IMG_0186Here is a rear view of my Heathkit AR-3. You can see the hefty power transformer, 4 of the 5 tubes, tuning capacitor, dial string, pilot lamps, IF transformers, tuning coils, and speaker. Underneath the chassis is a maze of soldered wires that connect everything together. Note the warm glow from the tubes and pilot lamps.

My early electronics education was based on electron tube theory. In my early Air Force days, I repaired  autopilot systems for F-101 and F-102 fighter aircraft, both of which used tubes. Later on, I maintained many tube-based radios including (old) UHF and VHF transmitters and receivers. I most enjoyed working on the Collins 208U-10, 10 Kilowatt auto-tuned HF transmitters. Today, everything I worked on is no longer in the inventory – “antiques”.

The Radio That Started it All

IMG_0184This is the Heathkit AR-3 shortwave receiver, circa 1959. I assembled the 5-tube receiver with an oversized Weller and took it to the local TV repair guy to have it aligned. It worked well enough, but I didn’t really have a decent antenna. I used to listen to the worldwide shortwave broadcast stations such as HCJB, Quito, Ecuador, and Radio Moscow. My original radio was lost over the years. I picked this one up on ebay and restored it to nearly original condition. I was listening to some hams on 40 meters when this picture was taken.