ARRL

News

Surfin’: Got Heathkits?

09/02/2011

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ celebrates Heathkit’s reentry into the kit business.

This story was buried by all the coverage of the East Coast earthquake and hurricane last week, so in case you missed it, Heathkit is back in the business of producing kits. Here are a few pertinent quotes from the news article that appeared here last weekend.

“A notice on the Heathkit website announces that the venerable kit manufacturer -- well-known to all Amateur Radio operators of a certain age -- will be reentering the kit business in late August.”

Heathkit “is actively looking for kit suggestions” and their website has great news in that regard.

“Based on your input, we are looking at developing Amateur Radio kits. Our goal is to have kits available by the end of year.”

It is hard to believe that almost 20 years have passed since the Heathkit exited the kit business. I cut my teeth building Heathkits and it was a sad day when they pulled the plug.

I had absolutely zero soldering skills when I built my first Heathkit, the HR-10B ham receiver, yet I managed to build the receiver by following their excellent step-by-step instructions. It popped a fuse when I powered it up the first time, but nothing smoked. Cold solder joints were the culprit and some skilled soldering quickly brought the receiver to life.

I had better luck out of the box with my second kit, the DX-60B ham transmitter, which worked the first time I powered it. And with that success, there was no stopping me. Soon a collection of Heathkit ham radio equipment soon filled my ham shack shelves and a series of Heathkit AM-FM receivers were the centerpieces of my HiFi component system.

These were complicated kits, but the kit instructions were so good that even a dummy load like me could build them successfully. So I look forward to the new Heathkit radio kits. I would love to build something again that worked.

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, built Aurora monster kits before he built Heathkits. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



Back