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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Hammarlund SP-600 Help

Reviews Summary for Hammarlund SP-600
Hammarlund SP-600 Reviews: 20 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $1,000 in 1952
Description: HF receiver covering 55 Khz to 54 Mhz.
Product is not in production.
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IZ2EAS Rating: 5/5 Apr 27, 2017 02:11 Send this review to a friend
My second "real" SW radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I received my SP600-JX-7 as a present from my father when I was 17 years old… it was 1982, looong time ago. At that time I was an avid SWL, and in particular I was interested in the Tropical Bands (i.e. 60 and 90 metres); the SP600 – that cost a small fortune in 1982 - was a great performer on those bands, since it would not overload even with long antennas (at one time I connected a 100 meters long wire to it). When I got it, the infamous “black beauties of death” (BBDO) had already been replaced in a very professional way; by looking at the “new” capacitors, the work was probably done in the 60s.

Recently, for the first time since 1982, I overhauled it; I replaced the “new” capacitors from the 60s (they did not look too healthy), all the electrolytic capacitors (that were all original from 1951, so 65 years old !) and few resistors whose value had drifted over time. I aligned it as per the service manual, and now it is back to its full, original potential.

The main difference with those years now is my back, that is hardly able to handle the SP600 heavy weight ! And – regrettably – the tropical bands, that are now empty.
N8FVJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 9, 2017 06:28 Send this review to a friend
2nd Review  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I forgot to mention my SP-600 has the ceramic capacitors, thus do not have to replace the 40+ black beauty capacitors. Dial accuracy is less than a needle width or accurate every where on the dial. Drift from start up to fully warm is an astounding 50Hz or so.

As mentioned a great receiver. I paid $200 for the radio- 2017 purchase date in good condition.
KB2NAT Rating: 5/5 Mar 31, 2017 13:07 Send this review to a friend
As Good As It Gets  Time owned: more than 12 months
I owned the SP-600 for many years and used one overseas when I was in the military. This is also my second review of this, because reading a few others, I wonder if they really ever used one. I can also compare this with the superb Collins R-390A. The SP-600 is a triple conversion receiver with exceptional sensitivity and selectivity that can be adjusted from .2kc to 13kc. It weighs a ton and 22 tubes produce a lot of heat...but the unit does it all with a dedicated knob for everything. We considered it slightly more sensitive than the R-390A, but dial accuracy was not its best quality. It was built to be worked on and everything was top of the line, including a huge tuning drum used to change bands which had silver tipped contacts. What a wonderful and one-of-a-kind rig!
KK6IYM Rating: 5/5 Jun 26, 2016 17:10 Send this review to a friend
Just finished the restoration  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have the JX 17 and after my restoration, I am very impressed. I like the selectivity adjustments, the sensitivity is very good--better than other radios I have, and it is quiet with a low noise level. It does an excellent job on SSB for a receiver of its type. My only wish is that it had a bandspread like the HQ 140 XA, but it doesn't and I find that I can still find the right adjustment. It is a heavy beast--with the case over 80 lbs., but it will anchor a boat--that is for sure.

FPX77 Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2012 08:40 Send this review to a friend
Nice receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I had a SP600JX21 from 1985 to 2002.Very good receiver,at this time it put on shame my Yaesu FRG7700! A station readable on the SP600 was only noise on the Yaesu!I have quickly sold the Yaesu!Only my ICR70 was able to compete with the SP600.Unfortunatly I sold this RX on 2002. Happily I got another one 3 weeks ago,a JX21 from a radio ham.It has been entirely recapped by the former owner,however suddenly the ranges 4 to 6 were dead.After washing the 3,5Mc crystal with alcohol all became OK.The sensitivity is great (I have put a 6BZ6 as 1st RF stage without any modification,for better signal noise ratio,and a 6AU6 for the BFO driver for higher injection level) this allow good SSB reception in AVC mode. The stability is good after warming up.It is a pleasure to sweep the bands as the tuning control is precise and soft.If I listen to hams I use a LS3 speaker,if I listen to broadcast I use a full range Philips speaker with an impedance transformer .I have others rigs (FRG7;ICR70;JRC NRD 525;D2999;Sat700) but my pleasure is to listen to the Hammarlund,the hams,pirates on 49m band etc..
KG8LB Rating: 5/5 Aug 3, 2011 03:57 Send this review to a friend
Super !  Time owned: more than 12 months
Fine performance , easily maintained but GET THE BLACK BEAUTIES OUT ! I have owned quite a few of these gems and always impressed by them. Yes, the tuning layout is a bit different but familarizing yourself with the logging scale will help if you operate in specific areas . A digital display is easily fitted but I kind of like using the analog dial.
I used to tempt fate regarding the Black Beauty plastic caps ..not any more. We had just resurected a real nice SP-600. While sitting back enjoying some armchair copy , the signals suddenly began to fade and almost instantly there was a sizzle and pop. Before I could shut the radio down the RF went away. Turns out a shorted Black Beauty took out an IF can . It took very little time for this to happen. The bad Black Beauty was real easy to spot , it had split open like an over cooked hot dog.
Another heads up, the SP-600 needs an extra depth cabinet. Hammond make a real nice cabinet the works well and looks great filled with SP-600 !
K1VVT Rating: 5/5 Nov 21, 2010 14:02 Send this review to a friend
Used SP600 54yrs ago  Time owned: more than 12 months
1956 & 1957 used the SP-600 for Morse Intercept replaced by R390's in '57, In the highlands of Ethiopia, after discharge and many years later, found two from Army Mars and rebuilt one, replacing all the caps, still using it for listening and copying Morse in 2010.
IW5CI Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2010 03:50 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
This is a real receiver. My sp-600 is the CIA version. It is completely original and still with the black beauties onboard but it works flawlessy.
The audio quality is incredible. Hooked to a Pioneer HI-FI speaker the BC stations sounds really good.
Even on SSB the reception is clear.
I hooked a digital frequency meter and now i know exactly the frequency where i AM.
The only problem of this radio is the weight... in it's box is like a battleship.
F6BGV Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2010 05:49 Send this review to a friend
BETTER AUDIO  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own a SP-600 since a very long time.
I replaced all caps, except electrolytic and mica.
I thought it was better to install an audio section more in accordance with the quality of this famous former receiver, which will permit to get a very good sound !
I removed audio output transformer (T 7)and I replaced by another 6V6, with a new push-pull transformer (8000 CT/8) under the frame.
Then, I connected again V16A in preamplifier (Rk = 1k and Rp = 47k), straight connected to V16B as "phase-splitter" (Rk = Rp = 47k), and the two 6V6 in push-pull (Rk = 220/2W + 47 µF/63V), and a negative feed-back (Rfb = 3,3k from 8 ohms).
- HT on plate 6V6's = from C161B
- HT on screen 6V6's = from C161C
- HT on V16B = from C161C
- HT on V16A = from V18

Like this, I got a very good listening quality of the broadcasts...

Best 73's
KB8QEN Rating: 5/5 Sep 25, 2009 05:29 Send this review to a friend
WORLD Class Quality  Time owned: more than 12 months
Actually this is a very well made receiver. The only real component shotcoming is the Black Beauty caps that were, at the time thought to be excellent parts. Then again that was nearly SIXTY YEARS AGO ! Of course that IS a LONG time and by the hindsight of the inexperienced it may give cause for mis-judgement of this fine receiver. The same caps were thought at that time to be a huge improvement over paper caps and were used in many high quality radios. Even the highly regarded R-390A employed them. By now re-capping is pretty much normal maintenance and this receiver will reward it's owner with brilliant performance if they are endowed with the proper disciplines to bring it out.
Of course over a period of nearly SIXTY YEARS some of these fine old receivers may have been stored for extended periods in less than optimum environments . High heats in attics and dank damp basements in the Great White Northern reaches can take a toll on even the very best gear, causing corrsion on metallic bits and insulation breakdown. Not a problem for the real technician but it may magnify the shortcomings of the less capable.If you are a bit anal about such things, consider one of the "tropicized" versions. They were specially treated and coated to minmize the ravages of enviromental extremes . They are the ones with the yellowish coating on the chassis components.
This is a very stable, sensitive receiver and stood up with the best of it's day. The audio is quite good and for MW DXing it blows away most modern receivers no matter where they were made.Of course technology has made some leaps since then but this radio is still playing today, many of them without ANY real major repairs if at all. It's performance makes it still a viable tool for day to day use on the MW to HF spectrum. Don't get to carried away with all the "JX" jargon . They are all quite gosd regardless the suffix.
A tribute to the designers and skilled assemblers of it's time .
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