Hallicrafters  S-38E      1957  $60    =  today $657

The S-38 was a 5 tube wonder, with no power transformer, 
The S-53A  had a power transformer


Hallicrafters S-53A            1957 $90    =     today $986   (2024 $)



  AN/ARC-5, WW2,  used as primary radios in most fighter aircraft like the corsair's, P51's  However,  almost every aircraft in the inventory had these as backup systems.  These and the matching transmitters, did the job, there had to be millions made,  because every HAM  in the 1950's -60's had at least one.

The receivers used a flexible cable, like an old speedometer
cable for remote tuning from the cockpit, 


the transmitters were set to frequency before a mission.  Non tunable by the pilot's      they put out about 30 watts, using two military (1625 tubes)  an 807 tube for civilians..


What a find,  ??   These were actually my elmers collection, in Kansas,  I sold them on ebay for big bucks..
I wish I had a garage full of these  !!  

  Hallicrafters,,  radios young ham's dreamed of in the 1960's

In the 1930s, the shortwave radio craze was just beginning to sweep the nation, and Hallicrafters radios began to boom from coast to coast and around the world! Until the 1980s, this Chicago-based firm aimed for the average consumer, and produced high quality radios on the cutting edge of technology, all reasonably priced. Today, collectors of electronics are fascinated by these pieces of
radio history, most of which can be restored to their original working condition.

Introduced in 1946  ...   $47 was a pile of cash,

The S-38 introduced 1946

S-38A   looks like the S-38,,  I wonder if they improved any of the circuits ??

S-38B   looks like the predecessor ,  I wonder if they improved any of the circuits ??

S-38c   looks like the predecessor ,  a more modern paint job..

S-38D    Hey a new dial, a new look

S-38 E     last produced in 1961    cost $60 ...            Last of the 38 line

Yaesu  equipment was first imported into the US by Spectronics, Inc. located in California in 1965. Yaesu became an important presence in the U.S. amateur radio market . In addition, transceivers were OEM'd to Henry Radio in Los Angeles.

click picture for a more readable view

One of our club members used one of these,,,  he says  5 watts out and not too good of
receiver,   Circa 1962  +/-    ,,, BUT , it was way better than the HeathKit 6er..
he used a Carbon Microphone,,   NO PTT..  How did we survive ???  

This was a Classic high range radio,,, and you know it looked pretty too. 

  WOW, introducing a radio that you didn't need a computer to program, and/or  a PhD to understand  ?? 
how can that be??  The  Icom IC-2AT,  Full of Features, but didn't have any menus to confuse the issue.. It had a very unique memory system,  very easy to program to your local repeater !! or simplex

Introduced in 1979 it cost $230  today thats   $947
Thats not 9 dollars and forty seven cents ,, 

Now how to program the memory:  first dial the frequency into the thumb wheel switches,  second select the offset, and press the PTT switch and you
"up and running" until you decide to QSY to some other frequency.  A very cleaver idea.. Icom say's they sold over 500,000 of these


Here’s another one for the Blast from the Past (or a “one-hit-wonder”).

This was brand new in 1959.  Look at the asking price back then (ouch).
$1550...   you could buy most cars for that ?  Today $15,644, good luck
getting a car for that now..

It is a 4 band rig with dual conversion RX.  First I.F. was 2.2 – 2.8 Mcs
 (tunable) and second I.F was 455 Kcs.

It was a COMPLETE station,  Receiver, Transmitter and a 1kw amp. The
power supply was in a separate cabinet you could set on the floor

(There was also a Cosmophone 35 that was less rare and less expensive.)

  National NCX-3

Modes: SSB/AM/CW
Bands: 80, 40, 20 Meters  Only 3 bands
Input Power: 200W PEP-SSB, 100W-AM, 180W-CW
Filter: Crystal
Receiver Incremental Tuning (RIT): No
Noise Blanker: No
VOX: Yes
Power Supply: Separate AC & DC Supplies
Final Tube(s): 2ea. 6GJ5
Price/Year: $369/19632022 $3,490 power supply was extra
Size: 6.0"h x 13.75"w x 11.75"d
Approx. Weight: 22 lbs

When I was first a ham, the radio club I belonged to bought
one of these for the club shack at the Red Cross Building,
Mission, KS


  Not exactly sure when this radio came out, however the ad below says to get a free 1966 catalog..  So I know this was from 1966 ,  price today $3616... and thats just the radio no power supply, the ac supply was $700,  ..

Leo Meyerson , owner of  World Radio Labs, in Council Bluffs, IA.
Leo was a much like person,   I've been told that when WRL was still in operation, Leo had
free coffee and donuts on Saturday morning at his show room. 
Webmaster comment:
I meet him at  aksarben  radio club meetings in Omaha in 1977.. my boss and dozens of hams from Omaha partook of the free coffee.. HI HI             (free is good)
FYI:   aksarben,  is Nebraska spelled backwards, a very large ham club in Omaha.

A good friend of mine (W6ZSL)  ran one of these mobile out at Edwards AFB in 1970's

  The Gonset Communicator was a series of vacuum tube VHF AM radio transceivers
 that were widely sold in the 1950s and early 60s. The radios could operate from
 110 volt AC , or 6 or 12 volt DC from a car battery. The receiver was manually
 tuned over the unit's frequency range with an analog dial, while the transmitter frequency
 was controlled by a crystal.. The civil defense model was painted yellow with CD insignia,  
and was available for the 6 and 2 meter bands.   Most folks had  several crystals, 
you would call CQ then tune around searching for someone answering you, 
mostly you were NOT on the Same Frequency..

First picture: Communicator model 1
The early model had a Magic Eye tube used to tune the transmitter to max power
Now are you sitting down,  in 1952 these sold for $190,  TODAY thats  $2008,   YES
$2000,  not $20..

Communicator model 2    (slightly different)


The Communicator III    cost back then $270,  I'm not sure what year ""back then"" was?
it had a squelch,   but NO push to talk  ,,,

CD colors'  Comm 3

And heres the LAST of the line (below) ,  the communicator 4,  cost today $3400  OUCH,,
 but hey,,, it had a push to talk on the microphone,  still used Crystals for the transmitter .  about 10 watts out,  AC DC supply built in,  ALL TUBES..  THESE  were AM,   No repeaters. introduced 1962,


  Here's one of the first portable 2 meter rigs, it could run Battery Powered  !
 1 watt of FM   this ad is from about 1980   Today's price $359
 6 channels , Crystal controlled.. This came with three sets of crystals for 3 channels, I
presume your choice ??   There were repeaters by 1980, which greatly improved the
range of this low power radio,   every time you wanted to add a repeater or simplex channel
it cost about $10 a channel,,
  Last week was the Benton Harbor Lunch Box radios,   from Heathkit
now For those rich hams ?? HI   back in the day as in 1965
The basic radio came with ONE crystal,  the VFO as shown in the picture was $20 (today almost $179)  The radio WITHOUT a microphone was $200 (that's $1787.. today) 
This was a vast improvement over the Heathkit TWOER (last week), but only a dream for most hams. This was a superheterodyne receiver, (no squelch) and the TX put out maybe 10 watts. AM, it weighed 18 lbs.. there were NO repeaters, you needed a good OUTSIDE antenna if you planed to talk to anyone or be ready for emergencies .. Hallifcrafters SR-42A

Want to know more .. link TO SR-42 specs  


Benton Harbor Lunch Box
This is the six meter radio ,   the 2 meter one looked just like this, as well as the 10 meter unit and the CB unit (11 meter)..  they were regeneration receivers and if you had it on,, it HISSED all the time,  No Squelch.. they was ONE channel transmit (crystal) , maybe 3 or 4 watts out. No Push to talk, WELL yes it was Push to talk , BUT 
you had to pushed the lever down to talk. 

Cost in my day "say" 1965 was $39.95  today thats $357 OUCH,
and a DC supply was another $9
and shocking it was sold as a kit, with American made parts..

By the way,  there were NO HT radios, or repeaters in the 60's

NO repeaters !! ouch,, yes you need an outside antenna if you wanted to do any
meaningful communications,   yes OUTSIDE,.... THIS   still holds true today,,,


Click it !

Johnson Viking Valiant
Modes: AM/CW
Bands: 160 - 10 Meters
Input Power: 200W-AM, 275W-CW
Final Tubes: Three 6146b in parallel
There are 18-tubes 
New Price: $349.50 kit and $439.50 wired
Manufactured between 1956-1962
Size: 11.5"h x 21.0"w x 16.25"d
Approx. Weight: 73 lbs
in 2018 dollars $3,718
now you just need a receiver !
and a Desk that didn't come from Ikea
ARC-5 receiver, WW2,  used in most fighter aircraft like the corsair's, P51's  and almost every aircraft in the inventory.  These and the matching transmitters, they did the job, there had to be millions made,  because every HAM  in the 1950's had at least one, and several of the  transmitters,

The one pictured here,  was made for connection to a Direction Finding LOOP ,  
most receivers  only had one antenna jack..  The receivers used a flexible cable, like an old speedometer
cable for remote tuning from the cockpit,  the transmitters were set to frequency before a mission. 












below is the matching transmitter


A crystal controlled  50 Watt NOVICE CW only transmitter,   KnightKit T-50

The Knight Kit Co. was in business from around 1957 to 1966, advertising in the
Allied radio catalog, and in the pages of
QST and CQ magazines.

Allied Radio, which owned Knight, was in
business from the 1920s. Allied is still in business today selling electronic parts!

Knight Kit  customers were primarily young,
shortwave listeners, aspiring radio amateurs, and new novices anxious to get something on the air that they could afford.


The Mohican
was Heath's first all transistor general coverage shortwave and broadcast receiver. Intended primarily for the short-wave listener and for portability.  covered the AM broadcast band to 32 mHz.
it includes calibrated bandspread for the ham bands and a BFO
for copying code and SSB

in 1965 this cost $90, and the  accessory 120VAC 
supply was another $10   
in 2018 dollars $800 !! 
and you think Ham Radio is expensive now.
For more info about his radio please visit KB8TAD

Heathkit HR-10B  Receiver
  • Amateur band coverage only (80 through 10 meters) for high stability & tuning accuracy
  • Tunes SSB, AM, CW
  • Large, slide-rule tuning dial—over 6" of band spread
  • Tunable RF stage for extra sensitivity
  • Prebuilt, preset coil/bandswitch assembly
  • Lattice-type crystal filter for high selectivity
    Year: 1967–1975 ?  
    Tubes 7:
    Net weight 20 lb
    Price in first year of sale $75.00   in 2018 $ $$  556.54

This handsomely-styled amateur receiver is a perfect match for the DX-60 Transmitter, providing complete high-performance station receiver facilities at low cost! 




Collins KWM-1    worlds first TRANSCEIVER.  
Introduction Date / Price: 1957 / $820       in 2010 dollars   $  7364     who says ham radio is expensive, today
The Collins KWM-1 is the first amateur band transceiver designed for mobile and fixed station applications. Final amplifier plate input power is 175 watts PEP on SSB or 160 watts on CW. A crystal plug-in unit allows for the selection of ten crystal positions, each covering a 100 kc segment in the frequency range of 14 to 30 Mc. NO 40 and 80 meters,    The Pi-L output network with roller-inductor provides for efficient and continuous tuning throughout the entire frequency range of operation.  This Radio was Rumored to be used in the U2 that Gary Powers was shot down in.

a little additional personal info,    here is kØip using his KWM-1 in 1970 was HS6ADE , Thailand .  Your webmaster !!!!  in the store room at the Takhli  PMEL building. a note,  by the 1970's  these were considered almost junk,  an all tube relic from the 50's and 60's.   so it did pay much.  I sure wish I still had my radio. 

Central Electronics  20 A  ,   First band switched SSB radio..  the predecessor was the 10B  it used plug in coils to change bands,     the was a Phasing SSB exciter  ,   20 watts out, ,   Webmasters note, this was my transmitter after I graduated from Novice to General,   A nice radio.   I worked lots of DX on the 20 watts and a hy-gain 14AVQ vertical  


this radio did not have a built in power supply it was extra,    $240 in 1966 is $1838 in 2018..    Who says Ham Radio is Expensive in the 2000's  ,  its cheap