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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Atlas 210 Help

Reviews Summary for Atlas 210
Atlas 210 Reviews: 7 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $199.95
Description: Compact 100w solid state SSB/CW transceiver covering 80 - 10m
Product is not in production.
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AA6TS Rating: 4/5 Mar 22, 2012 09:53 Send this review to a friend
Great SSB rig, but not for CW  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I had had the use of a loaner Atlas 210 for a little over three months, and I have grown so attached to the radio that I have decided to purchase for myself an older Atlas 350XL (the flagship of the Atlas line)rather than one of the newer HF radios such as Kenwood, Icom or Yaesu.

This transceiver did not include a digital display readout, but I had no problem finding the correct frequencies using the old style drum dial. When I first installed the transceiver, the frequencies on the dial were not properly calibrated, but I used the dial set knob while tuned to a known frequency to quickly line up the dial properly – what a nice feature to have available! The other controls – RF gain, ALC/Mic Gain, and the band selector all worked as they should, except for the AF gain, which squealed if turned up past ¼ of the way. The audio volume is sufficient that I never had to need to go any louder. The proper sideband for each band was automatically selected, and the rig includes a switch to select the opposite sideband.

The “mystery" control was a selector switch labeled “Off/Cal/Rec/Trans/CW.” I decided that this was to be used for CW operation. In order to send and receive CW, you must move the switch from Receive to Transmit, back and forth – not the most elegant solution. I was unable to try this because the CW feature on this rig was not operating at all. I plugged in a key, and there was no carrier to modulate. A repair would probably get this working again, but I would not want to do CW on this rig because of the manual switching requirements. The 350XL I ordered does not appear to have this design flaw. In normal SSB mode, it is not necessary to use this switch – just set the switch on “receive” and the PTT switch on the microphone will switch the rig to the transmit mode. The Atlas 210 did not include a microphone. Mine came with an older Shure hand mic, which is an excellent match for this rig. Any high impedance mic will work. A low impedance mic will not have enough gain to be very usable. With the microphone gain control, there is no advantage to using an amplified mic such as the Astatic D-104, but an unamplified Astatic, Turner or Shure microphone will work well. I’ve always gotten desirable audio reports as long as I don’t set the audio gain too high.

A popular option was the mobile mount bracket, which allowed the rig to be easily removed from an under-dash installation by simply sliding the radio out of the mount.

The included speaker was adequate, although a larger speaker was included with the optional base mounting station, into which the rig was simply slid into in order to go from mobile to base operation. My rig included the mobile bracket, but not the base unit, which looks like a very nice option to have. The base station bracket also includes a power supply. There is a ¼” phone plug on the rig to connect the auxiliary speaker or headphones, which will disconnect the built-in speaker, but this had been removed from mine when a modification was made on the DC power connection.

The radio operates well from an external power supply putting out about 12-14 volts DC. The output RF power is strong and consistent, averaging between 85-110 watts. There are no filters or noise blankers installed in this transceiver, but the noise floor seemed to me to be as good as a new transceiver with the standard filters installed.

There is occasionally a small amount of signal drift, but only on rare occasions, and it seems to go away and stay away once the rig is warmed up (an odd thing to say about an all transistor radio!) The only negative thing about this radio is that it is missing part of the 75/80 meter band, which begins at 3.7 mHz rather than 3.5 mHz. This design flaw has also been corrected in the newer 350XL model. Also, this radio and it’s “sister” rig, the Atlas 215, is one band short. My 210 does not have the 160 meter band, but it does have the 10 meter band, where the 215 has 160 meters, but not the 10 meter band. The 350XL has both, plus the ability to add extra crystals for MARS use or for some of the WARC bands.

One of the advantages of this rig is the many modifications and improvements available through online user groups and discussion forums. Not only does the open design of the radio make it easy to modify, it also makes it easy to repair yourself if you have the skills. A schematic diagram and other technical information is included in the manual, along with a detailed adjustment (tune up) procedure.

As I stated earlier, I have constantly received complementary audio reports from this rig. It is simple to use and a very solid performer. There is no learning curve as there are not the usual dozens of switches to adjust because they are not necessary! I have never missed any feature that were not included! As most of you already know or have heard by now, this radio is the “second generation” of the famous Swan transceivers that were manufactured in various locations in Southern California, mainly at the plant in Oceanside, California – a solid example of American manufacturing at its best, and highly recommended by me, N6TKT!
K9FON Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2010 09:07 Send this review to a friend
Very good retro HF rig!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a 210 and a 210X and they are both GREAT litle rigs. What i've always liked is the receiver section. These little rigs have big ears!!! Ive read a lot of reviews about these rigs drifting. Well mine on dead on after about 10 minutes of warm up time. They are old 1970s technology, and if the minimal drift bothers you then get a rice box rig for the instant gratification hams!
The transmit on my Atlas rigs averages from about 100 watts from the 210X to well over 185 watts out of the 210. The 210 I have had been revamped by the previous owner after the finals pooped out. He installed 2SC2879 finals which are the same type used in CB amplifiers. Overall, im pretty happy with my old atlas rigs and they will have a home here in my shack for years to come!!!!
N7JBH Rating: 4/5 Nov 9, 2009 11:37 Send this review to a friend
No CW sidetone.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Very compact rig for it's vintage, mid/late 1970's. My only complaint is it doesn't have sidetone when transmitting CW, and requires a change of the R/T switch when going from TX to RX while in the CW mode. Other than that, it has beautiful receive audio, and I always get good signal reports with this rig. If you have one of these, hold on to it, it's a classic American made radio and was cutting edge technology in it's day.
K8CKW Rating: 4/5 Sep 22, 2002 16:37 Send this review to a friend
A very good radio for its time.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a atlas 210x with the console and mobile mount. Its a good sideband rig and works well to this day. Its not to good on CW because of drift and poor filtering but I still like the radio for camping trips.
VE6XX Rating: 4/5 Feb 6, 2002 03:45 Send this review to a friend
teething troubles when new  Time owned: more than 12 months
Greetings! I owned several 210's & they were ALL frequency drifters, & two had tx spurs out to 1GHz! The receivers were very good for the time, but the tx was unfortunate , to say the least. It is not adesirable rig for today, for a variety of reasons, support/parts being in the forefront. The fixed station console was a nice feature, but I expect they are becoming rare. If it works, It would make a good portable or mobile rig for a "beater" vehicle or summer cottage/hunt camp. Ok for working local nets on 75 or 40, but not a serious radio. The price would have to be right.
Regards, Brian, VE6XX
KB5PLD Rating: 3/5 Feb 5, 2002 22:57 Send this review to a friend
Good rx bad tx  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned an Atlas 210x LE since 1980. The LE has extended rx/tx on 10m. During this time I have put in new PA transistors 4 times. The first time it blew the tx I sent it to Herb Johnson of Atlas radio. He went through the tx and sent it back with a statement that it was back to original factory specs. When I got it back I was on the air 2 weeks and it blew the transistors again. So I went through the tx after that. The last time I installed new transistors the guys at Rf Parts informed me of a fix for tx problems and I havent had a problem with the tx since. The rx is the best part of the rig. It can pull the weakest signals out and be perfectly readable. But it drifts badly. When you are on the air, you better keep one hand on the mic and the other on the tuning knob! Tnx de KB5PLD.
K6SDW Rating: 3/5 Jul 21, 2000 18:31 Send this review to a friend
Solid transmit/receive, but limited  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had an Atlas 210x fer 4-5 years, but not used it much. Very solid receive and transmitter, in fact, receive selectivity compares with the best analog rigs of that era.
Radio is getting "long in the tooth" - old, it doesn't cover the WARC bands nor all of 80 and 10mtr bands, mostly the phone segments. Speaking of CW mode, forget it, it's there but very rudimentary by today's standards. No side tone and unless you have the VOX unit you must manually switch between ssb to cw by hand....U G H!!!
Positive side, its small enough to make a great, cheap ssb mobile rig. Seems frequency stability is good enough for mobile service.
If you buy one and it breaks, good luck getting parts! May be buy two one working and one for parts?
I like mine -- it was ahead of its time when new, but "long in the tooth" now.....HI ....73

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