Heathkit HG-10 VFO restoration

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by WA6MHZ, Jun 2, 2012.

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  1. WA6MHZ

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    On my shopping list at Dayton was the HG-10 VFO. I saw one for $50, a little pricey. next one was $125!!! That seller was smoking dope! Finally I saw this HG-10, the earlier model, for $25. That was the price I wanted to pay, and I joyfully carted it off.

    A short time later, I found a Heathkit SB-230, which also went in my Swapmeet box. That meant the HG-10 had to be LASHED to the top of the cart.

    Walking back to the car, the cart hit a pothole (THANKS ALOT, HARA ARENA!!!) and the HG-10 went flying off the cart. When I picked it back up, I noticed the dial drum was now cracked. Those are very delicate and should be the FIRST thing you look at when you are shopping for one. Heathkit must have used a very fragile plastic tube for their drum as many if not most crack. So many that a cottage industry has been set up for these and many folks are manufacturing replacements.


    I scored one on Ebay, not too pricey, $13 plus another $4 for shipping. It came in and looked OK, but in reality, it was a clear plastic tube that had an overlay TAPED to it. It would be very difficult to print on the lettering and dial onto a round piece of plastic, but somehow Heathkit did it back in the 60s.I also noticed the lettering isn't quite as dark as the original Heathkit, but it will hafta do.

    The cracks in the plastic were only cosmetic, but I already had the new dial drum, so it was time to replace it. This is not an easy task, so it will be detailed here.

    First, remove the knobs and front panel. They made this very difficult. 4 blind screws go into Nuts on the inside of the VFO. You have to use a long Seizers to hold the nut to get it on and off.

    Once the front panel is removed, it is time to see what is up to replace the Dial Drum


    I found that you have to remove the left bracket that holds on the dial drum. This requires removing the dial cord. Best way is the take off the spring on the pully down in the bottom, and carefully route out of the way the dial cord, removing it from the slider plate along with the pointer. Don't disconnect it any further, just move it out of the way.

    Now, take off the slider plate and the left holder thingy (has 2 pullys on it). Don't disturb the shaft coming through the dial tube. you don't want to pull it out of the Right holding plate thingy or you will have to restring the Bandswitch cord, which is a BEAR!

    Now loosen the screw on the dial tube holder thingy


    Slide the dial tube off the shaft while making sure the shaft remains in place on the right side! Some hole plugs converted into tube holders will be on each end of the dial tube. carefully press those into place and gently slide it on back over the dial shaft. Rotate the bandswitch to the far left (80M) and generally line up the 80M dial to face forwards. Now, remount the left dial holder thingy back on with the 2 screws and nuts. Be sure the dial rotates correctly and is centered on the shaft, and then, with the bandswitch back on 80M, correctly align the tube for the 80M band to be most forward. Tighten the holding screw and re-install the dial cord over the pulleys.
    Now re-attach the spring to the main pully and insure the pointer slides correctly over the full range. You can adjust where the pointer rests.

    It is now time to re-install the front panel and the process will be complete. Hopefully the correct band will be displayed when you rotate the bandswitch. If not, then U gotta tear it all apart again.

    The HG-10 will need recalibrating now that the pointer has been moved. I have yet to do that to this one.

    I did polish up the front panel to a high gloss with Novus #2. That won't work on the HG-10B which I believe has a Wrinkle finish. For cleaning wrinkle finishes, they can only be scrubbed with a brush and something like 409 to remove any dirt.

    I replaced the wrong knobs with the correct White Heathkit ones.

    This HG-10 is ALMOST ready to go. I still need to score a plastic bezel for it which is missing. That might be hard to come by.
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