by Hiromichi Fukuda, JA1IFB/KA1Z, The collins Radio Association
 
     
 

[PREFACE]

 This document was complied after my visitation to the Collins Radio Association's Collins Radio Center, near Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the United States. The contents can be useful to those who collect and use Collins Radio equipment, specifically, collecting hints for maintaining good condition of our favorite Collins Radio sets in Japan.

 The Collins Radio Company, now Rockwell International, manufactured up until the 1970's some of the finest radio equipment in the world. This amateur radio equipment allowed us to enjoy excellent amateur radio- activities with fantastic radio set like the Collins S-line, KWM-2 and KWM-380. One exciting story is that of the legendary Gus M. Browning, W4BPD, who traveled the world contacting fellow hams from DXpeditions to exotic spots of the world like AC5, FR7 and XW8 with the Collins KWM-2 in early 1960. JA1IFB, Kodo still remembered that he would say "I just want to calls from people running under 100 watts" all the time.  On the contrary, many Japanese Amateur Radio operators were running their home brew gears, which are crystal-controlled radio sets, so called "Collins type" at that time. In 1974, Kodo has acquired one set of the used Collins S-Line at a display at Associate Radio managed by amateur radio station, W0BC in Kansas City, Missouri, using the combination of a 32S-1 with a 75S-1. The station is still on duty for daily DX-hunting.

 Regrettably, that 32S-1 was not compatible for CW operation since it employed a tone to generate CW, as well as the chattering of the VOX relays. Resourceful hams often modified their Collins using articles in QST and other ham radio magazines or using the later Collins service bulletins.

 The Collins Radio Company has no authorized service representative in Japan. Kodo is just wondering what we will have to do for resolving trouble of Collins equipment by our selves without the proper advice.

 Coincidently, Kodo come upon the Internet home page of the Collins Radio Association with its wealth of great information and pictures of Collins Radios:www.collinsra.com  In accordance with suggestion of Dr. David A. Knepper, W3ST Secretary to the CRA, Kodo has carefully studied about Collins Radio set used in Japanese Ham world. And the information on this matter presented herewith is the very essence of his investigation.

[COLLINS RADIO SETS USED IN THE JAPANESE HAM WORLD]


 There are approximately 2,060 set of Collins Radio used among Japanese Amateur radio operators and others. Next, We will introduce Collins receiver 51S-1, 75A-series and 75S-series and transmitter 32S-series, KWS-1, also transceiver KWM-series, and the linear amplifier 30L-1, 30S-1

.            Estimation of Collins in Japan (found 70%?)
Fraction
Station
Sets estimated
Call sign identified station
264
1940
Call sing unknown station
15
105
SWL and name unknown
8
12
Total
287
2057
 

 
     
 
[POSSIBLY PURCHASING ROUTES FOR COLLINS RADIO SETS IN JAPAN]                  
 There are several sources or routes for the purchasing Collins Radio sets: (1)  Through Collins traders in Japan (2)  The Dayton Hamvention in US (3) JARL Ham Fair in Tokyo or Osaka (4) Business trip to US (5) Through ex KA-station or MARS in Okinawa The Japanese FCC Statistics of May Issue in 2006 has reported about the population of Japanese Amateur Radio operator,

              The population of Japanese Amateur Radio operator
Classification
Population
Registered Ham Station
555,351
Licensed Ham Operator
3,224,713
First-class
24,685
Second
74,147
Third
169,149
Forth
2,956,732
 
 Five hundreds of Japanese Amateur Radio operator among them estimated are capable in assembling their own equipment and restoring traditional radio set like the Collins, the Drake and military used equipment. It is quite naturally that the share of Collins Radio set in Japanese Ham world is less than one percent (1%) due to the cost and availability of Collins parts in maintaining and restoring Collins Radio.

 So many Japanese Amateur Radio operators wish that they owned a Collins S-line, KWS-1 and KWM-2 at once. However, they could not acquire Collins Radios because they were either students of in high school or in the university when production of the Collins S-line began in the 1960's and ended sometime in the early 1970's. The cost of owning Collins at that time was rather prohibitive.

 General speaking, Japanese Amateur Radio operators were released from their duty of providing for their family at 60 years old, those who are now rich enough to acquire them and still looking for the chance to achieve the dream when they were boys. However, bear in mind that it was risky to acquire secondhand equipment without technical knowledge on the items.
 
[CURRENT PRICE INFORMATION ON COLLINS SETS IN JAPAN]
 Collins Radios appear now on the Japanese market at reasonable price based on its performance evaluated by Japanese Collins traders. Price is in the range of USD1800-USD2200 for KWM-2A and USD2700-USD3400 for the combination of a 32S-3 and a 75S-3 without 516F-2. Regrettably, we will have to point out that surplus radio set are supplied to Japanese users without Collins original instruction book. This is true problem.

 It is quite all right to purchase the Xerox copies of Collins instruction book with another payment, price is in the range of USD20-USD45, however, we afraid that the Xerox copied one is just effective for our acquired radio set or not. As far as Collins parts is concerned, we can not find out authorized suppliers of nominal parts for Collins Radio set in Japanese market.
 
[THE COLLINS RADIO ASSOCIATION]
 There is still something special about owing a Collins. No other radio has ever enjoyed such resurgence in popularity as Collins. Back in the 1970's and 80's the new solid-state transceivers from Japan were replacing the venerable Collins. Lots of Collins appeared on hamfest tables only to go begging for new owners. However, the pendulum seems to be swinging in the opposite directions as Collins is making a strong comeback, including other classic radios of that era. To the delight of many Collins was first choice back ten and it is still the first choice of many that believe that every Amateur Radio operator, at some point in their career, should own Collins.

 After graduation, Dave joined the Air Force and become a heavy transmitter equipment repairman overseas in England and the Azores Islands in the Airways and Air Communications Service. Every control room had a R-388 to monitor the various transmitting frequencies and there were various 5kW H.F. transmitters not more than 50 feet from the main console. Dave had experienced the maintenance for military equipment there.
 
In 1960, Dave would visit a local ham, with the nickname "Pappy" W3PDP, who had bought one of the first KWM-2's in Western Pennsylvania. He set the standard for audio quality and frequency stability on SSB. It would not be until 1971 that Dave would acquire his first Collins, and what a find it was - a 75A-4 and a KWS-1. Thus began this love affair with Collins and Dave's odyssey to acquire more Collins.

 Today, Dave has one of the largest collection of Collins in the world, located the Collins Radio Center, a public museum of the CRA. Dedicated to preserving the Collins heritage. The CRA website, in the "Collins Album" are some digital pictures of the Collins Radio Center, located near Dave's home. Visitors are always welcome no matter what day of the week.

 W3CRA, the "flagship station" of the CRA, is located in the Collins Radio Center. Visitors can operate Collins equipment at five different console positions on all HF bands, including A.M. using two 30K-1 transmitters matched to two 75A-1 receivers. There is a distinctive QSL card for those that contact "W3CRA." The station the net control station for the CRA Collins Nets on 14.250 MHz each Saturday at 12:00 EST and on 75 meters each Monday and Wednesdays on 3.805 MHz at 20:00 EST. Schedules can be arranged by contacting the chief station operator, Dave, W3ST.
 
QSL card of the flag station W3CRA at the CRA The chief station operator W3ST, Dave-san
 
- SIGHTSEEING AT THE COLLINS RADIO CENTER -

 

The Collins 75A-1, 75A-4 and KWS-1, 30S-1s at W3CRA The Collins 32V-2, 75A-1 and 75A-4  
An old man with white hair is JA1IFB/KA1Z, Kodo visitor to the W3CRA. He has earned Amateur Extra Class license in January 2007, he is served the amateur community as an ARRL VEC Extra VE.
 
The Collins 30L-1 and modern KWM-380s at corner of W3CRA The monitoring room of W3CRA, we are very pleased to show you excellent receivers such as the Collins R390A and Hallicrafters SX-100, Hammarlund SP600, Heath SB300, .National NC-500, also RCA CR-88
 
[THE COLLINS JOURNAL]
 His interest in journalism led to the publishing of the Collins Journal magazine, beginning in 1994 and now after fourteen successful years, this bimonthly publication enjoys a worldwide readership.

 Each issue contains helpful tips on restoration and repair, including recent articles from Dr. Jerry Johnson, K0CQ, technical adviser to the CRA.

 The special edition is made to the bimonthly issue released in the November 2007 issue Vol. 14, No. 6 of the Collins Journal. Kodo wishes to quote said the special Christmas edition on the Collins KW-1 here. The Collins KW-1 is arguably the most desired AM transmitter ever produced. There were only 150 manufactured in the mid 1950's so they are certainly rare. They are also big, heavy and full of tubes! For those of us lucky enough to own one they represent the "ultimate" in a vintage AM transmitter.

 In accordance with the report of Collins KW-1 registry complied by Bob Sullivan, W0YVA, KW-1 is one of the most desired pieces of Collins equipment! Here is listing of the current owners of the KW-1. It is as accurate as I can make it based on information at my disposal.

      
 
 The present situation on KW-1
Total production
150
Owner identified
122
Museum
2
Anonymous
4
No information
22
 
 The Collins Radio Association enjoys an outstanding membership list from Collins owners all around the world. There are even international chapters of the CRA in England, Japan, and Africa. Its mission is to promote preservation, restoration, and on-the-air use of Collins. There is no dues structure and one does not have to own Collins equipment to belong to the CRA, just an interest in Collins. The CRA encourages local members to form their own chapters and to serve as mentors for those just starting out in this hobby.
 
[POSTSCRIPT]
 We will have to reconsider some fundamental feature on the ultimate plan on amateur radio in order to enjoy Ham activities with the old gear or the latest models consisting of semiconductors for average amateur radio station.

 The information in this report has been carefully reviewed and is believed to be entirely reliable. However, the data presented herewith are used only a guide for the understanding on the Japanese market for the Collins Radio set. Because of the data vary from day by day.

 In a few words, we will have to pay our attention to two points for maintaining the Collins Radio set in good working condition. First, we should prepare the suitable instruction manual and service bulletin for the Collins owners attached here and secondly learn the hint and kinks of the predecessor. Nothing is ever done in a hurry. The replacement of vacuum tubes improves a radio set but there is more to reconditioning these fine radios.
 
      Collins instruction book of a 32S-3 and service bulletin of a 32S-1
            Collins service information letter and special letter
 I should like to thank Dr. David A. Knepper, W3ST, Secretary to The Collins Radio Association and also
Mr. Shinzaburo Kawai, JA1FUY/NV1J, the Chief Editor of qtc-japan.com for giving me a golden opportunity to report on current situation of Collins Radio in Japanese market.
 
[Subscription Information]
 United States-$20, Canada-$25 and Overseas-$30, published six times a year, bimonthly. Also, we can mail your Collins Journal in a protective envelope for an additional $5.00, when specified. Payment by U.S. currency, U.S. Bank check, or money order made payable to the Collins Journal. PayPal is also accepted to our email address. Our mailing address is Collins Journal, Post Office Box 34, Sidman, PA 15955. Once you subscribe, you automatically become a member of the Collins Radio Association (CRA). The membership form in the membership section of the website should be completed and sent to us for registration.

 The Collins Journal is dedicated to the legacy of Collins Radio Company whose employees produced some of the finest radio set in the world. It is our hope that this publication will be a contributing factor in the preservation and operation of Collins equipment. All Collins logos contained in each issue of the Collins Journal are the trademarks of Rockwell-Collins Inc. and are used by permission. No copyright infringement is intended when Collins related pictures or documents are used.
 
[Biography]
JA1IFB/KA1Z and W3ST/W3CRA
JA1IFB/KA1Z - Hiromichi Fukuda has been licensed since 1959, first as JA3BVL, then JA1IFB and since 2007 as KA1Z. He is a chemist at 71 years old and member of ARRL and JARL. He is also serving the Amateur Community as an ARRL VEC EXTRA VE.
de JA1IFB/KA1Z

QTC-JAPAN.COM April 4, 2008
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