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 Yaesu FT290r - and repair of

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Victor
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PostSubject: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2021 12:34 pm

Hi all,

I hope everyone is well and most of all enjoying your radio. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 


I was kindly donated another radio to me by my very good friend and fellow Ham Koenraad recently. (He also donated the Kenwood Trio TR-2500 2m HT to me a while back which I enjoyed restoring!)

As the title says a Yaesu FT-290r......Yes, a multimode 2m radio! Ideal opportunity for me to experience VHF SSB. Smile

It didn't work, or sort of did but had a known fault with the VFO dial not working. My dear friend handed it to me along with a spare VFO encoder, a power adapter plug, the original hold all soft case with strap and a slightly 'dodgy' but working Yaesu microphone. Absolutely and splendidly generous of him. (Still can't thank him enough.)

Now, some people might be disappointed being handed a broken radio but as I love delving into them and as a former electronics engineer it wasn't junk but pure gold.


Sure enough on power up the LCD displayed the frequency but the VFO control didn't do a thing. Powering down and back up the frequency would jump up by the amount the mode and 'step' button dictated, from that it seems the microprocessor is working which is good.

So onto opening her up and seeing what's what......

yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Ft290r10


AAARRRGGGHHH!

Or maybe the insides would put that fear into most, but for me it's all pure electronics and radio pornography! Wink

A quick look around showed signs of once upon a time being stored with depleted batteries left in it. Corrosion was visible around the battery bay contacts and one of the battery holders didn't match obviously being replaced at some time. This radio is 1980's vintage and I know my friend didn't have it from new so this could have happened at any time. I've seen similar corrosion in other images of this model of radio.....

Switch cleaner and methylated spirits works well on such corrosion the addition of a brush and fibreglass pencil soon cleaned her up. The past battery depletion/storage event had also caused light corrosion on some of the components but was more visually superficial than anything and also easily cleaned up.


These radios are a P.I.T.A to work on! The hoo-hah involved with taking the front panel off is well documented and well founded!

But we got there.........


yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Ft290r11


A quick power up showed that the encoder did have power going to it as well as sending pulses verified with my ancient oscilloscope. Hmmmm, the spare encoder I was given had a much better indent 'click' so I may as well change it while I'm there before digging further.

The only other thing that could have been wrong was the next component(s) in line with the encoder and a check of the schematic showed as such........

yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Ft290r12

Between the VFO encoder 'S02' on the left and the microprocessor 'Q01' on the right is 'Q04' a 4069 CMOS Hex Inverter. It provides the connection between the VFO encoder and clock pulses to the microprocessor so had to be at fault.

Further disassembly of the pain in the ass front panel and associated PCB panels gained me access to this chip. A royal pain to desolder even utilising desoldering wick and a known issue with these 1980's designed PCB's!

Whilst I was there I noticed some damage to C03 a 10uF electrolytic capacitor........one of those infamous 'leaking caps' everyone harps on about? Nope, damaged from someone 'inspecting' it probably with the use of a screwdriver ruining the can and seal. Pulled that bugger out and plopped in a new one.

Well out came the chip and lo and behold...........I didn't have one in my component stocks. Bugger!

Ordered some, put the radio away until the snail mail delivered the spares.


A few days later the spares arrived, got the radio out, replaced said chip and Hurrah! all working! Tuned up and down sweet as a nut and then noticed another problem.......

The audio would slowly break up regardless of mode and after a few minutes disappear altogether! Damn! Wink
A quick spray of air across the audio chip would cool it enough to bring the audio back for a little while. Thermal runaway at it's very best example.

Did I have one of them in stock? Did I buggers like, so back to ordering one online and waiting for the snail mail once again.
(This particular chip is 'obsolete' and so vendors try to charge a fortune for them! A search around found a reasonable price from a vendor not trying to rip you off.)


A few days later, (again!), the audio chip turns up and I duly replace it.......

yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Ft290r13

That was real test of my ageing bear paw hands and failing eyesight. Less of a pain than the 4069 on the front panel though!

Powered the radio and up she fired. Smile Smile Very happy bunny!  yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 


Tuned around for a while picking up many stations, (seems there was a VHF SSB contest going on and a check revealed it was the first Tuesday of the month when these occur). Works fine, tunes fine and the audio was great with no further problems. Awesome.

So impressed with it that I sent a video of it working to my dear friend who donated it to me. (Along with my other dear friend Gary, another Ham that played a big part into me getting my Amateur licence.)

Texts came flying back about jumping to a certain frequency on SSB and before you knew it we were holding a test and a little net. Smile

Without help from a repeater we have difficulty usually reaching each other on 2m FM.....not so on SSB! Despite the lowly 2.5 watts on this Yaesu and my wire dipole in the loft vertically configured for the usual repeater work we happily chatted to each other. I must admit I giggled like a girly overly excited about my shenanigans and this opportunity to chat to my friends. My very first VHF SSB transmission too!


There's a few more things that need sorting....it doesn't have a CTCSS for repeater access but as many of you may have witnessed, I built my own for the 1970's vintage Yeasu FT227r I bought a short while ago. I may well have to build another.

I have plans for some other modifications - none of them involving 're-capping' or digging around with a 'golden screwdriver'. Wink
(Some of the documented details online for this radio and it's repair really leave a lot to be desired.....)


So, after a rather long winded posting, (unlike me), I'll leave you with one further image.

I'm now the proud owner of a working Yeasu FT290r, a classic in it's own right.

yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Ft290r14


Someone will probably point out what a great mobile/SOTA/HOTA/Out-door'sy type of radio this is. Much appreciated but I'm disabled and been housebound for seven long years....but she may venture out in the garden on a summer's evening for maybe a chat with my friends. Smile




Hope I didn't bore any of you too much, (you could have stopped reading).

Just sharing one of my life's little pleasures and my own personal take on enjoyment of radio.


All my very best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2021 12:45 pm

Fantastic work on a very nice radio, Victor.👍😎 pleased you are having some good contacts on it.👍

Best 73s John.

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2021 4:38 pm

Cheers John, much appreciated mate.

Feels more 'mine' now due to having worked on it. Smile

Still smitten with VHF and nice to get on some SSB but really great that I can chat with old friends direct. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 02, 2021 10:20 pm

Great work Vic, I loved reading this post Buddy! 👏👏👏

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeThu Jun 03, 2021 4:11 am

Well done Victor, once again im very impressed. You obviously know your stuff.
I haven't heard the term golden screwdriver for years, I only have a licence for a rusty screwdriver but I'm looking to upgrade to chrome plated soon.

Great job
73's

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeThu Jun 03, 2021 5:47 am

Cheers Gary. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 

Much appreciated and glad you enjoyed the read despite my meandering waffle. Wink

I had hoped it would explain the simple logical path that you can follow to repair such items as well as the joy experienced when you're successful. 

I am happy with the radio beyond belief especially after being able to talk to both of my friends at once directly via Ham radio use. With a little more work on my antennas and choosing the right frequency/mode I may just be able to even speak to you directly! I look forward to that day my friend. Smile


All the best to you,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeThu Jun 03, 2021 6:30 am

Hi Andrew,

Cheers mate, much appreciated. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 

It's as I said to Gary previously it's more to do with logical deduction than anything and that's a skill most of us have. The rest is knowing how to handle a soldering iron and being able to take a radio apart..... as well as putting it back together properly without any 'spare parts' left over! Very Happy

Unfortunately I've seen many examples of this particular radio stripped for 'spares' as they were unable to repair them, (as well as many other models), and usually in a barbaric way too. I do not want to buy a 'spare front' from anyone where the control wiring is hanging off after being hacked through to separate it from the main board!!!


Most of all it's confidence in what you do and you Andrew have shown that in your very own homebrew projects. It's a small step from a power distribution block to simple repairs and with a little leap of faith repairing something more challenging. Smile

Just don't go 'twiddling' RF transformers/coils......it's rarely required, (factory set), does nothing to improve perceived performance and if anything ruins many a good radio. (Cracked ferrite core anyone? Very Happy)


'Golden Screwdriver' is one end of the spectrum, 'All the gear & no idea' is the other.
(All that test gear but you still couldn't fix it?!?!!)


All the best to you mate,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeSun Jun 06, 2021 10:31 am

Hi 'A5H5ATAN1C', (Sorry, no personal in your profile - you may want to sort that if you have requested a callsign).


I'm still very pleased with this radio and it was worth the time required to successfully repair it.

VHF SSB has sparked my interest and I was surprised at the distances of transmissions I receive on her even with a less than adequate antenna, (basic vertical dipole for FM repeater work). So much so that I've just completed a homebrew horizontal Halo antenna this weekend ready for installation. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 

Very much looking forward to using her in earnest and extremely lucky to have had the radio donated to me as well as the ability to repair it. I know my friend Koenraad is very happy that I've kept a classic radio alive and kicking. Smile


All the best,
Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeTue Jun 08, 2021 10:25 pm

Very interesting reading thank you.

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeTue Jun 08, 2021 11:00 pm

Hi Geoff,

I'm renowned for being a bit of a waffler with some long posts on the forum so really appreciate that. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 


All the very best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 12:59 am

Hi Victor,

The first radio I ever had apart from my first CB back in 1980, just got my ticket at the time so could have antennas around without to much notice being taken, however it soon changed to lets actually try using the ticket, so I bought a new FT290R. Yes, I'd never seen or tried a ham radio before taking the ticket, a few readings of the booklet that you could get then and jumped in and took the exam, a City and Guilds back then, a credit and distinction, not bad for a CB'r but I had just finished a RF and Electronics engineering HND /C which probably helped a bit.

Great radio bought from a place in London new,  only had it two weeks when I had the back off, in the radio magazine around at the time (cant recall what it was called) there was always a mod you could do, so we had a roger bleep, daaa de daaa, modified front end filter, and a couple of others which I cant remember, no internet in those days to help sort things, and like you say, all very snail mail to get the bits... then a better antenna, from a slim Jim to a 14 element H/V yagi with rotator, built a phase converter so I could have both H and V operating at the same time giving sort of circular polarisation. Then a 100W amp, etc. etc.... half wished I'd kept just to CB..  ha-ha.   I sold it and most of the CB stuff a few years later when I got married, wish I'd kept the radio stuff and ditched the wife eventually..

It wasn't until a few years ago I resurrected my ticket with OFCOM, now its almost ham all the way... there have been a few changes since then, I'm now DMR, C4FM, FT8 etc. mind it has been almost 40 years I guess...  and occasionally 2m SSB, but still haven't sorted out a decent antenna for me FT991A and 7300 for 2m, on the list... my 2m yagi at the moment is pointing up at the sky looking for satellites, if someone had said that to me 40 years ago I would have laughed at them... 

Enjoy the radio,

Malc

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 2:04 am

"Ah, so we've now had the sentiment of someone who sold their soul for a new one at the time, and yeah I can see why there's more than a hint of regret about selling it along with the old setup."



Ha-ha...yes I agree... but I did keep my box of bits and QSL cards, it was a journey back in time when I found that box and opened it...  many useful bits in there which I'm now using, so it goes on, past the second wife and now single so no restrictions on turning the garden into an antenna farm apart from I'm a lot older and climbing on roofs is not quite as easy...  I've never come across anyone from the old radio days but have now a few friends from this era, so all good, and I can actually afford it now...  Very Happy


Cheers.
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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 6:06 am

Hi Malc, (G6CTX),

Great callsign BTW. Smile


Good to hear about your forays into radio and being amongst those not scared to crack open a radio but also being  qualified to do as such. (My qualifications were microelectronics & microprocessing based - always loved the analogue and RF side though!)

I've still got some exploring to do but that's the thing about Amateur Radio I'm enjoying, there's so many paths of interest. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 

Really appreciate the sentiment and yes, I am really enjoying this radio. Smile


All the best to you,
Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 6:33 am

Hi Christopher, (A5H5ATAN1C),

Really nice to have a first name to call you and glad you got a CT number issued. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 


Yes, I was excited to be donated such an item, really enjoyed repairing/restoring her, but best of all loving utilising her in the manner she was designed for. i.e. a transceiver and not a shelf ornament dust collector. Wink

I'm finding out that she is indeed very sensitive and was pleasantly surprised that I picked up the GB3VHF beacon so strongly with the simple Halo antenna I built. I'm even picking up faint FT8 transmissions so working on hooking her up to a PC for decoding and eventual transmission. Loads of avenues to explore!

I put it all down to that good old fashioned dual gate MOSFET front end, the same is true for my even older FT227ra. It might 'swamp' a bit with a close by transmissions but I'm not planning on sitting on a hill with a dozen other 'activators'. Very Happy
(This is where I never understood the RF preamp mods and people scrabbling around for mutek front ends.)

It's very definitely a keeper and as the old saying goes, I wouldn't part with her for all the tea in China!


All the best to you,
Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 3:45 pm

Hi Victor,

"Great callsign BTW. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_smile"   well done, first one to comment and actually pickup on it... 


OFCOM gave me the choice of keeping my original or choose another one... Charlie Tango (D) X seemed appropriate at the time...  


Happy listening.

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 3:58 pm

Ha! Very Happy


Normally everything flies straight past by me Malc!

Well done. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44f 



My original Ofcom choice was 'Victor-Charlie-Tango' but unfortunately it had already gone. 'VIC' was the next choice seemingly apt and although probably pretentious it's grown on me and had some great comments.


All the very best to you mate,
Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 8:34 pm

Nice work on the repair.
"I giggled like a girly" well, what can I say about that! 
Good to see an older machine brought back to life and in good working order again.

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 9:39 pm

Love these radios! And the 690 and 790, too. I used to have a 290 that I bought new back in the '90s.

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 10:03 pm

Hi Bob,

Good to see you still about, haven't seen you on the forum for a little while. Hope all's well your way.

Thanks, very much appreciated. You know things are going well when an old man starts 'giggling like a girly', just an overwhelming feeling of excitement! Very Happy

Nice to have the old girl in use. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 


All the best,
Victor
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yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Empty
PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2021 10:07 pm

Hi Tracy,

Hope you're keeping well Stateside. yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of 1f44d 

Oh wouldn't it be great to have the 6m and 70cm sets too! Smile

I agree wholeheartedly, great little sets and truly loving my very own now.


All the best to you,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: Yaesu FT290r - and repair of   yaesu - Yaesu FT290r - and repair of Icon_minitime

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