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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Heathkit SB-303 Help

Reviews Summary for Heathkit SB-303
Heathkit SB-303 Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $389
Description: Solid state ham band receiver, integrates with the rest of Heathkit SB-line
Product is not in production.
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NO9E Rating: 4/5 May 8, 2004 18:35 Send this review to a friend
Pretty good after minor mods  Time owned: more than 12 months
I got one used. Bad intermod on 40m and poor sensititivity on 15-10m but very good AGC and not bad SSB and CW filters. Needed alignment, attenuator for 40m, and post-crystal_filter amplifier for sensitivity. After that, I liked it very much. Sensitivity as good as any on all bands, and a real DX digger on 80m.
Ignacy, NO9E
WA2DYA Rating: 3/5 May 8, 2004 13:35 Send this review to a friend
It's OK BUT--  Time owned: more than 12 months
Very frequently described on EBay as 'Heath's Crown Jewel', 'Heath's finest receiver', etc. Well, it's not!

My receiver doesn't perform well when the bands are crowded and signals are strong. It has poor dynamic range. It sure is sensitive enough; maybe too sensitive. The front panel RF attenuator helps but is not a good answer to the problem. I have seen some actual measurements that confirm my observations.

I don't like the 'tub' style chassis layout. It is difficult to reach in there to service the unit from the top. If you don't have the extender cards, trouble shooting the circuit cards from the bottom is a nightmare. Even with these, it's still not easy because you must extract the switch shafts.

On that subject, the wafer switches are easily broken during servicing. Their mechanical alighment is poor and extreme care is required to get everything right.

Why do EBay bidders go 'Bonkers' over these things?

W4SPF Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2004 19:04 Send this review to a friend
My First Station  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built my first Heathkit in 1977, an SB-303 and then matched it up with an SB-401. The LMO's provided flexibility of split operation. Then I built the SB200, the autopatch, and the Station Monitor scope. I found a Heathkit Spectrum analyzer at a swap and hooked that up too. I built the electronic keyer, the SWR/Watt Meter and then devised my own Ultimate Transmatch and made it look like a Heathkit product. Great station for the time and I made contacts all over the world for years with that station. Then Heathkit's sunset departure left us with no more kits to build. That was a sad day for me and I imagine others too. Long live Heathkit. Gone but not forgotten. Great rigs and lots of hams sure cut our teeth on building these beauties. We learned construction, reading schematics and most of all we maintained our own rigs. Their selectivity and power were amoung the best of the day and I really enjoyed using that station.

K8WV Rating: 5/5 Aug 9, 2003 20:38 Send this review to a friend
If built correctly - GREAT  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built one of these about 1972. It worked very well for me. I later added an SB-102 transceiver to the station and could use the 303 LMO to control the 102 as a second "VFO." I could not receive on the 303 and transmit on the 102 using the 303 LMO because the frequency shifted a bit, but there was no problem (obviously) using the 303 and 102 separately. All-in-all a great receiver.

Look inside before you buy!
AH6G Rating: 5/5 Oct 12, 2002 19:57 Send this review to a friend
The receiver of the SB-line  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've never built one but I own 5. I bought the first over 20 years ago at Dayton. It didn't work well so I put it on the shelf.

Recently I acquired another as a fix-up project. I cleaned up #2 and was amazed at the performance. I dragged out old #1 which still disappointed. After several weeks of debugging the radios, I discovered that #1 was built without the LMO to Mixer feedthrough capacitor.

Since then, I've refurbed 4 SB-303's and have compared them to more modern rigs. 1 kHz readout, stable LMO, good (but not great) xtal filters, strong audio, 3 IF amps, .25 uV sensitivity.

The real trick is to align the LMO mechanicals. Once you do that, you have a great ham band receiver.

One SB-303 that came my way has two Heathkit SSB fliters cascaded. It hears better than the others, this is a worthwhile modification.
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