Doctor Vlado repairs the Panasonic RF-2200 (Part 1)

Panasonic RF-2200 at Hamvention

Last year, at Hamvention, I picked up a Panasonic RF-2200 for $70. It came with the original box, manual and was in superb cosmetic condition.

The seller told me that over the years he exclusively used the radio to listen to a local FM station.

At that price, I didn’t hesitate to make the purchase even if this would have simply been a non-functioning parts radio for my other RF-2200.

After I brought the radio home, I unpacked it and gave it a quick test.

FM worked brilliantly. Mediumwave and shortwave, however, were essentially deaf. I made the assumption that the ‘2200’s switches and pots likely needed cleaning with DeoxIT. The next day, I was leaving for a two month trip to Canada though, so I packed the RF-2200 back into its box and set it to the side of my shack table.

Fast-forward to yesterday…

While digging around my shack, I re-discovered the boxed RF-2200. Since I was planning to visit my buddy Vlado (the best radio repair guy in the world) yesterday evening, I thought I’d take the RF-2200 and do a proper contact cleaning. Several of the RF-2200’s switches and pots cannot be easily cleaned without removing the chassis.

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Vlado is familiar with the RF-2200 and since it’s not the easiest radio to work on, I asked for his expert hands on the job. Within seconds of handing him the radio, he plugged it in, tested the switches and pots, then removed the back cover (disconnecting the battery compartment leads) and then the front cover (disconnecting the speaker leads).

The magic behind the RF-2200’s classic analog dial:
Vlado offered a word of caution to anyone operating on their RF-2200: as you can see in the photo below, the dial string snakes around the front of the radio and is very close to some key components. You must exercise caution when having a soldering iron tip near the string, or using lubricants nearby.I didn’t realize this, but by the time Vlado started taking apart the RF-2200, he had already determined that even though the contacts needed cleaning, this wasn’t the source of the audio problem for the MW and SW bands.Vlado expertly pulled out the pot for the FM/AM/SW selection–not an easy task–began cleaning it, testing it and re-soldering contacts.

Vlado determined the pot was actually in good shape, thus started testing the rest of the circuit.

After a few minutes of performing tests and getting intermittent performance, he determined that at least one, if not more, of the RF-2200’s caps need to be replaced. Of course, neither one of us was terribly surprised. At this point though, it was getting late and I had an early wake up time in the morning, so I left my RF-2200 with Vlado.

Am I worried about this prognosis?  No, not in the slightest…

Doctor Vlado is on the job!

Vlado will have the RF-2200 back on the air in no time, working as well as it did when it was new. He’s actually performed a similar RF-2200 repair for an SWLing Post reader and I’m willing to bet this repair job is relatively simple compared to most he encounters (including the Icom IC-7200 he recently repaired after it was hit by lightening!).

I’ll try to post a “Part 2” update with photos of the RF-2200 repair.  Follow the tag: Panasonic RF-2200 Repair

Spread the radio love

14 thoughts on “Doctor Vlado repairs the Panasonic RF-2200 (Part 1)

  1. James Smith

    I got a nice Panasonic RF-2200 in a trade! (I gave him $20.00 worth of EBT food, an old “Boom box” got out of the trash and rebuilt and a bit of canned goods! Used up the remnant of my circuit cleaner! And this is one nice well built radio! Thanks for your posts WDX4JPS P.S. anyone know how I can find any accessories for the RF 2200?

    Reply
  2. JimW

    Why hasn’t part 2 of Dr. Vlado repairing the Panasonic RF-2200 ever been posted? According to the comment replies, it was going to be posted soon back in June.

    Reply
  3. Charles Allison

    Can’t find the updated part 2. I have an RF2200 that needs cleaning and the AM antenna, while functional, has broken and does not lock upwards from the chassis anymore. It operates fine although I primarily use it only for AM listening now. My parents bought it for me new in the late 70’s and it was my main SWL radio for many years.

    I also have an RF877 I bought from a local re-sale shop a few years ago. Sadly, he is no longer in business.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      Hi, Charles,

      Yeah–my schedule and Vlado’s have not lined up well this year. Good news, though! I spent the day with him yesterday and the repairs (and re-capping) have been completed!

      I should be able to post part 2 soon–Vlado and I took a lot of photos.

      Cheers,
      Thomas

      Reply
  4. sean

    Looking forward to seeing an update, as I am also a RF-2200 owner and I am experiencing the same issues plagued with you set. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Mario

    Yes by all means keep this interesting post coming! Sounds like Vlado is the man for the job hi hi.

    I’ve had four of these radios, including the RF-2200s’ European cousin, the National Panasonic DR22. Bought my first ‘2200 in the late ’70’s, new, from Grand Central Radio in NYC. Unquestionably my favorite portable of all time. The RF-2200 I have now was from a swap with another ham.

    As Vlado is doing, my DR22 (from an EBay auction) was carefully disassembled which requires lots of patience, taking digital photos as reference points, and being organized. Luckily it appeared to be from a non-smoking environment, always a plus when working on vintage stuff. Believe me, smoke gets inside radio chassis and can be seen as a brownish stain which just loves to muck up things.

    Alignment information (Service manual) can be found on the Internet which helped immensely. I chose not to replace any of the electrolytics; instead I performed the alignment first, and adjustments were required, along with cleaning first with a can of air spray, then DeOxit. It is working well on all bands with AM BCB being exceptional due to the rotatable antenna.

    One thing to note, at least in my experience with the RF-2200 is that a strong SW station on one band sometimes can be heard (although weaker) when the band switch is turned to the next higher SW band. I experienced this with my brand new 2200 back in the 70’s. Scuttlebutt is this is due to the design of the band switch. To me it is just a minor annoyance in light of all the other fine features this radio possesses.

    One of the many virtues is that it runs forever on four “D” batteries. It also has a unique tuning knob that can be switched from slow to fast. A BFO toggle also allows reception of SSB and CW another plus.

    The National Panasonic DR22 looks almost exactly like the 2200 with the exception that it is National Panasonic brand, has a switchable voltage selector (110/220V) port on the back, and in addition the shortwave bands are labeled KW1 – KW6. Have no idea if the internals are any different.

    There is a Yahoo Group devoted to the RF-2200 that has lots of interesting information on this radio. Lots of great pictures can be found there, along with some early advertisements. In some parts of the world it was branded as the “Cougar 2200.” A separate antenna tuner (RD9820) was also sold and can be found up for auction on Ebay occasionally.

    Thanks Thomas and Vlado for a great post and pardon the long-winded tome; these radios elicit lots of excitement and nostalgia hi hi.

    Reply
  6. Robert

    Please oh please publish part two, three, four as many as possible. Maybe even a tips and tricks piece from Vlado’s insights – we need as much info as possible to ensure the longevity of these radios!! Just seeing these photos gives me the tiniest bit more confidence to take the covers off!!

    Reply
  7. TomL

    This is a great story with real life drama. Will Dr. Vlado save the patient, or will it die on the operating table!?!?

    Looks like a beautiful radio. Bet it would cost a manufacturer $1000 to sell new ones if they tried. Best success in fixing it.

    Reply
    1. Thomas Post author

      The RF-2800 is a fantastic rig. I know Vlado has worked on radios sent to him from Australia, but they have been more the size of the Sony ICF-SW100. 🙂 Quite a difference in size/weight there!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.