Jeffrey revives an old friend, his Hallicrafters SX-110

SWLing Post reader, Jeffrey Fritz, sent me the following message and has kindly allowed me to share it with other readers. I’mthoroughly inspired!

Bottoms up! Considering how old this receiver is, the chassis bottom (still with the original power cord) really is clean. This is how the bottom of the chassis looked when I removed the receiver from its metal cabinet.

As a teenager in the 1960s I spent a considerable amount of time SWLing on a Hallicrafters SX-110 communications receiver. I collected QSL cards from all over the world and loved being an SWL.

The SX-110 was purchased on 9 September 1961 from Gem Electronics in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York. My parents bought it for me, probably after a great deal of whining and cajoling on my part. Although much of my gear has long since been sent to some landfill by my parents, like my precious Lionel trains, I would not allow them to trash the SX-110.

The top of the chassis, however, is not as clean. Some elbow grease will clearly be required.

The radio has been sitting in one basement or another, unused for the better part of 30 years.

Yesterday I decided to try bringing the radio back to life. Restoring this kind old receiver was a labor of love. The receiver was carefully looked over and tested with a VOMĀ for bad components and the top of the chassis cleaned as best I could. The bottom was pristine. I just needed to clean out a few cobwebs and replace the power cord.

All eight tubes. Note the three original Hallicrafters tubes with the orange labeling.

After being cleaned up and several components tested, the SX-110 was slowly brought back to life on a Variac. I started at 10 volts AC and slowly increased the voltage every ten minutes by another ten volts. When I got to about 90 VAC, I could hear static and distorted audio coming out of the speaker. It was a good sign that the radio would come back to full operation once I reached the normal 110 VAC input–and that is exactly what occurred.

I am happy to report that, with a little patience and love (and a good cleaning) –and with three of the original Hallicrafters tubes still in place, my trusty old Hallicrafters SX-110 shortwave receiver is happily working today. I have it connected to its original Hallicrafters R-47 3.3 ohm speaker.

The top chassis is cleaned as much as possible. Not perfect, but a little cleaner than before. We now have about 110 volts applied through the Variac. No smoke but we do have lights!

Yesterday evening I listened to Radio Taiwan, Radio China International, Radio Havana Cuba, The Voice of Turkey and The Voice of Russia. The audio quality was rather decent without a hint of AC hum. The radio is probably due for a good alignment. I am running the radio on the Variac set at 110 volts AC and will probably keep it on the Variac because the AC voltages today in the U.S. are significantly higher than they were in 1961.

Even the XYL thinks that the radio sounds terrific! What better recommendation can there be for this old, vintage receiver?

73, Jeffrey Fritz, WB1AAL

The restored SX-110 sitting on the bookshelf in the shack. No one would mistake this for a new receiver, but it works just fine.

PS–Jeffrey also mentioned to me: “If you look closely at the chassis stamp photo of the SX-110, you can see a stamp that reads ‘199117 C.’ This is the manufacture date of the receiver. The fourth digit is the year, and the fifth and sixth digits are the week of the year. So, 199117 is the 17th week of 1961 or the week of 23 April 1961.”

Very interesting. Now I need to examine a few of my own Hallicrafters receivers…

Close up of the inspection stamps. Do modern rig manufacturers take time to do this now?

This entry was posted in Articles, Boat Anchors, Nostalgia, Radio History, Radios, Shortwave Radio, SWLers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Jeffrey revives an old friend, his Hallicrafters SX-110

  1. Richard Pettit WA2ROC says:

    I think I remember Jeff Fritz when he lived on Long Island many years ago.

  2. Jules Gilbert says:

    Wow!, oh wow!!, I am glad that someone is on short-wave. I’m an ex-ham first-phone licensee, and I used several home-made and some purchased radio’s to listen for years, even in college.

    (And it didn’t hurt dating-wise, some girls go for nerd types.)

    I got out of high school in 1965. I had built a couple of Heath Kits and at the time, probably not as popular as HK’s, was Allied Radio, they sold radio kits too.

    Say what you like about squealers, they are more sensitive than hetro’s, just not as stable. Anyway I had a 150 feet long wire and spent many and evening listing to SW.

  3. Robert Neary says:

    Remarkable restoration, though I have a question. I have a Hallicrafters SX-62, I am starting to restore the case, but cleaning the chassis has me overwhelmed. I have read about people putting it in the dishwasher, spraying it with “super clean” (or other degreasers) and hosing it off outside. The prospect of cleaning this large chassis with just a q-tip or toothbrush seems like a huge workload. And, of course, there seem to be as many opinions regarding cleaning products as there are people restoring.

    Moreover, how do you clean the tuner capacitor of all the gunk without damaging the delicate blades? I am really hesitant to mix electronics and water but this chassis is fairly pitted, dirty and greasy. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  4. P E "Packy" says:

    WOW! You guys really turned back the hands of time on my clock! I still have my 1971 Novice set up DX-60B and SX-110 *( WAS on 40 meters with 3 rocks !) and am about ready to retire in a few months. I will definitely redo mine too after this encouragement. I have a close friend that has re-done two SX-62’s and YES they are a “Labor of Love ” for sure as he has told me . His call sign is AE4R, Mike in Northern Va and every month he lists a different receiver and or transmitter combo that he puts back on the air. Feel free to contact him

    73 and Good Luck……. Packy A E 3 O

  5. Rob says:

    Hello Jeffery,
    Great to see your SX 110 Hallicrafer page. I live down in New Zealand and I have one here running. I would like to clean up the chassis. top side. Can you tell me how you did that.
    with thanks
    Rob

  6. Jeffrey Fritz says:

    I am sure that it’s been done, but I wouldn’t advise cleaning the chassis of vintage radio equipment by putting it in the dishwasher.

    I used a fair amount of elbow grease combined with a non-caustic cleaner intended for household use. Look for something that is safe to use with metal, glass and plastic and then start scribing away with a sponge. I used a sponge that has a burnishing side used for for pots. I worked gently with it, however.

    Just bs prepared to live with some signs of age as you may not be able to get all the dirt marks off. But then it’s an old radio–it doesn’t have to look brand new!

    Jeff

  7. Jeffrey Fritz says:

    My comment above should have read “start scrubbing away” not “stop scribing away,” you don’t want to scribe a vintage radio’s chassis!!!

    Jeff

  8. Pingback: Jeffrey re-caps his Hallicrafters SX-110 | The SWLing Post

  9. Pamela says:

    I have a Hallicrafters T.V./Record player model #20994. I found the manual on line so I can provide that too. I can provide photos. Can you tell me how much this would be worth. It needs some improvements but from the looks of parts I’ve found on the Internet. I would just sell it as is. I would not cover shipping (I don’t think but possibly negotiable). I live in northern CA. Please email me at provided address. Thank you. Pamela F. pamelafrey12@gmail.com.

    • Thomas says:

      Hi, Pamela,

      Here on this site, we’re no experts with regards to TV/record combos per se (though there may be experts here, of course). I would encourage you to simply post this Hallicrafters TV on eBay and sell it as-is. You’ll probably get top dollar that way. I would pre-pack it for shipping so you can give a reasonable shipping estimate. Good luck!

      Thomas

  10. Bud Stacey says:

    A few weeks ago in May, a fellow Ham told me he had something for me. little did I know it was a fully-restored SX-110! The only problem was a chicken-head pointer knob on the crystal phase control. I am looking for an original replacement knob now. He sold it to me for $50 (!!!) with a Tram CB speaker; sounds good, though I am thinking of building a better, larger speaker. Another fellow Ham has a 12″ bare speaker of mine, he said if I bought the marine/birch plywood, he’d build the cabinet for me! (He used to be part owner in an electronics store and built customer audio systems and speakers.). I’ve been listening on my “new” SX-110 several nights a week, mainly on the AM broadcast band (my first love) and it has good, rich tonal qualities. When I get some time that I’m not working around the home, I’ll sit down and tune SW, as well (the bands have been a bit dead, due to sunspots). I love my SX-110, it makes a great companion to my restored SX-100 (which was FREE!!! But that’s another story….)!

  11. Bud Stacey says:

    I meant “custom” speakers, not “customer”…

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