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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Heathkit HW-7 Help

Reviews Summary for Heathkit HW-7
Heathkit HW-7 Reviews: 18 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $69.95... 1972 price
Description: 1970s 2-watt direct conversion CW txcvr for 80/40/20/15 metres
Product is in production.
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KB3LFC Rating: 5/5 Jul 20, 2004 17:12 Send this review to a friend
Great old rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
While there may be lots of room for modification improvements, I used my old HW-7 "as is" in the late 1980s and early 1990s (when I was KC3YD) to work a lot of DX. I used the gray peth to work a 2XQRP with a JA station several days a week for about two weeks and worked most of Eastern Europe and Russian Oblasts on 40 Meters after the BCB stations would start shutting down.
I bought the old rig from a ham for $10. He was convinced that QRP was "a worthless waste of time." It was the best $10 I ever spent.
Presently, this fine little rig is in a rented storage bin but I plan to dig it out before winter sets in. Right now I'm using an HW-9 and I do have to admit it is a lot easier to usethan the HW-7 and has a little more "soup" power wise. The previous owner added a digital freq display and the WARC band packs, something the HW-7 certainly lacks.
When zero beating a frequency you have to 'tune up" on the signal to go back to the operator. I have had QSO's with the HW-7 by simply calling CQ, by "tail-ending" a QSO, and of course by answering a CQ call. I have even had a few operators tell me that I was "BSing" them about being QRP. They simply couldn't believe my 1.5 watt signal wasn't 50 or 60 watts.
A "final." Don't bother asking me if I'm interested in selling my HW-7 -- I'm not.
Tom Mitchell KB3LFC
KB2HSH Rating: 4/5 Apr 30, 2004 22:11 Send this review to a friend
The trendsetter  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The HW-7 was one of the first rigs that really pushed the commercial QRP "craze" (along with Ten Tec's Powermite). The HW-7 (and HW-8 for that matter) had direct conversion receivers that weren't as good as they could have been. By today's standards they are rather lacking, but for the era, they were rather peppy. Recently, I purchased an HW-7 (from can see the rig if you type his call into the callsign search) from eBay. It is by far the cleanest and best performing stock HW-7 I have seen. It even beats the HW-8 that I owned back in the late 90's.

On 40, the HW-7 feels right at home. With up to 3 watts transmit power, and a receiver that is decent, this rig almost makes you forget that you're running QRP. (As I write this, the atmospherics are REALLY bad, but once it all quiets down, I have little doubt as to the rig's effectiveness). The key, as explained by the previous owner (and something I NEVER realized when I had my HW-8) was proper grounding. With the HW-7 grounded (via the antenna tuner, and the power supply) it shockingly sounds like a smaller version of my double-sideband.

It's not a Ten Tec Argonaut II...but it sure works fine for me.
K4VXP Rating: 4/5 Apr 13, 2004 15:57 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice Little Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built my HW-7 back in 1972 and find it to be a good QRP rig and lots of fun. The only mod has been to add a SO-239 and a little larger knob for the receiver preselector. I have found the receiver to be sensitive enough but, being direct conversion, not very selective. I don't give it a perfect 5 because of these reasons and the harmonics experienced on recieve. It does a much better job when powered with a battery. I also have a Ten-Tec 505 which has a somewhat better superhetrodyne receiver.

73, Paul
W7UUU Rating: 4/5 Jan 31, 2004 06:19 Send this review to a friend
Great little rig, but NOT for a novice!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Believe it or not, this was my first Novice rig. I had gotten my ticket at the age of 13 in fall of 1974 - WN7AWK - and all the hint dropping to my folks at the local ham store (remember those?) didn't result in an NC-300 with DX-60 that I dreamed of. So for Christmas that year, I got a brand new Heathkit HW-7 and spent a very cold January building it. I took my time, trying to limit the screwups a 13 year old tends to make (still had screwups, but got it working).

Finally in late January I had it built and tested (very carefully using a dummyload - don't want those 2 hot watts leaking out now!). I put up a HORRIBLE 40-meter dipole in the trees, and fired up on 40 CW calling CQ. For a WEEK - SOLID. Not ONE REPLY. Amazing how a kid then would come home every day after school, and call CQ for HOURS to no avail. I finally had my first QSO with a local who made a sched with me - 7 miles away, and I got a 339!

In May, at a garage sale with W7UD, I happened upon an S-85, Globe Scout 680, and a box of crystals and goodies - all for $35. Hank bought it for me, and I spent the rest of the weekend doing yard work feverishly trying to earn the money to pay Hank for my new treasure - I put up a 100 foot wire, and used the homebrew tuner in the garage sale goodies to load the Globe Scout, and worked the world at last!!! Some of the very best memories of my life spent that summer...

But after I got my General, I went back to the HW-7 with a good vertical antenna, well matched with good radials, and worked 35 states and 5 DX contacts, all on 15 and 20 meters - in a month. It's microphonic as hell, with a very touchy 'touch' of the preselector to keep it in line and a HORRID (REALLY HORRID) sidetone - but it gets out if you know how to use QRP and have a good antenna. Also, being direct conversion with no crystal, ya really gotta watch which side of your signal you're listening on - it's not single signal. During the 1980s I used it as a VFO to drive a DX-60. Works great for that, as long as you keep it throttled down and don't overdrive the oscillator. I again worked the world with the HW-7, this time as a VFO. I still have that rig - as a testimony to those WEEKS spent (with log books to prove it) calling CQ and hoping some one someday would come back to me! And I doubt I'll ever get rid of it.
KU4QW Rating: 5/5 Oct 10, 2002 10:50 Send this review to a friend
Good Old Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
This radio is very good for it's age, It was a real trend maker, no it wasn't the first qrp radio, but QRP Kit in a small package that you could build and use and carry in the field YES! By today's standards this radio doesn't over much and doesn't receive that well, but I give it a 5 for it does well for the years on it, and I don't think you can break them
W9YO Rating: 2/5 Apr 30, 2002 23:59 Send this review to a friend
Yes, It can be improved.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Yes the HW-7 was a Heathkit. It was one of the first QRP transceivers out there in the late 1970's. Since the radio was direct conversion it was subject to both microphonics and overload from rf strong signals. The dual MOS-FET front end was almost state of the art for its time. I bought mine for about $50 and built the ac supply myself. There was less AC ripple noise using batteries and I made many contacts with just an inverted vee. I suggest looking through the QST archieves for updates. I built a new rf amplifier front-end using a perf-pc board a few ic's, toroids, & some MPF102's. Afterwards the radio's receiver was greatly improved. Actually I finally sold my HW-7 back in 1990. The ham who purchased it was pleased as punch. The transmitter in mine put out about 2.7W on 40M, 2.2W or so on 20M, & a bit over 1.75W on 15M. With a little tweaking & a few updates this can be a mighty fine self-contained QRP tri-band radio. Don't give up! 73, Bill W9YO
NE0P Rating: 0/5 Apr 30, 2002 22:16 Send this review to a friend
complete piece of junk  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought one of these used to take to KH6 with me in December 2000. It was so bad got rid of it before the trip. The receiver would only hear the loudest signals on 40 meters, and combined with no filtering, those signals would get clobbered. Couple that with the direct conversion receiver, so you would hear signals on both sides of the zero beat. Was unable to work anywith with it, it was so bad. A complete waste of your own solder, since it was a kit. Hope others have better experiences than I did.
KB9VZS Rating: 3/5 Dec 1, 2000 16:00 Send this review to a friend
Not the easiest to use but I like mine  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This was the first of HK's qrp multi-band rigs and
sold for @$75.00 when new. It covers 40, 20, and 15 meters-has a direct conversion reciever which is very suseptible to shortwave interference and I
wouldn't want to live down the street from an AM
broadcast station. The Vfo is very stable though once warmed up. Hum and microphonics are also problems with this rig but for the intrepid there
are modifications for most of these problems.

The transmitted signal is very nice according to the reports I've recieved and presently due to some bad luck in the shack this is my main station
rig. I will say that one definitely dreams of a
superhet during crouded band conditions and any sort of contest operation would be extraorinarily frustrating, but this rig wasn't designed for these uses.

If I had alot more money available I would be using a much nicer multi-band rig or three or more single band qrp rigs. As this is not presently the
case I would be loathe to give up the three band
coverage and fun I have had to be stuck on one band. Ultimately for around 75 bucks used (or less) it is a tough deal to beat if qrp is your cup of tea. Otherwise find a used HW-100 or 101.

In casual operation I have worked central (asian) Russia, Columbia, and Aruba as well as California
and Conneticut from central Indiana. Even with its faults I have had a blast with this rig.

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