A Heathkit Moment

van wd8aam vlincoln at FRONTIERNET.NET
Thu Mar 4 09:08:02 EST 2010

Gee, this made me get really misty.......

At 13:53 3/4/2010, you wrote:
>Occasionally there is such a good outcome we need to share.
>I gave my son a well used SB-101 when he was in school in the late 
>80s.  It was handled fairly roughly in transport and used 
>sporadically until he graduated in 1990, when it was put away.  It 
>was moved several times as he started a family, moved, started a 
>business, moved, etc.  For the last few years it sat on a bench in 
>his office, waiting to get back on the air.
>Well, a couple weeks ago he dragged it down here to my house, put it 
>on the bench in my shop, and turned it on.  I was busy operating in 
>the CX contest, so didn't pay any attention.  After a while, he said 
>"It's not smoking and I hear a little static."  How's that for 
>sophisticated work by a genuine EE? Anyhow, he didn't come back to 
>work on it and it sat there staring at me. So last night I brought 
>it up slowly on a Variac and saw the HV doing fine. I eased it up to 
>100V, wiggled all the tubes, execriced all the switches, and spun 
>the dial...more sophisticated technique.  It was on the dummy load, 
>but I did get noise from the wiggling, so was encouraged.
>All the orings were rotten and fallen off, so I put it in tune and 
>turned the driver caps by hand while watching the plate 
>current.  What ho!  I got plate current, so switched the meter to 
>grid, got nothing, wiggled switch a few more times, had grid 
>current!  Then I dipped the plate and went back to receive.
>Then I turned on the calibrator and what ho again, I heard the 
>calibrator at 3500!  The frequency was a whole KHz off!  That after 
>about 20 yr of rest!
>So then I had to get the antenna on as quickly as possible.  As soon 
>as I touched the line to the connector, the spkr exploded with noise 
>and CW, so I had to turn the volume way down.  Tuning showed me gobs 
>of signals, with very good S/N ratio.  I immediately talked to 
>someone 250 miles away and a few minutes later Maine, from here in 
>central NC!  The ME station said I was 599+25!  Not bad for 80W out!
>Further tuning showed many stations, very low noise, and a good 
>sounding tone.  Even the CW filter, which I forgot it had, works fine.
>So there you go.  I've had my share of Heath experience...dicey 
>switches, drifty resistors, and corroded sockets, but this one is a 
>real winner.  It has a lot of tubes and components, but all seems to 
>be well so far.  I'll get the kid to help run a voltage check, but I 
>don't expect to find much.
>As I've said many times, I'd rather listen to a Heath than a KWM-2 
>or S-Line receiver.  This one is no exception.  Hopefully he will 
>throw up a wire and get on a little.  Who knows, I may pick up 
>another 101, after I fiinish the 10 or so projects already hanging around here.
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