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 VOM 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.

3 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.

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