Best Analog Shortwave / HF Receiver Ever?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KK4NSF, Jan 25, 2020.

ad: L-HROutlet
ad: l-rl
ad: L-MFJ
ad: L-Geochron
ad: Left-2
ad: l-BCInc
ad: Left-3
ad: abrind-2
  1. WA2CWA

    WA2CWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The DR-33C was advertised numerous times in QST back in the late 70's through early 80's. There's also the DR-22C which was a lower tier version (a few less features) of the DR-33C, but also a great receiver. The DR-33C also used Collins mechanical filters.

    KK4NSF and KA4DPO like this.
  2. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I remember seeing two large racks of three each R-390's at FT Monmouth, NJ. They were all on dedicated TTY frequencies that were rarely changed. That was in 1984 and I was told they had been there since they were installed in 1963. The R-390A was a very well built, rugged receiver made to operate continuously for long periods without service or repair, and they did just what they were intended to do.
    KK4NSF likes this.
  3. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    The TS-930 being their first MF thru HF continuous RX had horrible phase noise as well as broadband TX oise added to the phase noise It was addressed somewhat by KW, plus individuals in the US and UK and was much improved but never really fixed. I used a pair in serious contesting since the rapid band changing made all previous radios quickly obsolete. Mine replaced a pair of loaded and modified Drake C Lines.

    Next came a pair of highly modified TS-940's and currently one of those and a TS-950SD. No more contesting or all hour DX chasing.

    I also have a 4 modified TS-830's; three used (no discernible oscillator or other noises) with VHF to microwave transverters and the other on the amp repair bench since it is bulletproof.

    A TS-130 with CW filter, matching PS and tuner is in the BR All my rigs were bought used (some at bargain prices) and I taught myself how to fix and improve for my needs.

    By default Im a Kenwood fan:D And have my eye on a TS 890S.
    KA4DPO likes this.
  4. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    I never worked on or owned a R-390 but serviced many R-390A's in the USN on intermittent tender duty and later moonlighting for Herb Gordon Company after he bought pallet loads of surplused ones in the later 60's.

    I swore I would never own one (I was damn near burnt out) but around 1992 a friend who was moving offered me one for $200. Turns out it was a 1956 Collins run that still had several Collins modules including the PTO. I spent about two years chasing down the remaining modules with close serial # and then started the overhaul process. It hasnt been run hard but there has been no repairs needed. Im sure the MDS has suffered a little but not enough to get me to move it to a service bench!

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
    KA4DPO likes this.
  5. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    National bought a RA-17 and adapted the hollow state Wadley Loop to the all SS HRO-500. The engineers were not very complementary about the RA-17 overall performance but I dont remember the details.

    I have a RA-17 in the collection but have not overhauled it.

  6. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    There was UP TO 40dB gain with AGC and two tubes were used as RF amps so signal handling was obviously acceptable to the end user which is all that is important.

    Nice try at dissing a USA product again.
    KA4DPO likes this.
  7. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately, the Hammarlund SP-600 JX-17 is like most of the other Hammarlund receivers: Drift city above around 10 MHz and unusable for anything but AM (and even marginal for that mode) on 6-meters. The "JX" option added crystal control for specific frequencies and that worked very well for fixed frequency RTTY links, etc.

    In the early 1970s, I acquired 2-examples of the SP-600 JX-17. After using them for a week, or 2, a couple of other amateur radio operators wanted them and made an offer that I couldn't refuse. The receivers found a new home and my bank account was definitely richer!

    Glen, K9STH
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2020
  8. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had a JX-17 that I overhauled, some improved tube swaps were done for much improved sensitivity and less overload. The drift was so bad 6M AM was useless and still bad on 10/15. Forget SSB on any band.

    Hammy had drift problems back to the WW2 military Super Pro versions of the SP-200 to the point a crystal control kit was issued for USAAF RTTY use.
    The JX-17 was soon dumped and replaced by a Hallicrafters SX-73 which became the military R-274 and 274D alternative to the Hammy 274B and C. That I still use up in the office next to the Hammy HQ-180 which is very stable.

    KA4DPO and WC5P like this.
  9. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    It's the inherent physical design of the main tuning variable capacitor assembly. I used one for a brief period, and it still drifted even after more than an hour of warm-up.

    Another thing that always annoyed me, maybe just my personal preference, is that they tune backwards, i.e. clockwise rotation of the tuning knob goes down in frequency instead of up. In most other receivers (with a few exceptions) it's just the opposite; clockwise rotation for tuning upwards in frequency seems to be a universal convention, although the frequency conversion schemes in some receivers dictate that it tunes upwards on some bands and downwards on others, for example 160m on the 75A-2/3/3, and the 51J/R-388 which have several backwards-tuning bands. When they came out with the R-390 series, they upgraded to a conversion scheme that always increases frequency with clockwise rotation.
  10. W9BRD

    W9BRD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used one for a few months in the 90s. It was great. It also cost more than I made in a year. These days my consolation prize is an EK-07.
    PU2OZT likes this.

Share This Page