Preparing for The Collins KWS-1


Collins TR switch (110 volt relay)

There are several things you need to get the Gold Dust Twins to work together:

  1. TR switch – the relay you see above – I found one relatively cheap ($50) – I saw one for sale for $285!!
  2. Interconnecting wires between the relay, the receiver speaker and of course the coax to each rig and the antenna
  3. The power supply wires and blower tube – to keep the linear amplifier tubes cool
  4. Microphone – Hi Impedance – 50’s era vintage

Astatic D-104 High Impedance Crystal Microphone

I was able to get a decent D-104 for $60 – in a condition about like this one – maybe a little better, actually. The microphone plug is NOS – and cost almost half what the mic cost – but I am also looking at other microphones as well – there are some decent vintage mic’s from that era that I think are quite a bit cooler than the D-104 “lollipop”.

RCA Ribbon microphone – these are very expensive – from $2000 – $5000 believe it or not!

I’d love an RCA ribbon mic – but they are ridiculously expensive – luckily there are other mics from that era that are also very cool. There is even a new company from Sweden that makes reasonably affordable ribbon mics that also look great. Heil makes a PR-77d which has good ratings and also looks cool – retro, so once I get the KWS-1 on the air – I’ll check back into the mic situation.

Begali Intrepid bug – I will dedicate this to the Collins KWS-1

It seems to me that a bug is the right key for the KWS-1 – I don’t want to use a keyer and paddle with it – just for nostalgia reasons. Its also why I want a vintage – retro (but not crazy expensive real vintage) mic. I want to use this gear on the air – unlike some collectors who seem to just want them for looks only.

My evil plan is coming together. Late next week I will send my KWS-1 to Howard Mills for restoration. Before then I will test the KWS-1 more than I did when I purchased it last weekend. At that time – we just put the rig on a variac and I saw that everything lit up and that there was current and voltage on the meters. I did not know how to check the grid current, but I have the manual now – and will do so. My goal here is to make sure the power supply is good – so when I get the KWS-1 back, I will know that it is being powered properly. I’m already very confident that it is – but I’ll jot down as many readings as I can before the rig goes off for its restore – so I can do A – B testing.

The other part of the project is to get the operating workbench finalized so all of this gear fits right. I can’t wait to get 3Y0I in the bag – because one part of my operating bench has an AL-80B on loan – and that is where I want to put the SW-3 instead.


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