Collins 75S verses a Drake R4

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by KB4MNG, Nov 4, 2016.

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  1. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    i see a Collins 75 S mint condition advertised and thought about buying it. I've heard Collins is the best. How will compare to the R4? Much of a difference? What would you be willing to pay for a 75S.
  2. K2XT

    K2XT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    75S what?
    75S3? S1?
    Round emblem, winged?
    I had a 75S3 once. Many Drakes.
    Both are fantastic radios.
    All things considered I'd go with the Collins. Why? Because it is so gorgeous, sitting there on the desk, in dim lighting, with that beautiful dial, glowing. And the AM audio was perfection. SSB was too. But cw, with the 250 cy fiilter was awful. It rang something terrible. It has CHARACTER.
    The Drake, too sharp on AM. Great for SSB, and cw as well (1960s standards. Today would be considered too broad). A very satisfyiing radio. Easier to tune the bands with 500 kc/band vs 200 kc on the Collins.
    You can't goo wrong, as long as they are both working ok. But you DID say mint.
    A dozen other guys will give you a dozen oither very valid opinions.
  3. K2XT

    K2XT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Note: the spelling errors in the above post are the fault of my ipad. I know how to spell; I'm not too good at proofreading.

    Go wrong - not goo wrong
    Other - not oither


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  4. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    These are important questions. Also - what filters are included? What is the suffix letter?

    Same for Drake - there's the R-4, R-4A, R-4B and R-4C. Significant differences in each.
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    There is more to the Collins model number than 75S!

    Is the receiver a 75S-1, 75S-2, 75S-3, 75S-3A, 75S-3B, or 75S-3C?

    There are significant differences among the receivers. The 75S-1 / 75S-2 receivers are definitely inferior to the 75S-3- series. Of the 75S-3- series many Collins owners, myself included, consider the 75S-3A to be the best closely followed by the 75S-3. The 75S-3B / 75S-3C receivers are still excellent, but, unfortunately, the "bean counters" got involved with those receivers and some price cutting was done in terms of production costs.

    The 75S-3 / 75S-3A are the only receivers that came, from the factory, with a 200 Hz CW filter as well as the 2.1 kHz mechanical filter. EVERY 75S-3 and 75S-3A receiver had this 200 Hz filter. The 75S-3B / 75S-3C have optional bandwidth filter positions with the later versions having an additional filter position.

    There was a 500 Hz mechanical filter available for installation in the 75S-1 and 75S-2 receivers along with an optional BFO crystal. For some reason, Art Collins decreed that no 75S-1 or 75S-2 receiver be shipped with this optional filter installed at the factory. One had to purchase the receiver and then return the receiver to the factory to have the optional filter installed, to send the receiver to an authorized factory service center to have the filter installed, or there was a field installation kit available so that the filter could be installed by the end user.

    There are several Service Bulletins that were issued on all of the 75S- series receivers. Of all these Service Bulletins the one that makes the most improvement to all of the 75S- series is the "T-4" modification. The Service Bulletin was issued for the 75S-3B / 75S-3C. However, it is definitely applicable to all of the 75S- series receiver.

    Glen, K9STH
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  6. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Somebody correct me if I'm mistaken, but.....

    As I read the history, the main difference between a 75S-1 and 75S-2 is that the S-2 has the additional 14 crystal positions, for expanded receive coverage.

    However, when Collins came out with the 75S-3, it was the ham-bands version, and the 75S-3A had the additional 14 crystal positions - rather than having a "75S-4" model, as had been done with the 75S-1.

    Then, when the 75S-3B came out, it was the ham-bands version, and the 75S-3C was a B with the 14 additional crystal positions.

    In similar fashion, a KWM-2A is a KWM-2 with added crystal positions.

    Do I have that right?
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    As others asked, 75S "what?" There are many different versions with the 75S-3B or C being the latest.

    Also R4 "what?" as there are four versions of that as well.
  8. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    The 75S-2, 75S-3A, and 75S-3C all have the additional crystal deck. Performance wise, the 75S-2 is the same as the 75S-1, the 75S-3A is the same as the 75S-3, and the 75S-3C is the same as the 75S-3B.

    The 75S-2 and 75S-3A are both relatively rare with less than 500 of each being manufactured. I don't own a 75S-2, but have worked on several. However, I do have a 75S-3A and have had it for well over 40-years.

    The "T-4" modification, which was made on the later versions of the 75S-3B / 75S-3C at the factory, moves one of the 2-each 455 kHz i.f. cans from the AM filter over to the output of the 2nd mixer. This modification actually improves the AM reception as well as having the intended improvement in the 2nd mixer. Going to a single i.f. can in the AM filter widens the bandwidth which, in turn, makes an AM signal "sound" much better.

    I have made this modification to my 75S-3A and both 75S-1 receivers that I own.

    Glen, K9STH
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  9. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is no comparison. The Collins "S" means Sweet.
  10. W7UUU

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

    I prefer the audio that comes out of a Drake over Collins. Seems richer, fuller - especially on CW. I have owned 2 Collins S-Lines (S3B and S3C) and didn't really fall in love with them. The Drake B-Line has long been my favorite. I still own a very nice R4 that I have a 30m crystal for - plan to build a dedicated 30m transmitter this winter for it. Right now in the background my Drake 2A receiver is filling the room with warm CW tones.... I just never got that from Collins. YMMV of course. Just a preference thing.

    They're all good and bad in their own ways :)

    So why have to choose? Keep the Drake and add the Collins :)

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