Radio issues

Discussion in 'Boat Electronics' started by Sagedaddy, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. Sagedaddy

    Sagedaddy Member

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    Sagedaddy
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    just installed a new icom radio and it doesn’t seem to be working as far as I can tell. I’ve got power to it. I checked each side of my connections and I’ve got 12.3 volts. It picked up the weather station just fine. I’ve got an 8’ Shakespeare antennae. The antennae wire seems to be fine as far as I can tell. Went hoop netting in the harbor last night and did a radio check on pretty much every channel and never heard a thing back. I’m pulling my hair out over this one. Any suggestions would be appreciated
     
  2. Hismosa

    Hismosa I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Glenn
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    Why did you get a new radio? Same problem with the last one? My bet would be on the antenna connection. Is it soldered or just crimped on?

    If you have a handheld radio bring it with you to help with the troubleshooting. Can pick them up for $20
     
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  3. Sagedaddy

    Sagedaddy Member

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    Seemed like the other radio was having a mic issue cuz I could hear radio traffic great but was really broken when I transmitted. I redid the antennae connection but I used the clamp on style from west marine. Was hoping not to have to solder but that might have to be my next move.
     
  4. Hismosa

    Hismosa I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Sounds like it might be an antenna/connection issue and you didn't need a new radio.
     
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  5. MATTANZA

    MATTANZA old man of the sea, in training.

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    on usa or int?
     
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  6. MATTANZA

    MATTANZA old man of the sea, in training.

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    RICK
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    also channel 27 is a self check channel.
     
  7. sickcat

    sickcat Silverback

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    Antenna is first suspect. Find a someone with a SWR meter and test the antena and connection.
     
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  8. Sagedaddy

    Sagedaddy Member

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    I used the clamp on antenna connection with the prongs that puncture the outer wire coating. Anyone used them with success or should I scrap that thing and get the solder type connection
     
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  9. Sagedaddy

    Sagedaddy Member

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    I guess I failed to mention that this radio has a ground terminal on the back which my original radio did not have one. The manual said to use it to minimize scratchy transmissions but it sounded optional. As mentioned, I have power to the unit. But I’m curious if that could be part of the problem.
     
  10. Reel 007

    Reel 007 Well-Known "Member"

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    As mention before, do a radio check on channel 27, if no reply you may have a transmitting problem.
    PS: check your transmit power 1or 25 watts.
     
  11. Sagedaddy

    Sagedaddy Member

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    Thanks. Tried 27 and no reply so I guess I’m back to square one.
     
  12. FishinMcNuggets

    FishinMcNuggets Fishin fo' Nutrition!

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    Just what I need... where can I pick one up from?
     
  13. Hismosa

    Hismosa I've posted enough I should edit this section

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  14. gecsr1

    gecsr1 28' Aquasport "Reel Adventure II"

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    12.3 volts , is not a fully charged battery it should read 12.6 to 12.8 , and if your motor is running should be 13.8 o 14.1, just a thought how far is the 12 volt run and what gauge wire ? also put a volt meter the the 12 volts incoming voltage and watch it when you key the mic....You also may have a voltage problem...
     
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  15. ShadowX

    ShadowX I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    It is most likely your antenna connection. It could be loose on the connector side or where its mounted to the antenna. I've seen the wires get twisted enough to disconnect inside the antenna where the cable runs into it. It is most common problem on antennas that is rotated down if you are trailering the boat.

    The easiest way to check is to get a SWR meter and learn how to use one. I have a MFJ-874 model. You need to make sure it goes up to at least 174 MHz. Most of the cheaper brands are for CB radio at around 27 to 30 MHz.

    You basically connect the meter to measure the forward power of the transmitter. You can also switch to the SWR mode to measure reflected power. If the reflection is high, you have to start moving the coaxial cable at different points to determine if there is a loose connection. You may also want to go through the entire length of the coaxial cable to make sure there are no kinks or cuts.

    You may need to resolder a new connector or pull off the antenna end cap to solder the ends if its broken. If you don't have the electronic or solder skill, it is easiest to buy a new antenna.

    Note, on some newer radios the power level is dropped on certain frequencies that are most commonly used for ship to shore communications. I found that out by looking at the power output. Once I looked at the radio carefully, the power levels is at 1-5W for those channels. On the common ship to ship frequencies, the power goes back up to 25W.

    Also, if you have a bad coax connection, you can still pick up the signals, especially the strong one from weather stations. When you transmit, that is when the bad connection reflects your signal back to the radio instead of going out the antenna.

    I suggest that anyone who has an antenna that rotates to put a tie wrap on the coax cable to the body of the antenna. When you yank on the cable, you are not pulling on the solder connection inside the antenna. The stress from pulling is directly to the tie wrap to the antenna body. You basically created a stress relief loop to prevent the wire inside from yanking out when you tug on the coax cable. Make the loop a little longer and it also allows water to drip down the lowest point of the loop instead of down the coax wire into your boat.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
  16. InDeepShip

    InDeepShip Ah ship

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    Do you have an oscilloscope by any chance? Because you can hook it up to the output of your radio and see if its the radio or the antenna.
     
  17. ShadowX

    ShadowX I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    I don't quite understand an oscilloscope would be any easier. You will need a 25W or greater dummy load and a "T" adapter to get any reading to the oscilloscope. You will also need an adapter to a BNC type connector for the oscilloscope. You have to be very careful with your impedance setup for the probe and to use the 10x setting. You need to use 1M ohm impedance (not the 50 ohms) or you can fry the oscilloscope front end circuits. Even the readings are in volts and you need to convert it to watts. Its an overkill for this situation.

    A simple SWR / Power meter is a lot easier setup. The only other part he needs is a short coax with the correct RF connectors on each end. Most of the time its a PL-259 UHF plug on each end of the cable. If he doesn't have a SWR meter, I doubt he would have an oscilloscope with a dummy load and T adapter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
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  18. Sagedaddy

    Sagedaddy Member

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    I don’t have either meters. I think a frien has a swr meter. My plan is to redo the connection to the radio and check the voltage as well again. If that doesn’t work, I’ll phone a friend.......thanks for all the info. Gonna go back to the standard soldered connection
     
  19. Mike_I

    Mike_I Member

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    Mike_I
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    you can connect the output of the radio to an O scope if you want to burn up the input of the scope.
    If you connect the radio output into an attenuator or sampler port all you'll be able to measure is the tx freq., deviation and power out. It won't check the swr or anything with the antenna.


    I have the equipment you need but I'm too far away from you to be of any help.

    P.S. don't rely on a radio check to determine if your radio is working properly. You may have a bad vswr with antenna problems and be transmitting one watt and the guy one mile away responding to you that your loud and clear. Then go offshore screaming for help and find that one watt doesn't reach very far. I recently installed a new antenna for a friend, before I could test the antenna we heard the weather station and he told me all is good since we picked up the weather. I disconnected the antenna and plugged the solder roll into the so239 connection on the radio and we heard the weather station. I asked him if he wanted to return the new antenna and I'd be happy to sell him my solder roll for half price of his antenna, he got the message and let me finish the install and properly test the system.

     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  20. Nick

    Nick 215cc Triumph

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    If you can hear the Weather channel, your reciever is working. I would look at the radio when you push the Talk button to see if the Radio gives you a indication the the radio is transmitting. The Mike has a switch that is activated by the Push To Talk Button, if the the connections to the Mike are bad, the radio will not Transmit.
     

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