Hallicrafters Model S-72L
BY CLAUDE CHAFIN
Not well known, not even very desirable, but still worth saving. That seems to be Claude Chafin's rationale for the salvage story he tells below, all for the worthy cause of radio preservation. (Editor)
The Hallicrafters S-72L -- the "L" stands for leather -- was marketed to the Ham radio community around 1951. Several ads for it appear in the ARRL Handbooks of that era. My restored set is shown in Figure 1.
This is a super sensitive radio with four bands, a BFO, and a telescopic antenna. Designed to run on a battery pack or AC, it was priced at about $75 originally, a little high compared to other sets of its same class. Thus, as you might imagine, not too many got sold.
Today, these sets are pretty rare -- I have seen only three. But "rare" doesn't always translate to "desirable." They are more of a novelty now amongst Ham radio operators -- a fact that doesn't translate to any large value. Regular collectors have little interest as well.
I found this one at a Ham radio swap meet. It was in pretty bad shape. A lot of the covering had come loose, or was missing or torn. Still the radio was intact and needed only to be recapped with a new electrolytic. Bingo, I had a good working radio. The question now was what to do about the horrible covering.
Figure 1. The Hallicrafters Model S-72L after restoration.
Since it was not the most desirable radio in the world, I decided to break away from tradition and give the radio a little pizazz. I found some imitation saddle leather at the hobby shop. and recovered it with that. I used an X-acto knife to trim up any excess. The handle was broken too, so I replaced it with one from Antique Electronic Supply. I reused the original hinges and replaced the feet and some standard clasps from the hardware store.
Figure 2 (see print version) shows a close-up of the front panel and dial. Figure 3 (see print version) provides a rear view with the back cover removed. The result is a pretty cool radio, not that it will ever amount to any value. That was not my intent -- I just wanted to give it a new life and look.
(Claude Chafin, 4223 E. 42nd St. Way, S, Independence, MO 64055)
Claude Chafin, an antique radio collector for 15 years and a Ham operator for 25, asks three questions before taking on a repair job: Will his techniques bring it back to normal? Is it too far gone to make the time spent worthwhile? Does it have a good collectible potential? Affirmative answers to all three may not be required, as in this case.