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.
Posted by Frank on 20th Apr 2013
I have built several "homebrew" regenerative receivers and know a bit about their expected performance as well as their shortcomings. This receiver is by far the best regen I have used. It is stable and does not suffer the normal ills of this type of set. Slapping on the cabinet does not produce instability and no amount of volume produces harmonic feedback. Sensitivity is amazing and under control. Regeneration is smoothe and predictable. Excellent kit assembly instructions as well. Only one who's built their own can appreciate just how well this thing works! Excellent job Ten Tec Engineers!
Posted by Unknown on 7th Apr 2013
This is a great kit, but Ten-Tec needs to do something about the instructions. Please stop making photocopies of photocopies, and clarify which side of the board is which.
Posted by SW Listener on 21st Feb 2013
I have built 2 of these. 1st one I forgot the 100uf capacitor, but still seemed to work alright. 2nd one I missed nothing on the assembly instructions and it worked perfectly. The only issue I had was the R6 adjustment so that I could hear regeneration on each band. I could get the 49 and 40meters band spread all accross the regen button, but the 120, 25 could only get regen when the regen know was turned all the way to the right or left. It did bring in distant stations and I learned a lot by building the kit. It is the sturdiest, most heavy-duty, non-military radio I have ever had. I'm waiting to receive the tentec 1254 model to come in the mail.
Posted by Paul Pedraza on 24th Dec 2012
Before one puts the kit together , on should orient the circuit board with the push button switch towards front and mount on aluminum chassis , then mount chassis on case temporarily.. then gently push the nine leds towards the front. Now solder one wire of each led. then disassemble chassis.
To clarify what is front and back... Where the switch is facing , that's the front.. and the silk screen is the back... Kind of organize on the table where or group components as to which side they'll go. Also tack solder that 100uf electrolytic Capacitor to the diode in parallel, - to ground side of it. This will help bandswitch from jumping.
Take your time and have patience. It will pay off.
as for the extra two components in the kit the Choke and capacitor.. I've installed a switch as an alternative.. It's up to to as for these two parts.
Have fun, and don't rush.
Posted by Tom on 4th Aug 2012
The instructions were faulty, and the drawings which I had to rely on in the absence of concise text were very poor.
Single-sided PC boards have a front and a back side; sometimes called "top" and "bottom." The components go on the front/top side, and you solder on back/bottom side where all the copper foil is.
With this kit, the the components are mounted on both sides of the single-foiled Bandswitch PC board. The assembly instructions don't say this, and never properly refer to the board sides with "top/front" or "back/bottom" names. The text only refer to the illustrations, which you must be able to decipher in order to build the kit.
When the text does use "front" and "back," it's referring to the front or back of the finished receiver; not the PC board. And since you don't know which way the board will go until you build it, the instructions can cause you to build the Bandswitch Board in reverse. I did.
Enough people have built this kit to know that people ARE getting it to work. I didn't, despite decades of homebrewing and kit-building experience. If you do decide to sink a bill into this kit, remember that it is NO Heathkit (if you ever had that pleasure).
Too bad there wasn't just one simple, descriptive paragraph of text to go with the blurry illustrations.
Posted by PAUL PEDRAZA on 20th Jan 2012
I'VE BUILT SEVERAL OF THESE WITH IN THE 12 YEARS AND REALLY LIKED THEM. ONE THING IS THAT ONE NEEDS TO TAKE CARE ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF OF LED MODULE OR (BAND SWITCH) READ THE DIRECTIONS CORRECTLY. SENSITIVITY WAS GREAT. I WISH THAT 25-30 YEARS AGO, I WOULD'VE HAD THESE IN MY ROUGH LUMBER CABIN.
I INTEND ON BUYING MORE TEN TEC KITS LATER ON
Posted by WA0KNW on 19th Dec 2011
I worked with a group of 4th graders (9 year olds) in building the kit and everything went together easily. We spent several weeks working with small groups of 3 or 4 students at a time during their recess time. It worked perfectly the first time we turned it on. The kids (and I) were amazed at the the performance of this receiver. Anyone considering this type of project should take a long look at this receiver.
Posted by NG9D on 9th Dec 2011
What surprised me most was how much time I have spent listening to it over the years after I built it! With every little project one builds and uses I suppose they learn a bit more about electronics and radio communications. In particular, this kit taught me something about the benefits of resonant antennas. If interested, take a listen:
Posted by Richard McMahon KG5IF on 9th Dec 2011
I’ve been evening this receiver for a while and after looking at NG9D’s you tube video I called TEN-TEC up and placed and order. A few days later the kit arrived. I found the kit packed well, no missing parts, good quality pc board and the kits case is very professional looking. This was my first kit since my Heathkit days while serving in the Navy. For me this was a two day project a good diversion on a rainy weekend. A few things aided my success with this kit. Reading the manual before starting assembly, following the instructions, good lighting, and a Weller WES51 temperature controlled soldering iron (worth every penny) and Kester 63/37 solder (much better than 60/40). After installing parts and doing the tests during assembly the kit was finally constructed. The kit comes with an internal battery holder for 8 C cells to provide 12 volts or you can run it off a good 12V supply. On my external 12 volt supply my kit draws only 40ma. Connecting a short piece of wire brought signals booming in during the evening and an 80meter dipole dramatically increased the number of signals heard. During assembly I installed the radio with the extra sensitivity option. The manual goes over this topic in detail and there is an option to install some standoffs to allow the sensitivity option (a capacitor and inductor) to be easily added or removed. In hind sight I’d suggest this route as the increased sensitivity makes the receivers regen and RF gain control setting much touchier. Pay close attention to the inductors it’s easy to get them mixed up. I found it was best to sort them by band and lay them out in order as to not confuse them. The colors are difficult to read against the green background of the inductor. TEN-TEC also included a fix for the key bounce on the band switch which apparently was an issue on earlier models. Installation of this cap seemed to cure the band switch issues and it switches from one band to the other as it should. The only drawback I saw in this kit was the manual. It had a couple errata’s showing changes and the manual appears to be photo copied. I’d suggest to TenTec to update their manual and include a new rev of the manual any time changes are made. Other than the manual this kit was a fun kit to build and operate. The controls take a little getting used to. For the price and being a regen receiver it was worth the price and Id buy it again.
Posted by Bob Woish on 2nd Dec 2011
I have built over 100 radio kits and few have been this much fun to build and use. And an attractive radio once the building is done. I have built a good handful of solid state regens, most squeal and hiss incessantly. This one is stable enough to avoid these issues. The sensitivity is excellent and the built-in battery holder and speaker make this a truly portable and easy to use functional shortwave radio. And the "hands-on" nature of a regen make the operator truly part of the shortwave listening experience. It is gratifying to get all the controls "just right" to peak out the sensitivity, selectivity, and stability of the received signal.