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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Atlas 210X/215X Help


Reviews Summary for Atlas 210X/215X
Atlas 210X/215X Reviews: 39 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $200-250
Description: Later versions of the venerable Atlas 210 mobile HF xcvrs
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.davepick.btinternet.co.uk/atlas/
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NR7N Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2013 08:55 Send this review to a friend
Simple but Elegant Design  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have restored my 210X and it works great. It is simple but elegant design done by someone who knows what he was doing.

The passive front end can handle strong signals but it still hears well.

It is dream to work on. Most of the components are on three plug-in cards and almost everything is easily accessible except the antenna relay (tucked up into a corner near the RF PA). When i got mine gain was low, the S-meter barely worked and the AGC was almost non-existent. I suspected a bad capacitor in the AGC amp but I decided instead to replace all of the capacitors in the rig at 0.1 ufd and above. New from Mouser all of these (about forty) cost less than $25. Once the caps were replaced the radio sprang back to life. I also replaced the first mixer and product detector diodes from 1N914's to 1N5711 hot-carrier RF mixer diodes. This lowered the noise floor, improved dynamic range further and gave me better weak signal response. It easily hears less than 1 uv signals on all bands. Even the dial calibration is not too bad and is easy to adjust.

The 210X gets bad rap on its AGC performance but I will bet a dollar that 90% of the radios out there today are not up to snuff because of nearly 40 year old capacitors. Upgrade the larger values (don't touch low value disc ceramics or silver micas!) and you will have a new rig. In fact it has one of the best audio derived AGC's that I have seen.

The little 210X will give most modern radios a run for their money.
 
W3AFC Rating: 4/5 Aug 1, 2012 08:14 Send this review to a friend
Better than I expected  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a 210X on eBay as a portable rig for the beach, field day, etc. I was actually looking for the 100W version of the Yaesu FT-301. When I received this, I discovered that the plastic hub on the tuning dial was cracked (a metal set screw in a plastic hub - what a surprise) which was why the dial seemed "sloppy". I fixed that problem (pix on qrz), hooked it up to one of those 13.8V 30-amp power supplies that are all over eBay, aligned the dial, hooked up a Shure 450 on hi-Z, and tried it out.

The receiver in this little dollhouse-size rig is unbelievably sensitive. In fact, it's clearer and louder than either of my Swan 700's, or my Yaesu FT0101E. I heard a contact in Ukraine, and called back. He responded right away with a 59 signal report. I then logged a station in Bulgaria. After that, I got into a ragchew with a HAM named Dave in England, and another in Ohio. All contacts remarked on how crisp and clean my audio was. All of this on a 53-ft vertical non-resonant piece of #14 wire, shot up a tree with a slingshot.

I had planned to fix this up and resell it, but it's so clean, convenient, and trouble-free that I use it everyday in my shack for copying the mail, and making contacts. I worked 4 or 5 countries in the July 28th 2012 IOTA contest with it, and even got through a couple pileups. The only one I couldn't was to Cyprus - I had to use my 700CX to get that one. But this little rig keeps the needle consistently over 85 watts on all but 10 meters with the Shure mike. I jokingly tell people I found it in a Barbie dollhouse and I had to fight Ken for it, but it's actually s great little rig. If you can find a working one for under $125, I would grab it, especially as a portable field unit.
 
SV9DRU Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2010 15:23 Send this review to a friend
A wonderful little rig  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
First, to clarify my statements, this is certainly not the radio for the non technically inclined ham who just wants to get the job of communication done. Maybe it used to be that 20-40 years ago, but today this radio sooner or later will need TLC in order to show its best qualities.
I was able to repair and refurbish 2 of these units one 210x LE and one 210M. Most of their problems were related to shorted (tandalum) or dried (conventional) electrolytics and dirty contacts.

The fact that an amateur technician (like myself) without sophisticated equipment and with parts supplied from a local electronics store, was able to resurrect these rigs speaks loads of their robust construction, simplicity of design and common part utilization, that make them a joy to work with even 35 years after their production. Very important quality in the era of minutarization and proprietary parts in current production sets which will soon make them nonrepairable long before the older rigs.

Now my operating impressions:

Rx: Crystal clear, natural analog sound. Good quality audio even through the small internal speaker. No DSP artifacts, no listening fatique.
Excellent immunity to nearby strong signals. Just worked XU7TZG from the SV1 area at less than S1 with an S7-8 signal pounding just 1,5Khz away. Eventhough the strong signal will activate the audio AGC, it will not obstruct the receiver's ability to hear the weak one. Is it due to low phase noise? is it due to audio instead of IF AGC? I will leave it to the experts, but it is quite impressive.

Tx: Coupled with an Astatic D-104 mic, through a FET impedance matching circuit (www.qsl.net/hcara/Improving_the_D-104_N9WB_rev2.pdf), is clear and able to brake the pileups while still getting many unsolicited nice comments from the other end of my QSOs.

Noise blanker: Variably effective, but can introduce a lot of IMD artifacts. Do not need it or use it that often.

Frequency Stability: Before installing the Cumbria designs VFO stabilizer, quite acceptable after a few minutes of warm up. Comparable to my Drake TR4 and better than my TR7.
After installing the stabilizer the rig is rock stable like a crystal oscillator from a cold start. I have installed these stabilizers in both my 210 with excellent results, for more info please refer to info at the Atlas 210 yahoo group.
There, one can also find suggestions for other enhancements, notably replacing the 1n4148 diodes with 1n5711 ones in the 1st and 2nd mixers, which will make an improvement in the already good noise floor. About the AGC mods, have not tried them since after changing the electrolytics everything sounds fine in my rigs without significant strong signal distortion...

In summary, this is a very nice little old rig. With excellent RX/TX for SSB, can be found at very reasonable prices in the used market and even though it will sooner or later require some TLC to be kept in top shape, it is worth every bit of effort and its parts are still widely available.

73 to all
Marinos, sv9dru / ki4gin
 
K7TCE Rating: 4/5 Dec 4, 2009 07:33 Send this review to a friend
Consider it for backup  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The Atlas 21Xx is old, and lacks all modern features, which means it does not draw 1 to 1.5 amps or so on receive as modern digital rigs do. You can receive on this all day using a string of AA batteries (it draws 300-400ma on rx). For this reason alone, it is worth keeping around for emergency use.

The VFO drifts (a lot), but the SSB filter is superb. Power out on mine varied from 40 - 120 watts per band.
 
K9FON Rating: 4/5 Sep 2, 2009 17:19 Send this review to a friend
Old school  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently got a 210X with the console from a fellow ham on QTH.com.
I have it hooked up right now on the air and am using it on 75 meters.
It is a fun little rig to play with, but it definetly is old school at best.
The rig is very basic and has NO bells and whistles like the rigs we have now. Nope, no DSP, notch filters, roofing filters, RF processor, pretty looking band scopes, or any of that new stuff we hams enjoy today. A Icom 7800 it isnt!!!!! But it is a great little rig to play with if you dont take it seriously.
One thing that stands out above everything else is the receiver. It is sharp and incredibly sensitive. The transmit side puts out a steady, bold, 125 watts. The TX audio is sharp and clear and a plain jane Shure 444D will definetly make the rig bark.

A few negatives;

(1) the rig is USELESS on CW as it has NO sidetone at all and one must switch between receive and CW when he/she is working another station.
(2) The NB doesnt do squat. The knob is there just to look nice.
(3) The rig lopps off 10 meters below 28.400, so if you want to work someone in the lower part of 10, you are out of luck.
(4) The final transistors are no longer avialble. So if one wants to CB ise this rig for 11 meters and he/shge cooks the finals well, tough luck buddy.

Overall, it is a fine old rig if one doesnt expect it to perform like a newer rig.
But a plus is it is MADE IN THE USA!!!!!
 
N7JBH Rating: 5/5 Jun 24, 2009 12:23 Send this review to a friend
Work of art  Time owned: more than 12 months
They don't make them like they use to, this radio is really small for it's vintage. I have a black with chrome trim Turner +2 desk mike for mine, it looks classic. It's not fair comparing these radios with modern rigs, I hate to repeat the old cliche about comparing apples to oranges. I have mine in my bookcase and seldom use it, it's my backup HF rig.
 
PY1MV Rating: 5/5 Dec 20, 2008 18:54 Send this review to a friend
Really nice Rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my Atlas 210x and the original Atlas frequency meter for over 4 years now.
Really impressive TX audio, normally people be surprised with the TX audio quality. Very funny for a 70's rig.
The VFO drift a little, it's normal for a rig 20 years old.
Easy to use and fix.
100W output with only 16 amp.
Small for portable operation.
All solid state.

Tks PY1MV
 
KC2NXZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 6, 2008 05:43 Send this review to a friend
Simple rig - good Field Day station  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I'm a, relatively, new ham who likes "experienced" equipment.
I found an Atlas 210 on Ebay and was able to use it for my club's GOTA (Get On The Air) station this past Field Day.
While it doesn't have the features of newer equipment and it does drift a bit, this is a robust and simple rig. I was able to train a group of 12-year olds in it's use in a few minutes and get them on the air with a minimum of fuss. Using an inverted "V" dipole, the rig got good reports from several of the people we talked with. The short contacts that are typical of Field Day minimized any drift problems that might be annoying during a long ragchew.

All told - simple rig to set up - simple rig to use - easy to explain operations for public demos. It has its limitations but once you downgrade your expectations, it's just a fun set to use.
 
K0PD Rating: 5/5 Jun 1, 2008 12:39 Send this review to a friend
Nice older Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Great is not the best way to describe this radio(atlas 215X)but neither is good so i gave it a 5 because there is no 4.5 rating to choose from.I own a FT-450 and a FT-950 and just recently bought this Atlas 215X with console.About all i can say is gosh it is kind of nice to listen too and play with a older radio.Of course the recieve is behind the newer radio's and it has limited control's to fool with but darn it sure sound's good for having such little opportunities to try and make it sound better.I've owned a Atlas in the past and just plain forgot how good of a little radio it was.Now here is a older radio for those of you who have forgotten how to dip the meter and really would rather not learn but still can not afford the newer stuff and want a solid state radio then you might just want to consider one of these old radio's as you can normally buy them in decent shape for little money say around $200.00 or less.....
 
FP5CJ Rating: 4/5 May 27, 2008 08:22 Send this review to a friend
good for a 20 th century rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have one og those "marvels"for many years, but now that I changed in this century it to an IC 703, I reaaly think that I was missing some very needed things, like NB and RIT..
MHO
73
JP
 
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