Heathkit: (was)Re: Call 442-7000.......... and you'll see Muntz TV!

Ric Werme ewerme@comcast.net
Thu May 3 20:37:53 EDT 2007

> Sounds like we've got a "pro" and a "con" on Muntz TVs here.  I remember the
> ads, too.  But I never knew anyone who had one of the sets.  Is there anyone
> else out there knows about them first-hand?  You guys have got me really
> curious now.   And what about those do-it-yourself TV kits, with which a
> person (presumably one with some electronics knowhow) could build his own
> set?  I can't remember the name of the company that offered those.

Heathkit.  Generally very good stuff, and building a Color TV was kinda the
pinnacle of the kits.  I never built a TV, but always wanted to.  One
sort of frustration was that you could build the kit and not really learn
much about the electronics.  The manuals did have a good theory of operation
section, but they tested the assembly instructions on newly hired secretaries.
The products often had diagnostic stuff built in, I think the color TVs
had a convergence generator.

They were best known for audio equipment, but all my audio stuff has died.
A digital multimeter works fine, an RS232 breakout box is good (a transistor
or two per signal line, so it's not just LEDS).  The most challenging kit
I built was an Audio Spectrum Analyzer that works pretty well except for
a noisy power supply for the electroluminescent display.  That has half
octave resolution with narrow band active filters for each.  A lot of
precision resistors laid out "cordwood style".

Eventually they had to abandon kits, both because people stopped having
time to build them and because automated assembly techniques and surface
mount components made handmade circuit boards impractical.

A friend who did build a Color TV called the rail freight company and
asked how much shipping would be for the 100+ lb package shipped from
Western Michigan.  After a few more queries, Bill mentioned it was a
Heathkit Color TV.  The agent said, "Oh, why didn't you say so in the
first place, it's $56.00."  Or whatever rail freight was then.

Bill wasn't at home when for the first delivery attempt and came home
to a note with a phone number to call to arrange a new date.  He called
the next morning and the agent couldn't find the package, suggesting the
delivery guy might have loaded it up again without waiting for the scheduled
date.  Bill figured he better stay home and sure enough, the delivery guy
showed up and mentioned his cousin had built one and was so excited about
it that he felt it was worth bringing it anyway.

Always wanted to build one, though installing the picture tube was a
very nervewracking experience.  A lot of energy in that vacuum.  :-)
Never heard of someone breaking a picture tube though.

Heathkit also produced a lot of ham radio gear, as you might imagine.
I think a few hams are guardians of the remnants of the Heath spare parts

      -Ric Werme

More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest mailing list