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Author Topic: Collins 32S-1, just how lousy is it for CW?  (Read 3066 times)
NK6Q
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Posts: 202




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« on: April 25, 2012, 03:18:25 PM »

Even though I have a Drake TR-4Cw and am getting some primo vintage B-twins refurbished by the Maestro, Jeff Covelli, the primal tug of acquiring some Collins S-Line gear is hard for me to ignore- kinda like walking down the street and getting some righteous whiffs of barbecue!

As a returning ham and a CW-only op, I'm having a blast tubing along with the Drake, which I acquired after internet research determined the Drakes ran circles around the Collins stuff for CW.  But those Collins rigs are just soooo SEXY!

I understand that of all the Collins rigs the 32S-3 is the least stinko for CW operating, but what about it's older brother the 32S-1?  Yes, I understand it's a sidetone injected into the SSB signal, but I'd like to hear from anyone who's used either (or perhaps both) rigs and get an opinion about just how bad, or not so bad, the S-Line transmitters are for CW.

Bill in Pasadena
NK6Q
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KA5N
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 06:06:11 AM »

Have you thought about how you are going to work split???   While a pair of Collins
(75S-1 and 32S-1) are great for SSB rag chewing, they just don't cut it for CW.  Most don't
even have the CW filter installed.  Yeah they look great and have good audio quality.  I
would rather have a pair on display and get almost anything else for CW.

Allen KA5N
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G3RZP
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2012, 06:16:48 AM »

Slightly off topic...

When SSB first came along, people got an SSB transceiver as an add on to their existing AM/CW stuff. There also appeared to be little interest in CW by SSB ops, and that explains to some extent why a number of SSB transceivers of the 60's and early 70's only had a token CW capability, and were not suitable for a mainly or wholly CW op. That has only relatively recently changed, although it does seem as if the majority of designers have never used a rig on CW. I've not handled very much S line gear at all, but really didn't like it for CW.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 06:23:02 AM »

The serious CW op has good options in TenTec and Elecraft...
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G3RZP
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 06:29:32 AM »

Or in older rigs, FT102, TS830 etc.
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W4OP
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2012, 10:49:22 AM »

The issue with the 32S1 is as you stated- they used an audio tone (around 1600Hz from memory, so it's 2nd harmonic and higher would be well down the SSB filter skirt) to modulate the SSB signal. Even on a well aligned TX, there is always going to be carrier and opposite sideband generated- and maybe evn more garbage. Lore has it that CW ops using the 32S1 and KWM-2 on CW were  getting pink tickets.

I can run my Hallicrafters FPM-300 MK II (which uses the same scheme) well but i have further cleaned up the tone generator and run the PA at 14W- that's all I require to drive my amp. The output looks quite good on my spectrum analyzer.

Dale W4OP
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NK6Q
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2012, 06:54:04 PM »

I guess that means I need to source a 32S-3, which, as I understand, uses grid block keying to generate CW.  Just not sure if I really want to pony-up the bucks to get one.

There's alway the Drakes.

Bill in Pasadena
NK6Q
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W4OP
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 03:19:13 PM »

You could do a lot worse than the Drake Twins. The C line has a fabulous NB and PBT. The later model of the R-4C accommodated up to 3 CW filters. A little easier to span the bands as they tune in 500KHz segments as opposed to the Collins 200KHz/band position.
Although not built like the Collins rigs, they perform  as well if not better.
Many years back there was a saying:
Rich hams buy Collins, smart hams buy Drake.

A bit simplistic, but you get the jist.

I have owned both and enjoyed both.
Still have the C line
Dale W4OP
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W0BTU
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2012, 06:13:09 PM »

If you still want a Collins S/Line, I'll likely sell mine. Details and photo on http://www.qrz.com/db/W0BTU

EDIT: I think somehow I posted this to the wrong thread. I had this one and http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,84386.0.html open at the same time.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 06:18:58 PM by W0BTU » Logged

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