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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Hammarlund HQ-170A Help

Reviews Summary for Hammarlund HQ-170A
Hammarlund HQ-170A Reviews: 16 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $369.00 in 1960
Description: Circa 1960 advanced tube type amateur radio band receiver. Receives 160 - 6 meters with provision for adding an integrated 2-meter converter. Modes: AM/CW/SSB/DSB.
Product is not in production.
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K7QQH Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2015 12:37 Send this review to a friend
A pleasure to own and operate.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a pristine HQ-170 from a gentleman on ebay a few years ago, and have enjoyed it very much. Yes, it drifts a bit for the first 30 minutes after warm-up, but is VERY stable thereafter.

Recommend a thorough cleaning of the switches, wafers and pots, replacement of any questionable tubes and follow up with a complete alignment. There's plenty of room in there to work, and also plenty of info both in the owner's manual and various online sources.

I run it coupled with my 1954 Johnson Ranger using a TR switch and a Vibroplex Bug. Talk about "boat anchor" heaven! It's great on 160-20 CW and the nostalgia of working DX with this rig setup is unbeatable. Have fun!


Roger C. K7QQH
KG8LB Rating: 3/5 Jan 13, 2015 11:01 Send this review to a friend
Good looks not matched in performance  Time owned: more than 12 months
I always lusted for one of these as a kid . By now I have owned over 6 of them . On OK receiver but really underwhelming audio . Stability is yet another issue and the AM bandwidth ranges do not allow for decent fidelity when conditions allow . This is a very small receiver in a large box , little more .
KC6WPB Rating: 4/5 Jan 18, 2012 12:25 Send this review to a friend
Hammarlund HQ-170  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just bought A Hammarlund HQ-170, off ebay. I was able to drive 120 miles to pick it up, drove home and plugged it in for warm up. The gentleman I bought it from had several models he had collected over the years. This one he reported made pops and bangs when he plugged it in, to listen. To my surprise I heard traffic an all but the 6m band, with my 10 band vertical antenna. I spent about 1/2 hr cleaning and checking out the receiver. No one has touched this unit, it is like from the factory. I have a copy of the manual coming, then I will align the receiver for better performance. The S readings are equal to my TS-830 transceiver. All in all this is a GREAT tube receiver if you find one that was taken care of and love tube units with great audio. I didn't rate it a 5/5 because of age(55years+).Paid $127.00
K9TWO Rating: 5/5 Dec 30, 2011 18:19 Send this review to a friend
Great Vintage Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Have had mine since I was 16 years old ( 1961 )
Sitting here listening to it right now. It has a great mellow sound compared to digital audio.
Believe it or not, I am listening to a weak KL alaskan station on 14.197 and the old HQ-170A hears as well as my Icom 7600. Can't beat that.
does suffer however on higher freqs. Still, love
this old radio.

73 K9TWO
N5OP Rating: 5/5 Dec 14, 2011 07:23 Send this review to a friend
A Fine Example of Hammarlund Receivers  Time owned: more than 12 months
This receiver, once aligned, is very sensitive and provides excellent audio. It drifts initially on warm up and needs about 30 min to completely stabilize. Compared to modern rigs, the tuning rate is very fast (welcome to boat anchor receivers) but you can zero-beat anything with the vernier tuning, The receiver is very sensitive and makes a worthy vintage addition to any shack.
K7NG Rating: 4/5 Sep 12, 2011 15:17 Send this review to a friend
Fine vintage receiver!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm not really a boatanchor guy, but there are a few vintage items that just need to be treasured. The HQ-170, in my mind, is one of those. I have owned one of these, and a Collins 75A-4, and though the 'A4 might marginally beat the HQ-170 in some performance areas, I find the HQ-170 is more fun to use - can't really say why.
Any HQ-170 that hasn't been restored already probably needs some TLC before you see what it's about, and the normal re-capping, de-Ox-it on pots and switches, etc. is a very very good idea.
I haven't seen the LO drift to be a big problem, though a little tweak from time to time on SSB might be necessary. All receivers of that time were about the same. It hears fine except on 6M, where it really only hears locals, but there's a non-invasive mod using two Nuvistor tubes in place of the 6BZ6 RF amp that gives it decent 6M ears, and makes 10M comparable to any modern receiver sensitivity. I replaced the 5U4 rectifier (I have a HQ-170, not a 170A) with a solid state device to reduce heat and lower the electric bill a little. There aren't any mechanical filters, so the selectivity is somewhat more sloppy than a 75A-4, for instance, might do, but is pretty capable on 75M or 20M even so. The HQ-170 is a ham-band-only item, so listening to MW AM broadcast isn't a possibility, but I'm hoping someday to find a certain Transmitter to pair up with this receiver and fulfill the minor boatanchor urges I have.
K8AC Rating: 3/5 Sep 25, 2010 08:56 Send this review to a friend
Good, with flaw for CW  Time owned: more than 12 months
I owned a number of these over the years - all shared one annoying problem. When operating CW with a separate receiver and transmitter, it was common to monitor one's own signal by listening to it in the receiver (many guys used an electronic T/R switch which assisted in this approach by limiting the signal getting to the receiver). This was the age of bugs for sending, and there were few keyers with a built-in monitor. When you keyed the transmitter, the received signal "moved" on the 170 so you had to retune with the vernier to monitor your sending. In recent years, I read an explanation of the cause and fix for this from W8JI - too bad I didn't know about it in the 1960s. Apparently Hammarlund applied AVC voltage to one of the mixers, resulting in pulling of one of the coupled oscillators with the much higher AVC voltage encountered when monitoring your own sending. Removing the AVC voltage from the mixer fixes that problem. As others have said, the 2B was a superior CW receiver as it didn't share this pulling characteristic. On the other hand, the 170 was more fun to look at and operate.
K7PP Rating: 5/5 Jul 12, 2010 07:12 Send this review to a friend
Best of the Oldies  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What can I say.. Ever since I was a Kid, I wanted one of these. Last year something clicked inside my head and I got on E Bay and started buying up all the old boat anchors I lusted after when I was a new Ham. I now own six of these receivers and am having a blast restoring them. Of the bunch, I came across pristine 170-A auction. This one was different. I had to have it.
It had a red knob on the noise limiter control.
I knew immediately that it had a noise blanker option installed. Then I looked at the supplied picture and to my surprise, it also had a stock nuvistor two meter converter installed as well.

After a complete tear down, a cleaning and alignment, I've got one heck of a receiver. I can hear signals at less than half a microvolt on two meters and less than 1 microvolt on the others.
Selectivity is fantastic and I can't say enough about the notch filter. Along with this nostalgia disease, I've started operating CW again. My Icom 756 has a great receiver but I believe the 170 outperforms it with the ease of notching unwanted CW signals also, my 756 doesn't cover 2 meters.
Stability? After 30 minutes the thing is as solid as a rock.
If you come across one of these units in good working condition or you are comfortable going thru one, GRAB IT. I have mine pared up with a Hammarlund HX 500 transmitter. What a great pair.

KE4EZ Rating: 4/5 Dec 28, 2009 16:21 Send this review to a friend
Under Rated Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Yup The HQ-170 or the A version one of THE if not THE most under rated Boat Anchors out there. If yours is drifting make sure the VR Tube is firing...there's a mod for changing value of R in series with the VR tube. Also check 6C4...clean switches etc. and tune it up.In the real world- this radio is great on AM. Not HI FI but real world operating... if you want HI FI get a HRO60...But if you're gonna keep a freq on 75 or if you like CW as well my choice would be SX-101 or HQ-170. If you're a CW op my 1st choice be Drake 2B. But for operating 75AM on a Sat Nite Battle Condx hard to beat a HQ-170.
W8ZNX Rating: 4/5 Nov 8, 2008 10:06 Send this review to a friend
worthy of place on the desk  Time owned: more than 12 months
not a Hammerlund fan
there are darn few Hammerlund receivers
that i think are worth keeping

sure she drifts
but she settles down after 30 min or so

a real radio man
can copy 20 wpm and tweek the fine tuning
at the same time

the HQ-170 / HQ-170A
is one of the best Hammarlund receivers

lots of room inside
easy to work on
high quality parts and construction

good useable old style tube ham receiver

better looking than
but not as good as the Drake 2-B


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