SX-88 information for WA6MHZ
A comprehensive series of tests has been done on the Hallicrafters SX-88. The results are at
However, the estimate of only about 100 receivers being around is pretty low! There are several hundred. But, still not that common.
The "matching" HT-20 transmitter is considerably less common than the SX-88. I don't own an SX-88 but I do have an HT-20 (s/n 11).
Nice writeup, I wonder when Jay did that?
As you probably know, Jay runs Advanced Receiver Research in CT and I didn't even know he was a boat anchor collector!
The SX-88 is intriguing, but for me it's a nogunna.
As in, for the prices they sell for, I'm nogunna ever have one.
A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw
Although I don't own an SX-88, I have worked on a few. It might be nice having the matching receiver to my HT-20. However, the performance, at least from my experience, is pretty much average for a well designed receiver from that era. Of course, the performance is definitely better than the lower end Hallicrafters receivers.
I did have a telephone call, about an hour ago, from someone needing a certain part for a Heath DX-100. During the conversation he mentioned that he owned HT-20 s/n 9. That transmitter probably was built within an hour, or two, of my s/n 11.
Sooner later, I will run into one at a price I can afford ($100!). I just gotta live that long. Not possible??? Who would have guessed some lady would call me up and GIVE me a Kenwood TS-830sS, Drake L7 KW and a Hallicrafters SX-62. It COULD have been a SX-88! (just about has heavy!). I just gotta be in the right place at the right time and keep my WANT out there for it.
Some very compassionate and generous soul out there will call me up and tell me to COME AND GET IT. I will go and get it. Then I will have one TOO!
I most certainly wouldn't hold my breath! However, my HT-20 showed up at my door one afternoon from a local who heard that I was looking for a transmitter to work 160-meters. He was just going to throw it away and thought I might like to have it. I got home from work and there it was! Now, that was a number of years back.
I also got my WRL Globe Champion 350A (lowest number manufactured for any of the Globe Champion series) for well under $50. A fellow out in Oregon had acquired the transmitter which some "CBer" had tried to modify it not knowing that it already covered 11-meters even though the VFO calibration is not on the dial. He said that if I paid the shipping the transmitter was mine. So, I sent him $50 and he even returned the difference between what I sent and the actual shipping charges. I was able to find the remains of a VFO from a Globe Champion 300 (which uses the same VFO) for $25 from which I got the coils that the "CBer" had butchered.
Of course, virtually everyone has mentioned that, if you "sold off" some of your duplicate "boat anchors", you would soon have more than enough to purchase an SX-88!
Jay finished the tests last week and posted them yesterday, Id been talking to him on the telephone prior to that and am the Carl who convinced him to add 10M to the tests.
Here are the prior tests.
These posts are from a 2009 QRZ thread now closed:
"The Hallicrafters SX-88 is a VERY overrated receiver. Yes, there were not that many made. Yes, they do have a push-pull audio output stage. However, I just shipped back an SX-88 that I restored and had plenty of time to try it out.
Frankly, my SX-100 Mark II is a better receiver than the SX-88. It is more stable, is more sensitive, and weighs a considerable amount less.
Now the SX-88 would look nice paired up with my Hallicrafters HT-20. They are in identical cabinets and are of the same "look". However, as for a working receiver, the SX-88 is basically mediocre.
"Agree 100% with that assessment. It's a good receiver, no doubt about it - but there are much better ones out there. The image rejection on the SX-88 is much better than the SX-100, though, is much more mechanically stable, and the AVC action's better. The SX-100 blows the SX-88 out of the water on SSB reception, as the SX-88 doesn't have a product detector.
However, the HT-20 and SX-88 aren't in the same size cabinets. My HT-20 is a bit taller than my SX-88 and the knobs are of a different style. Last edited by W3JN; 07-30-2009"
Both of these gentlemen are instantly recognizable by most here and highly acclaimed for their experience and expertise however the SX-88 is a much better receiver than you might feel led to believe after reading those rather harsh and undeserved comments.
In typical as-found condition SX-88 receivers generally don't work very well because they were originally built with around 50 of the worst offending paper capacitors ever made (outside of Micamolds) that have seriously degraded over the years to the point of splitting open and leaking oil all over everything not to mention the dozens of resistors that have drifted higher. It is common to find SX-88's with some of the easy to get to parts replaced but the difficult ones are often not addressed while the owner hopes the receiver will at least be a little better.
Perhaps SX-88's should not be multi-kilobuck items but the receiver presents a bit of a paradox and if you want one what other choice do you really have but to either buy a good one someone else has restored or rebuild one for yourself? Unless you have gone down that road you cannot possibly know how good an SX-88 truly is.
That is until now, thanks to Jay's very commendable work and for his diligence in finding and obtaining a suitable candidate SX-88 to restore and test and for posting his observations. When you consider the amount of effort it took to achieve those results is it any mystery why not many SX-88's have been brought back to the high standards and performance level of Jay's receiver for which it was very capable in 1954.
The estimate of 100 SX-88 receivers known to still exist is probably from records kept and posted by Andy Howard; WA4KCY. Andy is the "keeper of the list" where current SX-88 owners check in with him to help maintain an informal organized list of serial numbers, run numbers, known previous history and current status of each receiver. It has been estimated about 500 were originally built but only around 100 are currently accounted for. of course this would not account for owners who wish to remain anonymous, if any.
Originally Posted by K9STH
There are definitely a number of persons who own SX-88 receivers that wish to remain unknown.
As for performance: The SX-88 is definitely not a "bad" performing receiver. However, there are better receivers from the same era that, today, sell for considerably less money. The styling of the receiver is, at least to me, very attractive and I wouldn't mind owning one. However, my owning an SX-88 is very low on my priority list. There are a lot of other radios that I would like to own before I acquired an SX-88. If I had a chance to trade for one, or if it became available at a very good price, then I would almost certainly "jump" on it. But, I don't lose any sleep over the fact that I don't have one! I was fortunate when I was given the HT-20 and don't really expect the same thing to happen with an SX-88.
Of course, what a true collector will pay for certain items is often considerably more than what the actual performance would dictate. This is true for all sorts of things and just not amateur radio equipment. I do own several items of radio equipment, both amateur and broadcast, that are relatively rare and, therefore, worth a lot more money than their practical use would ever make the price anywhere near what it is to a collector. As such, unlike some people, I do not criticize the prices paid for certain items by certain individuals. The price paid for anything is between the buyer and the seller. If a deal is made, then both parties are almost always satisfied with the price paid.
Its a hard choice between 2 of the best looking but somewhat mediocre performers between a SX-88 and GPR-90. While both have their good points neither warranted their original price but at least the GPR-90 reflects real worth.
Hallicrafters are like old Fords, everybody had one in their family and want to replicate it again. But for the price of a SX-88 Id rather have a 54 Ford.