Heathkit Transistor Radio

One of the most unusual radios I own! I wouldn't have spent much money on this clunky thing, but it was included in an auction lot of radios that I did want. And the insides are kinda interesting.

A kit radio from the early transistor days, this radio uses seven metal-cased transistors: 2N252, 2N253, 2N254, 2N185, 2N185, 2N238. It's powered by six flashlight batteries.

As you'd expect in a kit designed for novice assemblers, the chassis is extremely rugged and the component layout is w-i-d-e open. The speaker is unusually big for a radio this size—about 5.5 inches—giving it nice tone. It's a good thing they designed an integrated handle at the top. When you add up all those things, it's a heavy radio.

When purchased, the radio was missing one transistor, but I later obtained one from a fellow collector and discovered that it works just fine.

Fellow collector Dave Millard informed me that Heathkit offered this radio in a leather case as well as green plastic. Perhaps I'll find a leather one some day.

About a dozen years after I first posted this article, another Heathkit owner sent me a link to photos of an identical radio that his Dad had built. Those photos show the exterior and interior in much greater detail. Thanks, Chris!

©1995-2023 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved