- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Hallicrafters S-38 Help

Reviews Summary for Hallicrafters S-38
Hallicrafters S-38 Reviews: 20 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $$39.95
Description: Six tube general coverage receiver.
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Hallicrafters S-38.

Page 1 of 2 —>

N6BIZ Rating: 5/5 Nov 6, 2017 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have one
It's great
VK2MS Rating: 2/5 Nov 5, 2017 20:56 Send this review to a friend
Just doesn't cut the mustard in any deparment except looks(50%)  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well...the best thing to do with the 38 is to rip it to bits, put in a decent power supply and rebuild it to a different circuit using the tuner and band-spread, improve and available tubes. I bought one from eBay someone had rebuilt...I didn't realise until I had a look at it about a year later...couldn't get much going....too it to a reknowned tube repairman (active since occupied Holland in WW11) who took the axe to it in components...but said "I don't know what's wrong with it....I've done everything, fixed some circuits but it just will not perform as it ought....He gave it back to me, running, with a bag of bits....only a little better than when it went to him and he'd peaked's still sitting in a box. Give me a BC348 GC or a Command set anyday....The Murphy B-40's (C and D) I have, single conversion are also a great piece of gear....but if I had my "'druthers" I'd go back to the EF50 tube model.

As for the 'once was 38'They were mediocre, entry level receivers with that marvellous dial arrangement. I had the opportunity to buy a nice one today for $80 Australian and decided not to do it...I think they had a hot chassis least mine was change to a less lethal B+ supply system.

I'll strip it and rebuild it one some old Radio and Hobbies or ARRL or RSGB circuit...after replacing any IF capacitors or other 'hidden from view' caps which could be a problem...If I owned a good one like the one offered today I'd still make some substantial changes...which I would not do to say a Command set or a 348...where I'd pair the 348 gc (don't like the SET's much) with a 453...I have a passion for good 1930's Rx's but they have to be really well designed and built. Cheers.
K4HPP Rating: 3/5 Oct 14, 2017 11:13 Send this review to a friend
Good first receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a lightly used S38B in 1956 from a guy down the street. I saved for months working at a corner grocery store on Saturdays stocking shelves, cleaning up, etc. and I think I gave him $15 or $18 for it. It worked fine and opened up the whole world of radio to me! As a 12 year old kid, I thought this was the best thing in the world. The best memory of this receiver was actually hearing Sputnik beeping in October 1957. I never actually saw Sputnik in orbit, but heard it several times during it's short life.

It was a pretty good receiver and I still remember being fascinated by hearing Radio Australia, HCJB, and countless other shortwave stations during the fantastic solar maximum during those years.

I sold that receiver in 1959 to help fund my novice DX-20 transmitter. In retrospect, the S38B was only a fair radio, but it sure made a major difference in my life by getting me interested in ham radio. I learned to copy CW at 5 wpm using it and became a ham in May of 1959.
KI6NVP Rating: 5/5 Jul 22, 2013 21:52 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
It's a fun little radio with a real classic look. If its aligned right, preformance is good for what this radio was designed for. It can pull in stations from all over, it still could spark that interest in shortwave and ham radio.
NZ5L Rating: 0/5 Sep 30, 2012 12:31 Send this review to a friend
Wose than bad  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Where do I began? AC hum, poor audio, weak sensitivity, drifty, poor dial calibration. Did I mention chassis "hot" for AC? Belongs on the rifle range - as target. Plumb awful.
KD5PNT Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2011 17:26 Send this review to a friend
my first SW receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
My father brought the S-38B when he came back from europe . He gave it to me in 1963 and I went through it in 2010 and replaced all the old capacitors and aligned it and it works like it was new again . I am it's second owner and it is still in the family . It gets used daily with the Viking II . the tuning is accurate and adjacent signal rejection is good enough . Is also a good performer on SSB even with the lack of a real BFO . it is a keeper .
N4CT Rating: 3/5 Jan 10, 2011 14:14 Send this review to a friend
FIRST RCVR  Time owned: more than 12 months
N0XE Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2011 12:47 Send this review to a friend
Fun and Simple  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had several of these little radios over the years and they are just plain fun to mess with, they get the job done and as boatanchors go they won't break your back or your bank account. You can find these little radios near dirt cheap on Ebay just about every day (many working) and are easy to restore even if not. Sure they are wide for ham use, but many a Novice and beginning ham on a limited budget made thousands of contacts using them. It was a receiver that got them on the air and kept their interest in the hobby, we probably owe a lot to this little rig as it introduced thousands to the world of radio . Actually with the way the bands are today, as long as you stay away from contests you can have plenty of rock solid Qso's on a quiet band using one, although 40 may be rough in the evenings when it is crowded. No you won't get any nice filtering so if your copying CW, train your brain and soon you will find you can copy a CW Qso even if you hear multiple CW signals in the pass band, learn to concentrate on the one you want to copy, I did this for years when I first started out in ham radio as none of my early rigs had any additional CW filtering. Kind of hoot making some Qs wth something this old and this basic. Sure it will drift some, not the best stability but plenty usable. Add a nice vintage transmitter, go with rocks, and have fun. I have made many contacts using my original S-38 and found it to work fine for what it is, I don't put unrealistic expectations on 5 and 6 tube receviers like some do. Yes it is an AC/DC design and you need to be sure it is safe to use, as another poster mentioned about the isolation transformer good idea but my last ones all had the Anti- Shock mod and I never had an issue so you can get away without the transformer. If your interested send me an email and I will send you a pic of my last S-38 that was part of my last vintage Novice set up.
The AM and SW band ability of these little rigs I found to be pretty darn good up to about 20 Mhz, BC band use was pretty decent as long as you had a good antenna. I think I paid $45 for my last one and it had been restored. How can you go wrong and you will have a part of history in the shack as well, buy one if you can. 73 Jim N0XE
W2RS Rating: 4/5 Jan 10, 2011 08:26 Send this review to a friend
For fun, it's a keeper!  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first SWL receiver was an S-38C in 1953, when I was 10. When I got my Novice ticket two years later, it was my ham receiver until I upgraded to an SX-96 upon passing my General.

A few years ago I decided to "reconstruct" my Novice station, and found an "original" (1946) S-38 on eBay. It was in good condition and had been re-capped. I re-tubed and aligned it, and put it on an isolation transformer. I've had it on the air ever since, with a Viking Adventurer transmitter.

With its tunable BFO and switchable noise limiter, the 6-tube "original" S-38 is a better receiver than the 5-tube S-38A-E series. Everything is relative, however. As previous reviewers have pointed out, selectivity is non-existent and a strong local signal will block it out. Sensitivity on 20-160 meters, however, is more than adequate. On 15 and 10, it suffers from the lack of an RF stage, but it will hear the stronger stations.

The S-38 always was a beginner-level receiver. Don't expect too much from it. Even today, however, it provides a lot of fun. I've worked WAC with it, the Adventurer, a vertical and one crystal, on 40 and 20 CW, as well as solid QSOs with dozens of stations. It won't replace my Orion II, but it's a keeper!
K7NNG Rating: 0/5 Sep 9, 2009 09:37 Send this review to a friend
sucks  Time owned: more than 12 months
In my 60 years of radio, it was a poor line of radios at best. I just threw one in the trash bin two weeks ago. Sorry guys, it was a trash radio in my opinion, although the ones I owned were all tens in appearance.
Page 1 of 2 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.