Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hot Water BITX 40 Hack

Fred's idea really resonated with me.   My first SSB rig was an HW-32A, the 20 meter version of the rig shown above.  If -- as I suspect -- these rigs are anything like the HW-101, they are not aging well. Heath's drive for economy resulted in rigs that don't hold up to well over time. I remember the sound of the  plastic HW-101 dial clutch cracking when I pushed the button.

BITX40 Modules to the rescue! Put a mono-band board inside an old mono-band rig.   There are a lot of possibility here.  Some ideas:

-- Put that Heath VFO to use.  Maybe convert it to solid state.  Or just put the LCD from an Si5351 in the window (Pete did this with an HW-101).

-- Get the S-Meter wiggling.  

-- Keep the final amplifier circuitry in there and let the BITX drive it.  This will give you a QRO option.  Bill N2CQR 

Hello Fellows,
Attached is a picture of my BITX-40 V3 adapted to a Heath kit Single Bander HW22. This is a work in progress but what a neat way to bring an old boat anchor into the present.
The only parts of the HW 22 used were the front panel and case and knobs. Modifications yet to be  incorporated include: AGC , a USB port on the front panel to access the Arduino, and a PTT/CW mode switch.
I enjoy your pod cast and web site…Best of 73 KC5RT.


  1. That... is actually a pretty clever use of a not-so-hot rig. I have an HW-32 that I've spent HOURS trying to get working. I slips into VHF oscillations on PTT no matter what I do with it, no matter how much I work with it.
    This saves the (excellent) carcass and ditches the poorly designed innards. The HW-32A model is 'better'. Heathkit even had a mod that included perforated cages over the finals. It's not a popular rig.

  2. Regarding plastic that does not hold up well over time.... the old Bakelite cases and such tended to hold up far better and longer than much modern plastics. I have a Microwave Oven that i have to manually time now, because one or more of the plastic gears in the manual timer broke, first one bit, then others. Oven still works well though.
    I have developed a dislike for plastics for many purposes. Some kinds are good though.
    I hesitate to use most plastics for standoffs in radio and electronics because the plastic may give way at bad times, then one needs to find more plastic. I used some heavy rigid plastic tubing as spacers for a 3 band dipole, and now that plastic has gotten so brittle it is also no good
    So, for things needing stand offs, I either use a plastic that I know will hold up, such as black nylon or whatever it is, and metal ones to mount the display to the front panel of my BITX40/20...