Collins 75S verses a Drake R4

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

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  1. W6ELH

    W6ELH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great feedback gents, I appreciate it!

    Yes, "entry level" was a poor choice of words. Perhaps I should have asked about the preferred "gateway drug" for want-to-be Collins users! (grin) Jim...
  2. KK6IYM

    KK6IYM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a KWM-2 and 2A, several 75S3's, several 32S3's, an S1 station, a 75A3, and 30L1 (all winged emblem). I also have Drake "B" line and "C" line stations, and several TR4c's, several TR4's, and a bunch of TR3's. Both manufacturers have their pluses and minuses. I love my KWM-2 because of the long struggle it took to restore and how well it continues to perform. I have found my Collins gear is harder to keep operating at peak potential than the Drake stuff, but at peak potential the 75S3 is a great receiver. I also have a lot of Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, Heathkit WRL Globe, Central, Johnson Viking, RME, Kenwood, Yaesu, National, etc receivers, transmitters, and transceivers. I do not operate CW, so the phone operation of the Collins KWM-2 is very satisfactory for my purposes and to me, it is the classic boat anchor transceiver.

    Wish list: Hallicrafters SR2000--"The Hurricane"

    Glen, are you related to Harold Zook (deceased), the California architect?

  3. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page


    All persons, born Zook, in this country, can trace their ancestry back to one Hans Zaugg who was a Mennonite minister who was imprisoned, for 7-years, in Switzerland, because of his religion. There were 3 of his grandsons who came to the British American Colonies in the late 1710s / early 1720s. As such, Harold would be a distant cousin.

    As for keeping Collins equipment operating at "peak": I have not had any problems with my Collins equipment as well as having worked on several hundred Collins items over the decades. I check the alignment every few years and seldom have to do any "touch up".

    I do check the machine screws / nuts that go through the chassis with all of my equipment including Collins, Heath, Eldico, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, and so forth. Those fasteners do work themselves loose and / or become corroded over the years and it doesn't matter what the brand!

    Glen, K9STH
  4. KC3NDU

    KC3NDU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very good thread. Informative read. Still confused for my needs. Im looking for a "tube set" that is great on receive and great on cw. I was thinking a collins r390a for a receiver. Still looking . Now I am not so sure.
  5. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    WD4IGX likes this.
  6. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Find a good 2B! R4c is hyped / way over rated. Owned and used both btw.
    R4B is usually more favored and lower cost also...
    K2XT likes this.
  7. KC3NDU

    KC3NDU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    That is a good suggestion as far as I have read. Plus the Drake is affordable. I allowed myself to become enamored with the mystic of the Collins radios. But I will continue looking. I have also been looking at the Heath sb301 and sb401. Thank you for your suggestions.
  8. N2EY

    N2EY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are much better choices than an R-390A for amateur CW reception.

    The SB-301/401 combo is quite good if you don't want to spend what Collins cost.

    The first Big Question is whether you want the ability to transceive or not.
    K2XT likes this.
  9. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ok. R4B :)
    Collins/Heathkit same ole same ole. Not much sizzle there.
    N8AFT likes this.
  10. K8CCA

    K8CCA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have an R4B/T4X/L4B and Collins 75S3B/32S-3/30L-1/30S-1 and I like them both. They both have pluses and minuses. The Collins stuff is better constructed in my opinion, but it's older. The Drake is certainly good stuff, but the smaller size (has some transistors) and lighter tuning knob, make it feel not as substantial, although it works great. The Collins S Line dial (PTO) is a work of art it's simple, yet really refined. I say get both, they are fun to play with. I also have a TR4 that's a great transceiver. That's the fun part of old radios these days is that you can pick them up broken, ie cheap and fix them, then play with them for not to much money and have fun. Of course swaps are the only place to find cheaper broken radios. I enjoy working on them as much as operating them. I have also had some heathkit gear over the years and they are OK, but not really in the same league as Drake and Collins IMHO. yeah they work, but the circuit boards are cheap and it's really easy to lift a trace. I have a SB-101 on my bench for a while that has intermittent issues and had been a bear to fix. First one I ever had, but not a fan on the circuit board material they used.

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