Silent VHF Solara DSC - is it the radio or antenna? - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics
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  #1  
Old 01-23-2011
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Silent VHF Solara DSC - is it the radio or antenna?

The VHF has stopped receiving. Turns on, beeps, lights up. I may have compromised the antenna on the mast. So I purchased a whip antenna (RAM 1600-HC 38- Inch VHF Marine Antenna), attached it, and the radio is still silent. I am testing for reception on weather bands, which I used to get. So is it likely the radio that is gone? Thanks, Roger in San Antonio.
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Old 01-23-2011
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Do not transmit on the radio until you have tested the antenna and cabling since you can fry the radio's transmitter if the antenna or cabling is damaged.

Buy an emergency VHF antenna and attach it to the unit, since that will allow you to eliminate the antenna and cabling as a possible problem, and let you know whether the unit itself is defective. If that works, then the problem is the cabling or antenna...and you will need an SWR meter to check their condition. If it doesn't work with the emergency antenna...then the unit is probably toast.
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Old 01-23-2011
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rp, if a new antenna still leaes it silent, the odds are the radio has a problem.

It may not be a total loss. First check, are you sure the squelch is turned down, that there are no odd settings that might have muted it?

Second thing to do--if you feel comfortable with it--is to unplug the radio, open it up, and carefully eyeball it. Many common failures are from a "cold solder joint" where something was not properly soldered in the radio. You can often see this (reading glasses help) and it could be the connection directly behind the antenna. Since it beeps and lights up, I assume the power connection and speaker connections are OK. Any chance there's a switch, or menu setting, that changes from "internal speaker" to "external speaker" and that someone got thrown?

You are looking for a hairline break in any of the solder connections, the silvery metal that is used to join up all the circuitry. If you DO find an obvious break in the solder, it can usually be repaired by just touching a $5soldering iron to it for a short while.

After that...you'd need to try finding a shop that either has free estimates, or other reasonable options. Often just "not feasible to repair" but sometimes, you can luck out.

Any chance you bought it with a credit card that gives you an extra year on the warranty, so you're still covered under that?
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Old 01-29-2011
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Shakespeare ART-3 Tester

What about this as a tester. Any experience out there or recommendations?

Thanks,

Roger
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Old 01-29-2011
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Roger-
MFJ-822 and MFJ-842 SWR Meter

The 822 is from a ham radio supplier for half the price of the pretty little Shakespeare. You cna find similar "VHF" or "2 meter" SWR meters for $25-50 if you hunt around, even a used one from eBay will be plenty good enough. $100 is plain obscene, there's less than $10 worth of components in one and another ten bucks for the case. Radio Shack used to sell 'em new, might still carry them.

Marine VHF is about 156MHz, anything that says "2 meter amateur radio" will cover it.
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Old 01-29-2011
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The ART-3 is more than just an swr meter. It has an internal modulated signal generator for checking receiver sensitivity.

Eric
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Old 01-29-2011
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Just an interesting SWR page

Wideband SWR meter

Hope this may be useful. Cheers, Roger thanks again

Last edited by rpeebles; 10-27-2011 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 01-30-2011
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You should also check to make sure that the internal speaker has not been turned off with one of the option settings. Some manufactures alow you to turn the sppeaker off so that you can have the external speaker connected
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