The AM Forum Receiver Suite: Post your photos and stories here!

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N6YW, Aug 15, 2016.

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  1. N6YW

    N6YW Ham Member Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Where would AM be without a great receiver?
    In an effort to gain some interesting traction on this subject, I would like to encourage our
    contributors to post photos of their receivers and perhaps share a story or two, especially if
    it involves restoration! Now there's a part of this hobby that makes me leap to my feet!
    Past, present and most certainly future, it doesn't matter, show and tell!

    I have been a collector for a long time. My very first receiver was a Hallicrafters S-19 "Sky Buddy"
    and it thrilled me to no end, tuning in the world. It was my first experience with the magic of
    shortwave radio. It didn't take long for me to outgrow the S-19, so when my Elmer Willard Haskell
    who held the calls, W7HFR & AC7D, offered me a deal on a Hammarlund HQ-129X I jumped on it
    right then. In 1977, $75 dollars was a lot of money but I made it happen.
    That began my lifelong love for Hammarlund receivers which continues to this day.

    I have also been a hard core collector of Collins equipment which came to a head about 4 years
    ago when I decided to dump it all after getting tired of the CCA nonsense. Still, I must have owned
    just about every variant of the 51J's, 75A's and most of the S-line stuff. Marvelous equipment
    but in terms of what appeals to my senses, Hammarlund, Marconi, RCA, National & Racal are
    the pinnacle in my experience. However, my one remaining Collins receiver is the mighty R-390
    which is my go to receiver when anything else won't cut it. It's hands down the best AM receiver
    that I have ever owned. Here are some images from my website:

    Enter the Super Pro...
    For ease of band cruising and arguably one of the best built of the "contemporary" receivers,
    the Super Pro series has few equals. My collection comprises of the earliest examples starting
    with the SP-10, SP-100 and SP-200, all of which are complete and in various stages of repair
    or electronic restoration. I have owned several SP-600's and my best restoration work was a near
    basket case that looked horrible. Today, it looks brand new after nearly 100 hours of work invested.
    Here is a before and after comparison shown below. 20141102_122924_resized_1.jpg SP-600 Resto.jpg
    As you can see, it requires a lot of patience and dedicated work, and the result is well worth the effort.
    When I get to it, I will post some photos of the entire collection when the shack is completed.
    More to come!
    Your turn.
    KD2ANN, WA3VJB and W3ATV like this.
  2. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I share your interest in "BIG" rcvrs. I have two (2) R-390A's, a SP-600-JX-17, a NC-173, & a pristine HQ-129-X (with the red lettering). From time-to-time I use each one with a Johnson Viking Ranger & Johnson T/R switch, just to Re-live the olde days.(CW only operator):)
    Thanks for the beautiful photos. (Real rcvrs had "HOODS") ;)

    Steve / W5BIB
    N6YW likes this.
  3. VK3YE

    VK3YE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Videos demonstrating a few homebrew or converted AM receivers.

    1. Simple AM superhet. Comprising NE602 converter, MK484 IF/detector, LM386 audio amplifier. Video demonstrates it on 160 metres.


    2. Above receiver but converted to 40 metres with transmitter added.

    3. Converted AM transistor radio tweaked to 160 metres. In same box as 500mW transmitter.

    4. Transistor regenerative AM receiver tuning the broadcast band

    5. Seacom 2 MHz AM transceiver converted to 160m. Demonstration with a kite antenna.
    W3ATV and KA4KOE like this.
  4. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    One can collect / use Collins equipment without being a member of the CCA. In fact, the vast majority of owners of Collins equipment are not members of the CCA.

    For AM operation, many consider the Collins 75A-1 to be among the best of receivers, certainly the best of the Collins receivers. The 75A-2 is also a very good receiver for AM. The 75A-3, with the stock 3.1 kHz mechanical filter is not that good but if one builds a simple R/C filter for the 2nd filter position, and then use the crystal filter like in the 75A-2, the AM performance is equal to the 75A-2. The 51J- series / R-388- series are very stable and the frequency calibration cannot be beat by other receivers of that era. But, the audio quality is communications quality and not "hi fi". The Collins R-390 / R-390A are sought after by a lot of AM operators.

    I do not like the stock Super-Pro receivers because they tend to drift considerably above around 10 MHz. There are exceptions and there are modifications that do help with the drift. At one time, I did own 2-each SP-600-JX-17 units.

    The RME 6900 is excellent on both SSB and AM. Although the audio output is a single 6AQ5, the audio quality is excellent. I attribute this to the fact that, when the RME-6900 was built, RME was owned by Electro-Voice which was, at the time, manufacturing things for the audio crowd that were of very high quality.

    The Hammarlund receiver line that started with the HQ-120X, then the HQ-129X, followed by the HQ-140X, and finally the HQ-150 are very good receivers and are also, unlike most of the Hammarlund receivers, stable after around a 30-minute warm up.

    Hallicrafters receivers vary all over the place in how well they work for AM operation. I do have a number of Hallicrafters receivers including such as the S-19R, S-20R, S-40B, SX-42, S-85, SX-100, and S-107.

    The National NC-200 and NC-2-40DT are very good receivers for AM.

    There are any number of older receivers that do a very good job for AM operation.

    Glen, K9STH
    W3ATV likes this.
  5. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Around 1958/59 while still a shortwave listener saved up and purchased a new National NC-188 receiver. Was it in the league with a R-390 heck no but for a 14-15 year old kid it was just fine. In recent years found a used NC-188 in very nice condition works fine did very little in the way of reconditioning to it.

    KD0DQZ, W3ATV and N6YW like this.
  6. W3ATV

    W3ATV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am fond of the R390 and 390A. Of course they sound best when hooked up to an external amplifier. I have mine feeding a small amplified speaker with a pair of EL84's. Sounds pretty good for old junk the military was just throwing away!

    EL84 speaker
    EL84 speaker.JPG
    KC8VWM likes this.
  7. W3ATV

    W3ATV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    And my favorite receiver is the AR-88. I have the LF version. Currently it is apart and being repaired and cosmetically restored. I changed all of the bath tub caps, a bunch of off value resistors, cleaned switches and controls. It worked well before, but now it is even better. I am now in the process of "body and paint" work. Here is some really bad camera phone video of it- sorry for the poor quality. It was working pretty good then- but now it has really perked up after the repairs.

  8. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Oh My...
    I think I am in Love.
    WZ5Q likes this.
  9. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    :p:p with his radios, or with Billy? :p:p
  10. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    My favorite receiver I've owned was an SX-28A. I bought the thing from a hoarder in NJ in the 80's, lugged it home, gave it a quick look to make sure it wouldn't smoke, and turned it on... and was amazed how well it worked... for about 10 minutes, before the power transformer smelled like it was going to burn, then shut it down.

    It sat on various shelves for a dozen years before I got around to rebuilding it. After all new caps and resistors, it spent a good long time in the shop with near daily use SWL. I had to sell it to a gent who reports that it is fantastic for him. I just couldn't lift it around anymore and switched over to an SX-110 that is nice, but I do miss the old girl!

    I'm digging for a "done" picture and can't find one! (duhhh)
    There's the SX-110, and it's a decent radio.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
    KD2ANN likes this.

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