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 Post subject: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Wed 11, 2012 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Feb Tue 02, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 352
Location: Mississauga (Toronto) Canada
I'm itching for another challenge and there may be a chance of acquiring a Hammarlund SP600 that would require some electrical work.

My question, once fully restored would the SP600 be a better performer than my current HQ 180?

Thanks

Frank

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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 1:07 am 
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Joined: Jun Sun 19, 2011 2:31 pm
Posts: 2029
Frank,

In my opinion the SP-600 is a good performing, beautifully built receiver that sets a standard with its smooth tuning mechanism. In the wide IF position the audio can sound very good. Some people find them difficult to restore and some production was built using filter chokes potted with a tar compound that becomes increasing conductive with age (requiring either a messy cleaning job, potentially unsafe floating them above ground, or replacement). I have a two SP-600 receivers that I have restored and I like them.

With that being said, the HQ-180 IF selectivity system is much better on AM and SSB and marginally better for CW operation. The SP-600 design precedes that of the HQ-180 by about 10 years and a lot of changes in design and technology occurred during those 10 years.

A SP-600 with the added SPC-10 would be the best of both worlds. I have a parts HQ-170 receiver that will become the donor for a replica SPC-10.

Rodger WQ9E


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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 1:12 am 
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Joined: Dec Sat 08, 2007 9:51 pm
Posts: 1787
Location: Nashville TN
Hi i agree about the SP-600 and i use a HC-10 with it .Very nice radio then IMHO.Sprman

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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 1:20 am 
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Joined: Mar Fri 14, 2008 1:40 pm
Posts: 8797
Location: SE USA
frankpe wrote:

My question, once fully restored would the SP600 be a better performer than my current HQ 180?

Thanks

Frank


Not in my opinion. SP600 is a fine radio but the 180 is better.

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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Feb Tue 02, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 352
Location: Mississauga (Toronto) Canada
Gentlemen, thanks for the feedback.

I'm off to see it tomorrow, if I can get it cheap I'll go for it, mainly for the rebuild experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 9:54 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 765
Location: Morris Plains, N.J. 07950
Here are a couple of articles that show what is entailed in rebuilding an SP-600:

http://www.hammarlund.info/SP600svc.htm

http://www.radioblvd.com/sp600_rebuild.htm

Here's a site that has high-quality downloads for all the SP-600 manuals:

http://www.jamminpower.com/main/sp600.html

I'm just finishing up rebuilding a JX-14. It was a lot of work but well worth the effort. It was a definitely a challenge but it was a lot of fun, too. For what it's worth, every black beauty that I pulled out of mine was leaky or cracked (or both). Now, the set really sounds nice and is remarkably sensitive (even though I have yet to align it). Maybe you'll get lucky and the one you're looking at will already has ceramic disc caps in it.

If I see another SP-600 at a reasonable price, I will jump on it, for sure.


Joe Connor


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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Feb Tue 02, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 352
Location: Mississauga (Toronto) Canada
Joe,

thanks for the links. In a way I hope its an older version. As you mentioned its a lot of fun rebuilding these beasts and I'm looking for a serious challenge.

Frank

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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 19, 2011 2:31 pm
Posts: 2029
Frank,

Do check the power supply filter chokes early on to make sure they are OK. Disconnect the wires from the terminals and measure from choke terminal to case and the resistance should read in the megaohms (or near infinity depending upon your measuring instrument). Leakage to ground will increase transformer current draw leading to a bad choke taking out a good transformer.


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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Feb Tue 02, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 352
Location: Mississauga (Toronto) Canada
Rodger,

are the chokes prone to failing on these?

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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Thu 12, 2012 10:28 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 19, 2011 2:31 pm
Posts: 2029
Frank,

At some point in production, the choke supplier used a potting tar that becomes increasingly conductive with age. I have never run into this in any other radio but I was one of the unlucky ones to buy a SP-600 with this problem. I found it by accident during alignment when I noticed one of the filter chokes was running unusually warm and I found that the warm one had quite a bit of leakage but the other choke was not far behind. Further research uncovered other owners with the problem but I think it only affected part of a very long production run so the odds are in your favor.

I thought about floating the choke above ground as others have done but it is a safety issue and I had so little money in the receiver ($25) I didn't mind buying a couple of replacement chokes. I found two (from Fair Radio I think) that fit both electrically and mechanically.

If the price is OK for the receiver I wouldn't let concern over the choke dissuade you from buying. At worst you will have to replace the chokes but again the odds are in your favor. My second SP-600 had no such trouble and it is certainly a receiver worth owning and restoring.


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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Sat 14, 2012 1:17 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 765
Location: Morris Plains, N.J. 07950
Frankpe:

Let us know if you got the SP-600. We're rooting for you.

Joe Connor


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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Sat 14, 2012 1:41 am 
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Joined: Feb Tue 02, 2010 3:17 pm
Posts: 352
Location: Mississauga (Toronto) Canada
Well that was a big letdown.

Just came back from checking out the SP 600 (JX 14). The front panel looked like a cat used it for a scratching post. About half the tubes were missing. The power transformer was missing (I guess that's what he meant when he mentioned it needed "electrical work"). He did say it worked fine at "one time". The final straw - wouldn't back off on his fairly high asking price (was told by his deceased dad that this was a collectors' radio).

Anyway I'll keep looking, but they seem to be a rare find up in the great white north. Oh yea, did I mention I drove about 70 miles round trip in our first snow storm in the GTA!

Thanks again for all the feedback.

Frank

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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Sat 14, 2012 3:51 am 
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Joined: Jun Sun 19, 2011 2:31 pm
Posts: 2029
Frank,

A ton of SP-600s were made and only a few models command higher prices (i.e. JX-21-A, JX-30). They are a common hamfest find and you should be able to find a complete one that looks fairly nice for under $200. I saw a pretty nice one at a smaller IL hamfest last summer that hung around most of the day with a $100 price tag. But it sounds like you ran into an owner who thinks he has a gold mine-sounds like he will be holding onto that "property" for quite awhile.


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 Post subject: Re: Hammarlund SP 600 vs HQ 180
PostPosted: Jan Sat 14, 2012 4:19 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 765
Location: Morris Plains, N.J. 07950
Frank:

Rsingl is right. They're out there. I picked up mine two months ago for $125. One of the problems, however, is that the prices for SP-600s on ebay are crazy high right now. This emboldens some hamfest and on-line sellers to set crazy asking prices. This, in turn, causes their SP-600s to sit around collecting dust. Just keep your eyes open and a reasonable one will come your way.

I love it when sellers say that a radio worked at "one time." That's helpful. Recently, some guy on craigslist said that his radio "works but doesn't pick up any stations." That's also helpful. Another favorite is saying that a radio "powers up." As I understand it, that means the dial lights come on. Great information. I've gotten to the point that if I don't personally hear a radio play, I assume it doesn't and assess price accordingly.

Joe Connor


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