Midland WR120 failure

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RetroBandit

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I've had my Midland Wr120 since January 2014, for the last 2 weekly tests (Environment Canada) it failed to alert. on the first saturday after it started flashing the 3 alert lights and a chirp every so often. this past weekend I open it and re-flowed the solder on the antenna connection. So the final test will be this wednesday to see if it alerts on the test or not. The radio has been in the same place for over a year now.

I but to the point of posting this, what kind of life span have other people had from the WR120? To me under 3 years seems a tad short, considering I have 40+ year of CB radios that run like champs still. But then again the insides of the WR120 are pretty skimpy looking, mainly just a surface mount IC glued over, some buttons and LEDs..
 

ScannerSK

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Have you tried listening to the weather channel audio on your weather radio to verify the channel you are monitoring has good, clear reception? I would run it on battery and walk around with it to find a location that offers the best reception of the weather channel.

Also, any new piece of electronic equipment near the weather radio could potentially cause interference to weather channels.

You might try another weather service channel if you have more than one. Several weather channels serve my area however only one of the channels sends the weekly test. The reason I was told is that they cannot set off two tests for the same area. Each channel covers a slightly different area and have their own weekly tests however my area is covered by both stations.

The most likely cause of improper decoding (other than receiver failure) is weak signal strength of the weather channel which can be tested by listening to the weather station for a few minutes to verify it has a clean, strong signal.

Shawn
 

Delta33

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I agree with Shawns comment. You should also know there's a Big difference between a cb and a weather radio with Same decoding. The NWS has a tendency to alter their alert test schedule at times too, for reasons only they'd know. Location might be the only effect your weather radio is suffering from.
 

RetroBandit

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There's only one station for this area and as far as I know it's not that far away.
It's connected to my TV antenna with a splitter, yes I know there's a impedance mismatch, but it's always worked til now. Nothing new around here either, but being in an apartment who knows what the people in the apt below me have (besides horrible cooking and other smells..)

The test two weeks ago would have been a double test, on the first wednesday they do SAME and regular alert, so normally it would alert twice. At this moment the sound it clear but the NOAA icon is flashing which I supposed to mean a weak signal.. Yest I've had time when it was on solid and and audio had noise..

It's set up as best it can where it's been for the last year or so, checked the F to RCA adapter etc.. So if it fails this wednesday I'll try some other area for next week's test. But I like it were it is now because it's handy and right over the TV so I can see the status lights even if I happened too miss the actual alert as it comes in.

I've also enable weather alert on my Yaesu FT7800 now, but that only kicks in when it's on and scanning. I have a Uniden BCD996XT scanner, but haven't got a clue how to set up weather alert on it.. But that's a whole other topic..
 

Delta33

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If you have a Noaa weather station in your area then you likely Don't need an outdoor antenna at all, but the only the supplied whip from Midland. In fact your tv antenna might be Too much antenna allowing it to mix with other weather stations. Two or more weather channels being received at the same time can cause interference to the Same (Specific Area Message Encoding) feature.
 

kd0ega

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I get about 4 or 5 years out of a Midland(they will NEVER admit to this,the life span, they would rather sell you another $30- $40 radio) .....they sit on my dresser and are never moved or messed with....they are like a light bulb that is always on...eventually they burn out....you would think that something that could become a real life saver would have been built better which I would pay more money for to get a few more years of service out of...
Because of this ,my home has plenty of redundancy where severe weather notification is concerned.
 

Delta33

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I get about 4 or 5 years out of a Midland(they will NEVER admit to this,the life span, they would rather sell you another $30- $40 radio) .....they sit on my dresser and are never moved or messed with....they are like a light bulb that is always on...eventually they burn out....you would think that something that could become a real life saver would have been built better which I would pay more money for to get a few more years of service out of...
Because of this ,my home has plenty of redundancy where severe weather notification is concerned.
Consumer electronics are Disposable in this era. If you want Anything to last, then research and money are the answer to Robust electronics, or anything for that matter.
 

RetroBandit

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I get about 4 or 5 years out of a Midland(they will NEVER admit to this,the life span, they would rather sell you another $30- $40 radio) .....they sit on my dresser and are never moved or messed with....they are like a light bulb that is always on...eventually they burn out....you would think that something that could become a real life saver would have been built better which I would pay more money for to get a few more years of service out of...
Because of this ,my home has plenty of redundancy where severe weather notification is concerned.
After seeing how little there is in there I'm not surprised they don't have a long life span. I use to have a Radio Shack weather radio (pre SAME), it had to be about 15 years old when I sold it when I got the WR120, but it had real radio parts in it not just a couple ICs..

If it does fail the next couple test and I have to replace it, I will buy another brand. I thought about a Cobra but they stopped making weather radios it seems, just listed as a legacy product now.. So Eton perhaps... But I'll worry about that later..
 

SCPD

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The problem with the new radios,electronics is the new EPA-friendly solder,it turns white then after a few years you get "cold solder" joints! Thank the EPA for less reliable non lead solder and electronics you throw away after a few years.
 

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RetroBandit

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The problem with the new radios,electronics is the new EPA-friendly solder,it turns white then after a few years you get "cold solder" joints! Thank the EPA for less reliable non lead solder and electronics you throw away after a few years.
That's why when i buy solder now I import it from China, they still make lead solder there, and it works very well for me.
 

Delta33

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The problem with the new radios,electronics is the new EPA-friendly solder,it turns white then after a few years you get "cold solder" joints! Thank the EPA for less reliable non lead solder and electronics you throw away after a few years.
You need to READ some IPC 610A instructions then. IF lead free solder is used properly then there won't be any oxidization. Even if there is, proper reflow will remedy this.
 

RetroBandit

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Thought I'd post a follow up, for the forth week my WR120 has not sounded on the weekly wednesday test at noon. I also for the first time programmed my Uniden scanner to do weather alerts, so not sure if I had it configured correctly, but neither radio sounded.
BUT II got on one of the ham repeaters and asked if anybody else had a weather radio, and to sum it up the person the responded did, and said the Radio Shack weather radio was showing "check op" which mean's it's not seen an alert for at least 10 days..

So I just email Environment Canada and asked about it... So I'm hoping they reply soon and see what they say..
 

ScannerSK

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As a test, I would try setting it to alert on all counties for one week just in case your area is being left out of the alert for some reason.

Shawn
 

RetroBandit

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As a test, I would try setting it to alert on all counties for one week just in case your area is being left out of the alert for some reason.

Shawn
I just set it that way, all events, all locations..

Still no response to the email i sent to Environment Canada to see if there's a problem on their end..


The ironic part is I've been trying to tell my brother to get a weather alert radio for years, now it sounds like he's going to do it and asking me what to get.. makes it hard to recommend a Midland right now as much as I've liked the radio til now. Looks lie he's going to get a WR300...
 

Thunderbolt

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Another popular brand of weather radios are manufactured by Reecom. I know several friends who own them, and they have been very happy with their performance. With that said, I have a Midland Weather Radio that I purchased in 1990 that is still going strong, which uses pre-SAME technology. It goes to show you that the older equipment wasn't built to have the lifespan of a incandescent light bulb.

73s

Ron
 

K5MPH

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I have this same weather radio for 8 years and never had any problems with it have you tried an reset or checked to see if your S.A.M.E. codes are program correct or maybe the weather station are having transmitter problems.....
 
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RetroBandit

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It turns out my Midland WR120 is NOT malfunctioning, rather Environment Canada is failing to send out the weekly test signal on wednesday,

This past wednesday I confirmed this by siting here with the WR120 on as it should be, also my Uniden BCD996XT set to wx alert, and listed the whole time to the actual broadcast on my Yaesu FT7800, I waited and waited.. then half an hour or so have the test time had past, I called Environment Canada to tell them about it. There person I spoke to said he's pass it along to the people that take care of the radio stuff... So we can only hope they get it fixed. I'd a bit concerning thinking weather alerts aren't working. I also sent a separate email about it a few days before..

I was able to confirm my radio is working ok by simulating a test signal to it which it responded to perfectly.
 
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