Collins Ruminations – Forward Station(s) Design(s)

Collins S-Line Gear in Temporary Storage

Pickup up the freshened benched and aligned Collins S-Line S-1 Winged Emblem  (WE) station from Chuck W9KR at the end of November 2022. Hats off to Chuck W9KR for all his fine work and taking the time to educate me on many “things Collins.”

My original S-1 gear was a station assembled with each component having a different history. Most were workable, the 75S-1 Receiver, the first Collins unit I was given by George W9EVT to start my Collins Station building off, responded great to W9KR’s attentions. However the 32S-1 I acquired from Northwestern Wisconsin simply wouldn’t respond to W9KR’s best efforts and in the end is now relegated as a parts unit.

So in mass purchase I was able to purchase a 32S-1/75S-1 setup in near museum-grade condition.  These radios and accessories have stayed together since produced some 60+ years ago!  It appears that I am only the third owner to boot!

Chuck W9KR previously went through my Round Emblem (RE) Transceiver KWM-2/A setup.

So refreshed and ready to put on the air, I now have two complete Collins S-Line Stations – the early WE 32/75S-1 setup and the late RE KWM-2/A setup, plus my KWM-380 rack setup.

The S-Line Separates are Winged Emblem, and that setup consists of:

  • RX 75S-1
  • TX 32S-1
  • Power Supply 516F-2
  • Phone Patch 312B-4
  • Speaker 312B-3
  • Amp 30L-1
  • Dummy Load DL-1
  • Tuner 180S-1
  • Keyer Heathkit HD-1410 Electronic Keyer
  • Electronic VFO – N3ZI VFO 1000/Collins
  • Speech Compressor DX Engineering LC-1-32S Linear Speech Compressor
  • Spare * Power Supply 516F-2
  • Spare * RX 75S-1
  • Spare * Speaker 312B-3
  • Spare * Phone Patch 312B-4
  • Parts Unit * TX 32S-1
  • Spare * Empty Small Cabinet

The S-Line Combined is Round Emblem, and that setup consists of:

  • Transceiver KWM-2/A
  • Power Supply 516F-2
  • Portable Power Supply PM-2
  • Phone Patch/VFO 312B-5
  • Speaker 312B-3
  • Amp 30L-1
  • Meter/Dummy Load Waters 334 Dummy Load/SWR Meter

The Collins Contemporary Rack setup consists of:

  • Transceiver HF-380, rack mount and most accessories including a factory spare parts kit
  • Amp Alpha 9500
  • RTTY Unit Hal CWR-6850 Telereader RTTY Terminal (plus spare unit)

Presently everything other than the KWM-380 Rack setup is in heated secure storage, as my station(s) design(s) are not settled.  Spares and Parts Units (with the * in the lists)  will stay in storage.  The KWM-380 Rack setup is in my Workshop/Radio Room.

Encouragingly the XYL is enthused about the S-Line gear!

My XYL wondered if I could run the needed cables from the Workshop Radio Room to the Office in our home, so the units could be used and displayed as the retro radio tribute they are in the main house.

Not certain if the underground would be affordable, as there is a small stream to either directional bore underneath or go shallow and run over the culvert in the road/walkway.

And as a matter of discipline, I’ve kept almost all radio things out in the Workshop/Radio Room so I would need to venture out of the house.

For some years the RE (Round Emblem) KWM-2/A based station was at our Washington Island QTH, where I much enjoyed using it.  That was until the virus lockdowns with the mice making my gear into a “Mouse Hotel” in our extended absences.

Upside of the “mice-escapades” was the introduction to Chuck W9KR through the Collins Collectors Association reflector, so it was absolutely a positive experience in the end.

At the Island QTH if I return the station to the basement radio room, it would have to have a a mouse-free way of storing the gear when not in use.

An alternative is to put the Collins Station in the upstairs of the Garage, which is setup to be wired into the radio operations at the Island.  Upside is the room has great light, is a visually very attractive space, and has proven very vermin proof.  Downside is while insulated, I do not heat the garage at this stage, limiting cold weather usage.  During the warm seasons it also is the overflow sleeping area for young visitors, which could conflict with doing a vintage station operation if the room is in use for sleeping.

The island based cabinetmaker I had hoped would do a piece of furniture for the station is in the process of moving off island to care for elderly family elsewhere, so becomes much less convenient for developing the mouse-proof piece of furniture that might make the station work.

The big question is whether a Vintage Station at the Island QTH a high priority?

Kind of putting an Island Vintage Station into the “that would be nice” category, provided a mice-free situation can be worked out.

Returning to the home QTH, perhaps all three setups would be best housed and operated from the main Workshop/Hamshack?  I do have a secure, warm and usable space at the work QTH for a setup (or two) as well.  Downside is it is a 8 mile drive from home once I hit retirement age in a few years.

I’d really like to have the station(s) located so they get used at least every-other-month, as frequent usage is the best way to keep the gear in operating condition.

A lot to think about!



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