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  #1  
Old 07-12-2007
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VHF Radio won't transmit

Hey everyone,

I was out on the boat yesterday working on the engine and when I had finished I tried to hail the launch, but got no response, I tried the hailing channel a few times more, but again no response...I tried several other channels to see if perhaps that channel was tied up due to a club race that was going on and the launch was very busy, but again...nothing.

After getting the launches attention with a few blasts of the air horn, I asked if we might try to go back to channel 68 and see if he could hear my transmission...he could not, but I could receive his clear as a bell?

When I depress the bar on the handset, the static/squelch cuts out as though it is making (or at least attempting) a transmission...

Any idea what might be plaguing my aging VHF Radio??? Time to get a new one?

Chris
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Old 07-12-2007
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Well...first thing to check is if the TX light is coming on the front panel of your radio when you press the transmit button to talk. If not...time for a new radio.
If it is coming on...chances are it is an antenna/wire corrosion issue. If you have acess to someone with an SWR meter, you can check the output of the radio and the quality of your antenna connection. Alternatively...you can buy a spare emergency VHF antenna (a good idea to have anyway) and hook it up to your radio and see if others can hear you. That will identify if the problem is radio or antenna system.
The shakespeare emergency vhf antenna is available here for $44.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scurvy
After getting the launches attention with a few blasts of the air horn, I asked if we might try to go back to channel 68 and see if he could hear my transmission...he could not, but I could receive his clear as a bell?
May or may not be informative. Doesn't really take much to receive. You could stick a coat hanger out the back and it would receive over that distance. But the transmitter, depending on design, may dislike something like that sufficiently that it would simply refuse to use it. (In layman's terms.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by scurvy
When I depress the bar on the handset, the static/squelch cuts out as though it is making (or at least attempting) a transmission...
Well, we know the microphone switch is working and the radio is "seeing" it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scurvy
Any idea what might be plaguing my aging VHF Radio??? Time to get a new one?
When you press the transmit button, do listeners hear their squelch break, but simply no audio, or are you not even breaking their squelch? If the former: Bad microphone or coiled cord would be the most likely suspects. Issue in the radio's electronics my second guess.

If you're really not transmitting even a dead carrier, either the radio's transmitter section is kaput or possibly the transmission line (coax) or antenna are so out-of-whack the transmitter refuses to transmit out of a desire for self-preservation.

Got any Ham Radio friends? A competent Ham (no longer a guarantee, alas ) should be able to suss it out in short order.

If it is the radio: As to whether it's worth repairing or you're better-off replacing, well, that's a judgement call. If it were me, having a GPS capable of chatting with the newer radios--capable of both sending and receiving MOB and other digital distress data, and I could afford to do it, I think it'd be a good excuse to upgrade .

Jim
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Great Suggestions!!!

I replaced all the coax cables and connectors, but the old antenna stayed. May or may not be the culprit, but the radio is a vintage Uniden (c. 1980). Probably time for a new one, but she was a good one while she worked!

An antenna replacement could be in order, but at this stage in the game would require a trip up the mast (Drat!)

Looking into some hand helds as I write this...
Thanks again for the suggestions and information
Chris
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cam's suggestion of trying another antenna was a good one. (I hadn't thought of that.) If you don't want to buy a test/backup antenna, perhaps a friend on another boat will let you try hooking-up your radio there, for a test?

Jim
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Old 07-12-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SEMIJim
cam's suggestion of trying another antenna was a good one. (I hadn't thought of that.) If you don't want to buy a test/backup antenna, perhaps a friend on another boat will let you try hooking-up your radio there, for a test?

Jim

Good Thinking!!!!
I will try that first....
Chris
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Old 07-12-2007
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If it's 27 yrs old, I'd replace it as a matter of course. You can get Uniden Solara for under $100.
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Old 07-12-2007
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Umm.. have you tried using an SWR meter to see if the antenna is connected properly and that the radio is actually transmitting, and what power level it is transmitting at? BTW, if it is an older radio and the antenna is not connected properly, and you tried to transmit, you may have fried the transmitter. IIRC, that was a possibility with older VHF units.
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I think it is time to deep six the radio. Already looking into a new hand held unit.
Thanks for all the advice and great ideas...still will carry out a few of these suggestions just in case this ever happens again...I have only owned two radios before...this being the second (never had this happen). I have learned a lot through this post. Thanks again for all the help with my dilemma!

Chris
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Scurvy-

I'd seriously reconsider getting just a handheld unit. The handheld units, while very convenient, do have the problem that they are much more limited in range and power. Also, most of the handhelds, excepting a few by SH and Uniden, don't support DSC, and the ones that do only support the emergency features of DSC.

And while you're at it.. replace the antenna.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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