Hallicrafters SX-62A Manual
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Hallicrafters SX 62A
User reviews and opinions
|RBLevin||1:22pm on Wednesday, October 27th, 2010|
|ok, i want to update my review but i dont see at first glance how to edit a review so ill just add a new one ; the speed is good. Great buy! Fast. Great battery life. Looks nice The touch pad is way to sensitive To upgrade your 1 GB stick of memory to a 2 GB stick.|
|bart finegan||5:40am on Monday, September 27th, 2010|
|i just got mine today, but i thought id say that i did not have the problems the other user expressed about a DOA. yes there is lots of bloatware.|
|rjones12||1:40pm on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010|
|Excellent Computer This product is outstanding. It is fast, the screen is excellent, and the battery life is also quite good. so far so good purchased it 2 months ago. windows crashed in first day and i needed to restore it. second day screen went crazy.|
|pocha||7:10am on Monday, May 3rd, 2010|
|I bought this product from best buy and i have to say, the antivirus that came with it slows the laptop down. So if you buy it from best buy as well.|
|forumposters||12:46am on Sunday, April 25th, 2010|
|9 months old and going strong I have had the Asus K50IJ-X8 laptop now for 9 months and it is still going strong. I use it about 10 hours/day.|
Comments posted on www.ps2netdrivers.net are solely the views and opinions of the people posting them and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of us.
First Observations of Jupiters Radio Emissions in Florida
C. H. Barrow and T. D. Carr
Abstract Following the discovery of Jupiters decametric emission (DAM) in 1954 by Burke and Franklin  and the subsequent conrmation from old 195051 records by Shain , rst observations were made at the University of Florida in 1957. These observations were made at 18 MHz using an eight-dipole broadside array, a shortwave communications receiver and pen-recorders. Fortuitously, 1957 represented a peak in what, for a while, became known as the jovian activity cycle until this was recognized as an eect of the declination of the planet at the time of observation. Thus the observations were remarkably successful. Histograms showed the periods of activity to be concentrated in two bands of System II central meridian longitude (CML) while the emission periods were randomly distributed in System I CML. The concentrations in System II became known, ambiguously, as sources and were later specied more precisely when System III CML, based upon many years of radio observations, was dened. Left- and right-hand components of polarization (LH) and (RH) were measured and the DAM was found to be predominantly RH polarized. First indications of fast pulses in the emission, subsequently known as S-bursts, were also found.
Soon after the discovery of Jupiters decametric radio emission by Burke and Franklin  and the subsequent conrmation from old records by Shain , Tom Carr and I arrived as graduate students at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Tom came from a background of university research in cosmic radiation and war-related research in government laboratories. I came as a Fulbright Scholar seeking a change from teaching in England. Both Alex Smith, our faculty research superviser, and Tom Carr wanted to become involved in radio astronomy but they were undecided as to how to begin, the resources then available being very limited. Fortunately, the annual URSI Meeting was being held in Gainesville at that time and Roger Gallet  gave a paper on his
Max-Planck-Institute for Solar System Research, Copernicus, D-37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany Department of Astronomy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
pioneering work on the jovian radio emission. Talking with Alex, Tom and myself, after the meeting, he recommended further investigation of this radiation as the cheapest and most sure-re way of beginning useful research in radio astronomy. We agreed and we set to work trying to acquire some background in an area new to us all. Tom had some knowledge of amateur radio and Alex was more interested in optical astronomy while I had no more than the interest and enthusiasm of an amateur astronomer.
With the aid of three technicians from the Physics Department, Tom and I constructed the rst radio astronomy antenna in the state of Florida shown in Figure 1. This consisted of
Figure 1: The 18 MHz broadside array, schematic (upper section) and photograph (lower section).
an 18 MHz double collinear broad-side array of eight half-wave dipoles oriented east-west. This gave an E-W beamwidth of about to half-power points and allowed some four 2 hours of drift observation each night. Tom and I have often reminisced on this project with some amusement. It was a measure of our na vety that, although we realized that at 18 MHz a reecting screen a quarter-wave below the dipoles need only consist of long parallel wires some 70 cm apart, it did not occur to us that these wires need only be laid along the ground to be eective, the site being fairly even and with a slight southward slope. Instead, we painstakingly mounted each thick aluminium wire on short posts
having rst removed the kinks by attaching one end of the wire to a tree and pulling on the other end which we attached to a small pick-up truck. The reecting screen was about 37 25m in area and the wires were so carefully aligned that it was impossible to detect any appreciable irregularity when sighting diagonally across the array from one corner of the reecting screen to the other. The dipoles were cut and adjusted with equal care using a standing wavemeter. It is hardly surprising that the nal measurement yielded a standing wave ratio of just under 1.2 when 1.5 would have been quite acceptable. The dipoles in each collinear line were connected to each other by quarter-wave stubs. Northsouth steering of the reception beam was accomplished by moving the connecting point of the transmission line leading to the receiver along the line between the two collinear lines of dipoles, thus phasing the inputs from the two lines of dipoles. The receiving equipment is shown in Figure 2. This equipment was installed in a small adjacent building which also housed an 8-inch refractor used as a teaching aid for an elementary astronomy course. The receiver was a Hallicrafters SX-62A short-wave communications receiver with the rectied audio output fed to an Esterline Angus pen-recorder, for general observation with a chart speed of 6 in/sec, and a Brush high-speed recorder and amplier used only during periods of Jupiter activity. Calibration was with a home-made diode noise source.
Figure 2: The receiving equipment. The second receiver was used for time signals from WWV. The noise generator is on the extreme right-hand side.
Observations were conducted during the months adjacent to opposition so that Jupiter would be close to the meridian during the early morning hours when terrestrial interference was minimal. One of us, Tom, Alex or myself, would monitor the equipment each night using a routine that we developed for identifying the Jupiter radiation. This procedure, subsequently called aural monitoring by Alex, involved monitoring the Easterline Angus chart recorder and listening to the loud-speaker so as to distinguish Jupiter radiation from possible sources of interference, such as car ignition or static pulses, and tuning out distant
stations that might appear close to the observing frequency. Although the procedure may sound somewhat subjective nowadays it proved to be remarkably eective. The Brush recorder would only be used during identied periods of Jupiter radiation. Some typical records are shown in Figure 3. Observing notes were kept in a log-book. a page of which is reproduced in Figure 4. First observations were made during the winter of 1956-7 when, as luck would have it, Jupiter was at a maximum of its 11-year activity cycle, now known to be an eect of the declination of the planet at the time of observation. We were much encouraged to to obtain a good set of observational data a little less than two years after the rst observations of the Jupiter radiation published by Burke and Franklin .
Following the procedure introduced by Shain , histograms of the periods of observation were constructed using the two central meridian longitude (CML) systems based upon rotation periods measured from optical observations; System I for the equatorial region of Jupiter and System II for the rest of the planet. In agreement with Shain, the activity was found to be concentrated in two bands of System II CML while the emission periods were randomly distributed in System I. The concentrations in System II became known, ambiguously, as sources and were later specied more precisely when System III CML, based upon many years of radio observations, was dened. Tom calculated a preliminary value for this [Carr et al., 1958] from the slow drift of the sources in System II CML. This is shown in Figure 5 together with the positions of the most conspicuous optical features which were, at rst, thought to be associated with the radio emission. Polarization sense of the radiation was measured, using a simple arrangement of crossed Yagi antennas fed to two receivers via a hybrid ring as shown in Figure 6. These measurements indicated that the radiation was predominantly right-hand polarized and suggested the existence of a magnetic eld on Jupiter. Fine structures in the radio emission, as shown in the lower section of Figure 3, gave the rst indication of what became known as S-bursts, later to be studied with very high time resolution by the University of Florida group. One other interesting result should be mentioned briey. Several years later, observations at Florida State University, using an 18 MHz phase-switched interferometer [Ryle, 1952], yielded records of the type shown in Figure 7 [Barrow and Williams, 1967]. In some records a fringe system is clearly visible while in others, like the record for January 18, 1967, the emission appears as separated spikes to either side of the zero-centred baseline. The following question then arises: the Jupiter radiation is believed to be sporadic and so why do the interference fringes sometimes appear so clearly dened? Why does the pen not always return to the baseline? Does this mean that there is sometimes a continuum background emission? The question still awaits a denitive answer.
Figure 3: First observations of the Jupiter radiation by the Esterline Angus recorder (upper section) and the high-speed Brush recorder (lower section). First indications of ne structure in the Jupiter radiation can be seen in the Brush records.
Figure 4: A page from the observers log-book. Note that, at 0520, Tom refers to a staccato quality as a characteristic of the radiation. These must have been what are now known as S-bursts. Similarly the rising and falling hisses must have been L-bursts. Note also that a scorpion was killed inside the building at 0330; observing was not without its hazards!
Figure 5: Drift of the radio emission sources in System II CML using the observations of Burke and Franklin , Shain  and Carr et al. . The well-known optical features (South Tropical Disturbance, Red Spot and the three Reese white spots) are also shown.
Figure 6: Schematic of the method of measuring polarization sense.
Figure 7: Typical events recorded by the interferometer. The time constant for the top record was 1.0 sec. For the other two records the time constant was 0.5 sec.
There is no doubt that research was more basic and more fun in the nineteen-fties. One followed an idea, building and operating the equipment and analysing the data oneself. One acquired a certain feeling for a project that is, perhaps, lacking nowadays in an age of high technology and large teams of investigators. It was very satisfying to look at our antenna and receiving system and to think that the data that we had obtained was the result of our own work and initiative. In 1956 radio astronomy was a novelty at the University of Florida. As the Vice-President of the University was himself a keen amateur astronomer the project aroused much popular interest and there were numerous visitors to the radio site. Amusingly, it seemed that the rst instinct of most visitors would be to walk to the end of the antenna array and to look along the reecting screen and a line of dipoles; so our careful eorts of alignment were not entirely wasted. I returned to England in 1958 at the end of my Fulbright Scholarship, returning to Florida in 1960 to set up another radio observatory for studying Jupiter at Florida State University in Tallahasse. Alex and Tom continued to develop the Jupiter observation programme and eventually established the present University of Florida Radio Observatory on an isolated
60-acre site some 50 miles from Gainesville. Alex Smith was Observatory Director until 1985 when Tom Carr became Director, a position he still holds today. This was the beginning of Jupiter radio astronomy in Florida, due to make a profound contribution over the following years.
Barrow, C. H., and J. R. Williams, Evidence of continuum emission from Jupiter at 18 Mc/s, Nature, 216, 462-463, 1967. Burke, B. F., and K. L. Franklin, Observations of a variable radio source associated with planet Jupiter, J. Geophys. Res., 60, 213-217, 1955. Carr, T. D., A. G. Smith, R. Pepple, and C. H. Barrow, 18-megacycle observations of Jupiter in 1957, Astrophys. J., 127, 274-283, 1958. Gallet, R. N., Results of the observations of Jupiters radio emission on 18 and 20 Mc/s in 1956 and 1957, Trans. Inst. Rad. Eng., AP-5, 327, 1957. Ryle, M., A new radio interferometer and its application to the observation of weak radio stars, Proc. Roy. Soc., A211, 462, 1952. Shain, C. A., 18 Mc/s radiation from Jupiter, Aust. J. Phys., 9, 61, 1956.
The Slab Bacons Receiver Road Test
by Frank - KB3AHE Introduction
I am writing this article due to the increased interest by fellow AMers toward some of the older vintage receivers. I will not waste our time in discussion of the less desirable low end units, but will tailor this discussion to the more desirable higher end units that can be considered useable by todays standards. In my opinion S-38s and NC-57s are not worth wasting the time to discuss, since they are not useable under todays crowded band conditions. My evaluations will be primarily based on the receivers performance for AM operation, but I will make references to its performance on SSB where necessary. All of the receivers that I will be discussing in this article are receivers that I own or have owned in recent times, or have spent enough time in front of to formulate an opinion. One must keep in mind that receivers are much like people, in that each one has its own distinct personality. When operating your own or someone elses station, the first thing you will notice is the personality of the station receiver. You really dont pay much attention to the transmitter as long as it is working properly. If the transmitter doesnt zorch, snap crackle, pop or do any other odd things, you dont really pay much attention to it as long as it comes up and plays. HOWEVER, you always take notice of the receivers personality. You are always fiddling with the tuning, bandwidth, volume, and other controls to better copy the station that you are working, especially if they are a piss weaker. You almost always notice the selectivity, bandwidth, and audio quality of the receiver. One must keep in mind that there are basically two types of receivers: Battle Conditions and Hi-Fi receivers. And usually a receiver is always one or the other. Battle conditions receivers usually have too narrow IF bandwidths to produce good audio, and Hi-FI receivers are usually too broad for poor operating conditions. Also keep in mind that a lot of high end communications receivers dont even have an audio section capable of producing good audio, even if the front end would pass it. Sometimes a few simple modifications can allow you to have your proverbial cake and eat it too. A few simple mods can give you some of the best of both worlds in a particular unit. I will make some brief references to mods that I have found to be useful, But I wont go into detail, as that is not the purpose of this article. This article is not meant to contradict Johnny Novices (W3JN) article <http://www.amwindow.org/tech/htm/jnreceiverguide.htm>, but to supplement it with more information, as he is a good friend, and someone that I consider as
knowledgeable as myself (if not, more knowledgeable). This article is also meant to offer my opinions to the mix, and possibly help a new boatanchor enthusiast decide what may tickle his fancy in his next receiver choice. After all, opinions are like a certain part of the anatomy; everybody has one! One last thing before going on. Try to get the manual for your receiver of choice. Some receivers have certain hidden features that you may not find out about without the manual and never find by just jumping in and flying blind.
Benchmarks, Likes and Dislikes
I have been an avid SWL since I was young child. I had many crappy, low-end receivers over the years and all of them left you feeling like you were missing something. About 20 years ago I fell into my first R-390A and it was love at first bite!!!! I have had nine of them since. Although its audio section is somewhat lacking, it was, is, and will always be the benchmark standard by which I will judge all other radios that I have and will ever own. I was totally set in awe (back then) by the front end performance and adjustable bandwidth of this radio. For many years I felt that there wasnt anything else out there that was even worth owning. However, some years ago I decided to take a serious look at some of the other nicer more desirable receivers that were out there, and was very pleasantly surprised. Here are my likes and dislikes as far as specs and features go (not necessarily in the order listed.) Likes: 11 Good dial tracking. Calibrated bandspread dial that is usable. Adjustable IF bandwidth with sharp skirts. Bandwidth selections that fit AM operation. Good audio, with the power to drive a good sized speaker. Good sensitivity, and sensitivity on the higher bands. A good working crystal calibrator, preferably 100 kc. Noise limiters that are actually useable. A strapping BFO and the ability to receive SSB if necessary. Good AGC action, and the ability to switch the AGC in and out. Notch filters, Q-multipliers and other selectivity aids THAT WORK.
Dislikes: Barn door broad front end performance. Lack of frequency stability and large amounts of drift. Crappy crystal filters that dont work very well. Uncalibrated bandspread dials and not knowing quite exactly where you are. HRO type dials and frequency conversion charts. Wimpy, worthless BFOs. Birdies, images, and other spurious signals. Poorly designed AGC circuits, and not having the ability to switch out the AGC. Lack of sensitivity on the higher bands. Plug-in coils and coil sets, as these have a tendency to get lost and leave you looking for the set that you need.
Please keep in mind that all of my receivers have been totally recapped, and aligned as close to factory specs as I am able to do. I am not brand loyal (Ford vs Chevy) to any brand in particular, so I can be as objective as possible, with no bias. As I said earlier these, road tests are based on receivers that I own, have owned, or have spent enough time in front of to develop an opinion. Collins 75-A3 This receiver has the classic St. James gray look that Collins was so famous for. Some like this styling and some dont. ( I think theyre ugly.) This receiver is also classic in Collins design and sought after by the infamous Collins collectors. Collins spent all of their money in the front end and about 10 cents on the audio section. I still dont feel that they are worth the money that they are bringing these days, but they are a good solid performer. The frequency stability is very good due to the Collins PTO and the second conversion being crystal controlled. The dial tracking is very accurate and precise. The sensitivity is very good, all the way through 10 meters. This receiver uses the famous Collins mechanical IF filters, and the receivers selectivity is strictly dependent on which choice of filters (2) you chose to install in it. The BFOs performance is adequate, as is its performance on SSB, but it could use a product detector. (the A-4 has one) The audio section is miserable and low-fi at best, and is in serious need of modification. There have been many audio mods published for these receivers. However with the right choices in filters, together with some good audio mods, this receiver is very capable of giving your cake and eating it too performance. But definitely not in stock form. Collins Design R-390-A As I have said before I have had nine of these guys over the years and a good working one is the benchmark by which I judge all other receivers. Although designed and first produced by Collins, these radios have been manufactured under contract buy just about everyone in the electronics industry, and even rumored to having been made by one cosmetics manufacturer. The looks of this receiver with its many knobs and its mechanical digital dial is a look that you either like or dont like, but it has a style all of its own. These radios are truly high performance receivers. They have the best front end performance of any receiver I have ever used. They have a nice selection of mechanical filters built-in, giving IF bandwidths that really work. They do everything else fairly well in stock form and I have even used mine for RTTY and other digital modes. Its sensitivity and selectivity are most excellent and the sensitivity doesnt
drop off even up to the top of its range at 32 MHz. The two things that I dont like about these radios are the lack of audio output (less than 1/2 Watt), and the fact that you will get a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome if you like to tune around a lot. There have been oodles of mods published for this radio and a few well done ones can give you the best of all worlds! The biggest thing that it needs is a souping up of the audio output. I change the output tube to a 6AQ5 (you have to rewire the socket) and change the output transformer to any good 5 Watt single-ended transformer with an 8 Ohm secondary. Also fatten up the coupling caps while youre in there and you will have plenty of audio. Some also pipe the audio out of the diode load terminals to an external amplifier. Its your choice. I also like to fatten up the BFO injection coupling cap. This will dramatically helps the performance on SSB without a product detector. My last one is a keeper, and Ill hang on to it until they pry it from my cold, dead hands!! It is a true radio mans radio! Geloso G4/214 This is a very unique receiver and a real pleasure to own, especially from a collectors point of view. They seem to be somewhat rare, and are somewhat unusual in their European styling. John Geloso was known for his high quality equipment, and this Italian import from the early 60s is no exception. The European techno styling and the large fan dial are really appealing to ones like of things hammy. It doesnt do any one thing especially well, but it does do everything very acceptably. It is as comfortable on SSB as it is on AM. The selectivity is reasonably good and this radio has one of the best working crystal filters of any radio that I have ever used. It is crystal controlled dual conversion and has good stability. It makes reasonably good audio right out of the box, and it is good natured and user friendly. If you take this guy out of the cabinet and look at the underside you will see the absolutely neatest wiring that I have ever seen in a factory produced piece of equipment! The wiring is much neater than any American produced radio that I have ever seen. The underside of the chassis is like the centerfold in a good girlie magazine, you just want to keep looking at it, and dont want to close it up! One thing that is a bit weird with this radio is the crystal calibrator. t is at 3500 kc instead of the usual 100 kc, so you can only cal the bottom of each band. This radio is a real pleasure to own and a nice addition to anyones collection, and it works just about as good as it looks. Hallicrafters SX-17 If you like the older silver dial receivers this one is a real pleasure to own! It has good sensitivity and good selectivity. The two-position IF bandwidth switch actually works, and is just about what you would want for good AM operating. The narrow position is somewhere
around 4-5 kc and the wide is somewhere around 10-12 kc depending on how good your alignment is. The crystal filter is actually useable and worked fairly well in mine. This receiver has a strapping BFO with adjustable injection and the BFO is so strong that mine would swamp out the detector if turned wide open. It receives SSB very well with no mods, very cool for a receiver that was produced on the 1930s. But the best thing about the SX-17 is its audio!! With push-pull 6V6s it makes absolutely fabulous audio, and plenty of it. It easily drives a 12-inch, 3-way speaker system and fills the whole room up with audio. My only dislike about this radio is its lack of calibrated bandspread (it has plenty of bandspread dial) and small markings on the main tuning dial take some getting used to and always leaves you wondering where you are. If you are lucky enough to find one and like older stuff, its definitely a keeper. Hallicrafters SX-42 This one is definitely more a Hi-Fi than a battle conditions receiver. I love the big round blue-green dial when its lit up. It looks especially neat in a darkened room. This is basically the hammier version of the SX-62, which I will discuss next. The calibrated bandspread works well and the dial tracking of the main tuning runs pretty accurate. It is user friendly and fun to use on a quiet night. This receiver covers from the bottom of the AM broadcast band to the top of the FM broadcast band continuously. And does AM, FM, and CW. The selectivity is reasonable, if aligned properly, but nothing to get excited about. The sensitivity is quite good for an older single conversion receiver and you can switch out the AVC for those fade filled auroral nights. The BFO is not much and this receiver is basically worthless for SSB. A little playing with the coupling gimmick will help make the BFO a little more useable, but it still isnt much. The feature of note on this receiver is its audio. Push-pull 6V6s with phase inverter coupling and a negative feedback bass boost circuit make for absolutely gorgeous audio. Hallicrafters SX-62 Although designed for the discriminating short wave listener this is also another interesting receiver. If you like big slide rule dials, this one will definitely turn you on! It is basically a reconfigured SX-42, redesigned for the SWL more so than the ham. The selectivity of my 62 seems to be a little better than the 42, however, the BFO is just about worthless. It has the same frequency coverage as the 42, however it doesnt have a bandspread. The tuning is slow enough, though it doesnt seem to be a problem for use on AM. The selectivity steps seem to be adequate for standard AM use, although it is most definitely not a
battle conditions receiver. The large glass slide rule dial, with all of the little dots and city names adds a neat remembrance to some of the old floor console sets from the 30s. It does not have the AVC cut out switch, or S-meter that the 42 does, but it does have a 100kc crystal calibrator that the 42 doesnt. It also has the same audio circuit as the 42 and makes the same fabulous audio as the 42. Several of my friends were so impressed by the audio from my 62 that they went out and bought one. One little sub note: both the 42 and 62 are no fun to recap, but the end result is well worth the effort. Hallicrafters SX-101A There are many variants of this receiver and all are a little different. SX-101 had besides just SX101, a Mark 1, 2, 3, 3A. The SX-101A had no Mark suffixes. It stayed a plain SX-101A throughout its life. All are a little different with circuit and feature differences, some subtle, some major. Mine is a 101A with no marks and that is the one that I am going to discuss. This receiver is one that deserves considerable mention. With a few simple mods this one could easily be the proverbial have your cake and eat it too. Its RF performance is extremely good. Its performance on SSB is most excellent, it tunes SSB just about as good as a modern transceiver. It has a good stable BFO and a very good product detector. It also uses some of the newer high performance / low noise tubes. It has very good AGC action and is switchable in and out. It has very good selectivity and sensitivity, and a useable, fairly good working notch filter. After a good warm up it has exceptionable stability. It just does almost everything right. Well, almost! It has terrible audio, but is easily fixed. With a few simple mods, this has become one of my most favorite receivers. With one audio mod courtesy of W3JN (clip out one cap in the ANL circuit), and a few of my own (change the values of 2 caps, swap the output transformer and change the output tube from a 6K6 to a 6V6), it will make very pleasant warm audio that is not quite full Hi-Fi, but very easy on the ears. The 5 kc bandwidth is a little narrow for full Hi-Fi, but a slight detuning of the low IFs stretches this to around 6 kc in the wide mode and makes very pleasant audio. In stock form mine wouldnt pass any audio below 300 Hz or so. Mine does have a few birdies, but they are very weak and in places that never seem to get in the way. This receiver has become my favorite ham band only receiver and is a permanent keeper. This is another one that they will have to pry out of my cold dead hands.
Hammarlund HQ-110 Although put down by many, this is a neat little radio. With a few easy mods it produces good audio and makes a really neat compact AM station when paired up with something like a Johnson Ranger! This little receiver is double conversion and is quite sensitive all the way through 10 meters. It covers 6 Meters, but I never used mine there. It may not be the choice for all out battle conditions, but it is a good versatile receiver under most normal operation conditions. The Q-multiplier gives this radio completely variable selectivity and works very well. It has a very good BFO and works well on SSB. It has switchable AGC and must be switched out for the SSB reception or the BFO will swamp out the detector. If you disable the auto response circuit (snip one wire) and do the W9MDX negative feedback audio mod <http://www.amwindow.org/tech/htm/hqaudiomods.htm> this little radio produces quite good audio. These receivers usually go fairly cheap at hamfests. If you find one for a reasonable price, dont be afraid to snag it! Hammarlund HQ-145X Here is one that is definitely not a Battle Conditions receiver. It is dual conversion and has good sensitivity, even on the higher bands, but its selectivity leaves a lot to be desired. The IF bandwidth is a little too wide for todays crowded band conditions. The crystal filter in the one that I have doesnt work very well and the notch filter (which does work fairly well) is not enough to cut it on 75 meters in the evenings. The dial tracking is fairly good, as is its stability. The BFO is adequate, but nothing to get excited about, as you have to back the RF gain way down to copy SSB signals. Like the 110, if you disable the auto response circuit and do the feedback mod <http://www.amwindow.org/tech/htm/hqaudiomods.htm>, it does make pretty good audio. I feel that this receiver, even though it has ham band calibrated bandspreads, is better suited for SWLing than amateur operation. This is a good-natured, easy to use receiver, but it doesnt do anything especially well. For one of Hammarlunds higher end offerings, I feel that it is a little bit of a disappointment from what you would expect from them. Hammarlund HQ-150 This one is the last of the Budd cabinet HQs, and is probably the best of that line. It is basically a HQ-140 with a few improvements and a Q-multiplier. You dont see many of these around and they are a nice catch if you find one. It does everything well, but nothing fantastically. It is an easy going, good-natured receiver with some interesting features.
It has very good sensitivity on the lower bands, but does drop off some on the higher ones. The dial tracking runs fairly well, and it does have a bandspread calibrated for the ham bands. The BFO is adequate and stable. The crystal filter actually somewhat works. But the neatest thing is the built in Q-multiplier! It gives you nice continuously adjustable selectivity bandwidth or a notch filter selectable at the turn of a switch. The Q-multiplier really adds a nice touch and a lot of usability to this radio. Mine is a pleasure to operate. My only gripe about this radio is that the out of the box audio is a little bassy and somewhat lacking in high end response. However, clipping out one capacitor cured this. If you like the older gear, one of these would make a nice addition to your shack! If you liked the older HQ-129-X and HQ-140, you will love this one. Hammarlund HQ-170 This is a receiver that has been put down and maligned by most of the AM community due to its poor audio. However it is probably one of the best battle conditions receiver ever made. Due to its very narrow, squeaky tight IF bandpass (3 kc) it will not and cannot ever make good audio, but it wasnt designed to. A few simple mods will however produce tolerable communications quality audio. These radios are quirky, complicated and no fun to work on, but under the right conditions, a pleasure to use. This is a true radio mans receiver and will hear when nothing else will! It has all of the features you would ever want in a radio, except good audio. You can dig a piss-weaker out of the noise with the Scranton Screwball screaming 5 kc away. For an older tube receiver it has many of the features found in modern transceivers. The selectable sidebands switch is actually an IF shift, and the vernier tuning is actually passband tuning. The ability to listen to either sideband of an AM transmission and then pinch down the bandwidth and shift around the passband to boot is a great way get around jammers and intentional qwermers. The AGC time constant is adjustable from the front panel, and it has a fairly good notch filter. Mine also has a better signal to noise ratio than my R-390A. It also has a fairly good BFO and a product detector, so it does quite well on SSB. By disabling the auto response circuit, adding the feedback mod <http://www.amwindow.org/tech/htm/hqaudiomods.htm>, and stagger tuning the low IFs, it will at least make communications quality audio.
This radio is not user friendly and takes some getting used to and reading of the manual to realize its full potential. This radio has just about every feature that you would ever want in a receiver EXCEPT good audio. However, use it for what it was designed and it makes a great secret weapon to have in your arsenal! Hammarlund SP-210X / BC-1004 The old Super Pro 210 is another possibility for the have your cake and eat it too contest winner. For a WWII era radio, this is another truly great receiver, and can handle all but the worst operating conditions. It has good sensitivity, good selectivity, and good audio all in one package. The continuously variable IF bandwidth gives you the selectivity you need for the operating conditions you are facing. The crystal filter actually works, although you will seldom use it. The BFO is adequate, and the AGC is switchable. It has what it takes to be a really great receiver without any modifications. The frequency stability is quite good and the dial tracking on mine runs very close. The most outstanding feature of this radio is its audio. Push-pull, triode connected 6F6s driven by a triode connected 6F6, combined with large oversized audio transformers produce some of the best audio that you will hear coming out of an old military receiver! Recapping these radios is not an easy job, but well worth the effort. With old paper caps inside the IF cans and in some tough places inside the coil catacombs, it is a time consuming job. This radio does just about everything well and is a nice addition to anyones shack. My only dislike for this receiver is its lack of a calibrated bandspread dial. It just has a scale of 1 100. Heathkit HR-10 / 10B Here is one that doesnt do much of anything well, and isnt worth the effort to carry it to the car from the hamfest table. Unless you are a Heathkit collector, or just have to have one to pair up with your DX-60, dont waste your time with this one. They just dont do anything very well. They are cute, compact, and just about worthless. Heathkit MR-1 Comanche This is an interesting little receiver, although not a great performer. Its sensitivity is reasonable. It has somewhat interesting styling for a little box. The tuning is a little fast, but useable, and it actually has a product detector. The BFO is a bit wimpy, bit useable. The IF bandwidth is fixed at 3kc with a crystal lattice filter. Again, it doesnt do anything especially well, but it is useable if you have to.
One annoying problem with this radio was a nasty distortion in the audio caused by a poorly designed detector circuit. Rather than reinventing the wheel and redesigning the detector, I just got rid of the radio. It was easier. Heathkit SB-303 This is the only solid state receiver that I own, and its a pretty neat receiver. I was lucky enough to stumble onto one with the elusive AM filter installed. At 3.75kc it is way too tight for Hi-Fi AM, but tolerable if you have to. This little receiver does a lot of things well, except make good audio. It is dual conversion with amplification and crystal lattice filters between the first and second converters also. It is extremely stable, and has very good sensitivity. It was designed as an SSB receiver and does that very well. It has switchable AGC, a good BFO, and excellent dial tracking. A 100 & 25kc calibrator is standard equipment. I havent found any images in mine, but it does have a few birdies, although the birdies are in places that dont seem to bother you. One thing that this radio will never do is make good audio. Changing the AM detector bypass cap from 0.01 uF to 0.001 uF, and changing the audio output coupling cap from 100 uF to 470 uF will at least produce fairly decent communications quality audio. Not a great AM receiver by any means, but an interesting standby or back up receiver it is. I often use mine for checking the frequency of received signals. National NC-183 This is another good natured receiver that is easy to use. It is just a little broad for overcrowded band conditions, but somewhat tolerable under most normal operating conditions. The sensitivity is very good on the lower bands, but drops off noticeably in the higher bands. The BFO is adequate and you are able to copy SSB with it if you back the RF gain down a bit. It has ham band calibrated bandspread, and the bandspread and main tuning dials track very close to true. The crystal filter actually somewhat works, and is useable. But the real calling card for this radio is its audio. Push pull 6V6s with phase inverter coupling make very good audio, and lots of it! This is a very nice Hi-Fi / easy listening receiver and well worth considering. National NC-183-D If you liked the 183, youll love the 183-D! I actually bought one to compare it to the 183. It has everything that the 183 has, and more. The dark gray cabinet is much nicer looking than its older
brother, the dials are painted on steel backings instead of celluloid like its predecessors the 173 and 183, and look dramatically nicer. With dual conversion above 4Mc, the sensitivity on the higher bands is dramatically improved over the 183. The selectivity is noticeably better than the 183, and it just works a little better all the way around. The selectivity is adequate for all but all out full battle conditions. The crystal filter works a little better than the 183. The dial tracking is very good, and it actually hears fairly well all the way up to 6 meters. It has the same good push-pull audio as the 183. One problem with them is some audio distortion caused by the AGC. This receiver has a separate AGC IF amp. I have heard several mods to eliminate this problem, but found a very simple way out. Be sure that the 6AH6 AGC IF amp tube is good and hot (or new), and its IF can is peaked perfectly. With these conditions in order, you will be rid of 99.9% of the distortion problem. If you like the classic dual crescent dial styling, this one is a definite keeper! National NC-300 Touted as Nationals dream receiver, it makes a valiant effort to live up to that moniker, but does fall just a little short. This is another good natured radio that is somewhat easy to use, and a nice receiver for the beginner, as well as the seasoned operator. The sensitivity, and dial tracking are quite good. The selectivity is good enough for all but the worst operating conditions, and it makes pretty good audio right out of the box. With 8kc, 3.5kc, and 1/2kc the IF bandwidth selections are a little lacking in choice. The 8kc position is a little wide for most evenings, the 3.5kc position, (although more like 4kc) is a little narrow, but acceptable for crowded evening conditions, and the 1/2kc position is worthless for anything except CW. The 8kc bandwidth, along with the wide audio bandpass will produce some fairly decent audio when the need arises. One nice feature is the switchable audio bandpass on the tone control. This bass cut / audio pinch is rather handy when you are trying to pull a piss-weaker out of the noise. The AGC is not switchable in the AM mode. The self oscillating product detector / BFO is somewhat wimpy and requires a considerable reduction in the RF gain for SSB reception. The crystal filter doesnt work very well, but isnt a real problem as the IFs are pretty tight. However, despite its faults, this good natured receiver is an excellent choice for the beginning AMer. Mine sees active duty just about daily.
Im sure many of you that read this are probably wondering why I didnt cover this radio or that one, as you may already have your own favorites. Please keep in mind that this is based on the receivers that I own or have owned. Most of these receivers werent found by chance, but sought after specifically by me because I wanted to play with that specific make and model. I still have a few that havent been restored yet, so they were not included in this article. All of these receivers have many of my hours of operation on them. As my collection grows, I will periodically add updates to this article. At my operating position, I keep four receivers on line at all times, selectable by the turn of a knob. I quite often switch receivers even in mid-QSO to better use the personalities of the different receivers as conditions change. Always remember that receivers are like people, each one has its own distinct and different personality. In closing, I hope that this may help some of you that are undecided chose the receiver that best suits your style of operating. Many of the older receivers are wonderful pieces of equipment to own and very much a joy to operate. Many are not and are dismal disappointments when you fire them up. Hopefully between this article and Johns (W3JN), you should be able pick a winner. Remember that old receivers are addicting, the more that you have, the more that you want!!!
De KB3AHE (sometimes called The Slab Bacon)
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