Explorer™ AM: TRF AM radio receiver (solder kit) - black case - GR-152-BK

$ 149.95 $ 149.95 149.95 USD

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This is the solder version of the introductory ExplorerTM AM radio. (We also offer a no-solder Heathkit JrTM version, the GR-150.) The GR-152 provides a gentle introduction to surface-mount soldering--just a couple easily-seen components soldered with your low-wattage soldering iron, and all others are classic through-hole discrete parts. The GR-152 presently ships within 5 business days.

A Radio Kit Whose Time Has Come.

Again.

When Heath started designing & selling do-it-yourself airplane kits shortly after the Great War, the state-of-the-art in radio was the Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) design.

A TRF radio was a great deal. If you had a great deal of money. A TRF receiver became a fixture in the homes of families around the world, receiving the news and music AM broadcasts of the day. A family AM radio was a big investment — $100 to $625 in 1929 dollars. (With inflation, that's $1,400 to $8,700 in today's dollars.)  Of course, at that price radios also were beautiful. They were made of fine wood, and designed to last. Radios were a visible and attractive furnishing you could be proud to have in your living room or parlor.

Heathkit's TRF radio is a great deal. And a great deal of radio. This Explorer AM TM radio is modeled on the original TRF designs, but better. You get to build it yourself. It's safe and simple enough for beginners to assemble and understand. But it receives AM broadcast stations with performance superior to the vintage radios of 1930.

This is not your grandparents' TRF radio.

Although they'd love it. (And so will you.)

This radio rocks. (And rolls. News and sports work great too.) AM broadcast radio is the best band for learning about radio. AM has the most diverse collection of programs: News, sports, weather, talk, popular music. You can hear stations from farther away than with FM broadcast radio. On a cold winter evening you might hear stations from half-way across the continent. The circuit has been carefully designed and redesigned to maximize performance with a small number of parts.

Did you notice the wood? Beautiful home appliances and furnishings are not made of molded or laser-cut plastic. They tastefully use natural or historic design materials like metal and wood. So does your Explorer Jr.  This model's hardwood front panel is Afro-Asian Padauk, hand-milled and rubbed with a special sealing oil at our factory in California before we ship it to help preserve its lustre for decades. (We all live in a perpetual ocean of disposable plastic objects. When's the last time any company had the courage and taste to design a radio of wood?)

The metals are aluminum and stainless steel. The tuning knob is custom-machined for you. The beautiful black case is solid anodized aluminum. We want you, or the person you give it to as  a gift, to enjoy this radio for another 50 years.

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It's time for you to fall in love with radio.  For the first time, or all over again.

This radio has a real air variable tuning capacitor. We have them custom-manufactured for us to our specifications, including its ball-bearing planetary reduction drive for smooth tuning. You can watch its plates move, read the manual, and understand how the radio works. Not to mention, because it's a Heathkit, we explain the electronics & physics. It's easy to understand, and soon you—or your eight-year-old—will be an expert.
All hardware is stainless. Nothing to oxidize or rust here.
Transparent rear panel & custom sled let you show off your radio art. You haven't seen this design before, because we invented it just for you. The sled and front panel design already have several patents pending. Great for for inspection, maintenance, modifying/hacking your radio, or just to show it off to your family & friends.
The front panel floats.  The backlit floating front panel seems to achieve the impossible: It doesn't contact the cabinet on any of its four sides, and seems to float in the case.
You get to tune this radio. You have to tune this radio. Sometime in the past 30 years, electronics got so complex and automated that product manufacturers took control away from us, and radio stations became a number. But a radio station is not a number. It is a place, and it has "width." How wide it is depends on how far away you are from the station, how powerful it is, and how your radio was designed. You'll learn all this and more about radio every time you use your Explorer. You'll tune in stations, and tune through them, and learn to do it better and better, and hear more and more of them. The manual teaches you how.  Tuning a radio is an achievement, and you will master it and enjoy it.
  Our grandparents knew something we've forgotten: Radio is magic. It's time to experience the magic.
 

It's great for kids.

Of all ages. In all places.

Designed for everyone, from 8 to 88 years of age. All parts are large enough to see, find, handle, and assemble. Everything is highly organized. The manual takes you through every step.  We designed this special kit for easy solder assembly . It can be your introduction to electronics, radios, and the joy of building something useful.

You build all the electronics. Our world-famous Heathkit manual provides a gentle introduction to soldering. More advanced models are on their way. Start here and grow with us.

Designed to share.  This radio has two earbud jacks. Why two jacks? Your radio is magic. Share magic with a friend.

The Explorer AM also has a rear jack to attach a powered speaker (coming soon from Heathkit). When the headphones or earbuds are plugged in, the speaker is silenced automatically. We thought of everything.

Designed to last.  The standard assembly instructions give you a radio that you can listen to a half-hour every day, for a quarter-year, before changing its included standard AAA batteries. If you want even longer battery life, the manual tells you how to modify your radio (it's easy) to get about 4x longer battery life. It's your radio. Make it do what you want.

Take it anywhere. The entire radio is self-contained—no wires, nothing to plug in or tie you down. Just you, your earbuds, and the radio. Take it anywhere. The beach, on a family vacation, to your friend's house. Show it off. After all, you built it. Be sure to brag just a little.

Take control. Listen in privacy. Speaking of being on the go, let's be frank. Everywhere you go today, Internet and phone companies are following you. Your cell phone, GPS, the WiFi networks you connect to, and cell towers track your every step as you walk, drive, or sit at home. Your Internet browser is fed a constant stream of tracking cookies, Flash supercookies, passive-profiling target requests, and more. Search engines? Streaming music services? Internet TV and video? Of course they do the same. And not just you —all your family members are monitored and collated and indexed too; these "services" make no distinction between adults and children.

But when you tune around on an ExplorerTM radio, no one is monitoring you. Instead, you're monitoring them. You choose what to listen to. When your child (or grandchild) builds and listens to this radio, no electronics is tracking and recording their every move. Privacy is restored.

It's your choice. Choose your panel color: There's a color for everyone. It's your first step in taking control back and making your appliances yours.

 

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OK, here are some technical specs.

Mode: AM
Tuning range:  540 kHz - 1650 kHz nominal
Sensitivity: 600 μV nominal
Selectivity: broadbanded (6 & 60dB down points: TBA)
Stability: Negligible drift. (Hz/hr: TBA)
AGC range: 30 dB nominal
Front panel: 2 standard earbud jacks, 50 Ohms nominal
Rear panel: 1 standard speaker jack, 100 Ohms nominal (requires powered speaker)
Size: Approx. 3" high x 5" wide x 5" deep (76mm x 127 mm x 100mm)
                      3.25" high (88mm) incl. feet.
Weight: 1.7 lb (0.67 kg) nominal with batteries
Environmental: RoHS compliant.
Included: DuracellTM batteries, EcoWire wires, assembly tools, and silver solder.
Tools required: Low-wattage soldering iron (all others are included).

 

Time to build a radio.

Let's get started together.

This radio kit is ready and waiting for you. Every part is included. For assembly, you will need a low-wattage soldering iron. All the other assembly tools you need are included in the kit. (Not every 8-year-old has their own Phillips screwdriver or Allen wrenches yet. Now they will.) Once you've built it, you add the tools to your toolbox—or they become the start of one, and a life-long passion.

Start down a life-long path with us. This is the first solder kit in our series of ExplorerTM products. After you assemble this radio, you'll have a working radio you can use with pride for decades. It's an appliance of professional quality inside, and frankly, better designed than most commercial electronics products on the outside.  And you built it. You'll know how it works, and if it ever breaks you'll know how to fix it.

You'll also be ready for the next step in the Explorer series, which will teach new lessons, provide new rewards, and give you your next beautiful appliance you'll build, then keep and use for a lifetime. There's no end in sight. And it can start today, for you or someone you love.

It's time to build a radio. Go check out all those great colors up at the top.  See you up there.