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Who here built a Heathkit R/C radio?

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Who here built a Heathkit R/C radio?

Old 11-03-2015, 11:43 AM
  #51  
fizzwater2
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My first R/C equipment was a Heathkit GDA-405-D two-stick 8 channel transmitter, the matching receiver, and a set of 4 heathkit servos that used the Kraft KPS-12 mechanics. They were probably considered "sub-miniature" back then. I built this radio in 1973, I was 16 years old. I flew quite a few planes with it. If I ever wanted to fly a new airplane, I had to remove the receiver, battery, and servos from one plane and put them in another, I couldn't afford more radio gear!

Still have the radio, but sometime in the mid 80's I modified it - used part of one of the stick mechanisms to build a steering wheel type radio with a side throttle lever made from one of the trim levers. the wheel was cut from wood, fastened to a commercial knob, which was set screwed to the pot shaft. I'm pretty sure I still have that radio around somewhere, but I haven't looked for it in ages. The mods were done out of necessity, sort of. I bought an RC car, wanted a "car" radio to operate it, so I made one out of my Heathkit. By then I was a young father, without a lot of spare cash yet again, so it made sense to me at the time. Now I wish I hadn't carved it up to create this out of it, but back then, it seemed like a great idea.

Since then I bought another GDA 405-D transmitter, just so I could own one that wasn't modified. Haven't used either one in ages, there's just too many radios out there with much better gimbals, performance, etc.
Old 11-03-2015, 11:58 AM
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fizzwater2
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Remember these:

Old 11-03-2015, 03:49 PM
  #53  
Truckracer
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Originally Posted by fizzwater2 View Post
Remember these:
Yup, still have one in the cupboard and it still works like new. Not quite as nice as the one in the photo as it was used a lot over the years until it was replaced by a Royal analog tach which I also still have.
Old 11-03-2015, 06:23 PM
  #54  
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I had one a KPS-9 on ailerons in a .049 TD powered glider, a Mod Pod. Taught myself to fly with it.

Ken
Old 11-04-2015, 06:25 AM
  #55  
FlyerInOKC
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There are times I wished Futaba still offered a linear travel servo. I have seen the conversion kits and some nice but expensive linear servos from other companies.
Old 11-04-2015, 09:04 AM
  #56  
spaceworm
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Originally Posted by FlyerInOKC View Post
There are times I wished Futaba still offered a linear travel servo. I have seen the conversion kits and some nice but expensive linear servos from other companies.
I have used two round servo wheels with a slightly smaller spacer between them for rudder control. Using cable wrapped partly around the groove between the round arms, which forms a pulley, and with the midpoint of the cable secured to the "pulley', linear motion is obtained. A similar "pulley" is used for the control suface end. I think someone makes a similar control arm, but it is not hard to make. Use of cable limits this approach to pull-pull arrangements, but it is especially useful for rudder control.

Likely some computer transmitters could convert the sinisoidal output motion of the standard control arm to linear through programming? Good luck.

Sincerely, Richard
Old 11-05-2015, 12:18 PM
  #57  
richard dee
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I have my all time favorite radio kraft very last year on 75 750 .Had a bad accident face down off the shelf onto the cement .Broke both gimbles I have proline metal gimbles will they work.Big job if they will.I also wanted to get this into 2.4Anyone have any Ideas .
Old 11-05-2015, 02:57 PM
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grotto2
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Originally Posted by richard dee View Post
I have my all time favorite radio kraft very last year on 75 750 .Had a bad accident face down off the shelf onto the cement .Broke both gimbles I have proline metal gimbles will they work.Big job if they will.I also wanted to get this into 2.4Anyone have any Ideas .
I've heard of such things being done. PM me or Jaymen or contact Pete Waters, Radio South,....gosh who else?
Old 11-05-2015, 11:45 PM
  #59  
richard dee
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Proline I Have four on my bench right now. Trying to resurrect them.Really fun.Kinda twisting my nostalgic side. I started with an F&M reed set ,toggle switches It was an addiction
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Old 11-06-2015, 02:17 AM
  #60  
chuckk2
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I had an 8 channel 72.mhz single stick, and also built multiple Heathkits from the late 50's to the late 70's.
The first was an AR-3 SW receiver, and the last was a metal detector.
Old 11-11-2015, 12:42 PM
  #61  
HIr/cer
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Built the AR-3 shortwave receiver also, my second Heathkit, a basic 4 receiving tube radio at $29.95 and also ordered their fairly attractive assembled wood, cloth covered, case ($4.95). Cost was a consideration as comparable manufactured 4 tube shortwave sets cost $49.95 and a potential shock hazard as they were AC/DC radios instead of the transformer powered AR-3's.

Thanking everyone for their Service.
Old 04-16-2016, 01:08 PM
  #62  
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Built a complete kit (transmitter, receiver, servos) back in '68 and I still have it and it still works (a GD-47 model). I had to replace both the transmitter and receiver batteries as they both went dead and started to leak, used more modern batteries. I have decided that I wanted to put the unit in the air so I picked up a old trainer plane (hanger 9 Easy 2) at a recent swap meet and have installed everything in it. After completing everything I did a range check on the plane (manual stated with antenna fully collapsed in transmitter it should function at 100 feet) Well it stopped working at about 15 feet. Batteries were fully charged. With antenna extended to first length it worked until about 50 feet. Extend the antenna completely and you get fully signal strength on the meter but I have not tried to see how far it would work with plane sitting on ground. I'm a little concerned it I want to try and put it in the air if it is not testing as the manual says. Anyone have any thoughts on this. If anyone has a working unit, how does yours respond to range testing?
Old 04-16-2016, 01:31 PM
  #63  
LJE4357
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It probably need to be re-tuned. After all these years the cap's in the front end and If's have changed value. Same with the transmitter. (Illegal for you to do without an FCC general class license). If that doesn't help, then it has to be troubled shoot'ed with a scope. Easy to do if you know someone with one. I would start with the transmitter first. It should put out about 750 mw. !00 feet with the antenna extended is actually far. Also did you aim the antenna at the plane? You should be 90 degree's. That's a dipole antenna, if you aim it at the plane, your in the ' Cone of Silence". There' probably nothing really wrong with it, but it's still a good idea to have it re-tuned . If you can finds somebody to do it. I probably did several thousand baack in the good ole days.
Old 04-16-2016, 07:41 PM
  #64  
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I have had mid 90's rx's go bad that had just sat in the storage bin. Figure the caps went south a bit. Not surprised a even older rx and tx would do the same.

Ken
Old 04-16-2016, 07:52 PM
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I flew all of mine Heathkit transmitters on 6 meter.Ham freg.If I was you I would range check it .Get a buddy to help you..Just dont point the antenna at the plane.Good luck.Willie 222
Old 04-16-2016, 09:11 PM
  #66  
HIr/cer
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Friend of mine built two Heathkit R/C sets, the brown cased 8 channel and the 5 channel black TX, all on 6 meters. He used the 5 channel setup last year before quitting R/C for the time being. My Ace Silver Sevens are on 6 meters.

Mhudson, there's probably nothing really wrong with your setup as LJE4357 mentioned but better to get it range checked with a buddy. I am amazed at the instructions stating that with the antenna totally collapsed into the transmitter case, the range check will be good at 100 feet! Ace TX antennas are not hidden inside the transmitter when fully collapsed and I can accept a range check of 50 feet for an Ace with a fully collapsed (one section length) antenna. Actually did that range check for a used Ace setup that I am currently flying.

When stationed overseas, a flying buddy build the GD-47 when they first were introduced. Not good memories of his maiden flight, most likely not the fault of the radio. More later.
Old 04-17-2016, 10:44 AM
  #67  
grotto2
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I agree with Hlr/cer that something doesn't sound right for the range check. I would expect 200 feet with the bottom section extended.
Old 04-19-2016, 06:04 AM
  #68  
ron ward
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as a teenager some 40 plus years ago, my best buddy's dad, a TV repairman, built a few Heathkit radio systems. I remember that one was an 8 channel, which at that time was incredible having that many channels. he put that radio n a seaplane that had a 9 foot wingspan. I also remember another kit he built, that went into a Kaos, IFRC. that plane was fun to watch him fly I remember him doing all sorts of body English moves as struggled to keep up with the plane's incredibly quick maneuvers !.
Old 04-22-2016, 10:52 AM
  #69  
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I built an Ace Silver Seven single stick which I still have. Love the radio. I am going to have it converted to Taranis electronics.

Tom
Old 07-27-2016, 06:10 AM
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FlyerInOKC
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If you are following this thread you may find this link of interest. I know it brought back memories of building my first radio gear.

http://aerofred.com/details.php?image_id=97136
Old 07-28-2016, 03:47 PM
  #71  
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My best friend's dad built a GD-47 (in 1969 or '70) which they put in a Falcon 56 with a ST-23. Soon after, I bought an already-built 4ch DigiTrio and also put it in my own Falcon 56, but with an OS-30. Back then, buddy boxes were still off in the future so we set out to teach ourselves how to fly. The planes survived but we sure went through a lot of wood props! The DigiTrio is long gone but I sure wish I still had it though; for a nostalgic reasons if nothing else.

I didn't build my DigiTrio (it was built by a fellow R/C club member in the late '60s) but I did get reprints of all of the RCM articles with the radio. I was a budding electronics wizzard / mad scientist at the time and inhaled every word of those build articles. Didn't understand them much until I learned electronics in the USAF.

I've still got my Falcon and OS-30 but neither are flyable now. Thinking of which, I'm not exactly in new condition anymore either!

Great memories though!

Harvey

Last edited by H5487; 07-28-2016 at 03:50 PM.
Old 07-28-2016, 04:22 PM
  #72  
FlyerInOKC
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The site in the link had Orbit and Marcy radios and I think some others.
Old 07-31-2016, 05:37 AM
  #73  
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I had one of those back around 1965 that my neighbor built, and sold me for $5 since I was an interested 14 year old kid, and he'd bought newer stuff. 26.995 was the channel and it was super regen. It was a big metal box , maybe 4 inches wide, 3 inches deep, and 9 inches high. It had a red crinkled finish. It only had an on-off switch and one push button, took an enormous battery, and the receiver was equally large compared to today's receivers. It was a single channel outfit. I had it in a Goldberg Skylane 42 along with a Bonner escapement and an .049 engine. It was seemed very unreliable, every other flight was a fly away. I do not know if it was the fault of the electronics, or the fact that I was a beginner and had a lot of trouble pushing the button quickly enough to make the plane turn properly. Pushing the button at the right speed was very critical to get it to turn the way you wanted, if you were too slow you got another right turn instead of the left you were trying to get. That old equipment was a real challenge to use, I sure appreciate the modern stuff.
Old 08-01-2016, 08:10 AM
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FlyerInOKC
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The old stuff looked pretty advance when it came out now its almost laughable.
Old 06-04-2017, 12:45 PM
  #75  
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I have been in the shop working on some single channel and R/O stuff using one of the Tobe Phil Green actuator that I just received from Jaymen when I stumbled across this thread. When I was in high school my uncle Red owned an antique shop and he took in a Heathkit GD-19 system that did not work but was otherwise complete. I checked it out and found a couple of solder bridges and after carefully cleaning up and resoldering the connections using the manual photos I was able to get the radio running and used it for a while. I just looked at the manual and removed the receiver from its case and decided that now I could never tackle that repair. I guess the shakes hands and the old eyes don't quite have it to solder up those tiny circuit boards anymore. But I still have the complete system minus the batteries with the manual in the cabinet. It is a throwback to when your own labor (Sweat) could save you some money.

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