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Show all reviews of the Harris AN/URC-119(V)2 Pacer Bounce
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of the Harris AN/URC-119(V)2 Pacer Bounce.
Dec 10, 2013 14:57
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Solid RF Infrastructure
Time owned: more than 12 months
I have considerable background with this radio. I have repaired many, own a few, and current manage a facility with 5 operating all day, every day.
Without qualifications, I report this is ROCK-SOLID RF equipment.
The story of how and why we went back to this radio is interesting. We were using much newer equipment of contemporary design and manufacture. The name brands of this equipment I will not say, but it all failed. One example , of 10 transceivers, 8 of them had receivers with severely reduced sensitivity. Another example: 5 of 5 linear power amplifiers, all dead.
The old "Pacer Bounce" was available through re utilization channels, and I knew we could keep them running indefinably. There is good documentation about the theory of operation, maintenance, and schematics. Components remain available. Repair work is not challenging to a skilled electronics technician.
The front end is protected. For instance: We have several 80, 120 and 140 foot towers with LPDA antennas. When lightning storms blow through you can hear the arcing between the towers. The station remains on the air; the receivers function, noise from lightning crashes is not excessive.
This is a multi-tranmitter, high power site. The ability of the receiver to behave in the presence of high RF fields, near frequency, is of critical important. These radios get the job done. Simultaneous operation on multiple HF frequencies at the 500 and 1KW level is possible from the same antenna field - without significant interference.
There is robust crystal filtering at the first (VHF) IF and 455 kHz IF. Filtering has excellent specifications for selectivity and group delay. The Roofing filter is 6 kHz, network science type filter. It is large compared to what is found in a contemporary radio 1.5 inches, by 1.5 inch by 3 inches - I suspect it cost about $300. The SSB and CW filters are even larger, expensive to manufacture crystal filters sporting specification like nothing in amateur radio. If amateur radios were built like this, there would be no need for down conversion IF schemes.
I once worked at a site with a contemporary HF transceiver. During an event, the antenna was effected and the SWR was somewhat elevated. The transceivers internal protection prevented transmission, resulting in a mission failure. The transceiver was replaced with a RF-350K, because it will continue to transmit in these situations. This is a radio that is designed to operate in adverse conditions, in combat, for instance when the antenna is shot off the vehicle. When lives are at stake, engineers put much more overhead into the design. There is absolutely no comparison to hobby equipment.
This radio excels when you "own" a frequency. This can be in government, military service where there are fixed frequency assignments, or during a contest when you have enough rf power, antenna gain, site advantage and no intent on changing frequency. I used it in both situations, without reservation.
These radio are getting on in years. Almost all examples you will find have operated 24/7 for years in government/military service. You have to be smart enough to maintain it. You have to have the manual. Its not hard to do, but you need to know this going in. Once fixed up, they are bullet proof.
The achilles heel is a multi-voltage power supply that takes 13 volts and turns it into +15, -15 and +5 volts. It is a simple switch mode circuit, and all board components are common parts that are still available.
A5 fault: The other maintenance issue in these old radios is the relays on the low pass filter board. These are not available as a direct replacement part, but still available through various sources. The good news is they are repairable. All that needs to be done is clean the contacts.
Although the receiver is excellent in every regard, it does not have the requisite knob for band scanning. If that is your thing, too bad you will not have opportunity to really enjoy one of the best HF transceivers ever made.
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