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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Hallicrafters SX-42 Help

Reviews Summary for Hallicrafters SX-42
Hallicrafters SX-42 Reviews: 7 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $275 ca 1948
Description: Vintage "hi-fi" .54 to 108 MHz AM/CW/FM general coverage receiver
Product is not in production.
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N8FVJ Rating: 5/5 Jun 12, 2016 05:32 Send this review to a friend
Surprising Performance  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this receiver for $150. The cabinet was scratched, but front panel is like new. It sat for many years- likely 30 or more. This receiver has the ultra rare crystal calibrator installed. It looks factory stock to me.

The receiver fired right up and performed well. It actually outperformed a National NC-303 on 75 meter weak signal reception. The push-pull audio produces superior audio. I wish all receivers had PP audio sections. I rate this receiver a solid '5'.
KI6DCB Rating: 5/5 Dec 4, 2013 13:23 Send this review to a friend
Nothing like it!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio was a clear departure from anything else that was available in the late 1940's; in addition to being one of the best-ever SWL radios, the SX-42 was also a better-than-average communications/amateur receiver. Although it can't tune "DC-to-blue-light" (For its era, though, it was pretty close!); it is very flexible and produces an audio output which, simply, cannot be equaled by transistors. Use a matching transformer to couple this radio's 600-Ohm output to an Electro-Voice TRX12B in a proper wooden cabinet, and early audiophile heaven is yours.

Furthermore, it is a beautiful-to-look-at piece of equipment which was designed by Raymond Loewy, the famous industrial designer, who designed many of Studebaker's most famous cars. The green light from the front-panel dial and meter fill the room with the very essence of post-war America's greatness and beneficence.

I have three of these, two of which were gifts from my father-in-law, W6RRZ. I am building one into the radio geek's equivalent of a hot rod, with a chrome-plated chassis (Scott, anyone?) and new-tech capacitors and resistors, as well as a complete electrical and physical restoration and complete "Hewlett-Packard and Rohde & Schwarz" alignment.

With LED's for dial lights and a "soft-start" circuit, this radio should be as maintenance-free as any modern solid-state unit, and it will give my [many] children something to fight over when I die.
LU1ALF Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2009 18:34 Send this review to a friend
My girlfriend  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have this receiver from 1980, when I get on the surrounding of Buenos Aires, I was looking it, because I had heard that was a good one recceiver.

I use frecuently this equipment, and I love it. Is wondefull, and I can copy broadcastings as in no one other receivers, strong, very strong and clear.

I will never seld this receiver and I hope to have it until mys last days in this world...
DEFIANT Rating: 5/5 Dec 3, 2007 21:19 Send this review to a friend
Solid vintage performer once you get the kinks woked out  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Pretty much have to agree with everybody else on this one.

The best way to get really good performance out of this receiver would seem obvious, but I'll repeat it. Replace all the old caps, check the resistors and replace as needed. Get some really good performing tubes, not weak ones. Do an alignment.
All a bit of a chore, but worth every bit. I listen to it when ever I can. Repair on this is not for the faint of heart! Just a really neat radio. The SX-62 is the non-ham version.
WB6HZH Rating: 5/5 Jul 31, 2006 03:15 Send this review to a friend
A Kid's Dream !!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This story goes way back to my High School days (circa 1960)... My brother and I found this tucked away in the back of my father's garage one day. Turned it on and it caught on fire! Turns out some critter ate the cloth covered wires under the chassis. So down to local radio store to get a Sam's Photofact service manual and parts. Got it working, listened to foreign shortwave broadcast all night long through the dim glow of the soft green radio dial lights and sweet smell of the dust raising from the hot radio tubes... found Ham radio.. learned Morse code and the rest is history! Like your first love, this was our first receiver, it still works and we still have it... not for sale at any price! - 73's - Marshall WB6HZH & Byron WB6HYX
WB7SSN Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2006 05:09 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have been restoring/enjoying vintage radios for a long time. This radio is one of my all time favorites. Performance wise, it does not stand up to radio's like the R-390A. However, for casual shortwave listening it is great. I'm not saying that it is not a good shortwave performer, it is much better that most tube era shortwaves. Push pull audio output into a good speaker, gives a great Hi-Fi sound.

One of the things that it like best it it's "Cool" factor. In my opinion, it is the best looking radio ever made. In a darkened room, the round dials with the cool green light showing the frequency/S-meter is truely outstanding.
W3CRR Rating: 5/5 Apr 19, 2005 14:05 Send this review to a friend
Nicely nostagic  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
For my 15th birthday (many, many years ago), my dad presented me with a Hallicrafters SX-42. It was as old as I was at the time and much used. Still, it was nearly state-of-the-art for its time.

The unusual looking radio -- styled by Raymond Loewy, the same designer who sculpted the '53 Studebaker Starliner couple in our garage -- soon became a good friend. It introduced me to shortwave listening, inspiring me to register as official Popular Electronics Monitor WPE0BKI, and served as the guide to my lifelong amateur radio avocation.

A few years later, though, I was seduced by slide rule dials and transistors and sold the '42. Then, not long ago, I was moved by middle-aged nostalgia and began looking for a replacement. In time, I found one and after an extensive and challenging rebuild, discovered just how good a radio my old friend had been.

True, the Hallicrafters SX-42 is a quaint period piece and cannot be compared fairly with today's offerings. In some ways it cannot even compete with great radios of its day, such as the R-390A. Tuning is imprecise -- though not much worse than that of my vaunted SP-600 -- and its single conversion circuitry is prone to images. CW reception is shaky, despite a three-position crystal filter, and SSB listening requires the fiddly finesse demanded by all old radios without product detectors.

But, I don't use it for critical listening anyway. That's what my Collins and Mackay Marine gear is for. Where the SX-42 excels is in good, old fashioned, relaxed, late night SWLing. It's sensitive enough and selective enough to handily hear and separate the big broadcasters (most of the time) and its warm, rich, "big" audio is wonderful to hear. It even boasts true, "hi-fi" FM reception. Lovely!

The Hallicrafters SX-42, very simply, is one of those friendly, glow-in-the-dark companions that reminds those of us of a "certain age" of just why we got into this hobby to begin with.

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