the Hallicrafters Co., Chicago

S - 85

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überarbeitet am 19.10.2010

The Hallicrafters S-85 is a single conversion superhet shortwave receiver from the budget price range of Hallicrafters receivers, it came on the market in 1954. It has two very charakteristic semicircular dials, the main frequency and the amateur band bandspread dials.
There exist only two variants of the S-85: the U.S. model operated from 105-125 V mains and the S-85U equipped with the universal transformer which can be operated from mains voltages up to 250 Volts in Europe and the ACDC version S-86, in which the audio final tube 6V6 is replaced by a 25L6 and the rectifier 5Y3 by a 25Z6.
The SX-99 is a slightly more sophisticated set with a crystal filter and the double conversion sets SX-88 and SX-96, both equipped with a crystal filter.

Single conversion superhet, I.F. 455 kHz

Analog dial, bandspread dials for the amateur radio bands

AM, CW with BFO

RF gain, noise limiter

The Hallicrafters S - 85 is a successor of the S-40 with the characteristic two semicircular dials as found in other Hallicrafters radios from the fifties.
The receiver is designed for mains operation, make sure, You have the U version with the universal power transformer and the correct voltage setting before connecting it to a 230 V mains outlet in Western Europe.
The receiver with it's metal cabinet with the dimensions 47 x 23 x 27 cm looks quite impressive and is quite light with only 12 kg, thanks to it's quite simple technical construction. As found in most classic Hallicrafters gear, You can simply lift up the cover like a lid to get access to the innards, e.g. for replacing tubes.

The upper half of the front panel is taken by a dark grey panel with the two semicircular frequency dials: one is the general coverage dial with it's quite coarse frequency marks, the other one the amateur band bandspread dial. The corresponding tuning knobs are located below each dial. The general coverage band ranges are 538 kHz - 1,6 MHz / 1,55 - 4,6 / 4,6 - 13 and 13 - 34 MHz, so medium- and shortwaves are covered, the receiver has separate bandspread dials for the 80 - 10 m amateur radio bands.
In the bottom row of controls, You find at the left the RF gain control (SENSITIVITY), the band selector and the volume control. Three switches in the middle are used to activate the AGC, the noise limiter and the BFO for reception of CW and single sideband signals. The main switch as - as found in several classic Hallicrafters receivers - combined with the tone control, at the right, You find the BFO control, the headphones jack and a standby switch for transceive operation in connection with a matching transmitter.

The R.F. signal coming from the antenna is fed after an R.F. amplifier stage (6SG7) to the first mixer (6SA7), the 455 kHz intermediate frequency is amplified in two i.f. amplifier stages (6SK7, 6SK7) and fed to the detector stage (6H6). After a A.F. preamplifier stage (one system of the 6SC7), it will be amplifed in the A.F. final stage (6K6GT) with a maximum output power of 3,2 W. The second system of the 6SC7 is used for the BFO. A 5Y3GT rectifier tube is used in the power supply section.

The Hallicrafters S-85 is a simple all wave receiver with a standard single conversion superhet design, it performs well enough for satisfactory reception of the shortwave signals of the major international broadcasters, with the BFO, You can even receive CW and single sideband signals in the amateur bands. The S-85 is not "that" DX machine, but it performs quite well specially on the amateur bands with it's bandspread tuning.

© Martin Boesch, translation 6.11.2010