Even more of W8MHV's "Heavy Metal" Gear


The heart of the W8MHV "Heavy Metal" station is the Central Electronics 100V transmitter paired with the Collins 75A-4. The 100V is a wonderful piece of gear, the main specialty of which was to require no tune up when changing bands. This was not easy to do using vacuum tubes. This transmitter employs a phasing method of SSB generation and has excellent audio. The 75A-4 is one of the receivers most highly admired by collectors. It makes use of a product detector and features quality design and construction.

The Collins KWM series set the standard for equipment of the early SSB era and popularized transceivers over separate recever/transmitter setups. The first photo shows the KWM-1. It was made in relatively small numbers but the KWM-2 shown in the second photo was a more sophisticated design and remained on the market for many years. It remains a pleasure to operate today.

The FT-101EE in the first photo barely qualifies as a "Heavy Metal" radio. It was a Japanese manufactured transceiver that really opened the US market to foreign equipment in the early 1970s. This radio was sold in huge numbers and still can be heard on the air commonly. The second photo shows a Gonset Communicator III, one of the most popular portable VHF vacuum tube radios. I picked this up as scrap, but managed to restore it to the condition you see here.

Here is a change of pace. This tiny radio is from the early 1970s, like some others on this page, but it is totally solid state. The Davco DR-30 is another rare one; only a few hunded made it out of the factory, and it is now sought after by collectors.


The two radios illustrated here are not especially popular, but they interest me. The first is the SBE-34, an early (1960s) effort to produce an ultra-small transceiver. It only used vacuum tubes in the RF output circuit; the rest of the transceiver was solid state. The Swan MX100A represents another ultra-small transceiver design of about a decade later. It is entirely solid state.

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