A little over a year ago I purchased a Heathkit SB-1400 HF radio and matching power supply with speaker at an SK sale.  It was in unknown condition but the price was right so I took a chance.  It also came with the original manual and hand microphone.  Pretty much ready to go, needing only an antenna.

It seems that this radio is the same as the Yaesu FT-747GX of the same vintage and wasn’t offered as a kit.  From what I can see, differences appear to be purely cosmetic.  Mine had the MARS mod done as the previous owned had been number two in the state for Navy/Marine Corps MARS in years past.  I chose to return it to original and reset the CPU since the radio acted buggy.

After hooking it up and making several contacts with it I can offer some opinions on the rig.  This is probably the most basic radio I’ve ever operated.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  It would probably suit a beginner just fine since there are no extraneous issues to deal with.  Every operation is completed with a button push or knob…no menus at all.  No keyer but it does have a factory-included CW filter.  It’ll accept CAT control but Ham Radio Deluxe doesn’t support it or the Yaesu twin.  One neat feature is a line level audio out RCA jack on the back.  I wish more radios had this.  For fun I plugged it into the computer soundcard and was able to easily copy psk-31.  However it appears transmitting in digimodes must be done through the mic jack.  No DSP, but the noise blanker is effective to a noticeable degree when activated.

I cruised around the bands over the weekend and scored six contacts in some spare time.  Worked a station or two in the Rookie Roundup and also a random state QSO party.  I had the hexbeam pointed south and heard some DX so I gave that a shot, too.  Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Saint Lucia are in the log.  You can check out the info from my page.

All seems to be in order with the radio so off to Dayton it goes this year.  I’m hoping to sell it in order to finance a mobile radio for my new Subaru Crosstrek.  I’m also spoiled by the Flex to the point that operating anything else just isn’t the same.  I hope to send it away with someone in need of a simple, basic 160-10 M HF radio.

Categories: Amateur Radio | 1 Comment

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One thought on “SB-1400

  1. Nice little write-up on the Heathkit SB-1400. Glad to see that it does work well, I think that will make a great rig for someone new to HF, or maybe for portable ops. It is certainly small and basic enough that someone could use it at a camp site or something. 73! de Nick N9SJA

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