Heathkit HW8 QRP CW Transceiver


The HW-8 was the second in a line of direct conversion QRP CW transceivers from the Heathkit stable.  The HW-8 was a significant improvement on the HW-7 which was first released in the early 1970s.  I bought mine from another ham already built, although I had been strongly considering buying one for some time before then. I almost bought the HW-7 some years before too!  

Likes and Dislikes

This was a fun rig to use: for a time it was the only transceiver I owned and I worked plenty of stations using it with just simple dipoles. I was not really troubled by the double tuning inherent with DC receivers. Microphony, that can be a real issue with poorly designed DC rigs, was not a noticable issue on mine. The styling of the rig was excellent - simple front panel that was easy to navigate and a plain, simple, dial that was easy to read.  Power output was perfectly OK for working around Europe and the occasional DX a bit further. I am sure that had I not bought an FT-7 I would have worked DXCC with it without too much effort.

This YouTube clip is not mine. I just linked to it as it is a good introduction to the radio.

The lack of a backlight was a pity: OK for portable but a nice to have at home.  It would have been better with 10m included: this came later with the HW-9. In my opinion the HW-8 was a nicer looking rig and the neatest of the three.


CW only
Typical power output

80m - 1.5 W
40m - 1.5 W
20m - 1.5 W
15m - 1.5

Typical Sensitivity
80m  0.5uv
40m  0.6uv
20m  0.7uv
15m  0.7uv

Wide - 750 Hz at 6 dB down.
Narrow - 375 Hz at 6 dB down

The HW-8 with its typical Heathkit step-by-step assembly instructions.


Like all in the Heathkit HW series, this model has a whole list of modifications available for it on the internet and in magazines and books. Attached are links to just a few of these. Mine was a virgin unit - no mods at all - and I was perfectly happy with it just as it was!

HW-8 Page
DSB mod for the HW-8
HW QRP mods
HW7/8/9 Information Page
HW-8 RIT mod
Heathkit Virtual Museum