Issue 14: Collecting the Classics

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Mar 13, 2023.

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  1. KW4H

    KW4H QRZ Lifetime Member #572 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Excellent posting, well said. And without stealing your thunder, I'd like to offer some amplifying thoughts. My first career (now retired) was a government communications officer. I spent decades of my earlier life swimming in an ocean of high-dollar HF communications equipment, with giant fields of antennas that I could pick from at will. The receivers I used were so costly I couldn't even consider the idea of owning one. However, as you aptly pointed out, it's really all about the application. Those receivers and giant antenna fields were specifically purposed for secure radioteletype, and they had all the features that helped make that mode as reliable and stable as possible. Diversity reception included. After work, I'd go home and fire up my HW-101 and run phone patches and operate CW. Worked beautifully, there were no lack of signals, and the quality and stability were perfectly fine for that application. My point is that a Collins 651S-1 receiver (which cost up to $40,000 new) would have done zero for me. The HW-101 did a fine job of ensuring that the signals I wanted to hear were above the noise level. So it does, indeed, really come down to application. As an aside, there is one other consideration about tube-based equipment that may be of value to some: purportedly, they are less susceptible to an EMP. Should an EMP happen of sufficient magnitude, a whole lot of hams are going to go from an operating radio to scrap metal pretty darn fast.

    73 - Steve, KW4H
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2023 at 12:44 PM
  2. KW4H

    KW4H QRZ Lifetime Member #572 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    You're not missing anything. The R4-C wasn't a great performer right out of the gate. Drake cut a bunch of corners to keep the receiver to its price point, and the end result was horrid performance due to compromises involving the filters and no noise blanker. The only way to make an R4-C perform (to my knowledge, anyway) is to modify -- add filters and other things. The end result is apparently quite satisfying. That being said, I've heard that most Drake owners prefer the B model to the C. A stock R4-C is bug-awful.

    73 - Steve, KW4H
    W7DGJ likes this.
  3. K1APJ

    K1APJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't collect classics anymore, but I run a few vintage stations purely for the sport of it. I make no apologies for anything!
    KW4H and W7DGJ like this.
  4. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks Tom. A great series of posts. There's been a lot of great hi-fi gear produced in Binghamton NY for many years now. I'm so glad it's still with us. I second your comment that you'd like a radio with modern performance (in my case, IC-7610 style) but with a classic look and ergonomics. Dave
  5. KD9CNV

    KD9CNV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for your excellent article. This was the first time reading your column because the topic had special interest for me. I have been in electronics all my life but not in RF. I only became an amateur operator in 2014 so I had no nostalgia going on with respect to ham radio equipment. I do have an admiration for industrial design and quality workmanship. It “speaks” to me and excites my senses. It could be a car, a camera, a musical instrument, a watch, all active interests of mine. When it was time to look for a radio, I wanted something with an interesting history, something that I could learn from, something I could work on with hands, eyes, and tools with which I am familiar. Transistors were well established by the time of my formal education in electronics but tube equipment surrounded me in broadcast radios, Television, and stereo equipment and, like many others, I liked the glow, the aroma, the need to be patient and let it “warm up.”. I chose a Collins KWM-2 transceiver as my first radio for these reasons and as my enjoyment in using it increased, I added other Collins equipment, most recently a 22 tube 75A-4 receiver, my enjoyment has only increased. WIth no digital readouts and no waterfall, this equipment taught me how to LISTEN; to tune to the correct frequency, to find weak stations, to learn the band organization, etc. And best of all, I have repaired it myself with the excellent documentation and knowledge base available.

    I also purchased an ICOM 7300 to see what I may have been missing. I have to say it is one fantastic collection of features in a very small box for a comparatively very small price. I enjoy using it, I enjoy packing it in my carry-on when visiting family along with a rolled up dipole and power supply. But having taught many years in the SMT industry, I know I will never be repairing it.

    Thanks again for the excellent topic and thought provoking article.

    Regards and 73,

    Mike, KD9CNV
    W9ZLQ likes this.
  6. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    To each his own, I say. I do suspect that 80% of boat anchors’ appeal is reminiscing and not performance, otherwise there would be more young people into them, like vinyl records / LPs. But what difference does it make why someone likes certain ham activities, if they do?
    If someone likes digital modes exclusively, then FB to that, too.
    We need to promote the ham activities we like, without denigrating the activities we don’t enjoy.
    WD5GWY likes this.

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