- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Transmitters: Vintage amateur | Collins TCS Transmitter Help

Reviews Summary for Collins TCS Transmitter
Collins TCS Transmitter Reviews: 4 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $N/A.
Description: 3 Band A.M. Transmitter Covering 1.5 to 12mHz in three bands designed for U.S. Navy Small ships, PT Boats & Marine's Jeep installation. Used in conjunction with TCS reciever.
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Collins TCS Transmitter.

KZ4B Rating: 5/5 Feb 12, 2016 22:02 Send this review to a friend
The heaviest (for what it does), best built transmitter, ever!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Back in the early 1960's this poor teenage ham (then K4ESJ) was able to "steal" a surplus TCS-12 Transmitter/Receiver combo because it lacked the requisite companion mil-spec power supply needed for operation. I lucked onto the mil-spec power connectors and built a suitable 110 VAC input power supply. It served me well as my (not-so-portable) portable rig took up over half the cargo space in the back of my parent's 1956 Chevy Station Wagon.

This Collins Radio designed and built battleship grade combo worked super-reliably with the following observations:
1) The TCS-12 units employ very heavy cast aluminum frames with 1/4 inch thick aluminum front panels inside heavy STAINLESS STEEL sheet metal enclosures. Since my relatively pristine TCS-12 units had enclosures with peeling black wrinkle paint--I stripped and polished them so that they looked like they were bright "chrome plated".
2) The TCS-12 Transmitter [which uses parallel 1625's (I.E. 12 volt 807's) plate modulated by push-pull 1625's] includes a very stable and well-calibrated built-in VFO. This is almost (75 Watts AM Output Carrier with 600 VDC Plate Voltage) equivalent to a poor-man's Collins 32V2 or 32V3 or Johnson Viking II Transmitter with somewhat limited (2 to 12 MCS) frequency coverage. This is not so bad since most AM operation today is primarily on 80 and 40 meters. Transmitted Audio is quite good despite use of the stock (push-to-talk) mil-spec (T12) carbon hand mike. Though optimized for push-to-talk AM operation, the TCS-12 can also handle "straight-key-speed" CW.
3) The TCS-12 Transmitter was designed to directly feed a short "mobile-style" whip/short vertical antenna--but was observed to load (without need for modification) full-sized dipole and long-wire antennas.
4) Note that the companion TCS-12 Receiver is very sensitive and stable [on par with contemporary mil-spec BC-(312 & 348) Receivers] but has relatively broad IF Selectivity since there is NO Chrystal Filter. Receiver Audio Output is adequate but designed for a 600 Ohm Load. Therefore either earphones or a 600 to 8 ohm matching transformer is required to drive a modern speaker.

If you have the space (slightly less than one cubic foot per unit plus power supply) and a strong back, there is no higher quality construction WW 2 vintage (low to medium power) rig that I know of.
KA4DQJ Rating: 5/5 Feb 27, 2012 21:44 Send this review to a friend
I Owned A Bunch of Them!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The TCS-13's were stacked 6-feet high at the Army/Navy surplus store. The cost was $5 apiece; the year was 1973. A buddy and I bought as many as we could get $5 to do it with. The rigs were intended to be powered off 220v so we build simple power supplies on upside-down baking pans... transformer, choke, diode bridge, etc. The finished rig ran off household 110v now. We sold quite a few of them to family and buddies, kept a couple for ourselves, and had a blast using them. The only problem I remember was that the BFO didn't work on one TCS-13. I remember it was tough trying to trouble shoot and fix it.

Great rigs. Plenty of sensitivity and selectivity, these receivers could work find as companions to amateur transmitters. I even learned code on a TCS-13 and when I got licensed later used it with a DX-60B transmitter.

Sure wish I had that old Bureau of Ships receiver today.
SWL377 Rating: 3/5 Apr 18, 2008 15:07 Send this review to a friend
Bandit marine radios, 1960s  Time owned: more than 12 months
My experience with TCS gear was from the early 1960s on commercial fishing boats. FCC type approved AM MF-HF gear was expensive back then. The TCS xmtr and rcvr had provisions for xtal control and were dirt cheap, so they found their way onto many boats, usually through the assistance of coastal hams who made a few extra bucks and didnt worry/care much about FCC regs. The TCS gear was VERY reliable, but the xmtr power was pretty low so the TCS's got stepped on when up against the 150 watt commercial rigs. Still, they were soooo cheap and if something went wrong you could get another rcvr or xmtr often for $25. Everything, including cables were in abundance and cheap to buy. The dynamotors (on a separate PS) seemed to last forever, even in the salt air. I don't recall any of these wearing out, seizing up or getting stuck brushes and arc damaging the commutators. The 50s and 60s were wild days for surplus gear on fishing boats. I saw ARC 5, TCS, ART 13, BC 191/375, Collins 18S2 and many others. Nav gear included SCR 269, ARN 7, APN 4, APN 9 etc. The ART 13 xmtr was the best sounding, followed closely by the 18S2s which were ex airline AM HF xvcrs. Some ART 13s used the VFO with autotune, others had the Comco or a local home brew xtal box. Some ART 13s were paired with tunable rcvrs such as BC 348 and others with rock bound rcvrs. The ARR 15 never seemed to make its way into the fleet. R 392s got their sea legs when SSB replaced AM and they offered a cheap way to rcv SSB. AM sets soldiered on long after they were banned, often on illegal frequencies. FCC type approved SSB xcvrs cost a fortune and many fishermen couldnt afford to buy them. One enterprising guy modified ART 13s to put out DSB using a balanced modulator. Nobody listening to USB knew that the same sig was also on LSB simultaneously, except perhaps the FCC. The FCC did show up at the docks once in a while but they were rarely allowed permission to board boats, especially if there was only a TCS pair of radios aboard. They would threaten to return with a US Marshall, but it was usually an empty threat.
K7UA Rating: 4/5 Jul 21, 2006 14:53 Send this review to a friend
WWII work horse  Time owned: more than 12 months
In the late 1950s my father was in the Civil Air Patrol. He had a TCS setup at our house for that organization with both the transmitter and the matching receiver. When we got our novice licenses in 1961 we started out using them, but went to other gear. (The TCS was actually a better rig than what we were using, but we didn't know it then!) I used the receiver for a side tone monitor for many years with other old gear to monitor my CW sending. I also set up both another TCS transmitter and receiver as a project. I sold the receiver to a new novice, but kept the transmitter for use on 160M until about 1972. Then I let another novice have it. It worked well. On CW the thing keyed with clacking relays. Really noisey. It would load up with anything for an antenna. On AM it used a carbon mike and sounded tinny. My main complaint was that it just didn't quite get up to 20 meters frequency wise. A real boat anchor, but very rugged.

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.