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 Favorite Shortwave

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Robertex



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PostSubject: Favorite Shortwave   Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:53 pm

Any recommendations on a popular tube-type shortwave radio that would not require much restoration? I'm adept at electronics work, but would rather not spend alot of time performing a full-up restoration or completely re-wiring any boards.
Many thanks in advance!
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jack shirley



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:39 pm

What's your price range? Are you looking for a basic Band Cruiser or the 'best' shortwave radio?
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ggregg



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:40 pm

Zenith TO, either tube or solid state. The SS ones have some issues, usually with transistors, but most are pretty easy to resolve.
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Dave Doughty



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:37 am

Robertex wrote:
Any recommendations on a popular tube-type shortwave radio that would not require much restoration?

Just about any tube radio will require some restoration. Replacement of the paper and electrolytic capacitors is mandatory. An alignment check is always a good idea. Some sets are easier to restore than others. Those that use disk-ceramic caps instead of paper caps would be a good choice.

What type of performance level do you need? I think one of the best bangs for the bucks is the relatively un-popular National NC-109. The examples I have seen haven't needed a lot of restoration.



http://www.io.com/~nielw/nat_list/nc109.htm

Dave



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burnt fingers



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:58 am

I'll add the NC-173 as a low cost National sleeper thats a snap to overhaul.

Most of the time some resistors will need replacing but that can be done with the caps.

Some Hammarlunds are nice also with the HQ-140X and 150X meing single conversion and the 145X is dual conversion. None are expensive.

All require an external speaker but any 3.2 to 8 Ohm speaker works fine.

Carl
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oldradiospook

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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:22 pm

and if you are lucky enough to come up on a National 183 or 183D 125 bucks is not out of range for one that needs service. As long as its not a transformer. I kicked my self raw for selling mine years ago. I worked the world using it in tandem with a Heathkit DX-100B transmitter. The two of them together weighed over 160 pounds.

Those were the days.



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antiqradioman



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:23 pm

If your talking vintage, I have a RME-45 with it's original speaker that I really like. They come up on Ebay every once in a while. Mine is a 1946 model. I've never had a problem with it. The dial is impressive and accurate.
Dennis
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Tube Radio



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:37 pm

Go get you a Hammarlund SP-600 JX-17 receiver. One well taken care of and that has the ceramic caps instead of the black beauty caps will most likely only need some tubes replaced to get it going and may still work decently with marginal tubes installed.
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MarkPalmer



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:38 pm

burnt fingers wrote:
I'll add the NC-173 as a low cost National sleeper thats a snap to overhaul.

Most of the time some resistors will need replacing but that can be done with the caps.

Some Hammarlunds are nice also with the HQ-140X and 150X meing single conversion and the 145X is dual conversion. None are expensive.

All require an external speaker but any 3.2 to 8 Ohm speaker works fine.

Carl

I have a Hammarlund HQ145 as my tube SWL receiver and really like the model. Nice features and performance, and best of all still available for about $125-150 or less in good working order. Restoration on them is typical/simple, most often they don't need much, maybe a tube here or there and perhaps some switch cleaning. The underside is clean and spread out, no paper caps to worry about. Some say they are prone to silver mica disease, but thus far none of the HQ models I have owned had it- perhaps I have just been lucky. The 145 is fun to operate, yet goes a little beyond the basic but doesn't get overly complex with bells and whistles you don't really need for SWL. It stands its ground well with some solid state receivers I have owned that cost several hundred dollars more than it. IMHO it's nice looking also to boot.

-Mark-
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Mike W.

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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:13 pm

I have to put a vote in for the Hammarlund I use, the HQ-180a. I've been listening to shortwave sets as far back as I can remember. I thought I had more than just a casual interest in HF before, but it wasn't until the 180 I started keeping the carton of smokes and pot of coffee at my desk!

This makes vote # 3 or 4 for a Hammarlund........
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burnt fingers



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:28 am

I used a HQ-180 with the noise silencer almost daily but left it off the list as they tend to be pricey. Right now its been replaced by the SX-73/R-274 as SMD has reared its ugly head and I have been too busy to get to it.

Carl
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Arnie



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:50 am

Most of the National receivers make good shortwave listening radios. The NC-183 (D) have the push pull audio output, which gives an outstanding sound into a good speaker. I have an NC-125 that does pretty well too.

There's a guy on a local craigslist that has a HQ-140X for sale for $100 that would also be a good SWL receiver.

arnie
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gearhead222



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:51 pm

Best bang for the buck vs. least amount of work to get going? An S-38 series hands down!Smile-Gearhead
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Reece

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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:46 am

All good radios but in reality it depends on what crosses your path in the best condition for the best price!
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MarkPalmer



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:54 am

I just finished refurbishing a Hallicrafters S-38. This receiver is really nothing more than an AA5 and has several paper caps along with the electrolytic and was somewhat crowded in areas under the chassis. Not real hard to work on, but it does have a few funky wire dressing issues. The end yield is a shortwave receiver that IMHO is a not-so-joyful to use thing as to be expected with its simple circuit. I just can't take the S-38 seriously.

Even an entry level Hammarlund HQ-100 that you can grab for $75-100 will walk circles around an S-38, and is easier to refurbish IMHO, with the efforts yielding a real SW receiver you'll likely enjoy using more. I've just never been a Halli fan, the ones I have were given to me. Most of the middle range Nationals I have used are good solid performers, but I'm also not fond of slide rule dials on comm receivers which turns me away from them.

-Mark-


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Dave Doughty



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:33 pm

My uncle was in the Army during the end of WWII. When he was discharged in the late '40's, the first thing he bought was an S-38 because it reminded him of the equipment he worked with in the service. Because they were so affordable, I think a lot of S-38's were sold for this reason. When my family visited, I used to play with his S-38 and was fascinated by it. This was in the early '50's when I was around 7 or 8. It is a wonderful piece of nostalgia but as a contender for serious shortwave listening, this model leaves much to be desired.

Dave


Last edited by Dave Doughty on Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:49 am; edited 2 times in total
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Tony Wells

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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:46 pm

I have an S-38 that was bought new by an uncle in Dallas. I agree with Dave about the nostalgia factor. I was a kid playing on the S-38 in the sixties. I shocked me a few times and it was taken away as dangerous and shelved until last December, when it was given back to me. I have it on the bench now playing with it. I need to put new insulators on the mount points. I think I'll machine some out of Delrin.

Anyway, as SW receivers go, that is not a strong runner, but is fun to play with. Just got in a SX-28 that needs a complete rebuild. That may be my favorite when all is said and done.
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jack shirley



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:59 pm

Haven't heard back from robertex the original poster about what he wants so we're just shooting for answers to the original question!

I think the Hallicrafters S-40 is one of the better radios for the buck for casual listening. Good boatanchor feel, nice Halli-green glow dial, easy to work on, easy to find one at a decent price.
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Robertex



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:04 pm

Just now getting back to my personal e-mail and all of the fantastic responses!
National vs. Halli... some tough decisions! I do have an S-38 that's never been powered up (and won't unless restored). Just wondering if I should press with that, or check on eBay for a National. I don't mean to keep the pot stirred, but everyone's response is an incredible read.
Many thanks!
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Tony Wells

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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:08 pm

Go forward with the Halli, and take your time shopping on ebay or where ever to get something "better". You'll also have a better feel for your own desires.
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jack shirley



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:29 pm

Well, if you've never piddled with shortwave listening, (SWL'ing) and have an S-38 handy, then by all means give it a go. Its 'functional' and many a radio-feller cut their teeth listening to one. Call it a starting point.

Its a different world nowadays. A Chinese Kaito 1103 is a go-to radio in the under $100 price range and will run rings performance-wise around any old under $100 boatanchor. But you don't get the glow and the heavy feel and the smell of the tubes doing their work. Won't shock you and you won't have to replace the caps...at least for a decade or so.
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MarkPalmer



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:01 pm

Definitely "smoke it if you've got it" with the S-38. It's fun to restore and it does... well.. work. It just sort of sucks and as mentioned it can be dangerous. What better way to start out?? What a Face It will do one of two things. If it discourages you, you'll never want to bother with a tube shortwave receiver again. If it encourages you, you'll move up and beyond it.

-Mark-
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oldradioparts



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:40 pm

The 600 series Zenith Trans-Oceanics are about the best deal in SW. They often will work with just shooting the bandswitches and vol control with a good de-oxit cleaner and working them in.
Spray the tube pins also, insert them wet and rock them in the sockets (DONT spray the sockets, it can cause arcing). the 600 series begins about 1953 and goes to 1959 roughly. Usually under $100 "as found". The caps are mostly ceramics by then, too, so they hold up well.

Mark Oppat
www.oldradioparts.net
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burnt fingers



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Sat Oct 16, 2010 7:51 am

Then its another $30-50 for a NIB 1L6 when needed. The propagation yesterday was even wide open on the 13M band where a 1R5 swap wont play. I was using the basement antenna on a RME-45 Im finishing up and thats a mediocre set at best.

I like and own several TO's but not for any serious SWLing. Sensitivity is worse than most any AC radios with an RF stage due to the very low transconductance of battery tubes.

Carl
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oldradioparts



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PostSubject: Re: Favorite Shortwave   Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:07 am

yes, but for a nearly "plug and play" radio, and easy to find, the 600 series is the best way to go IMHO. The 1L6 is pricey for sure but if the selenium is good, will still work ok if even slightly weak. the Selenium is more often the issue, not the tube.

Mark Oppat
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