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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Heathkit HW-101 Help

Reviews Summary for Heathkit HW-101
Heathkit  HW-101 Reviews: 44 Average rating: 4.2/5 MSRP: $399.00
Description: The HW-101 is an HF (80 to 10 meter) amateur band SSB transceiv
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WA7NCL Rating: 3/5 Apr 8, 2009 14:19 Send this review to a friend
Old Old Old  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built the HW-100 and owned its big bro the SB-102. These rigs represent the peak of 1950s technology that you could build yourself in 1970.

You really should operate one once. Then you will see how far we have come in the last 60 years!

Point of reference: HW101 = $400 1970 dollars, which is $1650 now (2009)! I paid $1200 for an IC-7000 recently. Consider an IC 718 at about $700 now. That would be $125 in 1970! Probably what you would have paid for a DX-60.

If you're given one, play with it and have fun, just don't pay much for one.
KZ1X Rating: 5/5 Apr 5, 2009 18:23 Send this review to a friend
30 years and still fun  Time owned: more than 12 months
Built mine 30 years ago. Still use it.

* * *

Heathkit HW-101 Tube Complement

Posted for search engines to find:
HW101 tubes
tube list for HW-101
valves for HW101

* * * *

Many people have Heathkit HW-101 rigs. Nearly 40,000 were sold in the
12+ years they were made available.

The newest of them is now about 25 years old!

Original sets may need to have new tubes put in to restore full operation.

If you are shopping for tubes, here is a handy list. Shown are the tube type and the 'V' reference designator / socket they go in.

The tubes used are as follows, 1 each, unless otherwise noted:

6AU6 (qty. 6 each radio; alt. tube #6136) [V2, V3, V4, V10, V11, V20]

12AT7 (qty. 2 each radio) [V17, V19]

12AU7 (alt. tube #5814) [V16]

0A2 (alt. tube #6626) [V18]

6CL6 [V7]6CB6 [V6]

6EA8 (qty.4 each radio) [V1, V5, V12, V15]

6BN6 [V13]

6GW8 [V14]

6HS6 [often substituted, either or both of V10 and/or V11]

plus the two 6146A final tubes [V8, V9]

Note: my radio instructions say not to use 6146B or 6146W
because they can't be properly neutralized.

I tried a set of 'B' tubes once and, sure enough, I couldn't neutralize them.
You may be able to.

K5LG Rating: 3/5 Jun 3, 2008 08:06 Send this review to a friend
good rig back then  Time owned: more than 12 months
My brother and I built the hw-101 in one weekend , it was a fun rig and I used it a few years. I later found one that was not built in the 90s and built it. Enjoyed them, but am kinda spoiled to the new stuff.
KB1GMX Rating: 4/5 Jul 5, 2007 16:51 Send this review to a friend
Works and all that  Time owned: more than 12 months
Mine is third hand given to me because the prior owner knew I'd clean it up and restore it. I did just that. A few 6EA8s, rebuild the PS, replace a few eletrolytic caps inside and also a few sockets that has lost the spring in the pins. Mine had a
shorting plate load capacitor making it necessary
to disassemble the plate compartment, remove and straighten it out. One tough peice of work was disassembly and cleaning of the VFO tuning mechanics as the feel was bad and twitchy.
Old grease was stiff. Did a full tuneup by the book to insure it was as it sould be. Once it was working I looked up the mods (audio TX and RX and a few others) and applied them. It's a fine radio
and has the 400hz filter as well.

How mine works, after about 15 minutes warm up the stability of the VFO is excellent. I found with a small fan behind it that could be shortend to as little as 5 minutes and the case is generally cooler. The finals are bullet proof and does 100W
without trying hard. sounds good, I get good reports from various endfed wires, tribander, and verticals. Fine old radio and works well.

Gripes, the S-Meter tends to wander off zero despite all the standard fixes applied. Doesn't like 6146Bs (doesn't neutralize correctly on 80m with them). CW keying is horrid slow and all fixes while helpful only make it a better
marginal CW rig.

I gave it a 4 as that says it was a good value for it's day but could have been better in some areas.
Also it's ability to still be working 30 years or so later is a commentary on a good basic design.

NY0K Rating: 4/5 Jul 1, 2007 08:11 Send this review to a friend
Great Starter Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
The secret to how a Hot Water 101 works is the skill behind the builder. I've seen terrible HW's, full of solder blobs and cold joints, and I've seen professional results.

If you're interested in one of these, carefully inspect the assembly work. Look at the electrolytic capacitors -- the original ones may be leaking, and can pop with a loud bang. Make sure the unit dials without binding. The knob belts can crack and break, but replacing them with good o-rings should work fine.

These are excellent for beginning hams, or old-timers looking for some glow-in-the-dark radios. They're tough, forgiving, and are easy to work with. If you need tubes, they are easily found and installed. One of the most common mods is to change the original antenna connection to a PL259-compatable connection.

If you're buying one, make sure the unit comes with the power supply and the cable that goes to the radio. Inspect the power supply with a critical eye.

The unit tunes easily, and has reasonable ears on the receiver. It's not a modern DSP rig, but usually what it hears, it can work. My first contact as KC4UWN was Estonia on 28.400 on a HW-101. I had set everything up, put up a wire antenna, set the rig to that frequency, and turned it on. There was Vello, booming in on 10 meters. Worked him on the first try.
AA5TE Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2006 09:54 Send this review to a friend
Great starter rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
As others have said, its a great starter rig. Easy to work on (with the manual, of course), easy to tune, and tough as nails. A good deal if you can get one for around $150 or less.

This was my first rig as well, had it for over 10 years and never had to change any tubes after the first year. I think it had about 110W out on 80M, about 80W out on 10M. The 400Hz CW filter was excellent.

It is also easily modifiable to add AGC control, sidetone control, a 20kHz RIT control, and other goodies.
N4MWY Rating: 5/5 Aug 25, 2006 17:27 Send this review to a friend
thought it was a great rig when I was a novice operator  Time owned: more than 12 months

It was the first hf rig I ever had.

Bought it used at a hamfest and it was reasonably priced.

Made qsos on it for a while and got good signal reports. Later I sold it.

It would still make a great starter rig.

You won't find any bells or whistles on it but it was simple to operate compared to more modern rigs. You will not find any DSP, adjustable filters on the third intermediate frequency or other knobs or buttons that complicate the process.

Easy to work on.

W7EKB Rating: 5/5 Jul 31, 2006 16:45 Send this review to a friend
Excellent rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first Heathkit transceiver was an SB-100 which I bought from a local school teacher in about 1960 or so. Over the span of a year or so, I upgraded it to what I term an SB-101.5, adding all the updates that Heathkit did to it to make it an SB-101, then some other features. I used it for a couple of years as the driver for a modified BC-610 linear amp to provide 'phone patches via AFMARS to Vietnam and other SEA. I used an external heterodyne oscillator module and the appropriate crystals to operate in the 500 Khz segments above and below the 20 meter band. The SB-101.5 was an excellent rig.
Recently, I bought a basket-case HW-101 from a friend on the internet. I cleaned it up externally, then did a complete electronic restoration and upgrade. This HW-101 has become my main station SSB transceiver. Audio, both transmitting and receiving, is excellent. Power output is around 100 watts on all bands except 10 meters, where it is about 80 watts. The rig is most forgiving of high SWR and other common faults. Tubes are easily found, if, in fact, you ever need any. I replaced V-1, a 6EA8 with a 6GH8A, which really improved the mic gain. I use a Turner Plus 3 microphone with it. I have only two complaints about the rig, and both are easily fixed if I would only take the time: 1) the pitch of the CW sidetone, and thus the off-set, is 1 Khz, which, for me, is much too high. and 2) the Jackson ball drives in my HW-101 are worn out and cause "rough" tuning. Stability from dead cold to warm up is about 100 Hz. After the rig is well warmed up, there is no noticeable drift. I bought the rig for about $50.00, the power supply for around $40.00, and have rebuilt both. In my experience, the HW/SB transceivers are extremely reliable, well thought-out rigs. I certainly could not buy a new transceiver for anywhere near this price. Besides, I find the teeny-tiny readouts and the teeny-tiny knobs difficult for my old body to handle. I use an external frequency counter with my Heathkit rigs and have had no trouble setting my desired operating frequency within the readout limits of my counter. For anyone on a limited budget, the HW-101 or its more expensive cousin, the SB-101 or 102 are impossible to beat.
WB8TNJ Rating: 5/5 Jan 6, 2006 23:16 Send this review to a friend
Great inexpensive rig!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The HW-101, Heathkit's "tank" transceiver. In kit form, they were easy to build and you actually learned something while building them. I've built 2 over the years and owned 3, the 3rd one I still have. As a primary or backup rig, you can't beat them. Don't try to compare them with todays rice boxes, there's no comparison. With the 400hz CW filter, it will do very well in the crowded bands of today. Like any old transceiver, you will have to work on it from time to time. The HW-101 requires you to actually peak and dip the plate current, not like today's "appliance operator" radios! If you are considering buying an HW-101 make sure you get the manual. If you have an HW-101 but not the manual, buy one because you'll need it when working on them. For the price, usually around $150 without the p/s or slightly over $200 with the power supply, you can't beat them. I repair them, along with many other old boat anchor rigs and they're a lot of fun to work on.

(ex WB8TNJ)
WA0TTN Rating: 5/5 Dec 23, 2005 15:17 Send this review to a friend
A great starter radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got mine new around 1978 or so. I was an electronics technician at the time, so I had professional tools and test equipment to build and test it with. I spent a few hours after work each night for a week carefully crafting it and it worked the very first time I powered it up. I had admired this radio for years, and it gave me great service for years afterwards until I went inactive around 1984. I became active again a few years ago, but now have modern solid state gear. I got nostalgic and set the thing up last night and am surprised that it still works, not even any smoke!

I intend to use it occasionally and going back to it after all these years reminded me of what a fantastic radio it was for the money back in those days. It is simple in construction and operation, and as others have mentioned, those dual 6146B's could really take a beating. I remember one time when I had mismatched my antenna and seeing the plates of the tubes glowing orange, but they still worked just fine after that.

I sure did admire the radio when I was a kid and the only way I will ever part with this one is if I can find some aspiring newcomer who needs to borrow a radio from an old Elmer like me. In the meantime, I'll keep the filaments warm and give the old gal a good dusting off more often.
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