Welcome to the Western Tidewater Radio Association
Serving Amateur Radio in Southeast Virginia

Chris (W4VX) sent this in an email, so I thought I would post it here as well.  Thanks Chris for keeping us up to date.

WOW! Who would have ever thought that this day would actually be here.  Here’s your chance to be one of the first to own what is sure to be the next big thing in Ham radio.  I can see this exploding into a huge business once the word is out and can only imagine what Heathkit has in store for us in the transceiver world. I’m sure these “build it yourself kits” will go very fast, so if you want one don’t hesitate and get you order in.

Here is the link to order.


Explorer Jr: TRF AM radio receiver kit – black case – GR-150-BK

$ 149.95

1-year parts warranty
Buy now, ships within 2 days for in-stock items,
or 30 days shipping for not-in-stock.
Shipping to U.S./Canada will be added to your cart.
International shipping: We will contact you by email about any additional shipping charges after you place your order.  Sales tax will be added by PayPal at checkout for California customers.

A Radio Kit Whose Time Has Come.



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 Jr 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, one of our Heathkit JrTM series of kits, for easy no-solder assembly by anyone. It can be your introduction to electronics, radios, and the joy of building something useful.

Yes, you still build all the electronics. We simply use stainless hardware instead of solder, so the greatest possible number of people can build it. 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 Jr 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.

Sensitivity: (TBA — still being measured at the lab)
Selectivity: (TBA)
Stability: (TBA)
Front panel: 2 standard earbud jacks, 50 Ohms nominal
Rear panel: 1 standard speaker jack, 100 Ohms nominal
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