New Heathkit DX-60A

Heathkit DX-60A and HG-10B


Earlier this month (July) I had the opportunity to purchase a used (obviously) Heathkit DX-60A and HG-10B matching VFO.  Since I had recently been looking for an older Heath transmitter similar to the DX-20 that I used as a Novice way back in the early 60’s, I was fortunate to come across this listing on I also noticed that the listing was from a Ham about 120 miles distant from me in the town of Waynesboro, VA (just down I-81).

N4JGO, Bob McCracken, was the Ham selling both items and I found them to be attractively priced. I made contact with Bob and we spoke about the rig. I made arrangements to pick up the rig, tested it out and bought it from Bob.  All of this took place over the 4th of July weekend and although we had some things taking place here at the QTH, I gave the rig a good going over. Bob was a wonderful Ham to deal with, very flexible and accommodating, a true Southern Gentleman.

Once I placed the rig on my work bench, I removed both covers in order to inspect the components and the build quality. I found nothing burnt or over worn and surprisingly noticed that the filter cap had been changed to a Hayseed Hamfest electrolytic as well as 5 other electrolytics in the circuitry. I also noticed that one resistor had been updated with a new CER, probably to ensure adequate  dissipation  of heat. Additionally, many of the existing caps have been replaced with Sprague “orange drops”, my guess is that one of the previous owners was interested in keeping a good signal on the air. Nice to see all these replacements being done.  The build quality was good although I did notice a few extra millimeters of lead length on many of the  terminals. Oh well.  The top of the chassis did have some rust stain marks on it and I did clean everything up but that’s the way with older rigs sometimes – being left in dank basements or sheds can leave some unsightly blemishes on metal. But for the most part, the transmitter was in excellent condition. So much for the Static I needed to get to the Dynamic.

I reinstalled the covers and proceeded to turn the system on and warm it up. All the tubes glowed, the VFO also came to life and I then connected my Waters  334A Dummy Load/Wattmeter to see what the rig was capable of doing. After waiting about 30 minutes, I gingerly set the drive level to the required 2.5ma. I had no problem in obtaining copious amounts of drive so I knew that the oscillator and driver were working well. Now for the moment of truth, will this transmitter generate any power and what about the purity and stability of the signal (if any)?