Collins S-Line

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by stg58, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. stg58

    stg58 Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Went over to a fellow hams shack last night who has a Collins S-Line setup and man is that stuff nice.

    He has the same setup as this picture without the mic but has the Collins linear amp..

    They don't have the bells and whistles that Kenwood and Yaesu do but they are solid with great audio and stuff you can fix without a microscope for surface mount components.

    Down side is I may have gotten the Collin$ bug:(

    swampbilly likes this.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yep. the Industry Standard for a very LONG time, HOWEVER, in the Modern World, have you looked at what a SET of Tubes cost, to reTube a setup like that? It isn't for the average Monkey.... and tubes DO have an Operational Lifetime.... ..... YM and PocketBook MV.....
    swampbilly likes this.
  3. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    When in the USAF, I did the maintenance on these. For decades. They are, for 1960s gear, really good. Last I checked a complete re-tube would run several hundred bucks.
    If you've never had to replace a T/R relay, you don't know what frustration is.....

    Stability is 300HZ - OK after 30 min to warm up. An IF system was available to allow notching out signals if used for CW. I've owned, and sold a KWM-2a with the suitcase xtal packs and all that. (so-called spy kit)

    I get the same or better performance with anSGC2020 and a amp. 1/5 the weight, DC with needing a converter and have the SCG ADSP, far better noise reduction than the Collin ever did.

    For CW/PSK31 I use a FT-817 with the Collins filter. Collins filters are really the best....

    But, ya, they are cool looking...
    swampbilly and stg58 like this.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yea, nothing like a Good Collins Mechanical Filter, for a nice sounding Receiver.... I just sold one of the Collins 6Khz AM 455 Khz filters on for $40US... It was one I had kicking around from an AM Upgrade Kit for a Northern N550 SSB Radio. (I was an Employee, back in the Day) All those Northern Radios had Collins Filters installed until the Patent ran out, and cheaper versions were made. Don Stoner (The S in SGC) was an interesting fellow to know. His partner, Pierre Gorral (The G in SGC) was a Total Jerk, and that is why that Don split that scene, fairly early on, after the original SSB Marine and Fixed Radios, hit the market. There is an interesting STORY about the FCC, and "Stoner Watts" on a SOLAS Inspected Vessel, that comes to mind. Just little bit of History of Modern Radio Production in the PNW...
    swampbilly likes this.
  5. William Warren

    William Warren Monkey+++

    It's very rare for a company to have the combination of design, marketing, and technical expertise that Art Collins assembled. For its time, the "S" line was a good performer, and is still popular among hams who like "Boat Anchor" radios.

    Hams and other techs who deal with "hollow state" radios tend to keep a sharp eye out for estate sales of deceased tv repairmen, where they buy all the vacuum tubes that were in the tube caddies those techs carried with them. For the non-standard tubes, there are other sources, such as flea markets, and even though it's inevitable that the supply will dry up sooner or later, sometimes I think that there were so many tubes made that there will always be another barn or another attic to keep the boat anchors afloat, at least as long as there are nostalgic "old buzzard" hams like me, who still like the radios that were popular when they were little "harmonics".

    The funniest part of vacuum tube nostalgia is that there are factories in St. Petersburg, Russia, which make them still. It seems that the USSR had to create a supply source for the tubes needed in all the old radios from WWII that they were still using right up until the end of the republics, which makes me wonder just how big the vaunted "Bear" in the russian woods really was. ... but I digress.

    Tube-type rigs have some advantages that modern units don't: they can tolerate wider ranges of mismatch and stray voltage, for example. However, they also have a lot of disadvantages: weight, complexity, fragility, and finite lifespan. From a prepper perspective, they're not a good choice for emergency comms. Of course, if you've got one and it works, that's something to hang on to, but I wouldn't choose to buy them for EmComm if I didn't already have one.

    William Warren
    swampbilly likes this.
  6. WA4STO

    WA4STO Digital Communications Monkey

    Ah, Don Stoner. Remarkable feller. I did a series of articles for him in his magazine, around 1990. Also paid he and his wife a visit at their spectacular place out near Seattle at about the same time. RIP, Don, RIP.
    swampbilly likes this.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yes, Don was an interesting fellow.... Not so thrilled with Pierre though..... When Northern Radio Co. went under, SGC was at it's Height in the Commercial Market. The got Finn Christenson from Northern, and he designed the RF Power Amp that finally Fixed the SGC "Stoner Watts" issue of the early Radios, by building them a REAL RF Amp with REAL RF Transistors. What was left of the Northern Design Team, all went to SEA (Stephens Engineering Associates) and coalesced around Phil Maynard, (Production) and Bill Forgey. (Chief Engineer) Mark Johnson (Microprocessor Design) went out on his own, but SEA was his Biggest customer. Pete Hopp (Engineering Support) also went to SEA, as well. Those guys built some fantastic Radios, over the years, with the SEA222 out selling all other Commercial SSB HF Radios. My Private Coast/Alaska Private Fixed Station uses an SEA322, with a custom Interface, driving a Northern N542, and with custom Firmware, that can support up to 8 Control Heads, on 4000 wire-feet of 6 Pair Ethernet, or Telco Wire. The Antenna System is here. Still in operation over 20 years later..... ......
    DKR and swampbilly like this.
  8. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    Stacked dipoles? Is that a 100 foot tower? I live under the run in for both Elmendorf AND Merrill field. No tall towers for me....
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Top Dipole is a custom Morad 3, 5, & 8 Mhz Trapped Dipole. Middle Dipole is a Standard 4, 6, 8 ,12, & 16 Mhz KW Morad Trapped Dipole.
    Bottom dipole is a pair of 2.8Mhz Morad whips, mounted "Back to Back" in a Dipole configuration, and feed with a custom SEA1612B AutoTuner with a 4:1 Balun on the Output, to do the UnBalanced to Balanced Conversion, mounted at the bottom of the Tower. You can just make out the Feed Wires, if you look real close, that go from the AutoTuner to the Base Pipes just inside the Loading Coils, on each Whip.
    this is the 1.6 - 30Mhz Tunable Antenna, for Frequencies not in the Range of the Big Trapped Dipoles. The N542 does all the Antenna Switching, as programmed thru the custom Interface, from the SEA322 Exciter. This gives 1 Kw for 3, 5, & 8 Mhz, and 4 - 16 Mhz Marine Bands, and 1.6 - 30 Mhz @ 150 Watts, for anywhere else thru the SEA1612B. The Vertical at the Top is a VHF Super StationMaster for the Private Coast VHF Station. All FeedLines from the Radios to the Antennas , are Belden 9913.
    kellory likes this.
  10. William Warren

    William Warren Monkey+++

    I used to demonstrate ham radio for my son's Boy Scout troop, and I do other demos on occasion, so I've got a question that you might have the answer to: is there a list of HF stations that kids who have shortwave receivers can listen to at home? My ham radio transceiver covers 0.3 to 30 MHz, so I can tune in pretty much any station that's within range, but it seems that all I hear when there's a group of kids listening are digital signals. I'd like to know if there are any SSB stations that they can tune in and listen to real radio traffic and get a feel for how radio is still used.

    I looked up the list of ARINC stations, and sometimes we can hear them during demos, but it's pretty dry stuff, and the jargon of "selcal test" and so forth is too hard to explain to youngsters, so it'd be nice to have a list of stations that are easier to understand, and which (I hope) have more traffic, so the kids can listen at home like I used to with my HQ-129-X.

    All suggestions welcome.

    William Warren
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    I am afraid that the Marine HF Radio System has all gone to GMDSS, and SAT based Comms, these days, and the Old HF Public Coast Stations, like KMI, WOO, and WOL, have all gone the way of CW, in Maritime Mobile Comms. The only HF Commercial Radios left are the AirInc AeroNautical EnRoute Radios that track Overseas Flights across the Major Oceans and the Arctic. These Frequencies can be found in CFR48Part87.... One of the reason I am reTIRED. Not much need for Marine & Aircraft RadioMen these days.
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