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Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Vintage amateur | Collins KWS-1 Transmitter Help


Reviews Summary for Collins KWS-1 Transmitter
Collins KWS-1 Transmitter Reviews: 2 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $1,995
Description: 1000 watt input transmitter, 80-10m
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
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TZ6BB Rating: 5/5 Sep 16, 2014 03:55 Send this review to a friend
Cream of the crop of classic radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a wonderful transmitter that was the cream of the crop in the mid 50s. There are not so many of them around. Apparently just some 1,600 of them were made, and many ended up in the military. Probably not many have survived, 60 years down the line, and their current owners are not likely to let them go very easily. That, the mystique of the Collins brand and the historical significance of this particular transmitter makes of the KWS-1 a pretty rare bird, and that explains the very hefty prices they fetch whenever they show up in auctions etc.
I got mine from a fellow enthusiast in Spain, not so far from my QTH, and I was extremely lucky in that sense because this is an extremely heavy transmitter and to ship it anywhere must be kind of a nightmare. I had to work in it quite a bit before I was able to get it going.
If you come across one of these you will most likely have to work in it too. 60-year-old electronic equipment is very seldom just plug and play. But don’t get discouraged too soon; there are wonderful clubs of Collins aficionados out there, plenty of excellent literature on the subject and people will only be delighted to help you getting your KWS-1 back into action. And once it is I promise you will find the results extremely worth the while. You need to know what you do when you start working in it though: there are some potentially lethal voltages in a KWS-1.
The KWS-1 should easily produce 500 or 600 watts output of excellent SSB audio. On AM or CW you normally drive it down to 200 or 250W out.
I put my KWS-1 on the air as often as I can, and I feel very privileged and enjoy enormously every time I do. The experience operating a KWS-1 is quite unique, “old style”. For one, it is not designed to transceive with the associated receiver (typically the Collins 75A-4), and also it will drift a few hundred cycles per hour, so you need to keep an eye on it during a long QSO to re set it back to frequency as needed. This is because of the amount of heat generated by the PA, in spite of the (noisy) cooling turbine. That is part of its “personality”.
Forget about rushing when you are operating a KWS-1. To QSY to another band involves a re-tuning sequence that will take you at least 5 minutes to complete. This radio is meant at taking life very easy, adjusting everything carefully, ragchewing for a bit with your pals, retuning again… and most of all, enjoying the experience of operating a quintessentially classic piece of amateur radio gear.
 
KB2FCV Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2012 13:54 Send this review to a friend
Fun to use, great transmitter  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought my KWS-1 last year from a ham who took exceptional care of it. I was fortunate to find one that had all the service bulletins done and other reccomended fixes for things such as arcing, etc. The caps, etc were also replaced. This one was truly "plug and play".

I learned the basics of tuning this transmitter up from the seller and I've finally got the hang of it. Tuneup takes a while, especially if you need to change bands - those rolling inductors take alot of rolling to get there.. but that's all part of the charm. Otherwise, the tuneup procedure is fairly straightforward and easy. I've received many good audio reports with it on the air. I've heard other KWS-1's that sound nice on the air as well.

This transmitter is heavy! Make sure you have a friend with you if you need to move the power supply. I keep my power supply on a dolly if I need to roll it around the shack. As with any old radio these will need some occasional maintenance or the occasional repair, which is part of owning one. When I was a kid back in the 80's, I had some old 50's QST's and I used to drool over the KWS-1 and 75A-4. That was "unobtanium" on a kid's salary. It took a while, but a decade or so later I finally have the "Gold Dust Twins". They are alot of fun to own and use.
 


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