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Narrowbanding on Vertex damaging radios?

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Confuzzled

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Can't go into details for privacy reasons, but apparently after some VHF models are switched to narrowband, an internal component (filter?) will degrade and fail.

Switching back to wideband for receive works while leaving the transmit side in narrow.

Thoughts? Experiences?
 

gewecke

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Hmm...I think some research is needed.


73,
n9zas
 

Confuzzled

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^^ Which is the point of this thread. Appears to be only certain mobile models (don't have the numbers). Handhelds don't seem to be affected.
 

n0nhp

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If it is only a few models, I would start researching components that are degrading with time rather than with use. Unless very poorly engineered the narrow filter and boosting the gain on the audio stages is not going to damage anything.
My guess is that some of the famous Chinese electrolytic capacitors were installed and are doing the same thing in your radios as they did to millions of computer motherboards. Trying to get the manufacturer to admit to the problem can be long and costly. Just check the records of Dell......

Bruce
 

cabletech

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Just what kind of damage? How old is the radio? Model? Commerical or Ham?

If a commerical radio and it is less then 10-12 years old, then other then changing the frequency information to use narrow mode, there should be no damage to the radio.

If the radio is MORE then 10-12 years old, and you are making physcial compant changes to make it narrow, then you are taken that radio not of FCC complance and making it a illegal radio and yes, it now can have damage.
 

jackj

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Narrowbanding a 2-way radio CANNOT damage the radio. The tech making the changes needed to narrowband a radio CAN damage the radio but that would be the tech's fault, not the fault of narrowbanding.
 

stevebz1

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re: narrow banding

I have had the same problem with the Vertex VX-2200 when narrow banding the receive filters fail causing poor or no rx sensitivity.
 

Confuzzled

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That sounds like it. They can't receive, no sound or poor sound.

But I can't understand how a software programming change can cause a physical component failure.
 

K9WG

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I highly doubt that reprogramming a receiver to narrowband damages components. If anything it is a firmware error or they are not being programmed correctly.
 

KD8CHP

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Yes I have seen several VX-351 VHF Handhelds do this and we had to replace the crystal filter for narrowband. Also we have seen Several 231's Crystal filters fail under warranty. The crystal filter that alot of these inexpensive radios use are horrible quality. It seems only the narrowband crystal filter is failing from what I have seen. But its not damage from programming to narrowband its a component failure plain and simple.
 

rural457

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After narrowbanding an almost new 5500, we are experiencing some unique radio issues. It doesn't seem to have a problem receiving, but sometimes it won't transmit (as if the PTT is not working) which would seem like a mic problem. Then other times it holds the air like an open mic (but not showing that it is transmitting on the unit) but no audio is transmitted, just static. I'm not sure where to relate this to... it was just odd that it happened after narrowbanding.
 

Confuzzled

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Yes I have seen several VX-351 VHF Handhelds do this and we had to replace the crystal filter for narrowband. Also we have seen Several 231's Crystal filters fail under warranty. The crystal filter that alot of these inexpensive radios use are horrible quality. It seems only the narrowband crystal filter is failing from what I have seen. But its not damage from programming to narrowband its a component failure plain and simple.
Whether it's programming or different components used for Wide and Narrow, it's the end result of the switch.

Maybe it is a bad component to begin with and maybe if the radio were initially set for Narrow on first use the component would have failed. Maybe it's only being discovered on radios that have been using Wide and are just now being set for Narrow for the first time.
 
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jackj

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According to what others have said, it is the IF filter that is failing. I don't know if the radio has just the wide filter or if it also has a narrow filter. But regardless of the number of filters, reducing the bandwidth of the signal applied to the filter can't damage it. We can each sit at our computers and speculate on the cause until the cows come home but we can't discover the real cause. I would be interested in finding out what is really causing the failures.
 

mancow

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We had a hell of a time with the VX4000 series. When switched to narrow everything was jacked up. The PL modulation was so high it whined a constant tone. I borrowed an FIF-8 box and was able to adjust them but they still have very low audio even with everything maxed out.
 

jackj

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That's to be expected, mancow. You are cutting the system deviation in half so the recovered audio will be cut in half also. As for the PL tone, the PL circuit needs a certain amount of drive before it will respond properly so the ratio between PL and system deviation will decrease.
 

scott_mack512

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I've narrowbanded a 1 VX4000, 4 VX424's,1 VX354, 2 VX550's, 16 VX824's, and 1 VX3200, and have had no issues from any of them.
 

m-gerty

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I narrow banded my 354 about 3 months ago, I don't use it a whole lot, but when I tried to today it wouldn't pick up a thing. I tried adjusting the squelch up and down (4-11) to no avail. I did notice that while it's sitting here on my bench scanning it won't stop to rx a busy channel. I also noticed that if I cup my hand around the radio, without touching it it stops on a busy channel.
If I take my hand away in the middle of the transmission, while someone is talking, it'll go back to the scan mode.
I checked the antenna and it seems ok, any guesses on what's going on? Anything I could try?

edit: radio is about 2 years old, squelch was originally set at 8, never had a problem with this radio before.
 
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m-gerty

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Also to add. When the radio was new (2 years ago) it was programmed with 2 of our new narrow band frequencies, the rest were wide. So it has always had at least some narrow band channels. I do not believe narrow banding has hurt the radio, I'm not sure what is wrong. Crystal filter? why would placing my hand near the radio make it work?
 
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