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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Hallicrafters SX-140 Help


Reviews Summary for Hallicrafters SX-140
Hallicrafters SX-140 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $124.95 in 1964.
Description: Ham Band Only Receiver covering 80, 40, 20, 15, 10 and 6 Meters. Designed to match the Hallicrafters HT-20 Transmitter.
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
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K9SUL Rating: 4/5 Apr 12, 2016 12:30 Send this review to a friend
Fun receiver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
If I rate this receiver purly based on its performance in today's standard, it will be 2 at best. Also, if it was a kit version, the performance can be affected by how it was built. But no one buys these old receivers for contesting or waek signal reception today. So I am rating it mostly based on the fun factor.

The SX-140 is a ham band only single conversion superhet receiver of an intersting design. The IF is 1650kHz and the BFO is obtained by the controlled feedback/oscilation (i.e. regeneration) using the 6BA6 IF amplifier. This also provides an improved selectivity like a q-multiplier would. The manual says the BFO pitch can be adjusted, but in reality you can consider it fixed. The calibrator is not the typical 100kHz one, but uses a 3.5MHz xtal. The dial calibration is available at 3.5, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 52.5MHz, all multiples of 3.5MHz. The tuning rate on 80m to 15m is acceptable. About 11 turns of the main tuning knob cover the full tuning range of each band. That's 27kc to 45kc per turn on those bands. It is a bit touchy on 10m (172kc/turn) and almost unusable on 6m (363kc/turn).

When receiving SSB signals, the typical technique of reducing RF gain and increasing AF gain works quite well. Apart from being less selective, it can sound like a real communication receiver, more so than S-53A or S-38. The stability is acceptable enough to not be annoyed while receiving SSB signals. You don't need to retune every minute once it warms up. The IF selectivity at 1650kHz without regen is quite wide, so AM reception quality is not limited by the IF bandwidth.

Beside the selectivity limitation, one annoying thing is that the RF gain or the antenna trim pulls the HFO. That is, if you reduce the RF gain, the reception frequency may change. This issue was also mentioned in the review appeared on the December 1961 issue of QST. My SX-140 was particularly bad. Its reception frequency would change more than 10kHz on 20m. It got down to less than a couple hundred Hz, when I rebuilt the mixer/HFO section with shorter leads and added a zener diode based voltage regulation. The noise floor on my unit is not exactly low, so reception on or above 10m is probably not the best.

Overall, it is clearly a better amateur receiver than the S-53A or the S-38. When the band is not crowded it is quite usable and sounds great.
 
AJ8MH Rating: 4/5 Feb 25, 2016 09:22 Send this review to a friend
Nice Novice Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Certainly not an SX-115 or a Drake 2-B, but a good, cheap Novice receiver ($100.00) from the early 60's. I had one in 1961 and I'm currently using one in the 2016 Novice Rig Round-up. It's definitely not a single-signal receiver, because you can always hear both sides of zero-beat, and selectivity is lacking, so you need to know how to tweak the IF regeneration control. Sensitivity is good and it's stable!

I recapped mine several years ago, but recently made a couple cap value changes in addition to adding a resistor/cap combination to the power supply to eliminate hum from the audio amp. There is no AGC (or power supply regulation) with these simple radios, so you normally run the audio close to wide-open and adjust your level with the RF gain control making hum more noticeable when the RF gain is low or when you are in "standby."

In the 60's, you could buy this receiver factory built or in kit form. I personally have no complaints after using one for many years and for 200.00 you could have a complete station when this receiver was paired with the HT-40 transmitter.

Here are a couple interesting prices from 1961. An SX-101 receiver was 399.00 and an HT-37 transmitter was 450.00. Being only 11 years old in '61, that would have been way too much of an investment.
 
W5RTK Rating: 2/5 Feb 2, 2015 14:06 Send this review to a friend
Curious Receiver Circuit  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm sorry I'm going to have to be negative about this receiver circuit. I'm not sure what Hallicrafters was thinking when they built this radio. The bigest problem to me is the tuning capacitors are not ganged together. You have to tune each one separately. The "cal reset" for example is what normally would be the trimmer capacitor on the oscillator variable tuning cap. Maybe the engineers had problems with the circuits tracking so they put separate controls. I'm doing a restoration on mine and haven't replaced all the caps yet. The regenerative IF is interesting to say the least. I feel I'm being generous giving this receiver a 2. The receiver is not selective at all. The X used to mean Hallicrafters included a crystal filter but there is none. Its a curiosity. Maybe it will start working better after the recap. I hope so.
 
N4JOY Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2014 08:58 Send this review to a friend
Great classic receiver!   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I just finished restoring my SX-140, which included recap, replacing resistors and a few tubes, chassis cleaning, and powder coating of the cabinet. I am very impressed with it and actually prefer it over my National NC-57. AM reception is strong and tuning SSB signals are quite easy. It is paired with my HT-40 transmitter and matching speaker--a real nice setup!
 
WA1UFO Rating: 4/5 Oct 20, 2009 15:30 Send this review to a friend
Interesting circuitry  Time owned: more than 12 months
Two years ago, a friend picked my sx-140 up for me at Nearfest in Southern NH for 75 bux. It has most of the original tubes, looks good and works like a champ for checking the bands and for am phone listening. For cw use, I use an outboard audio filter. Since I didn;t want to risk static damage etc. I use a 20 foot random wire inside my shack which hears as much as my Windom outside in most cases.Since it has a regeneration stage in the if strip it is great with weak signals and a simple aerial. It is a keeper! de WA1UFO--Hans
 
N6NKN Rating: 4/5 Apr 3, 2007 15:33 Send this review to a friend
Entry Level Ham Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I was surprised that no one has written a review on this receiver as I'm sure many a current ham started out with this and the matching HT-40 transmitter. Hardly state of the art by todays standards, it still is a fun receiver to use listening to the AM'ers. Sideband reception is possible using the B.F.O. but the rig I have is not the most stable. It is a ham band only receiver and does not have a bandspread, but is designed such that it is not necessary in most cases.

Using ths receiver brings back a kinder and gentler time in ham radio, and it is still fun to monitor the bands with it.

I'm keeping mine!!
 


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