My Heathkit Story
The beginings of my Heathkit story goes all the way back to my early teens in the 1970’s.  I had the good fortune of having two Heathkit stores within the twin cities metropolitan area in the fine state of Minnesota. One located in White Bear Lake and the other in Hopkins. Better yet, the White Bear Lake store was close enough for me to ride my bike to!

From a young age, I was in to electronics and computers. A trip to my local Heathkit store was like going to techie heaven. To say I was a fixture my local White Bear store would not be understating the truth.

Even before there was any computers offered by Heathkit, I had bought and built many Heathkit projects. So many in fact that the store manage asked if I would like to be part of a program to build working display units for the store. For each completed and working kit built, I received a small fixed payment that varied on the difficulty of the kit being built. I jumped at his offer.

I built “almost” every type of Heathkit offered between 1975 and 1977. Everything but the stores H8 computer.  I never did find out who built the H8, but one day I went to "my store" and there it was! Sitting right next to the H9 terminal I completed the week before.

Once my store had a fully stocked H8 demo system in place, I spent even more time there. My best friend Dale and I spent many hours playing one of the several text based adventure games in vogue at the time.

The store manager was a great guy. He let me play all those many hours with the simple agreement that interested customers came first. It tuned out I even found a way around this limitation. If a customer came over to look at the system I was using, I would simply invite them to play along and would helped them operate the system. Of course I also answered many of their questions about the computers on display.

It might have been my teenage youthfulness or maybe just my passion on the subject but I was credited for selling most all the systems in the store during the hours I “played” there. It turned out that I was selling more systems than the “staff.” The staff did not really care since, me not being an employee, they got the credit for the important part. The sales transaction.

It turned out that in 1977 I was offered a “temporary” three month job to help support the staff over the Christmas holiday rush. This “temporary” three month job ended up lasting three years.

So you can see that I have always had a soft spot for the H8. It was one of the first systems I used extensively. It is for this reason I started looking for an H8 system to do a full restoration on. To finally have my very own H8 to fill the desire I have had since my youth.

My chance came on the Thursday night of November 9th, 2016. I received and email from one of my friends in the COSMAC Elf computer group that I am also a part of. He let me know that an H8 system showed up in the Vintage Computer Museum Services store on eBay within my price range.

I quickly logged in to their eBay store to find indeed such a unit. The price was very much at my upper end and I did take a day to think it over. I already have two current projects I working on already. I even asked my wife and kids what they thought about me spending a significant amount on the H8 and just before Christmas. To my complete surprise (really I was surprised) both my wife and kids encouraged me to buy the unit. They said if I don’t take this opportunity while I have it, “you’re just going to regret it later…go for it and have fun!”

So on Friday afternoon on November 11th, 2016, I ordered the H8...
Heathkit H8 Computer
Heathkit H89 Computer