HQ-180 restoration info wanted

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by K6VML, Jul 20, 2021.

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  1. K6VML

    K6VML Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello all,

    I recently bought a very nice working Hammarlund HQ-180 (not the "A"). With matching speaker! And 24-hr clock! It is bigger than I had thought, but rounds out my shack nicely. I know the Collins 75A4 is considered the best vintage ham receiver, but this is more my speed.

    Does anyone know of someone who professionally restores Hammarlund receivers? I live in Southern California, but would not mind traveling considerably further from here to deliver it. It is actually in very good shape cosmetically inside and out, but some dial pointers are not quite where they should be, the cabinet screws have a little rust, it could use a good cleaning, and most importantly, it would no doubt benefit from a thorough going-over electronically. If all it needed was cleaning, I would do it myself of course.

    It receives very well on all bands. It lives up to its reputation for excellent sensitivity and low background noise. It is very stable on all bands except 80 meters, where it continually drifts downward. I know it's cheating a bit not to do the work myself, but I would rather someone work on it who knew what they were doing. I uploaded a photo of it as provided for below. HQ-180 and speaker.jpeg

    David Hackleman K6VML
    San Bernardino, California
  2. KK6IYM

    KK6IYM Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you look "under the hood," does the capacitor can appear original or has it been changed? The main thing with these is replacing the few electrolytic capacitors and then giving it an alignment. Receivers of this age group may or may not be able to have exact dial alignment, which is why they have a calibrator option and knob to correct for inaccuracies from band to band--or from one end of a band to the other. I do live in SoCal and would be willing to help you with your radio. I don't restore or repair radios for money, just for fun.

    K6VML likes this.
  3. AC0OB

    AC0OB Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    K6VML likes this.
  4. K6VML

    K6VML Ham Member QRZ Page

    The capacitor can appears to be original. Not sure.

    Your reply makes me think I could work on it myself after all, or with the help of you and others. And I suppose I can just be happy that it works and I can use it in the meantime. The manual tells how to do absolutely everything, so I could learn from it too. It does appear easy to work on, as claimed in reviews.

    Regarding the drift on 80 meters, I'm thinking I could test the 5U4GB rectifier and OA2 voltage regulator tubes, as well as all the rest. But QSL, first order of business should be to check the electrolytics. Is the capacitor can something that typically goes bad?

    Curiously, the speaker only works when connected to the 500 ohm "line" lug. When connected to the 3.2 ohm speaker lug, I hear sound only very faintly. It's as if the wires got switched somehow.

    Hammarlund HQ-180 under the hood.jpeg
  5. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    I also have a straight HQ-180 with the same large speaker, mine does not have the clock but does have the rather scarce optional noise blanker.

    For the 80M drift Id start easy and reseat the 6C4 oscillator a few times and using tiny drops of DeOxit D-100 on the associated bandswitch wafers, rotate switch several times. You will later be doing that to all the RF switch contacts.

    Replace the 6C4 oscillator which are notoriously troublesome in various Hammarlund and other brands. Use only a NOS a milspec 6C4WA/6100 which I have been stating for several decades.

    If the radio has been rewired for the 6C4 filament to always be on rewire to original otherwise you will be replacing it on a regular basis. If the 6X4 has been replaced by diodes with no other changes go back to the tube.

    Hammarlunds have long been subjected to the Hammy Hambone school of servicing:mad::p

    If that doesnt help it can get involved to replacing the oscillator coil and caps associated with it.

    Also replace the original filter can cap, none are still good. Order from Hayseed Hamfest or use individual caps underneath.

    Hope I didnt scare you as those sure are worthwhile radios to restore.

    Ham since 1955
    USN ET trained
    National Radio 1963-69
    Service Tech, Service Manager, Sr Engineering Aide
    Almost all brands of tube radios serviced ever since
  6. KW4H

    KW4H Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congratulations on your awesome find!

    The HQ-180 is a beautiful radio that I'm so partial to, I now have two of them -- one for a full-tilt restoration, and another for parts. And if I don't need any unobtainium from the parts-only Hammarlund I'll restore it as well. Technically, it's not the best receiver of all time; however, I had one when I was a kid and it's what got me into ham radio, and the radio I learned morse code on -- therefore, it has tremendous nostalgia appeal.

    The below photo is circa 1975 -- you'll see the HQ-180A over my right shoulder, with my callsign on it (WP4EAI).

  7. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    But your left hand is on the Collins and the GSB-100 wasnt cheap either.
    KW4H likes this.
  8. KW4H

    KW4H Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ah, yes -- the Collins 75A. I was a navy brat and lived on Sabana Seca (near San Juan). If I remember right, I bought that beast from an ET on the base, using money I earned delivering newspapers. Sadly, I had to leave it (and the Gonset) behind when we left post because there wasn't enough weight allowance to ship them back. I did bring the Hammarlund back -- and it was crushed and destroyed by the moving gorillas and had to be thrown out.

    I've never gotten over my love of boat anchors.
  9. K6VML

    K6VML Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks one and all. I checked out Hayseed Hamfest, never heard of them before. The Hallicrafters S-38 was my introduction to shortwave radio. Then I got a Sony ICF-2003.

    Will put your suggestions in work. I am retired about a year now and can do these things.
  10. KW4H

    KW4H Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've used Hayseed Hamfest several times and have always been very happy with the quality of their work and the customer service.
    N2EY likes this.

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