For any HeathKit Fans

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
21,984
I grew up building Heathkit stuff.
I also used their early HeathZenith PC using ZDOS.
It was superior machine to the rest at that time. But after IBM threw $$$ into the inferior MSDOS , it unfortunately dissapeared.
Max.
 

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,898
First, I built a Knight Kit radio as a pre-teen. Later, after college and getting my Ham License, I built several bits of Heath Kit Ham gear. My first Ham rig was a Heathkit HW101 that I used for years and still have. Didn't build it but lots of alignments and modifications/repairs over the years. Still have the Knight Kit on the shelf waiting for me to get around to refurbishing although the cost of tubes nowadays is a bit offputting. Didn't buy into the early computer craze as there were no apps available so I waited and bought a genuine 64k California Garage IBM Clone which also got some serious upgrades until the software outstripped the 10MHz 8088 turbo processor it had. Added to it 640k upgrade to fully populate the board, clock-calendar card, serial/parallel card, CGA upgrade, 1200 baud Modem card, dual 1.2meg floppy drives, 10meg hard disk, 8087 math coprocessor, Dot Matrix Printer. Ran that thing until it took nearly a minute for every entry into TurboTax. Also after Heath pretty much got out of the kit business and was trying to exist after pairing with Zenith in the Continuing Education business I did several of their solid-state and digital courses.
 
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mtonge

Joined Apr 19, 2016
93
My high school electronics lab had Heath test equipment. I want a VTVM, bench power supply, and an Oscilloscope just like we had in class.
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,515
I never built anything Heath. Instead, I learned what I learned about digital gates from Popular Electronics and Radio Electronics magazines. Built several circuits from a cookbook I got a hold on and had a blast with what I was learning. I built a volt meter with three Seven Segment displays. Made a few home brewed circuits. The most complex I ever built was a circuit that could hot-wire my car. Let me explain: Start the car - activate the circuit - turn the key off, locking the steering wheel and shifter - exit the car, lock the door and the car would run and warm up. If someone broke in, the wheel was still locked, the shifter was locked, and the moment they stepped on the brake pedal the engine would die without the key turned on.

When I unlocked the door and put the key in the ignition I could then drive off. At the first red light the circuit would shut down, but with the key on the car would keep running until I turned the key off when I got to work. Sort of an anti-theft device. You see too often where people start their car then go back in the house while the car warms up only to find someone has dashed in the car and drove off with it.

But no - I never got into Heath kits. That's probably something I should be regretting.
 

KMoffett

Joined Dec 19, 2007
2,918
When I was 12 I saw a Popular Electronics Magazine on a newsstand with a circuit on a tan perfboard on the cover. I talked my mother into purchasing it for me. I was hooked!
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
2,729
My first Heathkit was a "revolutionary" transistorized VOM, high impedance without vacuum tubes! Then an oscilloscope, then the AR-14 receiver, which powered my music system for years. This was high school / college time period.

Fond memories for sure.

Bob
 

andrewmm

Joined Feb 25, 2011
893
I thought every ham radio person had to have at least one heath kit dummy load in a coffee or paint tin.

A great article , bought back many memories.

Its true though, "kids" today are "in general" just not interested in electronics.
 
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Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,898
Yup, still have my CanTenna dummy load and Watt Meter. Also have the huge breadbox size roller inductor Antenna Tuner. Not much use for them anymore since dipping the plate went out with tubes and antenna tuners got automated and built into HF rigs.
 

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,898
"kids" today are "in general" just not interested in electronics.
My Sister-in-law was bragging about what a genius her 8th Grade grandson was. That he knew all about computers and how to write programs for them. So after talking to him and his expressing an interest I bought him an Arduino clone, Monk's "Programming Arduino" book, a multimeter, a bunch of components, and basically everything he would need to get started for a bit over $100. I even told him if he needed any help with anything to email me. He never touched it. I asked his dad what happened and he told me it was "Too hard for him". I laughed and told him there were kids much younger than his using them. I later found out his "Programming Computers" meant using cheat codes in the games he plays on his computer. Ah well, I tried...
 

Tonyr1084

Joined Sep 24, 2015
5,515
Got my grandson one of those snap-together electronic circuit kits. The first thing he wanted to build was the hardest project it had. When he encountered the first problem - that was the end of being interested in learning electronics. The kit is designed to walk you through from beginning understanding to an advanced level of understanding. Oh well. Maybe I should get him an electronic piano. I'm sure my daughter won't like that.

Yeah, programming today for kids consist of up-up-left-down-left-left-up. What little I know about programming comes in the form of basic. You know, X=0; X=X+1; IF X=5 then goto 100, return (and so on). Commodore 64 I think.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,714
After modifying countless ARC 5 aircraft command radios (ARC Airborne Radio Communications) my first real transmitter was a Heath DX 75 followed by a DX 90 and linear amp. Then there were the "lunchbox" Heathkit Sixer and Twoer. Many a fond memory of their stuff which was really good stuff.

Thanks for sharing that.

Ron
 
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