Hallicrafters S-38D


 The Hallicrafters S38 came in several guises. This (Model D) is perhaps the most attractive. See below...Models A to C had twin half-moon dials positioned left and right of centre, whilst the last model, the E was a stylish version of the D. The S38 receiver was very much a budget model aimed at the short-wave listener market in the US and was much less rugged and lighter than early models because it used an AC/DC power circuit without the associated heavy transformer of the AC series. I'm not sure of the understanding of the term AC/DC as applied to US wirelesses as I don't know the history of US mains distribution. In the UK many sets were designed for use on DC mains and the term AC/DC described sets that could be used on either type of mains. As time went on the term AC/DC was still used but DC mains were a thing of the past.

 A trawl of the Internet found these examples...

Right the "no-suffix" model S-38

Below, a battered S-38A, then an S-38B, an S-38C and an S-38E


 What makes my example of the S-38D very special is the fact that it's still in its original packing box. It's even contained in a canvas carrying bag, apparently made for the set.


 The rear view shows the set's relative simplicity and you'll note the absence of a mains transformer because it's designed to be run directly from the mains supply. This was easier to arrange in the USA because the mains supply voltage is only half that in the UK meaning that valve heaters (connected in series) didn't need any ballast resistance.

The valves are:- 12SA7, 12SG7, 12SQ7, 50L6GT and a 35Z5GT making a heater voltage of 121 volts.

 Underneath there's no pretence of orderliness.

 A couple of pictures of the original box in which the set was delivered to its new owner.



 Underneath the chassis was this cover which identifies the valves

 This receiver, like Eddystone types from the same era has no mains transformer and employed what was termed a "live chassis". This meant it could be operated from AC or DC mains, but with the disadvantage that if the chassis was touched or certain parts failed the user could receive a shock. Nowadays there is legislation which makes this technique impossible to employ in new designs. In the USA this receiver would be fitted with a simple non-polarised two-pin mains plug (in fact that plug is still fitted to this example). Plugged into a mains supply the voltage between the chassis and earth could be either 115 volts or zero. Precautions were taken in the mechanical design to isolate the chassis from the outer case, however careless dismantling and reassembly might negate such precautions. If you examine the position of the fixing holes in the rear cover shown below you will see the the upper four holes align so that screws will go into the outer case, but the two lower holes are aligned with the live chassis. Another point of note are the control knobs. These are mounted on live control spindles so that if one falls off or is removed the user might receive a shock.
You'll note that there are no warnings printed on either the rear cover or the cover fitted under the set. It's quite possible that when this receiver left the factory all the exposed "live" screws such as those holding the rubber feet were insulated with wax, however the holes in the rear cover (such as that for the mains lead) allow unimpeded access to the live chassis. 

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