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Author Topic: Farewell to Heathkit  (Read 17686 times)
KA4POL
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« on: May 10, 2012, 09:54:37 PM »

While there was a discussion here about Heathkit returning to business more than half a year ago, it now seems to be confirmed that they are out of business: http://www.arrl.org/news/heathkit-educational-systems-closes-up-shop

(Sorry for the typo in subject, can't modify)
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 10:00:15 PM by KA4POL » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 08:56:35 AM »

While this is indeed sad, most knew that they couldn't survive in the present market.   Undecided
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2012, 12:59:23 PM »

First you have to have a product to sell.  Second people have to want the product.  The limited offerings of the NEW Heathkit consisted of:
Our GPA-100, Garage Parking Assistant is now available.

Did I mention the offerings were limited?

I was so very happy when I heard Heathkit was coming back.  A year later nothing. Had they developed anything in the amateur radio section I probably would have bought it just for old time sake.  Guess I'll quit putting it off and go buy something from Ten-Tec.
http://www.tentec.com/categories/Kits/
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AC5UP
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2012, 05:41:00 PM »

(Sorry for the typo in subject, can't modify)

It's spelled:  " HEATHSHKIT "

Hey... Somebody had to say it.........  Roll Eyes
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ONAIR
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2012, 07:43:13 PM »

  It will be back...  but most likely in a Chinese version!
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K8AXW
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« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2012, 08:57:18 AM »

ONAIR:  Never happen!   Cheesy  The Chinese are turning out incredible gear for unbelievable prices and to even consider selling a kit would vapor lock their brains!
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KU3X
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Posts: 144




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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2012, 11:45:06 AM »

(Sorry for the typo in subject, can't modify)

It's spelled:  " HEATHSHKIT "

Hey... Somebody had to say it.........  Roll Eyes

No it did not have to be said and it's totally uncalled for. Heathkit made some great kits. Look at the SB-200 and
SB-220 amps.....still going. I have a Heathkit GDO that's probably about 40 years old. Not only is it still working and
a great tool, they don't make them like that anymore. I have a Leader Solid State GDO and it's not as good as the
Heathkit one that I have. Even though the SB-1000 is an Ameritron clone, it's still a Heathkit. I have one of those
also and it's a great amp. Maybe the Heathkit items you have are junk because you don't have a clue of what you
are doing.
Barry
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G3RZP
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2012, 11:56:12 AM »

I tried a Heathkit 'Tunnel Dipper' and found it rubbish. Much of other stuff was much better, though.

I walked the flea market at Dayton and thought of AC5UP when I saw some Heathkit equipments for sale!
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K8AXW
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2012, 09:15:26 AM »

I built over $2,000 worth of Heath gear in my early days.  The Tunnel Dipper was without a doubt the worst of the lot.

I enjoyed building Heathkits; learned quite a bit from building them and they enabled me to enjoy a hobby that I could barely afford.

AC5UP is funny!  However, I, by no means, agree with his opinion(s) on Heathkit.
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AC5UP
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 07:56:37 PM »

Nahhhhhhhhhhhhh... I really am clueless.

But I do know there are two reasons why you see Heathshkit gear at so many swapmeets.     Tongue
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K8AXW
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2012, 09:13:52 AM »

UP:  Ok, ok..... I've assumed the position..... what are the two reasons?
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AC5UP
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2012, 01:01:46 PM »

1) In some ways Heathshkit had the same marketing knack in the 60's and 70's as Volkswagen. They saw good sales figures working a niche market for the better part of two decades. Which means there is a buttload of old Heathshkit gear still circulating through the swaps waiting for the next generation of Hams eager to relive the alleged glory of owning a Benton Harbor green station.........

2) Unfortunately, that glory is more imagined than real as vintage Heathshkit gear now pushing 50 years old suffers from two areas of disappointment:
    a) It wasn't that good to begin with, and by modern standards you can do better for the same or less money.
    b) Most of it wasn't built to last and hasn't improved with age. So it ends up being turned at a future swap. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The attraction of Heathshkit was in the sales premise of owning quality gear on the cheap. Back in the days of point-to-point chassis wiring there was validity in the cost of labor as a significant part of the total, but unfortunately Heathshkit went beyond that level of cost-cutting by using some seriously cheap parts. You see it today in the phenolic rotary switches and tube sockets that are such a joy to replace. The avid kit builder wanted to believe then, as they do today, a first-time builder could do well enough to build a really cool radio while they were learning how to solder. Heathshkit did all they could to keep the design as cheap and simple as possible. You're thinking super-duper world class signal grabber, Heath is thinking idiot-proof econo box that works well enough to sell.

To use a car analogy, when you strip something down to the nitty gritty you get a Volkswagen Beetle. Not a Mercedes SLS...

http://www.roadandtrack.com/var/ezflow_site/storage_RT_NEW/storage/images/future-cars/sports-cars-of-the-future-2012-mercedes-benz-sls-amg-roadster/1779551-1-eng-US/sports-cars-of-the-future-2012-mercedes-benz-sls-amg-roadster.jpg

But, as an advertising copy writer would be quick to point out, the Beetle can do everything the red item from Stuttgart can do but at a fraction of the cost. Therefore they are comparable, perhaps almost identical. Anyone believe that? Anyone want to buy a bridge in New York?

So... What's my point? Heathshkit gear has been a cult item for better than 20 years. It's rare to see more than a day or two go by without a new thread started here by someone struggling to fix the rig they bought a year or more ago that has never and may never work as expected, but they still want to believe that someday it will happen. And if they can't fix it, maybe the next owner will and that's why I say there are two primary reasons you'll see Heathshkit gear at almost every swapmeet:

* There was plenty of it sold back in the day and much of it is still around because.............
* The true believers are loathe to throw it out or admit that maybe the Benton Harbor reputation isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
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ONAIR
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Posts: 1744




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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2012, 02:04:42 PM »

1) In some ways Heathshkit had the same marketing knack in the 60's and 70's as Volkswagen. They saw good sales figures working a niche market for the better part of two decades. Which means there is a buttload of old Heathshkit gear still circulating through the swaps waiting for the next generation of Hams eager to relive the alleged glory of owning a Benton Harbor green station.........

2) Unfortunately, that glory is more imagined than real as vintage Heathshkit gear now pushing 50 years old suffers from two areas of disappointment:
    a) It wasn't that good to begin with, and by modern standards you can do better for the same or less money.
    b) Most of it wasn't built to last and hasn't improved with age. So it ends up being turned at a future swap. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The attraction of Heathshkit was in the sales premise of owning quality gear on the cheap. Back in the days of point-to-point chassis wiring there was validity in the cost of labor as a significant part of the total, but unfortunately Heathshkit went beyond that level of cost-cutting by using some seriously cheap parts. You see it today in the phenolic rotary switches and tube sockets that are such a joy to replace. The avid kit builder wanted to believe then, as they do today, a first-time builder could do well enough to build a really cool radio while they were learning how to solder. Heathshkit did all they could to keep the design as cheap and simple as possible. You're thinking super-duper world class signal grabber, Heath is thinking idiot-proof econo box that works well enough to sell.

To use a car analogy, when you strip something down to the nitty gritty you get a Volkswagen Beetle. Not a Mercedes SLS...

http://www.roadandtrack.com/var/ezflow_site/storage_RT_NEW/storage/images/future-cars/sports-cars-of-the-future-2012-mercedes-benz-sls-amg-roadster/1779551-1-eng-US/sports-cars-of-the-future-2012-mercedes-benz-sls-amg-roadster.jpg

But, as an advertising copy writer would be quick to point out, the Beetle can do everything the red item from Stuttgart can do but at a fraction of the cost. Therefore they are comparable, perhaps almost identical. Anyone believe that? Anyone want to buy a bridge in New York?

So... What's my point? Heathshkit gear has been a cult item for better than 20 years. It's rare to see more than a day or two go by without a new thread started here by someone struggling to fix the rig they bought a year or more ago that has never and may never work as expected, but they still want to believe that someday it will happen. And if they can't fix it, maybe the next owner will and that's why I say there are two primary reasons you'll see Heathshkit gear at almost every swapmeet:

* There was plenty of it sold back in the day and much of it is still around because.............
* The true believers are loathe to throw it out or admit that maybe the Benton Harbor reputation isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

  Hey, I paid only $1K for a used VW camper that took me cross country 4 times!  They don't even make 'em anymore!  Smiley
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AC5UP
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« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2012, 01:27:30 PM »

...and a thousand dollars isn't what it used to be, either.


So I'm watching the 73rd PGA Senior Tournament from the Harbor Shores country club in Benton Harbor, MI this past Sunday afternoon and I'm thinking how cool would it be if all the Porta-Potties were painted Heathshkit green........?

Sure, that would make taking a dump an exercise in redundancy, but I think they'd blend.   Grin
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 04:49:15 PM »

Quote
It's rare to see more than a day or two go by without a new thread started here by someone struggling to fix the rig they bought a year or more ago that has never and may never work as expected, but they still want to believe that someday it will happen

The only reason these people struggle is that they fail to obtain the full documentation, they fail to obtain all the necessary tools and instrumentation, and they fail to work thru the manual in a linear fashion. 

In other words, knowing little about electronics they hope that some guru on the internet (eHam) will spoon feed them just the right silver bullets to fix the individual supposed problems without having to do any excess work.

That is NO REFLECTION on Heathkit or their designs.  It's a reflection of lazy people who want answers handed to them on a platter.
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