Tag Archives: Collins KWM-2A Station

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.

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Collins S-Line Mostly Returns

A load of Collins S-Line gear

After MUCH work and TLC by Chuck W9KR, the majority of both of my Collins S-Line stations was ready to pick up.

The 32s1 transmitter is only major piece left behind for final work, as it hasn’t been behaving as expected on each band.

On a temporary basis the RE (Round Emblem) late production transceiver – KWM-2/A with 321B5 Second VFO – and station components (30L1 Amp, 516F2 Power Supply and so on..) will be set up where my Flex-6600M runs. This will let me work the rig lunch hours and after work, as I would like to let the station run for a bit before hauling it out to Washington Island.

I’ll do the same with the 32s1/75s1/30L1/312B4/516F2 WE (Winged Emblem) station when the transmitter is done.

The work Chuck W9KR did is monumental. Recapped, Upgraded, New tubes as required, new parts as required, decades of dust & grime removed, New 572b tubes, in certain cases mouse infestations sign removed, tech bulletin upgrades, CCA upgrades, and a few Chuck W9KR upgrades – especially in improving the reliability of the 516F2 power supplies.

The gear arguably should work better than when new, should be reliable and should have all that great Collins sound.

Quietly I cannot say enough with the detective work and bench work of Chuck W9KR.  I realize that I have so much to learn just in order to fully understand all the goodness he baked into these radios.

Lots of Collins fun ahead for me working the airwaves with refreshed vintage gear!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Digging Deeper – Collins S-Line work after Mice Tried to Move In

Some more great work by Chuck W9KR, this time on my Washington Island Collins Station where during my absence from the Island during the CCP-19 Virus “lockdowns” a mouse family tried to build their new home in my KWM-2A Transceiver.

Lots of shells (and poo)

Well packed during their brief residency

I get mice into the radio shack area regularly, and have traps set.  But traps are useless if you are are not there to clear them out, meaning the mice were second or third wave while we were absent from the island for the extended period of the initial virus lockdowns.

While I captured the mice easily once we could tend our mousetraps, it wasn’t until last year that I realized they had taken up residence and created their own warehouse of food inside the Collins gear.

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Thirteen Colonies 2018 in Vintage Style

For no really good reason other than it seemed like a good idea, I decided to put a very modest effort into working the Thirteen Colonies special event stations using a Collins KWM-2A transceiver and paper logging.

Just for fun.

Collins Station on the Island yes 

 
And yes, I didn’t make a clean sweep. But perhaps starting the effort in the last hours and limited actual radio time made that hopeless? Checking spots some of the stations were already QRT or were doing digital, so such is life.

It was a blast to run a while on the Collins, and if you look at the picture I had the manuals out to remind me of procedures.

Picked up some FIFA station contacts and a couple other special stations.

The Transmit/Receive relays and switching are a leisurely compared to the Flex-6700 on the bench with the KWM-2A. But it works and was really fun.

In the end I grabbed 10 of the 13+2 stations in quick order. As I worked the 4th and had no radio time all week I didn’t deserve better results. A noble effort in style will have to be the reward!

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Flex-6300 K9ZW North Station in QSO

 

Jumping forward from 1977 Collins KWM-2A technology to current technology, here is a photo of the FlexRadio Systems Flex-6300 part of my northern Washington Island station:

K9ZW Flex-6300 Station on Washington Island

K9ZW Flex-6300 Station on Washington Island

There is a lot going on in this little station, so first the hardware:

  • Flex-6300 w/ATU Transceiver with USB digital codec dongle
  • Windows 8.1 USB PC on a stick
  • USB hub
  • WiFi Extender – 1Gb
  • 1Gb router
  • FlexControl
  • Powered Speaker
  • Power supply is under bench
  • wheel mouse
  • keyboard
  • 24in monitor

 

Now here is the important list – the software:

  • SmartSDR v1.5.0 with Free Digital Voice and DStar plus-ins
  • DDUTIL v3.0
  • FlexMeter v1.3
  • N1MM+ logger

The Flex-6300 station got great reports today using a SteppIR CrankIR portable antenna. Mostly CalifornyQSO party station but also worked some DX.

The PC on a stick was an experiment that has worked out fine, and I will leave it for the time being.  When the 6300 is swapped for a 6700 I’ll put in a full PC.

I’m not happy with the included Flex hand microphone but forgot to bring a desk mic up this trip.

Once the permanent antennas are up it is going to be obvious that I will want a Flex-6700 here rather than the limited single SCU Flex-6300.  The 6300 will go to my traveling radio setup at that time.

Made a interesting contrast to last weekends QSOs done with the Collins KWM-2A station  on the same antenna.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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Collins K9ZW North Station in QSO

Eventually I intend to move the late Collins setup in this picture to my home QTH and bring up the S-Line separates set up.

This “Round Emblem” combined transceiver with external VFO for split operations is the final itineration of the S-Line series and was sold new in the mid/late 1970s.

K9ZW Collins KWM-2A Station

K9ZW Collins KWM-2A Station

  • KWM-2A transceiver
  • 312B-5 remote VFO and station console
  • 30L-1 amplifier
  • SM-1 microphone
  • Power supply is under bench

The other Collins station I own is a “Winged Emblem” first of the S-Line series with separate receiver/transmitter. That station is a 32S-1 transmitter, 75S-1 receiver, 312B-4 station console, 30L-1 amplifier, separate speaker and a power supply. The receiver/transmitter track each other usually. It dates from 1958 to 1960 from dating the serial numbers.

It has amazed me how many complex cables interface the various units. There are roughly a dozen cables in the KWM-2A station and about five-six more in the twins S-Line one. Many are simple, but some are complex and some are uncommon – things like RF coax with RCA plugs…..

The microphone jack is a military size and I had to source some as spares.

The KWM-2A station got great reports today using a SteppIR CrankIR portable antenna. Even worked some DX.

The audio has that warm friendly tube-amp sort of sound. Got great reports which I have to admit surprised me. I hadn’t expected it as there are so few adjustments possible compared to a modern rig.

I’m not happy with this particular SM-1 microphone and did make most contacts using an Astatic D-104 “lollipop” microphone instead. The SM-1 will go off for service.

I have a good ways to go in learning to use this gear, but as much fun as I had it is worth the study and practice time to get it right.

Made a interesting contrast to this weekends QSOs done with a barefoot Flex-6300 on the same antenna.

73

Steve
K9ZW

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