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Author Topic: Affordable and Repairable Ham Radio Equipment  (Read 40525 times)
KD0REQ
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Posts: 2404




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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2014, 04:56:16 PM »

NASA was also paying batwing insane prices for 80286 chips to Richardson throughout the shuttle program, rather than developing and life-rating replacement boards using newer tech.  I paid batwing insane prices to Pioneer for 80186 chips to bring back from the dead a bunch of $6000 terminal servers in the early 90s.  I could get a PO through the college for chips, but not terminal servers.

first real introduction to the theorem that bureaucracy has a mind of its own, whether it should have been committed years ago or not.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2014, 11:42:34 PM »

>first real introduction to the theorem that bureaucracy has a mind of its own, whether it should have been committed years ago or not.<

Because of management's insistence on budgets........often repairs come out of a different budget than new equipment does. The classic case was in the UK in the 1930s, where the railway companies could be subsidised by the government to build new locomotives, but not to repair existing ones!
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W9YW
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2014, 01:35:25 AM »

I worked in consumer electronics manufacturing for a while, watching serviceability become an ecosystem.

On the retail side, returned items (for any reason returned) became a part of an ecosystem where the bottom of the pile were metal smelters and other devolvers.

On the repair side, board level swapouts by techs then created a market for specialty refurbishers-- like the old Tuner Service Corp which would rebuilt TV tuners back before varactor tuners. Bulk refurbs for equipment makers/vendors could be cost effective.

These days, there are a number of venerable techs/engineers that have the knowhow and equipment and time, and maybe a schematic and maybe parts specific to various revs of equipment to do the job. It's not especially time/cost effective, and we've created enormous amounts of waste as a result. Serviceability is not a big thought in today's electronics manufacturing, because of the inability to repair or devolve these items. They go into landfills.

The burgeoning maker community fights this trend in some ways, and real repair is possible given time/energy/investment/luck.

That the old tube/valve transceivers live is a testament to engineering ideals that include long lifecycle for the product. The SDRs inside of cellphones uses SystemsOnAChip are vastly more sophisticated and intense than an old FT-101, or Drake of old. One goes in the dustbin, the other lives on after two years.

73s

Tom
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KG8LB
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Posts: 408




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« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2014, 03:33:49 AM »

.

Later insertion..... Sadly, it looks like I have to keep this FT-950, as I don't have 60 Metres or General coverage Rx on the Hybrids !!

Kind thoughts and Vy 73 de

John (M0OBU)


.

 No problem .   The 50 plus year old Central Electronics 20V is up in the attic but it will indeed work 60 meters , if indeed I felt the need to operate there .  My GPR 90 , R-725 , NC-183D and SX-100 are all general coverage .

No "hybrids" here ..too new ! Smiley
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W7VAQ
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« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2014, 02:49:05 AM »

Personally I like the idea. I'm am new to ham but so far my purchases have been older gear. I just got done (with a lot of help) redoing a Viking Valiant and A Hallicrafters S-40B, the gentleman that really did all the work specializes in old radios simply because he can keep them going for years. I also have a FT-101EE and a 2m Astro Spectra.

As a society we have gotten to the point where everything is disposable. A car once gave 20 or 30 years of service, now they are nothing more than a quick turn over. (Think Ford's plastic timing chain and gears.) By the time you pay it off you need a new one. I'm not rich, I like the idea of a purchase that will last me for many years to come. Also as I learn more about the hobby I can fix it myself. As to parts, they are pretty easy to find. I don't mind paying for solid value, I do, however, get very irritated not being able to find it...and that doesn't only apply to ham gear.

I see a lot of value in older things that can be kept operational for 40 years, so to have the opportunity to buy one of the "old" radios that is new I'm all over it!
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KG8LB
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« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2014, 03:44:16 AM »

  While I don't personally own any Asian radio gear , I have heard some very fine sounding Yaesu FT-101s on the air . Lately it seems the numbers have taken a jump . Congrats on the Viking II and the S-40B . The Viking is an excellent transmitter to cut your teeth on . Very well built and wide open to work on . 

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K9QZR
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« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2014, 05:09:36 PM »

I am not so sure you will find a market for the kind of gear you are purposing. It seems most hams are either appliance operators or true hams that like the old gear. Tubes are still very easy to find and mostly inexpensive. More and more companies are starting to make new tubes, mostly in China or Russia but they are good tubes. Just some food for thought.
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N0NB
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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2014, 05:54:55 AM »

With the exception of various QRP kits, affordable and repairable equipment may be two exclusive goals.  Anything that is as sophisticated as a mid '90s radio will be difficult to make as repairable as nearly anything from the late '70s and earlier.  If it is repairable then it may well not be affordable.  Even the K2 which is the closest balance of repairable and affordable of the current offerings is considered the high end of affordability at the price it is offered at.

Repairability is a laudable goal.  None of us can predict what parts will be available a decade from now or even next week so it is always a craps shoot.

Affordability these days means using programmable parts such as an Arduino.  Right now Arduino based boards seem to have enough popularity that they should be available for the foreseeable future which will enter into the repairability part of the equation.  Then there are PIC processors and SOCs that can run full blown operating systems but each of these seem more volatile than the Arduino.
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73, de Nate
Bremen, KS

SKCC 6225
W7VO
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2014, 04:01:58 PM »

I think for repairability, affordability, and performance, you cannot beat the old Drake B and C line stuff. Uses fairly common tubes, great and easy to install upgrades available, and very easy to put on a bench and tear into. I have a C line that I restored, and have a pair of parts units that will make sure that both the receiver and transmitter are around a LONG time after I am!
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2014, 12:35:06 PM »

It might work if you didn't also try to make it compact.

My suggestion would be a radio with plug-in boards, each perhaps one stage (or major function).
Then you could have various options available depending on what boards were installed (CW / SSB,
for example.)  The technically inclined hams could design their own boards and fit them in with
the rest of the rig if they wanted to experiment with a better mixer circuit.  (You could provide
blank prototype boards for that purpose.)

Any one board could be very simple using discrete components, or more complex using SMD parts
if the builder so choose.  With some careful thought to the standard interconnects it could start as
a direct conversion CW transceiver, then be upgraded to SSB and/or digital superhet (or phasing
method, or even binaural output.)

Cost?  Probably higher than some rigs, but it might allow for single- or dual-band HF operation to
get someone started.  (Band-dependent portions of the circuit could be plug-in as well.)

Seems to me that it is much easier to design a new plug-in circuit to replace one with an obsolete
part than to replace just the part, such as a MOSFET mixer or IF circuit using the CA3028 once
such parts become unobtanium.  That also means that it would be with in the capability of most
hams to open the cover and upgrade the rig and/or swap circuit boards to get it back up and
running.  Some individual boards, of course, may be easy to repair (once they are out of the circuit),
and that may include the basic boards, but it would also allow for more advanced features to be
replaceable if they were beyond the ability of the owner to repair.


Practical?  It could be done, and would meet a number of stated objectives.

A good business case?  Maybe not...  that would take more planning.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 1321




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« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2014, 12:56:52 AM »

>That also means that it would be with in the capability of most
hams to open the cover and upgrade the rig and/or swap circuit boards to get it back up and
running.<

Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I wouldn't be so sure of that these days....
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KD0REQ
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Posts: 2404




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« Reply #26 on: August 29, 2014, 09:38:10 AM »

affordable, repairable, and operable.  pick any two.

see, you are not all THAT cynical... it gets worse Wink
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