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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Heathkit HW-100 Help


Reviews Summary for Heathkit HW-100
Heathkit HW-100 Reviews: 14 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: Heath HF radio
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ZL4XYZ Rating: 4/5 Dec 31, 2013 16:03 Send this review to a friend
Great Fun   Time owned: more than 12 months
I brought a old HW 100 about a year ago. I have great fun with it. I'm a mechanical engineer so have had to do a lot of reading and research to find out how to calibrate and repair this old girl.
I have fitted a new set of finals and have replaced 4 other tubes and a few caps. I did get help from a kind local ham/electrical engineer with the set up.
As a learning tool it is worth its weight in gold.
Mine goes great now, not as good as the 897 but have good qso's with hams on the other side of the world.
 
AD4DQ Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2013 19:59 Send this review to a friend
Fun old rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned a few of these radio in the last 20 years. For the price of them now you can worked some great DX and don't have to pay thousands of dollars to do it. Transmit power is fine at 100 watts. The receive is nice as well. If you can hear the station then you can work it. The only negative I can think about the HW-100 is the poor VFO dial mechanism. I added a Jackson drive to the front of my 100 and she is smooth as a HW-101. I use her all the time and the best was last week working DX to Europe the operator asked me what radio I was on, he said it has beautiful audio. I told him a HW-100, he paused and said, are you serious? I proudly said yes. I love the old tube radios. Pick one up and you will have a blast.
 
K5LG Rating: 3/5 Jun 3, 2008 08:01 Send this review to a friend
good rig back then  Time owned: more than 12 months
I used this rig during college in mid 60s, someone in physics lab had built it and not done a real good job. One thing I remember is the main tuning knob slipping. Had fun using it in physics lab with a hb multiband bamboo gp on top of the building.
 
KE5KXU Rating: 5/5 Nov 26, 2007 16:59 Send this review to a friend
A great old rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I received my HW 101 in 1968 as a kit for Christmas when I was 11 years old. It took me about a month to build, and I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours listening and talking to folks around the country and world. My activity in HAM radio died off in the early 70's as cars and girls came along. The radio was stored away. I ran into it about 2 years ago, and was shocked when I powered it up and after 40 years of sitting in a closet it powered up and is working like a champ. It has taken a space next to my modern rigs and is still working as well as it did 40+ years ago.

If you want an old classic, I can not recommend a Heath Kit HW 101 strong enough.
 
W3TUA Rating: 5/5 Jul 5, 2007 17:36 Send this review to a friend
Old Faithful  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned two of these rigs during my time as a ham over the past 23 years. The first one was used as a receiver alongside my HT-32 transmitter. It did a great job. I ended up selling it when I received a Kenwood TS-520S for Christmas.

Fast forward about ten years later and I ended up paying $80 for another one at a hamfest. It was all I had for HF so there was nothing to compare it to at the time. All I know is I made plenty of CW and SSB QSO's without fail for a few years before finally coming into the "semiconductor age" with an Icom 718. Of course, the 718 blew it away but I will never forget the reliable old tube rig that gave me countless hours of enjoyment.

I'll buy another one if I can find a decent one at a hamfest.

73,

Korey--W3TUA
 
W3GW0NNB Rating: 5/5 Aug 7, 2006 17:23 Send this review to a friend
A lot of fun!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently picked up an HW-100 at the BRATS Hamfest and have spent the past 2 weeks playing with it. A few "dry" solder joints, and a couple of easy-to-replace capacitors later, it's up and running with plenty of power into the dummy load.

The tuning mechanism leaves something to be desired though, but the rest of the controls are well placed and easy to tweak, unlike the output stages of my old Yesu 901DM, which seemed to take forever to tune up.

These things apparently need constant tweaking, but the audio is great, and with the SSB and CW filter installed (apparently a rare Heatkit mod),
received signals are just as good. No noticeable drift after 5 mins warmup, which is a testament to the Heatkit design and tube choices.

All in all, I would reccomend it to someone new who wants to learn what real radio is about, or someone tired of all the bells and whistles of the YaeKenIcom grey boxes that if something goes wrong with you have to ship back.

Complexity isn't all its cracked up to be...
 
WA0ZZG Rating: 3/5 Jan 1, 2006 08:49 Send this review to a friend
Inexpensive starter radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The HW-100 was the one I drooled over in Highschool. When a neighboring ham had one available, I couldn't pass up the restore. After a good cleaning, some filter caps, a tube,some alignment, it was back on the air. The receiver has lots of gain and the transmitter does a little more than 100W. It came with a HP-23A power supply that came up nicely with a variac. Added a 3-wire cord to it. Runs cool. No hum.
Complaints: Terrible tuning system. VFO doesn't drift that much, but the dial hookup is poorly designed. The carrier osc crystals are a little off frequency and no way to bring them back. Makes
LSB sound pinched and USB sound muddy. The SSB crystal filer has a very poor shape factor. Lets a lot of high frequency QRM/QRN leak through. Distorted audio. It appears this is because the carrier osc doesn't provide enough signal to the product detector. Still a fine old standard and glad to FINALLY have one on my operating table.
Now I can move on.
Dave....
 
WA0TTN Rating: 4/5 Mar 2, 2004 02:32 Send this review to a friend
A great rig in its day  Time owned: more than 12 months
This review is for the HW-101. I was licensed in 1968 in high school and had wanted one of these very economical line of transceivers for many years. When I graduated college, got employed, and finally able to afford one in about 1976, I bought the HW-101 kit. I had worked my way through college as an electronics assembler and graduated with a BS in eletrical engineering technology. As an electrical engineer with technician background, I was very fortunate to have the skills and the tools to build my HW-101 to perfection. I only mention this because I have to agree that many of the HW-10x units were probably ham-fisted (no pun intended) together and likely of marginal resale value today.

I used my HW-101 for about 10 years, on and off, and always had excellent results. I had to replace the dual 6146B's in 1984, and the common problem of the CW filter switch lever breaking off happened as well. But otherwise the radio has more than lived up to my dreams.

I moved on to a modern Kenwood TS-440S in the late 1980's, but have kept the '101 with me. I unpacked it a few months ago, fired it up, and made several very nice contacts on 20 meter SSB. I have to say that after all these years, it is a thrill to revisit the past. But... By today's standards, the old '101 is definitely a dinosaur. It's pretty cool to use a vintage radio, but it can't hold a candle to the performance of modern radio gear. I would love to try a vintage Collins station, or the higher class Heathkit SB line to see how those radios compare. But the HW-101 was definitely the Model-T, i.e. the transceiver for the working-class amateur, of its day.

I still love my HW-101 and will never part with it. Although it's not a great performer by todays standards, or even in it's day compared to the higher end transceivers, it is still a fine radio and squarely hit the main market at the time.
 
KD7KOY Rating: 2/5 Apr 3, 2003 15:41 Send this review to a friend
Time Machine..  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had a HW-100 and a HW-101..Spent more time on the bench than on the air.
First one thing and then another until they ended up at the landfill.
Of course, these are "kits"...and not made (at least most of the time) by compentent techs.
Connect the dot type thing.
If you have the time, knowledge, patience and equipment to troubleshoot, then a good one to burn some time on.
Thats why I call them "time machines"..: )
If not, then get a good tested rig. You will spend the same money by the time it's over..

 
W2PA Rating: 3/5 Sep 10, 2002 22:25 Send this review to a friend
Basic transceiver that can be had for a song  Time owned: more than 12 months
Ok, I had to chime in on the "Hot Water" 100 since I built one in 1970. My first sideband rig and first transceiver, I used it as my main rig for 10 years or so, in DXing, contests, traffic handling - very actively - and I still have it today (how can I sell something I built with my own two hands at age 15?).

As a transciever of that era, the rig is a good sideband rig, a usable CW rig and can take abuse (believe it or not). You can make it better on CW by adding the CW filter, but it'll take some doing since the hardware to mount it and switch it in and out is not there - it was added on the '101. You can do it by picking up a junker '101 or SB-series transceiver. Even with the filter though, it'll never be as good as separates of that time period (such as the Drake line). Like any Heathkit, the performance and quality of the rig is dependent on how much care went into building it. When aligned properly it's a reasonably sensitive receiver and a transmitter with good audio quality and CW keying. It's basically an SB-101 without the 1-kHz readout dial drive and fewer options and extra features. You can get them in good shape very cheaply and get on the air - but not the WARC bands. No RIT, or other receiver features that have become standard either.

The dial mechanism on the 100 is unique. It's a really funky plastic planetary gear arrangement where the knob, which snaps onto the collar, pinches down on a flexible cup-shaped gear that meshes with one in the mount and turns the shaft. It's fairly flimsy and prone to backlash. Within a year of building mine, I got fed up and replaced the whole main tuning knob assembly with the Swan dial drive and knob set (you could order them direct from Swan back then). I remember that several hams had done this - that's how I got the idea - and you see them once in a while on eBay. If you do, grab it since it'll probably be a collector's item, not to mention the fact that it's a better dial drive than in the HW-101, where Heath fixed the problem by replacing that plastic thing with a real ball bearing drive mechanism.

Another thing to watch for on these rigs is the O-rings that link the front panel controls to tuning capacitors in the preselector and final amplifier. They often dry out, crack, and break. There are several places to get replacements though -not a big deal.

One big plus on these rigs is that they're very easy to work on. Everything is in the open and easy to get to. And despite the statements here about tube sockets on the PC boards (all true), mine has taken a lot of punishment over the years and is still working with its original parts. Not bad.

I gave it a 3, grading on a curve (so to speak), because it's relative to other transceivers of its time. In comparison, a TR-4 would be a 5 and an Eico 753 would be a 1. I suppose an SB-102 would then be a 4. Taking price into account would raise its score considerably.
 
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