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Reviews Categories | Amateur Radio Equipment Repair | W3HM Radio Restoration Services Help

Reviews Summary for W3HM Radio Restoration Services
W3HM Radio Restoration Services Reviews: 10 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: Restoration and repair of vintage tube radio equipment,
predominantly themed on Collins radio equipment to include
the "A-line," S-line, and others. Repair and restoration
includes Hammarlund and other military gear of similar
vintage. Painting, powder coating, silk screening, repair
and general restoration
Product is in production.
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W6NRD Rating: 0/5 Jun 22, 2014 12:33 Send this review to a friend
Actually doesn't do the work!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've read a lot of great reviews about Howard, as a result I sent him a panel to restore for my Hammarlund SP-400. He said it would take a a few weeks once he received it. After 3 months I finally got it back. I wouldn't have minded the wait if it came back looking like it should have. Here are a couple of the 'choice' exchanges I had along the way with Howard. After a waiting for a few months I kept trying to get a status as the panel 'was at the painters'. All I wanted was an estimated date of completion. Howard let me know that he was unable to ask for a date because he wasn't a priority with the painters and they do his one off items as a favor so he couldn't bug them. Doesn't seem like a good relationship with the painter if you can't ask a simple question of expected turn around times? Given there was nothing I could do I had to wait. A few weeks later after asking again for a status I was told he should have it soon and off it would go to the silk screening company and he would ship it right when he got it back. This is pretty interesting, so for a 'Howard Mills' restoration involves zero 'Howard Mills' work - he just sends it to a painter and a silk screener to do the work. And the painter can't be bothered with dates because Howard doesn't want to possibly offend them - Odd. Well it gets better. I finally got my panel this week and the color isn't even close to the original color! It was dark grey when I sent it in, now it's practically white! I asked Howard what happened on the color and here is his response - 'the color was decided by the painter, after it was bead blasted I wasn't sure of the it's color'. He offered no apology, no offer to fix it - just a take it or leave it attitude and don't keep bothering me. Talk about a bad restoration! You send something to someone for their expertise and reputation and they do zero of the work, send it to a painter who he can't bother for details then paints the item what ever color he wants paying no attention to the details of trying to match the original color! All this while being seemingly annoyed anytime you ask him for reasonable information regarding expected return as it was promised in weeks but took months.

Obviously my experience was unique based on the reviews here. All I can guess is maybe he has become tired of restoring things or perhaps something else is going on in his life. We all have times where we are not at our best. Either way, I sure wouldn't send anything to him for painting given he doesn't do it and doesn't hold the painter accountable to the color match or quality expected, which is the one thing they should be doing if they are so worth the wait!
VE5XF Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2013 17:06 Send this review to a friend
75a3 restoration  Time owned: more than 12 months
Slowly repairing a neglected 75a3 with weather smoke/house fire and mouse damage, got it to work though not very sensitive,owing to good reputation I contacted and sent it on to Howard who did a remarkable and rapid repair and complete restoration of my radio, it is like a near new one I had briefly 45 years and had to resell to finish university.He kept me informed, was always ready to talk by phone or email and got it back across the border without problem. I could only recommend his services.
W2RKJ Rating: 5/5 May 13, 2013 05:06 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: more than 12 months
I selected W3HM Radio Radio Labs to perform the service/maintenance on my beloved R-388. The R-388 was already a HOT performer for me but I just wanted peace of mind to have a fresh alignment and add a tap for a panadapter. I was unable to find a sufficient tap myself without degrading the receiver's sensitivity. When I got the receiver back from Howard, an already hot receiver was even hotter. I discovered a slight issue with the PTO after a few weeks. One phone call to Howard explaining the issue and I drove the receiver back to Howard for a recheck. Howard repaired the PTO issue with no questions or issues from him. Howard was a very gracious host both times I was at his lab and took the time to "Take me to school" and teach me a few things on this receiver. I got a follow up call from him to check to see if all was well, which it indeed was. For the rest of you purist out there, here's a short story side comment. Upon arrival at his lab, as I was getting out of my vehicle, Howard was outside using an electric grinding wheel on something. I really didn't pay too much attention to what he was working on but it appeared that he had tools set up on this table. While we were talking, I glanced down to look at what was on the table and what I thought were chrome Snap-on or Craftsman sockets were actually tube shields he was polishing for a A-Line power cord forward restoration. I swear I got goose bumps and I just knew I was in rare company. Once inside he showed us (KN3X)3 A-Lines awaiting pick up from a customer. Those freshly painted St. James gray cabinets and highly polished components were just beautiful.
Thank you Howard, the 4 hour drive to your lab was well worth it indeed.
K2TQN Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2013 06:56 Send this review to a friend
75A4 - Great Job!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Howard restored my 75A4 to better than new a couple of years ago. As of today it is still working 100%.

Thanks Howard for the great job.
W0TDH Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2012 17:16 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful work!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Just this day sent another 32V-3 to Howard for full restoration. The Works....
This is the 2nd 32V-3 Howard will have done for me, also a 73A-3 rcvr. I drove to his QTH at least two times possibly three.
It is a 12hr drive each way from my QTH. Sent rig via FedEx this time, inside of a box made by Dave at I have photos of Howard working on my rigs. Decided to ship this time.
New Lab and the kitty probably would not like staying inside :))
The V3 has not lost any weight in the last 50+ years :)) It did lose grid drive on 10 thru 40Mtrs though. Figured it was time to restore.
V3 is an absolute joy to use. Great audio reports. Looking forward to speaking to old friends on 10Mtr AM again soon with it.....WAØGAG, KØETD, WB1EAD, VK2BA, G4XPY es others. Great bunch of folks on 10Mtr AM.
Howard is the Guru of Collins blackfaced radios as far as I am concerned. Always a Gentleman to me. In person or on the the Telly as Dave G4XPY would say :)) Nearing 70 now. Not sure how much longer I will be able to pick up 110lb Xmtrs.....
Possible I may sell straight from Howard's QTH when it is done, we'll see. The AF-67's in use at present are much lighter :))
If I have not been positive enough about Howard es his work...give me an email. Email address is on QRZ.Com, also the V3 that is headed to Howard as we speak.


KD0NID Rating: 0/5 Feb 2, 2012 07:43 Send this review to a friend
Follow Up  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, it has been a couple of months since I got my Collins 32V-2 back from Howard. As I previously stated, it got badly damaged by UPS even though I DID have one of Dave's great cardboard shipping crates especially made for shipping a Collins 32V Transmitter in. I finally have found all of the damaged parts that UPS destroyed but I am still trying to get the 32V-2 up and running primarily due to the poor job of restoring my transmitter by Howard. To date I have found electrical connections that Howard made that Howard never soldered, cold solder joints, missing hardware, components shorted to ground, and just this week found the coax and shielded cables coming from the Oscillator to be shorted out to other points because the covering on the wires were dry rotted causing the wires to be exposed and shorting out to other components. I didn't have the correct 16AWG 2 conductor shielded cable in my shack and it took me a couple of weeks to find this cable. I have now installed these two cables from the Oscillator and am putting the transmitter back together to see if it is finally working properly. Prior to finding these dry rotted cables, I did have the transmitter putting out advertised power on all bands but I was hearing arcing in the area of these cables which led me check them out. The transmmitter is also turning the Plates on the front 807 Cherry red even after the transmitter is adjusted and loaded properly. I am hoping the replacement of these two rotted cables will fix this problem but seriously doubt that they will but at least I will have elimanted ANOTHER example of the very poor job Howard did on the restoration of my 32V-2. He has never once called or emailed to try and help with the problems I am having that HE caused. I can only guess that he is having problems with someone letting everyone know about how his work has went down hill. I don't make a practise of these kind of reviews about people but the Job that Howard did on my Collins 32V-2 and his attitude towards me and the problems he has caused definitely warrents this review. At least I will now know that every solder joint, every component, and every wire in my 32V-2 will have been inspected and repaired or replaced which is what I paid Howard to do.
WA4KCN Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2012 08:51 Send this review to a friend
Could Not Be Better  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had Howard restore a number of receivers and transmitters. If you are reading this and considering his services, you will not be disappointed, in fact, you will be amazed. I first purchased a restored 75A-1 and 32V-2 from Howard. When the two pieces arrived I was stunned by the appearance - factory new. Service after the sale is very good as well. Howard has spent much time with me over the phone when I am in need of his help. We should all be thankful there is a person with Howard's level of skill offering restoration services.
K2LRC Rating: 5/5 Nov 16, 2011 06:24 Send this review to a friend
An Honest and Great Source for A-line repair  Time owned: more than 12 months
Howard, has rebuilt a number of my Collins A-line radios over the past few years. His care of the work that is done is exceptional. He is good to work with as a person. He is honest and is provides good suggestions when an issue is discovered. I have personally witnessed his effort to see to it that the packing and shipping is done well. The use of the new supplier of Ham radio Shipping boxes/Crates made by Dave at has added to the quality of the delivery.
Call Howard and he will assist you in any of your issues with the A-line Collins gear. No better expert is around...
AK4IJ Rating: 5/5 Aug 23, 2011 17:05 Send this review to a friend
A true master craftsman!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Howard Mills is truly a craftsman, and a gentleman to boot! It's easy to find something on Ebay, or one of the other auctions that might be cheaper, but it's like buying a used snake.... it's a crap shoot as to what you might actually end up with. But with Howard Mills there's no question you will get what you want. I purchased a set of Gold Dust Twins from him and when they rolled in the door I was amazed - they are like they just came from the factory. I can't imagine the care and love of craftsmanship and effort that went into restoring and rebuilding that gear. Sure it cost more, but like anything in life, you get what you pay for, and this is a great example of that. The after the sale follow up has been wonderful. Old equipment is finicky and needs extra care to operate. No button pushing here, it's an art and a science. No one knows that art better than Howard. Trust me, you can trust him.

W4PTO Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2010 08:36 Send this review to a friend
Strongly consider!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
For those of you considering restoring a beloved Collins "A-line" product, or any Collins product, for that matter, consider W3HM Radio Labs for your service. I have personally met Howard Mills and he is a radio restorer par excellence matched by being a gracious host as well. Howard goes into the "nitty gritty" of restoring radios. In the past, I had W3HM Radio Labs restore a badly burnt but essentially complete 51J-4. I couldn't bear to part out the radio. The unit had been involved in a fire and while "all there," seemingly destined for the parts bin. Howard, after careful assessment, removed all of the questionable assemblies for analysis, replaced the destroyed or non-functional components, replaced, realigned or restored the missing or out-of-spec items, tested the tubes and realigned the radio to factory specs. The chassis was crusted with hardened soot. but was eliminated with Howard's fervent and meticulous cleaning and polishing. A few lingering but minor issues remained but a follow up visit to W3HM solved these malingering items. The picture you see above is the final product of his magnificent handiwork. Let me tell you it was worth every reasonable penny to me to have this classic radio restored. I could have attempted the rebuild myself but didn't have the time. Howard is the solution to this type of work and I recommend his services highly.

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