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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Rescued at Sea! Saved by an S-38!

Just click on the ad to enlarge it. 

Another cartoon relayed via the Facebook page of Jeff Murray K1NSS.   

Sure, there was a rescue at sea, but what about all the casualties caused by the AC/DC "widow-maker" S-38 power supply? 


  1. Ahh.. but the S38E didn't actually cover the Marine distress frequency of 500 kHz or as we used to say, 500 kilo cycles per second.

    Steve KB3SII

  2. At the marina, the S38 went on to provide years of service, as an actual Boat Anchor. :-)

  3. They don't offer the Hallicrafters record that samples shortwave.

    They must have lured a lot of people in with the idea of adventure. Even in 1971, the S-120A, the transistorized model, had all those exotic places on the dial, places the receiver couldn't receive because it lacked sensitivity (though it easily overloaded from local broadcast dtstions) and selectivity, even if the stations were on those frequencies. 2182KHz was a maritime calling frequency. There were aero frequencies marked, hear transAntlantic flights, and the Gandor airport. It was such a big world at age 11. But even if you had a real receiver, you weren't going to hear such adventure easily. I think it pointed back to the early days of radio, when there was so little you might hear the MacMillan arctic expedition, or one of the few people in Tibet with a transmitter.

    I couldn't even receive SSB on that S-120A, unless I attenuated the signals do much that little got through (but the BFO was then strong enough).

    The average portable shortwave receiver sold today is way better, though ttevsdventure has mostly gone to satellites.


  4. I have been in electronics for over 50 years, and a ham for over 40 years and I have never, ever heard - read- or seen any report (creditable or otherwise) of anyone being electrocuted from a hot chassis (widow maker) radio. They were manufactured for many years. Is this merely an urban legend (Fake News) ?? Hi Hi.
    Bruce - KK0S

    1. Well, it was obviously not fatal, but I do remember getting shocked by this thing. And I recently ran into the cousin I gave it to -- "That thing gave me a shock!" was his response to my question about the device. In my latest S38E, I installed an isolation transfomer. But it it still horrible.

    2. Perfectly stated! I think many of us have been bitten by these things over the years. But - as changes have come over the years, my frustration level is up there when people carry on and carry on about lethal high voltages in some older equipment. Yep. There were lethal high voltages. And we knew they were there and generally took suitable precautions! I heard people (and some were hams, too) talk about the dangers of anything over 24 volts being LETHAL! Some really got wound up about it. That's all. Just a personal pet peeve. And yes. The S-38 was, is, and always will be a stellar example of minimal performance. I still have the one I got for Christmas in 1959. Wow! The many hours of fun I had listening to HCJB, Moscow, BBC, and so on. Those were the days...
      Bruce - KK0S

    3. I'm with you, Bruce! I've long believed that the threat posed by these sets is greatly exaggerated... If the chassis isolation is intact, they'll give you a low-current tingle under certain conditions, but that just lets you know to flip the plug around the other way :-)

      There's a far greater chance of going mad trying to tune 20m CW on an S-38 than there is death from electric shock. But for listening to the SWBC powerhouses, they did OK.


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