Long Time Gone

OK, well it hasn’t been an entire year yet, but… It’s getting there :) Let’s do a little life update.

Currently, I am a student at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, studying Engineering Science for two years, to later transfer directly into the Rochester Institute of Technology for Electrical Engineering. First semester went fairly well, and the second is already underway and is proving to be just as enjoyable as the first!

This summer proved to be rather interesting, as I scored a job at a local two-way radio shop, selling surplus equipment on eBay. I am learning the trade super-fast, however, and I’m getting more and more proficient with bench work, and becoming more and more in tune with the current state of the two-way radio industry, what with websites like the BatBoard (discusses Motorola commercial radio equipment) and various mailing lists, such as Icom_LMR, etc. I have also had the chance to hone my soldering skills, and with the help of a hot-air rework station, stereoscope, and a fine-point soldering station, wonders can be accomplished.

For example, a ham friend of mine, Brent KC2QLJ, brought me his Yaesu FT-897D HF/VHF/UHF? radio which had some “issues.” He had bought a new antenna match unit which used balanced line instead of coaxial unbalanced feed to the antenna. Something was awry with it from the factory, however, and it caused massive amounts of RF to return into the shack, which was induced in the coiled microphone cord of the radio, and resulted in a radio that would not PTT from the front mic jack. Nothing else was wrong, except that it wouldn’t transmit from the front mic jack. Regardless of what microphone was tried, the symptom still remained. What ended up being the culprit was a burnt-up 1K resistor located close to the molex connector on the main PCB of the radio, into which a plug from the front panel microphone jack is plugged into. More specifically, it was R1571, a 1kOhm resistor, which had burnt itself up trying to resist the high level of RF coming in through the mic jack. I replaced it with an 0603 size SMT resistor, which was slightly too big, but it worked regardless, and PTT function was restored.

Transmit audio was also found to be missing from the front mic jack, and R1573 (on the flip side of the board) was determined to be the culprit. It was yet another 1kOhm resistor, and it was quickly repaired.

Although there really was a ridiculous amount of RF in his shack to have caused this, Vertex and Yaesu as a whole seem to be very susceptible to RF getting in through microphone cords, control head cables, etc. I don’t think the Vertex engineers get it! (of course, now they were bought out by Motorola, so who knows who the actual Vertex “engineers” are now!)

So, hopefully, this post will set a precedent for posts to come… I really love technical blogs such as EngineeringRadio.us, and BrainWagon.org, and hopefully I can turn this blog into more of a technical resource, filled with the things that I gather in my “travels.”

Till next time… seeYA!

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