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Author Topic: Hallicrafters S108  (Read 9624 times)

Posts: 6

« on: April 16, 2005, 09:18:24 PM »

Last weekend, I found a mint S108 at an antique shop.  I purchased the receiver for $95.00.  For all practical purposes, I believe the S108 is the same receiver as the SX110 - minus an S meter and Xtal calibrator.  The receiver is all original.  I powered it up through a variac, and to my surprise, it works very well.    Unfortunately, I turned the main tuning a bit too far past its end stop, and the dial string snapped.  The manual I downloaded from BAMA fortunately has the restringing information.

I am curious to know people's recommendation on proper electronic restoration of this receiver, despite the fact that it currently works well.  Should I plan on replacing the molded (Black Beauty style) capacitors, for example?

This receiver will ultimately be used for a vintage AM / CW station, and as time permits I'll be building a 6AG7 / 6L6 (or 807) transmitter to mate with it.  I have an external 100kc xtal calibrator, and to my surprise, the bandspread on the S108 was very close!

Advice is certainly welcome.

Joe, N6DGY

Posts: 4380

« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2005, 04:52:13 AM »

If you are serious about operating you can surely find a vintage receiver better than any of the low cost Hallicrafters.  Any receiver with single I.F. of 455 kHz has selectivity which is much less than optimal.  Low power AM operation is not very inviting either.
However replacing the black beauty capacitors with modern units is a good idea.  Older type resistors often changed value over time so a check of resistance with a DVM may save headaches later.  Remember that resistors connected in circuits may not read correctly (since other resistances may be in parallel).  You can have a lot of fun restoring Boat Anchors.

Posts: 6

« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2005, 08:46:03 AM »

What's funny is the S108 wasn't what I would have considered low-cost in late 1950's dollars.  For a more serious receiver of a similar vintage, I also have a Hallicrafters SX117.  I'm very aware of the image problems associated with a single conversion receiver.

During an hour's period of listening to the unrestored S108 last evening, I determined its performance on 80 and 40 would be more than adaquate for a novice grade station, or even AM for the budding general class.  While an outboard audio filter would prove helpful, there did not seem to be a problem in the sensitivity or selectivity department.   The receiver also did a respectable job of receiving SSB.  Sensitivity does seem to drop considerably above 15mHz or so.  This may be a characteristic of the receiver, or else it will just require a full alignment during its restoration process.


Posts: 4380

« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2005, 10:48:09 AM »

I guess being licensed in 1954 as a 15 year old and struggling as a Novice and later a General with the cheaper Hallicrafters equipment (my first receiver an S-38C took me a couple of months to save for so I didn't consider it cheap)left it's mark.  I later got an SX-28 that was considerably better and then a Collins 75A2 and was astounded that I could read my operating frequency off the dial and not just stay between the band edges.
So more power to you.
73 Allen

Posts: 21764

« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2005, 01:21:57 PM »

>I later got an SX-28 that was considerably better and then a Collins 75A2 and was astounded that I could read my operating frequency off the dial and not just stay between the band edges.<

That brings back memories.  Made my first few hundred contacts on 40 CW as a Novice in the mid-sixties using an *S-120* as a receiver, if you can imagine that.  I knew where I was tuned by comparing my RX frequency to known xtal frequencies I could use for transmitting, and using standard references such as Radio Moscow, which was so strong it actually could override my own "local" signal in my receiver (using an antenna relay).

Those were the good old days-?

Good luck with the S-108!


Posts: 43

« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2005, 06:46:26 AM »

I am aware of all the arguments concerning the replacement of old capacitors.  'There are only two kinds of caps; those that are bad and those that are going bad', etc.

That said, I never do wholesale replacement of caps when working on boatanchors.  I recently dug an SX-99 out of storage and still works as well as the day I put it away.  I touched up the alignment and left everything else alone.

But, if I do find a bad cap, then I replace them all.

---  CHAS

Posts: 9


« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2005, 12:41:48 AM »

 N6DGY -

You certainly made an excellent find and purchase with that Hallicrafters S-108 receiver! I collect and repair antique radios including classic Amateur Radio equipment such as you have. I am a lifetime member of the New Mexico Radio Collectors Club and a member of the Antique Wireless Association. The Black Beauty molded capacitors are known for failure and/or being out of tolerance. I would replace all of them eventually. I would also inspect the receiver under the chassis visually for a while. This is always a good idea to spot potential problems such as discolored components that have been overheated, suspected bad solder connections, wiring issues, etc. Also when you restring the new dial cord make sure you use a drop of very fine oil (like sewing oil or 3 and 1)on the pulley axials. This keeps them moving smoothly and minimizes stressing the new dial cord. Is there any noticable AC hum when the AF gain is turned all the way down? A slight amount is always alright. If not then the power supply filter capacitors should be good! While this may not be evrything to do, if I think of anything else I will post it here. Hope this helps you and best wishes!


Bob Scupp WB5YYX
Life Member ARRL, QCWA
Former ARRL Rocky Mountain
Division Vice-Director 1990-1994
Volunteer Examiner ARRL/W5YI Since 1985
Charter Member Estancia Valley ARA

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