You guys know how it is: You get tired of struggling with an old piece of gear. You put it aside, thinking that you might never work on it again. But it sits there in the corner, sort of looking at you. A few days or weeks or years pass and you think, hey, I'll take one more quick look at this thing to see if I can get it going.
That's what happened to me this weekend with the Hallicrafters S38-E. I hooked up the isolation transformer and put a fuse in the primary. I checked the wiring of my rewound antenna coil primary and found that I had connected it wrong. Duh. I then found that the antenna tuned circuit tracks fairly well with the tuned circuits in the local oscillator.
I hooked it up to my 40 meter dipole and fired it up. As evening rolled around the shortwave bands started to perk up. The Chinese Broadcast stations were there, as was that fire and brimstone preacher Brother so-and-so. But then I tuned into Radio Havana Cuba and the guy was talking about homebrew shortwave antennas. Could it be? Yes indeed. It was Arnie Coro CO2KK. The Radio Gods had spoken! They clearly had wanted me to get this old rig going.
I still have a few things to do: I need to fix the front panel light. I want to put in a three-wire (with ground) AC cord. Perhaps a real BFO (the original circuit seems to run out of steam with strong SSB signals). And I need to spruce up the alignment on the 1.7-5 Mc and 13-30 Mc bands.
I think Pete and I may have been too harsh on this old receiver (calling it a pig with lipstick and all that). It is clearly not a great communications receiver, but it is nice for casual shortwave listening.
And here is a bonus treat for you guys: Remember Radio Moscow in the bad old days? Yesterday I found a site with good recordings of some of their 1965 broadcasts. This is just what you would have heard coming out of an S38-E in 1965: