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Author Topic: What's Wrong With My Radio?  (Read 1504 times)
KD8ERE
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Posts: 42




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« on: July 13, 2009, 09:28:20 AM »

Okay. I bought a Kenwood TM-271A back in '06. It's served me well so far. Over the last month, I've tried checking in to the local traffic net, but I've only been able to generate audio once in the last five attempts. Last night, I tried checking in, and the NCS told me that I was barely coming in. I was bringing the machine up full quieting. I've checked my antennas (that was another issue), and everything seems to be working fine other than I can't get any audio out. Is my radio on its way out? Has anyone else had this problem with this radio, or in general?
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W0FM
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Posts: 2055




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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 11:28:40 AM »

Hi Ryan,

Do you have or could you borrow a wattmeter to see if the output power of your radio is up to spec?

Terry, WØFM
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W0FM
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Posts: 2055




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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2009, 11:29:57 AM »

OK, sorry, I misread that.  You are full-quieting into the repeater, so, power out is probably OK.  Perhaps your modulation may need to be tweaked.

Terry, WØFM
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WB5JEO
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Posts: 805




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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2009, 12:04:52 PM »

I'd begin with the easiest and probably the more likely fix. Try anther mic. Those import mobile mics are fine but not real robust and the wires are tiny. Some are worse about breaking than others. I once got pretty good at surgical repair on Motorola shoulder speaker/mics that habitually broke down in a few weeks in rough police service because the rubber strain relief at the radio end was just too stiff.
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KD8ERE
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2009, 03:44:59 PM »

I've checked over everything, and nothing seems to be any different than when it was working properly. Should I just count my losses, and get a new radio?
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K0BT
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Posts: 184




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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2009, 10:49:18 PM »

Since you are full quieting, the RF output is sufficient. You didn't say, but if the repeater uses a PL tone and you are still able to open the repeater, then the deviation circuitry in the radio probably hasn't gone bad either.  That leaves the microphone or the microphone amplifier in the radio.  The microphone cables on these rigs can go bad, especially where they are crimped into the connector.

Can you borrow a microphone to test with?
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N5LRZ
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2009, 11:54:39 AM »

IF you transmit thru another repeater and get full quieting and adequate audio reports when you transmit then it is not your radio.

IF your radio works OK on one repeater but not another repeater then the problem is the repeater not your radio.  You might inform the net information person of a possible repeater problem that needs to be looked into.
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KD8ERE
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2009, 01:35:28 PM »

I've tried several repeaters in my area, hoping that it was a problem with the repeater I primarily operate on. According to all NCSs on a few different frequencies, I transmit a carrier, but no actual audio. I've taken my mic apart, and everything looks to be in order. I can't think of anything else. I've even emailed Kenwood and explained my problem. I'm still waiting to get an answer back from them. I'm looking into getting a new radio since this problem. My birthday is coming up, so why now? Thanks to everyone who gave a helping suggestion on this problem. Any suggestions on a good affordable dual band?
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KB9CRY
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2009, 07:51:19 AM »

Try a different microphone.
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K4DPK
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2009, 07:44:02 PM »

Assuming you know how to use an ohmmeter, you can use one to test the continuity of the conductors in the microphone cable.

Phil C. Sr.
k4dpk
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K5MBV
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Posts: 265




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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2009, 09:02:53 PM »

Probably broke! Go buy another and plug it in.
Give it to a Ham with a soldering iron.
Ken K5MBV
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AC8EE
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2009, 01:33:33 AM »

Hi Ryan,

I concur with the others who responded telling you to check the microphone. (or substitute a known good one)

Handheld microphones are one of the weakest links in any amateur transceiver setup. Usually they break a wire near the strain relief near one of the ends. (nearest the mic or connector to the radio)

If you ever get near Lima, drop me a line. I'll fire up the service monitor and we can check it right on the bench.

Good Luck!

Jon, AC8EE

P.S. For me, in the true spirit of Amateur Radio, half the fun is figuring out what's wrong and fixing it yourself!
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KD8ERE
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2009, 02:09:51 PM »

I honestly can't say that I do know how to use an ohmeter. I'm looking to get one in the future, and learn how to use it so I have the right equipment to better help me diagnose a problem. I was lucky enough to only have to replace the microphone though. I was hoping it would have been a lot worse so I could get a new radio (dual band). But I'll stick with 2M for now. Thanks though.
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AC8EE
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2009, 09:35:01 PM »

Glad to hear you got it figured out. Using an ohmmeter is relatively simple. There's probably a tutorial somewhere out there that could give you some guidance. It's just a tool, and it's basic uses are to determine if there's voltage in a circuit and how much and also to determine resistance including shorts and opens. In the case of your microphone, the first checks I would make would have been from one end of the cable to the other. This I suspect would determine that you indeed had an "open" most likely in the wire that carries the audio from your microphone to the transmit stage of your radio. Just an example.

It's too bad you aren't closer to Lima. There are a lot of very helpful Amateurs in the area that could help out.

73
Jon,
AC8EE
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KD8ERE
Member

Posts: 42




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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2009, 10:39:12 AM »

Jon,

Thanks for the info. I've never really checked out what an ohmmeter did because I never had one. But like I mentioned in a previous post, I'm looking to get one sometime in the future to have it. I'm hoping to expand my very limited knowledge on the technical aspect on ham radio. So I'm going to be doing some research here soon to find out what I should get, and what I can do with out. I don't have any HF equipment (which is frustrating), so I don't want to go overboard on my toys. But I know an ohmmeter can help no matter what type of equipment I have.

I understand what you mean about having a lot of knowledgable hams out your way. When I first got into ham radio, I lived in Lorain County. Out there, there were two hams on every street corner with five backups ready at anytime. But it seems like over the years, ham radio is dying out that way. There was a net out there called the Burning River Traffic net that met every evening at 9 p.m. Now, I never hear it on. I don't know what's going on out that way, but it sucks that I can't get ahold of anyone that way to help out.

You live in the Lima area. Can you hit the LCARA machine? The frequency is 147.150 with a PL of 110.9. It's not a bad machine, and according to the map I brought up, you may be able to reach it. It should identify as KC8BED. When you get the chance, give it a try, and let me know. Maybe we can chat one day. Thanks again for the info!
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