Archive for the ‘Radio Repair’ Category

Amateur Radio This Week: 2017.38   3 comments

This week has been exciting for me in Amateur Radio. I started out at home, working through some of my radio equipment and beginning repairs.

I am having troubles getting on HF at home. I have two three HF rigs, all of which seem to be having their own problems.

First, my Kenwood TS-130S display and sound are non-functional. The rig worked fine for a while in my Crown Vic a few years ago, but then, one day, stopped displaying and making noise. I powered this radio up in the house and found that the RF/AF knob is loose. As it wobbles, the display and the sound come and go. I tightened this as best I could (without disassembling the radio), and now it seems to work just fine.

Second, my Kenwood TS-450S has two problems. One problem was that the VFO has been loose for a long time, leading to a lot of play in the knob. I removed the VFO knob (through the set screw on the side), and then adjusted the screws that hold the VFO in place. The next problem is that the audio does some strange things. The radio “sounds” like it is stuck in USB mode, no matter what. An internet search and some poking around internally, and I found that the C104 capacitor ruptured, as shown below.

The final problem I addressed was trying to understand why my Morse Code key played a continuous series of dits on my Kenwood TS-570D.  As it turns out, there are two separate CW ports, and I have the key plugged into the paddle port.  Problem solved!

Thank you for reading my post.

 

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Amateur Radio This Week: 2017.28   Leave a comment

I received my Yaesu FT-857D back from repair.  I have plugged it into my home antenna station, and there is still a ton of noise.  However, I am having all sorts of base antenna problems, so that is not really an indication of a problem.  The real test will be when I plug it into my car.  Right now, the borrowed 857 is running S7 to S8 noise, with no filters.  If mine is still running S9+20dB, with or without filters, I’m going to send it back.

Other than that, I’ve been working through my stack of QSL cards.  I have quite a few still to go.  I did log all of my W1AW QSL cards from 2014, back when they did a number of special event stations to commemorate 100 years of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).  I wish I had participated in this event a little more, as I was missing quite a few states.  However, I was having problems with my 857 back then as well.

This week, I’ll test the 857, return a few direct DX cards, send a few more DX enveloped to the bureau, and return the rest of the SASE’D QSL/MRCs that are sitting on my desk.

I have my work cut out for me!

Thank you for reading my post.

 

Amateur Radio This Week: 2017.27   Leave a comment

I have finally caught up on all of my logs and DX4Win electronic logs.  Now, I don’t feel as guilty getting on the air!  When my logs are behind, I am reluctant to make more contacts.

Yesterday, I also sent away 15 QSL/MRCs, and I am slowly catching up on those as well.

Yesterday, I also received a call about my Yaesu FT-857D.  $145 and it is on its way home.  It had a bad coax connector (where it mounted to the board) and several other things.  The coaxial connector, I could have found and fixed, but the other stuff, not as easy.  Either way, it ships tomorrow, and I should get it back soon.

I posted a comment on the CountyHunter.com forum, as I will be going to Illinois in a few weeks, and, because I am driving, I will be running mobile counties.

Thank you for reading my post, and have a Happy Independence Day!

This Week in Amateur Radio: 2017.23   1 comment

I borrowed the NMT Tech Amateur Radio Association (TARA) Yaesu FT-857D to compare against my own.  While mine has S9 +20dB noise on all bands, all of the time, theirs hovers between S3-S7.  I am currently borrowing their rig for this particular road trip.

With TARA’s radio, I was able to make a few contacts this weekend, in both a shipboard contest and the Alabama QSO Party, though I have not yet updated my logs.

I spoke with Yaesu customer service and they said to send mine in for a repair, which I will do as soon as I have time to go to a post office.

I’m currently on the road to the east coast, but one of these mornings, I will have some extra time and can send it off.

Thank you for reading my post.

This Week in Amateur Radio: 2017.13   Leave a comment

This week was a busy one for my amateur radio hobby.  First, I participated in the WPX contest, working between 25-30 stations.  I haven’t updated my logs to reflect this, so I don’t know the exact number at this time.

Second, I came up with an action plan for my radios:

Base Radio

  • Ground all radios together at station
  • Test Alinco DR-135TP at NMT
  • Test Alinco DR-605 at NMT
  • Replace connector on vertical antenna
  • Replace HF coax from antenna to barrel connector
  • Replace HF coax from barrel connector to radio
  • Replace VHF coax from antenna to barrel connector
  • Replace VHF coax from barrel connector to radio
  • Remove HF switch and test HF radio directly
  • Remove wattmeter and test line
  • Ground station at radios
  • New ground rod at antenna
  • Test Alinco DR-605 with dipole
  • Test Alinco DR-135TP with dipole

Crown Vic

  • Shorten power cable
  • Mount GPS
  • Choke at alternator cable
  • Drill ball mount on driver’s side
  • Place ball mount on driver’s side
  • Mount switch for VHF coax
  • Mount switch for HF coax
  • Hard mount VHF antenna for APRS (trunk?)
  • Program TinyTrak
  • Mount Icom 281H

Ranger

  • Program 707 for local repeaters
  • Add HF radio
  • Ferrite choke on alternator cables

Malibu

  • Program Icom 2100 for local repeaters
  • Add HF radio

Today, in accordance with this plan, I tested my Alinco DR-605 at the Tech Amateur Radio Association (TARA) station.  We have a service monitor there, and the transmit results are shown below:

VHF:  43W (high power), 4.86W (low power)
UHF:  29W (high power)

And the minimum threshold to break squelch was:
VHF:  -129 dB
UHF:  -126 dB

After taking the radio off the service monitor, we connected it to another antenna, and had no problems transmitting or receiving.  We switched power supplies, and it worked flawlessly.

We then took it and set it up in Skyler’s truck.  Sometimes, it transmitted fine.  The rest of the time, it would cycle the power to the radio when I pressed the PTT.  Other times, the transmitter would appear to get stuck on, though no RF was being transmitted.

Thinking it was the power supply (from the truck battery), we started the truck, and it made no difference.  Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t.  We tried waiting differing lengths of time before transmitting, and tried both VHF and UHF, at high and low power, and it still cycled the power.  We tried transmitting into the same dummy load we had used with the service monitor.  No difference.

We took it back into the shack and powered it with the switching power supply, and it worked flawlessly.  We switched to the Astron.  It worked again.

We tried monitoring the voltage on all of these and saw very little change when we transmitted.

Right now, I think there must be a voltage regulator or anti-oscillation filter that is being triggered by the slightest change in input voltage (or current).

Any other suggestions???

Thank you for reading my post.

Amateur Radio This Week: #31   Leave a comment

This week, I made a few contacts on the 20 meter county hunter’s net from the Kenwood TS-130S in my car.  I also checked into the Albuquerque SCAT Net and the Caravan Club Net on the 2 meter side.

I called Yaesu about the FT-857D repair, but thet haven’t looked into it yet, and said it will be at least another week before they will get a chance to investigate.

I also made contact with the NMT Student Government about keeping the Tech Amateur Radio Association up and running.

Thank you for reading this post.

Amateur Radio This Week: #29   2 comments

I finished logging all of the contacts on my digital recorder in both paper logs and DX4Win.  I am ready to start making contacts again!

I will probably ship my Yaesu FT-857D to the factory this afternoon, as it has not functioned properly for a few months now.  It is discouraging, but it needs to be done.

Thank you for reading my post.