“The Shape of Water” features a benchmark Cold War receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:

The Academy Award for Best Picture of 2018 goes to Guillermo de Toro’s “The Shape of Water.

This celebrated shortwave radio appears several times in the move as a prop for the Cold War-era control room of Richard Strickland (played by Michael Shannon).

Oh what a celebrated shortwave radio indeed! How could it be a Cold War without this benchmark boat anchor?!? Thanks for this fantastic addition to to our growing archive of radios in film, Dan!

Post readers: Anyone recognize or–better yet–own this amazing machine? Please comment!

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9 thoughts on ““The Shape of Water” features a benchmark Cold War receiver

  1. Allen Hunt, KM4DAS

    I have one! It looks great but I am afraid to fire it up until I do a restoration on it. I bought it a few years ago and the previous owner said it worked when he acquired it, but hadn’t turned it on since then. I was lucky to get one in the factory case. Mine is a diversity model. It is a wonderful looking receiver, I can see why they included it in the movie.

  2. DanH

    I have seen some pretty crazy after-market paint schemes on old communications receivers. I bought a SP-200 in the eighties for my Dad. That one was international orange before repainting. It is best to leave them in original condition if at all possible. The original paint on my SP-600 has some scratches on the rack-mount screw slots but I’m leaving well enough alone. Long-term storage and use should be indoors with low humidity. Garage or shed storage is very hard on these old radios. Other than a few capacitor replacements my SP-600 JX-21 (1956 or 1957) is original but I made one mod. I substituted four GE #1847 dial lamps for the #47s. These are long-life subs for #47 with the same electrical specifications. #1847s are not as bright as #47 and have a warmer color. This makes the dials easier to look at (and video record) during long tuning sessions. #1847 was made in large numbers for installation in automotive dashboards.

  3. Shelby Brant

    My wife has one (used to be her father’s) with a most interesting color scheme, silver front panel with sky blue bezels. Never saw another one like it, definitely don’t think it left the factory that way, someone must’ve had a thing for those colors and thought it looked better that way.

  4. Bill

    It’s a Hammarlund SP-600. I ran one of these in the US Air Force in 1967-68.
    Great receiver. We also used Collins R-390’s.

    1. DanH

      Your story about operating those receivers would be invaluable. It was a time of great transition in long-range communications.


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