A site of endless curiosity

Archive for September 28th, 2008

The Riddle of Kit Building – why do they do it?

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The Riddle of Kit Building

The Heath Company

There is a popular book that you will see at Hamfests – Heathkit-A Guide to the Amateur Radio Products.  You can also find this book on

The Guide is a very good reference on all the Heath/Zenith products.  In fact, it’s a wealth of information on the history of the company, the products along with beautiful photographs, and a chronological history of the company from creation to decline and extinction.  The book is highly recommended if you are interested in the history of the Heath/Zenith company or details about their products.

Benevolent friend to Amateurs?

Without knowing the history of the Heath Company one might get the idea that the company had some sort of maternal instinct to Amateur Radio insofar as they created quite a popular and successful line of amateur radio products and test equipment.  One might think that the founders of the company had some benevolence for Amateur Radio and then built a company around this core concept and mission.

A good trivia question would be: “What is the first kit that the Heath Company produced?”  This answer is: a kit airplane – a kit airplane in which the founder of the company was killed.  That has nothing to do with Amateur Radio.

In the early history of Heath, the company was a generic profit making business in the sense that they had no core mission to develop amateur radio products.

Box-car loads of government surplus electronics

After World War II the Heath Company found that they could buy box-car loads of surplus electronic parts from the US Government at rock bottom prices.  So, what do you do with box-cars loads of electronic parts?

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Written by frrl

September 28, 2008 at 3:15 am

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