A Simple 1⁄4” Adapter for Antique Pin-Tip Headsets
I recently purchased a surplus HS-16A headset, a high-impedance Vietnam-era radio operators headset which I intend to use with some of my old radios.
However, the headset does not have a standard 1⁄4” or 1⁄8” tip-ring plug. Instead, it has what I have seen referred to as “phone tip” or “pin tip” plugs:
I build an adapter for it using a set of General Purpose Connectors made by TE. The kit was part number 618-1, “1 Position Free-Hanging 20-14 AWG”. Specifically, the headset’s pins fit nicely into part 60619-1, the receiving connector. I soldered some speaker wire into a pair of them, slipped the included nylon “Mate-N-Lock” plug over it, soldered the other end of the speaker wire to a 1⁄4” mono plug:
The nylon plug helps keep the pins from touching each other and shorting the signal. The headset functions nicely when plugged into my stereo or a ham radio; although it is not a beautiful high-fidelity reproduction, the signal is quite clear and readable. It’s an eclectic mix of parts from different eras, but it’s fun:
Shoutout to Electronic Parts Company, a fantastic parts store within walking distance of my house in Albuquerque! They helped me figure out the right sized pins to use.