the Hallicrafters Co., Chicago

S - 40 B

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überarbeitet am 19.10.2010

the hallicrafters co. - I could recognize the lettering in the right upper corner of set nearly completely hidden behind other transistor portables in a small second hand electronics shop in St. Gallen. "I have to prevent, that everybody coming in is fiddling around on this set", the shopkeeper gave me as an explanation: "anybody really interested will recognize the set even nearly hidden on the shelves...".
The rest of the set turned out to be a Hallicrafters S - 40B All Wave receiver, it has made it's way to my desk in the meantime.

S - 40
Single conversion, 550 kHz - 43 MHz; ZF 455 kHz, 120V
9 Valces (6SG7, 6SA7, 6SK7x2, 6F6G, 6H6, 6J5GT, 6SQ7, 80)
S - 40 U Identical set, Universal transformer
110, 130, 150, 220, 250 V
S - 40A / AU
Identical Set, green bandspread dial, optional universal transformer for different mains voltages
S - 40 B / BU
Songle conversion, 550 kHz - 43 MHz; ZF 455 kHz, 120V,
8 valves (6SG7, 6SA7, 6SK7x2, 6H6, 6SL7, 6FG6, 5Y3GT),
Dial window and speaker grille integrated in cabinet.
S - 52
same specifications and cabinet as S - 40 A, AC / DC powered
S - 77 / S - 77A
same specifications and cabinet as S - 40 B, AC / DC powered


Single conversion, ZF 455 kHz

Analog dial

AM, CW with BFO

RF-Gain, Bandsprad tuning, Noise limiter, Tone control

The Hallicrafters S - 40B is a single conversion receiver with an intermediate frequency of 455 kHz, it covers the following bands: 550 - 1600 kHz, 1,7-5,4 MHz, 5,3-16 MHz, 15-44 MHz. The set's analog dial is not linear, i.e. on low frequencies in the mediumwave band, a 2 mm distance covers 10 kHz, so dial accuracy is quite useful. In contrast in the 19 m band, 2 distance of 2 mm an the dial covers around 100 kHz, the dial calibration is almost useless for finding a station on a known frequency.

A bright green backlit semicircular dial covers the left side of the front panel, it has dial marks for all four band ranges and a fifth 0 - 100 logging scale. At the right of the main tuning dial, You find the window with a bandspread dial calibrated with 0 - 100 marks, which You find helpful when You scan a band under crowded conditions, but it won't be of any help if You want to tune in to a known station again, it's calibration is shifted, when the main tuning dial is moved.
Below the main tuning dial, You find the bandswitch, at the left the RF gain carrying the designation "Sensitivity", at the right the AF gain / volume control.
In the middle of the fronplate, below the main tuning and the bandspread tuning controls, You find the three switches for AVC, BFO and Noise Limiter.
At the right hand, below the speaker grille, You find two rotary controls. The tone control is combined with the mains switch, an arrangement found in several classig Hallicrafters receivers. Next to this, You find the (BFO) pitch control, the STANDBY - switch and the headphones jack.

It's very interesting to have a look in the innards of the recveiver, You just have to lift the lid of the metal cabinet.
The round main frequency dial is mounted directly on the shaft of the tuning capacitor. You find the tube designations engraved next to all tube sockets. Next to the mains transformer, which is completely shielded, You find the electrolytic smoothing capacitor. All other components are mounted under the chassis, so this set looks very neat and clean.

With the more then fifty years old S - 40B, shortwave listening is a bit different then with a contemporary receiver with frequency keypad entry: good knowloedge of the active stations in a shortwave band are very helpful. You can estimate the reception frequency in the 49 m band with an accuracy of 25 kHz, in the 19 m band, it's less then 100 kHz. After a frequency is known from a frequency announcement over the waves, You can find the next 5 or 10 kHz channels lower and higher in the band. Finding out of band frequencies is less challenging, so I could listen to R. Korea on 6480 kHz and IRIB on 9022 kHz without any problems. If You know the station's interval signals well, You might identify a stations as our grandparents did, but nowadays, interval signals are seldom used...

© Martin Boesch