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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Heathkit SB-301 Help


Reviews Summary for Heathkit SB-301
Heathkit SB-301 Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $260.00
Description: Amateur band receiver
Product is not in production.
More info: http://
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K8DIT Rating: 5/5 Mar 3, 2001 12:17 Send this review to a friend
Illuminating!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I fell into my SB 301/401 quite by serendipity. A local non-ham had bought these 15 years ago from a ham neighbor and then intended to study for his license. It was the complete station of the time including the SB610/630/600/638mic/hd-10keyer. He had only listened to the receiver over the years and everthing was in pretty good shape. I am fortunate to have a ham freind who knows his way around both Heatkits and test gear. Inside a four hour visit he determined that everything was working and nearly in alignment, but needed cleaning/burnishing of the bandswitch contacts. A day later he gave me a call on 40meters, and was surprised to find out he was on the twins. He sounded strong and smooth. Power supply diodes and a single electrolytic in the low voltage d.c.
supply was all the reciever needed. All the tubes
and everything else was well within usable condition. I've since used the pair to good effect on all its bands on ssb and will go cw when
the Keyer is repaired. I was impressed by the quality of the audio/sensitivity/selectivity and
have had no problems with instability/intermittant
operation. The pair work faultlessly as I've had qso after qso and burned in the setup over a week.
The ANL even works well on engine noise and some
types of qrn. I use my DSP-9 w/ 3.0 firmware as an effective auto notch and agc enhancement. I set up the Ten Tec Centurion amplifier which works smoothly to drive the pair for excellant audio reports using the Electrovoice 638 mic. Vox worked flawlessly, but turned it off as PTT is preferred. I have new respect for this old gear and will have it proudly in the shack for casual use on 40/75 ragchewing. I also have a fb HW-12A
in excellant working condition as well. All my other gear is Ten Tec which looks great intermingled on the shack's rack. The 610 scope and the 630 console worked after power supply caps were replaced and patched in. What's most illuminating is to compare the Omni VI+ rcvr with the SB 301. It's no wonder that the 301 won the role as representing the mystiqe of ham radio in the film "Frequency."
 
K3AN Rating: 2/5 Feb 26, 2001 15:35 Send this review to a friend
Frequency Jump  Time owned: more than 12 months
Remarkably, the SB-301 has no voltage regulator for its oscillators! I had one years ago, and using it in transceive mode with the SB-401 on 10 Meters, I got reports that my transmit frequency was off. I borrowed a frequency counter and found the crystal HFO signal on 10 Meters jumped over 700Hz between receive and transmit. This was due to the fact that on transmit, all the receiver stages are cut off, so the B+ goes up significantly, including the B+ that feeds the oscillators. I installed a zener diode regulator arrangement to feed the oscillators (required cutting PC board traces) which got the jump down to less than 50 Hz. This was a fine receiver in its day, but technology has left it in the dust.
 
W5KJS Rating: 3/5 Feb 26, 2001 13:16 Send this review to a friend
Good old receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had the Heathkit SB-301 (receiver) and SB-401 (transmitter) since 1983. The receiver works nicely and is easy to use. After I upgraded to general, found that using the 401 transmitter with the 301 was complicated for tune-up, and subsequently incorporated a lot of variables when troubleshooting. Decided to go with a newer rig and leave these as display items in my hamshack.

I was quite amused in the movie "Frequency" that they used the SB-301 receiver as a transceiver. Kept my eyes peeled to see if they were going to show how they faked hooking the mic into the rig, but they carefully avoided showing that connection. Har!

Overall, this is a nice HF receiver. Unlike many Heathkit HF rigs (such as the HW-101), this one does not require an external power supply.
 
NO9E Rating: 4/5 Jan 24, 2001 14:03 Send this review to a friend
Remarkable radio after modifications  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got one used with SB-400 some 18 years go. Initially some bands did not work. After alignment, weak signals were barely heard, and overloading was present on some bands, especially on 40m. A 10/20db attentuator solved the overloading problem. A single-transistor amplifier after the crystal filter solved the weak-signal problem. With its narrow SSB (2.1 KHz) and CW (400 Hz), it was a very nice receiver although the CW filter had some blow by. Very nice AGC and very nice audio. It was my favorite receiver but unfortunately the matching SB-400 transmitter was weak. Perhaps if tweeked like the SB-301, e.g., better mic and addition of processor, the transmitter could have been made punchier.
 
WB8JKR Rating: 4/5 Jan 19, 2001 23:19 Send this review to a friend
30 yr old technology ain't bad!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently restored a old Heathkit SB-301 receiver and made some tests on the units sensitivity and stabilty, the results are VERY
pleasing indeed considering this unit went out of production in 1970.

MDS measurements:
80 meters MDS= -136 DBM
40 meters MDS = -137 DBM
20 meters MDS = -136 DBM
15 meters MDS = -135 DBM
10 meters MDS = -135 DBM
These measurements equate to about .1 uv for 10 db s/n ratio for SSB, which rivals todays rigs.
The S meter reads S9 at an input of 32 uv on 40 meters, this is the only band I checked it on.
I did not make a TT IMD test, but as soon as I
get another SG I intend to do that, I'm guessing I'll see TT dynamic range in the area of 75-80 DB.
The LMO stability is REALLY good, from a cold start to the 5 minute mark the LMO drifted down only 70 Hz, then in the next hour drifted 20 more Hz, and then stayed within 10-15 Hz.
This receiver is really quite impressive considering its 1960 technology and 30 years old!
A little better IF filtering and a noise blanker and this thing would be RIGHT ON!!

Mark WB8JKR
 
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