WU2D and “Dream” SW Receivers of the 1960s and 70s

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Meara, who shares this most recent post from his excellent SolderSmoke Podcast blog:

Mike WU2D Looks at the “Dream” SW Receivers of the 1960s and 70s (Video)

Wow, I really liked Mike’s walk down memory lane. I saw several of my own dream receivers:

S-38E. Indeed, this little monster did add some danger to your life. AKA “The Widow Maker,” I gave one to my cousin’s husband so he could listen to what the commies on Radio Moscow were saying. He later told me that the receiver had given him a shock. I now have TWO S-38Es in my shack (two more than I really need). I have installed isolation transformers in both of them, so they have lost the one element (danger!) that made them attractive.

HA-600A. I got this one for Christmas in 1972. The A model is MUCH better than the plain vanilla HA-600. I recently got another HA-600A and found serious deficiencies in the Product Detector. Has anyone else noticed these problems? BACKGROUND INFO AND A PLEA FOR MORE INFO HERE: https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search?q=HA-600A+Product+Detector

HQ-100. Got one in the Dominican Republic. Fixed it up, repairing damages caused by radio life in the tropics. Disabled the goofy audio amplifier circuitry. I now wonder if this receiver might benefit from the insertion of a 455 kc ceramic filter.

NC190. Wow “Cosmic Blue” Perhaps this was an early influence that led to “Juliano Blue?”

HQ-180. “18 tubes and almost as many knobs!” FB!

HRO-500. Love the dial.

Transoceanic. Never had one, but built a BFO for the Transoceanic that W8NSA took with him to SE Asia during the war.

R-390A. I don’t have a crane for the workbench.

Thanks Mike — that was a lot of fun.

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4 thoughts on “WU2D and “Dream” SW Receivers of the 1960s and 70s

  1. Tha Dood

    These receivers are certainly not obsolete, but continue to hold a different flavor of operation of their own. I’ve pretty much let all the HF / VHF tube receivers go here, and sold them to friends whom had the actual time and money to keep these going. However, someday, I’d love to get an R-390 here, or even a Drake TR-4. Do HF AM on 1885kHz, 3875 – 3885kHz, and 7290kHz, and these older receivers are still very much in use by AM’ers.

  2. John Brandt

    Great vid. Both of my vintage rigs were in the video: Heathkit GR64 and GC1. The GC1 I literally found in the garbage can outside my apartment house in Brooklyn. I cleaned her up and brought her to Maine that summer (with a home brew power pack made out of D batteries). We were able to enjoy listening to Jean Shepherd broadcasts from WOR on that baby. Only seems right to be listening to K2ORS’s musings this way.


  3. Gordon Cooper

    An R390/390A needs 400 pounds of equipment to service: One 140 lb. skinny radio technician, and the rest is a scope, spare parts, and alignment gear. Plus a three acre circular outdoor antenna for best reception.

    My wrist hurts in an almost good way when I see a picture of one. On the fly band scanning is really stressful after an hour or so.


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