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Heathkit Mohawk Improvements – By Thomas Bonomo K6AD

Heathkit Mohawk Improvements – by Thomas Bonomo K6AD

heathkit-mohawk-chrs-article-main-photoThe first ham radio station I saw as a kid was the Heathkit Mohawk RX-1 receiver with the matching Apache transmitter.  Those big green high-tech boxes sure made an impression! So, when I spotted a good cosmetic-condition Mohawk to complement my Marauder transmitter, I jumped at the opportunity.

The Mohawk, which was introduced as a kit in 1958, was Heath’s first ham band-only receiver, and was the first Heathkit to sport the now-famous “Heathkit green” colors. This receiver offers a number of interesting features. Heath separated the usual single knob RF gain control found on most receivers into two controls, an RF Gain and an IF Gain control. The ability to control the gain of the front-end stage separately makes it possible to reduce cross modulation from extremely strong signals, while maintaining good receiver sensitivity. The Mohawk also had a selectivity switch control allowing bandwidths of 5, 3, 2, 1 and .5 KHz.

I devoted many days to the restoration of my Mohawk. The results, however, disappointed me, so I took to the forums. The views of other owners ran along these lines:  “What a junky receiver . . . ..”   “Terrible AGC . . .”  “Worst audio of any receiver I own.”   “Product detector really distorts.”   “Drifts too much to keep up with.”

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