Shortwave radio was once a must-have for anyone exploring the far reaches of their audio horizons. Although perhaps not as widely used today as they were decades ago, Hallicrafters shortwave radios are still a viable means of communication for emergencies and long-distance broadcasts.
Shortwave radios like Hallicrafters tune in High frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum (3 to 30MHz).
In addition, these radios rely on the return of signals from the Earth’s ionosphere for long-distance transmissions.
This article tells you everything you need to know about Hallicrafters shortwave radios. Read on to challenge your inner radio enthusiast about Hallicrafters shortwave radios, from what made them so popular and why they went out of business, to where to buy them!
The History of the Hallicrafters Shortwave Radios
Hallicrafters shortwave radios have stood the test of time. 20th Century Amateurs motivated the invention of these shortwave radios.
In the 1900s, amateurs sent and received news on home radios. Although limited in power and range, these radios were the direct ancestors of today’s modern communications systems.
1933 radio dealer William (Bill) J. Halligan founded the Hallicrafters Corporation in Chicago, Illinois and introduced the first Hallicrafters shortwave radio.
Having originally worked in the production and supply of radio parts, Halligan understood what worked in the industry. This was the factor that motivated him to design the first hand-made amateur radio receiver.
Think about it like this. You have been in the automotive industry for decades and one day, based on your experience in the company, you decide to build your own car. Exactly!
Halligan sold the Hallicrafters company to the Northrop Corporation (now Northrop Grumman) in 1966.
In the 1970s, fierce competition from Japanese electronics companies made the company’s operations unsustainable. As a result, Northrop Corporation sold the company in 1975 but kept the factory and put the company out of business.
Although the Hallicrafters company went down the dodo route, enthusiasts and collectors of vintage ham radios still use the company’s equipment.
What made Hallicrafters shortwave radios so popular?
In the world of technology, nothing becomes popular out of the blue. Hallicrafters shortwave radios had something special that set them apart from the competition.
Hallicrafter combined function with innovation. Unlike other brands that rely on mass production techniques to manufacture their products, Bill Halligan put a lot of thought into his designs when developing the SX-28.
The SX-28 was an excellent shortwave radio receiver with the highest sound qualitymore than most home receivers at the time.
The SX-28 receiver continues to be a popular choice among collectors and vintage radio enthusiasts. The SX-88 and SX-115 are other popular Hallicrafters shortwave radio receivers that popularized this brand.
Are you an artist and want to get your song on the radio? If so, check out this guide on how to do it.
The difference between the Hallicrafter S and SX series
The S and SX prefixes on Hallicrafters radios can drive you insane trying to figure out their differences.
Imagine being unable to get your choice of Hallicrafter radio by mixing up these prefixes – it’s a painful experience!
The S Series is a line of receivers introduced by Hallicrafters in 1933. They have been designed to be simple, easy to use and affordable.
On the other hand, the SX series is an upgraded version of the S series with a crystal filter.
Added the crystal filter in the SX series switchable selectivity positions to the radio. Therefore, the quartz receiver is the main difference between Hallicrafter’s S and SX receivers.
Modern Hallicrafter SX shortwave radios have additional features such as signal meters, multiple filter stages and alternate frequency capabilities.
Where to buy Hallicrafters shortwave radios
As I mentioned before, the Hallicrafters company had to go out of business due to strong competition from Japan.
Does that mean you can’t get Hallicrafters shortwave radios in the modern market? No, unfortunately that will not work.
You can try some places where you can buy Hallicrafters shortwave radios, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. The most popular option is to buy online from trusted retailers like:
● Radio attic
You can also find these vintage receivers at swap meets, flea markets, and other local shops.
Why are Hallicrafter shortwave receivers considered military radios?
You may have heard mention of Hallicrafters military radio on the streets. The explanation for this begins with the sale of the company in 1975.
When Northrop Corporation sold the company, they stopped production non-military electronics. The move transformed the Hallicrafters factory into The Defense Systems Division of Northrop Corporation.
This division was responsible for manufacturing radio receivers and other equipment that met the needs of the US military.
As a result, many Hallicrafters radios have become synonymous with military equipment due to their frequent use by the armed forces.
Popular shortwave radios from Hallicrafters
Now that you know the story behind the Hallicrafters company, let’s look at the popular products below.
● SX-28: A high performance receiver with higher Q inductors and pass-through tuning.
● SX-73: This is a general coverage double conversion receiver. It features a tunable HFO band from 7 to 54MHz.
● SX-88: The SX-88 is another six-band double-conversion universal receiver first produced in 1954.
● SX-99: It’s a popular eight-tube receiver for general coverage. It has an amateur spread spectrum of up to 11 meters. The SX-99 model was manufactured between 1955 and 1959.
● SX-101A: This tunable HFO amateur band receiver features a dot preset, antenna trimmer, band selector and T-Notch frequency.
● SX-115: Unlike other models, the SX-115 features triple conversion and covers nine to 500 frequency segments. The frequency segments range from 3.5 MHz to 30 MHz. It was manufactured between 1961 and 1964.
With these models, you can easily listen to local and international radio signals.
Hallicrafters shortwave radios make a great addition to your vintage electronics collection. Whether you are looking for a receiver for home use or one to take on the go, Hallicrafters has your needs covered.
The fact that the US military has used these receivers speaks volumes about their quality and reliability.
A key factor to consider when purchasing a Hallicrafters shortwave radio is its function Sensitivity or ability to read weak signals. The higher the sensitivity, the better distant signals can be detected.