Harris RF590

Receivers! Man, I love 'em!

My first receiver was a Hammarlund SP-200 that my dad got through MARS. And, I loved that receiver. I learned how to use it, built a T/R switch so I could have full QSK and an audio limiter so I wouldn't blast my ears out monitoring my own transmissions. It was great!

Later, we got a Hammarlund SP-600 which I didn't like nearly as well. And, that caused me to go on the hunt for a better receiver. Over the years, I've tried many a fine receiver and most (all?) of them have been hugely superior to that old SP-200. The venerable Harris RF-590 is certainly one of those..

The RF590 operates from 0 to 30 MHz, and has a reputation as one of the finest receivers available. It was sold to serious end users -- primarily military and US Government monitoring and communication facilities where nothing but the finest would do and where price simply did not matter.

Here's mine:

Harris RF-590 Front View

Harris RF-590 Left Side

Harris RF-590 Right Side

Harris RF-590 Passes Self Test

The RF-590 has an optional Pre-Selector. It mounts internally and is controlled by the receiver itself -- so you never have to think about it. Just operate. The pre-selector is usually only used when the receiver is in high RF environments such as on a ship where there are signals being transmitted on adjacent antennas while the receiver is in use. Another possible use for the pre-selector would be if one were using the receiver next to a high power broadcast station. I'm not in either situation so while I have the optional pre-selector, it is not installed. Here's a pic of the pre-selector and it's hardware:

Harris RF-590 Internal Pre-selector

I heard that the power supply on these fine receivers was the most common point of failure. So, I picked up a spare:

Harris RF-590 Spare Power Supply Assembly

By the way, if you are interested in learning more about this premium receiver, you can find the manual here.

It's a great receiver but I sold it in 2011.

OK, I admit it. I still kinda miss that old SP-200. Something about first loves..