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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Collins KWM-2/2A Help

Reviews Summary for Collins KWM-2/2A
Collins KWM-2/2A Reviews: 37 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $N/A
Description: Classic HF SSB/CW transceiver
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Collins KWM-2/2A.

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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
W6DXK Rating: 5/5 Jun 13, 2010 13:40 Send this review to a friend
A legend that holds its own!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have a KWM-2A built in the early 70's, with all of the Collins recommended upgrades and modifications. I also have an Elecraft K3, so I have a standard of comparison. I think the K3 is a superb radio. Under normal operating conditions on SSB they both perform very well.

The KWM-2A is an amazing radio, in the same way a B-52 is an amazing airplane. Terms like better, equal to, or worse than aren't really the issue with this radio and to a large extent the other members of the S-line. The base design is more than 50 years old and it uses tubes.

You just have to love that the radio has very clean SSB audio, outstanding receive sensitivity, very good selectivity, and provides reliable, quality communications. Everyone already knows it's not a super CW rig and it doesn't have the magic of roofing filters, DSP, or even speech processing. BTW, hanging lots of aftermarket goodies on it, or doing major surgery to improve performance doesn't count in the assessment.

I would give the KWM-2A a 3.5 or 4 if it we're from this century, but it's not; it's from the middle of the previous century, but it performs competitively to this day. Buy one if you want a radio that you can understand when you lift the lid and if you appreciate classics. If not, there are certainly better price/function radios out there and some are close to the same size as this radio's external power supply, certainly weigh less, and have pretty amazing performance.

Bottom line, if you appreciate it, it's a great radio!
AP2KD Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2010 04:12 Send this review to a friend
It is one of the best transceivers of its time.  Time owned: more than 12 months
KWM-2/2A is one of the best transceivers of its time. Never compare it with the present day technology as you can never compare a banana with an apple. If you compare its specifications with present day state-of-art technology, it is as good as today's transceivers. When you talk of tube type transceivers, no transceiver can compete with Collins KWM-2/2A transceiver. I have one with round embelum with plug-in power supply. It is in A-1 condition.
ON6ZK Rating: 5/5 Jul 29, 2009 06:54 Send this review to a friend
Great , best radio ever  Time owned: more than 12 months
Hi , thanks for reading my opinion.
I do not agree with the previous writer.
I'm the happy owner of a model KWM2A built in the early sixties. It has the best receiver ever and the audio is just fine with the SM1 microphone.
When I get on the air with this rig and 40 watts output on 14 mhz SSB , people always ask me what I'm using ..... they say "what a great modulation".
When I first talk with an operator using a Collins KWM2A , I felt in love with the audio. It is so warm sounding . OK it is not a contest machine but I love the simplicity of this transmitter and the great sound it produces.
It is just what you are up to. I like the old rdio's : I have a couple of FT101 Yaesu's , I have a Heatkkit HW101 ( used to have many Heath's ) , and I realy enjoy using these old machines .....
I have also a TS850 , an FT1000MP , an FT897 but I love using the oldies ......

If you find them in great condition , buy them for a reasanable price and you have the time of your live with them !
KQ6IG Rating: 3/5 Jul 29, 2009 02:34 Send this review to a friend
Not for Everyone  Time owned: more than 12 months
The KWM-2A is a wonderful piece of radio nostalgia. However, know what you are buying before paying high prices for this rig. The KWM-2 was designed in the late 50's when transceiver and SSB technology was still relatively new. It performs like the "work in progres" that is was. However, because of the turmoil, selling off and restructuring of the Collins company in the 60's and 70's, the KWM-2/A never really went anywhere. Suggesting that the KWM-2/A performs like a modern Icom or Yaesu is like suggesting a 1951 Cadillac performs like a modern Cadillac STS. Its a rather silly comparison. It's also an insult to those responsible for the last 50 years of advancement in communications engineering. So, what is the KWM-2/A good for? Ragchewing? Definitely! Contesting? Not if you want to be competitive. DX? Not if you want to be competitive. Beginner rig? Too specialized, and expensive. Enjoy the KWM-2/A for it's character, and charm; but keep your Icom Pro nearby for the real serious operating!
KR5N Rating: 5/5 May 13, 2009 08:29 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought a 1967 model KWM-2 from eBay. I got the 516F-2 power supply in a separate auction also from eBay. Anxious as I was to use the KWM-2, first I had to repair the power supply. One of the bleeder resistors was open. I found a replacement from Digi-Key and I also ordered a capacitor replacement kit from another eBay seller. After all the soldering and testing, the KWM-2 was powered up and nothing much worked at first. The auction said "works good" but they all say that....I have 4 "works good" radios waiting for repair on my shelf. However, I believed that the KWM-2 was a good model and I believed I could get it working. I sprayed De-oxiT liberally, used fader lube on the pots, replaced the pilot lamps....Now after a week or so, it began to work pretty much. I also had to order seven crystals from JAN Crystals to fill up empty spots and get 10M coverage as I wanted it (28.3 - 28.9 in 3 segments). The remaining problem was a squealing noise in the rcvr, sometimes on power up and sometimes after releasing the PTT. Part of the problem was an IF transformer can that was making intermittent contact with the chassis. De-oxiT fixed that. The other problem was a 12AT7 tube with a small chip in the glass envelope. Replacing the tube fixed that. FINALLY! The famed Collins performance was showing itself! Nice stable VFO for an analog rig, good power output, controls are all smooth, making Q's and getting good reports with my old Heathkit / EV 638 mic that I originally bought in the early 70's. Every one I call can hear me, including every DX station I tried. I am so glad I spent the time working on the rig! To go one step further, I replaced the old caps and was rewarded with smoother sounding audio and better AGC. It's been a labor of love and I rushed home every day to fire up the KWM-2 and see how it would behave. I'm sure my friends got tired of hearing about it! Exercise and daily use are good for it, it gets better and better. I think the KWM-2 will become my favorite HF rig, with the FT-990 / FL-7000 and the IC-746PRO in reserve for convenience and "change-of-pace." Don't despair if your KWM-2/2A doesn't work right away, remember that most of them have been sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere, and it's natural to need a little TLC. But you know they are a good design. The only test equipment(s) I have are a transistorized voltmeter, the FT-990 as a signal generator / calibrated receiver, and a PC sound card as an audio generator. Usually the fix will be simple.

I used to laugh about the passion of the Collins Collectors, but now I understand, now I am of the body. Kind of like the Star Trek episode with Landrew and the festival. I am of the body. May the peace of Landrew and the joy of operating your KWM-2 always be with you! --Marcus KR5N dit dit--
KF4IZE Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2009 19:28 Send this review to a friend
They don't make 'em like they used to!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned several KWM-2/2A radios over the last several years and have had nothing short of positive experiences with them. I’ve owned more than a hundred different radios and always seem to gravitate towards the venerable Collins KWM-2/2A. I am only 38 years old and am a little biased toward these vintage vacuum tube units. There’s just something about their attractive appearance and the way they PLAY. Additionally, I am retired from the Army Signal Corps and know that these radios enjoyed a fine tradition with the U.S. Army. My latest acquisition is the much-sought after Round Emblem KWM-2. The radio is virtually spotless and very appealing for its age. Now, I have owned many solid-state radios, including the ICOM 756 PRO and a Kenwood TS-480HX, just to name a few. I would highly recommend the Collins KWM-2/2A, but be aware that the late cleaner units command top-dollar. If you do get your hands on one, you will be pleasantly satisfied. These radios are, in my opinion, the true epitome of a classic American Amateur Radio transceiver.
ON6ZK Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2009 07:29 Send this review to a friend
Great Transceiver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I just bought my dream transceiver after been looking for that good old KWM2A for more than 10 years. It needed to be in TOP condition and I finally found one in "brand new" condition ! Top condition actually . I also have the power supply and the power meter / phone patch and the SM2 microphone which comes with it.
Great receiver ! I 'm still looking for a Collins amp 30 L 1 or 30 S1 but seem to be even harder to get. I have an SB200 amp connected to it and in combination with my large optibeam I get outstanding reports ( 500 watts from my SB200). MY optibeam is the OB16-5 .....BIG antenna ! See you on the airwaves with my OLDTIMER but better than anything else !
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