Hickok Model 18 Signal Generator (1939)


This Hickok Model 18 Signal Generator is the prettiest piece of test gear that I own. My RCA Chanalyst runs a close second.

I got it for a great price. At a swap meet, I was buying a vintage oscilloscope from a fellow collector, when he said, "Would you also like this one for free?"

Who could say no? The generator was in like-new condition. The owner had even replaced a ratty old leather handle with a new one.

The cabinet is finished with a lustrous deep blue paint, and the controls and marking are stylish.

At the top, you see two horizontal drum-type dials. The left dial is a decibel meter and the right one displays output frequencies in six bands, labeled A-F.

The generator employs four tubes.

Tube Type Function
V1 6J7 Main oscillator
V2 6C6 Negative oscillator
V3 6K7 Mixer
V4 1V Rectifier

Like all Hickok products, it is well built. The coils are wound on expensive ceramic forms and the construction details are impeccable. (One tube has been removed in this photo.)

I also have the original manual, which is detailed and quite technical, giving the theory of operation as well as operating instructions. You can download the free Model 17/18 manual from Steven Johnson's Antique Technology website. That site also has the Hickok 1939 catalog showing the Model 18 priced at $54.

I haven't restored this generator, so I haven't used it except for making some initial tests.

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