I signed up as a 'Heath Insider' about a year ago when news first broke about
Heathkit's intention to finally, after a couple decade hiatus, begin producing built-it-yourself
electronics kits again. The
Explorer Jr.™ is a basic capacitor-tuned
AM radio kit that comes complete with everything needed to build it. Why not a digitally
tuned synthesizer with an LCD display? Company president Andy Cromarty promises
many more kits to follow, with all being in the classic Heathkit tradition of high
quality parts and well-written, illustrated, step-by-step instructions. It will
be a continuation of their "You Can Build It. We won't let you fail." motto.
An e-mail arrived a few days ago stating the following:
Here's a quick summary of what we've quietly been doing at Heathkit during the
past year: We assembled a terrific team of very talented, hard-working, inventive
people. We acquired another company and merged its management, products, assets,
and operations gracefully into Heath Company. We ensured we own every last bit of
Heathkit intellectual property, to bring you all the manuals, books, vintage designs,
and classic logos you love, unencumbered and in perpetuity. We built a company division
and acquired a line of vintage add-on designs to sustain the vintage products so
important to many Insiders.
That's a lot, but there's more. We've designed and developed a wide range of
entirely new kit products. We authored the manuals for these kits, complete with
the beautiful line art you rely on, preserving and respecting our iconic historic
Heathkit style. We developed many new inventions and filed patents on them. We relocated
Heathkit, and set up a factory, and a warehouse, and offices, in Santa Cruz, California,
near Silicon Valley. We built the back office infrastructure, vendor and supply
chain relationships, systems, procedures, operations methods, and well-thought-out
corporate structure that a manufacturing company needs to support its customers,
to allow us to scale instantly the day we resume major kit sales. All this effort
enables us to introduce a fleet of new kits and helps ensure Heathkit can grow,
prosper, and continue to bring you great new products for a very long time.
The first new kit out of the gate is an AM radio receiver - the
Explorer Jr™. Its design and assembly is
kept simple in order to serve as an entry level kit for young and old alike. All
of the electronic components are the old fashioned leaded type that you won't need
tweezers and an eye loupe to see and work with - or the steady hands of a surgeon.
Even the tuning capacitor is a parallel plate, air dielectric kind. In anticipation
of beginners (the Explorer Jr. would make a great Christmas
present for a kid) building their first-ever electronics kit, Heathkit includes
all the tools needed for successful completion.
From the Heathkit website:
A Radio Kit Whose Time Has Come.
When Heath started designing & selling do-it-yourself airplane kits shortly
after the Great War, the state-of-the-art in radio was the Tuned Radio Frequency
A TRF radio was a great deal. If you had a great deal of money. A TRF receiver
became a fixture in the homes of families around the world, receiving the news and
music AM broadcasts of the day. A family AM radio was a big investment — $100 to
$625 in 1929 dollars. (With inflation, that's $1,400 to $8,700 in today's dollars.)
Of course, at that price radios also were beautiful. They were made of fine wood,
and designed to last. Radios were a visible and attractive furnishing you could
be proud to have in your living room or parlor.
Heathkit's TRF radio is a great deal. And a great deal of radio. This Explorer
Jr™ radio is modeled on the original TRF designs, but better. You get to build
it yourself. It's safe and simple enough for beginners to assemble and understand.
But it receives AM broadcast stations with performance superior to the vintage radios
BTW, Heathkit also is building a shop on
that offers a stock of replacement parts for some of the old kits. There is also
a website for ordering vintage Heathkit manuals that "are all 1st generation
copies made directly from an original manual. They are not copies of copies."
The inventions and products featured on these pages were chosen either for their uniqueness in the RF engineering realm, or are simply awesome
(or ridiculous) enough to warrant an appearance.
All Featured Product Archive Pages:
| 1 | 2 |
3 | 4 | 5 |
6 | 7 | 8 |
9 | 10 | 11
| 12 | | 13 | 14
| 15 | 16 | 17
| 18 | 19 | 20
| 21 |
Posted October 18, 2015