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Re: [TenTec] Corsair 2 - Fix or sell it as is?

To: Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Subject: Re: [TenTec] Corsair 2 - Fix or sell it as is?
From: "Geoffrey S. Mendelson" <gsm@mendelson.com>
Reply-to: gsm@mendelson.com,Discussion of Ten-Tec Equipment <tentec@contesting.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 19:22:35 +0300
List-post: <mailto:tentec@contesting.com>
On Tue, Jul 25, 2006 at 09:06:09AM -0600, n8kom@wowway.com wrote:
> I am seeking some advice from those who have most likely been faced with the 
> situation I am in presently, at one point or another.  I've been a subscriber 
> to this list (mostly a reader of) on and off for the past 10 years, and have 
> several pieces of current production and older Ten-Tec gear.

I've never been in that position, but over the years I've bought many other
things in similar situation. 

> I purchased a Corsair 2 and power supply (NOT using the dreaded and often 
> maligned "auction site"), and despite several exchanges of questions and 
> answers with the seller before the purchase, the radio and power supply 
> arrived in cosmetic and electrical condition below my expectations, below the 
> seller's description, and probably a full 25 to 30% more in cost than what 
> the equipment is really worth.  

That's a nice attitude, it's good to see that in the world. I know that is
small comfort, but it means a lot about you.

> The cosmetic things are minor, but there.  Some scratches, paint chipping on 
> the covers, faces are pretty nice on both radio and PS, and the trim on the 
> top of the PS is slightly bent on one corner, but nothing extremely ugly on 
> any of it, just looks like it's been used, but probably not abused. (Hey, I 
> know, it's almost 20 years old) 

Ok, without pictures, it's hard to tell. It may be different expectations.

>  Radio powers up, RX and TX on all bands, looks like it puts out close 
> to full power on CW.  

Did you ask if the seller actually used in on SSB? I know several people
both here and the U.S. that do not have microphones on their HF rigs. If
there was a disaster and they needed them, they could find them in about 
a minute, but they never use them, so they sit in a drawer. It's the same
for me with a key. I have them, but due to an injury they never get used
and probably never will unless my younger sons show an interest in them.

> PTO I suspect needs a 
> rebuild since it slips pretty bad in one direction and works fine spinning in 
> the other direction.  

That seems pretty normal. A 20 year old anything probably needs some sort
of rebuild due to lubricants drying up, whether it's a PTO, camera, car,

> I see the insulation on the 2 wires going to the speech 
> processor pot look like they have been overheated - not sure what that is 
> about.

With no idea of what it looks like, could just be a sloppy soldering job
when it was replaced. Not everyone is good at producing neat solder joints
and if it worked and was in no danger of shorting out, there was probably
no reason to replace or reinsulate the wire. Or maybe the person at the
factory was new, or had a bad day, etc. IMHO if it works, don't fix it.
Since it is inside the radio, no one will notice.

>  and the RX signals appear to be about 20 dB down on the SO-239 ant 
> input, and much stronger but maybe still a few dB down on the aux antenna 
> input (RCA jack) but the signals are there.  Checked, exercised and shorted 
> the RX / TRX switch for the antenna - no change in observed signal levels. 
> These things found in the first 30 minutes.

Dirty connection/poor solder joint on the SO-239? I'm not familure with
the rig, maybe a bad PIN diode or dirty T/R relay contacts?

Maybe someone at Ten-Tec did have a bad day. While I'm sure you could
find the 20db difference because of comparison with another receiver,
they seller may have never noticed. I am amazed that my Argo 509, Triton
IV (Digital), TR-5, TS-430, and R-5000 all read within one S unit. It
doesn't mean much and without the comparison, I'd never know.

> So what to do now?

What do you want to do? Besides the 20db down and the PTO, what is wrong?
Does the speech processor not work, or have other problems?

> Do I sell this setup, fully disclosing what I know about it (of course), and 
> eat the $$ loss and get the bad taste of this transaction out of my mouth? - 

That may be the key, you're angry at being "took" and no matter what you
do to the radio you will always be angry. Or not, it's up to you. 

> Do I try to fix things that appear to be wrong or not working and then decide 
> to keep or sell? (I wasn't really looking for a project radio)...

Does it really matter? Except for a reduced sensitity problem, and the PTO,
will it work for you? Will opening it up and checking for bad solder joints
and loose connectors, a spray here and there with tuner cleaner and if you
really feel like investing some effort, a spray of Tri-Flow (is that's 
what it's called) make it into a good "user" for you?

Is it worth an hour of your time? Two? Five? $10, $50, $100, $200? Set a limit
and see what you can do in that time.

> Or, do I 
> send the radio to Ten-Tec for repair and potentially sink more $$ into it to 
> basically bring it up to being 100% electrical with just average cosmetics 
> and keep it?  

Sounds like a bad idea to me. It will just keep making you angry. Maybe not,
a dishwasher I bought for 1/3 of the price of a new one, which was supposed
to work, popped the GFI when we ran the first load. A friend of mine who
repairs them for a living spent three hours fixing it (I spend as much time
or more fixing his computer). While he was doing it I found that someone
had dumped a pound of detergent in the water softener making it impossible
to fix without a $100 part. 

Since my friend had it apart, I took it in the bathroom and with a toothbrush
removed the detergent. The unit works fine now and we use it everyday.

> My intentions are honest any way about it, else I would not post these 
> details out in the open.  

I think that's what it boils down to. It's a question of how you feel about it.
The Ten-Tec route is the simplest, you just throw money at it. That gives
you a good working radio, but it has negative sentimental value, (it makes
you feel bad to see it), so that's probably the worst option.

If it were my radio, I would spend an hour on it. I would spray lube the
PTO and clean the contacts I thought might be the problem. If I had access
to replacment PIN diodes and they were not SMT, I'd replace them. 

That's about as far as I would go. If it worked, I'd keep it. If it did not,
I'd sell it. If you have an active community on 2m, you might just ask around
and find someone who enjoys fixing radios who would love to do it for the
fun of it. 

I'd take it as is, but I don't have the money to pay for the shipping if
you gave it to me. I'm sure if you look around, you'll find someone with
a similar desire who would make you happy financialy.


Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jerusalem, Israel gsm@mendelson.com  N3OWJ/4X1GM
IL Voice: (07)-7424-1667  IL Fax: 972-2-648-1443 U.S. Voice: 1-215-821-1838 
Visit my 'blog at http://geoffstechno.livejournal.com/
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