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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Vintage amateur | Heathkit HR-10B Help


Reviews Summary for Heathkit HR-10B
Heathkit HR-10B Reviews: 28 Average rating: 2.9/5 MSRP: $89.95
Description: The Heathkit Model HR-10B Basic Amateur Band Receiver is designed for use as a high-performance economical station receiver. Frequency coverage of the Receiver includes the amateur bands, 80 through 10 meters, only. Each band is separately calibrated on a large easy-to-read slide-rule dial. The dial is illuminated and provides approximately 6 inches of bandspread for each band.

The receiver features a signal strength "S" meter, a front panel dial calibration control that operates in conjunction with the 100 kc crystal calibrator provisions (optional), a tuned RF amplifier stage, a crystal filter (2 pole), and an automatic noise limiter circuit.
Product is not in production.
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YS1RS Rating: 4/5 Oct 29, 2016 10:29 Send this review to a friend
Good newbie receiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
As previously said this receiver can not be compared with higher end receivers of its era like Drake 2B or Collins.
Will be crazy and unfair to compare it to a modern receiver too.
It is a Ham Radio only, entry level, entry price level receiver and does its job well as a learning platform and first receiver for the lower budget ham newbie.
That's it!
It works good in its intended role!

Yes, almost deaf on 10 meters but good enough on the lower bands.
I have one and like to exercise my self tuning on rag chews, just trying not to forget how it was done in the old days and see how things have improved since.
I am not that old as these Heathkits are before my time but love history.
The Crystal calibrator helps yes. Try to get one if you don't have it.
That is all you can do to improve it, want more?
Get a good antenna instead.
Mods out there? Many and good to excellent ones that will improve it make it stable, selective, improve higher bands etc.!
Just remember you will end up with a totally different receiver... no longer a real HR-10B.
Instead of heavily modding it and spend a lot of money in the process, my personal preference would be to buy a better receiver.
I'm the type of guy that keeps everything original and enjoy it that way unless is a factory recommended mod to correct a small flaw.
For all of you who still have one of these HR-10B and love it, keep them alive, give them some respect for what they are and were designed for, warm them up as often as possible.
Do you really believe you will have a today's modern YaeKenIcom working after 50 years in the future?
As soon as one of these consumable modern electronic marvels fail after 10 years of use, you barely find spare parts for it, proprietary chips are no longer being made, etc.
Your Heathkit HR-10B will still be there working as always with simple basic care.
No planned obsolescence was programmed in these old boatanchors.
I do have a modern rig yes. Use it for digital modes, a quick DX with a rare station, small and portable and enjoy the bells and whistles that comes with it, yes!
Also understand I will have to replace it in a few years too... the digital display recently failed but still was able to find a replacement for it.
Funny... While I was replacing the display and had the radio with all its guts open... my HR-10B was faithfully working on 20 meters, sounding great and nice as the first day its kit builder finished it and fired it up on his workbench 50 years ago.
I can imagine the builder's face lighting up in delight and all his glory after a good job done putting it together.
A long lasting satisfaction no modern rig can provide.
73,
YS1RS
 
K6SIK Rating: 5/5 Feb 20, 2016 10:08 Send this review to a friend
Simple and Fun  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The HR-10B was an entry level Novice Receiver. It was priced at $79.95 which was significantly less than any commercial rig. It provides adequate Ham Band coverage and when coupled with their Q-multiplier has very good sensitivity and selectivity.

It was a huge improvement over the AR-3 and had much better selectivity.

It is fun to use, simple to maintain and align. Even today, it provides a new operator a great opportunity to learn the basics of receiver design, construction, alignment and maintenance

For the money, it is an outstanding receiver. It cannot be compared to a modern receiver nor to one of the pricey older rigs. It did its job and provided an inexpensive entry to the hobby.

You can spend a lot more money and not get a receiver that is all that much much better.

A lot of fun in a simple package. A keeper, especially for CW rag chews.

 
AD4U Rating: 3/5 Jan 6, 2016 11:34 Send this review to a friend
OK For What It Was Intended To Be  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have been hamming over 50 years. I have "worked them all" and wanted a new challenge. About 5 years ago I set up a station using a Drake 2B receiver and a 50 watt Drake 2NT transmitter. In 5 years on 40M CW I worked 293 countries. Looking for another challenge I acquired my first HR-10B only a few months ago. I bought the matching DX-60 transmitter. The HR-10B definitely is no Drake 2B as far as performance is concerned, but it is OK on 40M CW. In the past 4 weeks I have worked 27 countries with the HR-10B and DX-60 on 40M CW. I imagine it will take a bit longer to work DX countries using the HR-10B, but I am giving it my best shot. I will try to remember to report back on my progress in 6 months or so.
 
WG9O Rating: 5/5 Jan 6, 2016 07:29 Send this review to a friend
Great Memories  Time owned: more than 12 months
It never really mattered to me how well the receiver worked. The kit was a fantastic learning experience. I learned about superhet, LRC, tuning, frontend alignment, and how to solder! Iím an old ham at 71 and I still own an HR10B as a reminder of how far we have come.
 
K5MYJ Rating: 3/5 Jan 12, 2015 07:50 Send this review to a friend
OK for what it is!  Time owned: more than 12 months
You people are missing the point of the HR-10.

This receiver was meant as an entry level unit for a low price. You compare it tor receivers like the Drake 2B. That's not a fair comparision. I think it is better than any low end Hallicrafters. I spent my Novice year (1957/58) with a S-38. The HR-10 is definatly better than a S-38.

How many low cost kit receivers were there in the 1960? Not many.

 
WA6JGM Rating: 3/5 Dec 17, 2014 14:43 Send this review to a friend
It was my first love.....hate relationship  Time owned: more than 12 months
I threw a lot of news papers during the summer of 1969 and bought one. I spent a week putting the kit together and powered it up....it came to life!
Did it drift?....yep
Harsh sounding audio?....yep
Pretty much deaf on 15 and 10 meters?....yep
To a 14 year old novice with a DX-40, two rocks for 40 and one for 80, spending many hours pounding brass and constant tweaking the controls on that HR-10......priceless
 
WB3T Rating: 3/5 Aug 26, 2013 22:51 Send this review to a friend
Good in its class  Time owned: more than 12 months
Wow, I am surprised at all the bad reviews on this neat little radio. Like so many other novices I upgraded to one of these from a real piece of junk, a Realistic Globe Patrol regen. To me, this was a beautiful radio and I just loved it. It was so much more stable than I was used to back in 1975. I got mine a few months before I had my ticket so I did a lot of listening that summer and fall. I have nothing but great memories of the HR-10B.

True enough that many years down the road I have owned and use many far better radios, but come on people, let's be fair. I see a few reviews suggesting a Collins or Hammarlund instead. But these are not in the same price class! If I had held out for one of those I would have had a much longer wait to get on the air. I got my HQ-170 much later. Yes, an amazing radio, but out of reach for me in '75. The HR-10B was there for me and did a nice job.

I spent many, many all-nighters with a second-hand homebrew crystal controlled 35-Watt TX and my used HR-10B. Total cost of the station all up was under $100. I used it for several years before I upgraded my station.

I'm rating the 10B a 3 because for its price class it did was it should have. I just bought a used one just to hear that familiar old sound again and I'm glad I did. Now that I'm an OM of 60 and a ham of 38 years, plus a retired radio engineer, I am so much more capable of wringing out of my current 10B better performance and I do have reasonable, certainly usable sensitivity on 10 and 15 meters. And on 80 and 40, where I once ragchewed myself silly as a young ham, I set the controls just right and get a nice stable signal on CW or SSB with that pleasant familiar tone.

So don't be too eager to knock this entry-level rx that was the doorway to ham radio for so many. In my book it was a good performer. I turn mine on, look at the glow of the tubes shining out the top, listen in on a QSO or three including Q5 copy from Europe, and just grin. My original log books are stuffed with Qs so it must have done something right. And the memories of those all-nighters on 40 meters are priceless.
 
KK5R Rating: 3/5 Feb 21, 2011 15:19 Send this review to a friend
OK for its vintage  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I grew up on the Amazon 1955-1960 and had no ham license. I was always interested in ham radio, though. First radio was a Boy Scout 2-tube 1T4/3S4 regen with plug-in coils that I built and it proved to be very good. At the same time, I had a Hallicrafters S-38D that ran on the city DC power that fluctuated from about 100V to a bit over 160V and it worked well until one day it went feet up. Since then, I worked my way up in Heathkits from an HW-7 to an Argonaut 505 in the QRP area but finally built HW-101/HW-102 and an SB-102. After all that, built an HW-104 that was upgraded to the SB-104 with all the bells and whistles. I later got a Heath twins with the solid state receiver and transmitter but today use a Yaesu FT-450AT and keep an excellent FT-757GXII for mobile purposes.

Through the years I have suckered myself into buying several older radios such as the Conar Twins but soon let them go to others who wanted them more. I used an HR-10 for a while after tuning up a bit and found it typical of a radio of that era although the Hallicrafters S-38D out-performed it for sensitivity and general stability plus the 38D had a little more professional look. Still, though, the HR-10B left me with a substantial reward in the ham's lore of being there in spirit and using a radio that at one time was about as good as most novices could go for and use to some degree.

I believe that it is sensitive enough considering what it is and if it is optimized as much as possible. However, I suggest that many who used it in the past and were left with poor opinions of it, and this is easy to do when comparing with more modern radios, there may have been other reasons for not liking the radio.

Most important to a ham station is the antenna. If the antenna is poor, it will reflect on the station whether in transmitting or receiving. Therefore, many may have been practically unable to afford a good antenna as much as not being able to afford a good receiver available at that time. Many may look back and realized now that the antenna, feedline, tuning, etc., may have been factors in the poor reception.

A good consideration of a station of that era is that it taught many to be good CW operators in being able to sort out several signals heard at the same time. This was an old problem even with the pioneers of radio. Being able to selectively hear one CW tone out of as many as half a dozen is not something many can do today. It sorts out the novices of CW today with the professionals of CW operation.

The bottom line is that many should see the HR-10B and other early radios, even the HW-7/8's, and now radios such as the MFJ Cubs are like training wheels in CW. Today, however, we have great radios for beginners and while many will pay for an expensive rig and never use the "training wheels" of radio, there is still a place for them even if only for feeling what many beginners contended with in the 50's and 60's.

Anyway, it still looks good on an operating table when paired with a transmitter of that era. Being able to use them means you have been there, done that even if only in ability. So, there is still a place for such radios.

By the way, one was offered on the Internet for $125 lately (02/2011) and it was working and looked terrific. At least it can be a good investment if you are thinking of starting your own Ham Radio Museum.
 
WA8SDF Rating: 3/5 Oct 20, 2010 09:41 Send this review to a friend
It gets better as the memory gets worse  Time owned: more than 12 months
I traded a non-functional BC-348 and $25 back in 1965 for a very used HR-10. I used it with a DX-20 and later an Apache & SB10 combo. It was a great rig for a novice. Especially one with just a VOM for test gear. It was easy to align, using the 100kc xtal calibrator. 15 and 10 were a challenge, but occasionally did work DX there. (DX back then was anyone on the west coast!) I really did not know how bad the HR-10 was until I used a Drake 2B in college. I just thought that the HR-10 was what all receivers were like. It was great, because it taught me how to copy through QRM, which paid off later in contesting. I still own it and the DX-20. A few years ago, I restored the power supply and aligned it with real test gear. It still sucks on the higher bands, but hey, to a 14-15 yr old, it was a great radio.
 
WD8AQS Rating: 4/5 Sep 16, 2010 21:08 Send this review to a friend
A blast from the past.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
My first ham receiver back in the 70's was an HR-10. Combined with a DX-60 I made plenty of contacts with it as a novice. Next stop was a Heathkit HW-16.
Some 35 years later with, winter approaching, I needed an electric heated for the shack and found an HR-10, cheap but in good shape. I checked the tubes, touched up a few dull solder joints. Was built quite well. Tweaked and peaked with a Triplet sig generator so that each bands dial is accurate with plenty of sensitivity. The RF gain control is needed on this radio. I was even able to pick up some 10 meter beacons. It is one of the easiest radios to align. For what it was designed for, an inexpensive entry level receiver, it does a good job.
There are several mods to improve the osc and bfo stability but I think I will leave this one stock. Replacing the 6X4 tube with diodes may be the best mod, making the B+ supply more stable and is also easier on the transformer.
Used a little wax off an old paper capacitor on the dial cord to keep it from slipping.
Overall its a fun, easy to use American made receiver.
 
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