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My Grandfather's Hammarlund HQ-180 Power Up

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by ShadeTreeMechanic, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. ShadeTreeMechanic

    ShadeTreeMechanic
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    808 On The North Side of Dover

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    Hi,
    I just rediscovered my grandfather's Hammarlund HQ-180 Communications Receiver that had been in my parents basement for many decades. His call sign was W4NF and lived near Arlington VA. The last time I saw it was in the early 80s and I used it for a while with a long wire antenna. I have the manual that came with it with a hand written date of 12-3-60 so I assume that is when it was purchased. It seems to be in really good shape overall. There is also a large (5 Ft tall) transmitter of some sort in my parents storage rental that I plan on going to look at next week.



    My question is this: Can I just plug this thing in and turn it on or are there specific things that need to be checked first? I have learned a lot over the past few weeks since I joined this forum and read about bringing the voltage up slowly with a Variac which I don't have. Maybe put a 100w light bulb in series on the 120v power?

    WIN_20171115_183220.JPG Any comments and suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
     
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  2. BJ radionut

    BJ radionut
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    Plug it in and go...the caps in that are mostly canister types...not easy to just swap out...and the tubes will just warm-up anyway...
    Wait till you here the audio that comes out of that....fine stuff!!!:love::D
    PS: that needs an external speaker....and older "Bookshelf" type would be just right(y)
    All the Best
    Gary
     
  3. ShadeTreeMechanic

    ShadeTreeMechanic
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    808 On The North Side of Dover

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    Thanks for the quick reply BJ. I do have the speaker that was used with it. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to do a long wire antenna for it.
     
  4. nomadradio

    nomadradio
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    Do check the fuse first. See that it's the proper 1.5 Amp rating. This should prevent letting out too much of that expensive smoke if there is a breakdown. The expensive part is putting the smoke back in.

    You'll also hear advice to power it up slowly, with a variable AC power supply, starting at zero Volts and slowly increasing it. One simpler way is to find a 100-Watt light builb and socket. Take a 2-wire extension cord and cut JUST one wire. Strip the ends of the cut and hook each to one side of the bulb socket. Now you can plug the receiver into the outlet of the extension cord and the bulb will limit the current the radio can draw. Won't let it operate properly, but if there are any shorts the bulb limits any fault current to a safe level. The bulb should brighten when the receiver is switched on, and then dim. As the tubes warm up, the bulb will brighten again in a half minute or so. You might or might not hear anything out of the receiver with the bulb in line. But if the bulb comes on nearly full brightness and never dims down, you have a short fault in the radio. Plugging it directly into the wall is a really poor risk if that's the case. That's why simply plugging it in and powering it up is traditionally called a "smoke test".

    That's fine if you have one of those on hand. If not, the risk of a shorted capacitor still makes checking the fuse important. If it has been swapped for a higher Amp rating, this risks expensive damage.

    If a filter capacitor does develop a short, the damage should be limited to the 5U4 rectifier tube and, of course the fuse.

    Electrolytic capacitors are not supposed to last more than 10 or 15 years. They will routinely last longer than that, but you're getting close to 50 years with this one. Even if it does power up and function, the controls will probably have oxidation problems that call for a proper control cleaner (not "contact" cleaner).

    The tubes are a wild card. Might all be good, might need half of them. Has eighteen tubes, so if it exhibits poor performance, testing them is the next step.

    And if it works okay, consider that the electrolytic caps in the radio won't take long to "remember" how old they are and fail. This is where the expression "re-cap the radio" comes from. Replacing old capacitors is a routine tuneup strategy after 50 years or so.

    73
     
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  5. ShadeTreeMechanic

    ShadeTreeMechanic
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    808 On The North Side of Dover

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    Thanks Nomadradio. We were able to power up with no immediate problems.
    WIN_20171129_111507 (2).JPG

    With a "quick" trip to the store, we had enough stuff to slap together. I thought if one 100w bulb would be good then four 25w had to be better. I tried to find the ceramic light sockets that have a base that mounts with two screws but they didn't have any. I found some sockets that go into a ceiling fixture and broke the spring tabs off. I used a hole saw and wedged the sockets in. The switch on the far right is the main power. Then a fuse holder with a 5 amp fuse just in case. The switches by the bulbs bypass or short the bulb to take it out of the circuit. The device to be tested plugs into the receptacle on the far left.

    Ok so this is how it went:
    Check the fuse. Fuse is a 3 amp and looks good.
    Plug it all in on the kitchen table and turn it on with 4 bulbs in series. The radio does nothing and the 4 bulb filaments have an orange glow.
    Flip the first switch. The radio does nothing and the remaining 3 bulbs are a little brighter.
    Flip the second switch. The radio does nothing and the remaining 2 bulbs are fairly bright.
    Flip the third switch. The light bulbs in the radio dials have a slight glow. The last bulb is bright.

    Time to flip the last switch.
    After several minuets of himing and hawing, I asked my teenage kids to step back. At this point the cell phones and TV were ignored as I now had their full attention. By now I figured that if anything was going to cook then I would be able to smell it. I didn't want the kids to see me blow this thing up so I told them that I wasn't going to flip the last switch and just un plug it and put it away. You should have seen the looks on their faces.
    Then I quickly flipped the last switch.

    The radio dials lit up and after a few minuets without smoke I figured it would be ok for now.
     
    #5 ShadeTreeMechanic, Nov 29, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
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  6. ShadeTreeMechanic

    ShadeTreeMechanic
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    808 On The North Side of Dover

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    We hooked up the speaker and listened to some static. The next thing we need is an antenna and I wanted to use a "long wire" but I am not sure how to route it out of the house. I have an old (40yrs) coax jumper about 60ft long from my dads old CB base station setup. Should I use this to run outside and then hook the long wire to the end? I have a steel roof, maybe I could hook it to the coax? I also have a TV antenna that we currently use on a pole with a rotor. Would this work or cause problems? Any and all suggestions welcome.
    WIN_20171129_115550 (2).JPG
     
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  7. 6meter

    6meter
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    That is a nice looking radio. For a quick short term antenna you can use a piece of speaker wire or any other wire and run it around the edge of the ceiling, A couple of thumb tacks will hold it up. That should let you start to receive some stations.

    A quick receive check would be WWV.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWV_(radio_station)

    Have fun
     
  8. ShadeTreeMechanic

    ShadeTreeMechanic
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    808 On The North Side of Dover

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    Thanks 6meter, i will definitely try the temporary antenna. I should be able to find something to get it going tonight. I will have to sit down with the manual to figure out why it has two tuning dials. Lol
     
  9. 2RT307

    2RT307
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    That is TOO cool! Same type receiver I was loaned by my Elmer back in 1979. I would listen to that thing day and night, and was amazed how good it sounded and received signals. Actually listened to a 3 way conversation on 10 meters between a guy in New York City, another in San Francisco, and another in Hawaii. Fun times, and I'm glad you are able to enjoy your grandfather's old rig!

    73,
    Brett
     
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