What’s Acceptable For Repair

We repair 2-4 Kenwood Hybrids every week.  Here’s some guidelines of what we work on, and what we do not work on.

Modified Radios    Sorry, we just can’t do these anymore.  the only exception would be if your radio has been modified and you have schematic documentation of what was done.  If you want it changed back to original, we might charge a slight extra fee for that, depending on how extensive the modification.  Occasionally we get a radio in for repair that just seems to defy us in our attempts to get it working right.  Practically every one of these has been a radio that has been modified.

There’s seem to be all kinds of mods out there, with some companies even promoting the mods they can do for you on the web.  Laughingly, one of these companies we have run into refuses to give their customers documentation, a simple schematic, of what they have done.  How is anybody supposed to repair a radio that has been modified and nobody knows what was done? 

Think about it.  There are hundreds of components and hundreds of wires hooking everything together in the radio.  As a technician, how can you look at the insides of the unit and tell what was done?  I sure don’t know.  It can be done, of course, but it takes up a lot of extra time to do it.

Project Radios  If you have a radio that’s been sitting around for years, parts have been taken out of it, etc., it’s had 2 or 3 owners since it worked…. don’t expect us to fix it for you.  Usually those kinds of radios are advertised on ebay as fixers, you can get them cheap.  And, if you want to spend the time on a long, DIY project, you can probably get it going again.  We’ll even help you through email.  I find those types of projects a lot of fun, but I’m afraid we can’t do it for our basic repair fee.  Do it yourself, it’s really rewarding and fun to get one of those going again..

TS820S  This is a wonderful radio, extremely well made and robust, with the most incredible dial mechanism I have ever seen.  It has an almost universal problem though, and that is the digital display.  The display unit, the DG-1, has two double sided boards in it, and this was in the mid 70’s, when the problems with dual sided boards are legion.  The technology of making these kinds of PC boards had just not been worked out yet.

The problems in the 820S display are practically always the soldering….  cold solder joints.  I have yet to find a bad component in one.  If you take the DG-1 apart and look at the boards, you can see that the top side traces, where the components are, have almost no solder.  When you look at it, it’s a wonder that it could ever work.

What we do to repair these is resolder…. everything, top and bottom.  Sometimes we have to do it two or three times to get it working.  Then we watch it carefully to make sure it keeps working while we are doing all the other things we do, like alignment and checkout.  Once it is working, we can do no more than that.

The problem comes when it goes back to the customer.  Shipping and going through the huge temperature changes that often occur during shipping can bring the problem back again.  So, here’s the deal:

If you send us an 820S for repair and it has a display problem, I promise you we will get it working.  Only thing is, it might not last.  If you get it back and the display goes wrong again, either right away or within our 90 day period, we will send you a repaired replacement DG-1.  You have to remove your old one, return it to us and install the one we sent you.  It involves removing the top and bottom covers, unscrewing 4 screws that hold the DG-1 in place and pulling one connector.

We will ask you to pay for the shipping of the DG-1, usually about $15 round trip.  We will do this as many times as necessary to get your 820S display working properly.  Usually shipping the DG-1 through the mail doesn’t cause any more problems with it, and once is enough.

If you want to return the whole radio to us, that’s fine.  You will have to pay for shipping both ways, though.

I’m sorry, I don’t know how else to deal with this.  Some guys who are repairing these Kenwoods, have just decided to refuse to work on the 820S, for precisely this reason.  I really like this radio, so I want to keep at it.  Realize this before you send it in.  And I hope you understand why

What We Like To Work On   You have had a working hybrid and it has developed a problem. Or, perhaps you think it’s getting tired and could use a good restoration, perhaps a recap, new tubes, and everything aligned and brought back to factory specs.  This is what we are expecting, and what we do the best on.  It’s amazing the beautiful pieces of gear that some hams have.  And they are a pleasure to work on.

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