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Thursday, October 8, 2020

HA-600A Gets a New Coat of Paint -- After Almost 50 years!


The HA-600A that I picked up last week was looking kind of sorry.  There was a lot of rust on the cabinet.  Below is the before picture. 

I'm not really into cabinetry or radio aesthetics, but it is amazing what a 6 dollar can of spray paint can do. Formula 409 also helps. I moved the light bulbs forward a bit to get more light on that Juliano Blue dial. 

I am really enjoying this radio.  It has brought back many memories.  I think I got one for Christmas in 1972.  I was 14.  I got my Novice ticket on April 27, 1973 and made my first contact on July 19, 1973.  For that first contact I was using an HA-600A and a Heathkit DX-40.  Later I used the Lafayette with a Heathkit DX-100.   The HA-600A was replaced by the far superior Drake 2B on April 11, 1974.  So I used this receiver for more than two years.  

Looking around inside this receiver (and following up with Google) I learned some more about it: 
-- It was made in Japan. 
-- The manual says it has a "mechanical filter" but in fact it has a Toyo ceramic filter.  This may have been just an honest mistake by the folks who wrote the manual -- maybe they didn't understand the difference between the two types of filters. 
-- There is a big difference between the HA-600 and the HA-600A, mostly in the front end circuitry.  The HA-600 has fewer amplifier circuits at the front end.  This probably explains why the HA-600 I picked up did not seem to live up to my memories of my teen-year HA-600A.  

The fellow who gave it to me tells me that it had belonged to the short-wave listener father of a friend of his. 

I know we have a lot of tube-type receivers that are much older than this thing, but I still think it is pretty amazing that this is a receiver that I used almost half a century ago.  And it is still as good as new.


  1. It has an external speaker? Does it have its own speaker or did it require headphones?

  2. It and its like were never intended as Mantel radios for lounge or kitchen, so were not designed as such. They were intended and designed for more serious *Listening*, and that meant better audio than any internal speaker would deliver - and gave the listener their preference of placement. Most did not even supply a speaker, leaving even that choice to the purchaser. Those that did had speakers tailored for *Listening*, not necessarily 'best' Fidelity. These were pre-Stereo Hi-Fi days, or if you wanted that you bought one. Headphones were another option, sometimes by provided jack.

  3. Somehow I don't remember having the external speaker. I'm sure I must have had one. The HE-48C speaker seems to match the form of the HA-600A cabinet, but the color is different. Dex is right -- internal speakers were not the norm. There is no internal speaker on the Drake 2B. In my homebrew rigs I only use internal speakers with rigs intended for portable operation.

  4. I only ask because I had an Hallicrafters S-53 when I was a kid, and it had a speaker in the top lid. Other than that, I don't remember ever building or having a SW receiver with a speaker.

    There was a Lafayette store a few miles from where I grew up. They weren't as appliance-oriented as a store like Radio Shack would become, but they did advertise for retail trade in regular magazines so I was surprised to see the external speaker with it.

  5. I get the sense that Lafayette was trying to sell these more to hams than to SWLs. That may help explain it. 73 Bill


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