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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Commercial/Military/Marine adaptable to ham use | Collins R 391 Help

Reviews Summary for Collins R 391
Collins R 391 Reviews: 1 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: 10 channel autotune R 390
Product is not in production.
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SWL377 Rating: 5/5 Jan 8, 2013 10:56 Send this review to a friend
Great receiver, beware of mech issues  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The R 391 is a rare reciver. It is basically an R 390 (not R 390A) with a motorized tuning mechanism that allows a user to program ten channels and select them with a simple ten postion rotary switch rather than getting carpal tunnel syndrome or "R 390 wrist" from torque tuning those big knobs that drive endless gear trains, slug racks and cams. If you get one be sure to read up on all the precautions that must be observed to maintain mech synch if you remove certain modules. I prefer the R 390 (xtal and LC IF filters) to the R 390A (mech IF filters) as it sounds better. If you are trying to slice out close packed CW sigs the 390A is probably better. A killer combo is a Collins R 390 and a Sherwood SE 3 outboard synch detector. You can spend thousands making an R 390 family receiver super mint (Rick Mish, Howard Mills, Chuck Rippel etc) or just get one, make it work, clean up the front panel and enjoy what many consider to be the best vacuum tube general coverage receiver in the universe. They are not fingertip tuning rcvrs, but that's part of the lore. I love to watch the cams racks and gears go through their motions when I tune and often have the top off. Actually I did see one Rick Mish super tweaked R 390A that had remarkably light touch tuning, but most take a fair amount of torque to tune the KC dial. The R 391 allows you to program in (via memory cams and switches) ten preset channels which can help eliminate w lot of wrist motion. The tuning motor runs on 24 VDC which must be supplied externally. If you dont care about auto tuning you can operate it as a normal R 390. It's pretty cool to fire up the 1950s vintage R 391 and compare it to the rcvr in my 21st century Icom 756 Pro III. So far, the old 391 can hear anything that the Icom can and the signals sound a lot better on the 391. The 391 is a curiousity. If you want to experience the joys of Collins veeder root readout HF general coverage tuning the cheapest way to get there is an R 392. Read the reviews of that rcvr on eHam. They go for a lot on eBay but I still see them at hamfests for about $200. R 390s and 390As seem to go for 2-3x that much and even more on eBay. These heavy 390 types are tough to ship so finding one locally is a good idea. You'll avoid damage and save a lot in shipping expense.

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