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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF+UHF models) | Collins KWM-2/2A Help

Reviews Summary for Collins KWM-2/2A
Collins KWM-2/2A Reviews: 34 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $N/A
Description: Classic HF SSB/CW transceiver
Product is not in production.
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KH6VP Rating: 5/5 Aug 19, 2014 04:45 Send this review to a friend
Excellent - Well worth the wait  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this radio last weekend, when I visited Mainz, Germany, for a steal.

It came from a ham who was cleaning his shack. It has the notch filter installed. It came with a German designed power supply (heavy duty transformer), weighing a lot more than the radio.

After cleaning and looking after it, I turned it on. It was great having tubes glow again.

The radio performed admirably, considering its age (it put out more than 100W). Obviously the choice of 6146B tubes in the final, was a good one (compared to others who designed their final sections around TV sweep tubes - and for those that don't know, sweep tubes were used in the sweep section of TV's, before high voltage, power transistors existed; these tubes often ended up as ham amplifier tubes).

My first report was excellent audio, which was good to hear.

All in all a great choice and an excellent buy. Will try and keep it going forever (as long as that may be) and pass it on to my son or daughter (both hams).
WB6OUE Rating: 5/5 Aug 9, 2014 18:24 Send this review to a friend
It's a Collins!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
My Grandfather (W8OSZ) bought this radio about 1970. When he passed away my father (WA6GZO) inherited it. Now it is my hands (AJ60) :) I can not tell how much fun this radio is to use. It receives the same as my Yaesu 450D, and Icom 730. In fact it sounds much better. Now I am in the learning the stage of how to keep this rig running. It has not had any work done on it in 25 years and is still putting out 125 watts with ease. The only down side I have found is it uses 275 watts in receive and 475 in transmit, so it is a little more expensive to run. I am sure this radio will still be around even after my 2 year old Yaesu has given up the ghost.
G4TCB Rating: 5/5 Feb 18, 2014 10:13 Send this review to a friend
one of the all time greats  Time owned: more than 12 months
When first licensed I wanted a Kwm2a, but could never afford one. Many years, and transceivers later, a good friend of mine announced he was going to put one on Ebay. This unit had been in a museum, on display for 15 years, and not worked for about 5 years before that. Basically the negotiations were brief, I bit his hand off!
The set was complete with Samsonite case, but no PSU, so I reworked a PSU that I made 30 years earlier to run an old Heathkit HW100. It took a fortnight to get the radio working properly, but the hours in the workshop seemed to drift by effortlessly. The relays, which were of the early type took some cleaning. I used 1000 grade emery paper soaked with isopropyl alcohol on the contacts, with great success. Quite a few of the valves needed replacing and I spent a lot of time with the old AVO valve tester checking emission levels. Very little alignment was needed, and only one resistor was high, the screen resistor for the PA. I found a similarly vintage resistor from the junk box.
The test results in the receiver slightly exceed the original spec in the handbook for sensitivity, the filter appears to be still sharp on the sides, audio on both TX and RX are excellent and the output power is as expected.
Performance on the air exceeds my Kenwood TS870s if you set the bandwidth to 2.4Khz like the KWM2A.
I was somewhat surprised on noting some hams regarded the KWM2a as unable to hold it's own with modern transceivers, I am not a CW operator, so cannot comment on that side of the performance but the SSB is as good as anything today from the specs I have measured. My only conclusion is they have a failing valve or two.
My Kwm2a dates from early 1964, so at 50 years old has already proved itself beyond any doubt.
I use a Reslo ribbon microphone, with homebrew valve preamplifier and get regularly complimented on the audio quality.
As stated before, the Kwm2a is my main station rig, and will be part of my SK sale.
G0MJK Rating: 5/5 Feb 16, 2013 04:42 Send this review to a friend
A definite keeper  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my KWM-2A plus clip on psu in its samsonite case. It had seen service in an embassy and came with a complete set of spare valves. I had to recap the psu and do some tweaks to re-commission it and my techie friend checked the alignment on his test gear. The machine was made in Toronto and works well. Along the way I have added a 516F-2 psu , a 30L1 linear and an external vfo, having to refurb the psu and linear along the way. I have modern radios but they do not compare with using this gear especially with a Heil vintage mike for superb audio reports. If you find a good one grab it you will not be disappointed.
K4FY Rating: 5/5 Jun 22, 2012 02:31 Send this review to a friend
Fine old rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Collins equipment has been the Harley–Davidson of Hamdom since Art Collins rolled out the 75A-1. Maybe a little before. The KWM-2/2A is merely one of the later manifestations of the radio art from Cedar Rapids. Some of the comments about the rig, seem a little off.
Hams that love the Collins name tend to be either older (like me) with inflated memories, or boat anchor aficionados. There a lot of mystique that comes with that Collins logo. Most of it is justified. Art made Single Sideband THE voice communication standard for military and amateur users. The KWM-2 and S-Line were a risky departure for Collins; the AM position disappeared from the “Emission” dial. Art bet the farm on that.
Does the KWM-2 stand up to modern rigs? No, but a 1933 Lincoln doesn’t stand up to a 2012 MK either, but which would you like in your garage? Collins is an artistic manifestation of minimalism served up with a heaping helping of breathtaking quality. The KWM-2 doesn’t have a lot of dials and buttons. Some of the new stuff looks like miniaturized juke boxes designed to capture those fascinated with shiny objects. You can see I have no strong opinions on this.
Those who think the KWM-2 can’t hold its own in contests or DXing are abundantly mistaken. Plenty of OP’s use lesser rigs than the KWM-2 to “own” a contest frequency in five minutes and maintain ownership until their voice runs out and their totals hit the roof. So far as DX goes, my country total stands at 244 and I used a lot less than a KWM-2 to get most of them. The KWM-2 with a remote VFO is a formidable DX machine. Push a 30L-1 or 30S-1 with it, feed a tri-band Yagi, and it’s, SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
The KWM-2 has some faults. It sucks on CW and so does the S-1 line. Best to keep the Mike gain down low. Meanwhile, whatever floats your boat, make it happen. One of the super-cool things about the Ham Radio service is that each of us can follow our dreams. That’s nice.

VA3PWC Rating: 5/5 Apr 10, 2012 12:03 Send this review to a friend
Great RX & TX  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I was 15 y.old (1995) I had my first Collins KWM2 (1963). Nowadays I am 32 y.old and I still enjoy a lot playing with those rigs. Right now I have two KWM2 (1963 WE and 1972 RE) with 312-B4 and 312-B5. I do also have two KWM2A (both WE 1966) both with 312-B4 and PM2 and 312-B3 power supply. I do also have the original case with all crystal. I have some modern rig but it is always good to feel a tube reception. All of them have a smooth reception and transmition. The only complain is on CW mode, but using the external VFO (312-B5) things make easy. I also have 2 Collins 30L1 with 4x811 (still transmiting 600W on low bands). Now I am looking for a 30S1. I am not a war veteran or I did not work for Signal Corps, but I really enjoy these kind of equipments. I have sold my Drake lines, but these ones will still at the shack. 73 Rick PY2EL \ VA3PWC
WA2ROC Rating: 4/5 Feb 18, 2011 10:16 Send this review to a friend
So far so good.....  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My 1961 vintage KWM2-A (note spelling) had been sitting in its Samsonite suitcase in a closet for 30+ years until I was offered it at a very good price. It needed minor fixing plus a good alignment and was sent to one of the Collins repair dealers. It was send back to me this past week.

Plugged it in, tuned it up and worked 3 hams on the East Coast followed by an EA7 in Spain, all with great signal and audio reports. All this on 40 maters in late afternoon

I only gave it a 4 due to the short time I actually had the radio, but will re-rate it later in it's lifetime.

So far, I'm happy!
F6CER Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2011 07:58 Send this review to a friend
That 's Collins !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just bought a non-working 1961 KWM-2 (S/N:10360)and after a painfull month of hard work , mostly spend to scrounge the right parts in various old Collins avionics equipements , the thing is now working perfectly .
If we consider the transceiver with a 21th century point of view (I am an electronic engineer specialised in RF systems design for government use):
-the frequency coverage is very limited
-the receiver has a very bad dynamic range
-the CW mode is a badly designed
-the transmitter is very good , with low distortion , far ahead of most actual amateur rigs with MosFet PAs
-it is a nightmare for changing parts
-It is a master piece of good engineering
-it is a pleasure to operate with room for every fingers and less than 100 knobs !
-It is a reference in design
-it was a dream when I begun to be a ham .... in 1963 (!) as it was so expensive and mysterious for a young electronics studient !
-What will happen in 50 years to your Icom , Yaesu ,or next Chinese rig ? will it be even working or repairable ?

Now I have one , working perfectly , I am happy's great ...IT IS A COLLINS !

KG0MN Rating: 3/5 Jul 8, 2010 20:47 Send this review to a friend
It's an okay radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased my mint KWM-2A from a retired gent and gave him $400.00 for it and to be honest I have used it handful of times. Sure it is a nice radio but so are the 2 complete Drake lines that I have in a closet setting next to the Collins. After using my Kenwood TS-2000 I can't see using the Collins for much of anything, but I will hang-on to it in the hopes that the Collins worshipers will pay more money later on. If the radio had some other brand name no one would want one.
LW8DJI Rating: 3/5 Jul 8, 2010 15:52 Send this review to a friend
regular radio these days  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I think primarily to test a radio must be put aside feelings toward or equipment you own, some wrong write reviews just because they own a radio as they are reviewed and can not accept that it is low quality, are not objective.
the collins KWM2 certainly not convinced me, the problem is that not being objective, must take into account that within 50 years of age. This radio really not worth it today for daily use and much less for a contest, the receiver loses in a face to face with almost any contemporary radios, the transmitter also supports comparison, besides having a stove in the middle summer. I agree to have it only as nostalgia, or relic and turn it on in a while, but just that, provided that they pay little money for it.
If you are looking seriously to communicate and participate in contest miss this and other old radios. is like an old ford t, was a success, although it remains and must be respected for that, but would not think to take a weekend trip of 1000 km with it. my score of 3 is only because he made history, is built like a tank and is a classic. sorry I do not speak English and use the google translator put it in Spanish for those who understand

ante todo creo que para hacer una prueba de un radio hay que dejar de lado los sentimientos hacia el o los equipos que usted posea, algunos escriben equivocadas revisiones solo porque son dueños de un radio como el que estan revisando y no pueden aceptar que es de baja calidad, no son objetivos.
el collins KWM2 por supuesto no me convencio , el problemas es que no estaba siendo objetivo, hay que tomas en cuenta que es un radio de 50 años de edad. este radio realmente no vale la pena hoy en dia para el uso diario y mucho menos para un contest, el receptor pierde en un cara a cara con casi cualquiera de los radios contemporaneos, el transmisor tampoco admite comparacion, ademas de tener una estufa en pleno verano. estoy de acuerdo en tenerlo solo como nostalgia o reliquia y de tanto en tanto encenderlo, pero solo eso, y siempre y cuando se pague poco dinero por el.
si lo que buscas es comunicar en serio, y participar en contest olvida este y otros viejos radios. es como un viejo ford t, fue un exito, aun lo sigue siendo y debe ser respetado por eso, pero no se nos ocurriria emprender un viaje de fin de semana de 1000 km con el. mi puntaje de 3 es solo porque hizo historia ,esta construido como un tanque y es un clasico. disculpas pero no hablo ingles y use el traductor de google lo pongo tambien en español para quienes lo entienden
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