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Author Topic: Worst Transceiver  (Read 8386 times)
VK3DWZ
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Posts: 44




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« on: May 10, 2012, 01:43:25 AM »

What is the worst transceiver you have ever owned?

Mine was the first, back in 1981.  Newly licenced, and only (at the time) able to operate above 52MHz, I purchased a Kenwood TR-2400 (I think that was its model number) 2-meter H.T.  It was terrible.  For starters it stopped operating if the temperature fell below 10 degrees--this meant it could not be used outside in winter here as the temperature frequently falls to freezing (0 de-grees).

The next "problem" occured if you plugged in the mains adaptor with the unit on.  If the mains adaptor happened to be oper-ating, at the time, this blew a little choke in the power supply.  

Finally, the unit used a NiCd battery pack.  This didn't last any time at all--luckily, I was able to build up one to replace it.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 01:33:57 AM by VK3DWZ » Logged
G3RZP
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Posts: 4723




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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 03:47:19 AM »

Worst in what respect?

I've had 3 HF transceivers and they all had their shortcomings.

Drake TR3 - not very good filters, hopeless on CW. Fixable and fixed with KVG filters for SSB and CW, but not a brilliant rx.

HW101 - poor dial drive, poor SSB filter, reasonable receiver, good CW filter, no IRT.

FT102 - relay problems, easily fixed. From a performance viewpoint, excellent
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WX7G
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 04:18:06 AM »

Yaesu FT-747.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12899




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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 06:41:57 AM »

How about the Eico 753? Can we say D..R..I..F..T? It was still fun to use at the time though.
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KG6AF
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Posts: 361




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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 07:15:41 AM »

The Eico 753 - it's the standard against which all bad gear is measured.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 08:54:41 AM »

You can't get it to stay put long enough to measure it  Grin
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W4OP
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2012, 10:03:21 AM »

I have to defend the Eico 753.
I think a lot of the hams trashing the 753 are going on hearsay as opposed to actually having owned one.
The transceiver is very similar to the NCX-3- in both circuitry and panel layout. In fact, if one were to view the matching power supplies from on top- the layouts are identical. Eico did use one more stage of filtering on the low B+.

The model I restored was the 3rd variant- all solid state VFO. After plotting VFO drift vs. time, I changed out some of the caps with a custom combination of Nxxx temperature compensating caps and the resultant drift was quite good. I then used white closed cell foam to further isolate the VFO compartment (above and below chassis) from rapid temperature changes. Audio reports were excellent and the build quality was top notch.
Now, you might argue that my 753 was not original, but I did not do anything to it that any competent ham of that era could have done. If one were to add a Cumbria Designs X-lock, the rig would have been about as stable as today's DDS controlled radios.
You can see my restoration at:

http://www.parelectronics.com/vintage-eico-753-transciever.php

So, for the price back then, I still argue that the 753 was a good value and a very well built rig.

Dale W4OP
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KJ4FUU
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Posts: 162




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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 10:27:38 AM »

I have two Clegg FM-27B's. Apparently, in the days before squelch tones, they could key up 6 repeaters at once. Smiley

-- Tom
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N6AJR
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 11:09:18 AM »

swan 3 drifty
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KG6AF
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2012, 11:14:48 AM »

I have to defend the Eico 753.
I think a lot of the hams trashing the 753 are going on hearsay as opposed to actually having owned one.

Dale, I love your antennas; in fact, one of your 20M models has a place of honor above my roof.  But I have to take issue with your defense of this abysmal piece of equipment.  Let's get one thing out of the way--all of my Eico 753 knowledge comes first-hand.  Unfortunately.  When I was about 15, I built one of these things, complete with the solid-state VFO, and wrestled it onto the air.  It was, in a word, awful.   

Quote
The model I restored was the 3rd variant- all solid state VFO. After plotting VFO drift vs. time, I changed out some of the caps with a custom combination of Nxxx temperature compensating caps and the resultant drift was quite good. I then used white closed cell foam to further isolate the VFO compartment (above and below chassis) from rapid temperature changes. Audio reports were excellent and the build quality was top notch.
Now, you might argue that my 753 was not original, but I did not do anything to it that any competent ham of that era could have done. If one were to add a Cumbria Designs X-lock, the rig would have been about as stable as today's DDS controlled radios.

This is a little like the tale of Grandpa's axe: it's had two heads and three handles but, somehow, it's the same ax.  A modified 753 is not a 753.

As for the claim that any competent ham of that era could have made the changes to fix it, well, there's the problem.  Many of the kits were built by relative newcomers to ham radio, who could not have been expected to re-engineer the rig to fix those things that the engineers at Eico couldn't manage.  As an engineer, I could now undertake a restoration/redesign of a 753, but it was a different matter for a 15-year-old in 1967, living in a small town with no access to test equipment or help.

There's an implicit representation from seller to buyer, that the seller has done a competent job of designing their product.  Occasionally a seller may tell the buyer otherwise, and then all's fair.  (Remember Poly-Paks and their "no time to test 'em!" disclaimer?)  But in the absence of such a disclaimer, the seller has an obligation to finish the design work before shipping the product.

When I got my Par end-fed, all I had to do was a little length-tweaking (as explained in the instructions), and I was on the air.  I didn't have to redesign the matchbox, or add a balun, or do anything else out of the ordinary.  That's good design, and that's why I recommend your products to others.  I can't remember ever recommending the Eico 753 to anyone, except scrap haulers. 
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2012, 11:20:48 AM »

I built the Eico 753 kit shortly after it came out. The original model had a tube in the VFO. Every time the AC line voltage changed a little it would drift up/down the band. Later there was a mod that put back to back zener diodes in the filament circuit and that cured the line voltage problem - but still lots of heat drift. A couple of years later they came out with a solid state VFO replacement for it and that made things much better.

Later on I dedicated it to MARS use and replaced the VFO with a crystal oscillator and selector switch. It worked really well in that application and I used it for several more years as a net control.

Later on, I reinstalled the solid state VFO and donated it to a missionary who was going to take it overseas.

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KQ6Q
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2012, 11:32:22 AM »

I had a 753 that I bought factory assembled, and it worked very well. One parts failure - the dropping resistor for the VR tube failed - diagnosed without opening the case, went to a downtown TV repair shop (I was in Thailand at the time) and drew the schematic symbol for a resisitor, and the ohm and watts values, got the  part, installed it, and was back on the air. No complaints. If you worked HS2AJG back in 1973-74, that was my Eico 753.
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W4OP
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 11:46:14 AM »

Hi Bob et al,

All good points- and I do indeed recall PolyPaks.
It is interesting that issues we put up with "back in the day" we would never live  with today. And rigs we were pretty happy with back then seem abysmal today.

I recall getting a Gotham vertical from my Elmer. No matter how much I jerked with it as a kid, It never came close to meeting those wonderful QST ads for it.

Nostalgia- it's not what it used to be...

Dale W4OP
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G3RZP
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 12:11:42 PM »

<Nostalgia- it's not what it used to be...>

Dale, it never was!
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N2EY
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Posts: 3895




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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2012, 12:46:54 PM »

I recall getting a Gotham vertical from my Elmer. No matter how much I jerked with it as a kid, It never came close to meeting those wonderful QST ads for it.

Ah yes, the classic Gotham vertical!

For those who don't remember them, the Gotham verticals were in a class by themselves.

The ads claimed long lists of rare DX worked with low power and the Gotham vertical. What they didn't mention was that the ham involved was rare DX hisself, and that the long lists were worked in the late 1950s when conditions were incredibly good.

There were three versions of the Gotham vertical - V40, V80 and V160, named for the lowest band they would work on. All claimed multiband capability. They were priced way below other verticals of the time.

What you actually got was 22 feet of military surplus aluminum tubing (two 11 foot pieces), four aluminum mounting straps, and piece of 3 inch diameter Miniductor coil. The ONLY difference between the models was how long the piece of Miniductor was.

Hardware, mounting insulators, connectors, radial wires, weatherproof housing for the Miniductor, radials, insulators, etc. were all up to you.

The idea was that you'd put up the tubing vertically on a suitable mounting of your devising and over a suitable ground plane/counterpoise system. The bottom of the vertical element would be connected to a tap on the Miniductor. You'd ground other end of the Miniductor and the outer conductor of the coax. Then you'd tap the center conductor onto the Miniductor.

The idea was that you could find a combination of taps which would both resonate the system and provide a low SWR on the coax. How to find the right taps was left up to the owner. And you'd need different taps for each band!

For 20 and up, the 22 foot element could do a decent job. Maybe even on 40, over a good ground system. 80 and 160 were a different story...

The Big Thing was that the ads never let on about how important it was to have a good ground setup, nor how to get the adjustments right, nor how much of a compromise the antenna was on the lower bands.

It would be interesting to build a Gotham Vertical today and see what it could do, properly installed and adjusted.

73 de jim, N2EY

 
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