Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Collins R-388

My old R-388 gets a lot of use. I use it to listen to a few stations in Colorado Springs and Denver. It also does a good job of providing an extra heat source for the shack.
R-388
I remember when I first saw this radio. I came home to NC on leave and my Dad, KB4OGI, had this monster in his shack. It took up a lot of space but I think he got a kick out of it. I was very familiar with the R-390 as I had used those for ten years as a SIGINT Operator at various locations, before they were replaced with the RACAL, but I had never seen a R-388. I remember asking Dad what he paid for it and he said 15 dollars. I laughed thinking that it did not work. I was wrong. It worked and it still works. Its calibration is not too far off and I have done nothing to it except drag it to Colorado from North Carolina.

Along with the radio was also the original manual and what was once 15 dollar hamfest junk is now one of most prized radios. It is nice to have a piece of Army Air Corps history in working order as part of my shack. Thanks Dad.


I had thought about restoring it but decided to leave it as is and just use it.

The rest of my shack is a little bit more modern. I am a big fan of Elecraft gear but before that I was always a Ten Tec and Kenwood owner. Ten Tec lost me with their lack of support for the Orion which  I had and sold to buy the K3. I also I recently sold my Kenwood TS-830 Line (AT-230, SP-230, SM-220, VFO-230). Although it took me a few years to build that station I did not use it much and while the TS-830S is still a fine radio it was never really optimized for CW so I sold it to someone that could get more use out of it. I am pleased with my station today but if I had to do it all over again I would just have the KX3 (not pictured) as my main radio instead of the K3. I still have two K2s, a KX1 and various handhelds and mobile radios. I have been trying to sell one of my K2s but I have not put too much effort into it since I do not mind keeping it.

K0JQZ 
73
Frank
K0JQZ

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