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

Reviews Summary for Heathkit HR-10B
Heathkit HR-10B Reviews: 22 Average rating: 2.6/5 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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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.
K4YZ Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2010 04:35 Send this review to a friend
I Loved My HR-10B  Time owned: more than 12 months
My HR-10B was the second item I built, the first being a 6146-based 80/40M CW transmitter from the 1970 Handbook.

My dad had me mount several old TV sockets and terminal strips on a plank of wood and practice soldering first, and it was a wise move. Once I had those down pat, he let me open the box from Heath!

It took me about ten days to put it together, and when I first turned it on, it worked! Some assistance from some 'old timers' (no older than I am now, I dare say!), and it was aligned and in my 'shack'! (Actually the utility room of the mobile home we lived in!)

I had two 80 meter crystals and one 40M rock, but rarely strayed off of 80. The -10B wasn't anywhere as selective or sensitive as the RME-6900 receiver we had at the club station at school, but I spent many a cold Ohio night pulling Q's out of the static with that rig.

I sure do wish someone had bought up the rights to Heath's Amateur line and kept the tradition going...Maybe we'd be up to the HR-10Y by now...?!?!


Steve, K4YZ
K7FD Rating: 4/5 Jul 25, 2010 18:51 Send this review to a friend
It ain't no K3 but, hey...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Was WN7IHO when I had the HR10B teamed up with a DX-60. Worked a ton of stations albeit mostly on 40m cw. Even managed heart pounding qso's with rare Japan a few times on 15m novice band...

Today I have recreated the HR-10B 'sound' on my TS-480SAT. Settings are bandwidth WDH-2000 and dsp setting R
All in all, the HR-10B was a good looking radio that delivered enough performance to keep me glued to the hobby for the next 40 years...

I sorta miss those days!

73 John K7FD

K9MHZ Rating: 0/5 Jun 26, 2010 09:01 Send this review to a friend
What a hunk of junk  Time owned: more than 12 months
Built one back in the 70's.....terrible even back then. Later got on a nostalgia kick and bought one, thinking and hoping that I could restore and improve one to some degree of performance. What joke. This thing is way, way beyond help. 10 and 15 meters are completely unusable, and the the rest are marginal. The audio is terrible, selectivity and sensitivity are non-existent.

Is you want to match your DX-60, that would be the only reason to look at one of these. Even so, I'd still strongly recommend looking at another vintage receiver.
K7FEL Rating: 5/5 Dec 30, 2009 13:16 Send this review to a friend
Magic  Time owned: more than 12 months
To a 15 year old novice who delivered a whole bunch of newspapers to buy one of these, it was pure magic.
WB6TNB Rating: 1/5 Apr 8, 2009 20:43 Send this review to a friend
A loser  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first receiver as a Novice in 1969. It took me awhile to figure out how to use the BFO correctly. I wondered why everybody sounded like Donald Duck. I was only 13 years old. I finally got it working right. 40 meter CW at night. Nightmare. Sensitivity on 15 and 10 meters? Virtuallly non-existant.

While I was still a Novice I upgraded to a Drake 2B. What a difference! It came out in 1961 and gets great reviews here on

Don't waste your hard earned $$ on one of these.
W4MEC Rating: 4/5 Aug 28, 2008 13:26 Send this review to a friend
No problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
Gee, I must have gotten a one in a thousand HR10B. Of course my first receiver was a regen Lafayette Explor-Air, my second, a Conar, so it was a great improvement. It was 1969 and 10 meters was wide open, worked alot of DX with the HR10B, on 10 AM and 15 CW. TX was a matching DX60B, but didn't get a HG10 VFO, until several years later, found it used. I even used the DX60B/HG10B combo on RTTY with an FSK'd XTAL oscillator feeding the DX60 and a W2PAT circuit demod, thought it did quite well. So, my experience with the HG 10 was quite positive, but as I mentioned, I never really had much of a receiver before it, to compare it to.

Charlie, W4MEC in NC
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