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Reviews Categories | Keyers & CW Keyboards | Heathkit HD-1410, circa 1975 Help

Reviews Summary for Heathkit HD-1410, circa 1975
Heathkit HD-1410, circa 1975 Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.4/5 MSRP: $49.95
Description: Iambic Paddle Keyer
Product is in production.
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You can write your own review of the Heathkit HD-1410, circa 1975.

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K4JPN Rating: 5/5 Jun 8, 2014 13:52 Send this review to a friend
Great Keyer  Time owned: more than 12 months
Decided to get it out and try it again after not using it for almost 10 years. Well turned it on and it was intermittent with a steady output. Reseated all the IC's and it seemed to work a little better. Finally removed the IC's sprayed a little "DetoxIt" on the sockets and then blasted the "DetoxIt" off with compressed air. Reinstalling the IC's and it works great again. Yes, while I now use a Vibroplex Brass Racer for a paddle, I find the paddle in the keyer is just fine. Not bad for a keyer and paddle almost 40 years old.
K4JPN Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2014 17:14 Send this review to a friend
Great Product  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built this keyer when they first came out. I had never used a keyer before, so had a bit of a learning curve and then used it for the next 25 years. Never had a bit of trouble with it. I even built the digital readout that was in 73 magazine November of 1982. Had a ball with it, used it till I built the K1EL keyer that had a memory feature. The only mod I did to it was bypass the power line to eliminate rf getting into it. Great keyer for someone who did not want to spend a lot of money. I never had any problems with the built in paddles and one could buy and build this keyer for what a paddle would cost.
WX4O Rating: 4/5 Jun 4, 2014 13:44 Send this review to a friend
I liked it  Time owned: more than 12 months
Built one when they came out. Used it a lot with a TS-520 and FT-757GXII. I loved it.
K9MHZ Rating: 2/5 Jun 3, 2014 20:07 Send this review to a friend
It's OK  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is yet another review of a Heath product that seems to get rave reviews from people who seem to overly-romanticize that era of Heath's existence with "fond" and "magical" memories, even though the gear was never all that great even back in the day.

This is no exception. The paddles adjustment was a single, interior cam on a lever that was apparently supposed to adjust both equally, but it seldomly ever did. So, you were constantly faced with the compromise in deciding which paddle was set to your liking and then accepting what you got in the other paddle.

The electronics were fine. Simple circuitry, and always seemed reliable. The case was weighted nicely, but again, the paddle arrangement meant that your hand had to be in just one position low and in front of the keyer itself.

I've seen mods where the paddles were removed, and a jack was installed which allowed for the use of a well-designed set of paddles instead of this joke of a design that Heath dreamed up for some reason.

So, it kind of sucks, and it sucked back in the 70s and early 80s when new. If you're hung up on the Heath nostalgia magical BS, then knock yourself out. Otherwise, just get a modern one. You'll be a much happier CW op.
K4RT Rating: 3/5 Oct 1, 2011 23:41 Send this review to a friend
Average keyer in its day  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built the Heathkit model HD-1410 keyer for a high school electronics class project. I believe the price was about $55. Assembly was straightforward.

The keyer unit has a nice appearance with the traditional Heathkit two-tone paint scheme. The left knob, which controlled the sending speed, could be pulled out to key the transmitter for tuning, which was handy. The dot/dash weighting was not adjustable but was quite good I believe it was the best feature of the keyer.

In my opinion, the paddle mechanism was not well designed and in my unit the spacing would vary because the nut that tightened the adjustment bar would always work loose while using it on air. There was a simple mod published in QST in the 1980s that allowed an external paddle to be plugged in through a jack in the rear panel. I performed the mod on my unit and removed the stock paddles. I also added an on/off switch to allow the CW sidetone to be disabled as needed.

The HD-1410 was susceptible to RF, which caused the unit to occasionally perform erratically while transmitting frustrating for a dedicated CW operator.

I used the HD-1410 for many years but was never completely satisfied with it because of the poor paddle design and RFI issues. I would not recommend it for the devoted CW operator.
WA9LAE Rating: 5/5 Feb 9, 2011 18:27 Send this review to a friend
Simply Fantastic!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been a ham, strictly CW, for 47 years. I never
built one of these but I sure built many other Heathkits during my ham career. Once I discovered just how well the 1410 works and how easy it is to use and maintain, I fell in love! I now own 12, yes 12 of them! I can't resist any on eBay that are in need of repair. So, I bid only on the fixer-uppers
so I can play around and bring them back to life.
They have great dot-dash-space timing and being iambic, they are easy to become acquainted with.
The mechanism is a bit clumsy to adjust but once set will hold pretty darn well! They are a joy for sending nearly effortless Morse. Eventually, I'll sell most of mine but I will always keep at least two on hand for the sheer pleasure they bring when making QSOs.
W9AC Rating: 4/5 May 29, 2010 08:00 Send this review to a friend
My First Iambic Keyer  Time owned: more than 12 months
Built mine in the late '70s after building its predecessor, the HD-10 while in junior high school.

I agree with others that the electronic design was excellent for the period. The mechanical aspect of the paddle is good but not exceptional. On the other hand, the paddles work well for mobile operation.

While commuting to Northern Illinois University, I operated the HD-1410 between bucket seats in a '73 Chevy Monte Carlo. By placing the keyer upside-down, and with the paddles facing toward the front of the car, the palm of the hand can rest on the case while sending. The arrangement resulted in hundreds of effortless mobile CW QSOs.

In the late '70s, I modified the keyer by removing the wiring to the headphone jack, and instead brought the jack wiring to the dit and dah paddle inputs. This allowed me to plug a Brown Brothers paddle into the keyer. So, I could use the external paddle for base operation, and continue to use the internal paddle for mobile use.

Looking back, this was one of the most enjoyable Heath products I've owned.

Paul, W9AC
K8CIT Rating: 5/5 May 28, 2010 14:54 Send this review to a friend
Great Keyer  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this keyer recently to go along with my Heath HW-16. I looks like new, as does the manual, but it exhibited an anomaly in that occasionally it would clip short a "dit". Replacing C1 took care of the problem. That capacitor was reading a lower than spec'd value. A very easy fix.
WD8PNL Rating: 4/5 Apr 8, 2008 20:22 Send this review to a friend
Extreme Versatility  Time owned: more than 12 months
Many other folks have mentioned the versatility of operational convenience of the HD-1410. I'll mention its electrical versatility.

The HD-1410 is extremely versatile in two aspects: variety of power sources, and key line accommodation. It may obtain power from three different sources: 12 VDC, 120 VAC, or 240 VAC. Its key line output is bipolar and, consequently, accommodates positive polarity key lines (e.g., keying of solid state circuits, or cathode keying of vacuum tube circuits) as well as negative polarity key lines (e.g., blocked-grid keying of vacuum tube circuits). In regard to use with vacuum tube circuits, the keyer output specifications (especially maximum current rating) can be made more robust by replacing three transistors with modern devices of greater ratings: replace Q5 with an NTE288 transistor (PNP), and replace Q6 and Q7 with a pair of NTE287 transistors (NPN). The NTE288 and NTE287 replacement transistors are rated at 300 Volt, 500 mA, 625 mWatt.

I own two HD-1410 keyers and I've set their transformer primary straps differently: one is strapped for 120 VAC power, and the other is strapped for 240 VAC power.

Although Heathkit products always provide first-rate electronics, Heathkit products generally have second-rate mechanics. The mechanics of the paddles is second-rate and this is the reason why I rate the HD-1410 keyer at 4 rather than at 5.
N3QE Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2008 12:06 Send this review to a friend
Solid keyer, few gotchas  Time owned: more than 12 months
I built one of these in Junior High. And still use it today, nearly 30 years later. It's a shame that the eham reviewing system only has a button for "more than 12 months" when in this case I need a button for "more than a quarter century".

Really, really solid feel with the lead weight in the bottom (don't know what it means for ROHS if you've got a pound or so of lead!). Lotsa power options for mobile/accessory power.

A couple of minor gotchas that might wave away the typical "appliance operator" but were not a big deal for me as a Junior High kid:

1. Needs a mod to key Ten-Tec Triton and other solid-state rigs that need a very low voltage drop in key-down. Most common way to do the mod is to jumper around a diode but there are others (I used a solid-state optoisolator).

2. I built the mechanical key mechanism from the kit so I understood it quite well. BUT if that bottom screw ever comes loose, or if you ever have to loosen it, it's a b**ch to get everything tightened back up. I did it for the first time in decades and it was moderately frustrating.

Usually the best way to adjust the mechanics is simply bend the bars/contacts where you want.

The cam lever for adjusting spacing etc. is workable but not particularly elegant compared to a lot of more "exposed" solutions. But it's perfectly reliable - I can really throw it in my backpack and carry it around without messing up the mechanical settings.
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