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First report... on First test... of my new (to me!) Tram D201A

guitar_199

Sr. Member
Mar 8, 2011
682
898
103
Deer Park, TX
Okay, here is the first reporting.......

Plugged it in, turned it on... nothing out of the ordinary happened. As it warmed up a mild "hum" came into the speaker. At least I know the speaker works!
I piped an RF signal with 1Khz modulation (30%) in on Channel 26. Tuned the radio to 26.... clear as a bell!. Step the radio off to 25 or 27.... nothing at all.
With that I just sat and listened a bit and played with receive controls. Volume works. I think RCV Tone is working (couldn't tell as much with 1 Khz but I switched to 400 Hz mod and I can tell the difference when I take RCV Tone way down and back up. I think I can say that it is at least responding!!! S meter function seems to work... or at least the needle follows properly when I drop the signal way down and step the attenuator WAY up. The AGC appears to be working as.... when I switch the attenuator from way down (like -90 db) to way up (like -30 or even -20) and go all back and forth... the tone is clear and does not change volume much...at least to my ears. I know my ears have not been calibrated recently..... but I really can't hear a lot of volume change from changing carrier amplitude.

Now, here.....lack of experience is failing me a bit.....

I switch the radio to LSB then USB (one at a time!). In LSB I can still hear the modulation tone fairly clearly. The tone changes a bit...but it is still clearly the 1 Khz tone that I am sending in. IN USB... I didn't hear anything. I tried sweeping the clarifier but it didn't bring it in. Let me state here..... I DO NOT KNOW if this test is valid! With the generator on 26 with 1 Khz I would figure that while I DO have carrier.... I also should have both sideband peaks at "plus or minus" 1 Khz from the carrier. But still ... I could be wrong thinking that this would work.

At this point I did not do anything on the Manual mode side. My B&K 204 does go up to Channel 45.... so I can do it later.

Now.....TRANSMIT.........

Appears to be big fat "nothing". Here is what I notice......

First off.... some really weird "low level dancing hash" shows up on the spectrum analyzer. It is NOT stable peaks!!!!! rather they appear to be spread across the displayed bandwith and tend to wiggle around with a mind of their own. Not quite sure what this means yet.

In AM
No transmit! Key up and you don't see squat on the SA.... other than the hash noise mentioned above. Nothing changes. HOWEVER the MOD light does flash with modulation!

In SSB (and I mean EITHER sideband!)
No modulation shows up on the SA. I whistle.... I speak.... not a WIGGLE shows up on the SA. The modulation lamp does NOT FLASH. Not at all.
And the meter does not show any transmit either!
Receive? YES! Transmit? NO!

Now what I DO think is weird...... in AM....when I key up...the MOD light comes on some......and then when I modulate it flashes brighter. IN EITHER SSB MODE.......when I key up...the MOD light comes on just like it does on AM.....but does not respond to modulation at all. Now what I think is weird is....... why is the MOD light coming on in SSB??? There should not be a carrier!!!!! I would think that in SSB when you key up the ONLY thing you would see is modulation ...... Oh....and... the mic level knob WAS up. I could see MOD flashing in AM..... not in either sideband mode.

Lower hanging fruit.........

I can't get in the top side yet. One screw comes out fine.

The other???????? They either put it in with an air hammer..... or they believed in my grandpa's philosophy that "a cross thread is better than a lock washer any day"!!!!!

I flat can NOT get that screw to move! It is a #2 phillips head and I used the best one I have and put my ( considerable!) weight into it....and I can not get it to move at ALL! If I take my weight off of it....the screwdriver pops out of the screw head. It has not stripped it yet..... I stop short of that. I may have to find a way to grind that thing off of there. I'll try again later.

I think that a lamp must be out.... the right side of the crystal display and the left side of the S-Meter are a little dark.... other areas are lit up well. I am guessing that the lamps are between the meters and on the outside. I will know more whenever I get inside.

Anyway, I will be getting back to it as I have time....but I am thinking that the first thing I need to focus on is getting past that screw so I can open it up and see inside. the NEXT thing is look at some date codes on caps just for giggles. They probably need replacing.....but I'd just like to know what century the caps came from....just for the knowledge.

So that's all for now!
 

TM86

Supporting Member
Jul 6, 2014
968
1,325
153
Payson, AZ
In a pinch I've used vice grips to latch on the head of a screw and then was able to either turn it or snap the head off. If you do this you run the risk of scratching whatever surface the screw head is up against.
 

Crawdad

Down in the mud invasive species
Nov 11, 2016
807
1,685
153
A small amount of Panther Piss (nut buster) in an eye dropper , applied around the the screw, maybe?
 
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144inBama

Sr. Member
Apr 22, 2020
582
987
103
53
Lower Alabama
Try a drop of penetrating oil, inserting the screwdriver in the screw then lightly tapping the SD with a hammer (or wrench, other another screwstick handle), let it sit for 10 minutes, repeat the tapping process while pressing down and turning.
 

guitar_199

Sr. Member
Mar 8, 2011
682
898
103
Deer Park, TX
Hmmm... I just started reading the Service Manual like a novel.... just to "become one with the radio". To get familiar with it.

I turned to page 3 and saw something that made me think......

I wonder if this thing is still under warranty?

(Yes..... it is a joke!)
 
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3strucking

Member
Aug 7, 2010
19
1
13
47
I have been trying to find a tram 201a for a while. I am scared to buy one off ebay. If anyone knows of a reputable person who sells working or restored tube type radios, please let me know.
 

nomadradio

Analog Retentive
Apr 3, 2005
5,314
7,636
573
Louisville, KY
www.nomadradio.com
I have been trying to find a tram 201a for a while. I am scared to buy one off ebay. If anyone knows of a reputable person who sells working or restored tube type radios, please let me know.
You wouldn't buy a 1977 car without getting to see the odometer, maybe a look at the color of the oil on the dipstick? At the very least not without driving it first.

And there's the problem with the D201A. Not only do they tend to be fragile in shipping, but you really can't tell the operational condition. They are famous for tubes coming out of the sockets in transit.

The true cost of restoring a D201A to be a daily driver once again is not for the faint of heart. And the legitimate price of a radio that HAS been brought up to date inspires the used-car-dealer in some folks to ask the same kind of price for a high-mileage specimen with a locked-up motor.

So to speak.

And even if the radio has the equivalent of 500 original miles, there will be hundreds of bucks to bring the electrolytic capacitors in the radio totally up to date, replace any loose tube sockets, the speaker and/or relay.

And if it needs any tubes replaced, that's more money. Low mileage serves you well in this department.

Parts is parts, and it's only money. But seeing what you'll get in exchange for it before the money changes hands is the only way to keep some folks honest.

73
 
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