Looking back at Heathkit


Steven Dick, K1RF
 

Thought this might be interesting to ya all. Lessons of a successful electronic business—an interview with Chas Gilmore, former Heath executive. Some insights not normally known. Talks about why the company was so successful and why it got out of the kit business.  I saw some parallels to QRP labs on why it was so successful. -Steve K1RF

https://www.electronicdesign.com/communiqu/article/21148923/electronic-design-heathkit-an-employees-look-back?oly_enc_id=2379J8945723A3G


Albert Tatlock's Greatest Hits - Vol 1
 

I read that too a few days ago.

Heath adopted the “We will not let you fail” slogan and supported it with a robust Customer Service department,
Same reason why QRP Labs is successful too.

- Andy -


Chuck - K3FLN
 

One of the smart things they did was to offer a TV Repair course with the big project being a 25" color TV.  In the early 70's thousands of vets used their GI Bill benefits to get a free TV.  I worked with lots of very well educated folks at IBM who suddenly became interested in TV repair...Hi Hi..

On 12/7/2020 9:47 AM, Steven Dick wrote:

Thought this might be interesting to ya all. Lessons of a successful electronic business—an interview with Chas Gilmore, former Heath executive. Some insights not normally known. Talks about why the company was so successful and why it got out of the kit business.  I saw some parallels to QRP labs on why it was so successful. -Steve K1RF

https://www.electronicdesign.com/communiqu/article/21148923/electronic-design-heathkit-an-employees-look-back?oly_enc_id=2379J8945723A3G


Shane Justice <justshane@...>
 

Steven,

Thank you so much for bringing this article to my attention! 

I built Heath's little transistor tester as my very first kit, at 13 years of age. I. Always wanted to build the stereo equipment, oscilloscopes, and TVs, but they were beyond my, and my parent's means. I graduated in 1980 with a BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, largely due to my exposure to electronics from about the 6th grade on, due to the magazine Popular Electronics. I loved looking at Heathkit catalogs, and even got to participate in building their 7 foot projection TV in 1982 with a colleague, who was about six years my senior, and one of the lab technicians from the company we were all employed by, in our evening hours. Unfortunately, I never had the luxury to buy any of those coveted kits, as I was busy buying a house and furnishings, and the usual financial demands placed on young adults building a home and family. 

Vt the time I was finally getting to the point I could justify the financial and time commitment required to build some of these Heathkit projects, Heathkit announced it's exit from the business. I was crushed by the news.

Now, I see Hans efforts as the rejuvenated spirit of Heathkit, and I like providing a small demand for his fun kits. I can't catch up on the lost time of all this Heathkits I didn't experience, but I can at least experience some of the joy of building a kit and getting to use those kits in a hobby I love.

I was intrigued by ham radio at about 10 years of age, but my family knew no hams, and we lived out in the middle of West Texas, in the Permian oil fields, so technical people were few and far between. My ham experience had to wait until I was out of college and about four years into my career before I had the fortune to meet an elmer at a Second Saturday swapmeet in Dallas, Texas, who took an interest in me and gave me my novice Morse code test in his garage one Saturday morning during an impromptu code practice session- after we had been exchanging messages with two code practice oscillators for about 20 minutes, he stopped and examined my copy of his last QSO, and exclaimed I had  something like a minute and 20 seconds worth of error free copy, promptly stood up and shook my hand enthusiastically, and proclaimed "CONGRATULATIONS! You just passed your Novice code exam!" A week later, he and a fellow ham gave me the Novice written exam, and about two weeks later, I was licensed KA5UNM! Unfortunately, my memory of these two hams has dimmed to the point I do not recall their callsigns, but I remember their contributions to my success fondly.

So, in no small way, Heathkits contributed to my career and my desire to obtain my ham ticket!

Thanks again for the link to the article and the walk down memory lane!

Very 73,
Shane
KE7TR


On Dec 7, 2020 at 07:47, Steven Dick <sbdick@...> wrote:

Thought this might be interesting to ya all. Lessons of a successful electronic business—an interview with Chas Gilmore, former Heath executive. Some insights not normally known. Talks about why the company was so successful and why it got out of the kit business.  I saw some parallels to QRP labs on why it was so successful. -Steve K1RF

https://www.electronicdesign.com/communiqu/article/21148923/electronic-design-heathkit-an-employees-look-back?oly_enc_id=2379J8945723A3G