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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | HALLICRAFTERS SX 117 receiver Help

Reviews Summary for HALLICRAFTERS SX 117 receiver
HALLICRAFTERS  SX 117 receiver Reviews: 7 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $379.oo
Description: Triple conversion design, various bands,transceives with HT 44
Product is not in production.
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W9MT Rating: 4/5 Jul 14, 2012 22:38 Send this review to a friend
One of the best from its time period...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Had an SX-117 paired with an HT-44/PS-500 in the mid 1970's.

They worked great on split and on transceive, but one constantly had to keep zero beating the chassis mount ceramic variable trimmer cap to make sure both remained "netted" on the same frequency. I would see as much as 1KHz of frequency difference quite regularly. It changed with warm-up (as expected with tube gear) but often would change from day to day, even with a good warm up.

The triple conversion design was really good. There were no birdies thru the tuning ranges and the audio was good, along with the RF performance and IF filtering performance. I used a spare jack on the back to feed my SB-610 monitor scope on receive. That worked really well.

I remember having a few non-standard knobs on my receiver and I drove over to the old Hallicrafters plant in Rolling Meadows, IL to see if I could get proper replacements. The (now Northrop) people who owned and ran the place were very accommodating and I left there a few bucks poorer, but with the right knobs for my receiver. I only needed to supply my own setscrews.

I learned only later that the unit I owned was an engineering prototype originally owned by the engineer who had designed it. (No wonder it worked so well.)

My only other complaint was just like the one I mentioned in my HT-44 review, namely, you didn't have true 1KHz readout capability. The dots on the tuning knob were only "approximately" 1KHz markers, and when the dial scale red markings stretched their accuracy was only relative.

But, for its time, this unit was a classic workhorse.
W4OP Rating: 5/5 Oct 3, 2010 14:04 Send this review to a friend
An Excellent Receiver  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Tom's recent review of his 117, prompted me to write one.
I recently bought an SX-117 and the R-48 speaker. The poor speaker had more rust than paint. However, after hours of restoration she look like new. The 117 was in much better shape- but the main tuning knob was incorrect. A month later I found one. I have not even gone through alignment, but already am surprised at the VFO's linearity and stability- nothing like the Hallicrafters I was used to as a kid. Selectivity is excellent for AM/SSB/CW. The aluminum chassis and cabinet make for a surprisingly light boatanchor that has pretty much stayed free of the corrosion one often sees in these vintage rigs. The product detector is a nice upgrade from the BFO of earlier Hallicrafters. Dale W4OP
W8JI Rating: 5/5 Oct 3, 2010 01:40 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio for its day  Time owned: more than 12 months
I first saw the SX117 around 1963. I was visiting WA8DUB's QTH and he had a brand new one.

I bought my first HT44 and SX117 when I was in my 20's. I bought another one a few years ago.

They are great receivers for the age, and can easily be modified for 160 meters.
KG8LB Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2008 07:05 Send this review to a friend
Yep, one of the better efforts  Time owned: more than 12 months
I pretty much second what Mac has said (W8ZNX).
The SX-117 is a "modern" tube rig that will run shoulder to shoulder with some of the best. Given the Electric Radio mods also mentioned, the SX-117 becomes a stellar performer. Also look for the LF tuning unit. Not easy to find but it extends the coverage greatly.

BTW Mac, I would have to add the SX-100 MKII along with even the SX-25 to the list of desireable Halligan radios.
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Jul 29, 2008 16:07 Send this review to a friend
A solid 5, with reasonable expectations  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
(long post)

OK, the reason for the long title is that you simply can't compare 1960 radios DIRECTLY to an Icom 7800 or 7700. It just wouldn't be fair.
However, I have come to realize that for MOST communication, receivers had reached the point of diminishing returns, long ago.

I came to this conclusion a couple of years ago when I was doing A=B testing of my 75A-4 versus my new 756PRO. Neither radio could "clearly copy signals that the other couldn't hear". I hear this waaaay too much. The A-4 had just been recapped, aligned and was working perfectly. Listening for signals on a 'closed' 10M band, both radios could copy the same CW and SSB signals. If you are looking for 50 Hz selectivity, go with the rice radios. I'm NOT a contester or big time CW operator.

Where was I? Oh yeah. My SX-117...

I have a very nice example of Hallicrafters "heavyweight", the SX-101A. I got this radio off of ePay, er, eBay and although the radio was in OK condition, it needed a facelift both electrically and cosmetically. The outcome was one of the best radios in my BA collection.

I subscibe to Electric Radio (you should too! great mag!!), Anyway, Ray Osterwald, N0DMS, (the Editor), did a nice multi-part article on the SX-117. Yes, it has some design 'flaws' as a result of it being a 'cost reduced SX-115'. Priced one of those lately? Yikes!!!

Ray infered with just a few component changes, a majority of the faults could be fixed. About that time, here comes a nice SX-117 with a R-48B speaker on ePay, er, eBay.
I paid a bit too much, but I'm glad I did!

These radios (like the 75A-4) have an Aluminum chassis, which cleans up perfectly (unlike a Drake, etc).
I found one leaky tube and went through the radio, using Ray's guidance.

All I can say is: "WOW"!! this radio is HOT!

I always polish the front panel, the plastic windows, the knobs, etc.

I repainted both the speaker and radio's covers and it looks 99% new. The other 1% is the main tuning knob, which had been broken and fixed by someone that should never be allowed near glue again. I have been searching for a new knob, but nothing yet.

Although I need to test the radio with my Elecraft XG2 Signal Generator, my preliminary tests with the radio right next to it (a mint, Kiwa moded, FRG-7) indicated the SX-117 is more sensitive. I'll post band / MDS specs later.

(For a radio with SO few parts in it, the Frog is simply amazing. It surprises me every time I turn it on and I have over 30 receivers here!)

Yes, the SX-117 has a look only it's mother could love and it ain't gonna compete with your 7800, but it sure as heck doesn't cost the same either!

This is a great hobby, most of all: HAVE FUN!!!


W8ZNX Rating: 5/5 Jun 22, 2007 15:23 Send this review to a friend
top of the line  Time owned: more than 12 months
it a great receiver

to me most of what
Hallicrafter made was junk

few Hallicrafters rigs
realy stand out
SX-28, SX-115, HT-32, HT-37,
the Loudenboomer amp

and the SX-117
it good enought to
stand along side other great receivers
like the Drake 2B and Collins 75S3

KA8DLL Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2006 11:11 Send this review to a friend
Best receiver under $4 00.oo to transceive with in 1962  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have to free the Hallicrafters SX117 from living under the shadow of its big brother the SX115. In short, the SX115's top competition was the Collins 75-A4. The Hallicrafter SX117 top competitor was Yhe Collins 75S3. The SX117 receiver is a triple conversion design using a 6mhz, 1650khz,and 50khz path. This is similar to the SX115 design. The Sx117 is the first preselector tuning in the Hallicrafters line. This concept continued with at least the SR400, SR160, and the SR150 transceivers. In 1962 the SX117 could compete with the best, Hallicrafters SX115 and the 75S3, with good results. Selling for some 200.00 dollars less than either radio. Drake had the 2B and Hammarlund had the Hq170 in the 300.oo dollar range. Neither could tranceive. The SX115 at 600.00 can't transceive either. The Hallicrafters SX117 weighs approx. 20 lbs. compared to the 40+ lbs. of the SX115. The SX117 is a lab quality instrument with no cheapness noted. It has a beautiful VFO spinner knob with very smooth spinning action. The top and bottom of the radio come off easily for quick service. It is a very quiet radio with fairly silent background noise. It was well known at the time that the 4 hi-q tuned circuits in the 50khz final if amplifer weren't equal to a mechanical filter. This was reflected in the 200.00 dollar difference between the hallicrafters and the Collins. In those days this could have been 2 house payments or Hallicrafter's own HT45 linear amplifer. How does a stock Sx117 compare with a Icom R75 receiver? It has about the same selectivity and sensitivity. There is very little drift and it is a pleasure to use. The notch filter works very well. The front panel is very attractive. One of Hallicrafters better receivers.

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