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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Haunted by Hallicrafters At Winterfest

I was on the verge of not going to the Vienna Wireless Society's Winterfest Hamfest this year.   We had just returned from a long trip.  I was tired.  Armand WA1UQO bailed due to a family obligation. But, since this is about the only hamfest that regularly attend, and because it is only about 5 miles down the road, I went.  

As soon as I got there I started wondering if I should have stayed home.  Here's why:  Hallicrafter S-38s.   Just about everywhere I turned, there were S-38s.  I had never seen so many of these EVIL  AC/DC trandformerless widow-makers.  I watched in horror as innocent hams reached into their wallets and bought these little monsters.  "Does it work?" asked one victim. "Well," said the seller, "it hums like crazy when you turn it on."  Yea, I'll bet it does.  (The guy bought it.) 

It was kind of a Hallicrafters day.  I even saw an Hallicrafters TV!  See above. 

Nothing big followed me home.   I got a couple of nice variable caps (one with a reduction drive).  A Radio Shack speaker.   Some coax.  A project box of BITX40 size.   A Weller soldering gun  slightly less beat up than the one I've had since age 13. 

I got to meet Richard Choy of Midway Electronics.  He has a business out in the Shenandoah Valley and is selling a neat little 2 watt CW transceiver kit.  Go to midwayelecrronics.us/qrp for more info. 

Oh yea, I got a kick out of this ENORMOUS BFO.  I almost bought it for Pete (who is so fond of tiny little oscillators).  This is a real Boatanchor BFO.  I wonder how many Si5351s you could put in that box? 

Thanks to VWS for putting on the 'fest.  In spite of the S-38s, I had fun.  


  1. Try to imagine this being said in a slightly condescending austrian accent:-

    Vell Mister MEARH...

    Vot you are SUFFERING from zee CLASSIC radio Amateur affliction:- Themionic Radio Revulsion Syndrome.

    It is the irrational and unnatural FEAR or REVULSION of VACUUM TUBE ELECTRONICS.

    It manifests itself as a peculiar dislike of harmless VACUUM TUBE radios.

    An irrational FEAR of AC/DC sets, like, for example, the Hallicrafter S38.

    Now this could have started in childhood, perhaps you were taunted by a 6L6, burned a finger on a 5Z4, got a jolt from a 807 top cap? Perhaps ve vill never know.

    But do you WANT to be CURED, Mr Meara?

    I prescribe one year of building and documenting TUBE RADIO projects, along with a course of PHYSICAL therapy, acquiring and restoring heavy tube radios.

    So, remember, Mr MEARA. Next time you make humour of a tube boat anchor radio, you must acquire it, you must restore it, and you must learn to love it!

    Or there will be no cure!

    Your therapy starts here:-


  2. An S-38B was my first superhet (after a Knight-Kit Span Master regen that drove my mother crazy). It was the sixties and transformerless All American Fives were still common household radios. My S-38's paint and knobs were in excellent shape, so I survived, at least long enough to graduate to a Lafayette KT-320. It did give you a slight tingle if you moved your hand across the top of the case. I still have a fondness for S-38s and probably would buy one even though it would go straight to a basement shelf.

  3. Additional therapy:-


  4. http://midwayelectronics.us/qrp/ is a working link.

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