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Heathkit will return to the kit supply marketplaceHeathkit says it is re-entering the kit business that it abandoned almost two decades ago, this according to a report appearing in this week's Amateur Radio Newsline.
In an announcement posted to its website, Heathkit Educational Systems which is the current name for the company states that
in late August the company will debut its new line of do-it-yourself kits for common around-the-house items.
Don’t look for ham radio gear to be a top priority even though the word on the street is that kits for the amateur radio market may be down the pike. Right now the company is starting off with more general interest kits with their first entry being a Garage Parking Assistant or G-P-A for short. The Garage Parking assistant kit lets someone build their own system that uses
ultrasonic sound to locate a car as it enters the garage. The system signals to the driver using LED lights mounted on the wall when the car is detected and in the perfect spot for
parking. Next on the market will be a Wireless Swimming Pool Monitor kit followed by many more novel items.
For those of you to young to remember, it was on March 30, 1992, that the then managers of Heathkit announced that after some 45 years the company was closing out its kits and leaving the business. In its hey-day, Heathkits were products of the Heath Company of Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Their build it yourself product line included everything from electronic test equipment to high fidelity home audio equipment,
television receivers, and of coarse amateur radio gear.
It was the emergence and subsequent domination of the world electronic marketplace by Pacific Rim manufacturers who could produce and market completely assembled equipment at prices
far less than Heathkit or anyone else could supply a do it yourself version that lead to the demise of names like Eico, Paco, and of coarse Heathkit.
So why has Heathkit decided to re-enter the kit market?
To hazard a guess you have to remember that the current incarnation of Heathkit is an educational materials supplier.
As such it has likely taken notice of the burgeoning maker and
hacker community. This is an ever expanding group of technology hobbyist’s world wide that in recent years has grown into a multi-million dollar business opportunity for those smart
enough to recognize it and are ready to fill the void. These are also the people that many believe will be the next generation of technology leaders and radio amateurs.
The Heathkit announcement says nothing about the business rationale for going back into the kit supply business but it does state that the company wants to bring to its customers
interesting and unique products. As such it is interested in learning what types of products that kit builders would like to see brought to the marketplace. Anyone interested can submit
their suggestions by mail addressed to 2024 Hawthorne Avenue St. Joseph, Michigan, 49085 or at www.heathkit.com.
Source: ARNewsline™ with some information supplied by KC8VWM, N4OZ and others.