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Author Topic: Most "Repairable" Transceiver  (Read 3295 times)
W0BTU
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2010, 04:16:30 AM »

Someone else did, Jim. However it was built well; I don't recall ever finding a bad solder joint. Most problems were common to that rig, such as leakage across (and even within!) the circuit board affecting the extremely high impedance AGC circuit. Another was a bad wiper contact on the VFO tuning cap, difficult to remove. Another was bad tube sockets. I owned that rig over 35 years ago, and I forget what else. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Having said all this, I recall now that it was owned by a smoker. I'm sure that contributed to some problems.
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AD4U
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2010, 05:55:57 AM »

I will also cast my vote for the SB-102.  Unlike most every rig produced as little as 10 years ago, EVERY part in the SB-102 transceiver is still avaliable or can be scrounged from a cheap parts radio.  Nobody (and I mean nobody) but Heathkit provided such large and detailed schematics, circuit descriptions, and "how it works" explanations.  Most every area of the schematic is  broken down, simplified, and explained in the assembly manual on separate pages.  The parts "lay-out" inside the rig is wide open which makes for rather easy trouble shooting.

Yes the SB-102 was designed with compromises, as are most all but the most expensive HAM transceivers.  These compromises were necessary to keep the rig affordable.

I just finished restoring a SB-102 that cosmetically looked very nice but was very badly and poorly modified.  It took 3 weeks of part time trouble shooting.  I had to find and correct 11 wiring changes (errors?) and I had to replace 38 components that I think were destroyed by the "modifications".  It now works as originally specified, the dial read-out is very accurate, it is very stable, and signal reports on the air are great.

Most people who "bad mouth" the SB-102 have one that was not built very well to start with or one that has been modified by some well meaning, but technically challenged person.

Dick  AD4U
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2010, 06:29:10 AM »

Most "repairable"?  Why one that contains no "unobtainium"!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unobtainium   Roll Eyes
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K4JJL
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2010, 07:54:49 AM »

Alinco is the worst for manufacturing radios out of unobtainium parts.

Most of the radio, TV, and pinball machine problems I come across are crappy connectors that burn up (card edge, ribbons, or molex), leaking capacitors, shoddy soldering, and idiotic placement of heatsink grease (either non-existent or blobbed on like fire caulk).  Lightning and power surges are also a killer of semiconductor devices, but that's not the fault of bad design or cheap parts.

If you're buying an old radio, take the cover off and give it a good sniff.  If it stinks like ammonia, pass on it.  That's capacitor electrolyte leaking out.
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N5YPJ
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2010, 04:44:59 PM »

I guess I'd have to vote for the Heathkit HW -101 or SB-102 as being easy to work on if you get the manuals. These are definitely in the VW bus class that LXP mentions; not if but when (yeah I got older and wised up too LOL). I'm assuming that you've got a desire to work on radios and not looking for the radio you describe out of frugality which is a no win situation in this case. The scarcer parts get the more they cost, as the years pass the scarcer are the folks who can work on them if you can't.

This isn't limited to ham radio but almost all merchandise nowadays including vehicles. I hate to see it but there's no way of stopping it.

In the solid state rigs I found the Atlas 210X easiest to work on; still miss that rig!
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N2EY
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« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2010, 06:24:54 PM »

Someone else did, Jim. However it was built well; I don't recall ever finding a bad solder joint. Most problems were common to that rig, such as leakage across (and even within!) the circuit board affecting the extremely high impedance AGC circuit. Another was a bad wiper contact on the VFO tuning cap, difficult to remove. Another was bad tube sockets. I owned that rig over 35 years ago, and I forget what else. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Having said all this, I recall now that it was owned by a smoker. I'm sure that contributed to some problems.

Let's see:

- Leakage across (and even within!) the circuit board affecting the extremely high impedance AGC circuit.

Smoke residue will do that.


- Bad wiper contact on the VFO tuning cap, difficult to remove.

Smoke residue will do that too.

- Another was bad tube sockets.

Smoke residue yet again, possibly

Which brings up a good point: When you acquire a used rig, it's not just the original build quality that you get but the environmental conditions it has endured.

Exposure to tobacco smoke is a biggie. A rig that was stored for years in an attic where the summer temperatures reached well over 120 degrees and the winter temperatures far below freezing will usually have more problems than one which was kept in an indoor environment. Same for a rig kept in a damp basement, a garage, or storage unit.

In any event, the OP asked about the most repairable transceiver, not necessarily the best, most reliable, most modern, etc.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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KE7BDI
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2010, 08:03:29 PM »

Jim, you raise a terrific point about the effects of where and how the radios have been stored. And so many others have added personal insight into the kinds of things to look for when looking at used gear (in keeping with the goal of working on this stuff myself as much as practical).

Another issue that others have brushed up against is what manufacturers do we have that attempt to be supportive (having least legacy documentation available or some parts inventory for their vintage gear)?

From a business point of view, manufacturers have to simply limit active support for replacement parts at some point. One company that seems to have the reputation of being more supportive of their equipment heritage..and that is Ten Tec. Maybe others are just as good, I just don't know.

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NI3S
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2010, 07:05:40 PM »

Be careful with those TS-120s.  If it has a receive issue there is a transformer that is no longer available.  A spike in the receive side will ruin this part.  It's failure is reasonably common.  The TS-130 or TS-140 rigs are great.  You seldom see them as Tech specials.
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WB6RLC
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« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2010, 09:09:12 PM »

Call Yaesu and ask them if they will repair your venerable FT-1000D. Nope!. Ask them if they have spare parts available.  Nope! Go on, I dare you!

  I have both a Heathkit SB-101 and a Yaesu FT-101E. Both I have repaired with parts from Newark or Mouser. The finals are still available (you may need to look a little) and nothing is as well documented as the Heathkit.

  I just had to send my FT-1000D to a 3rd party for repair.

  Glenn
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N2EY
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2010, 06:54:15 PM »

Jim, you raise a terrific point about the effects of where and how the radios have been stored. And so many others have added personal insight into the kinds of things to look for when looking at used gear (in keeping with the goal of working on this stuff myself as much as practical).

Another issue that others have brushed up against is what manufacturers do we have that attempt to be supportive (having least legacy documentation available or some parts inventory for their vintage gear)?

From a business point of view, manufacturers have to simply limit active support for replacement parts at some point. One company that seems to have the reputation of being more supportive of their equipment heritage..and that is Ten Tec. Maybe others are just as good, I just don't know.

Thanks!

There is no single answer to all the questions. Practically every transceiver contains at least some parts that were custom made and would be very expensive or nearly impossible to fabricate. So the only source is the manufacturer or a parts unit.

OTOH, almost anything is fixable if you're willing to spend enough time/money/effort on it. Some folks have gone so far as to disassemble rigs down to the bare metal, replate and repaint, and rebuild them from the start. (This is particularly popular with kit rigs like Heath, Johnson and Eico). The result speaks for itself.

One thing about Heathkit is that the rights to the manuals were bought up some years back and are not as freely available as some other rigs. Which simply means you buy a rig with a manual!

Another big factor in repairability is the resources you can devote to a test/repair bench, spare parts and tools. A lot of things can be fixed with just a few hand tools and some simple test gear, plus parts commonly available from Digi-Key, Mouser, etc. Other things will require much more.
It all depends on the problem.

Probably the biggest question is: what sort of rig will satisfy you? The simpler the rig, the easier it will be to repair and keep going. I have known hams who settled on a rig like the HW-16/HG-10, and bought up parts rigs, tubes and parts whenever they them at reasonable prices. Rather extreme, yes, but it solved the repair problem.

Or you can take this approach:

http://arrl.auctionanything.com/Bidding.taf?_function=detail&Auction_uid1=1973844

73 de Jim, N2EY
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K7AAT
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« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2010, 10:08:24 PM »


  In strict accordance to your question,  I would have to say that the MFJ 12W SSB  single band radios would likely be one of the easiest to repair.

   There are probably other companies marketing simple HF Xcvr kits which you might look for.  Anything you build yourself should be considerably easier to diagnose and repair.
Ed   K7AAT
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N0AZZ
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Posts: 241




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« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2010, 07:27:35 AM »

Call Yaesu and ask them if they will repair your venerable FT-1000D. Nope!. Ask them if they have spare parts available.  Nope! Go on, I dare you!

  I have both a Heathkit SB-101 and a Yaesu FT-101E. Both I have repaired with parts from Newark or Mouser. The finals are still available (you may need to look a little) and nothing is as well documented as the Heathkit.

  I just had to send my FT-1000D to a 3rd party for repair.

  Glenn


That can be said about all the radio manufacturers bar none and you can be sure on that. Ten Tec can not supply boards for the Omni VI and so it goes for all of them.
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