After working a bit on the Hallicrafters S38-E receiver, I am forced to admit that Pete was probably right about this receiver when he warned me that I'd be putting lipstick on a pig. For those of you who have a sentimental attachment to this receiver, please don't take offense -- I understand. But while I had one of these as a kid, I never really BONDED with it. That Drake 2B was stiff competition for my radio affection. So I can be more objective about this thing. And I now think Pete was right. Problems: -- It is mechanically rickety. It jiggles around mechanically and, as a result, electrically. -- The front end is no match for Northern Virginia RFI. All it has between the antenna and the converter tube is one puny LC circuit. Not enough. -- The LO mixer and the LO are stuffed into one 12BE6 tube. The IF amp and the BFO cohabitate in another tube. In each case there just seems to be too much going on between one plate and one cathode. -- The whole AC/DC transformer-less thing is kind of nuts. You have to get used to TWO ground symbols on the schematic: one symbolizes B- (and is not attached to the chassis). The other is to chassis ground. Turns out that my E model is not really a "widow maker" -- they have a 470K resistor and a cap between B- and chassis ground, so the damage you could do to yourself was quite limited. Still, it is all kind of goofy. I have an isolation transformer on the chassis, ready to move this receiver into the 1960s if the spirit ever moves me. KB2WIG commented: "At closing time, I don't care if the S38 has lipstick." As I worked on this thing, I began to realize that the little homebrew 6U8 receiver I have next to it on the bench is a much better receiver. So I began to lose enthusiasm for putting lipstick on the S38-E. At least for the moment. I do like the cool 1950s place names on the S38-E's front panel:
Java USSR Vatican Singapore Edmonton (!) Congo Milan Iceland Angola And of course, the CD (Civil Defense) frequencies. (For when you wanted to do some shortwave listening while ducking and covering. )
In response to popular demand, "SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics" is now available as an e-book for Amazon's Kindle.
Here's the site:
For the print version:
For shipping from a printer in the U.S. (probably better for N. American buyers) Click here: SolderSmoke USA Version
For shipping from a printer in the UK, Spain, or the USA (probably better for UK and other European buyers)
Click here: SolderSmoke EU Version
The two versions are identical, except for a minor difference in the paper used. That's why the prices are a bit different.
Bill's OTHER Book (Warning: Not About Radio)
Click on the image to learn more
W4HBK's QRSS Grabber: The Amazing Pensacola Snapper (Live!)