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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | HEATHKIT GR-78 Help

Reviews Summary for HEATHKIT GR-78
HEATHKIT   GR-78 Reviews: 3 Average rating: 3.7/5 MSRP: $1970s kit-130. Used est.75-85.
Description: Portable-type General Coverage Rcvr., .15-30 Mhz
Product is not in production.
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KA9FSM Rating: 4/5 Feb 12, 2014 13:03 Send this review to a friend
Replacement Battery Pack  Time owned: more than 12 months
You can build up a 9.6 volt DC battery pack from 8 AA nicads, wire the ground, center tap 4.8 volts dc and the end tap 9.6 volts. This will replace the original batery pack and operate very well. One thing to remember is to run the radio off the power pack and only plug the radio into AC for recharging purposes. The charging curcuit is a halfwave circuit and not recommended to leave the AC plugged in all the time. You will have premature power pack failure.
N7EKX Rating: 3/5 Jul 29, 2005 15:57 Send this review to a friend
Not Bad- For the Seventies  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I suppose the best advice for purchasers of this radio is to keep your expectations in check. I purchased a typical GR-78 on eBay which had a dead NiCad pack, and needed alignment. The radio was designed so that it ONLY operated from the NiCad pack (the 115 volt connection was only to trickle charge the NiCad), so if the NiCad is dead, as 99% of them are now, you MUST replace the NiCad to operate the radio. You can replace it with an internal rechargeable 9.6v pack, but you must tap the 4.8v point to connect with the GR-78's charging circuit. OR, you can simply use disposable batteries, or sacrifice portability with a 115v-operated DC power supply. Either way, you better figure in the cost of modification before you buy your GR-78! My own solution was to use DeWalt rechargeable 9.6v tool batteries hooked up outside the radio, giving me the chance to use the radio anywhere.
The radio alignment was pretty standard, although the higher bands have tricky image signals, which make you wonder if you will ever get the main dial to track accurately. Sensitivity is not bad for a radio of its vintage, especially using the built-in whip antenna. Unfortunately, mediocre dynamic range and the image signal problem limit the usefulness of the radio's sensitivity, especially when an effective external antenna is used. BFO performance is barely acceptable, and trying to make any QSO's with the GR-78 should test the patience of any ham. In fairness to the GR-78, I should admit that my most recent project has been to restore 2 Heathkit SB-313 receivers, which have far superior circuitry. Even so, I think my description of the GR-78 is fairly accurate, and unless someone is a Heathkit fanatic (like myself), it is recommended that you check your expectations before buying a GR-78, especially if you are accustomed to using far superior receivers.
NZ5L Rating: 4/5 Nov 18, 2003 14:34 Send this review to a friend
Blast from the past.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This venerable item from Heathkit has been appearing lately on e-bay and a few other sites. I wanted one in 1970, so took advantage of the current availability.
I was surprised at the sensitivity with only the built-in whip antenna - this little set plays it's heart out on the MF BC band and lower HF range SW and amateur bands. When connected to a long wire antenna and decent ground - WOW! The stability is adequate for casual SSB monitoring, but tuning takes practice - the BFO is fixed, so fine tuning is accomplished by the BANDSPREAD control. (This quirk can be considered part of its charm for the 70's equipment afficionado). Not a serious Amateur rcvr, the selectivity on CW is marginal, but adequate for copying W1AW.
Performance on foreign BC stations up thru 18MHz is excellent, especially with an external antenna - this is the strong suit for the GR-78. The audio quality from the built-in spkr is fair to good - on a par with many (non-SONY) portables.
If you find one without the built-in 9.6 VDC rechargeable Nicad pack (quite likely) there is no problem operating the radio from a 6 "C" cell alkaline pack or even a fairly clean 9V wall-wart. Being solid state, no dangerous voltages are present, and the lack of a high-voltage supply keeps the weight down.
If you can find one in reasonably good shape for a decent price this would make a good starter radio for a youngster or a great toy for the nostalgia buff.

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