Chuck Penson's Third Edition of "Heathkit: A Guide to the Amateur Radio Products" is out

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W7UUU, Sep 15, 2021.

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  1. WA8SAJ

    WA8SAJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Chuck, you certainly did a great job on this one, just like your others you have written, thank you.
    Worth the price!
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  2. WB4IUY

    WB4IUY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have his 1st and 2nd Amateur Radio book, gotta have this one. They are loaded with great info and pics!
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  3. VE6SH

    VE6SH Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    $US56 for shipping to Canada?
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  4. N1IPU

    N1IPU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good post. My intro to radio was Heathkit gear a neighbor built. Aviation took over though and by the time I got back Heathkit was pretty much gone. Going to have to order it now.
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  5. W3AMT

    W3AMT Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first ND Rig was HE 101. Every piece of my test gear was heath kit. From VTVM Scope all the way to color bar generator . Those were the days. I also had a DX 60 for my am station. It was really great except for the HE 101 I hated it. Got rid of it within a montb. I will be buying the book!
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  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Younger hams often do not understand the older ham enthusiasm for's a helpful perspective...

    1) circa 1970 and before, retail rigs were American made and (generally)very expensive ;
    2) hams had a tradition of building;
    3) you could save roughly 30-150% of equivalent retail rig prices by building the heathkit 'equivalents' or similar offerings. For example: SB-102 => KWM-2; SB-220 => Drake L4-B, etc.

    AFTER 1969, Japanese manufacturers came into the American market at far lower prices, with, in general, good quality. And before that, the WEIGHT of the rigs ('boat anchors') often made the cost of Asia to US shipping prohibitive; PCB construction and solid state portions of radios radically diminished the weight and size of transceivers;

    EVENTUALLY heathkit had no advantage price wise, feature wise, nor quality wise compared to the Japanese offerings. When the emphasis was on those who enjoyed BUILDING kits, rather than those who were OK on building--but wanted to save MONEY also, the role of Heathkits diminished rapidly.

    Now the situation is more complex than this, but these are the main points.

    In modern term. Heathkits from , say 1970, would be equivalent in price to most mid-tier Japanese transcivers today-- and those are assembled and with more features and better performance than the Heathkits.. Yes; it is far cheaper today to be in ham radio than 50 years ago!

    Chip W1YW
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  7. W7UUU

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

    Well stated, Chip. The era Heathkit really hit its stride (under David Nurse, for the most part) - the 1960s and 1970s, was the perfect time to bring the "value add of building it yourself to save money" - it was very possible indeed to achieve great performance at a significant saving by building it yourself.

    The failed Heathkit SS-8000 kit (just too complicated for hams to build) that became the SS-9000 "factory assembled kit" really spelled the doom of Heathkit in the ham world outside of accessories. According to Chuck's book, Heath Co. wagered $3 MILLION on that transceiver project, and in the end sold them off at a huge loss. They had overreached and under achieved - their era was over.

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  8. KQ1V

    KQ1V Ham Member QRZ Page

    They are making Heathkit again?!?! Nah, I am just fooling ya. I was lucky to pick up an assembled Heathkit o-scope at the Braintree Drive-In Flea in '82... had lots of fun with it too!

    Much like Radio Shack (e.g., Tandy, Micronita, & etc.) kits, if there were money (i.e., "profit") to make RS and Heathkit would never have closed. Consider how electronics developed from tube to transistor, military surplus being modified; nowadays everything is micro-electronics on (mostly) one board. Disposable. Not to say people had/have a passion for kits.

    I will admit I am a Moto Operator, and not a fix-it or build-it type. Heathkit: before my time, and not my interest; however, nice to see a fella with passion to author three books.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
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  9. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Notice that it's SPOCK at the microphone on that picture:) Hihi!
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  10. W7UUU

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

    Sure looks like him - I can't find any corroborating reference but the resemblance sure is there. It would certainly have made sense.

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