The Collins 75A-4 Thread.

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N6YW, May 16, 2017.

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  1. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    I wonder the same thing about a lot of the so-called "vintage" stuff. For a long time, back in the 60s, 70s and into the 80s, much of the now sought-after items were considered worthless obsolete junk, and were sold for pennies on the dollar at hamfests or worse still, tossed in the trash. Then the "vintage" craze caught on, and the formerly worthless stuff began to take on value, often culminating at the equivalent of pure gold. The collectors back then were mostly middle aged, with financial resources that allowed them to pay the sometimes exorbitant prices demanded. A lot of nice older stuff was saved from the landfill by this relatively new interest, and the older equipment held its value.

    I can remember back in the mid 60s my dream would have been to own a 75A-4, but then the going price was about $300, beyond the means of my meagre finances at the time. For almost a decade the receiver held its dollar value, but its price actually came down as the value of the dollarette continued to deteriorate. Finally, in the 1980s I was able to pick up a couple of A4s at $200 and $100 respectively, but they needed hours of work to get them in satisfactory working order.

    Now, at the most recent Dayton hamfest, I saw several A4s and the price averaged about $800, although I saw one priced at $500 something. People are still asking $1200-plus for A4s, and a lot of other vintage equipment is likewise priced high.

    But now, those middle-aged hams of the late 60s and early 70s who were beginning to take an interest and rescue the equipment that was headed for the landfill, are in their 70s, 80s and beyond, and there is no wave of younger hams or collectors following us to continue an interest in the old stuff. As the older generation dies off, who will be left to preserve the vintage equipment left behind? Will it once again become worthless old "junk" to be tossed out when the owner dies and the next generation cleans out his house to make it attractive to the real estate market? Or will a new wave of antique (by then the stuff will be well past 'vintage') radio enthusiasts once again resurrect a lost art and rescue the stuff from the landfill?
    AF6LJ likes this.
  2. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I paid $100.00 for my 75A4 which was like new and had two filters I think, I had to buy the AM filter from memory.
    Went to Dayton and bought a KWS-1 for $400.00 just because it was made so well, and traded both of those for parts to build a homebrew....
    Prices still seem high, which surprises me. You would think most of the old geezers would have a full basement/garage/barn by now...
    I do not want any of it. A few parts maybe, but no old radios.
    The kids would never go for spending top of the line smart phone money on old geezer gear!
  3. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Party Pooper.

    KD2ACO likes this.
  4. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    FIRST: Thanks to all who have preserved the heritage - particularly true classics like the 75A-4.

    IMHO, what makes things like the early HROs and the 75A-4 so fascinating isn't just how good they are - and they are very good, despite having limitations - but how good they are considering what their makers had to work with at the time.

    In regards to your post....Good questions all. I remember all the phases you mention, and kick myself over some of the deals I walked away from, thinking "that stuff will always be around".

    My hope is that a new generation of hams will produce a few who are interested in "vintage" gear, and will preserve it and use it. It will be a niche thing, for sure, like Model T Fords, pre-WW2 aircraft, etc. - but as long as there are some, there will be preservation. (Heck, there are Civil War re-enactors and collectors whose great-great-grandfathers weren't born when the war ended).

    The percentage of hams who "need to be interested" for preservation drops as the population increases. There were fewer than 5900 75A-4 receivers made, so, if there are 750,000 US hams, and all of the 75A-4s made are still in existence in the USA, only 1 in 127 US hams can have one.

    IMHO perhaps the biggest enemy vintage amateur radio faces today By that I mean homes where one can have a proper shack, workshop, antennas, etc.

    73 de Jim, N2EY
  5. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    One thing that motivated the purchase of vintage gear like A-line receivers and rigs like the Ranger were middle aged hams who had memories of their salad ham days when they were kids, and rigs like the Valiant etc. were financially out of reach. So they bought that gear later on to attain what was once unaffordable. Today's middle aged hams, fellows like me, are not old enough to have those memories. We are motivated by the desire to operate something we can understand to some extent and repair. Of course you get into it and get hooked on the hot glass experience but a lot of it is a backlash towards modern throw-away consumer product ham radio.
  6. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like that term.

    To your point about what motivates people toward this kind of gear, yes, the folks who were young and poor 50 years ago are getting beyond the prime years of accumulating toys for a retirement hobby. But they've been supplanted by folks like yourself who want some kind of rig they feel they're learning something about and can enjoy a connection with.

    Manual, human input, and having to "think" about operating a radio appeals to people, just like working on an old car, or taking photographs on a fully-manual film camera. The fact the gear happens to be "vintage" can be incidental but a valuable part of the experience as well. And that's why Jim's point speaks to the idea of our being custodians to pass these radios along to others at some point in the future.

    That future outlook is why I try to make an effort to encourage passer-by to come back again after they push the button or menu marked AM and spend time with us.
    N2EY likes this.
  7. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think Bismarck said something about hot glass and iron...
  8. KA4KOE

    KA4KOE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Picked up a 75A-4, serial 2325 from a friend, all three filters inside, 0.5, 3, 6 KC. Nice condition. With original manuals for the radio and 4:1 knob. Wow. I really like it.
  9. WA6SW

    WA6SW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is the the one you picked up from K6DGN SK wife Joanie in Studio City?
  10. K4KYV

    K4KYV Subscriber QRZ Page

    I saw several in the Dayton flea market this weekend. Price tags varied from around $600 to over $1200.

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