Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hallicrafters S-53A Restoration

Hallicrafters S-53A Receiver
 Like I don't have enough projects at the moment.......I picked up a Hallicrafters S-53A Receiver from my good friend Tom Hoover and I've decided I'll go ahead and see if I can do a basic restoration on it.  This model was manufactured between 1951 and 1957.  I haven't searched by serial number to see if I can determine exactly which year yet.  Of course it was built in Chicago at Hallicrafters.  The retail price on these in 1951 was $89.50.

The radio is in pretty good shape considering it's age.  It's missing the band selector knob and the Standby/Receive toggle switch.  The toggle switch should be easy.  I'll have to find the band selector knob somewhere.  Hopefully original but will use a suitable substitute if necessary.  It has all eight tubes (one is broken) and they appear to be original as they have Hallicrafter printed on them.  Wow.  That makes them about 60 years old.  If they had been replaced some where along the way they would likely be RCA, Sylvania, etc.  I'll probably end up replacing some or all of the capacitors based on what I see when I open the bottom section.  The paper caps will certainly need to be replaced.  The case will need some cleaning on the inside and out but is in good condition.  They built stuff to last back then.

I was excited about the original tubes but was sure that they would be bad after all these years.  My plan was to borrow a tube tester from Carroll Baker, WX4Y.  The same one we use to test the tubes in the radios of the B-17 that we are restoring.  However, Ralph,W4REQ heard me talking about it and offered to lend me a Heathkit Tube Tester that he got from the estate of David Rosenthal, WD4FIH(SK).  Another HAM in town, Mark, KK4AMC was also in need of the tester and he went by picked it up from Ralph and decided to actually buy it.  So I borrowed it from Mark on Saturday and finally got the chance to test the tubes on Saturday night. 

I'm fairly familiar with tube testers from my time in the Air Force but I took a look at the intructions anyway and in a few minutes I was testing tubes.  I was pleasantly supprised to find all seven of the tubes working and passing all the tests!  I still need to replace the one broken tube and there seems to be an abundant supply of 5Y3GT rectifier tubes available via ebay.  My friend Jere, KT4ZB is going to check his old supply of tubes to see if he might have one for me. 

Six Bands

View of the back of the unit

Serial Number

Original paper lable

View looking down into the unit

Different angle

View of the hinged top cover

Hallicrafters 6K6GT Tube

In the Heathkit Tube Tester

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


good afternoon. First of all congratulations for your blog. I am writing from Portugal / Madeira Island. I have a Hallicrafters S-53A that has a problem, the tests I've done seems to me that the main power fused. I checked that you restored a Hallicrafters S-53A. Can you tell me, please, what the secondary voltages of the main power on empty? I want to get a compatible main power. Thank for your attention in this matter.

Best Regards