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farewell to Heathkit

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KC4LNX, May 3, 2012.

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  1. KC4LNX

    KC4LNX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well it looks like Heathkit, such as it is, is now offically gone. I had heard that they were even trying to get back into the kit business a few months ago , and have been studying their DC,AC, and semiconductor home electronics study courses ( already had their analog trainer--a neat piece of equipment ) which they were still selling until last month, but when i called about their electronics circuits course book i was informed that they were gone and out of business for good by the person on the phone in tech support as of last month. He sounded rather sad about it and said that "they" had been trying to get Heath to do something for years and believes that they made a bad decsion ,but nothing that they could do. 1929 to 2012. KC4LNX
  2. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If they're really, really, really gone (all parts of the Corporation) maybe BAMA and others can put Heath manuals back on line again.
  3. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  4. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    no, the RB who bought the works also bought all the rights to them, so Heathkit gave them up. He has full control over them now and is holding them hostage so he can make a buck. Most fortunately, I have ALL the Ham radio products manuals in original.
  5. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Seems to me they were not trying hard enough.
  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nobody builds kits anymore.

    It is cheaper to buy them from cheap labor builders.

    It does suck.

    What a bummer.
  7. N5AL

    N5AL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah, apart from the difficulty of casual home assembly using high-tech parts; just sorting, counting and individually packaging components for kit assembly has got to be more expensive than what a professional assembly house would charge for automated volume assembly of the same circuit board. In the end, you get an equivalent kit version of an assembled MFJ product for twice the price.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I cut my teeth on Heathkits and am sorry to see them go, if they're gone.

    Building Heathkits is what prompted me to homebrew most of my stations in the 60s and 70s. I even built their Heath-Thomas electronic organ and a 25" color television, none of which were cheaper than factory assembled units but a whole lot more educational.

    My "SB line" kits (SB-301/401/600/200/HP-23/HM-102) worked more DX than I could shake a stick at and building them all was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Best part was, once you're done, you know exactly how to align and repair them, forever...not a feature found with factory assembled products.

    Building Heathkits is what taught me the resistor/capacitor color codes. To the day I can look at a "banded" resistor from ten feet away and know its value just fine in one second. Heath taught you such stuff.

    I'm very sad if they're really gone...rumor was they were getting back into the ham radio business. Maybe not.
  9. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Subscriber QRZ Page


    still lots of kits

    Small Wonder Labs
    Hendricks QRP kits and others

    also lots of kits from Europe

    last 4 years ive built a few dozen QRP kits

    that thinks Amateur Radio kits are dead
    is not looking

    dit dit

  10. W9OE

    W9OE Ham Member QRZ Page

    "farewell to Heathkit"

    HeathKit has been gone for a long time. Heathkit is HeathKit in name only. Just like RCA, you can still buy an RCA TV. However some company in Korea owns the rights the the RCA name. They did not buy the company the only bought the name. This company and their products have no relationship to the RCA we all grew up with. RCA Just like HeathKit are long gone!!!
  11. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a copy of the agreement (only the dollar amount is redacted). Not everyone agrees the buyer owns the intellectual property. Whatever the case, complete manuals can be found online (for free) from at least one source that the buyer hasn't shut down.
  12. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I guess I should have said Not to many people build kits anymore.

    It is true that there are kits out there, and many people buy them assembled and tested.

    Heathkit was a good teaching tool for many operators, and when it broke they could fix it.

    Sad to say that is not the case much anymore.

    Most people of today want to plug it up and start using it, and are spoiled for the most part.
  13. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Kits let hams enjoy building without the Engineering hassles of Homebrew. It makes it very easy and you are doing a proven design that many others have done successfully. With homebrew, there is a good chance at what you are building won't work. You may have to drastically alter your design to get it to work. As a Homebrewer, I have had instances where I have sunk HUNDREDS of dollars into a project, worked on it for months and months only to find that there was no way it could ever have worked, or ever will work! That happened on my fancy automatic switching unit to shift around antennas and radios and a linear. Well, the best laid plans of man and MICE!......

    So Kits are the least frustrating and easiest way to go to have the fun of building and wind up with a very nice project when U are done.

    I really wanted that BitX20A by Hendricks, and ALMOST bit on it at the Visalia DX Convention. But at nearly TWO HUNDRED BUCKS, I just couldn't justify it. That $200 needs to be put into a WARC antenna, which, had I gotten, I would be IN THE LOG of the 7O6T by now!
  14. KI4NGN

    KI4NGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yea, kind of like your TV. No one wants to build one anymore, they just want to plug it in and watch it. LOL

    Sorry, but being an AR op does not imply that one enjoys building anything, and it never did. When I started as a kid in the 60's, many built or refurbished because it was the only way they could get on the air, but if they could have afforded a fine off-the-shelf rig, they would have gone for it!

    Just replying because I think your use of the word "spoiled" is an unnecessary and inaccurate characterization. :)
  15. W0AKR

    W0AKR Ham Member QRZ Page

    WB2JKJ could probably sell you a copy right version...LOL
  16. WA6MHZ

    WA6MHZ Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is the whole reason for our Kit building booth at Dayton and again at Pacificon. We want to expose new hams and kids to the wonderful world of soldering and kits! While they may be quite simple, for a newcomer they can be incredibly challenging and they really are excited when they complete it and it works! The magic of soldering has gone away from much of Ham Radio now that virtually all of it is PLUG AND PLAY. The most soldering a ham has to do these days is put on a PL-259 on a coax cable! So it is very important that we keep KITS and HOMEBREW in the forefront so this SKILL that all hams should have doesn't go away. And, besides, it is great FUN!
  17. W0AKR

    W0AKR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Everything is a "throw" away today. Even my mower, states clearly in the manual, words the effect that this device will likely only last 5-7 years. Same goes for appliances, both electronic and electro mechanical.

    Sorry to see Heath go, soon followed by Radio Shack. That use to be a store you could actually go in and see some stuff, buy piece parts on the fly, etc. No longer. They won't be around too much longer...who actually buys cell phone service there anyway....even Walmart offers that now....

    Thanks for the neat kits, the fun assembly, the learning and the adventure when that power switch was flipped to the "ON" position for the first time...
  18. WA4BRL

    WA4BRL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I tried this morning to contact someone -- anyone -- at Heathkit Educational Systems to confirm, deny, or get more info on this story. I have received no reply to my email and their telephone lines just return busy signals. I don't know if they're really busy with calls of just left off the hook.

    I contacted Amateur Radio Newsline and the ARRL with this news so they might further investigate the story.
  19. KI4NGN

    KI4NGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    You guys! LOL

    Why do you think it's "important" that a ham know how to build anything?

    I'm not knocking it because I've always enjoyed it, but it's 2012, and there are hundreds of skills that, while fun for some, are basically irrelevant.

    Personally, my "thrill" never came from building anything, but from using it when finished. I enjoyed the building, but the goal was the finished product and using it as it was intended to be used. Did I have some pride in knowing that I built it? Of course....but so what? I would have gotten no less out of my hobby if I had purchased the gear because the hobby is about communicating.
  20. KC4LNX

    KC4LNX Ham Member QRZ Page

    When i first tried to reach them to see if by chance anymore of the home study courses were available, all i got was a busy signal on their 1-800 line. I finally called a tech support number and the gentelman said sorry, nothing is available from Heath anymore--employees have been dismissed and the company no longer exsists. They cant make or produce anyhting with the Heath name on it. Too bad.
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