W3DX Heathkit Page
Devoted to the art of building amateur radio kits
by Robert Capon, W3DX
of Unbuilt Heathkits and
author of the QST article:
"Build a One Watt Transmitter in a Kodak Film
Table of Contents
I just love to build kits. I always
have. It's my favorite aspect of amateur radio. I really enjoy
talking to people all over the world on radio equipment that I've built myself.
I've built about a dozen transceiver kits, along with many station
accessories and antennas. That's why I built this web site devoted
to the art of building amateur radio kits.
Because of my interest in building amateur
radio kits, I've had a special interest in Heathkit, and have assembled a
collection of numerous unassembled Heathkits. Why the fascination with
Heathkit? I suppose I'm just nostalgic.
That's one of the key reasons that I've
developed this web site. I wanted to have a way to share photographs
of my Heathkit collection, so you can experience opening a Heathkit transceiver,
and inspecting its contents. I also wanted to share some of my favorite
Even though Heath is no longer in the
amateur radio kit business, there are a number of excellent companies who
offer some top notch kits. Typically these companies are one person
operations that offer just a handful of products; not like the Heath style
100-page catalogs offering kits from a-through-z. These companies can be
hard to track down, so this site provides resources to help you get in touch
with them, so that perhaps you can discover the joy of kit-building.
This site also provides a list of articles
that I've written relating to amateur radio kit building and projects.
These articles have been published mainly in QST and in 73 Magazine.
I have also written: "Building Your First
Transceiver Kit, Ten Tips for the First Time Builder", and the
"Itty Bitty Station Lamp" which were created for
this web site.
Collection of Unbuilt
My collection of Unbuilt Heathkits centers
mainly on amateur radio transceivers and accessories, although I also collect
other kits. My collection now includes numerous kits, including the
following transceivers: HW-30 ("Benton Harbor Lunch Box" or "Twoer"), HW-12A,
HW-101, HW-8, HW-9, HW-99, HW-2021 and HW-5400. My amplifiers include
the SB-221 and SB-1000. I have several kits that have become quite
rare, including the GC-1A Mohican shortwave receiver (the only one in my
collection from Heath's native american series), the AC-1 antenna tuner from
1953 (one of Heathkit's very first amateur kits) and the CA-1 Conelrad alarm,
a relic of the Cold War designed to prevent enemy missiles from homing in
on your amateur radio transmission!
Articles on Kit Building and Other
I have written a number of articles on
amateur radio kit building and other ham radio projects. The following
is a lit of these articles, which have been mainly published in QST
and in 73 Magazine. Most of these articles were published under
my previous call sign, WA3ULH, before I changed my call to W3DX in 1996.
The first two articles, "Building Your
First Transceiver Kit, Ten Tips for the First Time Builder" and the "Itty
Bitty Station Light!" were written for this web site, and have not been published
elsewhere. These articles are linked to the web site.
"Building Your First Transceiver Kit, Ten Tips for
the First Time Builder" Select this article to pick up ten tips
for building your first kit.
"Itty Bitty Station Light" Select this article
to see a miniature trail-friendly lamp to attach to your QRP rig.
"What's new in kits?" 73 Magazine,
March 1996, pp22. Reprinted with permission.
"Review of KC2 Multi Function Transceiver Accessory." 73 Magazine,
March 1997, p33.
Compact Loop Antenna Notes These notes
are an addendum to my article in QST cited below. The notes
provide tips and techniques for getting the most out of your loop antenna.
"The New Index Laboratories QRP Plus Transceiver". 73 Magazine,
March 1996, p44.
"Build a Lightweight 20 Meter Vertical." QST, December 1995,
"A Solar-Powered Field Day." QST, May1995, p60.
"Harker's Island on the Air!" QST, February 1995, p53.
"Build an HF Walking Stick Antenna." QST, December 1994, p72.
(Also published in "The Best of the New Ham Companion").
"A Fishing Tackle HF Station To Go!" QST, November 1994, p67.
"Build a One Watt Transmitter in a Kodak Film Box?" QST,
October 1994, p64. (Also published in the ARRL's QRP Power and
The Best of the New Ham Companion).
"Build a 12V Junction Box." QST, August 1994, p54. (Also
published in the ARRL's 1996 Handbook and The Best of the New Ham
"You Can Build A Compact Loop Antenna for 30 Through 12 Meters."
QST, May 1994, p33.
"Working Satellite RS-12, The Ultimate Satellite Primer." QST,
February 1994, p58. (Winner of the ARRL cover plaque award).
"My Recent Experiences with QRP." RadioFun Magazine, October
Photos of Unbuilt
Because Heathkit is no longer in business
making amateur radio kits, very few people can experience opening a Heathkit
transceiver, and inspecting its contents. So I have taken a series
of photographs detailing the contents of the Heathkit HW-8 QRP transceiver
from the mid 1970's.
Photos of Radios and Projects That I Have
I've built about a dozen radios in my
ham radio career, as well as many ham radio accessories. The following
are photos of some of my favorite projects. As you can see, my kits
are customized with a number of accessories. My Wilderness Sierra is
customized with the KC2 digital display, a clock, a set of Kent paddles mounted
underneath, and an "Itty Bitty Book Light" for use when I'm camping.
The Original One Watt Radio in a Kodak Film Box
From my article in QST, October 1994, p64. (Also published
in the ARRL's QRP Power and The Best of the New Ham Companion).
Wilderness Sierra with Modifications The
Wilderness Sierra, heavily modified with iambic paddles, KC2 display, clock
and station lamp.
Heathkit HW-9 The eight band QRP rig by Heathkit.
Heathkit HW-8 The classic four band QRP rig by Heathkit.
Oak Hills OHR-100 with KC2 and Paddles The OHR-100
modified with KC2, and built in G4ZPY subminiature paddles.
Green Mountain 20 with Paddles The Green Mountain
rig, modified with KC2 and Brass Racer paddles.
The Original 12V Junction Box From
the QST article cited above, and later published in the ARRL's 1996
Handbook and The Best of the New Ham Companion.
Miniature 12V Junction Box (with Itty Bitty Book
Lamp) Miniature 12 Volt junction box with 12 volt jacks on top, 5 volt
jack in front, and lamp socket on the side. Shown with Itty Bitty Station
The Original Compact Loop Antenna From my article
in QST, May 1994, p33.
Miniature Logikeyer III Electronic Memory Keyer
The classic memory keyer in a tiny package.
Links to Other Heathkit
Here are links to some of my favorite
The Heathkit Virtual
Museum. An excellent resource of Heath Company history and lore,
along with photographs of an extensive collection of assembled kits. The
site also provides links to other sites.
Bill Wilkinson's Heath
Company Page. Another excellent Heath site.
Heathkit" an article by Frank Beacham. This article is a wonderful
essay on the feelings that many of us have about Heath.
Heath Company Home Page.
The site provides resources for obtaining spare parts and users's guides.
An excellent page with numerous service bulletins and other valuable
Another Great Heath Page.
This site has an excellent on-line collection of color photographs.
Heathkit, A Guide to the
Amateur Radio Projects, by Chuck Penson. Published by Electric
Radio Press. This book is the definitive source for Heathkit collectors
and fans. Visit Chuck's web site for ordering information.
American Radio Relay League.
The ARRL web page is one of the best all around resources for amateur
radio on the internet.
Bibliography. A very rich bibliography of articles about Heathkit
that have appeared in QST Magazine.
ARRL List of Kit
Resources. A comprehensive list of kit manufacturers.
ARRL List of Parts
Suppliers. A list of resources for finding spare parts.
The HERO Robot Web Source.
A web site devoted to the HERO robot, with links and an on line HERO
robot swap shop.
HERO Robot Page.
Another web site devoted to the HERO robot and to robotics.
email@example.com. A source for
matching Heathkit paints.
Mike Bryce's HW-8 Handbook.
An excellent compendium of projects and modifications for the HW-7,
HW-8 and HW-9 QRP rigs. Mike Bryce, WB8VGE, 955 Manchester Ave SW,
North Lawrence, Ohio 44666. $11 postpaid, while supplies last.
RTO Electronics. Ron, WM8Z,
is an excellent resource, if you need Heathkit equipment serviced. Click
here for an e-mail link.
Links to My Favorite Amateur Radio Kit
Manufacturers and Other Kit Resources
Here are links to some of my other favorite
kit building resources:
Norcal QRP Club.
This site is devoted to QRP enthusiasts, and provides wonderful QRP
projects, and links to commercial sites and clubs. A must see.
Makers of the Sierra and Norcal 40, very low current drain trail friendly
radios with superlative performance.
Elecraft. Makers of the K-2 QRP
Oak Hills Research. Makers of the
OHR-400 four band transceiver along with a robust product line of other QRP
transceivers and accessories.
S&S Engineering. Makers
of a number of amateur radio transceivers and accessories, including the
TAC-1 single band synthesized rigs.
Small Wonder Labs.
Makers of a line of amateur radio transceiver kits, including the Green
Mountain and White Mountain kits.
LDG Electronics. Makers of
the nifty automatic antenna tuner kits.
Almost All Digital Electronics. Makers
of several kits, including a digital frequency display kit. The web
site has an extensive library of kit-building web links.
Vacuum Tubes Unlimited.
There are numerous suppliers of vacuum tubes on the Internet. Here's
the one that I have used. To find others, use search engines like
Altavista and look up "Vacuum
NTE. This site features an on-line
semicondutor cross reference database.
Reference Database. Another excellent semiconductor cross reference
N3EYR's Radio Link
Page. A very comprehensive list of amateur radio sources on the
Accessing the Internet Heathkit
An Internet news group of Heathkit enthusiasts
has been formed. The list is an excellent resource for all aspects
relating to Heathkit including buying, selling and trading equipment;
troubleshooting equipment; Heathkit history; finding manuals; etc. To
join the list, send a message to the following e-mail address:
"LISTSERV@LISTSERV.TEMPE.GOV" (do not use quotation marks). In the
subject field and in the text of the e-mail message, send the following command:
"SUBSCRIBE HEATH John Q. Doe" (without quotes). YOU CANNOT SEND E-MAIL
TO THE LIST UNTIL YOU JOIN!
After you've joined the list, you'll receive
an e-mail message explaining how the service works. The news group
also offers a daily digest. Once you're a member of the news group,
you may subscribe to the daily digest by sending an e-mail message to the
following e-mail address: "LISTSERV@LISTSERV.TEMPE.GOV". In the subject
field and in the text of the e-mail message, send the following command:
"SET HEATH DIGEST". Again, once you've joined, you'll have e-mail
20 Meter Swap Net
It has been reported that there is a Heathkit swap net each week on 20 meters.
The net is reported to operate on Sunday, at 14,293 Khz at 2030 UTC.
I have not yet logged into the net, so will post more details as I
Copyright 1997, Robert S.
Capon, All Rights Reserved