Thursday, June 24, 2021

Yaesu Vertex Standard FTM-10R No Receive Repair

 Hello Radio Enthusiasts!

I had another radio come in to be repaired and this one is a Yaesu FTM-10R dual-band ham radio transceiver. This mobile unit is quite small and was designed for motorcycle owners. It is a nifty radio packed with a lot of features and missing some basic ones. The design of this radio is much different than typical Yaesu radios of the time period. The programming and menu system are confusing and tedious at best.


You can learn more about this radio HERE.

A common problem on these radios is scratchy, intermittent, or no receive audio on the VHF/UHF bands. This is due to the second IF stage, ceramic filter. This 450 KHz filter is know for corroding or shorting out from atmospheric conditions (the radio itself is not moisture-proof) and excessive DC bias voltage due to a missing blocking capacitor. Some call this electromigration or sliver mica disease.

The radio that I received had all of the symptoms of this condition and I knew that I had to check those filters. 


First step is removing the cover, then desoldering the SO-239 connector, and removing the retaining ring for the microphone connector. All silver screws must be removed as well to free up the board.


The filter is on the bottom of the board and is labelled CF1402.

Gently remove the filter using a desoldering station with a fine tip and some flux. This can be a little tricky since this is a dual layer board so be careful with heat. I ended up pulling off the plastic cover exposing the filter. Here you can see the corrosion and damage.

I was able to remove the filter and inspected the layers. This filter was not going to work! 

New filter installed and a few extras for more radios.

One way to test the filter and find out if it is out of spec is to test the resistance between pin 1 and 2 with an Ohmmeter. These pins are the input and output. A known working filter would return a high value. Anything lower than 1K could indicate a shorted filter as they are typically in the 1.5 to 2K range.

The parts are available online. The part number is LTM450FW and is described as a 12 KHz wide bandpass filter at 450 KHz. The filters are also used on the Yaesu VX-6R and VX-7R.

Feel free to contact me if you would like your radio repaired.



Sunday, April 11, 2021

Amateur Radio Newsline Weekly Podcasts


Are you a ham radio operator or enjoy amateur communications and technology? Feel free to listen to the Amateur Radio Newsline weekly podcast HERE.



Monday, March 15, 2021

Updated Station List & Timetable for Shortwave Broadcasters 2021 Version A

Here is the first 2021 version of the HFCC broadcasters list for shortwave. It lists the station details such as frequency, time, and transmitting location. This should help you find something on the dial to enjoy!


Happy DXing!


RF Signal Transistors Back in Stock for Repairs



I have another batch of NOS transistors used in the receiver stage of many shortwave radios.

These transistors typically fix the dead or low sensitivity issue on shortwave bands on radios such as:

  • Sony ICF-2010
  • Sony ICF-2001D
  • Radio Shack DX-390
  • Radio Shack DX-392
  • Sangean ATS-818
  • Sangean ATS-818CS

Feel free to check out my repair page and send me a message if you want your radio repaired.



Sunday, January 24, 2021

New Toy: HP 8656B Signal Generator


It was time to upgrade my repair bench with a new piece of equipment. I bought this HP 8656B (w/ Opt. 001) to replace my HP 8640 and Heathkit SG-8 for customer repairs. This is a very nice signal generator and easier to use than my older models. I placed it under my spectrum analyzer since both units are used to adjust radios for optimum performance.

If you have a shortwave radio or ham radio that you would like repaired, then please send me a message.






Vizio M50-C1 Smart TV Repair


One of the other projects over the holiday's I managed to fix is my Vizio M50-C1 smart TV. This TV is one of the early 4K models introduced in 2015. The TV has been great and is on for 15 hours a day on average. It was used for playing games and watching shows/movies.

One day, it stopped working and wouldn't power on. My immediate thoughts were bad capacitors in the power supply since I've repaired several flat screen TVs with similar issues. 

China doesn't offer schematics for this model so troubleshooting had to be performed the traditional way. The Vizio M series TVs from this era all used a similar, modular board design where each major function was contained to a separate board. For example, there is a power supply board, a scaler board (GPU, sound processor, and inputs), inverter board and T-Conn board.

Fortunately, the power supply was fine after checking all voltages and signalling. I noticed the scaler board had a bi-color LED and would turn purple when a power on sequence occured and turn red when the TV was off.

I figured that the board must have a fault, but wanted to rule out the inverter and T-Conn boards. I disconnected the inverter board from the scaler board and applied ground to a SCR (Silicon-controlled Rectifier) input on the board. I was able to see the backlight turn on, but no picture. At least the backlight and inverter board were working to some degree.

I disconnected the T-Conn board and ran some tests. It seemed to be working fine and would only affect how the picture was displayed on the screen. If it were faulty, then I would see only part of the screen or solid colors.

I removed the board and saw this when I flipped it over. Nasty flux corrosion on the board! Talk about subpar garbage coming out of the Chinese factory.

 I moved on to the scaler board as the culprit and headed over to the Badcaps forum for assistance. I quickly learned that this model along with the others from 43" up to 75" had similar issues. The main cause is cracked solder joints on the BGA chips under the heatsink.This occurs over time from power cycling the TV causing expansion/contraction from hot to cold. I attribute this to poor engineering, poor design, and shoddy assembly more than typical wear and tear.

My options were to either buy a replacement scaler board, send the board out for repair, reball the BGA's with a rework station myself, or try an experimental heat gun reflow.

I looked around for a replacement scaler board and came up empty handed. Unless I wanted to spend upwards of $200 for a board (1/3 cost of the TV). I opted to try the heat gun reflow approach.

The design of this board and massive heatsink made it very challenging to perform a heatgun reflow.


I ended up using a temperature probe and Harbor Freight heat gun to perform the reflow. I preheated the board from the back side and brought it up to 230 F over several minutes. Then I increased the temperature to about 400 F and heated the board evenly paying special attention to the BGA chip area. I kept the board at this temperature for about 15 minutes to reflow the solder balls, then let it slowly cool down to about 120 F. 

I let the board sit for 1/2 hour and place it back in the TV. It powered up and worked! The TV has about 80 hours of "TV time" without any issues.

Please note this is most likely a temporary fix and not a replacement for a proper reball of the BGA chips. I added some 40mm brushless fans to the heatsink and cut holes on the TV cover to reduce the 200+ F temps down to 160 F while using the TV.

If you have similar issues, please head over to the Badcaps forum for assistance. You can also watch this video for performing a heatgun reflow yourself. If you want your board professionally repaired, then I suggest Nick's TV service.



Tektronics 465B 100MHz Oscilloscope Repair



I previously mentioned that my old analog scope needed repair. I use this 465B on a regular basis to diagnose and repair electronics and was disheartened to see it failing. All radio projects came to a halt as I had to bring the trusty 465B into the operating room for revival.



The scope was operating normally until I was using it to diagnose a TV board. The front panel lights would turn off and back on at random times. The CRT would also blank out when this occurred. Turning the scope off and on would sometimes remedy the situation for 5 to 20 minutes until it completely died.


I removed the covers and measured voltages at the test points indicated in the manual. All voltages were correct +/- 1% except for the 5 volt rail. My initial thoughts were the old rectifier capacitors were shorted. I tested the capacitor in circuit and it wasn't shorted so I moved on to the bridge rectifier (CR1551). I measured 55 volts DC as expected.

Next, I moved on to Q1556 (MPS-U45). This transistor appeared to have a solder blob shorting the base and collector pins. No idea how that happened unless another component got hot? I removed the transistor and tested with my LCR meter. It tested as resistor. I ordered a new transistor and installed it. Tested for 5V and still no voltage present.



I removed one leg of R1559 to see if there was a short to ground from Q1556 or Q1558. Nothing appeared to be shorted.

I measured voltages of the pins on the U1554A IC chip (MC1458 Dual Op Amp) and noticed pin 3 had no voltage. It should be 5 volts. Pin 8 was fine at 15 volts and pin 4 was fine at -8 volts. Pin 1 measured at less than 1 volt (it should be approx 6.7 volts).



The MC1458 Op amp was internally shorted. I ordered a replacement at Mouser p/n 595-MC1458P and installed it. The scope came to life and is working great!