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Old 24th Nov 2023, 1:28 am   #1
Pine Marten
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Default Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

When I was first licensed,40+ years ago, tube hybrid transceivers with digital frequency display were the flagship rigs. The likes of Yaesu FT101ZD and Trio(Kenwood)TS830s, etc. I have not had an amateur rig for 10 years, having had a few years with a Yaesu menu driven, dsp million memory,etc rig, which I found underwhelming both in performance and fun of actually driving the thing! Now I'm retired and fancy a rig like those I was allowed to play with at the club or A class licensed stations when only a lowly B holder! What should I go for, name your choice and any other advice welcome. Valve finals a must!
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 3:42 am   #2
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

I have a TS530, which I cannot claim is much used, but I continue to cling on to it.

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Old 24th Nov 2023, 6:05 am   #3
its ur aerial
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

I have had a couple of Trio TS520`s, a bit basic, but they have been incredibly reliable, only ever needed to change the Driver and PA Bottles, so I stick with it.
Far more reliable than the couple of FT101`s, I have, however I would concede they have the better performing RX.
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 8:41 am   #4
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

I'm not sure I'd be so attached to valve finals myself. All the sets with them are of an age where the high voltage sections of PA, driver and PSU are showing their age and the hig stresses the parts have run under. There could be a fair bit of work involved in getting one reliable. Also, getting the RX preselector and the driver tuning to both peak in the same place on their shared knob is a major irritant only fixable with a genuine Toshiba 12BY7A.

Some of the older solid state rigs were rather enjioyable too. Good performing receivers with sensily designed filters. Yaesu and Trio/Kenwood tried to make their filters as rectangular in shape as they could, to make the plots in the brochures look like perfect brick walls. This is a recipe for ringing and is fatiguing to use. Users often can't put a finger on why they find a set disappointing, but this is a big contributor. There are two sets which are relatively common with great receivers and intelligently designed filters. They sound good too on both transmit and on receive.

If you can, see if someone will let you try a Ten-tec Corsair II, and an Icom IC765. They both have quite a following still. Back in the day, I went for the 765. I still have it as my long-term 'keeper'.

Of the last of the valved stuff, the Drakes sound good and perform well, but the build quality is iffy. Collins is just plain special.

In the solid state generation just after the hybrids you got dirty synthesisers in most rigs, easily overloaded receivers. Yaesu and Kenwood went down the wrong path with square cornered filters and poor clarity on receive. Icom's synths were better and they knew what they were doing in filter design, but they spoiled their sets with software in battery powered RAM, which lost the code when the battery died. Go beyond his generation and the synthesisers cleaned up, they started competing on receiver dynamic range (good!) but the filters remained a more important differentiator than most people realised.

There were some sets which were fun to use and the aspects which made them great were changing around the time when other changes were afoot. It's easy to get mislead over which factors made a set a joy to use and which factors spoiled the fun.

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Old 24th Nov 2023, 10:39 am   #5
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

When I was first licensed in 1974, 'separates' such as the Yaesu FRDX400 receiver and the FTDX400 transmitter were all the go - 240 Watts PEP. ('400' rather infers 400 Watts). A pair of 6JS6C finals in the PA became very expensive, and I don't think they were long-lived if pushed.

https://www.rigpix.com/yaesu/fldx400.htm

https://www.rigpix.com/yaesu/frdx400.htm

Seems odd that over the years, most rigs have been 100 Watts, many with built in ATUs to protect the solid state PA, as much as to match the antenna to the rig, so how much of that 100 Watts gets to the antenna feed point is anyone's guess.

I think I'm right in saying the the permitted power has been upped to 1KW on some bands, but I guess most amateurs will be content to coast along with 100 Watts.

I had a Trio TS830 for about 30 years, from 1982, which was a joy to use, especially on receive, both SSB and CW. (I fitted the optional CW filter). I had the matching filtered speaker and the AT230 ATU, which would tune anything. For a few years, till the novelty wore off, I used to go on air after breakfast, then come home at lunchtime, and back on air after teatime. Worked all continents, and maybe 80 countries, then only occasionally used it on receive. I hung onto it, thinking one day my interest might be rekindled, but it never did, so when someone asked if anyone had one for sale, I decided it had to go. Fondest memories of it.

The TS830 sold in large numbers over many years, and as a consequence, as the years have passed, problems have emerged, solutions have been found, so there is lots of information on sites such as 'MODS DK'. One particular problem which is easily fixed is that the plastic band-switch coupler racks and the band-switch starts to slip or not operate. It's easily fixed with a new shaft coupler, widely available. A pair of 6146 valves in the PA would probably be quite a price now, and a 12BY7A driver.

Attached pic of me, home from lunch to go on air back in 1982.

Strewth - I was 43 then, I'm 84 now. How did that happen?
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 10:48 am   #6
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

I have a Yaesu FT902DM that I like, not used much but the notch and variable filter width does come in useful at times.

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Old 24th Nov 2023, 10:57 am   #7
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

The FT101ZD is a descendent of the FT902DM cut back a bit to hit a lower price point. It's not a direct descendent of the rest of the 101s.

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Old 24th Nov 2023, 11:44 am   #8
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

Hi I also have an FT902DM. Works well easy to fix.

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Old 24th Nov 2023, 4:15 pm   #9
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

There has been an occasional series of articles in Practical Wireless by Harry Leeming G3LLL giving lots of useful tips on these older radios.

They can perform well but there are some pitfalls and replacing certain parts before they fail can avoid a lot of grief, in particular there are some models with a capacitor between the driver anode and the PA grids which if it fails can destroy the valves and the mains transformer, usually making the radio BER.
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 4:22 pm   #10
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

Hi in the case of the ft 902dm its c13, when these came over from japan they were fitted with a 6A fuse this being for the American 110v system, when in the UK they were changed to 240v but the fuse was left and NOT changed to 3.15 A to protect the mains TX if c 13 went leaky/short , in these old rigs even now some are fitted with the wrong fuse , i allways check Mick
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 6:09 pm   #11
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
If you can, see if someone will let you try a Ten-tec Corsair II, and an Icom IC765. They both have quite a following still. Back in the day, I went for the 765. I still have it as my long-term 'keeper'.

David
In the spring I acquired a Corsair-II from a fellow forumeer; it has now become my favourite transceiver and I'm thinking of disposing of my FT897D which was my previous general-purpose HF radio.

The Corsair isn't perfect - the power-supply interconnect being horribly designed, the internal wiring looking like a plate of spaghetti and the PTO tuning-rate being rather high - but it's got a brilliant receiver [which can seemingly be improved by replacing some of the first-generation op-amps in the audio filters with modern versions that drop the background noise by 10dB or more] .

Nevertheless, the Corsair is definitely going to be one of my 'forever' radios, and gets nightly exercise on 80M. The guys in Sevierville knew a lot about receiver design and there's a _lot_ of info out there relating to modifications and work to keep these radios alive.

There's a lot to be said for broadband PA stages, no need to fiddle around with tune/load controls!

Now, if I could only find a Swan/Atlas 210/215 to add to my collection, that would be a brilliant HF mobile radio.
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 6:30 pm   #12
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

Part of the horror of Ten tec's own PSU for the Corsair is that it connects to the Corsair via a thick, single-insulated multicolour ribbon cable. Two wires do the 13.8v DC supply, and two more route mains live to the on/off switch on the Corsair and back to the PSU. This doesn't exactly comply with UK legislation.

If you use the Ten tec supply, wire it on permanently and use an external mains switch allowing you to disconnect mains from this cable. Or use a reputable external supply like BNOS or DRAE were the usual choices in the day.

David
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 7:03 pm   #13
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
Part of the horror of Ten tec's own PSU for the Corsair is that it connects to the Corsair via a thick, single-insulated multicolour ribbon cable. Two wires do the 13.8v DC supply, and two more route mains live to the on/off switch on the Corsair and back to the PSU. This doesn't exactly comply with UK legislation.

David
The bigger problem IMHO is that the 20-or-so Amps of 13.8V is fed into the transceiver on two pins of a cheap-and-naaarssty four-pin Amphenol plastic connector.

Which tends to melt if you're using the radio on SSTV or RTTY where you're driving it hard for extended periods.

I've replaced the Amphenol on mine with my "shack-standard" six-way Lucar-style blade-connector - https://jrpdistribution.co.uk/6-way-disconnect-block - which I use everywhere.

Two poles for ground, Two poles for +12V and Two poles for +24V. They'll do a continuous 20 Amps easily.
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 10:08 pm   #14
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

I've still got my Yaesu FT200. It still has its original PA valves, and apart from shorted HT bridge rectifier diodes when I rather overdrove the TX trying to work a YL in San Paulo, its never had a fault. (replaced the diodes in less than 15 min, and finished the QSO)

The last time I fired it up after many years of storage, it was obvious the PA grids were going positive, and I replaced the relevant coupling capacitor plus another one of the same type that was also leaky The set worked although the drive was low.

A restoration project awaiting a round tuit.

Another set that trombones the mains through a multi way cable, for the sake of a mains switch on the transceiver rather than the PSU!
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 10:09 pm   #15
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

I have an FT901DM and it certainly has a better transmitter than the later solid state rigs.
The IMD is better and it sounds so superb in AM or SSB mode.

There is a lot to be said for owning an old Hybrid, as long as you are prepared to do some necessary work to bring it up to reliable working levels.
The relays either need cleaning or replacing, switches need cleaning and the PA grid coupling cap should be renewed.
There are many helpful vid's on-line to help you.
If you get a good one, it will give many more decades of fab use.
Try to get a rig that uses 6146's and not 6JS6's though, your wallet will appreciate that move for sure.

From very distant memory, one rig used a 4CX250B in the PA- does anyone recall what it was?

Here is a great website that concentrates on the FT901/2 http://www.radiomanual.info/schemi/Y...ival_guide.pdf
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Old 24th Nov 2023, 10:18 pm   #16
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Default Re: Tube hybrid HF transceivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler View Post
If you can, see if someone will let you try a Ten-tec Corsair II, and an Icom IC765. They both have quite a following still. Back in the day, I went for the 765. I still have it as my long-term 'keeper'.

David
In the spring I acquired a Corsair-II from a fellow forumeer; it has now become my favourite transceiver and I'm thinking of disposing of my FT897D which was my previous general-purpose HF radio.

The Corsair isn't perfect - the power-supply interconnect being horribly designed, the internal wiring looking like a plate of spaghetti and the PTO tuning-rate being rather high - but it's got a brilliant receiver [which can seemingly be improved by replacing some of the first-generation op-amps in the audio filters with modern versions that drop the background noise by 10dB or more] .

Nevertheless, the Corsair is definitely going to be one of my 'forever' radios, and gets nightly exercise on 80M. The guys in Sevierville knew a lot about receiver design and there's a _lot_ of info out there relating to modifications and work to keep these radios alive.

There's a lot to be said for broadband PA stages, no need to fiddle around with tune/load controls!

Now, if I could only find a Swan/Atlas 210/215 to add to my collection, that would be a brilliant HF mobile radio.
I totally agree about the Corsair II !
I modified the PSU wiring and interconnect as soon as I got it - yes - it is certainly a bit of a death trap at 240V.

I'm not convinced about the benefits of replacing the audio op-amps by a quieter variety. Some benefit certainly, but 10 dB - I don't think so.
I DID get a 10-12 dB audio noise reduction another way by putting a 4 pole tail-end filter at the end of the 9 MHz IF amp. I salvaged it from a scrapped Ten-Tec argonaut. Spot on the right frequency and bandwidth!

Overall - I think the Corsair is still the best CW rig out there. The break-in works really beautifully. Shame that the mechanical design of the VFO needs a strip and rebuild every 5 years or so (tedious and a bit of a pain) and what on earth is the variable bandwidth audio filter for, given the excellent crystal filters and passband tuning? A bit superfluous to me...
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Old 25th Nov 2023, 11:47 pm   #17
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

Many thanks for the comments. I've done a lot more research and there's lots of online sources for repair and servicing of these older tech rigs. I'm going to try and get a Trio/Kenwood TS530S or preferably an 830S. If you know of one for sale let me know.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 6:34 pm   #18
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

I have several vintage valve transceivers including the Yaesu FT902DM which has the excellent facility of working split frequency without an outboard VFO. GM0EKM. VMARS member.
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Old 28th Nov 2023, 8:51 pm   #19
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Default Re: Valve hybrid HF transceivers.

For a very long time, there was a small business in the USA which was doing a wonderful job of supplying components to keep the the older Kenwood/Trio hybrids in business.

The guy who ran it was a well-know ham by the name of Ken Kemski, but I know that he passed away some years ago. His website https://www.k4eaa.com/ was last updated in August 2023, which implies the business is still going.

The exchange rate and postal costs will make their stock expensive, but for some parts, it may be the only show in town? There is some useful tech info on that website.

A while ago, there was a guy on this forum who posted a nice account of the work he had done on a TS520, esp wrt the HT supply. Later sets had similar circuits.

B
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