I found one of these locally – with a speaker and fully restored by Howard Mills – THE Collins Expert. This is a receiver I have had at the back of my mind for years. I also have the fondest or early memories of when I first started sending with my Vibroplex Bug in 1973 or so.
Frattini J-36 Bug
I also ordered an Alberto Frattini hand made Italian J-36 bug. Soon after getting my Novice ticket in 1973 (WN2QHN in Newton, NJ) I switched from a straight key to a Vibroplex Bug. Before I got into DXCC in 2001 – I did build and goof around with QRP – and it was fun – but at that time didn’t catch me like DXing did.
I will mostly transmit on 40M in the CW band and replace the knob with a 10 turn “TOPVR” style vernier knob.
Begali CW Machine
At the beginning of this year – when I had only a couple more to go on 160M (getting me to 9BDXCC), and only 2 more to work them all for Top of Honor Roll – I had to decide whether to continue on with a QRO DXCC station or do “something” else. I chose the QRO option – I think because I just didn’t have the heart to admit that my DXCC days were over. I did think “Well, hell, I can just go over to my neighbors house to work the last 2” – but I guess I wasn’t quite ready.
Six months later – and while I’ve checked into the Mission Trail Net on 75M most nights, and worked one DXpedition this year for one Top Band QSO (KH1/KH7Z), I realized that I had a bunch of expensive gear doing basically nothing. Resale value is important, and so I finally decided to dive into the past.
The main reason is part nostalgia – in this highly digital world and with me working in IT for 37 years, I sit coding or doing other IT related tasks, so I find it especially comforting to do some “analog” things to balance the digital.
The other part of this is that I have become very much addicted to “Living History” – and have been reading books on the history of technology and innovation for a few years now. I realized that just by me knowing and practicing Morse Code (CW), I am an important “ambassador” for a part of history that will soon be dwindling as Baby Boomers go SK. In fact, the Geochron clock and some other gear that I am getting are from older hams who want to find a good home – and they seem to like my take on living history, so I am finding that this all just fits like a glove.