Sunday, November 8, 2015

New Yaesu FT-290R

I managed to score an absolute bargain off eBay this week in the form of a Yaesu FT-290R. This 2m all mode portable radio was very popular in the 1980's and I've wanted one for a while so when I came across one on eBay for about £40 I had to grab it.

It arrived a couple of days later and is in excellent condition for its age with only minor wear on the front where a couple of the button labels have faded but this doesn't bother me at that price. Telescopic antenna is straight and corrosion free, the signal meter works a treat, the LCD screen is free from any damage and all lights and buttons work as they should. Rotary knobs all work fine and the microphone is also in great condition with a good quality cable and plug.

I opened up the box and realised that the radio doesn't have a power lead, it takes batteries or a lead that has the center pin wired to earth so the polarity is the opposite to usual. It only took a quick message to Steve, G1KXP who very kindly had one made up for me on the same day!

I plugged it into a little PSU in the shack and it powered up without any issue. I've had a listen round on 2m FM and it works fine, I also had a 5/9 report about 8-9 miles away across town which I was happy on the 2.5 watts the radio puts out.

I've got some batteries on order so I can take it up on a hill and listen in on the next 2m UKAC on SSB which I'm looking forward to.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.


Sorry for the lack of posts lately, work has been hectic. I thought I'd do a bit of an update post. I had a couple of shack issues recently which luckily have been ironed out now.

New Antenna

Firstly, my SWR was really high on VHF on my Icom ID-5100 and as previously mentioned here I decided on a replacement antenna. I chose the Diamond X-200 dual bander for 2m and 70cm. Well I wasn't disappointed! I got the antenna up and noticed a massive difference immediately. +3 or 4 points on most local repeaters. Some other repeaters went from S7 to 5/9 60+ which was impressive. I'm also hearing more stations that bit further away on 2m which would usually struggle to break through the noise. The antenna is alot bigger and about 5-6ft higher than my existing X-50 so I'm made up with the difference. Picture doesn't do the difference justice from that angle. The X-200 actually starts near the top of the X-50.

TYT TH-9800 Fault

I've had this radio a couple of months and I noticed within the first couple of weeks that one day it just wouldn't turn on in the car. I checked all leads and fuses and couldn't find a fault. I was on my way out somewhere at the time so just left it, about 30 minutes later it turned on on its own. The fault didn't come back in the weeks following so I just forgot about it. Anyway, a few weeks ago I went to turn the radio on and it wouldn't come on. I waited 30 minutes and still no luck. I brought it into the shack and put it on a power supply and still no joy. I noticed when I pressed the power button that the fan came on for a split second and then went off.

I researched online and didn't come across anyone else talking about this fault. I posted a video on YouTube about the fault and a viewer posted a comment asking if the radio was a face off radio. I told him it was and he replied saying that he had the Yaesu version of the radio (8900) and it had the same fault.

Luckily the TYT comes with a car separation kit so I plugged the cable in and the radio came to life! Obviously very happy at how it turned out. I've left the radio in the shack for now as my car isn't suitable for mounting the radio with the separation kit but I'm glad it works as I was about to write it off.

Sainsonic RST599 Fault

Me and my brother bought one of these each and to be honest I was t
horoughly disappointed with this radio from the start. It's not really the radio and more a charger fault I think. I got the radios and noticed the batteries drained despite being on charge for a while. The same issue on both radios had me stumped. I thought they may have been in some warehouse for a few months and the batteries had died. After swapping chargers and batteries between the two radios I had no luck so I emailed the seller on eBay who sent me a fresh pair of batteries direct from Sainsonic.

I put the new batteries on the radio and didn't give it much thought until noticed they still weren't taking charge! The seller offered to send me two Baofeng GT-3's instead of it costing me to send the Sainsonics back to China. I suppose it's better than nothing but I'll steer clear of the Sainsonic RST599 in future.
Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.