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Author Topic: TS-440SAT Display Shows "Dots" Instead o  (Read 9870 times)

Posts: 1551


« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2012, 03:00:48 AM »

From the AVVID Web Site:

"The parts are no longer available to repair the "Dots" problem on the TS440"

Avoid it.


Don, K2DC

Posts: 5030

« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2012, 05:40:45 AM »

Man, as a Kenwood owner, that's GREAT news.  His departure left a big hole in the Kenwood world.

Hell yeah. That would have really sucked.

Posts: 510

« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2012, 07:06:24 AM »

I'd stay away from it. This is your first HF rig, right? Don't start off with a headache. Get one that works. Figure out your antenna situation. Make contacts. Then maybe later you can branch out into repairing tech specials.

I agree, TS-440's are not only very trouble prone in this area but it is getting pretty old too and other problems could develop. I would suggest something newer. If you like Kenwood, consider a TS 450 which replaced it or the 570 that replaced 450.  

A working TS-450 is definitely a better choice here. However, they too have their own problems. The TS-450s are infamous for their leaking electrolytic capacitors. When these were made, China shipped out capacitors that after a few years would start leaking their dielectric fluid. This stuff is caustic and will destroy the PCB if left unchecked. Fortunately, these caps are big, through hole components so they are easy to inspect for leakage and somewhat easy to replace with moderate soldering/desoldering skills. If you can get a working TS-450 be prepared to change a few caps if you find any leaks. You can find much of the information you need in the TS-450/TS-850 Yahoo group.

For not much more (comparing typical used prices here), I'd go with a TS-570D(G) or TS-570S(G). It's a very good entry/intermediate level HF rig. No hardware/firmware problems that I know of, except that the memory battery tends to drain too quickly and under certain conditions the keyer sends extra dits. For its vintage the DSP is pretty good. If you consider the cost of a TS-440 or TS-450 plus an outboard DSP like a Timewave vs a TS-570 alone, you end up spending about the same. If you do consider this model, make sure you get the "G" model. The G's had an upgraded DSP that you'll want.

Posts: 12620

« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2012, 09:16:47 AM »

A very sturdy and reliable starter rig is a Kenwood TS-140 It is newer than a 440. I have owned 3 of them in last 25 years and currently own one as a backup/portable/mobile rig. I worked New Zealand with it the other night on 20 SSB and chatted for a bit too. Very reliable rig with decent noise blankers too.

Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..

Posts: 6748

« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2012, 09:42:00 AM »

One more suggestion:  Run off a hardcopy of these comments, show them to the seller and then offer him a pittance for the radio.  If he takes it, you have a toy to play with when you get the time/expertise.  If he doesn't, walk away. 

In the meantime, do as suggested..... get a more modern working rig and enjoy ham radio.  I always suggest starting out without problems or QRP. 

The early days of ham radio is the most critical time of your new hobby. 

A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!

Posts: 593

« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2012, 11:19:23 AM »

I don't thin kthe VCO surgery is easy AND since you have to remove/clean and replace parts it can be futile.  Parts for those boards are no longer easily available and if you wreck a coil pack you will have a pile of junk left.  I thought CLiff stopped servicing any Kenwood with the dreaded "dots" problem for those reasons....


Posts: 307

« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2012, 08:59:01 AM »

  In actuality, the potting compound leaches the tin off of plated and soldered parts and rusted them in some cases if enough moisture was around the rig. The problem may be more than just the potting compound because these old 440's had several issues which resulted in the dots. If you are hell bent on it, check the potting compound for discoloration and rust deposits, if it is just brown like coffee, you will have to carefully pick that crap off and realign the vco's when done. Also look at the battery backup, these leak and destroy traces on the boards.

Posts: 154

« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2012, 03:07:37 PM »

Well this is depressing  Sad  My TS-440S had been working great (knocking on wood).   
Glad K5VAH brought this thread back to life after 5 years as I was contemplating getting the CAT option for digital modes.
Maybe I should sell it before I start having problems.   Undecided 



Posts: 1214


« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2012, 02:22:24 PM »

My TS-440S developed the dots problem.  It happens with almost all of them, and can be fixed, but it does make the radio unuseable unless fixed.

I was able to mitigate mine by cleaning some rubber gunk (that absorbs humidity over time) out of one of the Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) sections in the PLL board, and then leaving the radio on all of the time.  When it was warm, it would work.    

Now, as far as I know, I don't have any cold solder joints or the other problems; just the hygroscopic rubber thing in VCO5.  It used to be that I would open the thing up and run a hairdryer on the affected section to wake the radio up if I'd left it off for a long time.

However, the problem *can* be much worse than this, and I'd recommend, if you're interested in this radio, finding out the average price for a fix of the dots problem (probably $150-$200 from someone who has fixed many of them) and get the seller to knock off that much off of the asking price.  

It's possible that you could get the radio, turn it on for an hour, and have it work.  It's also possible that it could need a bunch of replacement parts and work.  Even if you do leave it on and the display comes back, TX and RX can be distorted by the VCO changing frequency.  My problems are particularly mild as far as this radio goes.


You are right!  That was exactly the problem.  I had one too and developed the problem many moons ago.

Posts: 1209


« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2012, 02:48:01 PM »

Most common TS-440S dot problem culprit is in PLL oscillator#5. Requires a couple of transistors and a couple of diodes and a dental pick to pick out the gunk causing problem. I've repaired 3 of them and all were #5 issues. Takes about an hour or so and your back in business. If you could get the rig for cheap, I'd say go for it. Worst case if you could not fix it, easily sold for parts and full (or most) recoup on investment.

Last time I did this repair, I bought enough parts to do a dozen more. Buying a few extra parts cost me about $5 to fix the last one.

Gene W5DQ

Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
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