The brackets, front and rear case panels and the case itself go together pretty easily. There is a bit of juggling to get these little plastic spacers mounted onto the bottom of brackets but it is doable. I have to say that the front does look really nice. The main part of the front is a piece of wood, nicely stained and oiled, and the bottom portion is an aluminum panel with the old style logo screened onto it.
Here is how it looks with the front panel
All of the screws both for the components and the case are supposed to have star lock washers. I had plenty for the components with a few left over, even after I dropped a couple. It’s a different story for me with the case though. I’m short 6, assembled without them for now, maybe i’ll be at the hardware store and remember to get a few extras.
The back panel is a mirrored piece of 1/4″ plexi, I guess so that the red LED which is pointed to the back can be reflected back toward the front from inside. Kind of a neat touch.
Few shots completely assembled
I think it does look pretty classy.
Now for the bad news. I plugged in a speaker, turn it on and although I’m getting power and the click of power in the speaker, I’m getting no radio. It did work the other evening prior to the case assembly part. Not sure what it is yet, I did find one capacitor lead that had broken off and I fixed that but still nothing. The antenna is still connected it looks like and I see nothing else obvious. Though I’m sure that with the fiddling around getting the case pieces on I must have broken some connection somewhere. Also I’m thinking something could be shorting out, there are some nuts on the bottom of the pc board which are very very close together and I watched for that when assembling but I am going to have to check all of that again too.
I am hoping to get it sorted out soon and am pretty sure is going to be some broken connection/lead. I think that is the least successful part of this kit, the mechanical connections. They are difficult and touchy. If this is intended for folks who haven’t worked with anything like this before I’m afraid that they may be disappointed or frustrated with these. Were I to know this before starting I may have opted to solder the connections. As it is, if I can’t find the problem I’m thinking to remove components 1 by 1 and solder them instead (to the bottom of the board though which is where the solder pads are exposed. Ultimately I feel that this would be much more successful as a solder kit, or if it must be no solder then it needs an easier and more resilient connection method.
I have spent a couple hours over the past few days putting parts on the board. Tiny, tiny parts. Well the, components aren’t all that bad, it’s the little screws, washers and nuts that are hard. First test run worked out super, LED lit up and I was receiving local stations perfectly.
Here are a few photos of the board with the air cap mounted to it. This one wasn’t all that difficult.
Next some shots of the fully populated board.
There are a few problems beside the tiny screws and nuts. Easy enough to overcome but worth mentioning.
- Pg 15 of the manual has a couple of errors, an omission and an incorrect resistor marking. There is to be a 1k resistor to the right of the 10n cap but there is no instruction to install it. Also in the bottom half of the page it lists a 100ohm resistor as Red-Black-Brown which should say Brown-Black-Brown. Easy enough to figure out.
- Most of the components went on just fine with the screws. On one occasion I had a lead break off of the transistor when it was getting tightened. Luckily there was enough lead left to redo it and have enough of the other two leads to reach. This is a sort of a problem theme I think, because…
- On the attachment for the wires on the battery holder, the antenna and the audio jack I had the wires break off after having screwed them on. Multiple times. At the moment they are all intact, but I’m thinking if it happens again I’m just going to solder them. I think the screws sort of cut the conductors right off or something.
- Wrapping the antenna wasn’t too difficult, the leads though are a bit touchy and I’m hoping they won’t break off.
All in all, so far it’s still pretty sweet. Next up is the mechanical assembly, the case and knob and all.
A couple of years ago I found that Heathkit was staging some sort of comeback of sorts. They had put up a web page, basically just a “keep checking here” sort of thing. Inside the source was a link to a survey where they asked a bunch of questions about what people were interested in etc. Info about it can be found elsewhere on the web. One of the things they did was to collect up email addresses and have a sort of “insiders” mail list. Not very much came out of that email but after a couple of years finally the insiders were invited to visit the site to check out their very first new kit in the 21st century. It is just a simple, no solder, AM radio kit, no speaker, etc. Price was a little hefty at $150 but I bit and the other day it arrived finally.
Boy is it a beauty. I an not old enough to have had a Heathkit kit before (though I’m not young either), but I am aware of them and saw a few go together as a kid.
So far it seems as would be expected from what we hear and read. Everything is really nicely done, the assembly/operation manual is overly complete with instructions needed as well as a bunch of theory and such.
So hopefully over the next several days or a couple of weeks I’ll be assembling and testing and making notes here as to my progress.
Here are a few more pics.