Vintage Transceivers


The development of SSB transceivers in the mid-1950s spelled the end of stand-alone transmitters and receivers for SSB communication. Shown here are examples of interesting transceivers from the first fifty years.

Introduced in 1956, the Collins KWM-1 transceiver (right) was a breakthrough product that featured a 100 watt single-sideband transmitter and receiver in one compact package. The U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers, which was shot down over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960, carried a KWM-1 operating on a secret CIA frequency. The KWM-1 led to the eventual demise of separate receivers and transmitters in ssb shortwave communications.

Colllins KWM-1 Transceiver

Collins KWM-2A Transceiver

 The Collins KWM-2 transceiver (left) was the wildly popular successor to the ugly duckling KWM-1. This is the "A" version, which signifies extended frequency coverage. Tens of thousands of these radios were sold over a fifteen year span to consumer and military customers. With their spiffy trim rings, textured front panels, and coordinated color schemes, this series of Collins radios set a standard for styling excellence that many believe has never been surpassed. The radio shown here was manufactured in 1975, near the end of the production run.

The Signal/One company hoped to capture a portion of the top-of-the-line transceiver market that had been dominated for many years by Collins Radio. The Milspec 1030 (right) was intended to compete with the Collins KWM-380 transceiver. Performance-wise the Milspec 1030 was more advanced than KWM-380, but because it cost nearly six thousand dollars, only about two hundred were sold. CLICK HERE or on the photo to learn more about the Milspec 1030.

Signal/One Milspec 1030 Transceiver

Hallicrafters FPM-200 Transceiver

The Hallicrafters FPM-200 transceiver is the rarest item in my collection. I acquired it in nearly new condition from the amateur (now deceased) who won it in a why-I-like-Hallicrafters contest in 1959. With only about 25 produced, the FPM-200 was the premier rig in the Hallicrafters line and an extraordinary technical innovation. Using newly-discovered Ge transistors, printed circuit boards, and numerous other advances, its 1959 list price was $2660. CLICK HERE for a list of known FPM-200 owners.

The Drake TR-5 transceiver was intended as a low-cost alternative to the more popular TR-7 transceiver, which it visually resembles. Interestingly, the conversion scheme and internal construction is completely different from the TR-7. The TR-5 shown here is accompanied by an RV-75 synthesized remote VFO and an L-75 linear amplifier. The TR-5 is powered by the PS-75 12VDC power supply and produces about 60 Watts of RF power. It has provisions for an optional CW filter, noise blanker and crystals for the WARC bands. Although the TR-5 is a fine performer and is more convenient to operate than the TR-7, not many were sold. Today, however, it is prized by collectors.

Drake "5-Line"