Hallicrafters S-85 Communications Receiver

I purchased this radio at a local antique store in December 2002. It had been in the shop for many months, and finally around the holiday season, its price was cut in half and reasonable enough to take interest in the set.  The radio now sits in the living room of my home at the left end of the couch, where I can sit and tune in stations comfortably. A lead in from a big outdoor antenna is brought in through the window behind the set.

When I bought the set, I figured I would have to do a recapping. Much to my surprise, however, a previous owner had already replaced all the paper caps with Sprague orange drops (except the .25 cap across the sensitivity control). So the set does play very well. I spent the whole evening before writing this page listening to a Denver radio station.

This set looks really neat when it is operated in a dark room, as the next picture shows:

A nice feature about this radio is the hinged cabinet lid which allows easy access to the tubes, and a built in speaker. However, this radio lack once device which I plan on adding in soon, and that is a tuning eye.

Below is a view inside the set showing the eight octal size tubes. The shades on the dial lights came from an old Maganovox console tuner.

Hallicrafter S-85 Tube line-up
ID Tube Type Function
V1 6SG7 RF AMP
V2 6SA7 CONVERTER
V3 6SK7 1ST IF AMP
V4 6SK7 2ND IF AMP
V5 6SC7 BFO & AUDIO AMP
V6 6K6GT AUDIO OUTPUT
V7 6H6 DET, AVC, & ANL
V8 5Y3GT RECTIFIER

 

I could add an external tuning eye, but that would be inconvenient in my opinion, and I would rather have the eye built in to the set. Since this set is very common, and this once is a little on the ruff side, I have no problem with making this modification. In the first photo, you may have noticed the Hallicrafters trademark 'h' in a circle. This emblem is attached by a little stem that passes through a hole in the panel front. I plan on removing the emblem and relocating it between the main tuning and band spread knobs. The tuning eye will go where the circle 'h' emblem is now. I will then fabricate a bracket from aluminum stock to hold the eye in place.

The photo below, which was made using a photo editor, shows the receiver after my proposed changes.

Radio as it is, without eye.

Radio after proposed modification

What do you think?

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