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First licensed in 1956, Amateur Radio has been the foundation of my careers in the sound reinforcement industry as well as bringing high quality, articulate audio to Amateur Radio. Entering this great hobby during the best sun spot cycle helped me to focus on designing and building one of the first VHF SSB KW stations. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed designing many antennas, from the 128 element two meter ''J' Beam array in 1960 to the latest - phased arrays on 40 and 75 meters. I enjoy all of the bands from 160 meters through two meters working my many friends and especially newcomers to this great hobby.

I was fortunate to have a great mentor, Larry K0DGE, Chief Engineer at KMOX-CBS radio in St Louis who taught me how to build starting with several small 6 meter transmitters (see one beside the Harvey Wells), converters, antennas followed by building a Wes Schum Central Electronics 10B and then a 20A kit with home brew 6 and 2 meter transverters driving a Johnson 6 n 2 Thunderbolt built from their kit. This was one of the very first VHF SSB KW stations on the air. My antenna in 1960 was a 128 element 2 meter array built in the UK which we installed as an experiment for the J Beam Company. Needless to say, I was very serious about VHF and experimented with early moonbounce - WAY before grid squares. Most of this gear is still with me and on the air daily. I learned so much from all of my early days in Amateur Radio and it continues to be the center peice of my activites.

1956 1959 1962 128 el. 2M  1960 

The current station consists of many pieces of equipment that I have had throughout my wonderful life and career in Amateur Radio. All working and on the air daily from the original 1956 Harvey Wells, the 20A I built in 1958, Central Electronics 600L (no tune 500W linear from 1956), the HT 37 I bought in 1962 and my most treasured Mosley CM -1 reciever that was recently signed by it's designer, John Clemens. Much of my electronic knowledge was learned from building and operating this great old gear. I continue to say those early days of building, designing circuitry was my college education. Love Amateur Radio!

The new gear console is actually my station lab where I am able to devlope and test new designs of microphones and audio equipment using the latest transceiver technologies. I designed the console for the various pieces of equipment as well as a small pull out work bench that I can work on and solder small projects and yes, those are analog VCR and cassette decks along with a Mini Disc recorder. Still love the Analog stuff ! All of the Les Paul guitar switches control the 35 Ameritron relays selecting the various transcievers, phased dipoles, VHF antennas, The old lever type switches are much more user friendly that the rotary knobs. The 8 channel Yamaha mixer is for Receive only. Receive audio from each transceiver is fed to the mixer where I can tailor the equalizaiton of each, feed a common single headphone and then fed to the 35 watt, low distortion speakers of a pair of JBL Control 2P. The small mixer, computer and microphone in the lower right corner is for the HAM Nation broadcasts. John Clemens, W0BD designer of the Mosley CM-1 receiver signs one of my prize pieces of equipment -- my 1962 CM-1 still working beautifully.

      

During my beginning days of Amateur Radio I began a career playing the Wurlitzer Theatre organ at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis as the protege of Stan Kann who not only taught me how to play but taught me how to 'listen' - mentally dissect what one hears -by tuning and voicing the thousands of pipes in that Magnificent Fox organ. I became the substitute organist for Stan at the age of 15 and continue to play these magnificent theatre organs. Little did I realize that learning to listen would be so very important in my later years as I began designing and buidling large concert sound systems for some of the world's leading groups starting with WB6ACU and the James Gang. Those two ham radio friends changed the world of Rock n Roll sound stages. The Grateful Dead, the Who, Z.Z.Top,Humble Pie, J.Geils, Peter Frampton, were just a few of the scores of groups that we blazed the concert trail with our large mega KW sound systems. In 2006, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Clevland opened a display room with many peices from those early touring days that scored the way for entertainment concert systems used today. Heil Sound is the only manufacturer in the Rock Hall and it should be noted that all of my ability to design and build these ground breaking systems was learned - and I continue to learn from my Amateur Radio background.

                                                                                              NEW !   THEATRE ORGAN CD  Call 618 257 3000

In 1980, I began paying more attention to the new breed of Amateur Radio equipment. The imports were taking place of the old line tube gear I was brought up with and discovered their 'matching' microphones were not up to the standard of years gone by so I entered the market with our new technology of tailored response microphones that improved speech articulation. In 2006, Joe WB6ACU asked me to build him a better performance microphone. Once again these two Amateur Radio fantatics put their ears together resulting in Heil Sound bringing new technology to the entertainment stages. Because of Amateur Radio and learning to listen from the years of voicing and tuning theatre pipe organs, I am able to design and produce new technology of microphones and headsets for my beloved Amateur Radio industry. The last decade has been spent designing and building high performance dynamic microphones for scores of leading concert and recording artists. Needless to say - I Love Amateur Radio!

THE HEIL SOUND DISPLAY AT THE ROCK n ROLL HALL of FAME
       Here's one that didn't get busted.   I would build 24 guitars for Pete each tour leg.  He wanted better tuners, differnet bridge, etc.   They were all destroyed by the end of the tour.  When this one 'escaped', Pete handed it to me one of the last nights.  It now resides in the Rock Hall.

Heil Sound display in Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum  features many specialty products including The Heil Talk Box built for Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton and many other artists,  the first quad mixer and one of the rear channel arena speakers built for the WHO's Quadraphenia tours, one of Roger Daltrey's microphones  (a model 566), the first modular mixer, modular power amps, modular EQ, the Echo cord tape delay Heil used for Pete Townshend's guitar effects., the 15 channel mixer used for the Grateful Dead and many other products designed and built by Heil Sound that performed some very historic tours and concerts - late 60's through 1980.

 

N0IRS picture

Phased array of I.A.C. coaxial dipole antennas. two at 64' high and 64' part. Two on 40 meters at 33' high and 33' apart, Put HAM Nation into Google and access program #63 and # 65 to see how they were built. Getting between 15 and 20 dB front to back.

       

Force 12 C3SS, M2 on 6 meters - Cushcraft on two meters The Phasing array using MIT designed coaxial dipoles from I.A.C. Antennas

Be sure and catch the weekly Wednesday night HD webcacsts of HAM Nation on Leo Laporte's TWIT (This Week In Technology) network with Gordon West, George Thomas Bob Heil and Don Wilbanks.  Just put HAM NATION into Google and you can see all past 170+ shows.    Join us on Wednesday at 8 PM Central for the live video recording.     HAM NATION into Google.  
                                                1956 KWM-1 in my 1956 T BIRD                                                           

        thehub.musiciansfriend.com/gear-pioneers/bob-heil-master-of-game-changing-microphone-technology

 

                     

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