Rig on the fritz? Crack it open and have a look.

There’s no doubt that today’s rigs are pretty complicated. Even so, there’s no reason not to crack them open should they quit working. Often, the repair is something simple. Two recent experiences back me up on this.

New fuse makes Heathkit happy
A couple of weeks ago, a ham friend expressed an interest in one of the Heathkit IP-2717 HV Power Supplies that I rescued from the University of Michigan’s Property Disposition center a couple of years ago. I purchased three of them at the time, one working, two not working. I told him that I’d let him have one of the non-working units for $25, exactly what I paid for them.

He agreed to the price, and we agreed to meet for lunch about a week later and make the transaction. A couple of days beforehand, though, I decided to pull one off the shelf and just have a look inside.

Well, as soon as I popped the top off, the problem was obvious. It had a blown fuse. I just happened to have that value and when I stuck a new one in, the power supply fired right up and worked like a charm. My friend not only gave me a few more bucks for fixing it, but also bought lunch!

A two-minute fix for 2m rig
This evening, as I was working a guy in ME on 30m CW, I spotted on my shelf, an old 2m FM rig that someone had given to me. It had quit working on him, and since he wanted to get something newer, he didn’t feel like fooling around with it. He told me that if I could fix it, that I could sell it or give it to someone who attended one ¬†of my classes and was looking for a starter radio.

That radio has sat on the shelf for at least two years. When I caught sight of it this evening, though, I was inspired to open it up and see if there was anything obviously wrong with it that I could fix easily.

Sure enough, all I had to do was remove the two screws holding the top of the case to the radio and peer inside. The problem was readily apparent. Somehow, one of the connectors connecting a cable to the main board had worked itself loose. I plugged it back in, hooked it up to my power supply and 2m antenna, and worked N1RIT on the club repeater.

The point of these stories is that even though a piece of equipment might be quite complicated, often what goes wrong is something simple to fix. In the case of the power supply, all I had to do was change a fuse. All the 2m rig needed was for me to reconnect a disconnected cable.

So, next time one of your radios goes on the fritz, don’t just send it off to a repair center. Crack open the case and have a look inside. It may be a simple fix, and if it is, you’ll not only save yourself a lot of money, you’ll have the satisfaction of having fixed it yourself.


  1. Dave N8SBE says:

    One of the reasons I like building kit radios, even “no-solder” types. It makes me fearless about cracking open the cover and poking around inside if something’s not working right.

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