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A Great Name in Radio Turns 75

09/11/2008

Seventy-five years ago a small radio communications company, operating from the owner's basement, officially incorporated in the state of Delaware. From these humble beginnings arose one of the nation's foremost communications and avionics companies -- The Collins Radio Company. Arthur Collins, W0CXX, started building high quality Amateur Radio equipment that from the very beginning was to make the Collins brand legendary among ham radio operators worldwide. The Collins Radio Company was incorporated with $29,000 in capital and eight employees during the depth of the Great Depression. In 1973, Collins was acquired by Rockwell International. In 2001 the company was spun off into what is today Rockwell Collins, Inc with over 19,500 employees worldwide and annual sales of $4.415 billion.

Fifty years ago, and 25 years after incorporation, in September 1958 Collins Radio introduced a completely new line of amateur communications equipment -- the S/Line. The 75S-1 receiver, 32S-1 transmitter and 30S-1 power amplifier set a new standard of excellence in areas of styling, reliability, frequency accuracy, stability, signal quality and linear amplification. The S/Line enjoyed a long production history and today still commands premium prices among classic radio enthusiasts and collectors.

Twenty-five years ago, in preparation for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Rockwell Collins, the Collins Amateur Radio Club was formed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Later, under the vanity call sign process, we were assigned W0CXX, the call sign of Arthur A. Collins. Later additional employee Amateur Radio clubs (ARC) were founded at other Rockwell Collins facilities. Today there are six club stations located in five cities:

• W0CXX, Main Plant, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

• N0CXX, North Campus, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

• W5ROK, Richardson, Texas

• W4CRC, Melbourne, Florida

• W6CXX, Tustin, California

• F6KNZ, Toulouse, France

These six Rockwell Collins ARC stations have organized a special operating event in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the company. Special QSL cards will be available for those working each Rockwell Collins Club station during the event. Stations confirming contacts with four or more of the Collins stations are eligible to receive a special certificate. Operators should QSL to the individual Collins stations. Applicants for the certificates must submit QSLs from four or more of the club stations to W0CXX for processing.

Operating period: 0001 UTC September 20 through 2359 UTC September 26, 2008. Operating frequencies:

CW: 3550; 7050; 10,115; 14,050; 18,085; 21,050; 24,900, and 28,050 kHz

SSB: 3885; 7285; 14,285; 18,155; 21,385; 24,955, and 28,455 kHz

Not all stations will be operational at any given time and club membership will also affect the amount of air time from each station. Watch the DX spotting clusters and these Web sites for actual on-the-air times/frequencies of each station: http://w0cxx.us/ and http://w5rok.us/. Working four or more Collins Club stations will be a real challenge.

Rod Blocksome was first licensed in 1960 as KN0DAS and is now Amateur Extra class K0DAS. He is an USAF veteran and recently completed 40 years with Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he is currently a senior systems engineer. Rod has operated on all amateur bands from 1.8 through 2304 MHz and previously held amateur licenses VK2IHY and T30CXX, and expects to activate T32DAS this October. He is a life member of ARRL. All photos courtesy of Rod Blocksome, K0DAS.

Rod Blocksome, K0DAS



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