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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Heathkit HW-8 Help


Reviews Summary for Heathkit HW-8
Heathkit HW-8 Reviews: 34 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $150. used
Description: 1970s portable 2-watt direct conversion txcvr for 80/40/20/15m
Product is in production.
More info: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/lapthorn/hw8.htm
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K4JPN Rating: 5/5 Feb 17, 2016 09:23 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought mine 2nd hand way back in 1990, and discovered the joy of QRP. Incorporated several mods into it from the HW-8 Handbook. Also changed the toroids out to get the power back up to spec. Later made an output to drive a OHR digital readout, which made it really sweet. Used a QF-1A audio filter and had a ball with it as the audio filter left a lot to be desired. With the QF-1A the receiver is hot.
 
G4JQT Rating: 4/5 Feb 17, 2016 05:34 Send this review to a friend
Basic but fun!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Considering its age now, it still holds up fairly well, although it can't be compared to Elecraft kit!

I've had five (long story) and they all had the motorboating in phones during transmit to some extent, but the 470 ohm resistor in series with RFC1 fixed that. A 47uF cap across ZD1 reduces rx noise on some bands, silicon diode across the relay and a few other mods all made a noticeable improvement.

But adding the audio-derived S-meter mod (only gives slightly vaguer readings than your average S-meter) and four white 3mm LEDs across the top inside front panel really bring this little rig to life.

The receiver has the shortcomings of any direct conversion type, but it's as good as a DC receiver gets.

Like all Heathkit gear, an extra couple of weeks at the design and development stage would have removed the need for most of the other required mods too.

Nevertheless, it's a fun rig and well worth preserving!
 
WB0FDJ Rating: 5/5 Jun 9, 2015 09:29 Send this review to a friend
A great radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Five years ago I wrote a review describing the solid attributes of this little radio. It draws little power, is frequency stable and built like a tank. I would get the radio off the back shelf, run a few Q's and then put it back. I've had a number of fun and memorable contacts. If you operate QRP or have an interest, this is a good solid rig. So it has a few warts, we all know that.

Recently I visited www.3rdplanetsolar.com to purchase two of his several kits: an LM386 based audio board that replaces the original to give a match at 8 ohms and more oomph and TR replacement board that directly replaces the mechanical relay. John thoughtfully includes several well known and time tested mods (i.e. to enhance audio recovery for the TR switching) and the parts to do them. The effect on this radio is stunning.

The audio can now easily drive a speaker and the DC receiver sounds wonderful; almost magical. I can listen with headphones for hours without fatigue. The new TR switching board with a simple mod (involving three changed or added components) eliminates the clacking relay and allows me to hear between characters. Wow!

As a result this rig has become my daily driver. It run in the backround on a speaker while I do other things in the shack. I haven't even turned on the 509. Point is: the HW-8 was and is a solid radio, with these two additions it's now a wonderful machine and more in the same ballpark as the more modern QRP rigs. I love this thing!

The two boards and postage set me back about $20 and were easy to build and add on.
 
N8YA Rating: 5/5 Apr 12, 2015 13:11 Send this review to a friend
Great Vintage Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got mine off of eHam classifieds and LOVE it. Yes, it is a 30 year old radio, but it sure makes Ham Radio fun again! I put a Radio shack DSP unit on it and have a great time with it. I even use it to listen to SSB thx to the wide receiver!
 
KG4LLQ Rating: 5/5 Oct 20, 2014 17:35 Send this review to a friend
Nostalgically Wonderful Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I reviewed this rig back in 2013. It's now 2014 and I am still amazed at how wonderful this radio is. My HW-8 came with a terrible modification: someone cut out a section of the top-cabinet with the intention of mounting a small speaker. Of course it didn't work-out but the cabinet was damaged, ugly and detracted from it's value. I took the whole outer cabinet to my trusty auto body-shop and it's now like new! The speaker hole was patched with aluminum (same thickness as cabinet) then bondo'd and repainted to original. Re-installing it, I used s/s screws and it looks like brand new! It operates as per specification (after careful alignment) and continues to give me hours and hours of operating fun. I've never lacked for making contacts on either 40, 20 or 15 (no antenna for 80 meters). It's like an old Timex watch ad: It takes a licking & keeps on ticking!
 
K4TIN Rating: 5/5 Jun 9, 2014 13:11 Send this review to a friend
Dripping With Nostalgia!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought mine in 1979 for about 125 bucks, I think. My Uncle WA6JZG (SK) was a superb craftsman and kitbuilder. So I took him up on his offer to build it, and won't apologize for it.
The radio served me for the last year of my novice license, and enabled me to cut my teeth on QRP. I was astounded to receive an answer from a W5 on my first call on 40. Thence to W0 in Minnesota and Colorado. Later in the week worked W6 on 15 in LA.
The cute little direct conversion receiver required calling on the high side of zero beat; and the manual recommended answering calls--wise advice.
Quite a pleasant sounding radio hooked up to a battery. No, it won't equal a Ten Tec Argonaut but it takes its place in the low power hall of fame.
 
K4JPN Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2014 14:33 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Picked up a HW-8 back in 1990, did many mods to it including replacing the output toroids on 80 and 40 (they change inductance over the years and reduce the output power).

I used a Oak Hill Research DD-1 for a digital readout and installed a simple interface http://www.thewinstonator.com/images/PDF%20Files/hw8counter.pdf

I found the audio filter left a lot to be desired, but using my Autek QF-1A filter I had a great receiver.

I worked a lot of DX and almost made WAS with the HW-8. Fun rig to use.
 
F8WBD Rating: 5/5 Mar 16, 2014 12:31 Send this review to a friend
QRP rig of choice  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have an HW-8 back in the States, but recently purchased another here on the French side of the pond.

Love it. It is in somewhat better condition than the one I have in the USA. Purchased from a French ham who kept it in pristine condition and did a mod backlighting the frequency dial and meter...which was also modded to be an swr meter.

Running one watt I have had a number of 1,000 MPW QSOs. A few into the USA NE. And, an early morning a few days ago, a confirmed QSO into VK Tasmania. Antenna is a low PAR EF-20.

I operate 20-meters only.

The rig is basically drift-free and reports have have been very positive as to cw quality.

The only minus, so far, is the direct-conversion receiver habit of allowing very strong BC signals to, occasionally, bleed through. This is a well known condition and didn't affect my 5 rating as it was to be expected.

The HW-8 is now my QRP rig of choice.

If you want some thrilling radio experiences, try QRP with, for that matter, any low-tech QRP transceiver.
 
W7TOP Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2012 18:10 Send this review to a friend
Fun QRP Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Yes it is an older radio, with old technology, but it works great on QRP, and does the job just fine. It is not a KX3 or even close but it does not cost a $1000 either, but for CW and just plain fun, it is fine. Some folks want to modify it, and that works great also, some want more power and that's OK too, if you want to spend more money. But to get a 4 band CW QRP radio that has a decent receiver, and good QRP output, in good condition fully aligned, tested, and in great working order, you can find them for about $250 or less. A great value for the QRP operator, and a lot of fun to boot. I have several and I keep them working as they should. It makes for a great little fun machine.
 
SM5JAB Rating: 3/5 Oct 18, 2012 05:42 Send this review to a friend
A modifier's delight  Time owned: more than 12 months
My HW-8 was built over a 26 hour period back in the early 80's. It was a xmas present from my dad. Back then I used it not only at home but also portable and in the scouts. It works OK and still does. For its time it was a really good concept.

I still bring it out of the cupboard now and then, but now mostly for experimenting with: The LM2900 IC is a noise generator in a class of its own, and different new low-noise LF-chains have seen the light here. The LM2900 must be eliminated at all costs! With a couple of 5534's and a look at KK7B's articles (http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/tis/info/pdf/9208019.pdf) the HW-8 is transformed into a totally incredibly low noise receiver. It really must be heard to be believed! I heartily recommend the HW-8, not least for experimenting with like this. There is plenty of room inside for your own PCBs.

Apart from modifying the receiver it is easy to make it a double-sideband transmitter as well. So now it does 'phone too. Cute!
 
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