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 Post subject: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Mon 09, 2012 7:41 pm 
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I think I'm ready to bite the bullet and see what all the hype is about.
I would like to buy an R-390(A).
Associated SSB adapter, case, and speaker would be nice but not necessary.

Plug and play not necessary HOWEVER......... Nothing missing, bashed or broken. No basket cases.
I'm comfortable with a unit that YOU know could be brought back to health with a cleanup, lube, paint, cap/resistor replacement, adjustments etc.


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Mon 09, 2012 9:00 pm 
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I picked up a Motorola built R-390 this past summer. Just getting around to cleaning and assessing. It was parked in a shed for several years so it's pretty nasty but showing promise.

The worst damage I've found so far is a few broken tuning slugs. It's also missing all the tube shields but I think I have enough spares to cover it. It looks well used, but I kind'a like that worn look on the knobs and such. Gives it character.

I'll be figuring out what else does and doesn't work as I go along, but so far it looks worthy of electrical restoration. Might not be what you are looking for, and I haven't yet decided if it's over my head yet. I'm really not sure I want to sell either, but,,,,,, the right offer might sway me. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Mon 09, 2012 10:25 pm 
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When you get to the meat and potatoes of it......

"parked in a shed for several years -- pretty nasty -- broken tuning slugs -- missing all the tube shields -- well used ."

Someone golden screwdrivered those tuning slugs to bits (this is a good indicator to look elsewhere in the set for even more adjustments/damage by Barney Fife), robbed it of its tube shields (and maybe more), and left it there for a reason.

Without pix, it sounds like a possible candidate for a parts donor/complete overhaul. Maybe not so bad. I've read that these are modular construction, and complete modules aren't that hard to find, nor expensive. In fact, what these fetch on ebay in working condition -vs- what the modules get, it's probably cheaper (at ebay prices) to just build one.

So, if you decide to keep it/fix it, the parts are readily available. If not lemme know!

Here on this forum I've done some research on the r-390(A), and have read what some members have found ..........."The Livermore, California ham swap this month had two R-390A's there. One was $ 85 and one was $ 40. Both had meters, all modules and filters and were --not-- dirty or weathered. A friend bought the $ 85 one and I bought the $ 40 one, which needs about 10 of the small knobs but is otherwise the same as the other one. They both needed complete routine overhauls but the prices were certainly right and mine came out in pretty nice shape after steam cleaning. "
That post was from 6 years ago.
I could entertain one in the shape you list for a complete overhaul/parts unit.
Let me know! :D


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Mon 09, 2012 10:39 pm 
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I picked up an R-390A for $30, then another one for $32.50. That was years ago, and the sellers did not know what they had. You cannot expect to find deals like that (at least not very often).

If you want a good, functional, complete and restorable 390A you should expect to pay about $150. Already restored (including the filters) $400 and up. If you need a winter project that will keep you busy (and frustrated) for months, you might just find a $25 special (and $60 for shipping).


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Mon 09, 2012 10:54 pm 
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Well, judging by Dynadudes location, I'm ok meeting him halfway for the exchange over a sandwich and coffee. Halfway is about an hour and a half-2 hours from Roanoke. I'll probably spend less in gas than what it would cost to ship, and it would be out of the fumbling bumbling hands of a shipper who's already mad at how much it weighs, and decides to toss it around.


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Mon 09, 2012 10:58 pm 
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I think you'd be very very lucky to find a complete restorable R390A for anywhere close to $150. Frankly you'd be lucky to find an RF deck or pair of meters alone for that price.


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Mon 09, 2012 11:35 pm 
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quadlibet2001 wrote:

"broken tuning slugs -- "

Someone golden screwdrivered those tuning slugs to bits (this is a good indicator to look elsewhere in the set for even more adjustments/damage by Barney Fife), robbed it of its tube shields (and maybe more), and left it there for a reason.


No. A complex gear train raises and lowers rows of slugs in and out of the tuning coils. It is common for these slugs to break. One gets sticky and then you crank the tuning knob....

When you rebuild the geartrain chances are you will be using the geartrain rebuild instructions/pics that I documented in 2002.

http://www.militaryradio.com/R390A/R390RFDeck/toc.htm


quadlibet2001 wrote:
I've read that these are modular construction, and complete modules aren't that hard to find, nor expensive. In fact, what these fetch on ebay in working condition -vs- what the modules get, it's probably cheaper (at ebay prices) to just build one.



I follow the E-bay 390(a) auctions.
My sets are worth more selling as parts than whole radios.

If you can find a decent R390 for $150 or less, get it. Personally, I would buy all that are available at that price. They are worth at least $600 for parts on E-bay. I could quit my day job.


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 12:13 am 
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I've seen turn key sets advertised for a grand and better. That's one reason I considered getting this puppy working. Not to sell, (if I went to all that trouble), but to have a great performing set. If they are fetching those prices they must be something special.

I know a fixer upper is not anywhere near that range, and this one probably never would be anyway. It's just showing too much wear and signs of neglect. I kind of like that look in a boat anchor though. Gives it that military tough look.

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 12:25 am 
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Ive heard that the 390 is a lot harder to work on than the 390A and even in this radio rich area even $250 for a complete non worker is a bit low.

"Overhauled" ones that look as if they were just released from a barn bring $500 and up at area hamfests with the top end restorers getting $2500 and more.

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 12:30 am 
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Scott wrote:

No. A complex gear train raises and lowers rows of slugs in and out of the tuning coils. It is common for these slugs to break. One gets sticky and then you crank the tuning knob....

When you rebuild the geartrain chances are you will be using the geartrain rebuild instructions/pics that I documented in 2002.

http://www.militaryradio.com/R390A/R390RFDeck/toc.htm


Hi Scott,

Thanks for the link. Would that work on the R-390 I have? It looks like there are some major differences in the two variations.

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 12:34 am 
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I don't mean to hijack your thread, but, have you considered a Drake TR-7? They are, frankly, much smaller and if you put HP matched diodes in the detector ring (and tweak it just a hair to account for the lower diode drop) they make for a really choice setup. They were going pretty cheaply last that I looked.
I have one and it is my favorite rig by a long stretch.

BTW: Scott, thank you for sharing. Well done. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 12:50 am 
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Just so the uninformed know what these beasts look like, here are pics of a Collins R390 and CV-157 SSB adapter.

-Steve


Attachments:
r390-cv157.jpg
r390-cv157.jpg [ 84.41 KiB | Viewed 842 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 1:08 am 
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2500$ for a great example? 250$ for a verified non working (but complete) one is on the LOW side?????
That's a depressing reality check for sure.

JUST the R-390(A) with no case or anything.....

Man... If I gotta deal with those prices the seller better pucker up. I wanna be kissed first at least.


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 1:25 am 
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Location: Dallas, TX - in the city but with bobcats and coyotes
Thus, my (blasphemous) recommendation of the Drake. Collins gear is really great stuff. Drake also made a great receiver in the TR-7. It (the TR-7) is, hands down, my favorite rig (so far..). But I certainly understand the desire to own a Collins or Harris rig. I just can't justify the entire closet worth of space.

I'd best pipe down before the Collins aficionados get after me. :mrgreen:
73, de KB5SHC

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 1:42 am 
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At those rates some of the watkins johnson setups look mighty fine.
Maybe an R-1051.

Seriously though. An R-390 with an r-389 sitting next to it would be nice.
I like to think it can be done without being one of "those" guys lighting 100$ cigars with 100$ bills while cruising the bands.
(no offense intended to any of you that do)


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 1:49 am 
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The R390 I pictured I paid $250 for it at the AWA Conference in Rochester 1994.
Incidentally, it is serial No. 5

The CV-157 was a gift. A rather GENEROUS gift from a friend. I have yet to tear into that beast and I know my back will hate me when I do... :(

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 1:52 am 
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That's a picture of YOUR stuff Steve?!! :shock:

If you ever decide that SSB unit is too much of a bother for you or your back, I'm here for ya !!!
I'll take that cumbersome problem off your hands!

Truly a nice setup!

Whats that at the bottom, the racks own breaker/switch?


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 2:04 am 
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The switch is part of the CV-157. I believe the power supply is down in the bottom. Its been a while since I looked inside. Below the 157 out of the image is a speaker I built into the rack.
All a project on the waiting list. If I decide to let it go, I'll let you know.

I found a video of one in operation. This isn't mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4xGlIQ6Kqw

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 2:39 am 
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dynadude wrote:

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the link. Would that work on the R-390 I have? It looks like there are some major differences in the two variations.


No. Would not work.
I tore down a R390 completely....I mean everything that could be taken apart....in late 2002. My intentions were to completely document the rebuild. I ended up in a battle with leukemia and all the pieces went into boxes where they sit today. I am too nervous I will not be able to get it back together. I may sell the parts.


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 Post subject: Re: WTB : Collins (designed) R-390(A) and associated gear
PostPosted: Jan Tue 10, 2012 2:45 am 
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One set you want to watch out for is the "blue stripers". There were hundreds of R390a's that sat in a military junk yard for months or years. They were not protected from the weather. They had a blue stripe painted down the face when they were decomissioned. These sets were sold to the public by Fair Radio Sales. I would be careful of fixed up, repainted sets.


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