Saturday, 27 February 2016

Sommercamp Yaesu FT-290R back in operation

After about 15 years of little or no morse practice, my CW is dog slow and I can barely even follow a conversation at  moderate speeds.
Fortunately a friend nearby suffers from the same problem. He holds a German class "E" license which restricts him to a limited selection of ham bands, while I have an "A" license, permitting full access to all ham bands. So the wonderful Pixie I assembled a little while ago is not an option here.
We both have shortwave rigs, but neither of us has a proper antenna out there, nor does the bulky equipment have a very good WAF in our families.

So 2m sounded like a great option to get back into CW, with the added benefit of not exposing half the continent to our noobish morse code.

I do own a used, mid 80s (that's 1980s, for you young whippersnappers) Sommerkamp branded Yaesu FT-290R VHF multi-mode rig. I hadn't used that for over ten years.

The NiCad batteries (from around 2000), are still undergoing the "alive" procedure in my old Conrad Charge Manager 2000 which will take about a week for the 8 cells.

An other problem caused more pain: The foam padding in the battery compartment had turned into a black, gooey substance that was about to work it's way into the NiCad's plastic tubing.
I had to sctatch that off with a spudger and wipe everything clean.

Half liquified foam 
Same thing with the rear panel. Some of the foam already stuck to the wire insulation and the components of the PCB. I don't think I got all of it out, but did the best I could.

Foam residue everywhere
So if you have an old FT-290R, remove the foam ASAP, that'll save you a lot of trouble.
Apart from that, this thing is built like a tank and deserves a "they don't make 'em like that any more" rating.


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