AI4FR Virtual Shack Tour 

Hallicrafters Items

 

Production year 1959-1964 at $49.95

The Hallicrafters Sky Buddy II S-119 is a single conversion, superheterodyne, general coverage receiver that is used for the reception of AM and CW signals. The Hallicrafters company manufactured this receiver as a commemorative radio in order to celebrate their 100th model that had been produced since the S-19 Sky Buddy was released in 1938. An earlier Sky Buddy, the T5 was released in 1935. The S-119 was the third and final Sky Buddy that the company made and is their only 3 tube radio. The S-119 receiver incorporates three tubes, one selenium rectifier and a single 1N295 diode in its circuit. Some of the features of the receiver include, a planetary reduction drive tuning system, a ferrite rod antenna for the broadcast band, and a power on indicator. The S-119 also employs a clear plastic pointer with a red center line that moves across the frequency display in conjunction with the rotation of the tuning knob. The standard broadcast band has been marked in two places with a Civil Defense emblem which consists of a triangle inside of a circle. The CD emblem is found at 640 KHz and 1240 KHz and the operator was instructed to tune to one of these two frequencies for official news, instructions and information in the event of a civil defense emergency.

The S-119 has a total of three bands with coverage between 535 KHz to 1.64 MHz. The first band covers from 535 KHz to 1640 KHz, the second band covers from 2.0 MHz to 5.5 MHz, and the third band covers from 5.7 MHz all the way up to 16.4 MHz. The Intermediate Frequency(IF) of this receiver is 455 KHz. The internal front panel mounted speaker is of the permanent magnet moving coil design that has a voice coil impedance of 8 ohms. Received signals exit through a perforated plastic section on the front of the unit. If headphones are to be used, the receiver requires a set with a low impedance in the range of 50 through 1000 ohms.

The front panel operator controls occupy the left side of the receiver. These controls consist of three knobs and two switches. Scanning across the front panel from left to right the first control knob that we come to serves double duty. This knob is the On/Off and Volume control. The large knob in the center is the Main Tuning control. The last operator control knob is the three position Band selector control that is used to select one of the receiver's three bands for reception. The first switch located at the lower left hand corner is used to select the desired receiving mode and is labeled VOICE on the left and CODE on the right. The second switch which is labeled SPKR on the left and PHONES on the right is used to turn off the internal speaker when headphones are used.

The 3 tubes that are employed by the S-119 receiver along with their functions are as follows, 6BE6 = Oscillator and Mixer, 6BA6 = IF Amplifier and Beat Frequency Oscillator(BFO), and a 6CM6 as the 1st Audio Detector and Audio Output. The power source requirements are 105 to 125 volts AC at 60 cycles. The normal power consumption of the receiver is 16 watts. The physical dimensions of this receiver is 10 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches high by 7 1/2 inches deep and it weighs in at 7 1/2 pounds. The unit is housed in a sturdy metal cabinet.

The photograph on the right is of the back of the receiver. The connections and such found here are as follows, a 2 terminal antenna strip at the left followed by the headphone connections, and in the center is the AC power cord. The paper sticker to the right of the power cord lists the serial number of the receiver. The large paper sticker across the back panel of the receiver reads as follows, "Model S-119 Radio Receiver 105-125 volts, AC 60 cycle. Power consumption 16 watts. This apparatus uses inventions of United States patents licensed by Radio Corporation of America and Hazeltine Research, Inc. Patent numbers will be supplied upon request. the hallicrafters co. Chicago, U.S.A."

The 2 terminal antenna strip is marked "A" on the left, and "G" on the right which is an abbreviation for "Antenna" and "Ground". A ground wire should be connected between terminal "G" and an earth ground for single wire antenna systems. A doublet antenna system with a balanced transmission line will have one side connected to terminal "A" and the other side of the transmission line connected to the "G" terminal. If a concentric transmission line(coaxial cable) with a grounded outer conductor is to be used, connect the inner conductor to terminal "A" and the outer conductor to "G". The station ground connection should be connected to the "G" terminal.

The Hallicrafters company also manufactured a kit version of the S-119 that was known as the model S-119K. This unassembled kit radio sold for $39.95. The Hallicrafters S-119K was also the very first kit radio that was offered by the company.

  

  

  

The picture on the left is a close up of the front operator controls that are found on the Hallicrafters S-119. Starting on the left the controls are as follows, On/Off and Volume control knob, a Voice/Code switch, Main tuning knob, a Speaker/Phones switch, and lastly the Band selector knob.  The band selector knob is not original. It was the best one from my junk box that I had on hand when I restored the receiver. The red item in the upper left lights up when the unit is powered on. Notice as well the two civil defense emblems which consists of a triangle inside of a circle on the bottom band of frequencies and located at 640 KHz and 1240 KHz.

The triangle emphasized the 3 step Civil Defense philosophy that was used before the foundation of FEMA and Comprehensive Emergency Management. When this receiver was manufactured, the Civil defense was an effort to prepare civilians for military attack. Civil defense uses the principles of emergency operations: prevention, mitigation, preparation, response, or emergency evacuation, and recovery. Programs of this sort were initially discussed at least as early as the 1920's but only became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized. Since the end of the Cold War, the focus of civil defense has largely shifted away from military attack to national and local emergencies and disasters. The new concept is described by a number of terms, each of which has its own specific shade of meaning, such as crisis management, emergency management, emergency preparedness, contingency planning, emergency services, and civil protection.  

The photograph on the right is of the bottom of the receiver. To remove the bottom cover the screws inside the four feet will need to be removed. A paper sticker showing the tube lay out should be found on the outside of the bottom cover on the Hallicrafters S-119. The three tape stains seen on the bottom cover are all that remain from the tape that was applied by a previous owner. It is not known why the tape was applied, but an off the cuff guess would be that it was used to hold the power cord to the receiver for storage.

  

  

  

The picture on the left shows some of the restoration on the chassis in progress. Lots of good old fashioned elbow grease will need to go into this S-119 to make it look like new again. Also seen in this picture is the original brown cylinder shaped electrolytic capacitor that is no longer connected in the circuit.

The right photograph was taken shortly after the electrical restoration had been completed. Notice in this picture that Hallicrafters has used a totally different style of capacitor in this receiver. You may recall some of the other pictures in the Hallicrafters section of this web site showing the waxed paper and molded paper capacitors that were used. These capacitors often go by slang terms among collectors such as "Bumble Bee's" and "Black Beauties". These styles of capacitors have a high failure rate and have been traced as the source of the problem in many of the older receivers.The different style of capacitor that Hallicrafters used in this receiver is commonly referred to as a "Disc" capacitor. Their values in capacitance are normally small as seen in the old waxed and molded paper capacitors, while the voltage rating can be any where from a few volts to many thousands of volts. These disc capacitors have a much greater life span then the old molded and waxed paper style of capacitor. As such it is not uncommon at all to find even a single "out of spec" disc capacitor when you are doing the electrical restoration.

Staying with the right photograph, notice the two new electrolytic capacitors in the lower right of the picture. They are the black colored cylinder shaped items underneath the green selenium rectifier. For this restoration project I decided not to hollow out the body of the old brown electrolytic capacitor and place the new electrolytic capacitors inside. I did decide to leave the old electrolytic capacitor on the top of the chassis for aesthetic reasons. It is in no way connected to the circuitry of the receiver. I also chose not to cut the wire leads flush with the capacitor but I did tie them up neatly under the chassis using an orange color wire tie as can be seen in the very far right of the photograph. Even though there is no hinged lid on the top of this receiver, and one needs to remove the cabinet to even see this capacitor, I feel it is usually best to leave these top chassis mounted capacitors in place. When and if the receiver is ever taken apart again, it will look original and there is no gaping hole on top of the chassis. Before I solder any wires or leads to the chassis or to the tube pins, I clean the oxidation and other gunk from the connection point with a Dremel tool using a wire brush attachment.  

The photograph on the left is of the top of the Hallicrafters S-119 with the cabinet removed. This picture displays the tube compliment and some of the other major components that are found on the top of the chassis. This picture was taken shortly after the receiver had arrived and shows the damage that occurred by the shipping company. Notice the bent front panel in the bottom right corner of the photograph. The picture on the left is a close up of this damage.

  

ALIGNMENT PROCEDURE:

In order to do an alignment on this receiver the technician will need just a few basic service tools. These items include a signal generator which must cover the frequency range of 455 KHz to 16.5 MHz, a non-metallic screw driver, a 47 ohm non-inductive resistor, and a way to connect an output meter or the AC scale on a VTVM(Vacuum Tube Volt Meter) to the headphone jack. The first step in the alignment procedure is to turn on the receiver and the signal generator and allow each of them to warn up and stabilized. Around a half an hour will often suffice. The next step is the proper initial settings of the controls on the front of this receiver. Set each of the controls as follows, band switch to band three, main tuning control to mid-range, the speaker/phones switch to phones, the voice/code switch to voice, and the volume control should be set to maintain a half-scale reading on the output meter or VTVM. For all of the adjustments below, the VTVM is connected to the headphone pins on the rear apron of the chassis.

There are normally at least two alignments that must be preformed on a receiver. It is important to always do the IF alignment first and the RF alignment last. This receiver is no different and the IF alignment is preformed first. The Intermediate Frequency(IF) of this receiver is 455 KHz.

For the IF alignment connect the positive lead of the signal generator to the front section of the stator plates on the main tuning variable capacitor and the negative lead to the chassis. Tune the signal generator to produce a 455 KHz 30% modulated signal at 1000 cycles per second. Now adjust the primary and secondary slugs first on L7 and then on L6 for a maximum indication on the meter. The primary and secondary of points L7 and L6 are located on the top and bottom of the left rear corner of the chassis. Be sure to repeat this process for top performance of the receiver. That's it, the IF alignment is all done.

The RF alignment is just as easy but a touch more tedious. It involves changing the frequency of the receiver for each band and matching this frequency with the signal generator. There will be a total of eight frequency changes that will need to be made. One thing to keep in mind is that it is some times helpful to run through each band a second time for a final tweaking which will yield superior receiver performance before moving on to the next band. The cabinet top must be in place for the adjustments on band one. The reason it is done this way is because the calibration of the trimmers will be slightly effected by changes in the capacity between the cabinet and the receiver's components when the cabinet is in place for normal use. If the alignment is done with the cabinet off, the settings will change once the cabinet has been installed. Simply invert the cabinet and allow it to rest on the front and back panel for these adjustments. The cabinet can then be removed for the adjustments on bands 2 and 3.

Lets begin, receiver functions should be set as described above. The VTVM is connected to the headphone pins on the rear apron of the chassis for the entire RF alignment. Tune the signal generator to 535 KHz and connect it to a loop of wire and place the wire in close proximity to the chassis of the receiver. Set the band switch to position one and fully close the main tuning variable capacitor. With this done, carefully adjust point L5 which is located on the top of the chassis for a maximum indication on the meter. Next, fully open the main tuning variable capacitor on the receiver and tune the signal generator to 1.64 MHz. Adjust point C1D, which is located on the top of the chassis and on the left side rear section of the main tuning variable capacitor, for a maximum indication on the meter. Now set both the signal generator and receiver to 1.4 MHz and adjust point C1C, which is located on the top of the chassis and on the left side front section of the main tuning variable capacitor, for a maximum indication on the meter. That's it for band one.

With band one completed it is now time to move to the second band. Tune the signal generator to 2.0 MHz and connect the positive lead to the 47 ohm resistor and connect the resistor to the antenna terminal on the rear chassis apron marked "A". Connect the ground lead of the signal generator to the antenna terminal marked "G". Set the band switch to position two and fully close the main tuning variable capacitor. Adjust point L4 which is located on the top of the chassis for a maximum indication on the meter. Next fully open the main tuning variable capacitor and tune the signal generator to 5.5 MHz. Adjust point C14B which is located on the top of the chassis for a maximum indication on the meter. Now tune both the signal generator and receiver to 2.5 MHz and adjust point L2 which is located on the top of the chassis for a maximum indication on the meter. It will be noticed that point L2 has two peaks. The correct peak will be the second one from the bottom of the coil. That's it for band two.

For the final band we leave the signal generator connected to the antenna terminals the same as in band two. The band switch is placed to position three. Tune the signal generator to 5.7 MHz and fully close the main tuning variable capacitor. Adjust point L3 which is located on the top of the chassis for a maximum indication on the meter. Now tune the signal generator and receiver to 15 MHz and adjust point C14A which is located on the top of the chassis for a maximum indication on the meter. That's it, you are now done.

All of the adjustments above will need to be done with the non-metallic screw driver. For safety reasons, do not preform this work alone or if you are tired. It is not worth your life.

  

  

Resources:

Radios by Hallicrafters with Price Guide by Chuck Dachis

Hallicrafters owners manual

Sam's photofacts by Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc.  

      AI4FR                                                                                                                                                                                                  AI4FR                                                                                                       AI4FR

Copyright © John Whitt 2017 All rights reserved.