Whenever I want to play with a new radio I look around the basement and see what’s down there. With myrecent acquisition of the Heathkit BR-2 Broadcast Receiver I wondered what else I had in the way of Heathkit receiver kits. There is was – my Heathkit GR-54 General Coverage Communications Receiver.
The GR-54 was produced between 1966 and 1971. It is all mode (AM/LSB/USB) single conversion Superheterodyne consisting of 6 tubes (6BH6 RF Amp, 6EA8 Osc Mixer, 6BA6 IF Amp, 6BA6 IF Amp, 12AT7 BFO Product Detector, 6HF8 AF Amp and diodes). The price when this kit was produced was $85-$135.
I got a real deal on this one. I paid $25 for it in good working condition. And that included the manual.
Turns out, at the time of this writing, there is an original unbuilt Heathkit GR-54 on eBay – the bidding is now at $709. Got that? That is not a typo. An unbuilt Heathkit is bid up to $709 with 16 hours remaining in the auction. Don’t belive me? Here, look…
The best part about the post besides the photos is a comment under the post…
When I was 15 yrs old, I was offered a Summer job at my local grade school cleaning toilets, mopping/waxing floors, and weeding the gardens around the school and church for $1.50 and hour. Being obsessed with electronics, the first thing that I bought with my very hard earned money was a GR-54… It was one of the most precious items of my life for many years… all the things I learned with it, and because of it. That radio solidified my obsession with electronics, and lead me to the very lucrative profession as a very well employed electronics design engineer today.
Like so many electronic engineers of my age (mid 50′s), I owe my start to hard personal work, and Heathkit. Through the years, I collected manuals and studied the theory sections until I understood how the item worked. I specifically recall sitting in the lunchroom of Denby High school studying the IB-100 frequency counter- amazed that it indicated the measurement in “numbers” and not an analog meter. I sat there trying to understand the description of a “flip-flop” while my classmates were throwing food at each other (wonder what they are doing today?) I studied, studied, and studied until I finally understood how each stage functioned for every manual that I could afford those days (at $2.00 each).
We hope every kid now has a favorite kit they’ll look back on years from now.
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