W8MHV's "Heavy Metal" Station


This setup is the W8MHV "Heavy Metal" station, so called because old radio equipment like this is plenty heavy. I never intended to become a collector of old radios, but slowly I slipped into this facet of the ham radio hobby. I get satisfaction from making this old equipment look and function properly. All items of gear in my collection are in working condition and find regular use.


This is the classic amplifier that I use for both the main and "heavy metal" stations, the Sigma XR-3000D. This 1970s era amplifier was given to me by W8PG after the filament transformer blew. I replaced the transformer and other components that went with it. It is a brute, fully capable of the legal limit. By contrast is the Amp Supply LA-1000 in the third photo which I have converted to use Svetlana EL-509 output tubes. This linear is capable of 400 Watts output and is small enough to be used for portable operations.


The HRO-500 is my favorite receiver. Introduced in the early 1960s, it was a ground-breaking piece of equipment and the first solid state professional communication receiver to be marketed by a major manufacturer. It used germanium transistors and employed an innovative but complex design. A complete alignment requires extensive test equipment and plenty of time. But the effort results in a radio that sounds and works great. Of course, it lacks the dynamic range and frequency precision of modern rigs, but it is sensitive and readout to 1 kHz is possible.

I am also fond of Drake gear, and have owned 4-line equipment since 1970. This TR-4CWrit is one I acquired from Drake expert Jeff WA8SAJ. It is a late serial number example, perhaps manufactured on or ;near the last day of production. The TR-7, Drake's first entry in the solid state transceiver market, was enormously popular. Although it lacks modern refinements such as memories and DSP, it remains a pleasure to operate.


The KWM-380 was Collins' first and last effort to manufacture a solid state amateur radio transceiver. It was far ahead of its time in many ways. It employed a synthesized VFO, could be adapted to direct keypad entry and memories, and had pass-band tuning capability. However, the radio was very expensive and never gained the popularity of the KWM-2 and KWM-2A transceivers it replaced.


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