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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Atlas 180 Help

Reviews Summary for Atlas 180
Atlas 180 Reviews: 8 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: The very first mobile HF xcvr from Atlas
Product is not in production.
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ND4XE Rating: 4/5 Jun 16, 2012 12:14 Send this review to a friend
Old radio still dependable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I will be using an Atlas 180 to call a net tonight. This unit was gone through by someone in the eighties, the finals were replaced and no problems since then.
I have the console/power supply it works too,
My other radios were damaged by lightning, the Atlas was in a closet and after fixing a loose ground in the microphone it is ready to go.
Not a great radio by any measure, but this particular unit is still going strong after years of neglect.
NE2Q Rating: 5/5 Jul 30, 2011 04:50 Send this review to a friend
State of the Art when introduced  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the Atlas-180 since 1975. Purchased it new. Atlas Radio company was started by Herbert G. Johnson, W6QKI who also started Swan Electronics Co. Do a search for Herb to read a little about how he started his companies in his garage.

When introduced, the 180 was really ahead of it's time. All solid state and was probably the 1st of it's kind. Used it mobile for 1,000s of QSOs in my 1973 Dodge Charger for for at least 8 years. Worked all over the world using it with "Mark Heliwhips". Still have those trusty antennas for 160, 80, 40 & 20M. They still work very well.

The original finals are intact and they put out around 100W at the lower bands and about 95 up on 20M which is the highest band this radio is capable of.

Yes it will drift a little but a small touch of the tuning knob will take care of that.

The front panel RF output control allows me to reduce power to below 200 milliwatts. A feat most "modern" radios cannot accomplish. Using it with my 20M yagi, I have worked SSB stations on the other side of the earth with it at this ultra QRP level.

Mine still works great. I put it on the air periodically to have fun and remember a little history. Recently used it in July 2011 to work some friends on 75M SSB and some DX in Europe.

Certainly it's receiver cannot compete with today's marvels but for a radio with just 7 knobs it certainly works well as compared with all transistorized transceivers in it's time.

When I do put it on the air, I always get excellent audio reports and NOBODY can tell I am using a radio from the '70's.

It sure is a heck-of-a-lot easier to get on the air than radios of today. A great standby transceiver for casual operators. You can probably pick one up for close to the cost of a roofing filter on a 2011 radio!!
KC9GUZ Rating: 1/5 Mar 3, 2008 17:27 Send this review to a friend
Not worth a hill of beans!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
One of the worst radios for drift ever made. The 210/215 are much better.
W4CP Rating: 0/5 Jul 11, 2006 15:09 Send this review to a friend
A solid state piece of junk  Time owned: more than 12 months
I owned one of these radios from approximately 1975-1978, and I have been a ham since 1968, and it still holds the record for worst radio I've ever owned.

It was one of the first "mini" solid-state HF rigs-- bleeding edge technology, and it bled all over me.

I bought the Atlas special mount for my car and the Atlas special power supply mount for fixed station use. You could simply pull the radio out of the mobile mount (nothing to unscrew) and slide it into the power supply mount, much in the manner of a laptop docking station. That was a good system, making it very easy to move and use the radio for both mobile and fixed station applications. Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood should consider a similar system for their mobile rigs.

But the radio itself was a piece of junk. For the first year or so, it performed adequately, but then the finals started giving trouble, the receiver started giving trouble and ultimately the radio was just trouble.

I wouldn't touch one of these used with a ten foot pole, unless someone gave me one. Then I would use it for target practice.

It's not heavy enough to be a boat-anchor, but it would make a good target to shoot at.
K7UA Rating: 3/5 Feb 2, 2006 15:08 Send this review to a friend
OK, especially for 1970s  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought an Atlas 180 around 1975 to get on 160M. My other rig didn't cover that band. It was ok, but back then any transistorized final amp was very SWR sensitive. The Atlas was pretty touchy about SWR. I had a full sized 160M dipole up, but the Atlas didn't really like to feed into it. I went back to my Viking II. It was a very cool mobile rig at that time.
WA7H Rating: 2/5 May 31, 2005 17:37 Send this review to a friend
Needs Work  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just picked up a 180 at a hamfest and it isn't puting out full power, I think the finals are shot. I can't find any information on the Internet about this little radio, if someone has an owners/repair manual or knows where I can get info on this radio please email me at Thanks,
Steve w7jsc
VK6MC Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2004 04:59 Send this review to a friend
Miss The "Old Girl"  Time owned: more than 12 months
I first used an Atlas 180 in the USA in about 1978 and it seemed a cute little rig.

I purchased a used Atlas 180 about 20 years ago and had it " Bolted " in the car operating Top Band in the UK as G4AXP. In those days I was a sales rep. and spent about 5 hrs a day in the car working the regulars on 1.930mhz. The 180 never let me down even though the heat sink would glow cherry red at times!
It looked like it was "knocked up" in someones garage but the layout was good and boards were easily servicable.

It's stored in a box with some of my "Clobber" in the UK. Gee, I wish I had it here, if only to look at, no-one operates Top Band in VK.
G3YXM Rating: 4/5 Jun 21, 2001 09:05 Send this review to a friend
This vintage transceiver still satisfies!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This American-made set is a product of the 70s and was revolutionary at its launch with 100W output 160 - 20m and all solid-state construction. Small too, only 9.5 x 9.5 x 3.5 inches, it was the ideal mobile rig with its 12V supply.
The PA could be a bit disaster-prone but the whole thing is simple and easy to modify. I put a pair of SD1405s in mine and got 170W out after beefing up the driver stage...
The transmit audio is superb with a high quality crystal filter in the single IF. That same filter is a little wide on receive but has good skirt selectivity.
The receiver had no preamp, the RF went straight to the diode ring mixer, this made it bomb-proof but a bit deaf.
There are a few mods to do to make the Atlas perform well but these are simple and have probably been done on any still around. If you like old rigs you can work on, check out the Atlas 180.
Also look out for the later Atlas 215 (160-15) and 210 (80-10) variants, the "X" versions even had a noise blanker!

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