National NC-60 Shortwave Radio (1959)

     

Description

The National NC-60 "Sixty Special" is a modest but well-engineered shortwave receiver. Designed to compete with the Hallicrafters S-38 series, it sold for $60 and was manufactured from 1959-1964.

If you compare the features and specifications of the NC-60 and the Hallicrafters S-38E, manufactured during some of the same years, it would be hard to tell them apart. Both use 5 tubes, have a separate bandspread tuner, and are general-coverage radios, covering the BC (standard broadcast) band as well as shortwave and ham frequencies up to about 30 megahertz. Both can receive CW (code) as well as regular AM broadcasts, and have a headphone jack on the front. Both also have large slide-rule type dials, which had superseded "old-fashioned" circular dials by that time.

The NC-60 is the successor to the earlier SW-54 in National's product line. Not surprisingly, the radios are very similar in design and performance, although I would have to give the nod to the NC-60 because it has a true bandspread tuner.

Here's a view of the NC-60 from the front.

As you can see, the main dial is divided into four frequency bands. The bandspread scale is located at the top of the dial and is graduated from 0-100. The controls are few and intuitively obvious.

Here is a view of the chassis from the top.

In a typical National mark of quality, the chassis is copper plated, something you wouldn't expect in an entry-level radio. I bought this radio at a yard sale in my neighborhood. To my surprise, the interior of the radio was as clean as new.

Looking underneath, I got another pleasant surprise:

Not only was the underside equally clean, but the previous owner had already replaced four of the old capacitors.

After cleaning the controls and bandswitch with DeOxit, I powered up the radio and discovered that it received well on all bands. Eventually, I may get around to replacing the remaining original capacitors, but meanwhile, this radio plays just fine, with no hum.

©1995-2014 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved