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Reviews For: Knight Kit T 60

Category: Transmitters: Vintage amateur

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Review Summary For : Knight Kit T 60
Reviews: 19MSRP: 69.95 in 1966
80 - 6 meter xtal controlled Novice xmtr. 60 watts from 6DQ6B sweep tube. Has low level carrier controlled AM phone capabilities as well.
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W2DI Rating: 2015-01-06
Great memories Time Owned: more than 12 months.
At 13 years of age in 1963, I got my first license, novice - WN2GTX. Back then you took the novice test at an Elmer's qth (though no one used or heard of the term Elmer), 5 wpm cw and a written exam. The certified results and the papers were sent to the FCC office in Gettysburg, PA, and if you passed, some weeks later you got the ticket and then could get on the air - crystal control, 75 watts dc input to the final amplifier, am on 2 meters only.

The novice class license was for 1 year only, and NOT renewable...ever.

Soon after, I purchased and built the Knight T-60 and the R-100A receiver. Things moved much slower back then and they took over a month to arrive.

I built the T-60 first, since it was the easier of the two kits and then the R-100A. It was summer and I'll never forget working on those kits, checking and double checking each step with the smell of rosin core solder always present.

They both worked and armed with the infamous Gotham V-80 and it's manually tapped, airspaced loading coil and a 3ft aluminum pole in the ground, took to the air waves.

CQ, CQ, CQ.....NOTHING. I eventually got discouraged, my ticket lapsed, and gave up for a while.

Then in '65, I studied the code and theory and passed the General. That, you had to go to the Customs House, in Philadelphia, PA, and take the exam before the district FCC examiner. I passed, and received WB2YQZ, not the best of cw calls.

I grounded the antenna better, got a Lafayette Radio VFO and finally started making many cw contacts with the T-60. I eventually got a better receiver and used it and the T-60 until about 1970 while in college I purchased my first SSB rig, the YAESU FT-Dx 560! The T-60 was retired.

It wasn't the greatest rig, but it was affordable and fun to build and use. The experience, if not the T-60 was a five star one!

Thanks for reading. Joe, W2DI
AF4K Rating: 2015-01-06
Great Novice Rig Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I loved the stories here. Got my T60 around 1968 and worked all states with it from GA. Use don all three bands 80, 40 and 15m. Mostly 40m. All day, all night! Even some DX on 15m too.

I was feeling very nostalgic for the ole T60, so I recently bought a nice looking Knightkit T60 from a friend in preparation for the Novice Rig Roundup coming up in February 2015.

However, it chirps. I replaced all the fixed caps with Tom's Hayseed Hamfest kit. No improvement ensued, but great insurance against future failures.

I observe that the osc plate voltage drops from around 320V to 215V when keyed down. This being derived from the same source as the buffer screen supply. I tried replacing the 8.2K 2 watt
resistor which was up around 9K. That hasn't helped either.

What would you try next? I am thinking about replacing the two tubes, 6HF8 and 6DQ6B, but that would make it a more expensive T60. It may not fix it either!

I also thought about adding a 185v regulator tube but have my doubts. This transmitter should not chirp this much. What would you do next?

73 - Bry AF4K
WR6K Rating: 2015-01-04
SKN and the T-60 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Well it is New Year’s Day 2015. SKN has just ended and I am all aglow. Here is my reason why. It was exactly 50 years ago in 1964 when at age 14 I completed building my first Ham Transmitter, -- a Knight kit T-60. In those days a kid in a small town in Appalachia could not possibly afford to buy such an expensive piece of equipment, so he had to rely on the generosity of his parents and Santa. Fifty dollars in late 1964 was like five hundred today. After a two day marathon building session (20-25 hours) it was finished and ready for the smoke test. It worked! I was on the air a month or two later with the call WN3ALA making contacts up and down the eastern states as far west as Illinois and Texas, and as far south as Florida on 40 and 80 meters.

Eventually my Novice ticket expired and cars and other “social” activities took over. During the early 70’s while I was in the Navy, I traded the T-60 for an HQ-110 that never really got used, and eventually it was also traded. Not much thought was given to this at the time. Years later, in the mid-1980s I spotted a T-60 at the local flea market and a deal was struck. It looked pretty good on the outside, but a quick look inside told me it would take a bit of work to get it operational. The audio tubes were missing. It appeared a neutralizing capacitor (variable) was added, and every ground connection had been soldered to the chassis. Up on the shelf it went, with a promise to myself to get it cleaned up and working someday for SKN.

Straight Key Nights came and went. The T-60 waited patiently while I went to night school to get my EE degree, raised four kids, and occasionally did some hamming. Now, 50 years after building my first T-60 I had decided that I would re-kit the T-60 and re-live the joy I experienced that Christmas. I still haven’t gotten around to doing that, but this New Year’s Eve, as I eyed that rig up on the top shelf that I have never even tested, I wondered if it might actually work for SKN 2015. I got it down, blew the dust off, took it out of the case, and looked it over carefully. What a mess! I powered it up. No smoke, and good HV. Tubes lit up. Plugged in a Xtal for 7040. Hooked up a Dummy load and tuned. Nothing. Didn’t even move the needle on the 20 Watt scale. I listened on my receiver and heard a note. Well at least the oscillator was working. Looks like a re-kit really is needed. So off to be with my wife and Carson Daley at Times Square.

Things were quiet on New Year’s Day. I listened to the straight key CW QSO’s chirps and all, and began to wonder. “Is there a chance I could get the T-60 going?” Didn’t seem likely, but maybe… I checked the pin resistances. All seemed OK. Then I began to randomly check resistor values. They seemed OK. Then for no particular reason I checked the band coils wired to the Band Switch. They should all read close to zero ohms, but when I checked L4 IT WAS OPEN!! Closer inspection revealed that the thin coil wire that was supposed to be attached to the lead on the coil form WAS WRAPPED, BUT NEVER SOLDERED!! That poor Novice. He was sent a bad part. The Transmitter could never have worked below 15 meters. I can only hope that the experience did not sour him on Ham Radio forever. The forensic evidence suggests that several owners tried to get it working with no luck.

I soldered the coil wire to the lead wire on L4, hooked up the dummy load again and quickly had about 25 watts of output on 7040. Well not exactly. When I hooked up the 40 meter dipole I had infinite SWR. Seems like I was tuned up on the wrong frequency. I retuned a bit more, and eventually got 25W out and nothing coming back. I was now sure I was on 7040. The O’scope seemed to agree. Wow, no wonder this XMTR was so famous for pink tickets and OO cards. I got an OO card once myself. Glancing at the clock I noted there was only about 10 min left for SKN. I plugged in the old J-38 mounted to a leg iron, and called a chirpy CQ SKN with nearly the same anticipation and excitement as 50 years ago. W7IZE answered, also with a chirpy note. What a perfect moment of pure joy.
73 and Happy New Year de WR6K.
W9MT Rating: 2013-01-06
My first Novice xmtr.... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Bought mine in 1970 from the now defunct Trigger Electronics in River Forest, IL. Cost me $50, but it didn't have the chirp issues my friends' T-60's did. Being a poor high school student, I traded it up to other gear. While I had it, I had a ball with it on 40m and 15m CW. It didn't have the cleanest output on 15m. The 3rd harmonic wreaked havoc on Channel 5 on nearby TV sets..or was it simply IF overload on the cheap TV designs of the late 60's?

In any case, I really loved that T-60 and bought and resurrected at least 2 other hamfest, tech-specials over the years since then. Watch out for cabinet rust if you're shopping for one. Also be prepared to replace the topside electrolytic (first) and possibly others on the bottom side of the chassis. Those are about the only things that ever go wrong with this xmtr.

Expect about 30W out on 80/40, 15-20W on 15m, and less on 10m (because of losses in quadrupling the crystal frequency). If you're odd enough to try the rig out on 6m, should you find an appropriate xtal, expect 3-7W out.

The matching Knight VFO is hard to find in good condition. If you're using another brand, like a Heathkit, you'll need at least 10V of RF to drive the T-60, so HG-10's are out of the running. A VF-1 will work fine, but expect magnum chirp if you're leeching power from the T-60 and not using a separate supply for the VFO.

This transmitter just reeks nostalgia for long time hams...second only to the Heathkit AT-1.
NT9E Rating: 2012-03-23
First Novice Transmitter Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought one used around 1972 when I got my 2nd Novice license(back then you had to upgrade within 1 year or you'd have to wait a year before you could get your Novice ticket again). Found it at a hamfest for around $25. This and a handful of crystals I bought from Generals upgrading, I was set to work the world on 40 and 15m CW.
WA0ZZG Rating: 2012-03-23
Electric Sex Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Around the age of 15(1965), my older cousin gave me a Hallicrafters s-28 shortwave receiver. I got hooked at listening to the world. Had a longwire out my bedroom window to a tree. Had a friend, down the street doing the same thing. We decided to build wireless spark transmitters we found in an old book. I used a model train transformer and a Ford 'hot-shot' coil. The electrical engineer living in the area found me after I was blanking all radio and TV for about a three mile radius. He convinced my parents that Ham radio mught be a better way to go. My parents helped my buy a Hallicrafters SX-110 and Knight T60. Got a 40M dipole up and a hand full of crystals from an old timer and approval from the electrical engineer. Passed my Novice test and my driving test in the same month. Boy, did I think I was cool.
N3ZJ Rating: 2012-03-22
A fun moment Time Owned: more than 12 months.

In 1965 this was a dream transmitter for a kid of 14. I participated in a novice net every Saturday morning - what inexplicable fun! The T-60 was quite simple to operate, but all the neighbors heard my keying...sad, but I'm not sure the same experience is available today. A wonderful naive bit of technology.
WA3FLR Rating: 2011-12-11
Economical for poor kid. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I want my T-60 back :(

I have so many fond memories of my HQ-100 and T-60 novice station. Final glowed blue when keying. Smelled of electronics. What fun.
W8QEO Rating: 2010-11-21
My first transmitter Time Owned: more than 12 months.
In the middle of a recent nostalgia attack I decided to google “T-60” so here I am. Feeling the need to swap stories with other OTs. I have a good T-60 story so will tell it here.

I got my ham license in 1962 at the age of 16. I took classes with a local ham club that was going on the theory that “if you’re gonna go bear, go grizzly” so we went directly for our Generals. Of course the big hurdle was the 13 WPM code, and in those days, you had to go right down to the FCC office and pass the test. No one-day Tech classes back then! The FCC came to our town four times a year and, like most applicants, I flunked the code test the first time, then passed it—solid copy for the whole test—the second time.

I already had a Hallicrafters S-85 receiver The Knight T-60 looked like the best deal for my transmitter dollar so I got the kit and built it. I was no stranger to kit building by then—had built my first kit, a Knight Ocean Hopper regen receiver, several years earlier.

The T-60 was a dandy little rig on crystals and I used it for the first 4 or 5 years of hamming, mostly on 40 meter CW. Some friends and I also had a local ragchewing net on 10 meter AM and the T-60 worked OK for that, although I doubt the power output was much. At various times my antennas were a 33 foot wire out my bedroom window, a Gotham V-80 vertical, and eventually a Windom fed through a homebrew antenna tuner. The pi-network output circuits that were universal in those days would load anything.

A local surplus store had a 55 gallon drum full of FT-243 crystals and a popular Saturday morning pastime for low-budget hams like myself was sorting through that barrel of crystals looking for frequencies we could use. I learned to find crystals below the band and grind them up to a higher frequency on a piece of plate glass, using scouring powder as an abrasive.

Eventually I bought a used Heath VF-1 VFO and that’s where the trouble began. The T-60 never had an excess of stability—if you pulled the crystal and pressed the key it would self-oscillate somewhere in the general vicinity of the band. With crystals there was enough drive to keep it well-behaved, but not with the VF-1. I reasoned that the T-60 ought to work with Knight’s own V-44 VFO so I found one of those used (not nearly as common as the VF-1) and bought it. I was pretty unhappy when the T-60 didn’t work with the V-44 either.

By that time I had some homebrewing experience and in fact was in college in electrical engineering so I figured I could get to the bottom of the problem. It didn’t take long. Some poking around with my trusty grid dip meter (Knight G-30!) revealed that the driver tank circuit tuned below the band on every band! That control never did have much effect—now it was easy to see why. The grid circuit was connected to the final through a short length of shielded wire and I’ll bet the capacitance of the wire Knight was buying changed without their knowing about it. I put a fixed mica capacitor in series with the driver tuning capacitor to reduce the capacitance, and was able to find a value that worked for all bands. With the driver circuit actually tuning to the operating frequency the increase in drive was dramatic. I’ll bet the power output went up on every band, although I had no way to measure it. After that the T 60 worked with the V-44.

By that time I had developed an appreciation for “real” transmitting tubes like the 6146 and I jumped at a chance to pick up a Heath DX-40 for ten bucks at a local hamfest. It sold cheap on account of a burned out power transformer, but I found a power transformer that would work at the same hamfest. I rebuilt the DX-40 power supply with the new transformer, replacing the 5U4 with silicon diode rectifiers, giving a little higher plate voltage than the original. By that time the 6146B was available, good for 125 watts, so I plugged in one of those and had a souped-up DX-40. And I sold the old T-60.

By that time college was taking all my time and I was getting interested in VHF FM, so I never made as many contacts with my hot-rod DX-40 as I did with the old T-60. Now I’m kinda sorry I sold it—might have to buy another one on ebay.
W2RDK Rating: 2009-12-27
Still going strong! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I received my T-60 for Christmas back in 1964. With the help of my dad, we spent many evenings building the kit and getting it ready to put in my station. I was 14 at the time and had to balance my time between kit building and school work.

Received my Novice license in January of 1965 and was on the air not long after. My first QSO as a new ham was with WN1DJI whose QSL card I still have. Made many contacts on 80, 40 and 15 over the next few years on both cw and phone and the rig performed flawlessly.

Eventually it was time for a station upgrade and along came the Hallicrafters HT-46 transmitter and SX-146 receiver combo and the T-60 took it's place on the shelf. After some 44 years, the T-60 is alive and well and back with it's buddy the National NC-155 I had used in the 60's. I have pictures of my original station in 1965 and what the station looks like today on QRZ or see my website at: `

I am glad that I saved my original Novice station and after some minor updates both are performing again as a pair. I have used this combo on "Straight Key Nights" and it brings back many pleasant memories.