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Performance degradation and retuning of a 30 year old radio

ElroyJetson

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Back in the day when my VHF Astro Saber was a fairly new radio, it had the most sensitive yet selective receiver I've ever encountered in a portable radio product to this day. But it's about 30 years old now, despite its excellent, nearly mint physical condition.

I don't have access to the equipment required to realign it. Not anymore.

I'm looking to find a shop that will do this job for me, for a fair price.

And, do you think that it can be restored to its full sensitivity with a retune, or is it likely that component degradation is at fault, thus making restoration of that sensitivity an impractical proposition? I suspect that capacitors would be most likely to have degraded, particularly tantalums, and since there's a handful on the RF board, all surface mount, it'd take a specialist to do that job. I COULD do it, if need be.

My VHF XTS5000 is about 10 years newer and it, too, seems to have lost some receiver performance. I'd like to get that one retuned as well.

Both are easily outperformed by my XPR7550E.
 

mbnv992

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Barnett electronics in Cabot AR does all my tuning and alignment for all my Sabers, Astro Sabers, and MTS2000 radios. I highly recommend him. Super quick turnaround time as well. He has an eBay user name of Barnettelec
 

W9WSS

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Unless Google is hiding something from me, I can't locate a website for Barnett Electronics in Cabot, AR. The closest I could find was BARNETT ELECTRONICS 330 Highway 236 W, Lonoke, AR but still no website.
 

mbnv992

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I don’t think he has a website he mainly goes off of eBay. He sells many vintage Motorola radios, as well as can do firmware updates, alignments, programming etc etc

He just bought back to life a UHF Model 3 MTS2000 that the display was going bad on. While he couldn’t fix it 100%, I can at least somewhat read the screen now. He’s also fixing a model 2 UHF MTS2000 for me as well but he’s just waiting for an S split RF board to bring her back to life ( got the famous codeplug Fail error ).
 

W9WSS

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Very difficult to find a tech who will work on legacy radios. So I presume he's a one-man operation and works out of his house? Does he take new customers? I have a few GP300s that are really great radios and even purchased several new batteries for them. They quit working but don't want to put a lot of $$$ into them because of their age. Does he have a fixed price to repair plus parts & shipping?
 

mbnv992

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I’m not sure on that one. His names Dan Barnett and he absolutely does fix GP300 radios. You can always get ahold of him by his eBay name I sent above. He’s super quick in responding to messages. His turnaround time is also very quick. Usually by the time he gets my radios they are back enroute to me in 2 days or less ( usually less ).
 

W9WSS

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Sorry, I did an eBay seller's search for "Barnettelec" and got no results. Any other ideas?

I have two GP300s (UHF with full keyboard) and a 222 MHz. special GP300 that was great when it worked.
 

KevinC

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Sorry, I did an eBay seller's search for "Barnettelec" and got no results. Any other ideas?

I have two GP300s (UHF with full keyboard) and a 222 MHz. special GP300 that was great when it worked.
I had no problems finding it...

 

KevinC

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And I'm assuming it's the same Barnett from years ago. They used to be a big seller of used radios and accessories.
 

prcguy

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If you own these radios you probably already have a programming cable. I found the service software easy to get and its easy to align the radios if you can find someone with a service monitor. You can do most of the alignment with a signal generator, wattmeter with load and a receiver with an oscilloscope attached.
 

W9WSS

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Thanks for the info that I couldn't locate. Much appreciated. My eyesight is failing, and I'm disabled, so I don't have the skills that I had 40 years ago.
 

ElroyJetson

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Years and years ago I had everything I needed. But a rule about test equipment, particularly the more expensive varieties of it, is that it is a liability if it's not making money for you and an asset when it is. I sold off all mine when I left the business in 2014. While I still (presumably) have the programming cables, I haven't seen them or looked for them in years.

I learned enough about the care and feeding of test equipment that if I had recently won the billion dollar + Megamillions lottery, I would have set up a state of the art electronics and radio lab and 100 percent of all the electronic equipment in it would be LEASED and not OWNED. I'd let somebody ELSE take the hit when it needs repair.
 

prcguy

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Its not that bad, you can get perfectly good working service monitors for well under $1k and if they die in a few years just get another one. The service monitor is the expensive part and everything else is nickel/dime type stuff. I've had "personal" service monitors since the early 80s and they have all been excellent investments.


Years and years ago I had everything I needed. But a rule about test equipment, particularly the more expensive varieties of it, is that it is a liability if it's not making money for you and an asset when it is. I sold off all mine when I left the business in 2014. While I still (presumably) have the programming cables, I haven't seen them or looked for them in years.

I learned enough about the care and feeding of test equipment that if I had recently won the billion dollar + Megamillions lottery, I would have set up a state of the art electronics and radio lab and 100 percent of all the electronic equipment in it would be LEASED and not OWNED. I'd let somebody ELSE take the hit when it needs repair.
 

mbnv992

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Elroy - definitely look up Barnett electronics though he should be able to hook you up.
Also - I remember you from the very very early Batlabs days. You were by far the Astro Saber guru and very well known over there. Shame that Batlabs basically went the way of the dodo bird. Even the For Sale forum is dying. Back in the day, Batlabs was THE place to be.
 

ElroyJetson

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Yeah, I remember when Lee (The owner of Batlabs) promoted me to administrator level as a joke. The ....ahem..."gentlemen"... who were actually the usual administrators lost their tiny little MINDS over that. It was like hitting a hornet's nest with a rock. We didn't stop laughing for MONTHS!

Today that place is as useless as a Motrac.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Back in the day when my VHF Astro Saber was a fairly new radio, it had the most sensitive yet selective receiver I've ever encountered in a portable radio product to this day. But it's about 30 years old now, despite its excellent, nearly mint physical condition.

I don't have access to the equipment required to realign it. Not anymore.

I'm looking to find a shop that will do this job for me, for a fair price.

And, do you think that it can be restored to its full sensitivity with a retune, or is it likely that component degradation is at fault, thus making restoration of that sensitivity an impractical proposition? I suspect that capacitors would be most likely to have degraded, particularly tantalums, and since there's a handful on the RF board, all surface mount, it'd take a specialist to do that job. I COULD do it, if need be.

My VHF XTS5000 is about 10 years newer and it, too, seems to have lost some receiver performance. I'd like to get that one retuned as well.

Both are easily outperformed by my XPR7550E.
Check the TX frequency tolerance. The RX problem could be as simple as getting the TCXO back on frequency.
 

Omega-TI

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I've never been to a Ham radio club that didn't have at least one radio technician and/or a person with the right skills and equipment to work on older gear. There may be hope locally as well.
 

ElroyJetson

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When it comes to older Motorola equipment, in this area, I AM the man to go to. Or I was, when I still had my test bench.

There's no local alternative among the local amateurs. Either they're HF contesters or they're in love with their Baofeng trash toy radios.

Certainly none of them would have the tools and equipment necessary to test and align an Astro Saber. Zero chance of that!
 

prcguy

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In contrast most of my friends own service monitors. They seem to be everywhere around here.

When it comes to older Motorola equipment, in this area, I AM the man to go to. Or I was, when I still had my test bench.

There's no local alternative among the local amateurs. Either they're HF contesters or they're in love with their Baofeng trash toy radios.

Certainly none of them would have the tools and equipment necessary to test and align an Astro Saber. Zero chance of that!
 
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