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Reviews Categories | QRP Radios (5 watts or less) | Heathkit HW-9 Help

Reviews Summary for Heathkit HW-9
Heathkit HW-9 Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.8/5 MSRP: $basic hw9 (5 bands) 249.00
Description: 1980s CW QRP transceiver covering all HF bands
Product is in production.
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WA8QFE Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2014 05:00 Send this review to a friend
Great rig when modified  Time owned: more than 12 months
I work QRP DX and I love this rig.
My Sierra, I must carry along band modules, With the HW-9 all bands are included.Yes it's a little big for a backpack rig, but well worth it.
I have a second HW-9 and it's a un-built kit with WARC kit.Pay attention to the factory service updates and you'll love it too.
VE9AA Rating: 4/5 Mar 19, 2014 18:13 Send this review to a friend
Good basic rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Haven't owned that long. Have owned plenty of rigs over the past decades though. As much as I really do like it, I cannot in good conscience give it a full 5. There are many improvements that could be made to this rig and I am not talking bells and whistles.

For the original price, you got really good value for your money. Today they still command $300 or thereabouts if you get a nice working one with the WARC band kit. It's worth the $300, but let's not kid ourselves.

It drifts.
It RX is wide as a barn door.
The analog dial is not accurate.
Power output, sidetone etc are different on every band.
No backlights.
Headphone is mono.
The VFO is kinda funky.
It would benefit with a wider RIT or a true XIT.
The power supply is underpowered.
...and the list goes on.'s cute, functional, quite charming and easy to work (mod or repair) and of course operate.

A strong 4 in that respect.

I would buy an improved version from Heathkit if they manage to resurrect themselves. (right now they're are a faceless it !)

Mike VE9AA
F8WBD Rating: 5/5 Aug 16, 2013 01:58 Send this review to a friend
My Second but First love  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased a HW-9 when first introduced. Started construction but I wasn't experienced enough to finish it, so an RF engineer ham-friend completed it for me.

Loved it but, fool that I was, eventually sold it to finance another purchase.

Fairly recently acquired another HW-9 from private seller and am having a ball with it. Has a couple issues but, frankly, I ignore them. Can't do anything to resolve them right now and, anyway, they are not critical.

I have an FT-817ND and OHR100A but am using the HW-9 almost exclusively.

The FT-817 is obviously more up-to-date and would, possibly, deliver more contacts. But the fun and nostalgia that the HW-9 provides is not there.

What I appreciate is the size! It is large for a QRP transceiver. I can find it on the operating desk without squinting and operate the controls without pushing it all over the place.

If you come across an HW-8 (I have one, also) and especially an HW-9 at reasonable prices, grab one...or both. You won't break any rare DX pile-ups but you will have fun working a guy just looking for a contact.

One negative for the HW-9 is the color. I hate the brown cabinet, preferring the Heath "green-machine" look. But that's my color-scheme taste.
NU4B Rating: 5/5 Nov 25, 2011 04:34 Send this review to a friend
Still Working After 27 Years - It Gets a 5  Time owned: more than 12 months
Obviously comparing the HW-9 to todays rigs would be silly. But for what it is - it is one fine rig.
I built mine 27 years ago when they first came out. I also bought the WARC band pak, tuner, power meter, power supply, and speaker. It makes for one handsome station even today. I have added the audio filter and antenna selector over the years.
For many years mine suffered some of the same problems many have had - low power on 10 and 12 meters, instability, and other assorted nuances. I even sent mine into RTO and it came back essentially the same way.
At one point I discovered the AB7MY mods, printed them off, and filed them away. A few months ago I pulled them out in an effort to see if I could get the HW-9 operating as it should.
After rereading the info I decided to start with the power supply. I figured the GIGO principle would be a good place to start and it always lurked in my mind why Heath would sell a 1 amp supply for a rig that required 1 amp? Amd 1 amp was the max rating of the power supply at that.
The power supply mod guts almost everything after the transformer. The parts were $10 at Radio Shack. (By the way, if you want to have some fun ask the sales clerks at Radio Shack for anything other than a cell phone (say a voltage regulator), the blank stares are priceless.)
I did the mod and also replaced the electrolytics (1 or 2 of them remained), hooked it up, and was amazed at the difference. Just about every problem went away and many of the other mods listed to cure the suspect performance were not needed. Full rated power on 10 and 12 meters, it cured the instability, even the power/signal meter operates as it should. Its almost like I got a new radio. It never occurred to me that RTO wasn't using a PSA-9 when they tuned up my rig. They were using a good power supply and that is why mine came back and operated like it always had. If you are using a PSA-9, do the AB7MY mod - its well worth it.
Using the HW-9 is simple and easy. The receiver is really sensitive, the 250 HZ narrow filter is very effective, and the RIT (while only +/- 1) is also useful. By hooking up a good antenna to the HW-9 the world is at you finger tips. I've worked over 240 countries woth mine over the years. The rig powers the big matching speaker well - the speaker is hard to find but I really like it and I'm glad I bought mine with the rig.
The one downside to the rig is the analog dial. Its really good at the low end and the high end, but as I tune to the middle there is some variation. I could never get mine where I wanted it over the entire spectrum. After 27 years I know the variation but I have built an external digital dial to hook up to the rig. (In these days of instant DX spots and point, click, and transmit operation, it will help getting to a correct frequency quickly.)
I use the rig for DXing and contesting - things it was never meant to do. I built and own a HW-8 a very poplular rig. I don't think there is any comparison though. The HW-9 is definitely the gem of the series. With a decent power supply its a solid performer. They are hard to find in good shape. I have seen a couple unbuilt kits over the last several years. Its not fancy compared to today's radios, but its enjoyable to use and still running after almost 3 decades.
K1FPV Rating: 5/5 Aug 31, 2006 07:41 Send this review to a friend
Great QRP rig for the $$ if you can find one!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my HW-9 new some 20+ years ago with the WARC kit giving it solid coverage from 80 through 10 meters. Over the years, I get nice reports and have added a couple modifications. I've added a 25 kHz. calibrator and added a rear panel control for calibrating on each band. The finals were replaced along with a driver to cure an instability problem on 12 and 10 meters. Output is about 4 1/2 watts on 80 and drops to about 2 3/4 watts on 10 meters. For the price, you can't go wrong!
W8BBM Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2006 11:08 Send this review to a friend
Nice all the way around  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the HW-9 with WARC bands, matching power supply, antenna tuner and SWR/Watt meter for about 10 years now and have enjoyed the time that I use the little system. I own several other QRP rigs that are newer and boast even more features yet this one will never find its way out of my shack. Yes, it performs as good as all the rest of the reviewers have stated but there is just something special about the analog look, the feel and size of this radio that makes it so enjoyable to operate. Owners of it will know EXACTLY what I am talking out.

God Bless All,

Peter W8BBM
F5NZY Rating: 4/5 Aug 30, 2003 03:31 Send this review to a friend
Fun...  Time owned: more than 12 months
I paid mine 170, a second hand, to a very good technician who built the transceiver, very properly. I've got the WARC pack and the BF filter. Just a regret, 160m is missing on this transceiver.

Otherwise, what an excellent transceiver, it is!

Operate with the Heathkit HW9 is a great fun!

73's de Steph, F5NZY
WB8YJF Rating: 5/5 Jun 11, 2003 16:56 Send this review to a friend
Nice lil' rig!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I picked my HW-9 up on a swap board for $100 including shipping. It had the WARC pack installed, but was in pieces when I got it. I got the manual & had it up & running in 2 days. It is by far the best of the Heathkit QRP rigs! I worked DXCC with it in 3 months! This is a great, FUN lil' rig! If you have a chance to get one, GRAB it FAST! You won't be sorry!
K1DX Rating: 5/5 Apr 4, 2003 09:35 Send this review to a friend
Best bang for the buck  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the years, I've had three of these, plus several other QRP radios (TT 505, 509, Arg II; Heath, 38sp, several Dave Benson, etc.). Clearly, at about $200 used, the HW-9 is the solid winner for a CW radio. It is reasonably stable, sensitive, full output, all band (80-10, incl. WARC (optional kit))... If you're looking for a great value in QRP CW radios, this is it.
WB4TJH Rating: 4/5 Jan 26, 2003 22:01 Send this review to a friend
nice little rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought a mint Hw-9 matching power supply and watt meter from a friend handling a silent key's estate for an amount that borders on theft...I did not know at the time if it worked. Well, it did, and with a little realignment, it has turned out to be a marvelous little rig. I have worked the world with it, especially on 17 mtrs. (sure glad it has the WARC pack).I am thinking about a k-1 or k2, but the Hw-9 is all you really need for cw qrp. I missed getting one when Heath was in business. Now I have one at last.I have been shocked to see what some hams are paying on ebay for THE hw-9, and it only underscores my good fortune in getting one myself. Iuse a DSP-9 outboard with it and it makes for a fine little qrp rig. If you can get your hands on a good one, GRAB It!
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