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Author Topic: Collins R389 RXCVR??  (Read 1545 times)
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KR4WI
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« on: November 03, 2012, 07:33:19 AM »

I picked up this rx a few weeks ago, and was wondering if the only thing the rx is good for is to listen to  am broadcast stations? I dont hear anything other than that on it. Thanks for the help.
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W3RSW
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Rick & "Roosevelt"


« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2012, 08:10:28 AM »

It's a pretty good VLF receiver.  Get a wire outside with inductive, tunable loading or hook up to a good tunable loop and you'll find a lot of stuff below the BC band.  Airport omni's, you name it.  It is also fine to use as a tunable IF.  A simple mixer driven by a crystal oscillator for band or bands of choice will get you to 80/75, 40, and even 20 for casual listening.  One 6BE6, a crystal, a coil and variable tuning cap is about all it takes to make a simple converter.  Pick off power from the Collins.

Added later:
A 6U8 converter also can be used.  The triode portion as the osc. and tetrode as the converter tube.

For 80 meters use a 2.9Mhz xtal for conversion of 3.5-4.0 Mhz down to 650-1100KHz BC band.   For 40 meters a 6.4Mhz crystal will get you from 7.0-7.3Mhz down to 600-900KHz BC band.   -etc.

At these frequencies, just about any ol' transistor osc. and converter circuit will do too.  RF front ends, passive or active, simple to complex, can be added to your hearts content. 
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RICK  *W3RSW*
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2012, 12:05:58 PM »

The R389 is pretty scarce.  If you are not interested in VLF you should be able to easily trade it for an R-390 or R-390A plus enough cash to buy some other interesting vintage gear.
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Rodger WQ9E
Bill, KD0HG
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 12:11:02 PM »

A properly aligned R-389 is the ultimate DXers AM BCB receiver. With its multiple tuned RF stages, it will beat even the R-390(A) as far as splitting channels and resistance to overload and intermod from strong local signals. Its front end has more selectivity than the IF stages. Sort of like a TRF-Superhet hybrid.

But if you're not interested in broadcast band or LF DXing, take Rodger's advice, sell it and buy something else more useful to you. They are a rare beast and one in halfway good shape should fetch a good piece of change.

Bill
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Steve - K4HX
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 07:39:45 PM »

That's a bit of a stretch. A good SDR with the attendant filtering and sync detection is superior. In any event, serious AM BC DXing comes down to antennas, not receivers.
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W1ATR
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012, 11:07:53 PM »

Id say off it. If you were a purist and you were going to rack it up with a nice R390a, and top that off with an impossible to find CV157, then keep it. I see one of those 389's went by on fleabay last month with 25 bids getting it up to $3500.00. 
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 07:33:22 AM »

Here is a guide for you:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Collins-R-389-URR-Signal-Corps-Tube-Ham-Radio-Receiver-military-army-/321004421861?pt=US_Ham_Radio_Receivers&hash=item4abd5ac2e5

The $3500. one was totally restored, the one in the link is looking a little ruff but still fetching some money
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2012, 08:56:54 PM »


Wow, that's the most I've seen one bring in a few years. And it didn't even have the meters. Several in better/complete condition have gone for under a kilobuck recently. Well under.

To the original question, it's a great but very limited or 'specialized' receiver. It's the kind of receiver most wouldn't seek out for a lot of money, but you'd be happy as all hell to have available if picked up cheap or given to you by a friend. Typical mil spec R-390 quality & construction with performance to match. But as you noted, there's not a whole lot of utility to be had and a whole lot of dead air to be found.

The big prices are paid by the 'gotta have one' collectors, and if yours is complete with meters and in decent shape, I have no doubt you could find someone to take it off your hands for more money than you paid for it. Unless you paid a lot, of course.  Wink
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KR4WI
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 04:41:13 PM »

Thank You for responding, I would like to keep it and put a converter with it like Rick was saying.
But, I dont know how to build one, and cant find any information on the www so far.. I would like to
listen to 3.885, and 7.290 etc with it....Use it as my am rx ham bands...Thank You Again for responding.
Matthew KR4WI
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W3RSW
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Rick & "Roosevelt"


« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 12:43:24 PM »

Matthew,
Go to a hamfest or check online and get any 1950's or even '60's year ARRL ".Radio Amateurs Handbook."

Single stage 6BE6 converters and more complex circuits are explained as well as some of the advertisements in the back of the book showing commercial converters for use in AM broadcast band car radios of the era.  Some of these converters come up on Ebay occasionally.  Some output the ham bands into one frequency "on your AM radio dial,"  some output a varible frequency, tunable by the AM radio.  Later editions have transistorized models.

At random, I picked the 1963 edition and found on page 47 of the ad's a Gonset Super 12 six band converter, 10 thru 80 plus 19 and 49 meter SW.  It needs 12 volts, negative ground, which is close to what your ham shack these days has indoors as well as in your car.   

Arrow Electronics on page 69, ad section, showed an Ameco "CMA, All Band" converter covering 2 through 160 meters. Shortwave band version also sold.

Good luck; here's hoping your R389 is your ticket to lots of fun and learning.
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RICK  *W3RSW*
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2012, 01:06:17 PM »

The following site has lots 'o stuff. And its free.

http://www.tubebooks.org/technical_books_online.htm

The Orr Radio Handbook has some info r/e/ converters.

klc
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