a group just for this gem of a rig, here's the link:
NE4EB Rating: 5/5 Oct 7, 2008 06:42 Send this review to a friend
I Wore It Out  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first novice rig. What a heck of a radio. This rig got me into traffic handling, DX, rag chewing and was a lot of fun. It was a great Direct Conversion receiver. Oh, and despite previous reviews, it CAN be run off of 12V. Lots of great memories with this rig.
KE5DXV Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2008 04:42 Send this review to a friend
Best CW radio ever !  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is the greatest CW radio I have ever owned, that includes my IC-745, and FT-7. I really like the simplicity, and the fact that you can still get support for it from Ten Tec. I rebuilt the PTO and it is like new again. No bells and whistles just a solid dependable radio, no external powersupply needed just turn it on and let it reach out and touch someone. I have had a lot of radios but I have sold or traded off most of them, but the Century 21 will always be in my shack, and favorites list. The only thing I don't like about it is the sidetone really sounds terrible, thru the onboard speaker, but using head phones solves that, so no problem I use them anyway. You can't beat this radio, for the fun or the value. If they were available brand new again I would not hesitate to buy one, this little radio just "Rocks".
KA5KMS Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2008 14:23 Send this review to a friend
Simplicity That Cannot be Equaled  Time owned: more than 12 months
After several years of using the Century 21, I wonder how could I ever had been so blind about this rig. This is the greatest CW transceiver ever made for just plain simple fun. Without a doubt, one of the better ideas from Ten Tec that was ahead of it's time....and one that was built to continue on.
NK5G Rating: 5/5 Jan 30, 2008 14:21 Send this review to a friend
Fun Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I love this radio. I bought mine when I was a novice in 1986 and the radio still works great. I have never had to repalce a component.

Sure, it's not a contest radio, but fun to operate and make a few QSO's

Wish they still made it.
NC2F Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2006 08:47 Send this review to a friend
A Reliable Classic that inspires to get on the air!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Classic can make something sound "old" or "dated", but I have to say this CW transceiver is more enjoyable to use for CW than the recent FT-2000 I recently had time to explore and use. It just works well and is built like the proverbial tank. The radio is not only a joy to operate, it's looks great in the shack as well. In this day of uninspiring gadget loaded plastic rigs, it's nice to know these rigs that to me define radio operating can still be had for a reasonable exchange.
N8AUC Rating: 4/5 Jul 12, 2005 11:52 Send this review to a friend
Oldie but goldie  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had a Century 21 several years ago - the digital version. When I first got it, it was in pieces and not working. A trip to Ten Tec put it back into tip top shape, and I worked a lot of stations with it. Once you got used to the Direct Conversion receiver, it was a pretty nice rig. The QSK is exactly what Ten Tec has been known for over the years.

I used it for Field Day one year, and realized why I didn't want to use it for Field Day again. Even with the audio filters, it just doesn't hold up under crowded band conditions with lots of strong signals. So I put it on the shelf.

A young ham in the area was looking for an inexpensive HF rig to use as a starter. He was interested in my Century 21, so I sold it to him at a very low price.

About a year ago, I got a call form this young fellow, and he just got a new HF rig as a gift. He wanted to know if I'd like to buy back the Century 21. So I did. Still in the same excellent condition it was in when he acquired it. Suffice it to say, I'm not going to repeat that mistake.

For casual use, it's a fine radio. It's just not a contest rig. It has a built-in AC power supply, but it will run on 12VDC as well. And when it is run on 12VDC, it is very battery-friendly.
WA2QIC Rating: 3/5 Jul 12, 2005 11:36 Send this review to a friend
Yuck! But in a nice way  Time owned: more than 12 months
Way back when I was a youngin' my old man bought me one of them thar Century 21's as my first rig.

I hated it.

My buddy on the other side of town had a really kool Kenwood TS-520s. And I was jealous. That radio was the cats meow and I had a...well a Century 21.

My Century 21 was an early one. I had the pulse oscillator gizmo and the keyer too. The keyer stunk. Either that or it was the operator!

My vfo had some nasty backlash that I always found really annoying. I didn't even realize that this was a defect until someone took sympathy upon me and explained that it was something TenTec would fix.

And maybe it was just my ear, but that receiver did not seem sensitive to me at all. Selective, yes, but sensitive NO. And compared to the glorious TS-520, the audio was tinny and weak.

But I did have fun with my Tentec Century 21 in the end. And it weathered several Field Days (yes it can be operated from 12v - if only I could remember how to do it). After many years of dust collecting I finally sold it off and was shocked to get such a good price for it. So I discovered the rig had a loyal following at the end.

Maybe I will pick one up someday for the nostalgia of it, but I do recall that I had a love/hate relationship with that radio......

(and I really think it was the keyer that stunk, not me!)
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