When did manufacturers stop using through hole components in ham radios?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KI4VVA, Mar 6, 2021.

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  1. KI4VVA

    KI4VVA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey everyone, I'm trying to find some older Yaesu and or Icom HF transceivers that still use through hole components in hopes they are easier to repair if something fails. Do you know what years ham radio manufacturers used through hole components? I have an older Royal CB from the 70s that uses all through hole, but I'm not familiar with older radios enough. I see beautiful old Yaesu's out there and would love one of those or my favorite brand Icom.

    My main rig is an Icom 7300, which I love. But I want an older radio or few that I can repair if something breaks as well. I want to stay away from tube radios because I don't care to play with high voltage and or rats nests of cabling under the chassis. Not to mention it is becoming more difficult to find a quality supply of replacement tubes. I want to stay away from SMD because it's so small and much more difficult to repair than through hole.

    Please feel free to make suggestions of models or give any tips. Please let me know if I am not thinking about it all properly either, I'm willing to learn.
  2. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is no difference in the repair, but replacing SMD is much easier and faster.

    Old radios from the 80s are more difficult to repair due to the amount of wires and hard access to parts. But it will need to be repaired all the time. And immediately you need to at least clean all the contacts, check the cold soldering and replace the electrolytics. Plus the usual problems in specific models.
    N5HXR and K8XG like this.
  3. KI4VVA

    KI4VVA Ham Member QRZ Page

    What I am most concerned about it the possibility of not being able to order any components. Through hole components are very easy to find and buy, so I'm not sure why you think they are hard to find. Now custom ICs, I can understand that. As for electrolytics, don't newer radios use them too?
  4. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, I meant that to replace the SMD part, access to one side of the board is enough, you don't need a lot of movements to bend the legs, get them into the holes, then cut them off. It's actually faster and more convenient, even considering the size of the parts.

    New capacitors remain serviceable for at least 10 years. And in the 80s they often leaking and damaged traces. And the older ones just dried up.

    Tell me which model you are interested in and we try to understand what awaits you.
    K8XG likes this.
  5. KI4VVA

    KI4VVA Ham Member QRZ Page

    That makes sense, they still seem hard to work on since they are so small. What would be the most common SMD parts to fail on a transceiver?

    As for an example model, how about the Yaesu FT-301D. I know some of the older Yaesu HFs will be solid state but use tubes in the finals. I believe the 301D did not. I'm still a novice in electronics repair/DIY, so bare with me. I have done basic repairs and several MARS CAP mods.
  6. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Usually these are punctured pin diodes in the input circuits and small parts often suffer from corrosion. But just don't buy such devices at all.

    Sometimes the blocking capacitors break through (short) and this can be seen from the current consumption. I still have good eyesight and is good for sizes up to 0603, but I bought a cheap Chinese microscope for difficult cases.

    This solid state radio features two 2SC2100 finals. Better not to burn these obsolete parts.

    Such old rigs can always have unexpected problems. But this is a good opportunity to learn how to repair them and expand your knowledge.
  7. KI4VVA

    KI4VVA Ham Member QRZ Page

    So would suggest a specific Yaesu or Icom that would be a good start? Something in SMD, no matter how old/new it is. I want ease of repair and ease of part acquisition.
  8. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think each case will be individual. I would take what I like externally. I once bought a Kenwood TS-430S for this, but I never had time to do it. It remained in the territory occupied by Russia where I lived before war in 2014 (

    Do not forget that a minimum set of proper tools is required for repair and adjustment.
  9. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    True - up to a point - but it does depend on the actual pitch of SMD the manufacturer has chosen. I've hand-built quite a lot of SMT boards - I'm ok down to 1206 pitch components, but those are relatively large by modern SMT standards. There are smaller that really are beyond me.

    Martin (G8FXC)
  10. G0VKT

    G0VKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I thought 0201 was small until I saw 01005!
    KD2ACO and US7IGN like this.

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