Tag Archives: Collins

Two of my Collins Station Setups are For Sale

Having acquired an HF-380 during the lockdown my now extra Collins radios need to find a new home.

K9ZW Collins HF-380 Rack in progress

Would prefer to sell each setup as a group. Both ran well, but have been sitting idle since before the virus lockdown (or longer).

Expect separate detailed posts later with more detail, each but in a nutshell:

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K9ZW Main Home Rack Progress

Spent some workshop time on the last Saturday in January 2021 getting the main K9ZW Home QTH FlexRadio Rack up and running.

The FlexRadio setup had been usable barefoot but  operated from other power supplies, routers and gear not actually on the rack itself.  I refused to take a picture of the rats-nest of layered cabling that had been in use.

Main K9ZW Home QTH FlexRadio Rack

I’d been putting off wiring everything to essentially make everything work. So today I got out my Andersen PowerPole tools, made cables, did software updates and got the whole lot working right. Walking you from the top down:

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Collins S-Line Cable Set – A LOT of Cables!

Collins S-Line Cable Set - A LOT of Cables!

Collins S-Line Cable Set – A LOT of Cables!

Ok, the RCA-to-N is for another configuration and there are three spares included. But what a mass of cable to hook up a basic station!

I did order all the cables from the same source, as I wanted a fully matched set appearance and the convenience.

That odd RCA-N RF cable and the RCA-RCA RF cables would have been inconvenient to source any other way.

With modern rigs we either never have the connections (as more of the radio is in the single box) or have multi-wire connections that interconnect in a snap.

In the next installment we’ll show things hooked up (and hopefully keeping “the smoke in” and working!)



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Collins S-Line Station Interconnects and Connects….

For those of you who grew up with separate Receivers and Transmitter what I am working through is likely going to get a “Duh K9ZW, what did you think?” response, as I am learning all about the interconnects and connections of a Collins S-Line Station.

Black-Box radio users are accustomed to hooking up the power, the microphone, maybe a headset, the ground, and the antenna. If running an amp, tuner or SWR meter there is only a very few additional connections additional.

Not so with an S-Line Station. While possible to run the station with fewer interconnects the classic set up when a 30L1 Amp and 312B4 Station Control are added, the full complement is a whopping 18 cables!

Collins S-Line Full Interconnection Chart

Collins S-Line Full Interconnection Chart

There are four low-power RF connections using RG-58C/U terminated RCA-to-RCA. Yes those RCA connectors like a budget speaker system uses.

Then there are ten RCA-to-RCA patch cables, plus one RCA-to-bare-wire to connect your CW key.

Your microphone will need to terminate with a PJ-68 plug if your setup is a “S-1” like mine.

You will need an odd RCA-to-90 degree N-Connector RG-58C/U cable if you want to skip the amp. May as well get one and have it on hand in case I want to operate sans the Amp.

Otherwise you need a N-connector-to-90 degree N-Connector RG-8/U cable between the Amp and 312S4 meter. To get from the meter to your usual station connections (Antenna Switches, Tuners and such) you will need a 90 degree N-Connector to usually a PL-259 RG-8/U type cable.

If you add that all up, it is actually 19 cables, but the odd RCA-to-90 degree N-Connector RG-58C/U cable is a spare if you want a no-amp configuration.

The high count excludes a ground and three electrical plug-ins! And there is a cable from the 516F2 Power Supply to the 32S1 transmitter as well. If we were really counting we should include the Twisted Pair from your POTS Telephone Line to the 312B4 if the Phone patch were hooked up. That I think brings us up to 25 cables plus the spare one for that no-amp reconfiguration!! Whew!

As I had on hand but half of the needed cables, I’ve gone internet shopping to fill out the cable set I actually needed.  Have sorted out adding the cables I need with again Mark KE9PQ supplying the additional newly fabricated cables I need and some spare/optional cables I wanted.

I should mention not all connections are on back plates, with several of the RCA connections inside the radios on the chassis. The units have a nice pass-through to allow the cables to get inside.

The 90-degree part on N-Connectors is to do with the limited space inside the 312B4. Straight N-Connectors will work if the coax is flexible enough.

While I’ve not yet put the Collins S-Line station on the air, I am having fun learning about another time’s technology in Amateur Radio.



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Rounding Out the Collins S-Line Station – Found a 30L-1 Amp

Thanks to Gary K8BKB my Collins S-Line vintage station is gaining an amplifier.  Gary had a spare 30L-1 of a similar vintage and style as the rest of the station, so it seemed a natural.

Collins 30L-1 Amp

Collins 30L-1 Amp

Still hoping by the end of September to be regularly on the air with this Vintage Collins S-Line station all running – 75S-1 Receiver, 32S-1 Transmitter,  30L-1 Amp, Speaker, Power Supplies and Station control.

Photos of the completed S-Line station will follow once it is all up.




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Collins S-Line Lessons – a Visit to the W9EVT Shack

Have arranged some Elmering – where the student is me!  At George W9EVT’s Washington Island WI-001L Ham Shack getting first hand tutorage in running Collins S-Line Radio gear.

Having collected enough gear for my own station, but lacking any boat anchor experience, it has been excellent to have George W9EVT walk me through the basics and the tricks of the trade. In his large S-Line collection George has exactly the same gear as what I acquired.

Also had a bit of time to meet John K9IY who has retired to the Island and has a small station several miles south of George’s QTH.  John has a wonderful place and is providing a community service as the Weather Observer for the Island, taking on the task when the couple who had done it for years couldn’t carry on observing.

Off to the W9DXCC now – see you there!



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