Heathkit has a $150 AM radio (no speaker) Explorer Jr: TRF AM radio receiver kit – GR-150-BK

Product Product 38

Wow! Some interesting updates to heathkit.com (thanks Mike!). Heathkit has a $150 AM radio (no speaker) called the Explorer Jr: Explorer Jr: TRF AM radio receiver kit – black case – GR-150-BK @ heathkit.com. This is almost 1 year after we had chatted with Heathkit after our massive article, “Heathkit – The electronics history mystery” and they had said they were shipping something soon, the site is now updated and there are products. There is also now a phone # and email address listed, so we’ll see how it goes (we called and left a message).

A Radio Kit Whose Time Has Come.

When Heath started designing & selling do-it-yourself airplane kits shortly after the Great War, the state-of-the-art in radio was the Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) design.
A TRF radio was a great deal. If you had a great deal of money. A TRF receiver became a fixture in the homes of families around the world, receiving the news and music AM broadcasts of the day. A family AM radio was a big investment — $100 to $625 in 1929 dollars. (With inflation, that’s $1,400 to $8,700 in today’s dollars.)  Of course, at that price radios also were beautiful. They were made of fine wood, and designed to last. Radios were a visible and attractive furnishing you could be proud to have in your living room or parlor.

Heathkit’s TRF radio is a great deal. And a great deal of radio. This Explorer Jr TM radio is modeled on the original TRF designs, but better. You get to build it yourself. It’s safe and simple enough for beginners to assemble and understand. But it receives AM broadcast stations with performance superior to the vintage radios of 1930.

We are product fanatics. Our goal is to improve your life by helping you build the complex products you use daily. You’ll learn how they work, and be able to fix and change them yourself. We design great products you can be pleased to own, and proud you made.

Heathkit® in all uses, the Heathkit name, the Heathkit logos and slogans including “We won’t let you fail.” TM and “Prepare to succeed.” TM, and “Heathkit® Educational Systems” are internationally registered trademarks of Heath Company.

We purchased on today, we’ll post up when it arrives! See our previous Heathkit coverage here.

Update from Phil @ Adafruit 10/8/2015.

i ordered the radio today but did not get a confirmation email (they paypal transaction via their site worked) so i called and left a message, did not get a return call yet, so i emailed and the email bounced.

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.
A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of
its recipients. This is a permanent error.

we’ll see how it goes, i’ll post up when/if i hear anything or get my radio!

10/21/2015 @ 10:21pm “Andy” from Heathkit called and left a message (no caller ID, said the phone did not have it on the voice mail). Anyway, he said they have our order.

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  1. I am too young to remember the heyday of Heathkit, but they seem to be relying pretty heavily on people’s nostalgia by pricing this thing so high. I’m sure the cabinet will be very nice, but, to me, marketing copy about the “magic” of tuning your own radio, something anyone with a $10 radio is already intimately familiar with, is hardly convincing enough to warrant a $150 price tag. It will be neat, however, when somebody gets the inevitable bluetooth mod working.

  2. William Stearns

    Your bounce message shows “heathkit.co”; was that a truncated copy, or a typo in the original email?

  3. @william, the full address was:
    [email protected]

    however, when the bounce comes back it says their address is @heathkit.co

  4. I am kind of suspicious it may still be vaporware, with several of the specs still being TBA, it’s a very basic AM radio, though it does use an old school air variable capacitor, and appears to have a nice case, all the electric components are wired to the board using screws and nuts. There may be issues with variable quality of the connection using screws to secure and electrically connect the parts. Seems to me like its a very basic possibly publicly available circuit you could built with under $10 in parts, put in a fancy case.
    I also see no indication of when it would ship.
    They have a forums link, which only has one section, “Help” which has zero questions. The issue is, to ask a question, you have to have 3 karma, which you only get by having your answers upvoted. How do you answer questions if no one can ask questions, because no one has karma yet?
    Their last facebook post was the one back in december, they have a blog with zero posts, the email bounce etc lead me to strong doubt that they will ship. I guess they will find out their mistake if they never ship to you, as a good part of their potential customers will hear your results.

  5. “Andy” is the one name I saw anywhere on the site, at the empty blog page https://shop.heathkit.com/blog/heathkit-news-1

  6. For $150 they could have included a speaker.

  7. "TomC
    OCTOBER 16, 2015 AT 2:00 PM
    For $150 they could have included a speaker."

    It’s got more ‘purist’ appeal at $150. Purists would be most likely to spend $150 for this. A lot of AM radio is a bad advertising wasteland, but I still prefer to listen to baseball on an AM radio. Goodwill usually has a good selection of vintage radios.

  8. They are targetting the ‘purist’ but the problem is I don’t think the wiring method is good enough. Besides, the ‘purist’ who will spend 150 on an AM only radio probably wants it to be tube driven or something.

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