Setup For Servicing Your S-38

Suppose you've just found that old S-38 model you've been looking for. It may have a bit of rust here and there, maybe a few scratches too, but in your eyes it's a gem. You can't wait to get an antenna hooked up to the old radio and start listening to your favorite shortwave station. DON'T. Unless your S-38 has been in active use, powering up an old S-38 that has set idle for possibly years, is nothing short of playing Russian Roulette with your radio.

You may be lucky and not have any problems, but the chances are the filter caps no longer work and those paper caps will likely fail also and take out a few other parts in the process. Your best bet is to take a look and see if those items have been upgraded before applying power. If they are original, then start off by replacing all the caps and save yourself more work later, cleaning up the mess of blown caps or more. I also suggest the mods for the AC lines I talk about elsewhere on this site.

My favorite way of working on any S-38 model is to leave the radio in the case but removing the back and bottom covers. I then place the radio into one of my home made fixtures, that hold the radio at a nice angle to get at all the parts and not have to fuss with watching that I don't accidently break some other part of the radio. My first two pictures at the right, show a small wood fixture that holds it at that angle. With chassis out of the case it just never seems to sit still or at the right angle. The back of this fixture is made from cheap white pine 3/4 X 4 X 7 inches long. The flat portion is a random piece of pressed hardboard 7 X 7 inches square. The front edge that keeps the radio from slidding down, is plywood, 1/4 inch thick and 1/2 inch wide. I used a two part epoxy to glue it together as nails might scratch the case. The angle was set by sitting a radio in front of me and tilting it until I liked the angle and then measuring what height I needed for the back piece.

The third picture shows an S-38 on the fixture and ready for service work. The open bottom is facing away from us in this view. When your service work is complete and you're ready to power up, then I suggest you use one of the aids on the next page.

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