Any other Ten Tec Century 21 owners out there? What a FUN radio!!

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W7UUU, Mar 6, 2020.

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  1. W3WN

    W3WN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    For anyone interested, several Century 21 transceivers have showed up on That Big Auction Site Named After a California Bay.

    I'd like if I said I wasn't tempted, but I have too many projects as it is...
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Super Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I noticed that. There is an uptick of interest in the C21 it seems. Had seen one in years and now they're everywhere!

  3. W8BBM

    W8BBM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, there most certainly has been and I picked one of them up for $187 that came with 2 high quality Heathkit Coax switches, 4 Belden jumpers, an off brand 2K watt meter and a very small and old MFJ tuner. I believe that was a good deal but the Century 21 arrived needing a whole lot of TLC. Cosmetically the radio is pretty darn good although not perfect. Electrically the PTO was completely jammed up and it has an AC hum that is horrendous covering up nearly any possible chance at hearing a signal except a signal from my main station rig into a dummy load. The 21 transmit section does work 100% but the calibration is off about 100 kcs or so and I will need to align the PTO as well. Fast forward a few weeks and I completely disassembled and cleaned and reassembled the PTO and ordered all new electrolytic caps, and a bunch of .1, .01, .001 etc. I didn't order discs for the radio as I doubt they are bad. I did notice that all of the .1 and .01 etc. are weird striped color coded caps and many were cracked! That can't be good. With a few more hours recapping and an alignment I hope to have a nice performing 21 to place next to my HW-9 which is a wonderful radio. Also, is anyone aware of a mod to make the 21 input drive meter function as an S-meter? I would love to add that functionality. If so, please email me.

    Take care,

    Peter W8BBM
    K4AGO likes this.
  4. K4AGO

    K4AGO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It looks to be in pristine condition. Congratulations on the find.
  5. K4AGO

    K4AGO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Peter, I have three Omni Ds and auxiliary PTO. Every single one of them had frozen PTO's TenTec must have used axle grease on the PTOs for lubrication. I found a very light silicone grease that works perfectly in the PTOs.
    W8BBM likes this.
  6. W8BBM

    W8BBM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I only used grease for the ball bearings and believe it or not used Mobil 1 synthetic oil for the rest and it appears to be a very happy mechanism!
  7. W3KW

    W3KW Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Has anyone ever replaced the vinyl covering on a Century 21? I bought a C-21 Digital that unfortunately needs the covering replaced. I bought a few options, but can’t find the original pattern/material. Any intel on this out there? They look pretty cool without the covering on by the way.


    However, I do want to return the digital one to the original covering if possible, or at the least, something very close. I’ve watched a few videos on technique but it’s really the material holding me up. I’ll update the thread if one of the Amazon options I bought work out to be close enough. If I can’t match the original, I might go...funky. We’ll see.
    W7UUU, NQ8J and NL7W like this.
  8. KI4ODO

    KI4ODO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I love my Century 21. The sound is very pleasant to listen to. It just has a warm sound to it. I find getting on frequency (zero beat) with another station easier with this rig than any other I've owned.

    My set up is a little different than this picture now, but the C21 is still on my desk being used regularly.

    W3KW likes this.
  9. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I love the desk and lamp, the old (looking) clock and the old hand key collection.:)
    W3KW likes this.
  10. AF2Z

    AF2Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a Century 21, bought new in '77 or '78, I think. It was my first rig. I still use it occasionally.

    Be careful of the finals; the protection circuit is not the most robust. However, I believe the transistors are still available for not too much, but you will want to get a matched pair. I have a couple of sets tucked into the rig for spares.

    I also have the original Century 21 QSL card stickers that came with my rig, hehe...

    TenTec Century 21 QSL Stickers.jpg
    WD4IGX, KA4DPO, W3KW and 1 other person like this.

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