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9-Band SW Receiver - Model 1253

4.00 LBS
Calculated at checkout

Model 1253 9 band regenerative shortwave receiver kit. The classic “first radio kit” is back better than ever! We’ve combined the very same audio output circuit of TEN-TEC transceivers with a modern FET design for classic regenerative SWL receiving plus one-button electronic band switching.

1253 Manual Download



• Frequency coverage in 9 HF bands with push button control
• 1.760 - 1.990 MHz, 3.3 - 4.150 MHz, 5.5 – 6.9 MHz, 6.9 – 8.5 MHz, 8.5 – 11 MHz, 10.1 – 13.2 MHz, 12.5 – 16 MHz, 14.7 – 18.5 MHz, 18.5 – 21.5 MHz
• One-time internal alignment adjustment
• Decade counter digital logic device for push button band switching
• Varactor tuning and fine tuning
• Voltage requirements: 12-15 VDC or 8 “C” cells mounted internally
• Integrated audio amp IC for clean robust audio from internal speaker or headphones
• Kit includes parts, circuit board, assembly manual, battery holder, speaker, complete enclosure, and knobs.


All components and hardware supplied as parts of a kit are warranted to be free from manufacturing defects for one year from date of purchase. Rosin core solder must be used to assemble kits. This warranty is void if acid core solder is used in construction.

No warranty or refunds on partially assembled kits.

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Product Reviews

Showing reviews 1-10 of 20 | Next

  1. really works

    Posted by Dale Jr. on 24th May 2014

    I took my time with this kit and found it pretty easy to assemble following the instructions. I had no problems seeing any color codes although I did need a magnifying glass.(getting older now). I was a little discouraged when I first hooked up antenna in my basement and found nothing, however, when I strung 50 feet of antenna outside, I was very surprised to find many signals on almost every band. I haven't installed L10 yet but I do plan to do so.
    Anyone with any soldering skills at all should have no problem assembling this kit as long as instructions are followed. I do agree with others that access to the trimmer once case is on would be nice but all and all I am very happy. Looking to find another more advanced kit in the future.

  2. Great Kit for the cost

    Posted by KF5JYR on 19th May 2014

    Just finished the 1253 working on it here and there over the last couple of weeks. It was a pleasurable build as all the parts where there and everything is pretty straight forward. The instructions still have a few errors but nothing that can't be figured out by process of elimination if you have a little experience under your belt (see my comments - last paragraph).

    I agree with comments about the R6 variable trimmer, it'd be nice if there was access to this once you closed up the cabinet. To get the receiver trimmed to regenerate on all bands, regeneration occurs at almost zero on the lower bands and almost full open on the upper two bands. I did install L10 & C34. Regeneration is smooth (although sensitive) on most bands and is somewhat noisy and VERY sensitive on a few bands. Not a bad thing but you've got to be VERY light on the regen knob to get it tuned. This is my first experience with a regen so I'm still learning but was able to tune stronger signals right off the bat. Being that I'm still learning the regen, I'm hesitant to completely zip it up until I'm certain I have R6 trimmed properly.

    While some signals are difficult to tune in, it's great (and where most of the fun comes with this receiver) when you get it tuned in after some fiddling.

    I drilled out the antenna port in the rear and mounted a BNC bulkhead jack instead of installing the stock antenna and ground hardware. I'm also thinking about homebrewing in a frequency display once I get more comfortable with the receiver.

    Even thought I've had to chase a few signals with the fine tune, the receiver is more stable than I though it would be. It seems to get more stable after being on for around 10 minutes or so after it warms up. If you're looking for a receiver to monitor that you can set it and forget it, this receiver is not for you.

    Overall, I'm extremely happy with the purchase. I'm giving 4 stars due to the few errors still in the manual. I can see where these may be a confidence buster for a totally green kit builder with no one to turn to.

  3. fun and interesting project

    Posted by Mike Hall on 5th May 2014

    I worked on it for a couple hours at a time for about 3 evenings. Followed the directions carefully. It worked as soon as I was done. There are about 3 places where the instruction book and the schematic differ on component values. One was certainly a misprint. the others were easy to figure out by process of elimination against the parts list. All in all an enjoyable project.

  4. Fairly well designed product but......

    Posted by KC9WP on 4th Apr 2014

    the 1253 is a well thought out product, but some of the assembly steps seemed out of order, the power indicator LED could have been designed w/ a mounting clip or bracket, so that glue or "wedging in styrofoamoor cardboard" needn't be done. Also, to further update this kit, a sub-miniature plug should be substituted, instead of a phono plug. I would rather use a set of "ear buds" or lightweight headphones, especially using this receiver as a mobile device. Having to buy an adaptor only adds to the expense of owning this kit. And last, I thought the circuit board layout could be changed to allow the regenerative circuit trimmer (vertical, instead of flat on the board) to be positioned close to a side of the case with an access hole to allow further tuning, once assembly has been completed.

    All in all, though, I enjoyed building this kit. I miss Heathkit, and this kit is the closest I've seen in design and quality.

    R. Day

    All in all, though, I thoroughly enjoyed putting this kit

  5. Fun build but flawed

    Posted by Unknown on 25th Jan 2014

    I really enjoyed assembling this while having a chance to learn and practice good soldering skills. The chassis is sturdy and well-designed. I had no problem assembling the hardware and components. I could read the inductor color codes fine, and I didn't have problems with the band switching like others commented on. But in the end...no shortwave or ham signals. I can only pick up two local AM stations. I triple-checked my work and soldering points over and over again. I have a good antenna and ground connection. Four pots were sticky and produced a lot of static, so I asked for replacements and they were promptly delivered. But after re-installing these, it still functions the same. Now I wonder if there's a faulty transistor or IC chip. Instead of enjoying shortwave listening, I will spend more time troubleshooting this project. I also wanted to pass along a good tip: instead of using the large battery holder with 8 "C" cells, use an Engergizer A23 12V battery and hook the red/black wires to either end (secure with electrical tape). It's only an inch long and fits neatly inside the case.

  6. Nice kit for the money

    Posted by Jim, KC9OGJ on 23rd Jan 2014

    This is a nice kit to build if you want the nostalgia of an old time radio.What sets this regen radio apart from other kits is that it's a Complete kit...nothing else to buy.I think the construction manual has improved compared to some of the e-ham reviews. Ya just have to pay attention. There are a couple of typos but if you look at the parts list you can figure it out easy enough. If you like playing with knobs this is the radio for you! There is a learning curve as far as tuning in stations. Looking at a couple of you tubes helped me with this.

  7. Rewarding, if not Mildly Frustrating Build

    Posted by C Grooms on 14th Jan 2014

    This was a pretty fun build overall. It seems I too had issues with the labeling of the resistors and inductors. Getting resistor values with a DMM was easy enough, but had to wing it when it came time to install the inductors. I ended up having to solder a 100uf capacitor across the diode on the bandswitch board to ensure proper operation without key bounce. I installed the optional inductor for high sensitivity to achieve regeneration on all bands. The R6 variable resistor for calibrating regen on this kit is kind of a joke. I would really like to see Ten-Tec move it to the back panel of the unit in a future revision for on-the-fly adjustments. I will likely end up performing this mod myself. No problems with the instruction manual with my unit nor was there any errata. I'd be more than willing to build another one if TT would individually mark the inductors as most people don't have an easy way of measuring inductance. Anyone who knows how to handle an iron and can follow instructions should come out ok on this kit.

  8. My take on the 1253 kit.

    Posted by Art Prior on 27th Dec 2013

    When I opened the box I found a well packed, complete kit. I was impressed with the quality of the enclosure, and all parts were there. I think the instructions are a little tough for a beginner(especially the bandswitching board)but if you take your time they are do-able.I put a piece of speaker cloth in the top and I used stranded wire and had no breakage problems.I put the 1/2" wires in for the sensitivity control and I think I will hook it up with a toggle switch. I just finished it today and it fired right up---good job TenTec. I plan o have a lot of fun with this rig.

  9. Not for the beginner but nice radio when done.

    Posted by Bob Emerson on 8th Dec 2013

    This was a tougher kit to build. I had to reread parts of the instructions a few time to get what they meant. I also made some physical modifications to get the band select board to fit properly. Worked fine the first time I tried it though.


    Posted by Unknown on 7th Dec 2013


Showing reviews 1-10 of 20 | Next

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