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Speak Out: Repairing Older Rigs

A contributor states, "Recently found out that my 10-year-old (bought it new) Kenwood TS-940S is not supported by Kenwood Repair East or West! They can't repair it and said they don't" carry the parts" anymore. To me that's poor service! I have found third party repair centers for Kenwood radios that are "out of date." This is applies to the other makers as well; what should or can we do about keeping our older rigs running?"

60 opinions on this subject. Enter your opinion at the bottom of this page.
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WA9Z on 2010-04-21
It's not "poor service". It's sound economic advice from a progressive, leading edge technology manufacturer that manufactured a product that outlived its useful service life, yet remains celebrated by some strange romantic attachment.(I have that problem to a certain extent, but its with utilitarian objects or artistic impressions that I've conceived in my head and built with my hands) Hams have a civic duty to contribute to the advancement of technology, not be janitors worshiping obsolete inanimate
boxes. Heave-ho.

N8EKT on 2010-04-18
ANY radio can be repaired regardless of it's age.

Capacitors, resistors, transistors and diodes are still available in any value.

If just ONE part is no longer being manufactured for a radio, the factory can't
tell you they will repair the unit.

Electrolytic capacitors dry up in older rigs
and it is a very common fix for ANY electronic device.

W8AAZ on 2010-03-13
Depends if there is money to be made. How many of those radios are out there to be repaired economically by the company? I work on avionics going back to the 60s and we can get NOS parts with 60s date codes to fix them. But we are buying approved parts with traceability and the huge costs reflect this. Where else can you get NOS say, 2N158 transistors still in the original packaging? We encounter all kinds of odd failures you do not see on newer gear, like 1% metal resistors that change value drastically or become open, caps with high ESR that make weird things happen but can only be found with better test gear, and thermally intermittent transistors. Not to mention trimpots that read open over half their adjustment range, or behave erratically. Transformers that open at a certain temp. All are available for big bux. Not many hams would pay 1000$ to have their HF rigs repaired.

KG2V on 2010-03-07
One of the issues is that the parts mfgs just plain old don't make the parts anymore, and a LOT of that is due to RoHS complicance laws

Chip mfgs looked at their lines, and decided what was worth converting over to RoHS compliant mfg, and what was not

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I worked for a small defense contractor. We were always getting "end of life" notices from parts mfgs, saying "place any 'end of life buys' by XX date" - basically they were saying "order all you think you'll ever need on or before that date, we'll make them, and then after that, you're on your own"

W6RMK on 2010-03-07
G4DYO commented:"

Eventually a friend of mine, a retired civil aviation telecomms engineer asked if he could look at it. After an hour with his gear he had it up and running<snip>

Unfortunately, many dealers won't take on such work because it could be time-consuming and too costly."

Exactly. and basically, you got lucky.

Consider if you expected a service center to do this: if you counted ALL the time to do this in a retail/commercial environment, it's probably more like 2 hours, and by the time the service center works in salary, benefits, equipment maintenance, carrying costs for the spare parts inventory, etc, you're probably looking at needing to charge $250.

Most hams would not be willing to pay that (especially if it could be twice that.. maybe it takes 4 hours of bench time to find the problem). This kind of thing has gotten very expensive to do, so many companies go to a strategy of "replace"

W8LGX on 2010-03-06
I recently had to replace the speaker in my Kenwood THF-6A, an HT thats still being sold today. The original speaker is discontinued (!), but there is a replacement that I found at a third party parts source, not Kenwood.

Compare that to Icom, where I bought repair parts directly from them for my IC-735 a couple of years ago, a rig thats been out of production for maybe 15 years. Not all Japanese manufacturers are alike.

G4DYO on 2010-03-06
Same in the UK. My TS930 packed up and everyone said it had to be that dreaded board with the dodgy plated-through holes and I should buy a PIEXX board to fix it.

Eventually a friend of mine, a retired civil aviation telecomms engineer asked if he could look at it. After an hour with his gear he had it up and running..... and the fault had nothing to do with the signal board!!

Unfortunately, many dealers won't take on such work because it could be time-consuming and too costly.

N6KD on 2010-03-05
Kenwood East or West are not very good repair facilities anyway. They are very expensive and very slow. Many independent repair people and organizations do a good job and repair the older radios quite easily. Kenwood just wants you to buy a new rig. A very small percentage of parts are obsolete even on my 1980s TS-950SD.

VE2ITZ on 2010-03-05
That is a real shame. Seems to me that this radio should have lasted longer. Considering the type of radio and its manufacturer. I suppose you must have paid quite a bit for this radio..

I suppose these are the times that companies began building disposable radios.

Nowadays seems to me electronics are so consumer disposable oriented.

AA5TB on 2010-03-04
Don't be afraid to open the lid and see what makes it tick and what makes you a ham.

No offense intended, I know times are changing (darn it).

Steve - AA5TB

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