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Author Topic: Heathkit rebooted  (Read 12194 times)

Steve M Smith

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 11:26:40 am »

Also, I've been toying with the idea of getting my ham radio license and have been casually studying for the test

I took and passed the exams back in 1988 but never applied for a licence.  I no longer have the pass certificates and they don't have any records that old.  I wanted to take over my grandfather's call sign when he died a few years ago.

My grandfather was a lifelong short wave radio enthusiast, building his own multi-band superhet with parts he brought back from the army after WWII (I still have the chassis).  He waited until he was 76 to pass the test himself.


Steve.
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Kevin Graf

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2013, 11:31:04 am »

Do Hams build things like transmitters and receivers now. I think that most present day Ham DIY goes into antennas, towers and interference filters.
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Steve M Smith

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2013, 11:39:01 am »

Do Hams build things like transmitters and receivers now. I think that most present day Ham DIY goes into antennas, towers and interference filters.

My grandfather built everything he used.  All with valves (tubes).

I can't see the point in buying a factory made box which does everything.  Might as well just use the telephone to speak to people!


Steve.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 12:29:05 pm »

When I was a young puke I did my share of SWL. I built a Lafayette radio communications receiver from kit, strung up a long antenna, and collected QSL(?)  cards (confirmation from distant stations) from countries all around the world.

I was never disciplined enough to learn morse code and get an amateur license. My dad was a ham when he was single, but had given that up by the time I came along. My adventures in SWL were after he had already passed away (1957). 
 
JR

 
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 12:37:26 pm »

.My interest in electronics and audio can be traced back to being introduced to Heathkit in high school-still have a shortwave receiver my dad built as a teen-and he helped me repair with an IF transformer salvaged out of an AM/FM receiver.  That has led to becoming an electrician after passing a test for an opening at an industrial facility.  Funny thing was, I took the test in '97 and it would have failed without a good understanding of tube based equipment-and in 12 years in the job, I only ran into 2 pieces of equipment that used tubes (excluding CRTs).  Still the knowledge was far more useful than knowing how to beat the zombies on level 27 of the latest video craze...
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2013, 05:59:43 pm »

Do Hams build things like transmitters and receivers now. I think that most present day Ham DIY goes into antennas, towers and interference filters.

Some do, some don't.  Like with audio sometimes you want a niche bit of gear that isn't available commercially.  There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from building gear and using it.

Can a typical ham design a transceiver that does everything a bells-and-whistles commercial unit does?  No.  Can a competent ham build a unit that does one function better than a commercial trying-to-do-everything-at-once unit?  Yes.



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Kevin Graf

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2013, 11:30:44 am »

When I was a young puke I did my share of SWL. I built a Lafayette radio communications receiver from kit, strung up a long antenna, and collected QSL(?)  cards (confirmation from distant stations) from countries all around the world.
[................................]
JR

Wow, you built a Lafayette radio kit!   I remember way back in 1958/1959 one of my high school buddies bought a Lafayette AM/FM tuner kit.  It came with a bag of parts, a parts list, a schematic and some poor photographs. Three different guys tried but nobody could make it work.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2013, 11:50:24 am »

Wow, you built a Lafayette radio kit!   I remember way back in 1958/1959 one of my high school buddies bought a Lafayette AM/FM tuner kit.  It came with a bag of parts, a parts list, a schematic and some poor photographs. Three different guys tried but nobody could make it work.

As i recall, I may have had some help from an older brother to figure the difficult stuff out, but I don't recall any major problems and it worked well. It was a big dog receiver with several SW bands and features I didn't even use. Of course heath kit was the gold standard for kit instructions. My company kit instructions were adequate but not spectacular, and I offered a flat fee repair service for customers in trouble (worst case was one who soldered the parts to the wrong side of the PCB) ;D

 I was a pretty handy kid and I found myself helping friends get their kits working. I remember as a young puke, too young to have a drivers license, riding around the neighborhood on my bicycle, and helping older kids get their cars started after they worked on them... I was the neighborhood "motor whisperer", I could start anything.... It was generally pretty simple with the old school car motors, is it getting gas? does it have spark?,,, the rest is details. Nowadays there are a whole universe of new reasons for a car to not start.

JR
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

Mike Sokol

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2013, 12:22:17 pm »

Of course Heathkit was the gold standard for kit instructions.

One of the reasons I've been looking for a Heathkit transceiver on eBay is that you can still get all the manuals, which included troubleshooting, alignment and calibration instructions. And a good solid tube set can be kept running indefinitely, which is generally not the case of modern electronics with custom LSI chips. Plus, there something really fun about watching the tubes glow in an amplifier or receiver. Call it nostalgia if you will, but I can almost see the electrons flowing through the "valves". And no, I'm not in Colorado smoking that legal weed...  8) 
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2013, 01:47:45 pm »

My personal bench in the '70s was a product placement ad for Heathkit, but those old soldiers gave up the ghost years ago... For years I used the scope with a replacement trigger level pot rigged up to the front panel, and eventually it was not worth the trouble to keep it running (slow and wouldn't trigger worth a poop). The last time I turned on my distortion analyzer after sitting for years it made a bad smell and died silently. They now reside in a local landfill.  Back in the day, I had a bunch of heathkit gear, and even modified a heathkit SMPTE distortion analyzer (60Hz:7kHz) for 19kHz:20kHz, so I could make the more stressful and revealing HF two tone IMD test, pretty advanced bench test for back in the '70s, now just another option on the modern computer based rig.

JR

PS: I fed the product output of my Heathkit distortion analyzer into an old used (Singer) spectrum analyser I bought for $700 (real dollars) back in the day. The 50 dB dynamic range SA was not great shakes by itself, but it allowed me to extend the dynamic range of the Heathkit tens of dB lower. I could actually see the distortion introduced by the Heathkit electronics, so I ended up running it 10 dB cooler to clean up so I could measure distortion lower than my bench residuals. A little Rube Goldberg but I could make measurements equivalent to bench equipment costing thousands of dollars more.     
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

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Re: Heathkit rebooted
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2013, 01:47:45 pm »


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