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Author Topic: Repairs to older Yaesu HTs  (Read 990 times)
NV1Y
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Posts: 4




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« on: May 08, 2006, 09:37:27 PM »

Howdy;

We have a family collection of old Yaesu HTs.  They all use the same battery packs and accessories, and are easy to use.  Some get loaned out to new hams, or folks at public service events who don't have a radio, or capability on a specific band.  

These are all getting a bit long in the tooth, but are still too compact for me to get in there to work on problems.  

Three of them are having problems right now.

I know that for the cost of clearing the repair list, I could buy one or more modern radios, but I hate to get involved with another batch of battery packs, chargers, antenna adapters, etc. plus I hate to throw anything away, the waste of resouces really bugs me.

Anyway, does anyone know of a repair shop that has a particular fondness for 80's vintage HTs?  Two of the problematic radios have thumbwheel freq control and one is an early microprocess controlled unit.

Also, if anyone has any suggestions as to what might be wrong with these, I would love to hear about it.

Here's the repair list:

FT703R - this is a thumbwheel controled 70cm unit.  It puts out a weak carrier at the transmit freq setting almost instantly after it is turned on.  It will modulate the signal OK and increase the power at the antenna when PTT is pushed.  Recieves only for a fraction of a second when turned on.  Worked when it was put away a year ago.

FT203R - 2m version of above, same symptoms, worked before going into storage.

FT109RH - keypad controlled 220mhz unit.  Not much on market for this band anymore.  For a decade this one has had a problem where it would sometimes power up with noise from speaker like squelch is open, but would not quiet with squelch knob adjustment.  Turning it off then on would fix the problem.  Now this "fix" no longer works.  Other functions appear to work, although I don't see any output on TX even though battery drain and meter indications are consistent with output and also changes consistently with with power setting changes.  

My suspicions are that an electrolytic cap went bad after sitting for a year, or else there is some oxide on some connector somewhere.

Yaesu won't touch these anymore, and the big repair shops aren't too enthusiastic.

So any ideas, or a pointer to a shop that would be enthusiastic about such a project will be appreciated!

Thanks;
JC
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DROLLTROLL
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Posts: 265




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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2006, 07:10:56 AM »

>>Anyway, does anyone know of a repair shop that has a particular fondness for 80's vintage HTs?<<

Uhmm no, not really. Most shops have a fondness of struggling to make enough money to keep their doors open. It's next to impossible to charge $75/hr. to repair a $35 (I'm being generous here) "ebay special". We live in a disposable society were you can buy a quality radio from $89 to $219, get years of service from it, then toss it when it starts to fail. I'm afraid that unless there's an awful lot of collectors for this type of equipment out there (there aren't), you'll find your beloved radios going the way of 8 track decks.
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NV1Y
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2006, 10:18:41 AM »

Your comments about our disposable society are well understood.

I don't really care about sale value on the open market.  What I care about is
the function these radios fill in a system that has value beyond these three
problematic units.

I'd be happy to pay $75 an hour to get the function back.

I am hoping to find a shop with the knowledge and ability and willingness to
make a good faith attempt, and the honesty to tell me that they can't fix them
if that turns out to be the case, for whatever reason.  Of course I would pay
for the time up to that point.

Most shops I've talked to have a $30 to $35 estimate fee, which seems more than
fair to find out if a radio can be fixed - the shops can protect themselves by
getting a credit card deposit in case the customer decides to abandon the radio.

What I'm finding is this:  Most shops don't want to work on this vintage radio.

Maybe they know they will loose $ on the work to do the estimate.  If it takes
over 30 minutes they really need you to agree to fix it to make up for the loss.  If a radio can't be fixed, then they can't
earn back the loss on the estimate.

Some shops are associated with big dealers.  I expect they have plenty of
warantee work to do, for which they likely get paid by the manufacturer; lower
risk, higher priority - a frustrated buyer of new gear is waiting.  These shops
reccomended that I buy new, not fix, but in fairness, some were willing to do
the $35 estimate.  

So I guess I'll start collecting reference materials and get out my big
magnifying glass...

JC
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K5LXP
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 08:47:06 PM »

I'm suprised that you would be willing to spend that much money to fix a 20+ year old radio.  Even if you were to find a shop willing and able to do the repairs, they suddenly don't become new again.  The reason shops won't touch is isn't a lack of willingness to part you of your money, it's because they don't want to see it back again even if they do fix it, and another problem crops up.  Parts are another issue.  In an industry where one year may be the lifespan of a part's production, trying to find one of those 20 years later is nigh impossible.  As a shop, it's hard to charge you for the time invested to troubleshoot a problem, then abandon the repair when a needed part is unobtanium.  I would be elated if I got that length of service out of a disposable radio.  They don't owe you a thing.  Now, if you yourself want to invest hours of time chasing down leaky caps and crappy connectors, and tearing used parts out of donor radios that's fine but understand that it's only a (short) matter of time until the next failure.  Electronics *do* wear out, from mechanical handling, thermal cycling and component stress from voltage and current.  Gather up the radio and all the accessories and sell them as a package, and put the proceeds towards something more dependable.  I've fixed literally thousands of HT's commercially, and there is a point you have to put it down and move on.  Sometimes it's fun to resurrect and use old gear but it sounds like you need working radios, not functional antiques.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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VE3MIC
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Posts: 20




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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2006, 12:22:13 PM »

I too hate to see our landfill sites loaded up with all kinds of electronic garbage (especially those cheap inkjet printers) and try my best to fix rather than replace if relatively economical.

I know that you said that you're not confortable in tackling the repair yourself due to the small size, but here's my suggestion. With limited test equipment available (other than a multimeter say) and based upon the symptoms you mentioned, I'd say you are quite likely correct in suspecting failed electrolytic capacitors. There are very few solid state electronic components that "go bad" just from sitting unused. If you decide to make the attempt yourself, obtain an aerosol can of "component cooler" or "cold spray". You may find that you are able to locate the faulty components by carefully spraying the likely candidates one-by-one. Also, you may want to check the backup lithium battery, that is responsible for retaining things like channel memories etc. I have an older FT-727 -a dual band version similar to the 209/709? -when the battery fails, I have to enter a 6 digit "profile" code before the HT will function.

If you can't find someone to tackle the job, then what have you got to loose? Really, those 80's HTs aren't so bad. Now the late models with smt(surface mount components) -that's another story Wink

73 & good luck
-Mike
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NV1Y
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2006, 07:43:03 AM »

All good points Mike.  Since I'm not in a hurry, can bide my time, and will probably try to fix these old HTs myself when I find the time, unless someone needs them for spare parts.

Have pretty good collection of test equipment, might have to borrow a deviation monitor, but other than that should be OK.

Getting them apart to a point where I can probe accurately is going to be interesting!

My wife has a dual band Yaesu (FT727?) like yours - works fine - has been used regulary for close to 20 years now, it's these "loaners" that sit for a year that are having problems.

Have you ever seen an electrolytic cap stop leaking when hit by cold spray?

Thanks for the advice;
JC
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N2JTX
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 09:51:27 AM »

FT109RH - keypad controlled 220mhz unit.  Not much on market for this band anymore.  For a decade this one has had a problem where it would sometimes power up with noise from speaker like squelch is open, but would not quiet with squelch knob adjustment.  Turning it off then on would fix the problem.  Now this "fix" no longer works.  Other functions appear to work, although I don't see any output on TX even though battery drain and meter indications are consistent with output and also changes consistently with with power setting changes.
I too have a FT-109RH with a similar problem.  I do have TX output but the radio will not quiet even with the squelch turned all the way up.  I am suspecting an electrolytic capacitor is gone as it would often recover functionality after operating a while.  I do have RX as well though it appears to be slightly reduced in sensitivity.

The only service manual I have is for the 2m FT-209R which is similar.  I hate to scrap the radio since, despite its age, it is still a good solid 5W 222MHz radio.  It is definitely more ham serviceable than modern SMT radios.
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