Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Heathkit is officially Dead (again).  (Read 23475 times)
KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 812




Ignore
« Reply #30 on: December 21, 2013, 11:06:29 AM »

Two facts are very apparent.  Elvis is dead.  So is Heathkit.  As a true Heathkit admirer, may I suggest we move on?

There is one way to replicate, nearly, the Heathkit experience. Buy a "distressed" already built Heathkit (or two of them) and find a manual (even the originals are still widely available on Amazon and eBay). Disassemble them. Order new components as required (many of the capacitors and you might as well replace all the resistors, they're cheap). Clean up/repaint cabinets and chassis. Then build from scratch, using the manual.

I've done this for a couple of simpler Heathkits and have a couple more ambitious ones in the wings. I'm doing a much better job than I did as a 12-year-old back in the '60s. It's not expensive, it's highly educational if you do some research into "how it works" (not Heathkit's forte) and it will occupy quite a large number of hours!

The only part of the "Heathkit experience" that you will miss is opening the box and seeing all of those brand-new components ready for assembly. I guess you could even replicate that too if you bought a carboard box and some styrofoam....

(The alternative is to find an "unbuilt Heathkit" but those are changing hands for such high prices that you would be mad to build them. They're an investment, not a kit!)

Here is one of my "reconstructed" Heathkits. The original was a big mess. Many of the components were replaced except for the precision resistors and the meter. The rotary switches and probes were replaced. The cabinet was stripped and repainted. The front panel had paint chipped off in places so I mixed up a matching color using model paint. This is part of Heathkit's "basic electricity" course so I went ahead and did the course!!



Next up: the EK-2A/2B kits which are Heahtkit's "Basic Radio" course. Then eventually, the EK-3 ("Basic Transistors") although I am still missing a few parts for that one.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 11:17:26 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
KD0REQ
Member

Posts: 1006




Ignore
« Reply #31 on: December 21, 2013, 02:22:44 PM »

K8AXW:  blasphemy, sir, Elvis is alive and well and touring 7-11s in the midwest when nobody is looking.  don't you read the "newspapers" waiting in the checkout lines?
Logged
K8AG
Member

Posts: 352




Ignore
« Reply #32 on: December 21, 2013, 04:25:52 PM »

I took a survey several months ago regarding Heathkit.  Apparently there is a lot of interest.  I got this link from them recently.

http://www.reddit.com/user/HeathCompany/submitted


Who knows.  I would sure like their return.

73, JP, K8AG
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3961




Ignore
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2013, 04:38:57 PM »

Martin:  Absolutely  beautiful work!  Are the labels dry transfer or is the panel silkscreened?

REQ:  LOL.... The thing that really bothers me about the "newspapers" sold at checkout lines is the buyers of these papers.....VOTE! 

Logged
N5INP
Member

Posts: 1275




Ignore
« Reply #34 on: December 21, 2013, 05:50:16 PM »

However, I have no illusions of Heathkit or anything resembling Heathkit ever being resurrected again.  We live in a different era now which would make this almost impossible to succeed.

I won't argue that you are wrong, but why do you think that they are making a fuss over it being resurrected - these mysterious owners?
Logged
KB1WSY
Member

Posts: 812




Ignore
« Reply #35 on: December 21, 2013, 07:22:21 PM »

Martin:  Absolutely  beautiful work!  Are the labels dry transfer or is the panel silkscreened?

The labels are the original Heathkit silk-screened ones. I bought the original meter on eBay and it was a mess. I cleaned the front panel by immersion in soapy water followed by lengthy work with a toothbrush and Q-tips, then left it to dry. Quite a lot of the dark green paint had chipped off around the edges of the front panel but fortunately those white labels stayed intact. I mixed up a blended replica of the background gray/green paint, using modelers' enamel paints (Testors). The case was stripped and resprayed with gray Rustoleum. The only thing I really couldn't get off was a yellow sheen on the front of the transparent plastic meter cover (I showed it to a person who has experience restoring plastics and he said the owner must have been a smoker and it was not removable, beyond the limited cleanup that I managed to do; it isn't really visible in the photo I posted earlier in this thread).

In the end, it turns out to be a blend of "boat anchor restoration" and true "kit building." Both of which are a lot of fun in their own right. In this case it was even better because that meter is part of an excellent Heathkit educational course, so I learned a lot about electricity, too. There are numerous "experiments."

So, it is possible to have the full "Heathkit experience" cheaply, simply by dismantling an old kit (or sometimes two kits, in order to get one complete set of parts). The new Heathkit crew are going to face quite a challenge matching the excellent "experience" of the original kits. Those Heathkits weren't necessarily "state of the art" for their time, but they did provide that unique "building experience." Eico and Knight tried, too, but Heathkit seems to have been the best at that game. (I have also rebuilt Eico kits and the instructions are much harder to follow than Heathkit's.)

Suffice it to say that after this experience, I feel as if I really know how a VOM works. That in fact is how the manual proceeds: you build the VOM in little stages and test how the various resistors and switches work, with real experiments.

I think one question that needs to be asked, too, is whether there is a demand nowadays for this kind of "hands-on" building. The so-called "do it yourself" movement of recent years gives me some hope. But still, there seem to be fewer and fewer people who are interested in "making things with their own hands." I think THAT is the biggest challenge of all. It's an issue that goes way beyond ham radio, obviously. My comment is also not intended to be a "generational" indictment: I find that people of my own age (mid-50s) are just as un-interested in "practical building" as people half my age.

Here are a couple more photos.

The reconstituted "set of parts ready for building" (including the additional parts for the "Basic Electricity" experiments):



An intermediate photo showing some construction detail during rebuilding:



73 de Martin, KB1WSY




« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 07:48:15 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
K7RBW
Member

Posts: 398




Ignore
« Reply #36 on: December 21, 2013, 08:57:41 PM »

I think one question that needs to be asked, too, is whether there is a demand nowadays for this kind of "hands-on" building. The so-called "do it yourself" movement of recent years gives me some hope. But still, there seem to be fewer and fewer people who are interested in "making things with their own hands." I think THAT is the biggest challenge of all. It's an issue that goes way beyond ham radio, obviously. My comment is also not intended to be a "generational" indictment: I find that people of my own age (mid-50s) are just as un-interested in "practical building" as people half my age.

I wouldn't give up on the DIY community, just yet. There are many "makers" who are building all sorts of gadgets with Arduino boards and Rasberry-Pi single-board computers. They aren't building ham-radio kits, but they're getting into electronics, 21st-century style. My feeling is that with the ubiquity of cellphones, the allure of "long-distance" radio communications isn't what it used to be. Talk around the world? I can have a video chat in real-time from my cell phone! What's the big deal?

The DIY enthusiast who might have built a Heathkit in the 70s and 80s is now building internet-connected, microcomputer-powered gadgets that move gizmos he or she fabricated on a 3-D printer. That being said, I think there's a lot of opportunity to sell ham radio features to the internet-connected, Arduino-programming DIY-er. (Imagine...your device could communicate with the outside world in places that don't have 3G or WiFi! Yes, ham radio can do that!)
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6055




Ignore
« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2013, 06:57:28 AM »

I would venture that Heathkit will be back--although not in the manner of the past.  That is, no physical 'stores' as there used to be.

I see one or two warehouses in addition to a manufacturing facility, and sales through the internet mainly, with possibly some of their kits sold to other store chains for sales there.

They will probably come back in the same way that the old "Anderson-Little" men's clothiers have done so, with a limited offering sold over the internet at first, and hopefully a slowly growing variety of kits as time goes by.
Logged
KD8HMO
Member

Posts: 228




Ignore
« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2013, 07:25:21 AM »

I wonder what the chances are of Heathkit resurrecting a few of the old classic tube radios? Wouldn't it be cool if they brought back the HW-101? I wonder if the molds and tooling for the case and plastic pieces still exist...
Logged
KA5IPF
Member

Posts: 1032


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2013, 08:51:25 AM »

What are you going to use for tubes??? Chinese ones, don't get me laughing.
Logged
K7RBW
Member

Posts: 398




Ignore
« Reply #40 on: December 22, 2013, 10:19:24 AM »

What are you going to use for tubes??? Chinese ones, don't get me laughing.

That's easy: make some LED-illuminated tube replicas to mount on top of the chassis and mound the digital radio module below where no one can see it.

...or would that be cheating?

Wink
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6055




Ignore
« Reply #41 on: December 22, 2013, 06:18:59 PM »

I doubt you'll see tubes.  Probably modules that take the place of tubes, and modernized rigs to boot.  After all, only nostalgia addicts want the old kits--DIY kit builders would want modernized equipment.  You may see one or two of the old timers brought back, but I doubt it--at least by the tone of the 'company spokespersons.'
Logged
K8AXW
Member

Posts: 3961




Ignore
« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2013, 06:13:52 PM »

Martin:  Again, beautiful work!  You're obviously a perfectionist with infinite patience.  I used to be like that but old age fixed that problem!  HI.

INP:
Quote
I won't argue that you are wrong, but why do you think that they are making a fuss over it being resurrected - these mysterious owners?

Nothing wrong with wishing or hoping.... however I've had this "Resurrection of Heathkit" discussion off and on for a year or two.  Those "wishers and hopers" that are turning me off are the fanatical ones....those that become belligerent during their discussions.

As I mentioned, I had one tell me on another forum, "Go to hell!"  It was also suggested that I get off their forum..... to put it mildly. This is the type of rabid response I've received from some who want Heathkit back.

I too would love to build at least one more Heathkit before I punch out but have no illusions that it will happen. It was great fun while it lasted.

Al - K8AXW
Logged
KD8TUT
Member

Posts: 59




Ignore
« Reply #43 on: December 23, 2013, 10:56:30 PM »

Martin:  Again, beautiful work!  You're obviously a perfectionist with infinite patience.  I used to be like that but old age fixed that problem!  HI.

INP:
Quote
I won't argue that you are wrong, but why do you think that they are making a fuss over it being resurrected - these mysterious owners?

Nothing wrong with wishing or hoping.... however I've had this "Resurrection of Heathkit" discussion off and on for a year or two.  Those "wishers and hopers" that are turning me off are the fanatical ones....those that become belligerent during their discussions.

As I mentioned, I had one tell me on another forum, "Go to hell!"  It was also suggested that I get off their forum..... to put it mildly. This is the type of rabid response I've received from some who want Heathkit back.

I too would love to build at least one more Heathkit before I punch out but have no illusions that it will happen. It was great fun while it lasted.

Al - K8AXW


Hard for me to understand how anyone could become religious about Heathkit.

I built my share of kits as a kid and would love to do it again, I'm sorry you were treated that way.

I live not far from Heathkit in St. Joseph MI. It will be great if they come back and create jobs.
Logged
K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6055




Ignore
« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2013, 07:42:42 AM »

Re:  Chinese tubes

I wouldn't be surprised if all too many airheaded hams embraced those--just look at the amount of them that are singing the praises of the wonderbox HTs the Chinese factories are putting out!

The hope is that the owners of the Heathkit name won't even try to do such a thing.
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!