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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Heathkit shortwave radio GR-64 Help

Reviews Summary for Heathkit shortwave radio GR-64
Heathkit shortwave radio GR-64 Reviews: 21 Average rating: 2.9/5 MSRP: $45.00
Description: 1.5mhz-30mhz includes local AM band receives in AM mode only. Tube radio.
Product is not in production.
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You can write your own review of the Heathkit shortwave radio GR-64.

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W2MV Rating: 3/5 May 3, 2009 18:26 Send this review to a friend
My First Ham Receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first ham receiver. I purchased it with money my father gave me, at the Heathkit store on 45th St in Manhattan. It did not work on my first attempt at building it...then again I didn't know a lot about soldering. I brought it back to the Heath store and a very nice man, "Robert the technician", showed me the problems with the work I did.
I went home and re-soldered the whole thing, clipped off excess leads, and voila! worked. My Xmtr was a Knight T-150A purchased at Harrison's Washington's birthday annual sale.
I rated this as a "3", because to me at the time, this was a "good" receiver. Had lots of fun until I got my next RX at Harrison which was a Star SR-700E...a cadillac!
My only regret is that I got rid of it eventually.
N2CYY Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2007 12:57 Send this review to a friend
This little radio brings back GREAT memories  Time owned: more than 12 months
The GR-64 was the first Heathkit I ever built. I was in my teens in the late 60's. I remember excitedly opening the box and spreading all the parts bags out on the table, borrowing a cupcake pan from my mother, and plugging in the soldering iron. It flunked the "smoke" test the first 2 times I plugged it in and cracked a resistor both times. At that point I contacted Heath in Benton Harbor and received very patient advice as to where the problem was, and lo and behold, my "operator" error was quickly fixed. When I plugged it back in and held my breadth as the dial light came on and tubes started to glow, out from the speaker came the most glorious ( to my ears ) music with no smoke, burning smell, or popping noises. Thus began my love affair with Heathkits, SWL'ing, and eventually ham radio. Sure the GR-64 was not best SW receiver out there but for a young kid with limited cash, it opened up a whole magical world. I remember sitting in the dark, the radio glowing, peering at the dial with my headphones on and listening as carefully as I could for the SW DX stations I was hunting for with my trusty copy of the WRTVH. I logged more than 100 countries heard and have QSL cards from over 50 of them ( which I still have in an album ). I am still active in ham radio and have better equipment now. But, as I recall the listening experiences I enjoyed hunched over the radio furiously writing program notes to include with my signal report, I realize, that the warm sense of happiness and feeling of wonder I experienced, can never quite be equaled.
W3DBB Rating: 3/5 Jul 23, 2005 07:00 Send this review to a friend
barebones receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a GR-64 kit in March of 1971, near the end of the production run, for $42.50 plus $2.00 for shipping and handling. Those were the days.

I was 13 years old at the time and was graduating (or so I thought) from my father's old Heathkit AR-2 communications receiver he assembled way back in 1954.

As I recall, dad assembled the printed circuit board on the GR-64 and I did the mechanical assembly and point-to-point wiring.

The thing worked right away on the dining room table with a short length of wire for an antenna. I remember hearing the 10 meter AMers right there where we assembled the thing.

Later on I got fancy and put up a 60 meter folded dipole built from 300 Ohm twin-lead. My best catch was hearing The Gambia on 4820 kc/s. That particular station is long gone.

The thing was plagued with images 910 kc (2 x 455 kc i.f.) above the nominal frequency and the audio from the built-in speaker was scratchy. However, using a decent set of dynamic headphones provides much better audio.

After a couple of years, I moved up to an Allied-Radio Shack SX-190 receiver, which really kicked my shortwave listening hobby to a higher level.

Now, nearly 35 years later, the GR-64 and SX-190 still work. The GR-64 still has it's original Mullard/IEC tubes.

The AR-2 needs some work, but would really make an interesting gift for Dad (now 76 years old), although I know he would seldom turn it on.
VE4HAM Rating: 3/5 Jul 23, 2005 00:18 Send this review to a friend
Ah, Give The Little Thing a Break :)  Time owned: more than 12 months
Oh, I don't know, I still have that little GR 64 and gets loads of signals, doesn't really drift much after warm up because it got a niftly little geared tuner. I didn't like that cw circuit regenerating the IF tube, so built a proper bfo, and built in a one FET preselector much later with 20 db gain. The thing really hums along picking anything I can get on my digital portable, however I could never get the dial tracked "dead" on. Ah well, some Heathkit designer must have whipped this up on a Friday afternoon just before closing time, and so the results, haste makes waste. :)There was an easy solution to the poor AM...easy fix to ANY ferrite rod radio, add a piece of ferrite rod next to it either gluing it or taping it beside it. Instant DX gain ....from an old trick from a radio fix it book.
N7EKX Rating: 2/5 Jul 14, 2005 18:43 Send this review to a friend
Nostalgia Lane  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built one of these drifty tube radios back in 1969, not because I really wanted to, but because I was so poor (as a teenager) that I couldn't afford anything else! Let's face it-- most of the buiders were in the same boat as I was. The only thing cheaper than the GR-64 were the really nasty regenerative jobs... Anyway, the radio looked fairly nice, and worked (after a fashion) the first time I turned it on. With the Cold War at its peak, there were plenty of multi-megawatt broadcasters ready to force signals through the GR-64's deaf front end, so you could actually receive something once in a while (if you were lucky). I discovered that if you grabbed the AM rod antenna with a death grip, the AM sensitivity would suddenly increase by 1000% (medium wave only- sorry!). I see these sorry radios coming up all the time on eBay, but they only remind me of drifty tuning, accidental shocks, a deaf front end... and the cold war. Even for a broke teenager, I knew that there had to be better options. When I went in the Navy during Vietnam war, my parents apparently sent the GR-64 to the local landfill, which saved me the need of taking it there myself. In summary, the GR-64 really makes you appreciate almost any other shortwave receiver..
KZ1X Rating: 5/5 Apr 22, 2005 10:53 Send this review to a friend
ear trainer, and a LOT more  Time owned: more than 12 months
A cub scout buddy of mine gave me my GR-64 when we were both 10 years old or so, I'd guess it was 1971. My childhood friend had gotten it from his uncle, who built it, but didn't finish it.

Mine didn't work any better than any of the other ones mentioned here. Maybe worse.

On the other hand, because it didn't work well and it was all I had, I learned a LOT from it ... mostly, how to listen. The most important part of any receiver is the part between your ears, and that component only works well after it has been trained.

To this day I can discern a signal in noise that others simply cannot decorrelate.

The GR-64 had a partcularly leaky and strong L.O. ... which made for a GREAT signal generator to test other radios with! My first piece of test equipment! It's all in how you look at it.

"IF Filtering?" "Q?" "Audio output matching?" "Power supply ripple?" "Schematic diagrams?" "Cold war politics?" All thse things and MUCH more were taught to me by an old and partially-built Heathkit, and lots of hours of tinkering (and a few shocks from the B+ and the AC line, both exposed). If a 12 year old boy can't break it, it can't be broken.

Today I am almost 44 and have had a rewarding career in electronics communications engineering. I've been very successful. I owe some guy in Benton Harbor a lunch.

No doubt my old GR-64 is now in some landfill, somewhere. If you find it and dig it up, plug it in.

I bet it still works.
AH6FC Rating: 0/5 Apr 22, 2005 07:10 Send this review to a friend
It depends  Time owned: more than 12 months
Boy, I was shocked to see a review of this receiver...amzing. This was my first receiver in 1967 - 68. My Dad bought it for me, believing this would be a great receiver. Even before I knew better I quickly discovered it wasn't very good. Before I had my license the power xformer burned up; it took me 6 months to get another one from Heathkit. Nevertheless, I used this receiver, along with a Allied/Knight kit T-150 (great shack huh!) for a year, until I got my general. I guess I did work 20+ states and a couple countries. Generally on 40 meters and 15 meter novice bands. Sensitivity was fine for megawatt short wave stations. Selectivity...what selectivity. I guess for the time it wasn't bad, or maybe it was. The original cost was about $45, the HR-10 was light-years beyond the GR-64, but who had any $$ then? Anyhow, it brings back memories of the "good ole days."

I wish I still had all of that old stuff now. I was so glad to dump it because it was so bad, hi hi.

73's, Bill
N4KZ Rating: 2/5 Apr 22, 2005 06:59 Send this review to a friend
Good first project but...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Oh where do I start? I built this kit in my pre-ham days -- probably 1967. I was 12. It was my first such project. When finished, I turned it on and it came on but no audio. I attached an antenna and began tuning around. I could see the S meter moving but still no audio. I took the cabinet off and immediately spotted a soldering mistake on the speaker wires of all things! A quick resolder and I was in business.

As shortwave receivers go, it wasn't very good but it did introduce me to the world of SWLing which would lead me to a novice ticket in 1969. I am still active and passionate about radio all these years later.

I foolishly sold my GR-64 several years ago. Gee, I regret that. A few months ago, my wife and I went to a radio and TV museum in Huntington, W.Va. and there was a GR-64 there. That took me back to my youth. It was also sobering to see gear I owned and built from a kit in a museum!

I still remember the day I accidentally discovered that when I tuned across 40 meters with the BFO on that I could tune in SSB signals! It took me months to discover that. Previously, I only listened to 40 meter hams on AM phone. Nobody told me I could tune in SSB by using the BFO!

This really brings back memories. If I ever find a clean GR-64, I could see my buying it for the sake of nostalgia.

73, Dave, N4KZ
WE8Q Rating: 3/5 Apr 22, 2005 06:16 Send this review to a friend
I loved it way back when!  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first receiver as a new Novice class licensee. I used it with a homebrew transmitter that I made made from salvaged TV carcasses that I got from the local TV repair shop (yes, they actually repaired TV sets in those days). It was 1965 and it was all that I could afford. It was a challenge to say the least but I loved it.
K8EO Rating: 1/5 Apr 22, 2005 04:49 Send this review to a friend
He's Right  Time owned: more than 12 months
Time Owned: a Gazillion years.

W2PA hit the nail on the head with this Rcvr.
I won't repeat all his evaluations but they are 100% correct. I get better selectivity
from a diode hooked up to a wire & headfones than with this thing...
Man, it's poor to say the least. I also built one at around age 11, but didnt have a ham license.
Good thing, cuz if I would have used this appliance as my companion ham receiver I could easly get so fustrated that I would have given up on the hobby. Congrats to W2PA for the courage to do so!

Most that you find for sale have a cracked front glass, very common. Most don't work; even more common.

Don't but this thing thinking that your getting a quality Gen coverage rcvr., but for occasional listing to 1000 Megawatt short wave xmitters located next door it will work. Sort of...

A piece of something that looks better than it works.

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