Virtual tech support available?

Discussion in 'Radio Circuits, Repair & Performance' started by N5OLA, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. N5OLA

    N5OLA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just saw a news story about the growth of virtual healthcare -- doctors/therapists who will meet up with you on Skype to help fix what ails you. I wonder if there's an electronics specialist out there who would do the same.

    Backstory: I got back into radio 7 months ago after going dormant for 30 years. I love it. I'm building a workshop, loading up on boat anchors that I'm beginning to tear apart and test with hopes of restoring, and basically trying to learn about electronics from the ground up. But I keep hitting brick walls because of my level of ignorance in reading schematics (and the fact that I'm only equipped with a multi-meter and a tube tester).

    It's too cost-prohibitive to send these boat anchors out to someone to fix, and that would defeat the whole purpose. Right now I'm building some NOS unbuilt Heathkits (see this week's post on HW-99) and running into problems that are defeating my limited skills. What I would love to find is someone who would get online with me and walk me through these various issues I'm having, show me where to test, and charge by the hour. The radios get fixed and I get the learning experience that I'm craving.

    This was my grandfather's role when I was in high school. I'd build the Heathkit, it wouldn't work, and he'd fix it. Now grandpa is SK and the Heathkit tech support line is no more. Maybe this would be a good workaround.
  2. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just posted a request for help on "forum X" First reply I received was " this forum is not interested in x , try forum XYZ".
    Granted my question was not 100 % fit for the group, but it was not the first time forum gurus passed the buck to somebody else.
    After quitting asking further questions on the forum I now see "lively discussion" about the subject I was not supposedly ask about.

    Why am I saying this?

    You idea about "virtual fixers" is not very original , however since you have been absent for few years from the scene I would advise you to "read the mail " for awhile.
    ( Does anybody uses that therm ( on UHF repeaters ) anymore?)

    To put it in perspective - you will find that most amateur operators are not into picking up soldering iron and doing all what USED to be associated with the hobby.
    Judge for yourself why...

    Secondly - I bet it won't take long before somebody will quote Part 97 about "financial interests are verboten..."

    If you are into resurrecting boatanchors you need to find a soul with similar interest, even if it means to go ask Mrs Google.

    No, I am not contradicting my original statement or try to discourage you.
    Just speaking from experience here.

    73 Shirley

    Thanks for reminding me to "fix" my Mohican RX, (sic?)
  3. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    OLA contacted me about 3:00 PM yesterday afternoon and we used Skype to go through his HW-99 power amplifier board.

    The board was fine! The confusion about the resistance readings was because Heath used a Heath VTVM when they made the measurements and modern DMM units usually do not read exactly the same as the "olde tyme" VOM and VTVM. This is especially true when a diode, or transistor, is in the circuit.

    There are absolutely no restrictions in any Part of 47 CFR, let alone 47 CFR Part 97, that forbid charging for technical assistance. Yes, if someone is offering technical assistance when on the air and charging for that, then it is against 47 CFR Part 97. But, offering technical assistance, over the air, if there are no charges, then that is perfectly legal.

    As far as any technical assistance not offered "on the air", there are no restrictions for charging for that. If charging for working on equipment is illegal, then I have been violating the law for over 50-years! In fact, I have worked on equipment, and charged for the work, for at least a couple of FCC engineers from the Dallas, Texas, office!

    If something comes across my workbench, then I do charge for the work. But, for decades, I have offered advice on the air, over the telephone, via E-Mail, via quite a number of forums, and, now, even using Skype and haven't charged a red cent! There are those who offered to pay for my services. However, at least to me, that is against the spirit of the Amateur Radio Service. Yes, I know that there are those who do charge for advice and they are free to do so. As for me, no charge!

    Glen, K9STH
    KJ4VTH likes this.
  4. KA5IPF

    KA5IPF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree with Glen. Although I no longer do "in house" repairs I have always tried to help someone with a problem. I have said that I repaired more radios over the phone and internet than in my shop. At no charge. It's called "paying it forward" for the help I got years ago.
    KA9JLM likes this.
  5. N5OLA

    N5OLA Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's lots of buying and selling that takes place on and elsewhere in the ham community. Nothing "verboten" about the exchange of goods and services unless it's happening on FCC-governed airspace.

    I do appreciate the spirit of sharing that exists in this community. It's refreshing. I just want to learn how these radios work, and hopefully one day I'll be a resource to others who share an interest in the gear of yesterday.

    Glen, I'm grateful for your insights and your expertise.
  6. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    For decades, the FCC has allowed swap nets, etc., where equipment is offered for sale and prices listed. Where things get "sticky" is when there is haggling, about prices, over the air. Generally, doing so does violate 47 CFR Part 97. Take haggling to the telephone, E-Mail, etc.!

    Glen, K9STH

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