R390 the best over all receiver?

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Kenneth Stovesand:
I would be interested in a comparison of the R390a to the Drake R8…  If you have the time, equipment and inclination, please share.


A rather silly thread. The OP disappeared immediately and only has three posts on EHam. He said he loved the [85 pound] R-390 because they worked great when he used one in 1984!. He even liked them better than Sonys!!!

More factual is this lab comparison involving 23 boat anchor classics: http://www.w1vd.com/BAreceivertest.html  Those tests focus on AM audio quality, one place where R-390s excel. Some venerated Drakes didn't score so well in that area. 

Another lab test of classic radios:

My Collins R-390A is at Chuck Rippel being restored as I write this.  Even though I restore certain boat anchors, I know my limitations.  I will reserve most comments until I get it back around the first of 2014.  Even before I sent it to Chuck, it was quite a receiver on the AM BCB and it could "hear" a 0.1uV CW signal up to 30MHz with no problem.  It "seemed" noticieably better than my ICOM 71A on SW but I did not run any specific teats.  I only imagine how well it worked VS other receivers of the 1950's.

Dick  AD4U

Walt McCrystal:
 I have an R-390A and used it as a recreational bedside receiver for awhile (the wife's eyes popped when she first saw it, the receiver does that to people). It came with a metal cabinet and is attractive in it's machine-age way. I use the attic long-wire that came with the house.
 I have never tried an R-390, but have read about them. They are a different and esoteric animal than the 'A'. Mine was built by Imperial Electronics, ser #326.
 Rebuilding the receiver wasn't that difficult with the step-by-step color pictures and tutorial given in the www.r-390a.net website.
 I set the dial to 7.000 instead of 7.+000, so I indexed it wrong the first time doing the slug rack cam timing alignment until I realized my mistake.
 I had a cracked gear hub clamp that allowed the band-change switch to slip. I replaced the clamp, cleaned and re-lubed the gear-train components and replaced the death-caps at the same time.
 It is a complex operation, but can be done with regular hand tools, bench space and patience. I did make a long-handed bristol key to get down in there by slipping the tool bit into a length of brake tubing and crimping it securely. I used kerosene to wash and 75W-140 synthetic hypoid (differential) fluid as lube. The old lube had turned to a crusty smut.
 I spent 30 years servicing Chryslers and this didn't seem anymore different than rebuilding a 5-speed manual transaxle.


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