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Reviews For: Heathkit HR-10B

Category: Receivers: Vintage amateur

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Review Summary For : Heathkit HR-10B
Reviews: 31MSRP: 89.95
The Heathkit Model HR-10B Basic Amateur Band Receiver is designed for use as a high-performance economical station receiver. Frequency coverage of the Receiver includes the amateur bands, 80 through 10 meters, only. Each band is separately calibrated on a large easy-to-read slide-rule dial. The dial is illuminated and provides approximately 6 inches of bandspread for each band.

The receiver features a signal strength "S" meter, a front panel dial calibration control that operates in conjunction with the 100 kc crystal calibrator provisions (optional), a tuned RF amplifier stage, a crystal filter (2 pole), and an automatic noise limiter circuit.
Product is not in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KG4RUL Rating: 2018-10-10
Nostalgia in a Green Box Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Found one on line and snapped it up. Replaced the rectifier tube with diodes and put an OA2 regulator tube in it's place (helps with stability) along with replacing the electrolytic caps. Put a fresh set of tubes in and did an alignment. Now I have a good-as-new receiver to go with my Pine Board Project, AM transmitter.
K5MYJ Rating: 2018-10-09
OK Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The thing I like best about the HR-10 is the large sliderule dial.

Earlier 3-star review posted by K5MYJ on 2015-01-12

You people are missing the point of the HR-10.

This receiver was meant as an entry level unit for a low price. You compare it tor receivers like the Drake 2B. That's not a fair comparision. I think it is better than any low end Hallicrafters. I spent my Novice year (1957/58) with a S-38. The HR-10 is definatly better than a S-38.

How many low cost kit receivers were there in the 1960? Not many.

AA4WA Rating: 2018-10-09
Sold as a "Basic" Ham receiver Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I always eyed one of these receivers since I received my novice in '74, but just recently got one. It's good points are that it has good sensitivity on 80 and 40, ok on 20, but especially in this low solar cycle it would need an external preamp on 15 and 10, which many of its' contemporary receivers in its' day also needed. The compromise selectivity for its' two I/F crystal channel spacing is ok for SSB and workable for CW and AM reception. An outboard audio filter is very helpful for CW. Be sure to adjust all the slugs in the I/F cans around it for the sharpest signal. You can achieve "single signal reception" when the BFO is tuned properly. Meaning that you can reduce the opposite sideband completly or almost completly. Finally it looks very nice with its' companion DX-60B transmitter.
The negatives are that it lacks voltage regulation and will drift with AC voltage changes, even after warmup. The biggest problem is that the BFO has been combined into one tube with the 2nd I/F. That makes a weak injection signal and a BFO that shifts when you adjust the RF gain. There are many mods out there that try to address these and other issues. The radio chassis is very open, like old pick-up trucks under the hood used to be and invites you to perform mods that can make it pleasant to use. One is adding a OA2 regulator tube. The other one I feel that really helps it is to build a separate BFO circuit. I used a 6BA6 tube. These mods can be made underneath and temporary enough to remove later if desired. The separate BFO gives plenty of injection voltage and is independent of the RF Gain control, so it makes the receiver so much nicer to use. I use this radio primarily for my CW operation and as originally built, I can only give it a "2" (NEEDS HELP) because as forgiving as I am, I would not continue to use it with the poor BFO operation. With a separate BFO, the operation is very nice and I would easily give it a "3". Also be sure to replace all the old filter capacitors, wax the dial cord and make sure it's not rubbing the top of the cabinant or it will stick.
I like this radio very much, even with it's flaws.
VK2IMM Rating: 2018-08-04
Very decent simple receiver Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have got a very nice clean version of a HR-10B with X-tal calibrator option several months ago. Not much expectation initially. After doing additional cleaning and basic alignment of IF and RF stages the results were rather positive.

Sensitivity is rather good on all bands i.e. measured around 1 microvolt (on every band) with several dB of SNR on AF end. The receiver is a single IF design with a 2 pole X-tal filter. As measured, the filter bandwidth was around 2.4-2.5 KHz with slightly uneven top, at 4 kHz bandwidth the attenuation was rather good. Although 21 and 28 MHz bands did not look as sharp as the lower bands during alignment of the RF stage, stations were heard loud and clear both CW and SSB. Definitely it has sufficient sensitivity to be useful there. All 5 bands work just fine.

Perhaps the biggest drawback would be the frequency stability. The VFO design is rather basic and does not look like it is well compensated. Less noticeable on SSB but CW stations change tone and drift away within several minutes, it gets better after long warm up but I have seen much more stable tube radios.

RF Gain control has to be adjusted carefully to avoid distortion. AVC set to off for CW. AF Gain control is generally set at 3 o’clock, providing plenty of sound with external speaker. Audio is nice and clear and noise level is low as many good tube receivers provide i.e. this is an enjoyable receiver to listen.

Sergey KJ6MBW
K7FD Rating: 2018-04-14
Trip down memory lane Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
It's been many years since an HR-10B has been in the shack but I recently purchased one on the used market just for fun. And fun it is! Last time I spun the dial on an HR-10B my call was WN7IHO back in the mid 60s. So a definite trip down memory lane.

This time around I intend to use the receiver to monitor northwest AM activity on 75 meters in the morning. I find the HR-10B more than adequate for this task. It actually sounds very good for a $75 investment. I suspect I'll easily get my money's worth while reliving a bit of yesteryear in the process.

Is it the greatest receiver ever made? No, not by a long shot. But for a novice in the 1960s with a strawberry picking income it came a beloved part of my ham history.

Paired with a DX-60 it would make a great retro rig...

Earlier 4-star review posted by K7FD on 2010-07-25

Was WN7IHO when I had the HR10B teamed up with a DX-60. Worked a ton of stations albeit mostly on 40m cw. Even managed heart pounding qso's with rare Japan a few times on 15m novice band...

Today I have recreated the HR-10B 'sound' on my TS-480SAT. Settings are bandwidth WDH-2000 and dsp setting R
All in all, the HR-10B was a good looking radio that delivered enough performance to keep me glued to the hobby for the next 40 years...

I sorta miss those days!

73 John K7FD

YS1RS Rating: 2016-10-29
Good newbie receiver Time Owned: more than 12 months.
As previously said this receiver can not be compared with higher end receivers of its era like Drake 2B or Collins.
Will be crazy and unfair to compare it to a modern receiver too.
It is a Ham Radio only, entry level, entry price level receiver and does its job well as a learning platform and first receiver for the lower budget ham newbie.
That's it!
It works good in its intended role!

Yes, almost deaf on 10 meters but good enough on the lower bands.
I have one and like to exercise my self tuning on rag chews, just trying not to forget how it was done in the old days and see how things have improved since.
I am not that old as these Heathkits are before my time but love history.
The Crystal calibrator helps yes. Try to get one if you don't have it.
That is all you can do to improve it, want more?
Get a good antenna instead.
Mods out there? Many and good to excellent ones that will improve it make it stable, selective, improve higher bands etc.!
Just remember you will end up with a totally different receiver... no longer a real HR-10B.
Instead of heavily modding it and spend a lot of money in the process, my personal preference would be to buy a better receiver.
I'm the type of guy that keeps everything original and enjoy it that way unless is a factory recommended mod to correct a small flaw.
For all of you who still have one of these HR-10B and love it, keep them alive, give them some respect for what they are and were designed for, warm them up as often as possible.
Do you really believe you will have a today's modern YaeKenIcom working after 50 years in the future?
As soon as one of these consumable modern electronic marvels fail after 10 years of use, you barely find spare parts for it, proprietary chips are no longer being made, etc.
Your Heathkit HR-10B will still be there working as always with simple basic care.
No planned obsolescence was programmed in these old boatanchors.
I do have a modern rig yes. Use it for digital modes, a quick DX with a rare station, small and portable and enjoy the bells and whistles that comes with it, yes!
Also understand I will have to replace it in a few years too... the digital display recently failed but still was able to find a replacement for it.
Funny... While I was replacing the display and had the radio with all its guts open... my HR-10B was faithfully working on 20 meters, sounding great and nice as the first day its kit builder finished it and fired it up on his workbench 50 years ago.
I can imagine the builder's face lighting up in delight and all his glory after a good job done putting it together.
A long lasting satisfaction no modern rig can provide.
K6SIK Rating: 2016-02-20
Simple and Fun Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The HR-10B was an entry level Novice Receiver. It was priced at $79.95 which was significantly less than any commercial rig. It provides adequate Ham Band coverage and when coupled with their Q-multiplier has very good sensitivity and selectivity.

It was a huge improvement over the AR-3 and had much better selectivity.

It is fun to use, simple to maintain and align. Even today, it provides a new operator a great opportunity to learn the basics of receiver design, construction, alignment and maintenance

For the money, it is an outstanding receiver. It cannot be compared to a modern receiver nor to one of the pricey older rigs. It did its job and provided an inexpensive entry to the hobby.

You can spend a lot more money and not get a receiver that is all that much much better.

A lot of fun in a simple package. A keeper, especially for CW rag chews.

AD4U Rating: 2016-01-06
OK For What It Was Intended To Be Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have been hamming over 50 years. I have "worked them all" and wanted a new challenge. About 5 years ago I set up a station using a Drake 2B receiver and a 50 watt Drake 2NT transmitter. In 5 years on 40M CW I worked 293 countries. Looking for another challenge I acquired my first HR-10B only a few months ago. I bought the matching DX-60 transmitter. The HR-10B definitely is no Drake 2B as far as performance is concerned, but it is OK on 40M CW. In the past 4 weeks I have worked 27 countries with the HR-10B and DX-60 on 40M CW. I imagine it will take a bit longer to work DX countries using the HR-10B, but I am giving it my best shot. I will try to remember to report back on my progress in 6 months or so.
WG9O Rating: 2016-01-06
Great Memories Time Owned: more than 12 months.
It never really mattered to me how well the receiver worked. The kit was a fantastic learning experience. I learned about superhet, LRC, tuning, frontend alignment, and how to solder! I’m an old ham at 71 and I still own an HR10B as a reminder of how far we have come.
WA6JGM Rating: 2014-12-17
It was my first love.....hate relationship Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I threw a lot of news papers during the summer of 1969 and bought one. I spent a week putting the kit together and powered it came to life!
Did it drift?....yep
Harsh sounding audio?....yep
Pretty much deaf on 15 and 10 meters?....yep
To a 14 year old novice with a DX-40, two rocks for 40 and one for 80, spending many hours pounding brass and constant tweaking the controls on that HR-10......priceless