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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Collins 75S-3C Help

Reviews Summary for Collins 75S-3C
Collins 75S-3C Reviews: 6 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $850
Description: Companion to 32S-3 or 32S-3A. Includes extra crystal bank, which, for example, covers WARC bands.
Product is not in production.
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TZ6BB Rating: 5/5 Nov 2, 2014 05:11 Send this review to a friend
Superb classic  Time owned: more than 12 months
I think most has been said about the 75S-3C in the comments below, with which I happen to agree for the most part. But I will add that it is a good feeling to be able to work on your own radios should anything go wrong, and that is something you should be able to do with a 75S-3C. This receiver was built to last a thousand years, but if anything goes wrong it will be a weak tube in 90% of cases, and there are still plenty spares around for you to buy. If the problem is more complex it should not be too difficult to isolate and fix either, and you can do that as there is a lot of room inside of the receiver to work in. To align the radio you don't even need much additional lab equipment; for example the manual explains how to do most of the alignment by means of the built in calibrator and little more than a screwdriver. It is very stable, extremely sensitive and selective and with a noise figure in pair with those of the best modern solid state radios. The audio output is just wonderful, and that seems to be one of the trademarks of the Collins company. Of course it is not a general coverage receiver (well, technically it is if you plug in extra crystals in the additional bank of the 3C, and each will cover any 200KHz segment of your choice on any band), but it was never intended to be. There are some modern aftermarket products for the 75S-3C such as wonderful filters, special recap kits and even a digital frequency counter if you want that, and there is a crowd of extremely helpful and knowledgeable enthusiasts out there ready to welcome you and help with any issue or question you may have. The Collins 75S-3C was about the best amateur receiver money could buy back in time, and it seems to hold its value pretty well too in case you want to sell one day (prices always going up). Mine is paired with a 32S-3A transmitter and a 30L1 600W amp, connected to a 2 element quad antenna.
W7MBR Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2010 23:50 Send this review to a friend
TOP NOTCH RECEIVER  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own both a Collins S-line and the Drake B-line. Side by side there really isn't much difference in performance in my opinion of either classic pair. The Collins wins the beauty and craftsmanship contests but the Drake has a couple of more gadgets to play around with. The 75S-3( ) receivers will still be around when all of the current high priced-high tec radios are long gone. We had our act together back in 50's and 60's when people like Art Collins and team truly created a work of art in the 75S-3( )receivers. Low noise floor, perfect tuning rate, very adequate selectivity and sensitivity, easy to work on and built like a tank just to name a few of its many attributes. A+
N6KYS Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2007 08:03 Send this review to a friend
Awesome!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a comment about the 75S-3B. I think this thing is awesome, plain and simple. I've got a modern rig like most people, but this thing is a solid part of the station. Built like a tank, looks like a million bucks, receives like it's new out of the Henry Radio (Collins dealer back in the 60's) box. Can't say enough good things about this receiver!
VA3BD Rating: 5/5 Apr 8, 2006 18:56 Send this review to a friend
Best Real world Receiver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
A few years ago I had a chance to drive a Lotus sports car - Total disappointment! While the pubished specs promised great performance, in the real world the car was a misery to drive. So is the case with many of today's radios. Like the Lotus, they are great in competition, but lousy for day to day operating.

Not so with the 75S3. Unlike many modern "competition grade" radios, the Collins is a joy to operate. It has a very low noise floor which reduces operator fatigue. The audio quality is great, and the slow tuning rate makes it easy to to tune for a very natural sound on SSB. The slow tuning rate is also perfect for narrow filtering in the CW mode. It even has a BFO that lets you choose your favourite note.

We often assume that newer is better, but remember that the basic analog technologies we use for operating haven't really changed in the past 40 years. Later solid state devices didn't improve on perfomance - they just reduced power requirements and longevity.

The 75S3 was the ultimate tube type ham radio, and all those things that made it great in its time still make it great today. Great audio, adequate, switchable selectivity, and no need for DSP. This is the best receiver I have ever used.

WB6MYL Rating: 4/5 Feb 25, 2006 15:43 Send this review to a friend
A sacred cow?!?  Time owned: more than 12 months
This review also includes the 75S3B, which is the same receiver w/o the filter bank for freq. extention. I been collecting and repairing (with the help of W6IRD and K6PVC)and using S/line equipment equipment for about fifteen years now. This is the stuff I couldn't afford as a kid (not sure I can afford it now, but still buy it); I love using the S/line and the receiver is very good.
How dare NC0B knock such a sacred cow (among Collins guys) as the S/line receiver; the problem is....he is right! there is a distortion issue in this design; dragging out the agc helps but it is still there; everything is relative and I did not note it until I got my Drake B line; I have had several 75Sx receivers that all suffered from the same fate; this includes a r/e 75S3C manufactured in the '70s that audio and passband tuning design of Bob and his gang surpasses what Art's guys ever came up with; unless you drop a bundle for Sherwood mods to your R4C, I beleive the "B" is a better sounding rcvr. There is nothing prettier on the desk than the S/line,but even w/ a new Icom 7800, my rag chewing station is the Drake B line. Nonetheless, the 75Sx is a wonderful rcvr and fun to use but a "4" rating is very justified. Submitted for your edification. Phillip W. Harris, PhD.P.C.
NC0B Rating: 4/5 Feb 24, 2006 18:34 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful, but needs improvement  Time owned: more than 12 months
The 75S-3C, or the 75S-3B mates with the 32S-3 or 32S-3A transmitter. Assuming you want to transceiver, but not do cross band, there is little reason to buy the expensive "A" model. The band crystal frequency is provided by the receiver, so a 75S-3C and a 32S-3 will operate on the WARC bands just fine when transceiving off the receiver. If, of course, you want to work "seperate" or split, then you will need the 32S-3A.

The S-Line twins are beautiful, but have flaws that make them less desirable than the Drake C-Line. For example, the S-Line has no passband tuning, and additionally gangs the mode to the filter selection in the receiver. So if you want to install a selection of SSB bandwidths in the receiver, your only get to use these conveniently on USB.

My S-Line has the following filters: The normal bandwidth filter in the receiver is a Collins 2.1 kHz filter, but I have changed mine to a Collins 526-9500-00 2.9 kHz filter. I swapped out the 2.1 kHz filter in the companion 32S-3 to the same 2.9 kHz Collins filter. Of course, to use the wider bandwidths, I had to change out the carrier oscillator crystals in the transmitter, and the BFO crystals in the receiver. The added offset was 200 Hz in my case. This done, I installed an Inrad 2.6 kHz filter in CW1 and the original 2.1 kHz filter in CW2. This gives me a good selection of bandwidths on receiver, particularly on USB. On LSB I have to use the manual BFO, which is a pain.

To round out the modification, I added a Magnum-6 speech processor to the unit. Of couse these are only available on the used market. Since I widened out the bandwidth, I needed to change the filter in the Magnum-6, and the Inrad 2.6 kHz filter filled the bill perfectly. Swapping out the 2.1 kHz filter in the Magnum-6 is easy, as luckily the pinout is perfect.

The end result is a wider bandwidth S-Line with great speech processing. Since many linears today require drive levels in the 50 to 60 watt range, the speech processor provides the peak control needed to keep your linear from flattopping.

It was hard to procure two 526-9500-00 Collins filters, but it was worth the effort. If you spend most of your time on 20 meters and above, the mod is great. If you are on 40 or 75 most of the time, it is less likely a good solution, since you cannot select the other two receive filters easily.

By the way, I chose to modify the AGC on the radio to provide better AGC operation, more like a Drake. Also the producat detector needed modification to get the distortion below 1%. If you are interested in these changes to make the S-Line sound smooth, drop me an e-mail.

It is fun to get on 17 meters and announce you are running a S-Line, as many hams do not know you can get on the WARC bands with this vintage equipment.

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