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Author Topic: Trying to help *my* elmer..  (Read 2696 times)
KC4GPW
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Posts: 6




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« on: October 26, 2012, 04:59:52 PM »

Hello eham.net:

  This is a little different, in that instead of being the new ham needing help from a more experienced one; I am the new (if you call having my ticket for 14+ years new) ham; trying to help out the person who originally got me into the hobby.

  To try and protect a bit of his privacy (more on that as the story unfolds), I'm just going to call him Frank.   Frank is a World War II Vet. That's where he got his original radio training. A great deal of what I know about electricity, radio, electronics and general engineering practices; I learned from him when I first got interested in ham radio.  He was the member of the first radio club I found, who kind of took me under his wing and helped me learn Morse Code and pass my Novice, Technician and General tests.

  Frank is no longer a licensed ham.  He has Stage 4 Alzheimer's. He intentionally decided not to renew his license, because he felt he could no longer safely maintain and operate most of his gear.

  But...he still likes to listen on HF as well as local 2m and 70cm repeaters.  His remaining HF rig in his house, has no microphone and no CW key; at his request. I have the mic and the key; and they will stay clean and safe and available, should he ever want them back

  His mobile rig for years, was a crystal channeled Icom; that had just the repeaters and simplex frequencies he used.  When it died, and he declared it "beyond repair" (which meant that it was really, REALLY dead); he bought a Kenwood TM-741a. 

  He no longer drives, his wife handles that.  But his radio (sans microphone) is still in his car; and occasionally the only place he could be comfortable when his Alzheimer's was having a particularly bad day, was sitting in his car listening to various repeaters. Any time they went anywhere; his radio was on. He can still recognize voices of people, even if he couldn't tell you their names right then.

  Now for the part that just makes me furious....

  Someone broke into his car. The police said it was most likely someone looking for easily pawn-able items or cash; since the same thing happened to multiple other cars in that same parking lot on that same day.  The only thing missing other than the loose change that was in the ash tray, was the control head to his 741. The body of the radio is securely mounted in the trunk of the car.   He sometimes understands that the radio "is gone" and sometimes not.

  I tried putting one of my radios in his car, so he would have something to listen to when he needed the comfort and distraction.  But my Kenwood D700 is just too different.  He just doesn't have the ability to learn the differences any longer.

  So. With all that background, my question for the assembled wisdom here is... Where can I find a replacement control head for his Kenwood TM-741a?  I've looked at hamfests. I continually look on eBay as well as craigslist.  I regularly check various pawn shops in hopes that maybe the stolen control head will show up.   The police said that the reality is that once the thief discovered that what he had, had no use or value; that it probably ended up in a trash can or a local lake.

  I've occasionally seen a couple of complete radios on eBay, but they've generally been out of my price range or I've gotten out bid.  With the current economy, I am not making nearly the kind of money I once was.  If this had happened a few years ago; I would have just bought the first working one I found on eBay and the problem would have been solved.  I still wish I could do that, but I can't.  :-(

  Does anyone have one in a box in a closet? Do you know anyone who does? Maybe one that you know has RF problems, but maybe the control head could still be salvaged..

  Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   I've gotten so much enjoyment out of being a ham, because of things I learned from Frank; that I'd just like to repay a little tiny part of that if I can.

   Thanks for reading....

   73 de KC4GPW
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WX7G
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Posts: 6134




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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 06:42:07 PM »

Looking in the eham classifieds TM-741A radios go for $400. There's one guy who sells bits and pieces and might have a front panel.
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KC4GPW
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 09:20:42 PM »

I will keep an eye out for the guy that sells bits and pieces.
Thanks for the reply!
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9910




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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 12:32:55 PM »

Just wanted to send a good job for trying to help out a fellow ham.  I am 100% disabled vet and have had many folks over here to build my shack and antennas.  well done.
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WX7G
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 12:45:54 PM »

To find the guy selling the parts go the the eham Classifieds, input TM-741A, and check SOLD LISTINGS.
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KC4GPW
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 10:35:28 PM »

Ahh!  Thanks, WX7G; I completely missed the 'sold listings' feature earlier. Smiley
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VE7REN
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Posts: 473




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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 06:38:48 AM »

monte

there needs to be more people like you around.....outstanding help.

did you try to contact kenwood to see if they have a connection or a dead radio in the surplus??

ve7ren
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KC4GPW
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 07:47:57 AM »

That's very kind of you to say. Thank you.
The credit goes to my parents.  I'm just trying to follow the example they set for me about how you treat other people. Smiley

As to contacting Kenwood...

I found this:
KENWOOD AUTHORIZED SERVICE CENTER - PACIFIC
19501 East Walnut Drive South
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA 91748
Phone: 626-333-2443

For Kenwood service.  I called that number and asked.  They don't have a complete control head for a radio that old.  They have some parts, but not the entire assembly.

I'm continuing to look.  There is a hamfest near me before the end of the year. Maybe I'll get lucky and find exactly what I need there.

Thanks for the suggestion of contacting Kenwood.  If you know of another division/group that might be worth a shot trying, I'd love to know about it/them.

73 de kc4gpw

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W9GB
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Posts: 2626




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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 09:39:32 AM »

Contact ALL our local area Pawn shops with a GOOD photo of control head.
Assume you are talking to Chumly and not Rick (Pawn Stars) -- little radio knowledge -- at these local shops.
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AE7IS
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 09:55:47 AM »

 i went to a local swapmeet here in the pacific northwest, didn't find your head unfortunately but i did look.  not looking for the pat on the back just wanted you to know that we are looking. and will try to keep this in mind.  do let us know if you find one.
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KC4GPW
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Posts: 6




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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 10:26:13 AM »

AE7IS - Thank you.  I will definitely post an update if I find one!

W9GB - Good thought about the picture.. That hadn't occurred to me.  I will find a good picture of one and stick that on my phone to be able to show the pawn shop. Next time I'm close to a good color printer, I'll print a few copies of that same picture; to be able to leave with the pawn shops I check.
Good suggestion. Thanks!
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2012, 12:27:39 PM »

Hi Monte:

I too want to give you kudos for what you are doing
for your Elmer. As someone who works in the Health Care
field, I know that working with Alzheimers patients can
be difficult at times.

While you are looking for that control head, maybe you
can also speak to some local ham clubs in your area. They too
can help you look for the control head, and/or maybe even
donate or loan you a TM741a. Since your Elmer was a longtime
ham, chances are there may be a few people in the club
who used to know him but lost touch and are unaware of
his condition.

I know very few people whose lives have not been affected
by a friend or family member with Alzheimers. I think your
local ham clubs are a good resource to look into.

GL ES 73, Ken AD6KA
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KC4GPW
Member

Posts: 6




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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2012, 12:53:08 PM »

Hi Ken,

  I spoke to the current club president this morning. Smiley  He is going to quietly ask around.  We agreed on the 'quietly' part; because Frank gets very embarrassed and uncomfortable around too many people he "remembers, but doesn't remember".

  I spent several hours with him yesterday afternoon. A tree limb had fallen and taken out one leg of his G5RV. I put it back up and "tuned up" his rig for him, then another hour or so with him just listening to a net that was in progress on a local wide area linked repeater; on the D700 in my truck. Watching the "I know that voice" look flash across his face, only to be replaced a few short seconds later with "who was that again?"; brought me to tears.

  Tuning around on his TS-450, I came across a station that was transmitting CW at a really fast WPM. It amazed me when I first met Frank, how he could listen to that and copy it all in his head. I asked him if he could tell what the two stations were talking about. For about 2 minutes, it was like the fog lifted. He picked up a pencil and started writing.   I'd turned on his computer and started up a program that can decode CW from the audio stream.   For the 2 minutes when his brain was cooperating; he got more of the conversation right than the computer did!   I was lucky if I could pick out a letter or a number occasionally.


  While I happen to be thinking about it; if I happen across a control head for the TM741a that's broken...does anyone have any experience with getting one repaired? Is everything in it surface mount parts (that would be my guess), or is there something in it that us mere mortals stand a chance at being able to de-solder and replace?

  Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to reply and offer suggestions!  This kind of response, is what makes the ham radio community so great; and something I'm proud to be a part of!

  -Monte
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