[AMRadio] ER Magazine

EP Swynar gswynar at durham.net
Sat Dec 15 12:59:58 EST 2007

Good Day All,

My Elmer neither stood on two legs, nor took a single breath of life in the
conventional sense --- and yet, "he" was as much alive and inspiring as any
conventional Elmer...to me at any rate...

Elmer here was my very first SW receiver: a beat-up, 3rd hand, $40.00
Hallicrafters S-77A, that I found through the want ads in one of my Dad's
union newsletters.

Looking back, it was surely a good thing that this receiver had the many
shortcomings that it did, for these very deficiencies taught me all about
improving the performance of things electronic, and made me appreciate the
fine art of homebrewing --- or, perhaps more accurately, it put a "face" to
that most noble of Amateur activities, i.e. "...tinkering and

To whit:

-Being an AC/DC receiver, its shocking (literally!) performance made me
appreciate the outboard installation of an AC isolation transformer;

-Its poor sensitivity on the higher bands forced me to build a regenerative

-Its poor selectivity taught me about crystal lattice filters, and
Q-multipliers (I installed a Heath QF-1), and passive audio filters (I built
one using 88-mh. telephone toroids);

-Its poor dial calibration inspired me to build a crystal calibrator, using
one of those "$4.50 100-KHz crystals" that Jan Crystals used to sell back in
the day;

-Its poor stability on 20-, 15-, and 10-meters compelled me to build a
crystal controlled down converter, and,

On & on it went!

In fact, the VERY FIRST working Ham station I ever saw was my own --- and
with the singular exception of that receiver, the station was entirely

It held sway at VE3CUI for some 12 years --- the transmitters may have come
& gone in that time, but the old receiver remained in its well-earned
central spot atop the operating position. In fact, it was not retired until
1983, when a brand new Yaesu FT-980 occupied its spot...but I still have the
ol' lad, and fire it up from time to time, always amazed to re-discover the
incredible quality of the audio emanating from it, and re-living the fuzzy
warm memories that only come back to you when you greet a long-lost, old

~73!~ Eddy VE3CUI - VE3XZ

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