[AMRadio] Can You Believe It? Johnson 500 / Collins 30K

Bob Peters rwpeters at swbell.net
Mon Sep 17 11:09:08 EDT 2007

I agree with you Todd...I sold my KW-1 in 1992 for $22,000.00 and was
happy to get it...I found a Johnson 500 for a guy in Florida for $2500
in 2000 and he was pleased as punch... I just paid $425 for an SX42 but
I wanted it and was willing to pay it... So go figure If you want it bad
enough you pay for it...

Bob W1PE

-----Original Message-----
From: amradio-bounces at mailman.qth.net
[mailto:amradio-bounces at mailman.qth.net] On Behalf Of Todd, KA1KAQ
Sent: Monday, September 17, 2007 10:00 AM
To: Discussion of AM Radio in the Amateur Service
Subject: Re: [AMRadio] Can You Believe It? Johnson 500 / Collins 30K

On 9/15/07, Ellen Rugowski <ellenjoanne2003 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> But as I've been told numerous times in the past few months, the days 
> of the cheapo "for the asking" old rigs seem to be going away.  Oh 
> well.  Still, the 30K1 is a prewar rig, and they are rare (as Jack 
> mentioned).  $3400 for a 500 Viking seems over the top.

Some folks are still stuck in the "I used to pay $5 for those, so they
aren't worth more" mode of thinking, despite everything else in the
world costing more. The good deals are as numerous as we are
resourceful. Convenience costs more.

It really depends what you want it for, and how you look at it overall.
For example, someone who wants to best, cleanest example for display or
bragging rights will likely pay more money than any 'user' would. I
always try to find rigs in good cosmetic shape paint-wise simply because
it's the part of restoration I'm not well versed in, but I don't let a
few flaws stop me from picking up an interesting rig (if it's within my
price range, of course). Zorched parts, missing parts - generally not a

The 30K was actually a post-war model, some say styled after the pre-war
30J (one nice looking transmitter). In 1948 the selling price for the
later 30K-1 and 310A-1 exciter was $1450. If you run that through an
inflation calculator it comes out to $12647.39 in 2006 dollars. If you
run $4000 backwards to 1948 dollars, it comes to $458.59. Certainly not
chump change back then, but roughly one third of the 30K-1 selling

The KW-1 tracks the same: the $3850 price in 1952 would've cost
$28873.34 in 2006 dollars. Most KW-1s in nice shape the last decade have
sold between $20-$25K with a few highs and lows either side. Not too far
off, really. But clearly - if you'd bought a KW-1 new and stored it away
for 55 years, you'd get your money back but not much more, so not a very
good "investment".

The Johnson 500 price between 1956-63(not sure if it varied) lists as
$949.50 factory assembled. Even going with 1963 dollars to 2006, it
still comes out at $6114.65. You'd pay that much or more for some of the
latest plastic whizbang boxes. So it really comes down to what you want,
what you enjoy, and what you're comfortable paying for your toys.
Supply/demand, desirability, etc. It's only worth to you what you're
willing to pay.

And Wayne, I can certainly relate! I feel the same about the KW-1,
bought mine in 1988 with a bunch of other stuff from an antique shop for
$350 and had maybe $50 in it at the time (didn't even know what it was
beyond a BIG transmitter). Wouldn't pay the going rate for one today, at
least not with my current income. Had offers over the years to sell it,
no way. It's too much fun to play with and work on.

~ Todd,  KA1KAQ

Collins 30K List: http://amfone.net/Collins/30k.htm
Our Main Website: http://www.amfone.net
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