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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: 36 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $N/A
Description: Classic HF SSB/CW transceiver
Product is not in production.
More info: http://www.collinsradio.org/html/kwm-2.html
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Page 1 of 4 —>

YS1RS Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2016 09:12 Send this review to a friend
Will see many Kenwoods, Yaesus and Icoms come and go  Time owned: more than 12 months
Locally purchased my KWM-2 WE, when I got licensed back in 2010. It was in well used condition after 52 years buy hey, in my country you can not find Ham Radio equipment easily. The radio was well used and band switch and mode switch were worn out and failing but still worked. It belonged to a well known very active Ham radio operator in my country (SK) and its condition was like that because the old ham used it daily for years and years.
Decided to buy an even older KWM-2 WE from eBay but in excellent external and internal condition. Got it cheaper because needed repairs that were done and is now working perfectly. Have added a rebuilt 312B-5 external VFO or PTO and a 30L-1 amp that I also rebuilt. The whole station has been working perfectly with excellent reports.
Now, I didn't buy this second radio for its brand name. I bought it because the good experience I had with the first KWM-2 and that first radio proved it was a real quality product still working after so much use by the SK ham for 52 years.
I needed a keeper since, again, in my country you can not find spare parts and you have no ham radio distributors, making purchases very expensive as everything has to be imported.
To my surprise, this second KWM-2 came with its original manual and included a list and paper work of all its previous owners: call signs, dates and addresses (rare). After repairing it I proudly wrote my call sign as the Sixth owner on the cover too. Was made in 1962 and is working like new after replacing a few resistors and caps. Applied all the Service Bulletins too.
Marvelous for SSB, still quite difficult to use in CW even though I have the external PTO that makes things easier on CW. Excellent for working rare DX, again, with the help of the external VFO and 30L-1 Amp.
Two things I can say is:
1)Since I became a licensed Ham Radio operator back in 2010, my Kenwood TS-690S has failed seriously two times already and now I use it as a door stopper as I can not find the spare part needed (no longer in production). None of the Kenwood proprietary microchips are available any more.
2)My newer Yaesu FT-857D has also failed, the display has got a zebra effect and Yaesu wants US$300+ For a display replacement that has failed because they badly designed the display and poor quality materials were used to build it. Now I have to pay for their fault.
My 54 years old KWM-2 is working fine and strong. I can find spare parts for it everywhere. It is a joy to use it. Easy to use without hard to use menus and half a hundred shining buttons that you barely use. Sound quality is amazing. Tube replacements can be found and plenty for next decade.
One thing I'm sure... My KWM-2 will see many Kenwoods, Yaesus, Icoms and more expensive brands come and go and will still survive me long after I am SK too.
 
KJ4CC Rating: 5/5 Jun 5, 2016 17:18 Send this review to a friend
Excellent on SSB  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wanted to write a review on my RE KWM-2. I have a KX3 for CW, but the KWM-2 is really an excellent radio for SSB nets or rag chew. Looks and sound are unbeatable, the KX3 can dig out some signals in bad conditions, but when the bands are open or quiet I go to the KWM-2. Ease of operation, the sound on transmit and receive are as good as anything on the market today for simple SSB comm. You can work on and align the KWM-2, but it really doesn’t need any kind of upkeep. The tubes in this are 30 years old and I’ve never replaced one. I don’t have time to work on gear so I keep a small maintenance fund just in case. I worked all 50 states on SSB barefoot and using an OCFD and a KWM-2.
 
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
BUT !
-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 ......it's great ...IT IS A COLLINS !

 
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