Boatanchor Pix

Heathkit BR-2

Heathkit BR-2 radio (34k)

This five tube BR-2 was Heathkit's transformer-operated broadcast kit receiver in the mid to late 1950's and is a lower-cost broadcast-band-only relative of the AR-3 communications receiver . The tubes and many of the parts are identical in both sets. Tubes are 12BE6, 12BA6, 12AV6, 12V6, and 5Y3 rectifier. Earlier sets used the 12A6 in place of the 12V6. The gray proxylin-covered plywood case on this set is the same design as that of the AR-3 but with a simpler two-knob front panel.

The BR-2 was also sold with a darker proxylin case that matches the AR-2. The 1954 Heath catalog shows both the AR-2 and the BR-2 with the darker cabinet. Price of the BR-2 in 1954 was $17.50 plus $4.50 for the optional cabinet.

A variation of the BR-2 kit, using 6 volt filament tubes in place of 12 volt, is used as the project source in the book Practical Projects in RADIO-ELECTRONICS by Samuel Marshall and Irving Tepper, Sams Photofact Publication RSM-1, 1963.

The BR-2 comes with a phono input on the back panel.

Heathkit BR-2 Chassis (20k)

Repair notes:
As usual, did all the safety checks first, then cleaned the set and its controls, and reformed the electrolytic.

This set had a power transformer that "worked" but drew over 30 watts without any load on it at all. Hardened wax was evident under the transformer leading to the conclusion that it had run hot for quite some time. Whether due to hysteresis loss or shorted turns I do not know. Open circuit voltages were higher than expected leading me to believe that some of the primary turns may be shorted. I had a spare junk AR-3 chassis which had a good power transformer, an exact match for the original. Swapping it solved the problem.

Other repairs included replacing a broken power switch and volume control, re-soldering a number of questionable connections, and replacing the power line-to-chassis capacitor. As with all kit receivers, alignment was suspect. One of the IF transformers was close in alignment to 455 KHz but the other was off considerably. Correcting this and tweaking the oscillator and antenna trimmer caps resulted in a rather sensitive little BC receiver.

Getting a kit receiver to perform at its full capability is a real source of satisfaction. It may never before have performed at its full design capability.


The item previously on the bench undergoing repairs was the Hallicrafters SX-17.

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