Monday, December 28, 2015

On The Workbench This Week

I scored a Yaesu FRG-8800 General Coverage receiver a couple of weeks ago on eBay for $150, Buy-It-Now, with FREE shipping.

Since these things generally go for between $250~$400 depending on condition and options, I jumped on it even though it was sold as "Parts or Repair Only". Even if I couldn't repair it, I could always part it out.

Front panel from actual listing photos:

One thing I didn't notice in the listing photos, but caught me eye immediately when I unpacked it, was that the antenna connector had taken a pretty good hit at some time during the receiver's life.

If you look at the connector in the photo, you can see that it's punched in and angled upwards a bit, and you can see where the rear panel is pushed in at the lip of the upper case half:

The four position terminal strip for long wire antennas was also missing a screw, but I have a good collection of genuine Yaesu hardware that I've collected from radios I've parted out over the years, so that was no biggie.

The small access panel at the lower left is for the 3 "AA" size batteries used to back up the real time clock and the 12 memory positions, while the panel to the right of it is where the FRV-8800 VHF Converter would mount if so equipped.

The radio was sold as completely dead, which it was, but troubleshooting that problem would have to wait until I fixed the antenna connector.

I pulled the case off, unsoldered the board with the terminal strip, and saw that the connector had been hit hard enough to make the retaining nut "jump" one thread from side-to-side. Thinking I could just use a screwdriver to "pop" the nut back so I could straighten it out, I carefully applied some force to it, only to have the connector shatter! Yaesu, in a cost-cutting move, opted to use a CAST connector instead of a machined one, and castings don't like shock and being bent back and forth!

Fortunately, I have a supply of single-hole, panel-mount Type-N females, so that's what I used to replace the busted connector, after I straightened the rear panel using some hardwood blocks and a big "C" clamp.

After that was done, I noticed that the little subassembly with the "Mode" switched was popped loose from its mounting clips on the front panel, explaining why the mode switches didn't work, and felt "dead". Snapping that back into position made the switches come forward enough that the buttons on the front panel now engaged them.

The DOA problem turned out to be an internal 2A fuse on the power supply regulator board. I replaced the fuse and measured the current into and out of the regulator assembly, and they were in spec, so the fuse probably went due to old age and repeated thermal cycling.

The last thing I found was that all 4 of the dial lamps were blown. I replaced those with blue 3mm diameter LED's, and now the dial lights up in a "Cool Blue" color.

A general check of the alignment (sensitivity and frequency accuracy) shows it to be spot on the published specs, so I'm considering it repaired.

Cosmetically it needs a good cleaning, and there's a nasty scuff on the dial "glass", but that should polish out with some Novus plastic polish.

So, for $150 and a few $$ in parts, I now have a nicely operating Yaesu FRG-8800 General Coverage receiver.

I don't think the audio sounds as "smooth" as it did on my previous FRG-7700 receiver, so I'll have to Google around a bit and see if there's any "audio enhancement" mods for it.


  1. Nice recovery there, Jim. Well done!

    1. And still my wife wonders why I keep so much "junque" around as spare parts!

  2. Ain't you just the handy feller?!

    Heck of a deal.

    1. Yeah, I do get "lucky" once in a while.

      It kinda makes up for getting burned occasionally!

  3. drjim,

    Nice job. I think I will start looking around ebay, as I could use a good general coverage reciever.

    1. Look in the classified sections of and

      You can usually find some bargains there, but you have to act fast, as those two are one of the first places the flippers look.

  4. Nice find, and I'm glad it was an 'easy' fix... :-)

    1. Yeah, makes up for the ones I get that are beyond repair, like the one I bought that had been in a flood, and never rinsed and dried out, or the one that looked like it was drop-kicked by UPS from New York to here!

  5. Congrats! As everyone has said, you got a good, lucky find, there.

  6. "Parts or Repair" rigs don't scare me too much, unless they're "cosmetically challenged", in which case I'll pass.

    I bought a Kenwood R-2000 last year at the TRW swapmeet that was perfect except for some really bad blemishes on the case paint.

    It took a while, but I was able to find an auto body supply place that would scan the case and make up some matching paint, AND put it in a spray can.

    Cost about $40, but the case looks new again.


Keep it civil, please....

A Bit Of Rearranging In The Electronics Shop

 Since I've been cranking away on projects, I decided to rearrange things on the bench a bit to make it easier to use my test equipment....