Who remembers Swan

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KA4DPO, Oct 11, 2017.

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  1. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The first Swan rig I remember was the 240. I first saw one in 9163 and was enamored with it. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. When the Signet 260 came out I was graduating from high school and couldn't afford one but I vowed that one day I would. My friend down the street's older brother got a Swan 350 around 1967 and it was sweet, at least we thought so.

    They were the first company I can remember who made a transceiver in the early 1960's besides Collins.

    So who else remembers thinking Swan radios were cool?
    WB6MMJ likes this.
  2. KQ9J

    KQ9J Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My Elmer-Next-Door who gave me my Novice test when I was 14 years old had a beautiful Swan 500CX. I was enamored with that rig but it was way out of reach..I was lucky to have my HW-16. Fast forward about 35 years and I found a nice 500CX and bought it. Still have it....works great!!
    K9ASE and KA4DPO like this.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I remember Swan just fine, and actually trained at the Oceanside factory back in 1968 to become a Northeast U.S. Service Center, which was within Federated Electronics in NJ. At Federated we moved a lot of Swan gear, probably selling at least ten transceivers a week of that brand (considering we were also a dealer for Collins, Drake, National, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, Johnson, Squires-Sanders/Clegg, Regency, Signal/One and everybody else who made ham gear at the time, selling ten a week of any brand was good.)

    I had a Swan-120 and a Swan-140 back in '66 (both used, they were older than that), and they preceded the 240. I worked on all of them from the 120/140/175 through the 240, 400, 350, 250, 500, 700 and 600R/T twins.

    None were stellar but the designs made great use of a limited number of tubes and parts, using most tubes for multiple functions. Workmanship was always good, and the dual-speed planetary drive used on the 350, 400 and everything later was a very nice touch.

    Met Herb Johnson (W6QKI) during my Oceanside visit and he was a very nice guy.
    KA4DPO likes this.
  4. W6ELH

    W6ELH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I live perhaps 25 miles from the old Swan facility. It was seeing a Swan advertisement in a 1969 issue of 73 Magazine that first interested me in them. That issue had a story that mentioned my "uncle" Dave Kreiss, W6ELH. Something about that ad really caught my attention, and I sought out a "traveling companion" of my own.


    I paid a whopping $60 for this 260 Cygnet, and it was one of my very first efforts at putting a boat anchor radio back into service.


    What's really funny (or not, actually) is that the old Swan runs like a champ and I get very pleasing audio reports. In contrast, I have a KWM-2 that I paid a small mountain of money for, and I can't keep it running for 10 minutes at a time. Just luck of the draw, I suppose. I also have a pair of Swan 500s which have been much less cooperative. That project is on the back burner at the moment, but I hope to get one of them operational soon.

    Cheers... Jim W6ELH

    KA4DPO likes this.
  5. KY5U

    KY5U Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ah been a ham for 50 years. Did I mention that? Well I designed the Swans and windows from my first house was used to make the tubes. I taught 1,000,000 people how to use them and the Swan mike was made from ceramic dinner plates I donated. Did I mention I been a ham for 50 years?


    Yeah. Yeah.
    N2EY, K3EY and WR2E like this.
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    W6ELH, you're fortunate the Cygnet has been so reliable because in all honestly, they really weren't.:p

    One weakness was the internal power supply. The "bigger rigs" all had separate, external power supplies but the Cygnets were built-in and much more prone to failure than the external ones.

    But I agree...unless someone screwed with them Swans in general always sounded good on the air (SSB), and their receiving (recovered) audio usually sounded very good also.
  7. K3EY

    K3EY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had the 500 and 700. Also what I believe was a 400 modified with special Russian tubes.

    There was a guy named Stu who used to run the Swan net, that’s where I got that special one. He restored and sold them trying to get as many as he could on the air.

    I don’t know whatever happened to Stu.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't either, but you'd remember the "400" because it did not have a VFO dial on the radio -- the VFO was in a separate box.
  9. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    They used to have a swapmeet once a month at the Swan parking lot in Oceanside. I would always go and followed it to the end of Swan. They always brought out lotsa floor sweepings and circuit boards and parts to sell off to the hungry hams!!! Some of my greatest deals were there at the Swan Swapmeet
    K9ASE likes this.
  10. W6ELH

    W6ELH Ham Member QRZ Page

    WB2WIK said: "...you're fortunate the Cygnet has been so reliable because in all honestly, they really weren't."

    Oh, I'm certainly not claiming that the Swans were a superior product to anything else. It seems to me they were a "blue collar" working man's rig. And yes, I'm just glad my little 260 continues to shine.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017

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