Hallicrafters S-119 Sky Buddy II receiver

Hallicrafters S-119 Sky Buddy II receiver

A 3 tube set also offered as a kit
The S-119 Sky Buddy II is a single conversion general coverage receiver. In addition to the AM broadcast band, it has two shortwave bands covering 2.0 to 5.5 MHz and 5.7 to 16.4 MHz. The IF is 455 KHz. The broadcast band uses a built-in ferrite bar antenna. Primarily intended for its AM broadcast coverage and for the beginning Shortwave Listener, it features regenerative IF for BFO. It is Hallicrafters' only 3 tube set and uses a 6BE6 converter, 6BA6 IF amp, and a dual section 6CM8 for first audio and audio output. The set is transformer powered with a selenium rectifier. The detector function is handled by a germanium diode. All three tubes in this set bear the original Hallicrafters logo and were made in USA. The S-119 was offered both factory-wired and as a kit (model S-119K). It was to be Hallicrafters only kit radio.

Hallicrafters S-119 Sky Buddy II
Hallicrafters S-119 Sky Buddy II

Offered from 1961 to 1964, it was priced at $39.95 as a kit and $49.95 as factory wired. Osterman in his book Shortwave Receivers Past and Present (3rd edition) notes that the S-119 was closed out in 1964 at a price of $30. Hallicrafters offered an alignment service for the kit at a cost of $5 plus, of course, shipping. If you locate a kit version, alignment would be suspect.

Comparing it to the S-38 and S-120 series
Its simple superhet circuit can be compared with the S-38 series and the S-120 series. Both those series use 455 KHz IF, have bandspread, a fourth upper band, and were AC-DC. The S-119 does not have bandspread or the upper shortwave band. It is, however, transformer-operated AC only and is thus safer. The lack of bandspread is a pity, since that would have improved tuning ease greatly. All the sets except the first S-38 use regenerative IF for the BFO.

S-119 chassis
Hallicrafters S-119 chassis top
Hallicrafters S-119 chassis bottom

The "Sky Buddy" name
The set was the final of three "Sky Buddy" sets. The first was the model 5T sold in 1935, the second was the more common S-19 and S-19R introduced in 1938 and 1939.

The Hallicrafters manual for the S-119 is available from BAMA in djvu format.

When purchased, this set was cosmetically challenged. The top was in desperate need of painting and the speaker grille was cracked in several places with the pieces taped together. The inside was nearly pristine however. I cleaned and painted the top and carefully used cyanoacrylate to glue all the broken plastic together one piece at a time. I also wiped a very thin coat of the cyanoacylate on the back side. That made the plastic much stronger. I may replace the grille at some time assuming I can find a reasonably authentic substitute.

This set uses all ceramic caps. All the caps were in good order. After safety checks, I powered the set with my isolated variac. Both the selenium rectifier and the electrolytic were surprisingly in very good condition. The set worked when powered. After cleaning the volume control and bandswitch, all that was needed was an alignment. The set then performed as expected. The lack of bandspread is an obvious handicap on the shortwave bands.

East meets West
The Japanese-made Olson RA-48 and the S-119 Sky Buddy II share very similar styling. The RA-48 came out after the S-119 was discontinued. It uses 4 tubes, is a bit taller and is not quite as deep.

Olson RA-48 and S-119

A 1957 vintage Ameco Code Practice Oscillator was the previous item on the bench.

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