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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Wed 22, 2022 11:07 am 
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Joined: Oct Thu 01, 2020 9:48 am
Posts: 162
Location: Located in 9 land since 1992.
Location: Saint Charles, IL USA
N dB less than X watts is always the math statement folks trot out to justify some low power level. It looks good but it fails to account for a few things. 30 or 40 years ago the Ranger was okay on phone. Now it's viable for a small number of hams in quiet receive locations who can comfortably copy a CQ from a Ranger. That's because most hams are deaf, especially on the low bands. < 100 watt rigs are no longer a reliable proposition today due to the high noise floor, HOA style antennas, and for the time being, summer absorption in the N. hemisphere. A lot of operators have no clue about what it takes to have an effective antenna, or are too cheap or lazy to do what it takes. All this is about low band AM. If a Ranger is on 10 m. with a beam, or even 40 m. with a 2 el. beam on a tower, things change. One thing that won't change is the stock audio stages and iron. Ham audio isn't very good what with cheap audio iron and single ended stages. I know about the Ranger's fabled feedback circuit but it doesn't really make any substantial difference. If you have a weak signal and your audio is slightly distorted, you are done--intelligible copy will be very difficult at the noise level.

Despite all this there are reasons to continue to try to fix the rig. If successful, there's a tremendous amount of satisfaction to be had, but more important is the education. There's no better teacher than a busted transmitter or receiver when it comes to learning about radio.


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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Wed 22, 2022 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Jul Fri 05, 2019 7:30 pm
Posts: 402
Location: West Concord, MA
I got full transmit power the other day by changing out the clamp tube, but within a few seconds, there was an awful zorching sound and the fuse blew. So I’m “taking some time off for mental health reasons” as they say, and “exploring other options”.

Before the summer absorption hit, I was having a great time on daytime 40m with low power AM. Could just be the way things are in the Northeast, but low power is not a hindrance for a number of AM ops here.

Thanks for all the help. I did learn how to trace voltages while avoiding death by B+ in a very crowded chassis.


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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Wed 22, 2022 10:47 pm 
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Joined: Nov Mon 02, 2009 6:01 am
Posts: 5953
Location: Lincoln City, OR. 97367
Greetings to W1GFH and the Forum:

Sorry to hear about your difficulties. In my humble opinion, putting the rig aside for a few days is probably a good idea. However, I would encourage you to persevere. When you finally get it working reliably, you will have a really tall sense of satisfaction.

I have a Hallicrafters SR-400 Cyclone that I have been working on (on and off) for the better part of three years. I decided to create some documentation to keep track of what I have done to the thing. So far, I have found and fixed 24 separate problems and made 11 modifications. The rig is just about done; I have to change some resistors in the power supply and run it for reliability, finish the alignment and then I will be done.


So, hang in there.

73,

_________________
Jim T.
KB6GM
Palus delenda est.


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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Thu 23, 2022 2:38 am 
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Joined: Oct Sun 15, 2006 11:57 am
Posts: 8345
Location: Liberty, Missouri 64068
Location: Liberty, MO 64068
Some background, allowing others the opportunity to better assess your uplifting commentary regarding the EFJ Ranger;

Quote:
...Here's my top ten list of downers about the Ranger:

1. Built in VFO with these dumb little trimmer cap sticks. Working on the VFO is a PITA since it is integrated into the rig, plus you can't run the VFO by itself. I get the idea for the trimmer insulated sticks but they're more of a nuisance than anything else, and if you have a plastic diddle stick from an alignment kit, you don't need them.
2. Use of miniature tubes. Minis suck--hard to plug in without snapping off a little tube peg pin. And the sockets don't allow for much lug space. They just don't last the way octals do.

3. Rotary switches to do 3 or 4 functions with one rotor. Hard to get to, hard to observe and visualize on the schematic....ugh.

4. No room in the cabinet and widow maker B+ everywhere lurking. I feel safer dealing with a tube 1 KW broadcast rig.

5. Insane bleeder continually running at about 200 degrees under chassis. When I first saw it I thought it was a CBer mod. I could not believe my eyes when I found out THAT THING WAS AN EFJ DESIGN DECISION.

6. Rig sold as both kit and factory wired so if you get a kit rig you're probably hosed. A lot of hams were awful at building kits.

7. EVERYTHING, I mean the whole show, on one power supply transformer: bias, 5 & 6 v., low and high B+. All this is ON ALL THE TIME. If you want to just run the VFO forget it.

8. Bunches of wires smashed in with layers of parts all over making it impossible to see where a lead goes.

9. Because a zillion Rangers were made, there are a zillion modifications out there and every owner has changed something, that's been further changed or undone by a later owner, who sold the rig to a ham with a golden screwdriver who did something to break the rig and it never got fixed, and on and on. By the time it's yours, there will probably be 5 to 10 things messed up that you'll have to undo, but since NO ONE kept any documentation of the changes they made, you'll be in wire tracing hell for a while.

10. The Ranger 1 included 11 meters, which means that some of the Rangers out there were owned by CBers. I think that says enough.

Why am I writing about the Ranger--not to rag on it although some honesty is needed, to balance the warm fuzzy love fest...


What I find puzzling is your decision to use a piece of scrap metal like the Ranger, to drive your new amplifier. Surely a K3 or FTdx101 with superior AM audio, superb stability, and infinitely adjustable front panel drive capabilities, would do a far better job.

I suspect the overwhelming success of a single product among several such products, in direct competition with numerous contemporaries, designed by engineers of a previous, and now silent generation, was apparently an influence in your evaluation. However, the sheer numbers produced, and their lingering popularity almost 70 years later, stand as a testament to the abilities of those few men.

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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Thu 23, 2022 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 01, 2020 9:48 am
Posts: 162
Location: Located in 9 land since 1992.
Location: Saint Charles, IL USA
Mikeinkcmo if you don't like the 10 facts I listed about the Ranger that's fine with me. I guess the Ranger is popular because it's attractively designed and is small and easy to move around. Any product designed by engineers for mass production, especially products that have to meet a consumer price range will have flaws but I see nothing wrong with pointing them out so hams who are new to vintage radio can have an alternative view from the view of those who are manufacturer fanatics. We now have decades of perspective and experience plus a long time-line of transmitters from which to choose and pick, either on-line or at hamfests. Why settle for problems when there are better alternatives based on years of seeing how these rigs hold up.

In answer to your question, the grid of the 4-1000A rig here is driven by an Icom 718. That's partly because the grid driven class C 4-1K is such a high gain tube, a plastic radio with a p.p. class B FET PA is a lot less problematic compared to driving a class C grid leak bias triode, even a high µ triode like a 3-400.

73


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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Fri 24, 2022 2:06 am 
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Joined: May Sun 22, 2011 10:27 pm
Posts: 456
Location: Dallas,TX
I have a Ranger and a Ranger II that I run alone or use them with my Thunderbolt or Courier. I have great luck with them and receive a lot of enjoyment using them. Isn't that what this hobby is all about?

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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Wed 29, 2022 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Jul Fri 05, 2019 7:30 pm
Posts: 402
Location: West Concord, MA
After some well-deserved "time off", I found what appeared to be a potential short to ground on pin 4 of the accessory socket which carries LV B+. One .05 ceramic disc had leads intermittently touching the grounded socket shielding. I have since removed the mess of large spring-coil style inductors and associated ceramic caps that are TVI filters, since TVI is no longer the concern that it was in the 1950s. I left in most "firecracker" style inductors since they take up little space and function as direct connections. And now the Ranger is running with normal power supply voltages, drive, plate and mod current. Of course, this Ranger is full of surprises, so we shall see what challenges it has in store for me next. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Wed 29, 2022 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Nov Mon 02, 2009 6:01 am
Posts: 5953
Location: Lincoln City, OR. 97367
Greetings to W1GFH and the Forum:

Congratulations! It does sound as though you will have the most reliable Ranger out there, once you are done.

73,

_________________
Jim T.
KB6GM
Palus delenda est.


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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Thu 30, 2022 3:03 am 
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Joined: Oct Sun 15, 2006 11:57 am
Posts: 8345
Location: Liberty, Missouri 64068
Location: Liberty, MO 64068
Congratulations, well done. Occasionally such things happen and you have to just take the time and do a thorough physical inspection for such things. Just another one of the processes on "the list" of things to check. This many years later those radios have seen just about everything that could happen to a radio.
=====
As Rob mentioned, #5 on his list, the heat generated in the Ranger is quite substantial, its almost like a toaster inside that little cabinet. That was one of the things I decided to address during the process of bringing mine back to usable condition. Since cosmetically my example will never be more than a 2 or 3, I simply went after the heat. I used much higher value bleeders, and let the high B+ filter Voltage in stand by raise to nearly 900 Volts and built a SS regulator to keep it at the original levels, replaced the rectifiers with diodes and dropping resistors, removed the LV WW Pot and again used a regulator, and high value bleeders and pot on the filter caps. Hooked the grid bias to the modulators and removed the big cathode resistor. I wound up taking about 50+ Watts of static heat generation out of the radio, and that can't help but maker things last a little longer, especially the transformer.

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https://mikeharrison.smugmug.com/

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 Post subject: Re: Ranger I - this time, mod bias
PostPosted: Jun Thu 30, 2022 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Oct Thu 01, 2020 9:48 am
Posts: 162
Location: Located in 9 land since 1992.
Location: Saint Charles, IL USA
Glad you found the problem. Yep those sockets and connectors with high or low B+ have to be viewed up close and from more than one angle to make sure nothing's too close to something else like ground. Nowadays I use one of those magnifier visors and a bright flashlight that I move around to to get the light hitting the object of interest from multiple directions. It's amazing how easy it is to miss a blob of solder or a little wire nub if you don't carefully inspect. Yes, the Ranger is a hot box but I always run all my transmitters with no covers on them at all. Not everyone can do that though. I like to admire all the parts inside instead of hiding everything away.


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