Colin’s Hammarlund HQ-120X restoration


Many thanks to Colin Snow for sharing the following photos and commenting on his Hammarlund HQ-120X restoration. I originally noticed his photos in the Extreme Shortwave Listening group on Facebook and he kindly wrote up descriptions for each image to be published here on the SWLing Post:

Hammarlund HQ-120X restoration

by Colin Snow

Hammarlund HQ-120X

Purchased on eBay March, 2016. Hammarlund HQ-120X (1939 restored) and PSC/10 speaker (1939 original). The radio was frist restored by KE7RD, the collector who owned this unit for years. This was a late production version. It has 6K7’s instead of 6S7’s (good). The O/P TRANS has been replaced and an SO-239 added. It was recapped and aligned both IF + RF and works well on all bands.”


I had the cabinet repainted locally at NRI Sandblasting and Coating with a black semi-gloss crinkle powder coat paint. I cleaned the chrome part of the handles with Quick Glo and stripped and painted the two shoulders with black gloss enamel.


I had the speaker enclosure stripped and painted at the same time as the cabinet with the same black semi-gloss crinkle powder coat.


The original 1939 speaker was a 10″ Jensen. It worked, but I wanted the best possible sound. This current production model Jensen fit exactly.

HAmmarlund-HQ120X 6

White lines for the knobs were done using white out. The lines are grooved so I just gobbed it on and wiped off the excess.


I had the faceplate rescreened by Adam’s Precision Screen Printing, Inc. San Leandro, CA. They created a film positive first, then a negative screen.


It was a perfect job. The color and sheen matched original. This should last longer because it is an epoxy ink that has been baked to harden.


The lettering came out clean. Even though they made a 1.5X negative they still had to create artwork for the fonts. The original letters were just etched into to aluminum. It looked like it was done by hand.


Funny how words change. We now say “megahertz”, not “megacycles.”


I refurbished the dial windows myself. They were easy to strip and I used a flat black enamel spray. The S-meter glass was dirty so I disassembled it and cleaned with Quick Glo.


Still works after all that!


Its final resting place is my office and looks pretty good next to an original Tiffany’s lamp. I have a second listening post.

Colin, I can see that you spared no expense to restore this Hammarlund HQ-120X and it has paid off–an absolutely gorgeous job! I love how its “final resting place” is in a part of your office that gives it an appropriate amount of space–a place to be admired and, more importantly, enjoyed.  I bet the 120 sounds simply amazing!

Thanks again for sharing these photos and your commentary, Colin!

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7 thoughts on “Colin’s Hammarlund HQ-120X restoration

  1. John I. Parichuk

    I read your article and became very excited! I have two (2) HQ-120s. One is 1938 vintage, but the faceplate looks new. The other is a later variant. Its faceplate is illegible.
    I just called Adam’s Precision Screen Printing in the hope that they would be able to redo my faceplate. The lady told me they had retired in 2019 and no longer did faceplates. Disappointing, yet understandable.

    1. John I. Parichuk

      Just want to pass on some information. There is a company, Front Panel Express, that will produce front panels from what a person designs using the company’s free software. I did that and, while not an exact duplicate of a HQ-120 front panel, I am well pleased with the results. Here’s a link to their website:

      My dials and fiducials/dial windows were in really bad shape. I sent them to Radio Daze and had them produce new ones. Here’s a link to their webpage showing the HQ-120 products:

  2. DanH

    What an excellent job of restoration! I also have a special place in my heart for these radios. I own two Hammarlund RBG CHC-46140 sets, the WWII military version of the HQ-140. One is a parts radio. The front panels of the RBGs have raised lettering, opposite from what is found on the earlier SP-200s and later SP-600s. The RBG S-meters are the same as found on the SP-200 series. Although single conversion only, the 140/RBGs are excellent performing radios with very good sound for voice and music.

    I still have an original 10-inch Jensen speaker from the 1940-s or 50’s. These permanent magnet speakers were introduced in 1937 but were available for many years after WWII. The model is Jensen PM-10C. There are different Jensen stock numbers for PM-10C speakers. These reflect the choice of matching transformer included with the speaker. Thus, my Jensen speaker is a PMC-10C with the adjustable “Y” transformer and has the stock number ST-246Y. I have it set for 500 ohms impedance. The PM-10C was also included with some Hallicrafters radios.

  3. Walt

    I’ve seen some really impressive restorations of the venerable Collins R-390A. The result is a silky-smooth tuning and gorgeous front panels. It’s fabulous to see what started as a rust-pile turn into a thing of beauty!

  4. Edward

    Some good ideas for restoration. I have a HQ-140x I picked up at curbside rubbish collection a few years ago. Just a workhorse and a precision piece of equipment that works for a living. Not ready to retire it but lot of tips and pointers.


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