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. I love this receiver and have had as many as three but only two on hand now.

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.


Here are two more radios from the past. The first is the Hallicrafters SR-400 also known as the "Cyclone." It did not work when I acquired it, but it is working nicely now, except it has a habit of jumping frequency slightly. I haven't been able to solve that yet but I am working on it. The second radio illustrated here is not especially popular, but it interests me. It 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. It was ideal for mobile installations, but had an internal supply for 120VAC operations as well.

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