Ken's K4EAA Blog

 



On this page I will try to maintain an orderly update on queue status, parts availability, site features, changes, and in general, keep an ongoing status report of everything that you might find useful and important.  The text is arranged in chronological order, with the newest entries at the top.   Thanks for visiting and 73, Ken

New RL-1 Relay Module
October 19, 2014
With the obsolescence of the last lines of 4PDT relays that fit in out 530 and 830 radios by Panasonic, Aromat, and Matsushita announced over a year ago, the pipeline has dried up.  The only thing left worldwide this year seemed to be "pulls" (removed from equipment), or "refurbished, also RFE from a number of Chinese sources.  Not good stuff.

I immediately resumed work on a project I started about 5 years ago, but quit after I discovered the Aromat relays still available. It was relatively easy to resume, get some prototypes built, and then get "production" quantities in to fill the almost 100 backorders I'd accumulated.   I've filled all the backorders this week, and today listed the new RL-1 on my parts page.

The new relay I provide is assembled from 2 DPDT relays that are plugged into the relay module board.  That means it can be repaired at any time in the future with no soldering required.   The relays are high quality, gold contacts with a super mechanical life (15 Million operations), and a superb electrical life of over 2,000,000 operations at our current/voltage levels.  I have had a few Hams testing the prototypes in both the 530 and 830 rigs, and they gave them high accolades for performance and compatibility.

The plug-in relays are readily available from several manufacturers, an "industry standard" if you will, and I have a pair of spare replacement relays available very inexpensively.   The DPDT relays I use are mfd by Tyco/Axicom, and are made in Czechoslovakia, and are of high quality.  I have installed and tested over 200 of these units and (knock-knock) have not experienced even a single irregularity.  Here's my parts page:

http://www.k4eaa.com/parts.htm


Status of K4EAA Repair Service
March 19, 2014
It seems it's been awhile since I've tended to this blog.  As you have probably noticed, page updates have gone on, and parts orders get processed at lightning speed (Thanks Barb), but I haven't been accepting service work.   After my illness about two years ago, I was left pretty weak.  I stopped accepting new repairs, but was agonizing over the thought of making it permanent, and announcing so on my web pages.

I've finally come to grips with the fact that I probably can't sling 40lb. radios around for a living any longer.  I enjoy bench work and don't mind working with small things like the 2 oz. RL-1 relays, but the radios are just a bit much.  I'm changing my repair page and will be listing Ham repairmen that have demonstrated they can do quality work on a customer's radio.  These are Hams that I've referred people to over the last year or two with good comments back from the customers.

Those of you who I've worked with in the past should re-contact me to be sure you're added to the list.  Also suffering from CRS syndrome, I would appreciate the reminder!


Status of "Parts Page and Parts Orders" 
October 16, 2011

Parts Stock and Parts Orders are up to the minute and right on track.   My XYL has continued to provide same day (most of the time) or next day shipping for virtually everything that pops into the loop - She gets many, many compliments for her speedy turnaround on your orders, although most of you credit me, for what is really her great work!  I always pass along your compliments to Barb!

Some extra info:
Domestic shipments, as you've learned, are immediately acknowledged and emailed to you (by the software) when your shipping label is printed here.  This gives you instant feedback.    Foreign shipments are not immediately acknowledged, because we ship via 1st Class International Air Mail for out of country orders, to keep it affordable for you.   The shipper only sends instant acknowledgments for the more expensive (very much more expensive) International Priority shipments.   That puts me back in the loop, just to send you a shipping reminder along via email.   Sometimes I'm not so speedy - Barb (my XYL) still ships your order immediately, but I may not catch up to your reminder in my email duties for a while.  Your order may arrive before my shipping acknowledgment!   I try to keep current . . .


Status of Queue and Service Orders  
October 16, 2011

As many of you have noticed, I have really slowed down of late.  It would not be as large a delay as it turns out, if I had not received as many unsolicited repairs as I did.  I have recently put in some hospital time, and have to spend the next few weeks recuperating to boot.  I do not face any serious life threatening issues, so I hope to see the next few sunspot cycles to their completion!   I am forced to slow down however, and will continue to work on the radios I have on hand with your permissions.

I have over 600 hybrid repairs under my belt, so I have helped to get at least a few of your prizes back on the firing line.  Your unquestioned support over the years has made this all possible, and I really, really appreciate your long time support with parts purchases, that helps immeasurably in keeping everything going.   Even the occasional click on an advertiser on my pages helps to fund these pages - Thanks!



Clarified Guidelines on "What is Acceptable for Repair"
April 18, 2011

For most of my life, I've noticed that electronic repair and service shops stipulate, "We will not service equipment where repairs or mods have unsuccessfully been attempted by yourself or others."    Gosh, I wondered why they were so harsh . . .

I have been getting some rigs that have been hacked beyond all semblance of reason - Why did they do that?  It wastes much of my time, trying to determine just how much of the radio has been altered from normal operation, what parts have been changed to "something better."   I spend days trying to get it back as the factory designed it, and then find that the original problem that caused all of the ill-advised changes still remains.  When I finally fix what was wrong in the first place, there may still be (and usually are) more "hacks" that I have to track down and remove to achieve factory performance.   This is not fun, and I just can't afford the time.

From now on:
I will not service equipment where repairs or mods have unsuccessfully been attempted by yourself or others.


Service and Repair Queue
April 17, 2011

I have to repeat what I said back in February, shown directly below.   Too many radios to effectively schedule this far in advance.  Plus, I've been getting shipments of unreleased radios unexpectedly.  That angers me, because: (1) The radios have taken over three rooms in my house - That is very inconvenient!  (2) Some Hams are shipping early and expecting service ahead of other Hams!  (3) Some then email or call about progress, and perhaps complain because their radio has been here for 2 months - conveniently forgetting that they shipped 3 months prematurely, or worse, without any shipping release at all!

Unscheduled deliveries of radios to my residence may be refused and returned to sender - I'm not going to store them on my roof, my insurance doesn't cover that!   Please do not ship before your assigned date, or before you even receive a shipping date. 

I spend a good deal of time with each radio I restore - This is a Hobby for me, and I try to get each one back to factory new working condition.  Those of you who have gotten back Kenwoods from me know that they usually look and work as good or better than new - That limits me to 1 or 2 radios per week, working part-time as I do.  I really like to make them like new, so this is not a repair mill - Each one is a new adventure, and gets full attention.   But most days I'll receive 2 to 4 new repair requests. Day after day . . .   Obviously, I simply can't do them all.   So how do we proceed?

>>>>  Send an email, with "Repair Request" in the subject.  Include full contact information, your name, call sign, address, and phone number.  This info is needed for the queue.  Include the model (i.e., TS-830S) and a very brief description of problems.

You will be entered into the queue, and contacted by email when I can accept your radio and get to it in a reasonable period of time. There is nothing binding on your part, and if you don't respond to my "OK to Ship" email you will simply be removed from the queue, no problem.

Please do not ship a radio without my confirmation!   Thanks, Ken, K4EAA


Service and Repair Queue
February 5, 2011

I presently have so many rigs either on-hand or queued up, that I can not provide advanced scheduling for new repairs.  Since I never know exactly how long the next few dozen radios may take to complete, it is just not possible to give you a repair date for your radio at this point.   I can add your radio to the queue, but I can't tell you when you will be able to ship.

Once I have some of the new backlog cleared away, realistic repair estimates can be made.   I'm hoping to perhaps automate the acceptance and scheduling of service rigs, something that would give you direct access to the queue without my intervention.  These days I literally run out of time in the day when the clock strikes 2AM . . . 8^)


Shopping Cart Now Online!
February 5, 2011
I have added a Shopping Cart to my web site so that orders for hard to find parts can be entered and paid with ease.  If you need something to complete your Kenwood hybrid restoration you can submit and pay for an order in a minute or so.  PayPal, Credit and Debit cards are accepted.  If you prefer to submit an order and pay by mail, that is now also automated - You can use the shopping cart to total your order, print and mail it without delay.


Web Site Outage
February 3, 2011
Due to a hard drive failure in my web server, including k4eaa.com, was offline for about 12 hours today.  The server has a new drive, the pages have been restored (much like our Kenwoods!), and all is back to normal.   Thanks to all of you who reported problems with my pages.  This is the first time in many years that we had an outage that lasted more than a few minutes.


Service Bench Back at My home
November 17, 2010
I had to relocate my service bench to my home this month.  That is good in one sense, as I can work on radios at any time of the day or nightI cleaned up an area and built some shelving for my remaining bench, and finally got it outfitted today.  You can see a picture of my new working quarters here:
http://www.k4eaa.com/rates.html
I lost much of October due to vacation and Northern visitors, but I'm now back on track.  The relocation shot the first half of November, but tomorrow gets back to basics and repair.   Thanks to all of you for your patience during this recent turmoil.


K1 Knob Now Shipping!
June 17, 2010
Finally!  The anodizer came through with a close match to the original Kenwood Bronze.  I received the knobs on Tuesday, performed the re-machining of the bright highlights, and assembled the first batch with spinners and bearings.  Wow!  I got excited!  They look really nice, I think you'll agree.

You can see the new knobs here:  http://k4eaa.com/k1-knob.htm.   I shipped the first orders this afternoon.  Everyone who ordered one yesterday or today should be seeing them shortly.  Enjoy!

Repair Schedule Set Back a Bit
June 16, 2010
Every few years I get hit by a bout of cluster headaches.  Lucky me, only 0.1% of the population suffers from them! Mine come every 2-3 years, and last for a few weeks.  I've had them for the last 3 weeks, and between the headaches, the medications, and the loss of sleep, I've resembled a zombie.  As a consequence, I've not been going into the shop and working on radios.  The few hours of clear-headed time every day has been spent on getting the K1 up to speed.

I see light at the end of the tunnel, as some prescribed steroids appear to be breaking the cluster.  I hope to be back to normal soon.  I'm lucky, as these stupid headaches becomes chronic in some unfortunate people.  Mine are always for a relatively short term, with lots of time between them - Knock-knock.

Total Overload 
April 15, 2010 
I am presently receiving more email messages than I can ever hope to answer.  I have tried for almost 5 years to answer every email sent to me in a timely manner.  Sometimes the workload gets so high that I have to simply cry "help!" . . .

It has now been that way for a few months, at least.  I receive about 30 (or more) "tough" emails per day, requiring some research and reference to Kenwood materials, and that represents hours of work - for free.  There are always a few people every month who send me multiple emails, usually failing to read and/or try simple tests I have recommended to them.  Most have not read the material available on my web pages, or performed the simple tests I have suggested.   I have about 100 maintained web pages available on my site, covering most hybrid topics, and I add to them regularly.  I could provide a lot more online content if I did not have to keep answering the same email questions over and over again to those who will not bother to read my existing pages, or worse yet, my email answers.

Starting now, I will be instituting new procedures for submitting and receiving answers to Kenwood hybrid issues.  Those who have purchased or wish to purchase parts and need immediate answers to specific questions will have the same access to technical support as always.  Anyone who has had a rig serviced by me will always have immediate access via email or phone.  Everyone else should make use of my online resources - the FAQ, Tech Question Mailbag, etc.  I will no longer be answering general technical questions via email, simply because there is not enough time in the day!

Thanks for your understanding and thanks for reading what has already been provided to help get your Kenwood back to original specs!


Anodizing "Opportunities"
Feb 19, 2010  The new K-1 VFO Knob is awaiting finalization from the anodizer - I am a picky sort of Ham, and I want my new knobs to match the Kenwood sheen and color exactly!   Apparently, that color hasn't been used for a few decades, so we keep going through test after test to find a formula that will meet my approval.  I expect some very positive results shortly.  Thanks for all that have expressed interest, I have your knob orders in a queue as well. 

Yes I will have a version for the 520 and 520S!  It needs to be recessed in the back to clear the sub-dial bushing, and I think it would look dynamite in gloss black!  Hey, I have 520's that need them also!

New Shaft Couplers!
Feb 19, 2010  I have redesigned the SC-M1 Shaft Coupler by duplicating the length and setscrew spacing of the original Kenwood nylon coupler.  The new SC-M2 will now fit the limited space in the TS-820 series.  You can view them here on my Parts Page (http://www.k4eaa.com/parts.htm), or see a movie of one being made here:  http://k4eaa.com/sc-m2.html
Much stronger than the original, it is a lifetime fix for the bandswitch.

HV-150B Caps Arrive!
Jan 19, 2010
   The awaited 500V caps have arrived, been packed into kits, and most of the shipments were completed this evening.  This kit should remain in stock now without interruption.  Thanks again for your patience.


HV-150B Good News!
Jan 13, 2010   500V Electrolytics en route to me!   Barring hurricanes or earthquakes, I should receive several cases of new HV caps next week.  All backorders will be completed and shipped as soon as the parts arrive.  I intend to place a new order ASAP, so the supply line remains unbroken.   Thanks to all of you for your patience during this temporary outage.


WOW!

Jan 06, 2010  KB-1 Knob Replacement coming soon!    Over the last year I built up a CNC mill, and learned a 3D CAD/CAM program as well as learning to program directly G-Code.  The end result is that I will soon supply a beautiful knock-off of the nearly impossible-to-find, high-end optional 530/830 Kenwood tuning knob with ball bearing spinner!   These will be anodized in the original color, and I will optionally offer a beautiful black alternative! 
Picture of KB-1 This knob features a weight of over 1/4lb., made from a solid billet of 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum.  It is beautifully machined and bead blasted to a satin finish, and then professionally anodized by Florida's leading precision anodizer facility.  The bright metal highlights on the top surface of the knob are then re-machined to reveal the underlying 6061.  A similarly machined 6061-T6 spinner is suspended by a stainless steel ball bearing assembly to provide the ultimate finger spinner ever produced!    K4EAA K1 Knob Page


Jan 06. 2010  HV-150B Update!   The ship date of the 500V Electrolytics used in the HV-150B HV repair kit has been pushed back to Feb 1 by the manufacturer.   I have no control over this.  I worked with the manufacturer to continue supplying these much needed parts for the Kenwood Amateur community, and they kindly agreed.  They are making these parts just for us, so another 3 weeks doesn't seem like a huge price to pay.  If this is unacceptable to you, please contact me and we can make arrangements for a refund, if that is your preference. 


Dec 11, 2009   New technical Info!  I have been working on a means to impart more technical information to you in an easy to produce and easy to use format.   I've decided to make my technical mailbag available to you.  I've done this by placing technical Questions and Answers that I've received and sent over the years via email, onto pages that you can easily peruse or search.  You can view this new feature by going to
Ken's Technical Q&A Mailbag
I've been able to load nine pages (!) so far, and that is but a tiny fraction of what is available.  I will cut and paste new pages as time permits, and should have a fairly comprehensive offering within a few months.  I hope you will enjoy this new effort.  I have attempted to eliminate call signs, last names, and other identifiers from the writer's queries, to protect their privacy.  After all, it is the technical information we are after.

Dec 10, 2009  HV-150B Information  There has been a run on the HV-150B since it's become known that the last manufacturer has discontinued making that part.  I have made arrangements to have more made for me, and am expecting delivery of a sizable quantity on or about the 2nd week in January.  In the meantime, I am presently sold out of HV-150B.  I am accepting orders and will ship as soon as the next delivery arrives in about 30 days.


Dec 9, 2009   The Blog Begins.   Welcome to day 1 of Ken's Blog!  I hope you find it useful.  Thanks for your patience while I tidy up the pages and establish the new features.  And Thanks for visiting!
 
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Some Additional K4EAA Site Links
 
 
spammer killer
Please Note:  The above address is a GIF image, to foil spammer robots. 
You will have to type that address into your email client.  Thanks for your understanding, Ken
.



All Photos and content copyright 2005-2014, K4EAA, Ken Kemski.

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