Radio “Living History”

 Collins 75A-4 Receiver

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.



One Comment on “Radio “Living History”

  1. Terrific post.

    Glad you are going forward going backwards.

    Let me know if the Geochron doesn’t fit on the wall!

    73, Ed McCann AG6CX

    Sent from my iPhone



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