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Thread: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    In the mid 1980s while in my early 20s, I built the Heathkit LED digital indoor/outdoor thermometer. It was before the LCD digital thermometers become prevalent. This thermometer was a work of quality and encased in a classy wooden box. The temperature sensor was not a thermister but rather two diodes in series encased in a metal container. I did not think the varying voltage drop across the diodes would change linearly in respect to changes in temperature but the unit is surprising accurate given the whole degree resolution. The guy who told me about Heathkit said they had digital tuning kit TVs in the 70s, way before it was offered in commercial products. A few years after building my thermometer, the place went out of business. For people who have experienced Heathkit what products have you built?

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    In the '60's I built an AM/FM tuner and a photoelectric eye that had the coolest gas-filled vacuum tube in it for the amplifier, ( [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] ) and a VTVM. (That's Vacuum Tube Volt Meter for those who've never heard of one. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] )

    Larry

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    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    I built Heathkit's first transistorized vom. Also built their gated-rainbow color bar & pattern generator (Motorola RTL logic chips running at 3.6vdc) and their tube-based AM radio transmitter. Great stuff! I still have the TVM and the color bar generator.

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    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    [ QUOTE ]
    tvodrd said:
    In the '60's I built an AM/FM tuner and a photoelectric eye that had the coolest gas-filled vacuum tube in it for the amplifier, ( [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] ) and a VTVM.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Was that a 930 phototube or a 2D21 argon-filled Thyratron? I remember that the thyratron was a popular vacuum-tube "latch" for photoelectric circuits, a predecessor to the SCR. The little thing lit up with a neat purple glow when it was triggered and latched! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif[/img]

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    PhotonWrangler,

    I don't remember the number, but had to have been the 2D21. I used to leave the cover off the case just to watch it fire. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Larry

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    [ QUOTE ]
    tvodrd said:
    PhotonWrangler,

    I don't remember the number, but had to have been the 2D21. I used to leave the cover off the case just to watch it fire. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    Larry

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Yep, same here! Wasn't that cool? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] That little fire bottle was my first introduction to electronic latches.

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    Flashaholic bald1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Oh gesh! A direction finding radio, walkie talkies, Q-Multiplier, some test instruments, and some others I simply can't remember.

    --Bob

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Hi ! Back in the mid 60s my dad and I built a Heathkit CB radio. Back in those days, CB radio was very popular and didn't have the "chicken band" connotation it has today. The quality was very good and of course it was a "tube" radio. I used that radio for 20+ years and sold it for more than I paid for it!! It most likely is still working today. I should have never sold it. It took about 40 hours to build and it was made of top of the line(60s) components. I still like to throw in my mobile side band CB in my truck when I take trips. The truckers are great at helping with directions if you get lost and keep you entertained 24 hours a day !! I wish I could still buy Heathkits today.

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    In the 60's when I was a kid I built a Heathkit multiband shortwave receiver. Took me a long time, so many parts, but I finally got it working. Wish I still had it, my parents tossed it when I went into the Marines. I still remeber how it hummed while it warmed up ( tubes- not transistors ! ). I later built one of their IBM PC clone kits, that I still have somewhere.
    Now I'm studying CMOS receivers, nearly the whole dang recever on a single chip, but the fundamentals are the same.

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    Flashaholic* Lasernerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Oh those were the days!
    I loved Heathkit!
    Built= Laser&receiver,Morse code kit,transistorised switch,
    sine wave gen.,Indoor outdoor analog thermometer etc.
    They taught me alot..

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Built a timing light for my car. It worked for many, many years.

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    I must have built a couple dozen HeathKits (for myself and others) from their first VTVM in the 50's to their Dot Matrix printer in the 80's just before they died.

    One of my favorites was the Six Meter "Benton Harbor Lunch Box" "Sixer" transceiver back in 1959-60. A group of local Hams used them for passing time in the traffic around MD/DC/ Northern VA. Mine was in a black VW with a ring halo antenna mounted on the rear bumper, used to tell the curious it was where I hooked the shower curtain when I went camping.

    One of my brothers built many of their kits also including the H8 computer an a couple of color TVs.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    My Dad built the 25" color console TV kit. That thing was a tank. Lasted for about 20 years before it finally gave up. Those were the days.

    Eric

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Built at least eight HEATHkits for myself or others from the middle 1970s (age 11?) thru the middle 1980s (age 18) before they folded. Here is a list in roughly the order in which they were bulit:

    Short-wave radio (Still works)
    Stereo receiver (AR 1515, I think) (Discarded)
    Huge bookshelf speakers (they still work, but not using now)
    Wired remote touch switch (discarded)
    Digital thermometer (to my knowledge still in use)
    Exhaust gas analyzer (lost)
    Digital scale (discarded)
    Groundtracker metal detector (still works)

    Of course, you never really had to know very much about electronics to build a Heathkit, but the process did instill some basic knowledge and gave good experience with a soldering iron. To this day, I occasionally open up faulty electronic gear and sometimes manage to get it working again by just poking around. I guess I learned that electronic components are sensitive, but not so fragile as to never touch.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    13 pages of "heathkit" found on ebay if anyone wants to relive the days of yore!!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Ham radio reciever and BFO in the 60s as teenager. We used to build all kinds of stuff. Raiding the dumpsters at Bell Telephone for electronic junk. Stripping old TV sets.

    Loved the slow red glow of those tubes. Warms the heart. And then you could tune in to the world.

    Remember the first transistor radios?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Several A-23, 25 watt (RMS), six tube, mono hi-fi amps. I modified the magnetic phono stage to accept electric guitar and sold several to rock band friends. The big transformers and 7951 outputs running at 450 volts crank out peaks of over 50 watts. I still use one I made in 1968 along with a Heath fuzzbox from 1971. A FET 11 meg. ohm/volt VOM (1968).

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    Flashaholic* Zelandeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Never actually built one, but I did rescue an AW-1U audio Wattmeter from the bin at college a couple of months back. Fixed a broken solder joint, and it worked good as new! Currently have it connected up to the output from my TV.

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    [ QUOTE ]
    jayflash said:
    A FET 11 meg. ohm/volt VOM (1968).

    [/ QUOTE ]

    That rings a bell. I think that's the same one that I built. Great meter, although I didn't particularly like the probe connector.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    I built quite a few of their kits over the years.

    The multimeter (still use it)
    10 watt novice transmitter
    CB Transceiver
    Cross Hatch and color bar generator

    25" console and 19" portable TVís - basically Zenith TVs that was kitted by Heath. Both were very reliable and by salvaging junk Zenith TVís for spares I was able to keep both running until 2 years ago when a power surge blew the main boards and I couldnít get replacements anywhere.

    Several other kits as well.

    Al

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    Back in the 1970s, I had a Heathkit oscilloscope (I don't know where it came from, but it was already built) that needed a power transformer; we ordered the transformer and I installed it. If I remember, it used a mixture of vaccume tubes and transistors. I don't know what happened to that scope, but I believe it worked properly the last time I used it.

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    In my post above I was thinking about what I built years ago that I don't have anymore. Duh... sitting on a shelf here is a working classic HW-101 transceiver. Never did get my HAM ticket [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    --Bob

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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    [ QUOTE ]
    bald1 said:
    ...snip... Never did get my HAM ticket [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]

    --Bob

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Bob,
    Get of thine butt, and get that ticket - SD is one of the RARE states - you'll have lots of hams who want to talk to you

  24. #24
    Flashaholic bald1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    You sound like a HAM buddy of mine in Colorado Springs who says I have no excuse now that the code requirement has died.

    Well I retire for the second time in a couple years and it *is* on my agenda [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    --Bob

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* snakebite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    i have several unbuilt heathkit items waiting for me to have time.
    as a teen i got to build 12 gr2000 tv's
    everyone in my class got them but were lost trying to assemble them.
    i still have one with all options.
    like osd,remote,clock ect.
    they were way ahead of thier time.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    I built alot of test equipment (oscilloscope, frequency generator, counter/timer, etc) and shortwave radios. Still have the frequency counter.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Any oldtimers ever build Heathkits?

    I built a binary clock. It uses single individual red LED's to tell the time, in vertical culumns; hours, minutes, seconds. I still have it somewhere....I had it set up for a long time, and I got very good at reading it quickly.
    [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]

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