This Weekend on the Radio at KB6NU

This weekend, I didn’t do a heck of a lot of operating, but I did play radio repairman.

The first thing I tackled was the IC-28A. This repair went a lot easier than I thought.

This radio had a push-on/push-off type of power switch that had quit working. You could push the switch and turn it on, but unless you held switch down, it didn’t stay on. Fortunately, the part was still available ($14) from Icom. I ordered it over the phone, and it arrived within a week.

When I first looked at the switch/volume control combo, I thought, “Oh, no. This is going to be a bear to replace.” There were three contacts for the volume control and four for the on-off switch. I could just imagine trying to get the solder out of all seven holes without damaging the board.

Fortunately, it was a lot easier than I thought. Instead of being installed on the main board, the control was mounted to a small, single-sided board and connected to the main board via a small cable. It was a little tricky wiggling the control out to where I could work on it, but since the board was single-sided the solder sucked off quite easily. I pulled off the old one, popped in the new one, soldered the new control to the board, and then wiggled it in again.

Total repair time was about a half hour. Cool!

NEXT: Heakthkit keyer
Next on my list of repairs was replacing the batteries in the Heathkit keyer. These batteries provide the power to the memory chips that hold the recorded messages. These batteries finally gave up the ghost after more than 20 years!

Now, you’d think that changing batteries wouldn’t be a big deal, but noooooooooo. Heathkit didn’t really design the keyer to be easily maintainable. The problem is with the way that connectors and the keyboard connect to the main board. It’s all very cramped.

Then, after I managed to wrangle the old batteries out and the new batteries in, I had a hard time getting it all back together again. Part of the problem is that the voltage regulator is mounted to the keyer baseplate for heatsinking. The leads stick up through three holes in the main board and connect via a small Molex connector. Well, as you’re putting the thing back together, you have to align the regulator leads properly and then make sure that the Molex connector fits down over the leads.

Well, yesterday evening, I just couldn’t seem to get it right. and it took me three tries before I got it all together correctly. Total repair time was about an hour! Who’d have thought that it would take longer to replace some batteries than to replace a volume control?

IC-730 Waiting in the Wings
The Icom IC-730 is next on my list. I’ve gotten several good suggestions from the IC-730 mailing list for repairing the preamp relay. And apparently the fix for low S-meter readings is contact cleaner on the band switch. So, I’ll be digging into that sometime soon.

Monroe Hamfest
Yesterday, I rode down to the Monroe Hamfest with Ralph KB8ZOY. All we bought was the “requisite handful of connectors,” but it was fun. Ralph knows quite a few people, and I know a couple, too, so between us, we talked to quite a few.

I did manage to solve one problem. In the course of cruising the hamfest, I ran across Donnie W8RIF, who was complaining about the lack of response to his request to being appointed a Local Government Liaison. He had contacted someone at the ARRL, who had referred it to someone here in the Michigan section, but somehow it had gotten lost in the shuffle.

Well, fortunately our section manager is a member of the Monroe County ham club and was at the hamfest. I took him over to see the SM, and we cut through a lot of red tape. I also happened to spot Val N8EVX, who is also involved with lobbying. I introduced him to W8RIF, and they went off to talk about politics. My good deed for the day done, I got to go home.

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