what is the best HF rig ever made??

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by M3WFO, Dec 5, 2009.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The "problems" with the R390/A are many: No product detector for SSB, and digital tuning which made just "tuning around" really quite a chore.

    Virtually everyone acknowledges this; although I guess if you don't mind tendonitis, maybe it's no so difficult.:p

    Having had a "brand new" Collins-made R390A, I think it's one of the very worst receivers I've ever owned for general ham use. But it would be perfect for pre-set frequencies, using AM, which is precisely what it was designed for 60 years ago.
  2. KI4WCA

    KI4WCA Ham Member QRZ Page

    On spinning the dial.When I first fired up the SP-600 I tried it with 20 feet or so of hook-up wire and cruised the BCB.I was amazed.

    Biggest disappointment in my entire avocation:getting my brand new Drake R8A and comparing it to the SP-600 on the broadcast band.I really enjoyed going after the highway advisory stations on 1610 and other silly stuff.I was underwhelmed.Very.Now the R8A has a killer accurate frequency display, and was nice for ssb and cw.But the SP-600 is virtually peerless on the BCB.And no need to attenuate the signal from the 265 foot long wire I was using at the time either.Live and learn!The 390 Collins has a superb reputation for digging stuff out of the noise too.

    PS.My SP-600 was built just down the road by Hammarlund in Mars Hill, NC.I met a Lady who tuned the main tuning capacitors for the SP-600 production line.She could do 7 or 8 of them a day.No wonder they were expensive!

    You might appreciate this:the tuning apparatus featured a magic eye tube display...and proper tuning happened when the cap was moved through it's entire range and no deviation on the tube was seen.To facilitate testing, the cap was driven by a motor, so if it was not right, the magic eye tube would open and close.Cool Huh?It is really neat to meet people who built the equipment.I toured the ITT Mackay Marine production facility in wake forest NC as well.It was where I first saw the 3031/3041A.And I got to discuss rx design with the engineers who designed it.Here is the funniest part of the ITT tour.I asked what they built at the factory and the secretary said "radios".I then asked to see the plant and was introuduced to the head engineer.He asked "If you could have any receiver what would it be?"I replied "a 75A4,A R390 or a 51J5 collins.He said "I have all of those.Come with me"
    The best radio experience I have ever had followed.
  3. W0GI

    W0GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Patience is a kind way to describe operating that receiver. You have to enjoy the history lesson. It is a marvelous design for it's age and purpose, but I'd rather operate a TS-140. :)
  4. W1GUH

    W1GUH Ham Member QRZ Page

    'ZNX said:

    Delete the 'S-3 from that list. It'll do general coverage with extra crystals.
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Only the S3-C has the optional extra crystal bank, no?

    Even then, it sure ain't "general coverage," as you get more 200 kHz bands, one more band per crystal. To make that "general coverage," you'd need almost 140 crystals...:p
  6. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The 51J-4 is older but is much easier to use than an R390 or 390A.
  7. N8ODF

    N8ODF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    First time I read anyone mentioning the R-1051 here on the Zed...was a workhorse on my ship....we had a bank of them all pretty new...low maintenance compared to the R-390....which I would like to put in my collection of junk...I believe there was a companion set the URT-23....I believe you mentioned Bainbridge posts ago....I was there also...you mentioned KWR-37's...KG-14's...don't forget KY-8's

  8. N8ODF

    N8ODF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My bad...wrong thread...was in the RM thread that someone mentioned the above....
  9. W1GUH

    W1GUH Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's the 'S3A with the extra crystal bank. Sure, 140 crystals for full coverage but it'll do it. You don't really need the extra bank -- you could swap out crystals as desired.

    Or....you could get or build a synthesizer and not need any crystals.
  10. W1GUH

    W1GUH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oops! It the A and the C witht the extra crystals. Next time I'll check before posting!
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