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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old February 21st, 2006, 07:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Emory
What is a Heathkit?
Google can easily answer that: http://www.heathkit-museum.com/

Wow, what nostalgia. There are several kits here that my father and I built!...
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Old February 21st, 2006, 07:09 PM   #17
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As I recall, Radio Shack also maintained a huge selection of electronic components, that could be obtained only by mail-order, from their Texas warehouse. There was a big catalog for these items that was kept under the counter at each store. I wonder if this special catalog and that whole line of items has also been eliminated?

For years, they were the only source that still had blank 8-track tape cartridges. When they finally stopped stocking them, I was out of luck. Now, I can't use any of my pro-quality 8-track and 8-track quadraphonic recorders, as there's no tapes for them. How can I spend those special moments listening to 60's pop hits, when they're on CDs? Those track-changing clunks and slight delays are absolutely necessary to stimulate the proper nostalgic response.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 08:29 AM   #18
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Ah, so the Heathkit was a homebuilt computer? Did anyone ever have the Trash 80 (TRS-80)? I was still playing with the Atari 2600 at that time!

www.kjsl.com/trs80

Last edited by James Emory; February 22nd, 2006 at 09:01 AM.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 08:37 AM   #19
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No James, Heathkits were do it yourself science projects, like build your own radio, and stuff like that. You got a box of parts, instructions, and you made it.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:04 AM   #20
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I remember building a radio out from a kit where there was a cardboard tube and you had to wrap copper wire around it many times completely covering it. Then there was a metal ball bearing with a hole in it that slid back and forth on a rod that was the length of the tube. The ball was the tuner for the different frequencies and you could actually hear radio stations with a small earpiece. Maybe that was one of those kits.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:08 AM   #21
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Sounds almost like what I can remember, but I never did the electronics stuff as a kid.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:12 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Forman
No James, Heathkits were do it yourself science projects
Actually they weren't "science projects" for the most part. They were useful everyday things which you built yourself, such as stereo amplifiers and electronics test gear. It may be hard to understand in today's mass produced import market, but this was a way to get a very high quality stereo system for much cheaper than an off the shelf model. But they were not easy to build! I built a preamp and it took forever - basically you got a box of parts and a circuit board and had to assemble and solder everything yourself. There was considerable troubleshooting involved to get everything working up to spec, but once you got there you had a nice unit. Their stereo components always got top reviews and probably only cost half as much as the high end consumer amplifiers.

Browse through the site I linked to above, there's a lot of info if you're really interested. But of course this is all OT since Heathkit had no relationship to Radio Shack...
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:16 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Emory
[color=blue]I remember boulding a radio out from a kit where there was a cardboard tube and you had to wrap copper wire around it many times completely covering it.
That was a "crystal set" and there were plenty of kits for doing them. Very basic radio which you could build yourself; no amplifier - you listened through earphones. The classic project was building one using a Quaker oats container, a safety pin and other household objects. These were frequent science class and cub scout merit badge projects "back in the day" (now I *really* am showing my age ;-) I believe Heath did make sort of a "junior" kit for these, but most of their projects were pretty expensive and sophisticated (like building an oscilloscope!). Another favorite science class project was building a home-made electric motor!

Here's some info on crystal sets: http://www.schmarder.com/radios/crystal/
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Old February 25th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #24
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Wow! Talk about a blast from the past! I've still got my Heathkit 35, which is an experiment set of 35 electronic "projects" you can make. It's a big circuit-board-on-a-box with all different sizes of wires, plus transistors, resistors and capacitors you can plug in using these tiny, spring loaded clips. You could make an AM radio, an intercom (there was another box included to use as a "receiver"), geez I can't remember 'em all. It's still in its original box up in a closet in my mother's house. I'll have to go get it sometime and see if it still works.

Dad even ordered one of their super-whiz-bang 25" TV kits. It was light-years ahead of its time. Had a programmable timer that would change channels (all THREE of 'em!) at a certain time. Would also turn on and off at a certain, programmed time. I remember helping to try and get that sucker finished in time for Super Bowl X (can you believe it???). We did it, but it sure was ugly for a while. Can't buy memories like that.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 09:59 AM   #25
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Edward,

That old heathkit project could be worth big bucks on Ebay. Boomers LOVE to buy their old playsets!
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Old February 25th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #26
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Yeah, I looked through the Heathkit Museum site and didn't see anything on the multi-project kits. Even went on the myheathkits.com site and saw little. But, it's fun to step back and remember them. I'll have to resurrect it and give it to my nephew. Think that'll pry him away from the Nintendo?? Well, I didn't think so either.....
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