HR-10b Project

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by W7UUU, Feb 13, 2016.

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  1. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    One of those "looks really nice and works great" things - completely dead after purchase - we all know the story :)

    I acquired this to pair with a DX-60b / HG-10b combo to replace my venerable HW-16 that has earned its place on the shelf after completing W.A.S. and about 33 DX. Only have so much room - so the HR-10b/DX-60b + the ever-so-rare Heathkit HC-10 console will hopefully occupy that space.

    While awaiting parts for the very unexpected Drake 2NT "uh oh - she died!" project (see other thread!) I figured "no time better than the present" to test out the HR-10b and start a PS recap project. Let's just say I'm really glad I ordered the 20/20/20 cap kit from Hayseed a while ago... ugh. TOTALLY dead other than a dull 60hz hum - not very loud - "Works great" not in evidence.

    Here she is at the "let's put her on the Variac and see what she can do" setup (yes, I know "wrong knobs" - I have plenty of correct knobs that will go on after the repairs) :

    HR10 1.JPG

    After a few hours of slow "Variac Time"... nice glow anyway :)

    HR10 2.JPG

    After initial testing with utter deadsville - just a low hum, I knew it was HW-16 stuff all over again. So I put her on the bench - the actual construction is pretty nice! Good soldering, nice layout, good mechanical stuff - yay!! Glad to find all that.

    But someone had done an antenna jack mod (RCA to SO-239) and I don't think that long ago - the SO-239 is pretty modern looking, not a vintage silver-plated jack - good quality but not vintage stuff for sure. Just HORRIBLY done - solder joints so cold they pretty much broke off as soon as I touched them.

    More pix and stuff in a sec... sometimes this software times out and I lose all I've done

    N7ANN and WA7PRC like this.
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Here's the yucky SO-239 mess that fell apart the second I touched it - note the SO-239 sort of "cross-threaded" into the jagged hole... note that that red hookup wire is like 6 inches long and is the shield connection for the coax to the SO-239 that was added, with a cold solder joint to anything it touched as well as the coax center wire to the SO-239 - fell apart when touched - yet note the quality installation of the 1k resistor and the bypass capacitor - surely not the same person involved in both tasks:

    nasty1.JPG nasty2.JPG
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    WA7PRC likes this.
  3. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    So before tackling the bigger issue of the PS cap I figured I'd sort this mess out first - I installed a terminal strip on the calibrator socket screw, replaced a broken .005 uF bypass cap (darker one here is the new one), properly drilled out the SO-239 hole in the chassis, replacing the janky "whatever I could find" hardware with 4/40 stuff, and retrimmed the coax for the RF feed.

    Looks a lot better and now at least the SO-239 is properly done, IMO.


    Cleanup 1.JPG
    N2EY and WA7PRC like this.
  4. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    So for tomorrow, the filter cap project - easy-peasy - just quite a number of connections to make note of but will do in the fresh light of a new day :)


    Capacitor 1.JPG Capacitor 2.JPG
    N7ANN, N2EY, KE5OFJ and 1 other person like this.
  5. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Know this receiver ... I built it in 1972 (high school electronics).
    Learned Vacuum tube & Point-to-Point wiring, and good soldering.
    Good for 80 and 40 meters, so-so on 20 meters, largely deaf on 15/10 meters.
    The 8-pin octal socket is for the HRA-10-1 plug-in crystal calibrator, these appear often at eBay, reasonable price.

    QRZ Q&A Technical Forum (2008)
    The SO-239 was a "bad hack" ....
    IF RCA not desired (they work fine, cheap, widely available),
    the BNC is the preferred NO Hack change.
    K6JCA article
    Electric Radio Magazine Articles:
    • "Resurrection of a Heath HR-10B Receiver," Paschall, Issue 210, Nov. '06
    • "The Heathkit HR-10 Receiver," Hanlon, Issue 232, Sept. '08
    • "Heathkit HR-10 Receiver Update," Stock, Issue 234, Nov. '08
    • "Modifying Heathkit Crystal Filters," Stock, Issue 231, Aug. '08
    Many mods add a voltage regulator Your Heath HR-10-11-72.pdf
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  6. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Thanks GB! I do in fact have the calibrator - safe and sound along with all the HR-10b tubes in a separate bin on the bench. Yeah - I figure it's only going to be an 80/40 deal - but I'm encouraged to hear it's at least "so-so" on 20m - to have any chance at a W.A.S. with it (always my goal with any new rig) I'll need 20m so I can use the beam.

    I will also look into the mods - thanks for the links. I always really appreciate the effort you take to research topics of threads and post links and stuff like you do - your efforts make this place a better community.

    KD2ACO and KC3BZJ like this.
  7. AD4U

    AD4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    After hamming over 50 years and "working them ALL" I looked for a new challenge. 5-6 years ago I put a Drake 2NT and 2B on the desk and started working 40M CW exclusively into a dipole up about 60 feet. So far I worked 293 countries on 40M CW with this 50 watt crystal controlled transmitter and a 60 year old tube type receiver.

    Wanting another challenge I recently bought a HR-10B and a DX-60B. Like yours, mine needed some work. While the HR-10B definitely is no Drake 2B in performance, mine works quite well on 40M CW. I can "hear" a 0.1uV signal on 40 and the HR-10B is quite stable after a warm up. Selectivity is poor at best.

    So another challenge has started. So far using only the HR-10B and the DX-60B I have worked 47 countries this winter. I have a long way to go to match what the Drakes did. Due to the limitations of the HR-10B I may (or may not) stop if I work 100 countries.

    It does not take a modern $10,000 rig, 1500 watt amp, and a yagi at 100 feet to work lots of DX.

    Dick AD4U
    WD4IGX, N7ANN, KL7KN and 4 others like this.
  8. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, that's true.

    The HR-10B is a single conversion receiver (1681 Hz, IF) that uses 2 crystals for a half-lattice filter between IF sections.
    That IF was popular in WW2 (BC-455 used 1415?) and some 1950s receivers.
    Hallcrafters SX-140 (inside view)

    I always suspected that the HR-10B was heavily influenced by the Hallicrafters SX-140 (1960-1965), across Lake Michigan (Chicago), which used the same IF.
    I think EF Johnson Messengers (CB service in early 1960s) also used that IF.
    Bill Orr had a great Product Detector (1959 Radio handbook and later) that used the 6SJ7 Octal tube.
    In late 1970s, I drew out a schematic to replace the 3-diode (9-pin) vacuum tube with a suitable 9-pin version of 6SJ7 using that Orr idea (using solid-state diodes for AVC and ANL function.

    Dallas Langford spent considerable time on product detectors.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  9. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  10. KX4OM

    KX4OM Ham Member QRZ Page

    My sympathies on the hack job of the SO-239 connector. I've got four HW-xx single banders, and one that has a decent board and OK chassis has this rear panel. This might be a JBWeld fill-and-sand repair with a plate with the correct lettering on it.

    Ted, KX4OM

    Attached Files:

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