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Old 12th Jan 2020, 8:22 pm   #1
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Hampshire, UK.
Posts: 24
Default Pye PE80

I bought this Pye PE80 off EBay, largely because I liked the idea of a set with so many shortwave bands.

On getting it home I took the back off to check it was all present and then decided to apply some mains power (I know this is not recommended but I couldnít stop myself). The set initially worked quite well but after a few minutes the sound degraded into a mess of crackles. The volume control pot was also very noisy.

I took the chassis out from the case and investigated further. The components under the chassis were all original, but there was little dust on the chassis top and at least one of the valves had been replaced as it was of a different make. The tone control knob had broken at some point and a previous repairer had twisted some wire round it to help it grip the shaft. This had only been partially successful as it slipped occasionally.

The volume control pot was fixed with switch cleaner, and I fixed the tone control knob by cunningly adapting a car hose jubilee clip to fit round. The crackling after a few minutes turned out to be a rotten connection of the IF valve in its holder.

I then spent a few weeks replacing the Hunts capacitors. To be fair they looked to be in quite good condition, much better than those in the Bush VHF 62 I did a while ago. On completion the only noticeable differences were that the volume control could now reduce the sound to zero, and after changing the tone control capacitors (evil job) it did sound better with more consistent steps between each tone setting.

The dial cord broke itself during the work so it was replaced. I also managed to put my fingers through the speaker cone and then spent some time with kitchen roll and PVA glue fixing this.

I noticed that the set was very quiet on the highest frequency short wave band but that this was resolved if I swapped the front end and IF valves over. However then there were many tuneable whistles on all bands. I bought a new valve and these problems disappeared.

There is no mains hum on the set and the power supply electrolytics remain cool so I left them.

A lot of the work was to improve the wooden case. It was quite dinged and battered. I sanded it down and resprayed the sides in gloss black and treated the rest of the case to several applications of beeswax polish. Anybody remember the Ford Capri 1300? These had an enormous bonnet but when you opened it the space round the tiddly engine was comically vast. I think the PE80 is similar; an enormous case for a much smaller chassis.

The speaker cloth was holed so I replaced it; I might have another go at it because the tension isnít great and the material used isnít a close match to the original.

The set now works well with great bass and plenty of volume but itís disappointing how much interference and noise there is on the bands and the short wave bands arenít as interesting as they were 40 years ago. Iíve made it more useful by plumbing in a flying plug for a small external Bluetooth module so it can be driven from a mobile phone for any internet station.

I found a BVWS article on the PE80 which recommended some modifications to brighten up the sound. I did these and they did brighten the sound a bit but I think it would need a tweeter unit adding to sound much better.

I now have six valve radios and have run out of space (and patience from the rest of the family) for any more. So I think I will concentrate on further improvements to the current collection rather than getting any more - maybe there might be some fun in building a BFO circuit next.

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EdWilliams is offline  
Old 12th Jan 2020, 9:20 pm   #2
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Bristol, UK.
Posts: 1,206
Default Re: Pye PE80

Nice work, Ed. Nine valves to play with and lots of shortwave bands so there was plenty to go wrong. Looks like you were lucky insofar as the em34 magic eye still glows green. Re BFO, if you have a signal generator that is reasonably stable and with a frequency dial that isn't too coarse you can just tune it to approx same frequency as the PE80 and that will enable you to resolve SSB after a fashion. You might know this already - if so sorry for teaching you to suck eggs. Cheers, Jerry
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Old 13th Jan 2020, 12:26 pm   #3
Edward Huggins
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Southwold, Suffolk, UK.
Posts: 6,305
Default Re: Pye PE80

I wouldn't worry too much about adding a Tweeter. All this may do is to reproduce the many undersirable noises of limited bandwidth AM. An option is to dope around the dome at the centre of the 10" speaker cone, about 1.5".
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 7:46 am   #4
Beardyman's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK.
Posts: 263
Default Re: Pye PE80

That's a handsome looking set! You've done a good job there & an excellent write up too, well done.
The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. (Einstein)
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Old 14th Jan 2020, 7:58 am   #5
jjl's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ware, Herts. UK.
Posts: 939
Default Re: Pye PE80


The PE80 is a great set, I wish I still had mine. You've inspired me to look out for one to replace it.

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