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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Lafayette HA-350 Help

Reviews Summary for Lafayette HA-350
Lafayette HA-350 Reviews: 6 Average rating: 2.2/5 MSRP: $130-190
Description: Amateur only 80-10Meters
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Lafayette HA-350.

N4UE Rating: 3/5 Dec 28, 2008 14:40 Send this review to a friend
NOT as bad as I remembered!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Long post, but it may help those who like to restore 'boatanchors'....

First of all, get your stones out: I love Lafayette radios. I have a LOT. Why? Like I said before, they were the 'best bang for the buck' when I was a teenager, back in the stone age. ha ha.
Like my previous review stated, I have had a bunch of these radios and they all "drew a partial vacuum with their lips"....
However, recently I purchased a HA-350 from a chap here in Florida. He was not a Ham, but acquired the radio with a bunch of Hi-Fi gear he bought. He had no idea what it was or how to test it. Looking carefully at the photos, revealed a VERY nice radio, with a thick layer of dust. I hoped, because these things rust like a '59 Plymouth!
Anyway, when the radio arrived (packed excellently), I was kinda surprized at how good it looked. Thankfully, the dust was just that, dust,with NO sign of rust.
I gave the radio a through visual inspection. It had all the original tubes and no one had touched the alignment slugs, trimmers, and coils.
All tubes tested good. The radio worked and received fair.
Before I started the cosmetic restoration, I checked the caps. This is my starting point with ANY radio or piece of Test Equipment.

I won't bore you with the details, but the ONLY caps that passed, were the PS Electrolytics. This was kind of strange, but ya never know....
These 'bad' caps were the Coupling and Bypass caps. All the disc ceramics, dogbones, and postage stamp micas, were fine.

Yep, the radio was vastly improved.

Running through the alignment, yielded the usual results, some adjustments were spot on, others were off to various degrees....

The radio cleaned up perfectly. It looks better thsan the day it left Japan.
How's it work? Pretty good. I was quite surprised! I have another in my collection that looks like it came from a barn, and a leaky one at that!! ha ha

Yes, the 2KHz selectivity is tight. I experimented with different mods for the audio and IF filtering, but the efforts were not worth it. I WAS going to remove the mechanical filter assy, and replace it with a 9 pin socket. Why? That way, I could plug in various filters from my Collins 75A-4 ( I have a lot of spares ). Then I thought, each filter is worth MORE than this whole radio!!! ha ha

Using this fine 350, I went back to my 'arf-arf' 350 and did some internal examining and measurements. Seems the previous owner had replaced a LOT of parts in the crummy 350, and his workmanship was terrible. Replacing them and another alignment brought the old 350 'almost' to the new 350.

Is it 'state of the art'? Heck, NO!!
But a fresh coat of Lafayette blue/green (whatever), and 8 hours of labor has transformed this old girl into a mint, sparkling beauty, that works, pretty good.

You people may be tired of hearing this, but...

As I am typing this, I have my SX-117A playing next to me. See my reviews of that model.
Today, I installed an internal, self powered cooling fan, rather than having it run off of a 'wall wart'. All I can say, it that Ray Osterwald is a fantastic Engineer! This is fast becoming my favorite tube receiver, and believe me, I have a LOT!!!

tnx fer the time

WB4RVL Rating: 4/5 Aug 6, 2008 14:23 Send this review to a friend
A good radio in its day.  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I had one of these radios in the mid 60s. It replaced a Halllicrafters S-38D. The HA-350 was very selective and sensitive. Yes, the tuning dial could have been slower, but it was ok.

One has to remember that most radios of the 60s were only as good as lower end radios of today. Even the Collins KWM-2 provided moderate receiver perfomance compared to today's radios. This fact was brought up in a recent (spring 2008 ) QST article on buying used radios. Remember though, in its day, the KWM-2 was leading edge.

So comparing the HA-350 to modern radios is tricky. I suspect that some folk's radios are not aligned properly and might have tubes that are not performing as well as new ones might. This could certainly make the radio perform poorly.

I also had access to two Hammurland radios and the HA-350 was very competetive.

My Drake 2-B was much better, but cost almost two times the HA-350.
WA8THK Rating: 3/5 Aug 27, 2006 16:38 Send this review to a friend
ok for 40 years old  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
always wanted one since 1966... found one at a local swap today. Ok for a 40 year old radio.
no 160 meters or warp bands.. touchy main tuning knob.. If you find one for around $20 to $30 range its ok.. I will keep it for a few months then will sell or give away for someone else to play with...
KQ6EA Rating: 1/5 Jun 30, 2004 03:44 Send this review to a friend
Whatta POOCH!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I just finished re-capping one of these, replacing some resistors, and aligning it. I agree about the sensitivity, in fact it's almost too hot. You wind up using the RF Gain as a volume control, and running it wide-open almost makes it break into oscillation. And there's a few other minor irritations, like the tuning speed is too fast, the AGC is fixed at some bizarre rate, the BFO doesn't track between USB and LSB, the preselector is too sharp, and the workmanship is appalling. GLOBS of solder on most connections, and even a couple that had NO solder on them from the factory! Several of the interconnecting wires were too short, resulting in them being pulled tight around corners, and having the insulation cut through and shorting to ground. Maybe this one was a "Monday" or "Friday" radio, but it's just NOT a very good receiver, even after doing the mods I found that supposedly improve it. Unless somebody gives you one of these things for free, RUN, don't walk away from it!
JAMES_BENEDICT_EX_N8FVJ Rating: 1/5 Nov 3, 2002 12:48 Send this review to a friend
Dog, nothing else to Say!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Simply a noisy, partly distorted audio output dog. The radio was sensitive enough, but this is at the bottom of the heap. Something just not engineered well.
N4UE Rating: 1/5 Aug 28, 2002 09:36 Send this review to a friend
The pits!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm going to be generous and give this radio a 1. Bring on the hate mail, but honestly, it's that bad.

I guess I've come a long way from my novice days. My first receiver was a Hallicrafter S-120 (woof woof). I upgraded to a Lafayette HE-80 (another review). I can remember lusting after the HA-350. I thought it would be a killer receiver.
Late last year I was able to get 3 or 4 of these (I'm trying to forget), and try them out.

1. Appearance. These were made by Kenwood / Trio. The wiring was quite nice and if you have a mint radio the chassis appears nice and bright (gold di Chromate ?). However, they appear to corrode very easily. I never cared for 'green' radios and that includes Heath. However, Lafayette, did use that nice 'pebble' finish. It hid the scratches well. Evidently, the main tuning knob is highly desirable, as 2 of the 3 I had, had non orignal main knobs. I have also seen some (same radios?) on E-Bay, the same way.
2, Performance. Although this radio has 12 (??) tubes, I'm not sure what they are all there for. Above 14 Mhz, these radios were as deaf as a rock. On all the examples I had, you could barely hear the calibrator signal on the higher bands. I treaked the IF stages and it made little improvement. Maybe in the radio's defense, I should have checked all the bypass and coupling caps. The Main tuning knob has some gear reduction, but it is still waaaay too fast. This makes tuning in SSB difficult (if you can hear then at all).

Osterman rates it: 1 star, $55-95.

All in all..... not much. Believe it or not, in spite of this I am looking for a nice one for my boat anchor Museum. I guess I need something to compare all the '5' radios to.

have fun

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