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Longevity of boat anchors..

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by KB4MNG, Jan 8, 2019.

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  1. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have several and was just wondering. Who has a boat anchor they have used quite a bit, daily-weekly for years. Have you had any major maintenance or regular tube replacement? I figure you would be replacing tubes quite often if used regularly.
    i have a few receivers I may put in service and try running them throughout the day and was wonder what to expect.

  2. N2EY

    N2EY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know if my homebrew stuff qualifies - but there are quite a few tubes in the Type 7....

    Let's see....

    Receiver section: 12 receiving tubes
    Transmitter section: 5 tubes (3 receiving, 2 transmitting)
    Power supply #1: 3 tubes (1 rectifier, 2 VR)
    Power supply #2: 8 tubes (4 rectifiers, 4 VR)

    Total 28 tubes (15 receiving, 2 transmitting, 5 rectifiers, 6 VRs)

    In regular service since the mid-1990s - approaching 25 years. Replaced two 866As (the ones replaced were used when they went into service) and 1 receiving tube.
    W7UUU likes this.
  3. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    R-808 Navy Receiver..... I've had mine since the late 1970's or so, and used it a lot.... at least several times a week. Never had to replace or fix anything. So, my guess is that it will last at least as long as I will.
  4. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I find that I have much more trouble with mechanical parts than electronic components. Switches, relays, dial strings/belts, variable caps that get a noisy ground, etc. I have several pieces of gear that use NE2 neons. I've had nearly every one of those go bad on me. I have a tube go south once in a while, but not very often. Tubes that make it past the first few dozen hours seem to last forever.
    N4FZ, AC0OB, KE0ZU and 2 others like this.
  5. WB4SPT

    WB4SPT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I took a direct lightning hit on one end of my dipole. My SB220, T4X, and R4A were connected. Not a single radio issue. The house on the other hand....
    N4FZ and WD4IGX like this.
  6. KD2ACO

    KD2ACO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Hi Brian,

    I think you can expect that the sets need almost zero maintenance. If, upon acquisition, you've replaced the old electrolytic caps and a few paper types or silver micas (ailments peculiar to a specific radio or type), and a bum tube if you had one, it's smooth sailing after that.

    Tubes in receivers almost always run pretty cool and last for decades. I've found over the years that small signal tubes run properly last about the same if you use them or not... many decades.

    If you still run that 520 we've heard about, it may eat a 12BY7 every several years. :)
    N4FZ and KC8VWM like this.
  7. N8YX

    N8YX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't know if they qualify as true boat anchors (maybe "vintage classics"?) but one TS-820S/R-820 pair I own has seen fairly constant use since 1988. Apart from tube replacement in the transceiver and lamp replacement in both, the only other gotchas have been the well-known/well-documented 820 series bugaboos. Namely, erratic VFO capacitor wiper grounding and intermittents with some of the cable connectors and mating through-hole headers.

    All of my 820 line is currently in the project queue, awaiting a relamping and general inspection/maintenance. No reason to believe the stuff won't last another 30 years.
  8. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have vacuum tubes like the 101A (01A) with sales stickers with dates from the early 1920s that still work fine.

    Unless seriously abused, vacuum tubes normally last for decades in equipment that is used on a daily basis.

    It has been my experience that vacuum tube equipment lasts a lot longer than many solid-state items for any number of reasons.

    Glen, K9STH
    KL7KN and KC8VWM like this.
  9. KK6IYM

    KK6IYM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Last weekend, I decided to fire up all the station radios and tune to the same strong station where several hams were conversing on 20 meters. Most of the station radios had not been used for months. I was a little shocked when the dials were within 1 kilohertz of the received frequency for all the radios. I expected some of the radios to have migrated or would be off a little. I hadn't even remembered that they were that close when I originally aligned them. I have restored about 60 vintage tube transmitters and receivers. I probably have replaced 45 tubes of which 20 probably didn't need replacing, and some of the others I strongly suspect the seller swapped in a bad tube before shipping. I do regularly change out the electrolytics and replace paper caps--mostly because the radios I can afford to buy and restore are in very poor condition. Switches need cleaning. Besides, if radios worked perfectly--what am going to in my spare time? Knit? Below are a few of the station radios.


    N4FZ, KD0DQZ, K3XR and 6 others like this.
  10. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That hasn't been my experience. Some tubes are more trouble prone than others, for instance driver and final tubes but in my experience tubes don't just 'wear out' all that often and tubes in low level service can last decades without problems.

    I agree with the post above that the real trouble spot for vintage gear is electro-mechanical assemblies like band switches, VFO gearing and the like that can wear out and be very hard to replace without donor rigs.
    KE5OFJ likes this.

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