Long-time RF Cafe visitor and occasional
contributor Gary Steinhour, KF6U, recently sent me a note saying he had acquired
a very used Heathkit DX-60B amateur radio transmitter and was in the process of
restoring it. Gary's first transmitter as a freshly minted Ham half a century ago
was a DX-60, so this was an effort to satisfy a nostalgic emotional attachment.
The project is complete now, and boy does it look nice! Gary provides a brief account
"There are no problems, just creative opportunities," was a favorite saying of
senior high speed optics physicist George Carpluk. Those of us who endeavor to restore
our beloved boat anchors are presented with a wide variety of "creative opportunities".
During a friendly visit with a local ham, Larry KK6MF, I mentioned I enjoy trying
to bring an old boat anchor back to life. Larry said he had an old Heath DX-60B
that needed some TLC and I was welcome to have it. Later that day he contacted me
to let me know he located it and was ready for me to pick it up. When I saw it I
realized it was abundant with creative opportunities. I felt compelled to revive
it since I had recently passed the 50 year mark of being a ham and my first station
consisted of a Heath DX-60 with matching HR-10 receiver.
It was obvious generations of mice made a home in it. The bottom cover was missing
and they nibbled on the various components. My only option was to totally dismantle
it and do a total rebuild after giving it a thorough cleaning and replacing damaged
I thought it would be a show stopper when I discovered the band switch was broken.
Can't order one from Heath anymore. Luckily I discovered there are folks selling
parts from dismantled radios on eBay. The band switch I needed just happened to
be available, and at a reasonable price too. I thought the
flux capacitor I needed was going to be difficult to find as
well, but as luck would have it, there was one in the
retro-encabulator I purchased at
a garage sale this past April 1st.
While I was in the reconstruction process, I noticed there was a local listing
of a Heath HR-10B receiver on Craig's List. Now is that a strange coincidence or
what? At first I resisted buying it, but then I learned resistance was futile. Yep,
I got it. And it works too. It actually came in handy. The receiver and transmitter
are the same size, so I was able to use the receiver's bottom cover plate as a template
to fabricate a cover plate for the transmitter.
Following Heath's step by step instructions during the rebuild was a wonderful
déjà vu experience. It generated RF without any smoke!
Note: I used WD-40 to clean the front panel and cabinet. It is a mild solvent
that is paint friendly. The painted finish is original. No touch-ups. The chassis
is bare steel. I used a wire brush wheel on my electric drill to clean up the rust
and contamination build-up. Soaking the nuts and bolts in vinegar dissolved some
of the rust. I used a small wire brush clean what the vinegar didn't dissolve.
73, Gary KF6U
Posted June 9, 2017
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