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 Post subject: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Fri 08, 2019 4:13 pm 
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I have a question about what equipment is needed to repair and align hf only transceivers. I know this is a old question. What would YOU need to do repairs. Beyond knoledge what equipment would be desirable or needed.
I'm figuring the following
100 mhz oscillascope
Rf generator with sweep function
Spectrum analyzer
Dummy load
Millivolt ac meter
Dmm
Power meter
And all the samplers! parts pieces soldering iron alignment tools shop supplies etc .
Of course knoledge and understanding of what the tools are telling you.
Any thoughts on this ?

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Fri 08, 2019 5:50 pm 
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considering your list, you need to add one more thing. A pretty deep bank account. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Fri 08, 2019 6:16 pm 
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No problem . I already have all this. Retiring soon and am buying for the hobby now. Just wondering if im forgetting something. I know I'll collect stuff over time .

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Fri 08, 2019 8:06 pm 
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. Deviation meter .power supply for dc units


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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Fri 08, 2019 9:21 pm 
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Thank you dinnerman. I for got that. 20 amp supply ?

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 2:10 am 
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Greetings to Rich and the Forum:

You might want to look into getting a service monitor. Depending on how sophisticated a monitor you get, it will provide the functions of a calibrated output signal generator, spectrum analyzer, accurate frequency measurement and will include a receiver that can demodulate your transmitter so you can see what it sounds like. Fancier ones will have the capability of generating CTCSS tones and digital PL for testing those functions in VHF and UHF transceivers. Some have built-in SINAD sensitivity measurement capability. They can measure FM deviation and generate FM and CW signals anywhere from 100 KHz or so all the way to 1 Ghz and some beyond that. Some have built-in watt meters.

I have an old clunker Cushman CE-6 that doesn't have any spectrum analysis capability or any of the other really fancy features, but I wouldn't be without it or an equivalent. Saves a lot of room on the bench, too.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 9:22 am 
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J i have seen those and there amazing . Almost like a repair bench in a box lol. I think that would be a great addition to my bench in the next little while. Rhode swartz have some there proud of. . Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 12:03 pm 
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Quote:
... 20 amp supply?...
There are many transceivers that require more than 20 Amps on transmit. I'd advise at least a 35 Amp unit.

The Idea of a service monitor is a good one, in that your total outlay is considerably less than individual test equipment pieces, but, if many of the functions are inter-related and if you have a failure in one area it can affect others, or put you entirely out of business.

Though not strictly confined to service monitors, is the subject of microprocessors. In case of a failure, older discrete component test equipment is far more repairable than equipment having a microprocessor. If for no other reason than the fact that the micro replaces so many discrete component functions. Additionally some supporting memory devices required a "keep alive" battery and the loss of their data can simply be "the end".

I'm not advocating test gear with, or without microprocessors, but you should be aware of the pitfalls of both types of equipment.

----------

With respect to service monitors, something you should be aware of is that there are application/protocol and single frequency band specific designs out there that are absolutely "not usable" as a general purpose communications device. Keep that in mind should you go in that direction.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 1:05 pm 
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Thanks Mike . Your always full of good info. That's why I haven't bought one yet. I've looked at many abd a lot of them look similar but are not at all for hf radios. There for telephones and such. I found one it's old rohde and swartz for 1500 bucks. Same kind TRX bench on you tube uses. But before I buy I need more info on them all.
Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 2:56 pm 
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Mikeinkcmo wrote:
In case of a failure, older discrete component test equipment is far more repairable than equipment having a microprocessor.

That also applies to transceivers, such as the military surplus Harrrs RT-1446 (commercial version was the RF-350K).

If you will be working with solid-state transceivers I suggest an infrared thermometer for checking the case temperatures of power transistors and regulators.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 3:01 pm 
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Thanks dale. I haven't thought about a IR . I plan on any radio. Not sure about sdr though. I like mostly stuff from 2000 and earlier.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 3:02 pm 
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You've got a good list Rich. The one thing I'd add is a good freq
counter. And hopefully your scope has an aux vertical output.
Very useful to connect the counter to that and use the vertical amp
of your scope to probe both waveforms and freq accurately.

From the tone of the discussion sounds like you're working on
solid state equipment. If it contains disgital circuitry, get a logic
probe.

An IMO no bench is complete without a Simpson 260 VOM
and a VTVM (my fave is a WV-98C). A DMM does not work
well for RF/IF alignment with digits flopping around. And finally a very
handy tool is one of those chinese ESR testers (like the MK-328).
Great for checking all kinds of parts. And for $20 or so one of the best deals around.

Have fun!
Steve W6SSP

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 3:24 pm 
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Amen to a simpson. I have one I didn't mention , a 260. I love those meters. Also I have a wv77e vtvm that I restored. I'm a deer in the headlights when it comes to a logic probe. I'm figuring it will give you 1 or 0 or true or false. Interesting tool sounds like. I have repaired a yaesu ft 101 , kenwood 690 and am working on a kenwood 530 hybrid right now. This 530 has been a challenge .
Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 3:50 pm 
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devildog63 wrote:
Amen to a simpson. I have one I didn't mention , a 260. I love those meters. Also I have a wv77e vtvm that I restored. I'm a deer in the headlights when it comes to a logic probe. I'm figuring it will give you 1 or 0 or true or false. Interesting tool sounds like. I have repaired a yaesu ft 101 , kenwood 690 and am working on a kenwood 530 hybrid right now. This 530 has been a challenge .
Thanks


The Kenwood hybrids are very nice radios and can be a challenge
to work on. Have several here and a few of the Yaesu's.
That gives us a better idea of what your target rigs are.

Logic probes will display 1's or 0's but also tell you if there
is activity. Much easier to use than a scope for fast and
useful troubleshooting.
Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 3:55 pm 
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devildog63 wrote:
I like mostly stuff from 2000 and earlier.

Those Harris radios are from the early '80s, and the surplus RT-1446 shows up from time to time (I have worked on three of them in recent years). It is a 100 Watt CW/AM/SSB transceiver, bulky but quite good, providing continuous coverage from 1.6 to 30 MHz in 10 Hz steps, operating from AC or 12 or 28 VDC. The ones I have worked on have an AFSK option for transmission and reception of serial data. An auxiliary antenna tuner and auxiliary 1 kW linear amp and power supply for the linear were also made but less often seen. The 8088 microprocessor provides diagnostics. It is a remarkable transceiver for its time. One of the most frequent problems is failure of the filter switching relays which are unobtanium, but there is a retrofit available that uses current relays. Other frequent failures, such as some electrolytics and tantalums, are easily addressed and best solved by shotgunning (especially the tantalum board decoupling caps which should be replaced with those of a higher working voltage).

I will second the freq counter and logic probe. A good logic pulser with sufficient source/sink capability can also be useful, as can IC test clips of various sizes. Logic test stuff should be of good quality, not Radio Shack stuff. I have a Radio Shack probe and pulser, but they are just for backup to the Beckman probe and pulser that are my workhorses.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 4:04 pm 
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Well, are you fixing old Heathkits or modern rigs with SMD components?? The requirements will be steeper for newer ham gear.

exotica:

Spectrum analyzer: what are you going to use it for regarding repairs?? Harmonics and IMD are seldom measured in repair shops unless there is a need to verify IMD levels due a problem with the PA.

You will not be able to measure IMD on a service shop grade analyzer--my Cushman CE50A/tg is great for servicing ham repeaters, not so much useful in the shop for servicing HF gear. The CE-5 is used for a space heater. I use 141T in my shop, they were cheap, but they are very capable. They take up a lot of space, esp. if you get both TG and the GHz range preselector.

If you go with a good grade analyzer with decent RWB and the narrow filters needed for SSB, your next hit in the pocket will be for a decent dummy load. If you service amplifiers you will be looking at a Bird that can handle a few kW at a cost of several bucks on the used market.
You will need a tap or coupler to sample the high level RF for the SA input.

Next item for SA is high power attenuator to use between the rig and SA. 300 watt units are fairly cheap on ePay, and will also serve as a dummy load for 100 or 200 watt transceivers.

Signal generator: should be lab grade--you want precision and accuracy. Having it disciplined to a cheap GPS standard is practical. If you are going to get into measuring receiver IMD, it is another whole can of worms regarding phase noise and needing two generators. But that goes beyond day to day servicing.

Power supply: 50 Amp with current limiting. You will need to be able measure collector bias current for PA alignment, so that requires a decent digital meter as well. Spare fuses for the DVM current protection. :)

Frequency counter: again, go for precision and accuracy. GPS discipline. Many modern ham rigs have reference oscillators that are better than the timebase oscillators used in many counters.

Noise generator: If you can't afford a TG to go with your SA, a noise generator can be used to display a "swept" passband.

Digital voltmeter: Fluke or similar.

Scope: my 100MHz Tek scopes have been more than adequate for servicing ham gear, and they are the most used instruments in the scope.

LCR meter: I use a DE-5000 and a vintage A&A.

A good soldering station and solder removal tool. Add a hot air rework station if you are going to dabble with board level repair on modern gear.

And the kicker: if you buy old vintage HP gear like I did, you can spend your days using all of this exotic stuff to keep the other exotic stuff working.
For example, best test gear to fix a broken SA is another SA.

SA would be the last on my list. Lab grade scope, frequency counter, signal generator, DVM would be my bare bones minimum shop.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 10:15 pm 
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Yes peter i was gonna use it for spurrious emmisions . I do need a accurate frequency counter other than the one i have.thanks Peter for all that info. What name and model would be a good counter, im guessing HP but theres a lot ofbthem out there.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sat 09, 2019 10:23 pm 
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Oh , by the way i like troubleshooting and fixing all radios from the 20's on up. I enjoy it very much. Always havebut never jumped in till i was in my 50's . My father bought me a electronics set when i was 8, i was hooked, took electronics in the military to work on planes . Then came adulthood , kids, grandbabies, . Now i have time and a little money to pursue my hobby.

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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sun 10, 2019 12:22 am 
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To set yourself up for testing of HF transceivers I suggest you look to the ARRL. They have a lab procedures manual that starts with a listing of the instruments they use and continues with connection diagrams and step-by-step instructions for each test. Also, if you have any questions about how the tests are conducted you can submit a request for technical assistance (assuming you are a member).

I do believe a spectrum analyzer will be useful to you. You will see that the ARRL uses theirs in the tests they perform.

One other advantage of having a service monitor on your bench is that some of them can send and/or receive sideband. That could help you to confirm audio quality of a unit being tested.


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 Post subject: Re: Equipment needed for transceiver repair
PostPosted: Feb Sun 10, 2019 1:13 am 
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devildog63 wrote:
Yes peter i was gonna use it for spurrious emmisions . I do need a accurate frequency counter other than the one i have.thanks Peter for all that info. What name and model would be a good counter, im guessing HP but theres a lot ofbthem out there.


I use Flukes, but they are GPS disciplined.

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