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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | swan 500 Help

Reviews Summary for swan 500
swan 500 Reviews: 26 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $swan-500
Description: hf radio w/ssb
Product is not in production.
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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.
KI6NQT Rating: 4/5 Jan 17, 2009 17:15 Send this review to a friend
I love it  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have the 500cx. It is a work horse.
Great audio, much nicer on the ears, not tiring.
Put a final cage fan and the finals will last.
Easy to work on, I can see the components no problem.
Drift is not a problem if you let it warm up for 15 minutes.
Do not need an amp.
The knobs keep me busy!
You should try one of these just once in your life.
KI6NQT Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2008 13:41 Send this review to a friend
Great even today  Time owned: more than 12 months
Favorite radio. Good receive with great punch, finals are getting pricey. Being able to work on this without a microscope is nice.
K6SDW Rating: 3/5 Jan 28, 2008 19:41 Send this review to a friend
Fun way back then...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine was a drifter...and I mean drift city. Awful selectivity on receive, but always got better than great audio reports!

Thems was the gud o' days, eh!
KB4UHK Rating: 4/5 Aug 11, 2007 21:47 Send this review to a friend
Wish I still had mine  Time owned: more than 12 months
After my Heathkit Hw16 went toes up, this was my normal rig as a kid. My elmer had a 700cx, so when I had mowed enough lawns to buy something used but decent, I went with him to a fest and this was the rig I drooled over.

I was a novice so I never ran it over 200, usually I kept it on QRP actually as for a time, my parents would only allow an indoor 15M dipole. It did quite well with that antenna and once my dad let me have a cubical quad I was working DX just fine.

The receiver is noisy and the VFO tended to drift a bit on 10M but the radio is very forgiving of high SWR (it will probably load into a roofing gutter or bedsprings). I might buy one again some day.
WB9MSM Rating: 5/5 Jan 14, 2006 14:47 Send this review to a friend
GREAT RIG From the PAST!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned six or seven 500's over my 30+ years in ham radio. My first one was back in 1973 when I first got my general. They are Excellent tube rigs that are very forgiving of high SWR! I recently picked one up at a local swapfest. It is one of the cleanest that I have had in recet times. The receive audio is wonderful. It sounds full! I like the feeling of actually tuning up this radio! Everyone should learn how to 'peak the grid' and 'dip the plate'! Only thing is that with these finals it is not recommended for a training ground. These sweep tubes can be damaged quite easily by the inexperienced. I really like the feel of the veriner tuning knob! What a wonderful feel! It tunes across the band GREAT! It also has an Excellent Sound for CW! I like how the 'dashes and dots' pierce through the speaker/power supply. This one that I picked up is a late model from 1973. It really makes my day to make a contact with this CLASSIC Radio! If you have love for the past and want "glow worms" in the shack - A SWAN 500CX IS FOR YOU!
KB3LXY Rating: 4/5 Dec 21, 2005 16:55 Send this review to a friend
Like it..always did  Time owned: more than 12 months
The 500cx was the rig that got me back to ham radio in the present...Long story !

But I have had my most recent 500 for a few years. I use it mainly for 40 and 75 meter phone. It does the job very well. I run it mostly bare foot, but can also bring a Mk-2 amp on line if conditions require.

Mine puts out a little over 300 watts on 40 and 80 meters, has a very decent reciever. But it does lack some noise reducing features that the newer rigs have. Asside from has always gotten great audio reports...and even warms my shack in the winter,

And with the Mk-2 it certainly puts out a very "BIG" signal. It is a keeper !
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