Building HeathKit receivers

by James K. Sayre

Back in the late 1950s, when I was probably about 14 or 15 years old,I followed my father in ordering and building a couple of HeathKit radio receivers. HeathKits were put together in a factory located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, a small town on Lake Michigan in the southwestern part of the state. They produced a mail-order catalog of their electronic kits, which could be assembled at home with some basic hand tools, such as pliers and a soldering gun. This was the age of transistors, which replaced the old radio tubes. HeathKit sent you everything that you need to be a stereo radio tuner, receiver and amplifier, minus the hand tools and the solder. They sent complete assembly instructions written in excellent English. Besides the basic framework, you received transistors, capacitors, resistors and inductors and other parts.

After a few evenings of intense work, you had yourself a nice spiffy radio receiver/amplifier. Finally, about forty years later, HeathKit Company finally went out of business under intense pressure from consumer electronics manufacturers that used very cheap labor in Asia.



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Web page last updated on 18 October 2007.