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 Post subject: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 4:32 am 
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Joined: Aug Fri 29, 2014 6:17 pm
Posts: 2554
Location: Vincennes Indiana
Hi guys!
Would you drive 600 miles round trip for a $200 r388 in clean working condition? No cabinet. My hoopdy gets about 30mpg hwy so it's economical as far as gasoline goes, and no shipping damage that way, but if the car keeled over halfway through the trip I'd be in serious straits over a $200 radio. An r388 has sentimental value as a dear uncle used these in the Signal Corps in Deutschland. I'm also concerned about the reported pto errors/caps, if any, and my ability to deal with same.


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 4:55 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2013 8:37 pm
Posts: 560
Location: Seattle, WA
That’s a very good price for a working radio. While I have a cabinet for mine, I run it without the cabinet. It takes far less space.

Don F


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 4:58 am 
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Posts: 1793
Location: Costa Mesa, California
The PTO is only an issue if you want zero tolerance for your dial. If it is 10 KHz off, set the middle correct and remember what the ends of the range are. My PTO was off and I just clipped a lead on one of the compensation caps to correct the discrepancy. That was an easy fix and if anyone wants the cap back in play, some solder and it is returned to its original condition. Harder was working in the tight space to change a few components below the PTO tube bases.

I might drive that far--I drove 150 miles through LA to get a $100 SX 42 and it turned out I was able to also get the R-388 and a E.H. Scott at the same time. There are electrolytic caps that need changing and I did a few others. Mine came with no cabinet or covers and I had some fabricated at my local metal shop. It is a great looking and performing radio. As far as difficulty of restoring the R-388, I would say it is not as hard as a SX-42 or NC 183D. The SP-600 is a difficult radio to restore. Everything else is easier to work on.

Norm


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 5:06 am 
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Joined: Dec Tue 14, 2010 7:52 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Kuna, ID
I drove over 500 to get my 51J4. Would do it again without a second thought.
Cheers

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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 5:22 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 01, 2016 3:56 am
Posts: 217
Location: San Jose, Ca.
As already pointed out, that is a very good price, even after adding in about $60 for gas. Two recently sold on epay for $455 and $500. If you're concerned about the Collins PTO, you might be able to find a person locally to help. I think if you have the time, you should go for it.

Regards, Larry


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 12:49 pm 
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Posts: 5666
I would if I were looking for a R-388.

I drove to the south of Houston, about 950 miles one way, to get my Johnson Ranger/Desk KW setup and to Kingman, AZ (around 1,600 miles one way) to pick up a Viking 500 and Heathkit HA-10. Of course I love road trips so it wasn't just about getting radios :)

The full size diesel pickup I was driving got around 19 MPG going to Houston and less on my trip to AZ given the fun customary higher speeds out west. Part of the AZ run was also my longest one day trip when I drove 1,200 miles to Albuquerque in one day. I was traveling alone and only stopped for fuel about every 400 miles and while the pickup was filling up with diesel I had time to visit the bathroom and grab a cup of coffee so pit stop time was minimal.

PTOs can be replaced or repaired if they are really a problem and it isn't that difficult. I wouldn't let the concern over possible PTO issues keep me from enjoying a great radio.

Happy travels :)

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 1:30 pm 
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Joined: Jan Wed 20, 2016 7:43 pm
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Location: Yardley, PA 19067
Absolutely!


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 1:48 pm 
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Location: Wood River, Ill.
I wouldn’t even give it a second thought! Even if it ment taking a vacation day from work

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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Jan Wed 31, 2018 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1104
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Heck yes! Great receivers and worth going to extremes to get a nice one.
I pick up any that cross my path if the price is realistic.
Steve

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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 5:14 am 
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Joined: Aug Fri 29, 2014 6:17 pm
Posts: 2554
Location: Vincennes Indiana
Thanks for all the responses, from what I gather, I'm not the only nut here. I talked to the owner and a deal has been struck, however I now have other questions to trouble you all with.

First off, I'll be using the 388 for ambc and swbc with a bit of cw and some digital mode decoding just to brag about decoding stuff with an r388. As I'm going to be using it on am more than any other mode, how can I up the audio response bandwidth from stock without modding it more than a cap or two? I don't want to do any mods at all otherwise.

Next query; what is a "good deal" on a clean, good working r390? Can't recall if it's a 390 or 390a, but it is a mix of various modules. Then I'd have to see which rig I liked best if I get both.


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 12:58 pm 
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Joined: Sep Thu 01, 2016 3:56 am
Posts: 217
Location: San Jose, Ca.
In ref to the 390, if it's an R-390A, a good clean correctly working one is worth $1200 to $1500. Mixed modules is not a problem. Excellent ones have sold on epay for $2000 to $2200 + shipping.

Regards, Larry


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Jul Tue 21, 2009 1:38 pm
Posts: 861
Location: SW WA state
Norm Johnson wrote:
The PTO is only an issue if you want zero tolerance for your dial.


Norm,

Sorry, but this is not entirely correct. Each one of these vintage Collins PTO's has three Matchstick caps in them: Two under the tube sockets, and one inside the PTO itself.
It is not a matter of "if" but "when" they finally short out.
ALL of them are leaky... So far, the better ones I'm finding run about 50 MegOhms leakage resistance at 50 volts (test voltage), and they range downwards from there to dead shorts.
At some point, plan on pulling the PTO, replacing the three caps, and doing the EPE fix...

I may be spoiled, but my last several R-388's were $100 or less... But, if I ran into a receiver I wanted, I'd definitely do a road trip for it!
"Junker" R-390A's are going for around $300 locally: They look like they might work, but you just don't know... I've sold mine anywhere from $800-1600, depending on if they were just checked out and aligned, or fully mechanically and cosmetically restored.
I've got both 390's and 390A's in the "to restore" pile... I'm probably done doing them for others, and look to restoring them for myself.
Now if I can just find an R-389.... I have an SP-600 VLF and an R-1401 (CEI 357) for VLF, but would like to add the Collins receiver to the lineup.
The SP-600 is nice, but just doesn't have the selectivity to do serious NDB work.

Good Luck with the R-388! They are fine receivers! I have I think two in the queue to work on...


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 3:24 pm 
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Posts: 5666
The really highly priced R-390A models should have been fully restored by one of the better known restorers. A decent working model is going to be ebay priced in the upper hundreds of dollar range but they aren't going to be flying off the shelf at that price like they would have during the pre-2008 boatanchor price bubble. Private party/hamfest pricing should net you a decent R-390A in usable but not restored condition in the $400-500 range.

I have several in this series (R-390, R-390A, R-391, R-648 ("aircraft R-390), R-392, 51J-3, 51J-4) and the most expensive of the bunch was the R-390 I bought on ebay two years ago in nice cosmetic and working condition for $400 shipped. The R-390A was the first I bought and the best deal because it was a Collins produced unit with all matching module, covers, original manual, and a set of spare tubes for under $200. The R-391 is the autotune version of the R-390 and it was a hamfest purchase 3 years ago for $300.

Every vintage gear aficionado needs at least one R-390 or 390A :) I have also restored a few vintage cuckoo clocks and those are transferable skills when working on the R-390 family of radios.

Tom,
Good luck on finding a R-389. Those suckers are rarely seen and quite expensive.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Jul Tue 21, 2009 1:38 pm
Posts: 861
Location: SW WA state
Rodger,

I've seen the R-390A's in the same price range you have at Hamfests as well... No Luck though on the more exotic models....
I know of one fairly local R-389, but a former owner deeply engraved his call sign on the front panel, and all over every module!
The price is relatively steep for what's there, but I may just spring for it.
I missed out on two locally at an estate: By the time I was called in to help liquidate it, all of the truly spectacular stuff was gone, sold for pennies on the dollar, including the two R-389's.
I had to hustle to help the widow out, but we did good in spite of things.
Had I been called first, I could have put her seriously in the black, and possibly solved my R-389 quest.

-Tom


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 5:44 pm 
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Tom Herman wrote:
Rodger,

I've seen the R-390A's in the same price range you have at Hamfests as well... No Luck though on the more exotic models....
I know of one fairly local R-389, but a former owner deeply engraved his call sign on the front panel, and all over every module!
The price is relatively steep for what's there, but I may just spring for it.
I missed out on two locally at an estate: By the time I was called in to help liquidate it, all of the truly spectacular stuff was gone, sold for pennies on the dollar, including the two R-389's.
I had to hustle to help the widow out, but we did good in spite of things.
Had I been called first, I could have put her seriously in the black, and possibly solved my R-389 quest.

-Tom


I had a somewhat similar pre-estate experience a little over 10 years ago. A friend contacted me because one of his old high school classmates was suffering from worsening Alzheimer's disease and asked me to help give the guy an idea of the value of his stuff. I got a partial list and some photos and was putting together some prices when I got a second email that an estate buyer had stepped in and bought it all...for $1,000. It included a Collins S-3 line with 30S-1 amp, a couple of Drake C lines with matching L-4B amps, and in one picture there were 10 still new in box Eimac 3-500Z tubes. He could have gotten some nice money out of this from a decent estate buyer but a vulture swooped in first and took advantage of his diminished capacity.

This clown was right up there with a former well known ebay type from the early days who grabbed a CE-20A exciter out of the hands of a legally blind ham who was trying to buy it and nearly shoved the poor old guy to the ground in the process. That is the first time since grade school I nearly swung at somebody but retrieving the CE-20A back to the rightful buyer along with a good shove sent the jackass skulking away. But he was soon on the run when a nearby seller realized this was the ebay lowlife who sold him a very expensive KWM-2A and power supply and shipped them in the same large box with a couple of pieces of wadded up newspaper for packing resulting in complete destruction in transit. That was back in the days when ebay protected only their sellers and the buyer was out of luck. That was my most exciting hamfest :)

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 685
Location: Crossville, TN USA
You are talking about some great receivers here. I have an R390 that I really like.

I would love to have an R389 receiver, but the ones I have seen are usually too expensive. The R389 and R390 were the top for their time.

Joe


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Thu 01, 2018 6:59 pm 
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Posts: 1793
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Having gone through the restore process on a 390a the last few weeks, I am now looking at the ones advertised on eBay with a new appreciation of what I am looking at. The prices are high understandably, but the flaws I now see, make me appreciative of what I have. I would advise caution spending the money on a 390a without knowing what you are buying.

Norm

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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 5:56 am 
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Joined: Aug Fri 29, 2014 6:17 pm
Posts: 2554
Location: Vincennes Indiana
I'm kinda leaning on the 388 for use and the 390 to finance the ordeal by flipping it, more or less. The 390's clean and in good working order but I don't think it has been restored, and restoration is far beyond me. This should be an interesting trip.


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 6:42 am 
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Joined: Sep Thu 01, 2016 3:56 am
Posts: 217
Location: San Jose, Ca.
If you'd like to look at the R-390A completed listings in epay, enter this search: 'r390a receiver -deck -knob -module -lot -bfo -angle -j116 -plate -tag -relay -set -ssb -vu -crystal -db -panel -tube -tubes -plugs -manual -switch -coax -pto -meters' and click on the completed box. The sold items price is shown in green. If anyone knows an easier way, please let me know. This might miss one due to keyword usage. If you add '-parts' to the search, you will miss one. Unfortunately, this only lists the last 3 months.

Regards, Larry


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 Post subject: Re: R388 delimma
PostPosted: Feb Fri 02, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Joined: Nov Thu 04, 2010 5:49 am
Posts: 558
Location: Albany, NY
If you're looking for audio fidelity you'll have a much easier time getting good audio out of an R-390 than you will an R-388.


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