Tag Archives: James Patterson

James put his ailing Sony ICF-SW55 on ice. Literally.

sony-icf-sw55c

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, James Patterson, who writes:

I have owned the Sony ICF-SW55 for around 15 years or more. I like to change my listening pleasure from radio to radio, giving each one a rest, as they are all different to a degree. So I put the SW55 away and it sat unused for about six moths, as with my radio collection, I had others to listen to.

But when I decided to listen to the SW55 again, it just wouldn’t power up at all. I have read posts from other listeners saying their radios won’t power up either after sitting for extra long periods. I think they are mostly Sonys.

I tried many times but no it wouldn’t power up; I decided I’d just keep it as a memory of a failed Sony radio. I’m aware that the capacitors do blow, and assumed that’s most likely the problem.

But I decided there may be another way to get it going again. I always check for [battery compartment] corrosion, but there was none.

I thought of a crazy idea of actually freezing the radio–just to see what may happen. So it was in the chest freezer for 3 hours. I then took it out frozen like an ice brick!!.

I took it outside to the blazing hot sun and let it fully defrost. I then plugged a DC power pack into it. The operating voltage is 6 volts. I pushed 9 volts into it, through the switchable power pack. I got a plastic clamp and clamped the on/off switch permanently “on”.  I could hear it turning on and off several times as the switch is electrically-activated.

Then all of a sudden it sprang to life–unbelievable! On it came at full volume, so I selected an AM station and it worked as good as it ever did. The sensitivity was always very good, and it still is.

So was it a “Fluke”, “freak of nature” just by chance, or was it the freezing that woke it up?

Well I’m not turning it off. I have new AA batteries in it, as well as the power pack that’s turned back to the correct 6 volts–and yes it’s still going!!

So maybe we should all start freezing our radios when they have given up the “ghost”!?! Don’t forget to defrost before powering up!! Maybe I’ve started a “new trend”. Any comments would be great! Thanks.

Thanks Thomas and have a great and happy New Year from New Zealand.

Wow–James, I’m not sure why this freezing method worked, but I’m glad it did!

I don’t think I could recommend that everyone try this but, James, you did this out of desperation since you essentially had a nice ICF-SW55 paperweight. What did you have to lose? I’m very curious if some engineers or electronics technicians could comment as to why freezing the radio helped.

I do know this: I would be cautious attempting James’ freezing method if you live in a humid environment. It’s possible that the condensation from the radio thawing could actually cause moisture damage. Obviously, in James’ case, it did not.

Thanks again, James–I hope your ICF-SW55 gives you many, many more years of service!

Simple hack: Changing the tuning knob on the PL-660

Tecsun PL660 modified Tuning knob 001

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, James Patterson, who writes:

Has anyone ever thought of changing the Tuning knob on the PL-660?

Putting a larger knob on it makes for much easier turning instead of the very small fiddly knob Tecsun supply.

Tecsun PL660 modified Tuning knob 002

Finding the right plastic knob maybe a problem, needing to insert it over the tuner cam. But modifying another knob off something else is what I did.

Tricks of the trade!!

Tecsun PL660 modified Tuning knob 003

That looks like a very simple and effective mod, making the 660 more tuner-friendly for you! Thank you for sharing, James!

Brittle ribbon cables: James cautions Sony ICF-2001D and ICF-2010 owners

Sony-ICF2010

Regarding the Sony ICF-2001D (or ICF-2010 in North America), SWLing Post contributor James Patterson writes:

I have a comment on the Sony ICF-2010. In New Zealand it is called the ICF-2001D, as labeled on it.

I bought the ICF 2001D at a sale. Brought it home and it seemed to perform almost perfectly on all bands. In fact I was very suprised on how well it worked. Audio was excellent, sensitivity was great, even the Air Band received very well. But I’m a very keen SSB DXer, meaning I monitor the Single Side Band [SSB] utility stations like HFAir, Marine, military, etc. so I needed to check the SSB in the radio.

[O]n official frequencies like 8.86700 HF AIR, it was well off, and came up readable around 8.86500, even with the tuning speed mode set to “slow”. So I then decided that with the age of the radio, over time it has drifted off zero beat, so I would need to re-align the BFO/SYNC coil.

I looked up on the internet at the signal board, and located the correct coil. Having the batteries out of the radio, I plugged in the DC power supply and retuned that coil and got the speech correct at 8.86700. I also checked the universal time signal on both USB and LSB and it was “Bang on”.

I was very pleased with myself, meaning I now had a Sony ICF-2001D working in perfect condition.

But just then the radio went dead. At this stage I still had the board lifted up, as I had just finished the realignment. I could not understand, after all my work, what had happened. So having a good look at the wires and the board, to my most disappointed dismay, I noticed one of two ribbon cables–Sony called it a “Flexible circuit board” had snapped right across and come apart.

There are two ribbon cables on the board. This was the short one. So,with the slightest lift of the board, this one snapped. I then felt the cable and noticed how frail it was with a piece just falling off. The ribbon cable as I call it, had become most fragile with age and probably heat from the sun(?) over the years the previous owner had it.

So all of a sudden I found I had a ICF-2001D no more. I looked at the other board, the CPU board underneath and noticed that ribbon cable was joined to the other ribbon cable side by side to become one cable, and spot soldered onto the board. Also on shifting the CPU board to view underneath it, the selective speed plastic slide switch snapped off.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch.

Sony ICF 201D .Note broken ribbon cable and broken switch 001

[B]y now, I was in a state of complete disarray to say the least. Never was I going to have the ICF-2001D operational again.

So guys, be most careful if you ever need to do any repairs or realignment of that radio–remember the ribbon cables become very fragile and will just snap right across as mine did with the slightest lift of the board. I wish I had known this, and I would have taken the cable out of it’s socket first,then when finished, plugged it back in, and radio would still be working. But to realign it, the cable would need to be connected anyway. So I hope this does not happen to anyone else, especially if you don’t have spare parts, as I don’t have.

So Im keeping this one for parts now,and hopeing to replace it with either another 2001D or its older brother ICF 2001. I do have a small collection of vintage portable short wave radios; they all have SSB, and all work very well. Most have the varible BFO control knob and that seems to suit me better, rather than a radio with tuning steps and needing to perhaps realign it. I think the ICF-2001D is very similar to my ICF-SW7600G with only a few memories and no tuning knob. I think the older ICF-2001D would still be my radio of choice though.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing the slide switch that snapped off the CPU board when trying to bend it slightly to get access to the board.This pic shows a small hole where the plastic tip of the switch was.The switch is unsoldered off the board.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

Showing soldered open ends of the computer cable.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

In this photo I have tried to replace the ribbon cable with an old Computer ribbon cable,but that job failed because the board underneath has the ribbon cable spot soldered on.There are two ribbon cables both joined side by side to become one.So the idea of replaceing the broken ribbon cable would disturb the other having to cut it away from it.

James’ restored Sony ICF-5800H

Sony Vintage radio ICF 5800H 001

SWLing Post contributor, James Patterson, has recently restored a Sony ICF-5800H. James sent me a few photos and I decided to post them here.

Sony Vintage radio ICF 5800H 003

I absolutely love the design of Japanese analog radios from this era. They have signal meters, large backlit dials, carry straps, and proper large controls–buttons, switches and knobs–that can even be operated when wearing gloves in the winter.

Sony Vintage radio ICF 5800H 002 (1)

Great receiver you have there, James!

James’ vintage transistor radio collection

In response to my recent post about the vintage Arvin 68R58 transistor radio, SWLing Post reader, James Patterson, has shared photos of his collection in New Zealand. James has captioned each photo below:


Sanyo

This portable Sanyo was bought at a “Second Hand” shop. It had badly corroded battery connections. I repaired it and it works fine now.

Very early National portable with twin speakers, broadcast [band] and [shortwave. Works very well.

Very early National portable with twin speakers, broadcast [band] and [shortwave. Works very well.

This PYE Caddy was actually made here in New Zealand. I believe the design was from the UK though. It still works very well.

This PYE Caddy was actually made here in New Zealand. I believe the design was from the UK though. It still works very well.

The PYE Caddy without the plastic cover.

The PYE Caddy without the plastic cover.

Very popular in their day, the RED National Panasonic pocket AM Transistor 6. Works well.

Very popular in their day, the RED National Panasonic pocket AM Transistor 6. Works well.

Very early AIWA pocket Transistor 6. Still works well.

Very early AIWA pocket Transistor 6. Still works well.

The "Murphy 8" Transistor radio. Broadcast band only. Wooden case in fab condition. Works very well.

The “Murphy 8” Transistor radio. Broadcast band only. Wooden case in fab condition. Works very well.

Murphy8-BackOpen

This is the rear view of the “Murphy Transistor 8.” I gave it a new battery holder.

This is a "Murphy Transistor 7+"  Im not sure what the "+" means because it does have only 7 transistors. Very good performer for its age. Wooden case is identical to the previous Murphy 8.

This is a “Murphy Transistor 7+” Im not sure what the “+” means because it does have only 7 transistors. Very good performer for its age. Wooden case is identical to the previous Murphy 8.

This is the rear view of the "Murphy Transistor 7 plus." All very original, and works fine.

This is the rear view of the “Murphy Transistor 7 plus.” All very original, and works fine.

This National Panasonic DR 28 is not part of my early AM Transistor radio collection. It is, however, part of my Short Wave Radio collection.

This National Panasonic DR 28 is not part of my early AM Transistor radio collection. It is, however, part of my shortwave radio collection.


Many thanks, James, for sharing photos from your collection! You certainly have some gems in there. I was not at all familiar with the New Zealand-made PYE Caddy, in fact. I’m curious if other radios were made in New Zealand in the past.

I bet you and I might agree that the Panasonic DR-28 (a.k.a. RF-2800 in North America) hardly feels “vintage,” but at 37 years old it certainly qualifies by most standards–hard to believe. The RF-2800 pops up on eBay quite often and has certainly held its value well. (Click here to search.)

Seeing the DR-28/RF-2800, in fact, is making me lust even more after the venerable Panasonic RF-2200! Alas…so many radios!