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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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VE3PRI Rating: 2/5 Jul 26, 2009 11:24 Send this review to a friend
Poor Construction  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Came into possession of SP-600 J recently and discovered if this rig works its great, but the one I got had many bad caps and resistors, also found 3.5mhz oscillator had been modified and not working, and then when the radio was all together discovered a new fault cables to audio pot disintegrating, another big job here. Like I said its a great radio if it works, but overall it suffers from poor design mechanically for service procedures and poor quality caps and audio cable, not to mention the slug screw setup in the tuning turret. Surprised this radio is as valuable as it is because of these faults. If you have to do a restoration of this radio get ready for a lot of grief, and be careful to check it out thoroughly before buying one.
W0OGH Rating: 4/5 Jun 8, 2008 10:48 Send this review to a friend
Good looking radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I currently own a -17 version of this radio. the audio transformer is shot and replacements are like hen's teeth. I liked the SX-28 for an unparalleled Classic radio in appearance. The Sp-600 here comes in a close 2nd though. Really attractive but the usual complaints exist. Where am i is the big one. However i have certain SWBC stations and ham AM spots that i operate on so i know where they are on the dial. Love the smooth tuning and fast movement across the spectrum. Not tried it on 6 meters yet but everything else works on the radio. Need to get the Audio tranny replaced, will use a 51J/R-388 collins audio transformer for that. Not worried about the AF power requirements as i'm not driving any "line" equipment anyway. And the Collins audio transformer will certainly handle all the audio i can take. Really do like this receiver. Big knobs, classic look.
KB2NAT Rating: 5/5 Dec 9, 2007 08:18 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful  Time owned: more than 12 months
I used one of these overseas in the Air Force and then owned one myself for many years. It will always be THE radio of all time for me. Most of us in the military preferred the Hammarlund over the Collins R390 (slight edge). There were very few signals that the SP600 couldn't squeeze out of the murk. 22 tubes helped keep the shack warm, too. It was everything one could want in a receiver. To find any fault with it would be petty on my part, just don't ask me to carry it up or down stairs anymore.
K9EUI Rating: 4/5 Dec 8, 2007 19:19 Send this review to a friend
Great band cruiser  Time owned: more than 12 months
I sadly had to get rid of my SP-600 (I think it was a JX-13). But I needed the room. It was probably the most stable vintage receiver I ever owned (except for perhaps the Drake 2-B). I called it my band cruiser since one could tune a wide range quickly - but this was also a disadvantage. It would have been nice if the number of band were increased to give each one more bandspread. The audio response could have been better but for casual listening it was OK.
AS I have done on other vintage receivers, I replaced one stage in it (I think it was an IF output cathode follower) with a 6BE6 as a product detector. This allowed much improved CW/SSB operation and s-meter use without having to reduce the RF gain. I'd love to find another one of these.
KB1OKL Rating: 5/5 Feb 21, 2007 18:38 Send this review to a friend
Excellent receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a JX-26 last year which needed a lot of work, shipped it and got it restored by Philip Atchley KO6BB who did an excellent job (said it was his last boatanchor restoration, something about his back, hi!). I find the band scales to be right on, no need to use logging scales on mine, properly restored these things are very accurate, selective and sensitive. I use it for mainly BCB DXing and it sometimes beats my R-390A which has also been restored by an expert. It's a delight to tune with it's big dial and the crystal filter and phasing controls on mine gets rid of almost all hets. The audio is very clear on mine, am able to "hear" signals I wouldn't normally be able to understand on most other radios. I can for example copy 1521 Saudi Arabia next to WWKB NY on 1520 with it which really booms in here sometimes. I can also listen to SSB with it although the 390A is better at that for a non-SSB radio. If you get a properly running SP-600 there isn't much that will beat it and nothing that will do it with such style.
I heartily recommend them. I would buy another. I own an R-390A, an HRO-60, an HQ-180 and a SX-28A among other anchors, all are nice in their own way and are comparable in their own way.
KQ6IG Rating: 5/5 Aug 21, 2006 09:22 Send this review to a friend
Nice Performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I received my SP-600JX-17 after it had been in storage for 20 years. I brought it up on a variac, and to my surprise it worked like new! The receiver is sensitive, and selective. It also has "battleship" construction that screams quality. Mechanical and elecrical construction are both fantastic.

On the down side, the audio response lacks a low end, and the frequency resolution is poor, requiring one to make use of the logging scale. Mine is also beginning to "frequency hop", suggesting a failing silver mica cap in the turret. Not bad considering it has all original 1953 parts! Despite all this, it is still my primary AM/CW receiver.

I originally bought mine with the intention of cleaning it up, and using it for trading material. However, I'm so impressed with it that I think it will be a keeper. If you can pick one up for 0-$300, I'd say go for it!

Omar, KQ6IG
W8ZNX Rating: 3/5 Feb 2, 2006 15:46 Send this review to a friend
swl am receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
wanted a SP 600 since kid swl,
have owned a few earler Super Pro receivers
enjoy using old tube receivers
have owned some of the best and some of the

got a SP-600JX few years ago,
fully restored stock
it is one of the very best swl receivers,
ive ever used
on am short wave broadcast it's great
am mediumwave broadcast it's even better

for amateur use it is a dog
did not expect it to be any good on ssb
so will take no points away for that

was going to use it on cw and am

on cw it's a pile
move the rf gain up and down
hear the beat note change

xtal filter dsnt do much

am use she is fb till any qrm comes along
strong ssb signal 9kc down band
will make life miserable

the SP 600 JX
is THE receiver
that disappointed me the most
may be my expectations were too high

traded the super pro for a NC 183D
glad I did

Mac w8znx

WB6NVH Rating: 4/5 Mar 20, 2004 16:13 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful HF SWL Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
The SP-600 is wonderful for SWL use once you get used to the dial design which prevents you from knowing where you are with any accuracy (unless you write it down from the logging scale.) The audio is wonderful and the sensitivity is very good. Replacing the black plastic capacitors is a huge undertaking as others have mentioned. Having coverage up through 6 meters is very handy when the sunspots cooperate. There is apparently an issue with insulation breakdown on some production runs of the power transformer. The crystal phasing feature leaves something to be desired and the bandwidth options are not optimum for communications use. For the serious communications receiver collector, the SP-600 is a must-have and the price they fetch won't break the bank. If dial accuracy were better, I would rate this receiver a "5".
WA3VJB Rating: 4/5 Aug 22, 2003 16:21 Send this review to a friend
NICE receiver !!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This receiver comes closest to the venerable R-390 for performance listening to AM on the shortwave ham bands.

The SP600 and the R-390 share the qualities of receive bandwidth defined by gentle LC passband circuitry, rather than the harsh square-wave design with the mechanical filters of the R-390A.

Of course, mechanical filters are ideal for congested band conditions and being able to slice away interference using a strategy of slightly off-center tuning.

But, when conditions allow improved reception, there's nothing quite like being able to select among the 8 or 13Kc receive positions on the SP-600.

I happen to have a JX-17, late production, which did not include the failure prone capacitors known as "black beauties."

I have substituted this JX-17 for a Technical Materiels Corp. GPR-90, which I did not enjoy using because of its limited bandwidth versatility. The GPR-90, while a much prettier receiver with its symmetrical dials for bandwidth and main tuning, has only one real choice for the reception of AM fone, that of a 10Kc, LC defined bandwidth.

Surprisingly, the GPR-90 holds a higher price in the marketplace, perhaps because there are fewer examples out there compared to the SP-600.

The SP-600 is now at about the same market price as the R-390A, given examples in similar condition.


N4OZI Rating: 4/5 Jul 29, 2003 05:20 Send this review to a friend
A classic boatanchor.  Time owned: more than 12 months
The famous Hammarlund SP-600 receiver is also known by its military designation of R-274. However, not all R-274s are SP-600s since they share that designation with the Hallicrafters SX-73. One thing that I like about the Hammarlund SP-600s is the quality of the audio you get from them. They sound great on the SWL bands. With just crystal filters, they do a great job when the QRM on 75 meters gets excessive. Receiving SSB is not too bad considering it has no product detector. They require a 600 ohm speaker, which can be paired up with a standard 8 ohm speaker with those new 600:8 ohm transformers from Hammond. The drawback with the SP-600s, is that your are never really 100% sure where you are at. The resolution of the dial has a lot to be desired, which is why I donít rate the SP-600 higher. Another important thing to note is that these receivers need to have their black beauty capacitors replaced, including the ones in the RF deck which are very difficult to get to. This will improve the overall performance significantly.
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