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

Reviews Summary for Heathkit HW-101
Heathkit  HW-101 Reviews: 47 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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SA3AYF Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2011 08:08 Send this review to a friend
Built like a tank, drives like one too...  Time owned: more than 12 months
My dad had one in the early 70:s and when I becam a ham I had to buy one for nostalgic reasons.
Found a radio in near mint for less than $180 and plugged it in with no expectations really.
I normally use my IC-756 Pro and like many others I am used to push a button and just go...

I was really positively suprised !

Audio on recieve is great, sensitivity too and the handling of strong signals versus
weak is actually better than a lot of the solid-state radios in the same price range !

There is some drift in frequency, especially from a "cold" start and it takes some time
to get used to the set-up procedures. Nothing is automatic here and it is a very hands-on
mechanical experience to drive this thing. One thing is for sure, it will definately
outlast all other radios I own by far!

Finally, the vintage feel and the warm glow from the tubes along with the fantastic audio
makes this a very good solid radio, and the small trix and quirks is just part of the experience.
I love it and it will probably outlast me as well...! :-)
VA3AEX Rating: 4/5 Dec 20, 2010 21:41 Send this review to a friend
Fun old rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Picked mine up at a hamfest, and it came with the manual, original receipts, and PS. It needed the electrolytic capacitors and a few tubes replaced, and the relay contacts and switches cleaned. The original builder did a great job as all the wiring and soldering was neatly done.

My experience with the rig is limited to making several phone contacts on each of the following bands: 80M, 40M, 20M, and 15M. On the plus side all the controls are straight forward/self explanatory, and it has good sensitivity. On the negative side, with only two filters to chose from selectivity suffers during crowded band conditions, and the rig drifts for about 20 min. before stabilizing.

I'm giving it a '4' as it is a simple and fun rig, and while it may not compare well against the performance of modern rigs it was a reasonable performer for its time, and the glow and warmth of the tubes give it a lot of character.
N1DZ Rating: 5/5 Dec 17, 2010 20:21 Send this review to a friend
My First HF rig.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built the HW 101 in the early eighties. It was my first HF rig. It is a great radio to modify and experiment with. It is very simple, easy to work on and impossible to destruct. I used the HW101 for over 7 years and it performed great. My HW 101 is now 30 years old and I fire it up once a year during straight key night. It still works well but you cannot compare its performance to any modern rig. Still I am convinced even at 30 years my HW101 will outlast many modern radios as it is a true survivor imposible to kill. Cheers to my old friend the HW 101. I give you a 5 for nostalgia but you are really a 3.
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.

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