The Hallicrafters Company was a business that manufactured, marketed, and sold radio equipment. The company was based in Chicago, Illinois, USA.


William J Halligan founded his own radio manufactory in Chicago in late 1932. Prior to this, he had been involved in radio parts sales for some years but decided that the time was right for a handcrafted amateur radio receiver - the company name being a portmanteau of Halli(gan) and (hand)crafters.

The fledgling company was located at 417 State Street and immediately ran into patent difficulties when RCA decided to sue them for building radio sets without an RCA patent license. An opportunity came to purchase the concern of Silver-Marshall Inc. in 1933 and, with it, an RCA patent license as the most valuable asset.

In order to meet their financial obligations, Hallicrafters produced radios for other manufacturers until they were financially secure to begin production of their own line of communications receivers, starting with the SX-9 'Super Skyrider', in late 1935.

By 1938, Hallicrafters were doing business in eighty-nine countries and were considered to manufacture the most popular sets in the USA. That year, the move was made into the production of radio transmitters. With the outbreak of World War II, the company geared up for wartime production, and was responsible for many new designs and innovations for use by the US Armed Services, probably the best-known were the HT-4 (BC-610) and related equipment used in the military SCR-299 communications package. Production of Ham radio gear and related items was all but suspended until 1945.

The boom years for Hallicrafters were from 1945 to 1963, during which the company produced equipment thought by many to be superbly designed, including the famous S-38 receiver, which received a cosmetic "makeover" by industrial designer Raymond Loewy. In 1966 'Bill' Halligan sold the company to the Northrop Corporation and the Halligan family involvement ended. Northrop ran the company until the early 1970s but fierce Japanese competition was putting pressure on the US domestic electronics market and Northrop sold the company in 1975, effectively bringing it to an end.

The name and assets of Hallicrafters were traded over the following years, even though there were no products bearing the name. Since around 1988, the remaining assets and rights to the 'Hallicrafters' name & logos have been held by court-appointed trustees. [cite book | author=Dachis, Chuck | title=Radios By Hallicrafters | publisher =Schiffer Publishing,Atglen(USA) | year=1996 | id= ]

Much of Hallicrafters equipment is still in common use by collectors and vintage amateur radio enthusiasts, and widely available on the used market.


Pre war

Some of the more well-known Hallicrafters equipment from the pre-war period include:

*the Super Skyrider, model SX-9 (1936), equipped with a large German silver tuning dial, and one of the first receivers to use the new "all-metal" vacuum tubes.
*the Ultra Skyrider, model SX-10 (1936), able to tune what were then the "UHF" bands (frequency above 30 Megahertz).
*the Skyrider Diversity (1938), actually two complete multi-tube receivers side-by-side. This enabled the operator to connect two different antennas to the set and counteract the effects of fading. A huge set and today, one of the most sought-after models.
*the HT-4 Transmitter (1938), an efficient high-performance transmitter for the Ham bands, later to become famous in World War II as the BC-610. It was available well into the late 1940s.
*the Skyrider 23, model SX-23 (1939), famous for its innovative "art-deco" cabinet design.
*the Super Skyrider SX-28 and later, SX-28A (1940-41), one of the most popular Hallicrafters receivers. Its design was state of the art for the time, and featured excellent external styling. The SX-28 was notable for audio that sounded better than many expensive home receivers. It is still easy to find today, and remains a favorite of collectors.

Post war

Postwar Hallicrafters models include:

*Model S-38 (1947), a "beginner's" receiver. Simple and inexpensive, yet it introduced many to shortwave listening.
*Model SX-42 (1948), a massive receiver featuring the new FM band. It, too, was popular for its appearance, styled by the famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy. The SX-42 was a dual-purpose receiver; it provided not only shortwave reception, but standard AM broadcast and FM reception.
*Model SX-62 (1949), an updated version of the SX-42, with improved circuitry and cabinet styling.
*Model SX-73 (1952), a professional receiver aimed mainly at the military market, but also available on the civilian market. It was Hallicrafters' answer to the Hammarlund SP-600 Super-Pro.
*Model HT-20 (1952), an all-purpose shortwave transmitter, featuring multi-band switching.
*Model SX-88 (1954), at the time, the finest commercial receiver available. The SX-88 was designed for the operator for whom cost was not a concern, and featured outstanding performance and appearance.
*Model HT-37 (1959), one of the first transmitters with single-sideband (SSB) capability. A well-designed transmitter, and many are still in service today.
*Model SX-115 (1961), yet another large receiver for the Amateur Radio market. It featured a huge central dial, and is another model prized by collectors.
*Hallicrafters_SX-117 (1965) One of the most advanced ones for its time. Had several accessories.
* Model HT-44 (1962) transmitter with continuous wave (CW) and single-sideband (SSB) capability on 10 to 80-meter amateur radio bands. The HT-44 was the matching transmitter for the SX-117 receiver.

ee also

*Collins Radio
*Vintage amateur radio
*National Radio Company
*Signal Corps Radio

Additional reading

*cite book | author=Dachis, Chuck | title=Radios By Hallicrafters | publisher =Schiffer Publishing,Atglen(USA) | year=1996 | id=

External links

* [http://hug-a-bug.com/hallindx.html Hallicrafters Virtual Museum]


*de Hensler, Max. The Hallicrafters Story. Charleston, West Virginia: ARCA Press, 1988

*Moore, Raymond. Communications Receivers, Fourth Edition. La Belle, Florida: RSM Communications, 1997

*Osterman, Fred. Shortwave Receivers Past and Present. Reynoldsburg, Ohio: Universal Radio Research, 1998

*Dachis, Chuck. Radios by Hallicrafters. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Books for Collectors, 1999

Cited references

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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