FT980 Repair, Restoration log

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FT980 Repair, Restoration log

Postby vk4kvk » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:51 pm

Helllo,
I have created this topic to get ft980 owners talking about their rig.
I recently picked one up after looking for one for a long time (they dont appear very often on ebay or local ham-for-sale sites).

Problems observed so far:
1. display light in both meters seems a little low in intensity. My comparison is the ft102 - nowhere near as bright.
2. RX is workimg fine, then after some random amount of time it goes deaf. Solution is to switch the Mode switch through its positions, come back to USB or LSB and all is OK for another random amount of time.

Anyone with similar experiences?
73's
vk4kvk
 
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Postby KU4MY » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:31 pm

Hello there!

Have been running a FT-980 for about two weeks now. So far the only issues here are as follows:

1) LH meter lamp only has one lamp operational and is very dim. RH meter, no lamp at all.... I have ordered a bunch of blue LEDs to try a little experiment..... I hope to create a nice effect that will compliment the blue digital display(s) appearance.

2) ONLY on 'GEN'eral coverage setting, and never on 'HAM', the rig may momentarily go deaf, the only time this is an issue is on my memory channel settings for the 60m channels, none of the others stored using 'HAM' as the operating settings have this issue. Yes, the rig is modified prior to my ownership for 'GEN'eral TX and RX.

3) The fan runs, after about an hour on time, for 75% of the time or more. I plan to add a PC fan to move air around the power supply area to see if I can reduce this run time. I am more of an RXer than a TXer, so it seems to me that something is heating up a bit more than it should........ other FT-980 owners, please let me know if this is true or I have need for concern on this.

4) NO factory installed keyer unit (?!?!?!)..... my rig has had every filter known to man added to it, but no one ever added the optional keyer board!!! Oh and here is my posting on the classifieds and in the wanted section here on the forums regarding that:

"I am looking for the factory optional keyer unit for the FT-980, same unit may have been used on many other models too, of course, but in the FT-980 manual it is listed as; kit - D3000026 (keyer unit and two screws) or part - C017280 (keyer only). If you have one you wish to part with, please email me at ku4my 'at' charter.net and let me know what you want for it..... thanks!"

Although I am only using a straight key, due to no keyer board, I am getting very good signal reports for signal, tone and of course signal and audio just using the MD-1 and MH-1 microphones.

The filtering in combination with the rigs 'original equipment' on SSB and CW are the best I have seen (heard) on any rig anywhere at any price! I am very excited about getting this behemoth rig who's performance so far is 100% greater than expected. At the risk of starting a riot, suffice it to say that I am no longer in the market for a KW TS-950S or a TS-2000, I am also no looking for an ICOM Pro III and I am not looking for an FT-1000D or MP of any configuration....... I have found my dream station and after having fun with my FT-101EX (which I was very much in love with) AFTER getting rid of my KW TS-450S/AT........ the swap to the FT-980 has made CW especially, a true pleasure to operate........ ehhhhh, the fantastic reports of audio quality on voice are a nice plus too.

Anyway, that's my take on my FT-980 after week #2 and if anyone is interested in pics of what the 17 kilo monster looks like after I swap her lighting effects over to blue LEDs, just drop me an email and I will share em when i gots em. :wink:
73 de Tom
Proud Owner of a FT 980
KU4MY
 
Posts: 31
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Location: South Carolina

Postby KU4MY » Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:01 am

Well the blue LEDs have finally arrived as replacements for the burned out lamps. I will be installing them this weekend coming up. The rigs former owner passed away today so I will be maintaining the FT-980 until I too, become a silent key.

The rig does a fantastic job on 60m by the way and have started chatting with a group there in Georgia, Alabama and Florida in the mornings.

Will keep you posted as to how she continues to perform and will gladly share pictures to those who may be interested, especially after the lamp replacements have been done.

It can be seen in it's present glory at http://www.myspace.com/ku4my

Oh and BTW, yes, though rather washed out looking, that is Fox Tango International on the monitor screen in the picture! :D
73 de Tom
Proud Owner of a FT 980
KU4MY
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:54 am
Location: South Carolina

FT980 Repair, Restoration log - update

Postby vk4kvk » Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:44 pm

Hi again,

Some days are better than others as they say. I got up today,sat down with a hot brew in the shack 1st thing & switched on the ft980.

Strange sound on turnon and what do I find:
- no RX audio - just white noiise
- now I have the 4 leds above foe digital display on all the time (VFO,MR,SPLIT,EXT)
- I have the 'shift' LED near the memory channel switch ON all the time
- I have the LED's above RX, TX, ON & GEN in the freq entry key pad on all the time
- my pseudo-digital rotary display immediatley above the tuning knob is displaying some
real strange characters
- the digital display itself has gone out to pasture with the display of a new language not known to me.

So - I have a problem. I tracked down an ft980 Service manual in Canada tonight,
so I expect some down time with this rig for a while. WIll report back as I find solutions to the problem. If you have ever exerperienced any of the above - please come forward.

The rig still has (or did have before this turn of events) a great sound. I too spend considerable time RX'ing (rather the TX'ing) and it is great on the audio.
Most certainly in the same league as te FT102 (which sits next to it in the shack)

I am hoiping the FT web site will start to put up some info on the ft980 like the great job done on the ft102.

73's vk4kvk
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Postby KU4MY » Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:23 am

Hope all goes well with that Phillip! Very sad to hear of your troubles!

Well, here's a couple of updates..... the blue LEDs are installed and look quite nice really, too bad the digital VFO read outs now look aqua instead of blue, BUT, at least now I can see the meters!

Also on an even brighter note, with regard to my posting for a keyer unit in the wanted thread, I was told by a fellow FT-980 user that in fact, the Curtis Keyer unit used on the FT-901/902 line is a perfect, albeit older, substitute for the keyer intended for the FT-980..... it should be on it's merry way, so I will keep everyone posted about the outcome of it's use operations and or lack there of! Wish me luck! :P

Oh, BTW, it might take a few weeks to try it out as I don't even own a set of paddles..... actually, I have never even touched a set of paddles, but I hope to scrape together a buck or two and am going to be looking for something cheap, cheerful and operational at the Shelby (NC) Hamfest over the Labor Day holiday weekend coming up!
73 de Tom
Proud Owner of a FT 980
KU4MY
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:54 am
Location: South Carolina

Postby KU4MY » Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:59 am

Thanks to M0GER, I went ahead and snagged up the Curtis keyer for the FT-901 and 902 rigs for use in my FT-980 and all systems are 'GO'. Reinhard told me that he installed one in his FT-980 years ago and that it has performed flawlessly. For what it's worth, I wanted to share this with the group as the keyer for the FT-980 seems to be as difficult to find as any other obscure piece of antique gear that I have tried to find. There have been plenty of offers to sell me another complete FT-980, but nobody seems to want to part with their keyer board.

The Curtis Keyer for the 901 and 902 is as plug and play as if it were the exact replacement, down to the two screw holes that bolt it into place just beneath the meters. Just thought I would pass this along in the event that others here might run old boat anchor FT-980s, as there seems to be a lot more of the 901 and 902s being parted out and their keyers are relatively easily found now.
73 de Tom
Proud Owner of a FT 980
KU4MY
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:54 am
Location: South Carolina

GENERAL INFORMATION FT-980

Postby KB3KCJ » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:10 pm

:lol: I am also the proud owner of an FT-980. I am the fourth owner of this particular one. The other three owners gave up in frustration, but AH! Some of the symptoms descriped in this column have spurned me to add my two cents worth. My signal in/out problem and display problem was fixed by resoldering a board. This is located if you trace the frequency display wiring to the underneath of the rig. This particular board I fould out had some manufacturing defects, and probably more than one had it. With the advent of the front lights all coming on and not going off and the weird unreadable language displayed in the frequency display, this was charged to a loose connection on the left side under the cover, and the back-up memory batter case inside the trap door was putting too much pressure on the board it rests against. If you take the cover off one of these beauties, you have to insure that everything on the sides is completely plugged in, before you place the cover back on, or you will need a real good magnifying glass to find it. :shock:
WITHOUT GOOD FRIENDS, LIFE IS IMPOSSIBLE.
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GENERAL INFORMATION FT-980

Postby KB3KCJ » Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:11 pm

:lol: I am also the proud owner of an FT-980. I am the fourth owner of this particular one. The other three owners gave up in frustration, but AH! Some of the symptoms descriped in this column have spurned me to add my two cents worth. My signal in/out problem and display problem was fixed by resoldering a board. This is located if you trace the frequency display wiring to the underneath of the rig. This particular board I fould out had some manufacturing defects, and probably more than one had it. With the advent of the front lights all coming on and not going off and the weird unreadable language displayed in the frequency display, this was charged to a loose connection on the left side under the cover, and the back-up memory battery holder inside the trap door was putting too much pressure on the board it rests against. If you take the cover off one of these beauties, you have to insure that everything on the sides is completely plugged in, before you place the cover back on, or you will need a real good magnifying glass to find it. :shock:
WITHOUT GOOD FRIENDS, LIFE IS IMPOSSIBLE.
KB3KCJ
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:01 pm
Location: BERWICK, PENNSYLVANIA

Postby KU4MY » Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:39 pm

Just a bit of an update. The FT-980 continues to run flawlessly and still looks awesome with the blue LED meter lamps. I have gotten bitten very badly by the CW bug about 2 months ago, have been using the Koch method this go around to relearn it and am using G4FON's freeware program. After about 2 months I have gone from limping to sending at 15wpm + and receiving at a bit over 20wpm (ehhhh, maybe close to 25wpm). I NEVER in my wildest dreams ever thought I would be both bitten by the CW bug and actually be semi proficient.

What does this have to do with KU4MY's FT-980 you ask? Like I said, mine has all of the bells and whistles now, what with the addition of the FT-901/902 Curtis Keyer board. The filtering is as good as ANY high end rig that lacks DSP that I have ever seen. This monster of a rig does all that I could ever imagine to expect from a 20 + year old high end rig and performs light years beyond my expectations.

If anyone would like to see some pic's of my rig, just email me (ku4my 'at' charter 'dot' net) or, I will try to post some on the pictures section here. I had started a 'post a pic of yourself' thread that was quickly shut down due to the understandable hogging of bandwidth and I am not sure I remember where to post my pictures here now. Anyway, I will see what I can come up with.

Hope the rest of you FT-980 owners are have continued good luck and or up front good luck at keeping your behemouth beauties on, or getting them back on the air. :D
73 de Tom
Proud Owner of a FT 980
KU4MY
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:54 am
Location: South Carolina

Postby jrivett » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:18 pm

I have an FT-980 , which I have recently started to use for transmitting (I recently got a licence in the UK), and would like some help please, about the Audio.

Sometimes reports are very good, ('excellent', as good as any on the band, etc.) .... but sometimes the reports are terrible ( bad modulation, thin audio, an Underwater sound) - all kinds of bad things.

Experimenting with various knobs suggests a complex inter-action between PROC, COMP, DRIVE, which I dont understand. Sometimes the meters flick all over the place.

I have read the manual - and am none the wiser.

Could somebody who really understands this very nice radio give some advice about how to adjust it to transmit nice audio. Nothing special, just decent audio.

I dont think the radio has any mods, tho' I bought it used, from a reputable radio dealer.

All help welcome. Many Thanks.
jrivett
 
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Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:03 pm

Postby KU4MY » Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:43 am

Woo Hoo…. I have a bit of an update, but first to reply to ‘jrivett’. I have been running my FT-980 for about 3 months now and have finally developed an issue which may have some relevance to yours, I’m really not sure, but here goes.

First of all, my rig has the wide open TX with RX mod performed on the general coverage selection (GEN button engaged). I am using the MD-1 desk microphone, just because I prefer a desk mike over a hand mike and I receive good audio reports with the switch on the bottom in either position. Just for fun, I dropped my drive (TX power) down to about 45 watts out and engaged the GEN button and joined a round table group on one of the new US 60m ‘channels’ (channel 4 actually). This was about 2 months ago or so and received reports of ‘exceptional’ and ‘studio quality’ audio. This past week, I popped in on that group for a return visit and my audio was garbled and completely unintelligible. From there I went to 75m and 40m…. same thing, garbled and unintelligible audio. Okay, at this point I quickly retraced my steps, and noticed the rig was in GEN instead of HAM. I engaged the HAM button, and audio was all of a sudden ‘fantastic’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘studio quality’ once again. I then engaged GEN and went back to 60m and was still unintelligible. That is as far as I have gotten, but, simply put, in GEN, my rig no longer seems to want to transmit clear audio like it does when HAM is selected. No biggie, but as the 5 60m channels are very pleasant and quiet, I will miss them until I have gotten to the source of the problem. Of course, if and when I have time to trouble shoot this problem and sort it out, I will post my findings here on the FT-980 thread.

Now, this may not sound all that scientific, but, jrivett, after my first couple of days of playing with my FT-980 after getting it, I was, as you are, setting it up for the best audio quality I could with the help of both my local group of hammie chums, as well as some interstate and DX folk and essentially, here is where I ended up for SSB operations (on ALL bands)…… please understand this is the way MY rig likes to perform her best, but may not be where yours is happy. I have the AMGC (Automatic Mike Gain Control) depressed and PROC, Speech Processor depressed. My MIC knob (Mike Gain) is set to the 3:00 position and the COMP (Compression) is set to 5:30 (maximum). The DRIVE (or power output) is set at 5:30 also (maximum) except when I tune up, when I set it for minimum, which is actually about 8:00 with just a hair under 5 watts out for brief on the air tuning of my antenna tuner, or, when she would run on 60m, I would set it at about the 11:30 position for just under 50 watts out (at max, or 5:30, she does about 105 watts on 1.8 Mhz and 95 watts on 29.699 Mhz, just FYI). Understand that all of these settings are quite contrary to other rigs I have ran in the past. For example, I was unable to run the speech compressor at all on the Kenwood TS450S/AT that I had with the microphone gain turned up beyond 50%, even when trying to break through a pile up to fight for that rare DX station, or it became way to hot and sounded more like a CBer trying to call his next door neighbor over for a beer and to watch the football game.

Anyway, jrivett, I hope that helps, and like I said, this is the way may FT-980 sounds the best, locally, regionally and DX wise. From the US to the UK, I can even move the MIC gain knob up from 3:00 to max (5:30) and sound just a bit bolder without any distortion or degradation of audio quality. Please feel free to send me a PM here or email me directly if you wish at ku4my ‘at’ charter ‘dot’ net, if you need more help.

Okay, now for my update! I have uploaded pictures to the Yahoo Group of the FT-980 sporting four (two in each) blue LEDs as replacement for the one-for-each meter lamps. I think it looks bloody brilliant myself, but hey, that’s just my opinion….. but…… I would really like everyone’s opinion on how it looks too!
73 de Tom
Proud Owner of a FT 980
KU4MY
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:54 am
Location: South Carolina

Postby vk4kvk » Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:47 am

Helllo to all and wishing all the best for 2007.

I have just picked (JAN2007) up what looks like an as new FT980. It seems it has hardly ever been used - not a scratch on it, hasnt been modified, I doubt it has hardlly ever had the covers taken off. The MH1-BB mike appears to have never been used. It too does not have a single use mark on it.

So far everything appears to work. I plan to use this as a reference rig for the other ft980 - which works but has some funny characteristics I am still wrestling with.

In an earlier post I described a problem with the display showing funny symbols. I have been able to confirm that I had the same event happen with the new radio. Source of the problem - the memory backup battery pair. As soon as the battery repair was replaced, the display of funny symbols went away. The display has been fine since.
vk4kvk
 
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FT-980

Postby moonharlan » Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:38 am

Hello,
Sorry to hear your ploblem on your FT-980.. I have one that I got from the orgenal owner and would not take anything for it....They are one of the best radio's on the market.... Most of the problems that happen to these radio's is people who think they are smart get inside of them and screw them up royally... Most likely some one has tried to modify the radio and this is most likely your problem you are experancing....This radio is a great radio,,,,take to a GROL tech and let him set things right,,,,the radio is worth fixing by all means.....The radio I have has never been mobified and have never had anything go wrong as of yet....Good luck on the repair and please let me know what is found....

Harlan
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FT-980 in for repair

Postby W8BBM » Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:47 pm

Hello all,

I purchased an FT-980 a few years back but had little if ANY time to really go through it. As a kid, I always loved that big rig and so, like any grown adult, I went ahead and bought the rig for the purpose of being my weekend cottage radio. I love the way it looks.

Time has now permitted me a few diagnostic moments and I have noticed is that the VOX/Delay is not working for either SSB or CW. I can't get any delay activation when trying to send CW and VOX won't kick on at all for SSB. I next noticed that I don't appear to get full output on SSB for whatever reason. PEP appears to be around 40-50 watts. I certainly have full output on CW and AM but it appears that SSB is looking for more audio. :?

Has anybody had any of these issues?

All the best,

Peter W8BBM
Hot cup of coffee and smooth CW sounds like a great day to me!
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Postby k9my » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:19 am

Hi All,
I see that it's been a year since the last post. Anyway I am the proud owner of 2 FT-980. I have noticed that a number of users have either low output or weak receive or both and it can be somewhat intermitent.

There are 2 procedures that will normally resolve the weak thin tinny SSB signal on both TX and RX. First locate the VCO can on the PLL pcb which is on the right hand side of the rig as you face the front of the radio To get there you will have to remove the radios top cover and the tin rf shield that covers the length of the pcb. Now connect a DC voltmeter (at least 10M ohm input) to TP4001 just behind the VCO can. Set the radio in USB and rotate IF shift control fully counterclockwise. Adjust trimmer capcitor TC4001 for exactly 6.0VDC. Then switch to LSB and rotate the IF shift control fully clockwise and check for 3-4vdc on the voltmeter.

What you have accomplished is peaking the radio's beat frequency oscillator or BFO. You can't recover or generate modulation without it.

The second procedure will require a frequency counter to set the VFO reference oscillator to exactly 30.000MHZ. Go to TP7008 which is also on the right hand side of the rig as you face the front of the radio To get there you will have to remove a tin rf shield by removing the screws which requires removing the top and bottom covers of the radio to access the screws. Connect the frequency counter to the previously mentioned TP7008. Now adjust trimmer TC7001 for exactly 30.0000MHZ with a tolerance of +5 -10hz.

Just doing the first procedure will recover some or all TX RX functions.

You gotta have a vfo and a bfo to tx and rx rf energy. :)

K9MY Jerry
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