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Vintage Washington

Discussion in 'General CB Services Discussion' started by 743SEPA, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. 743SEPA

    743SEPA New Member

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    I have an old President Washington that my dad bought back in the 70's. I used to use it alot back in the late 90's but hasn't been used in a long time. I got it out just for giggles and it still works. The only problem I see is when a real strong signal hits it it really squeals,drowning out whoever's talking,unless I turn the RF gain down. I take it's just being overloaded,how can this be fixed other than knocking down the receive?


     
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  2. nomadradio

    nomadradio Analog Retentive

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    If it really is a 1970s Washington, it's about 40 years old.

    The radio contains a couple dozen or so components all made from the same materials called electrolytic capacitors.

    They serve to filter the power that gets distributed to separate circuits in the radio. When these go bad, feedback problems or "hum" noises emerge.

    The chemistry inside these parts goes bad in 10 to 20 years of steady operation.

    If a radio is stored for a long time, they may still work after 30 or more.

    A typical pattern we see over and over is that the radio will work for a while after being "awakened" from a long nap on the shelf or in a closet.

    For a while. One by one these capacitors begin to fail. Sometimes they short, and shut down some part of the radio. Other times they become "open circuit", as if the part were not installed at all. This permits signals to leak between one circuit and the next. This causes wacky feedback noises.

    Every electrolytic cap in the radio is on borrowed time after 40 years. You can play Electonic Whack-A-Mole and change them one or three at a time as they fail.

    The widespread advice to "re-cap" a radio and change them all at once is a better method unless you enjoy tracking down the bad parts as they go bad.

    The risks of doing this are mainly the risk of installing a new one backwards. This kind of part is marked for polarity, and it matters. Likewise, a tiny sliver of solder that bridges across two foil pads is a common error when changing a lot of parts. This can cause unpredictable new failures in the radio. Careful work, bright light and a good magnifier serve to prevent this.

    So, is this the "really" old Washington that has a four-pin mike socket?

    Or the slightly-newer version with the five-pin mike?

    73
     
  3. 743SEPA

    743SEPA New Member

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    4 pin
     
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  4. nomadradio

    nomadradio Analog Retentive

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    Sure enough, that's the 1978 version. All the electrolytic caps in a 40-year old radio are on borrowed time, regardless of the radio's "mileage".

    The symptom you're having is not one of those "they all do that" sort of commonly-seen problems.

    It's possible that replacing all the electrolytics would fix this fault.

    It's also possible that the receiver-overload fault is caused by some other failure. If so, you'll still have that problem after the radio is re-capped. No other way to find out, short of taking an oscilloscope to probe the receiver's AGC circuits to track down what's failing. That's probably what I would do first.

    Reminds me of a 1978 car with one cylinder misfiring. Replacing all 8 fuel injectors, plugs, wires, cap and rotor would probably be a good idea. But if it's still missing on one cylinder after doing that, it's the only way you would know that it didn't fix the trouble.

    If you decide to tackle the "re-capping" project I recommend getting a complete capacitor kit from Klondike Mike. He's a member here, and sells his kits on Fleabay. He uses good-quality parts and provides some guidance with his kits for getting the job done right.

    But any project like this is a gamble. With the right tools and skills, you could zero in on the part causing the trouble. Re-capping the radio is a "shotgun" approach to the problem, hoping your aim is close enough to score.

    The age of the radio should make re-capping the radio a 50-50 proposition. Might fix the fault, might not.

    But from the way you describe it, I'd say it's probably worth the gamble.

    73
     
  5. 743SEPA

    743SEPA New Member

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    I've got a few better quality radios now so I don't think this would be worth the time and money to repair. I wouldn't be doing this myself.
     
  6. S&W357

    S&W357 Old Codger Member

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    My Washington does fine. It is a newer (slightly I guess) 5-pin Uniden version though.
     
  7. sunbulls

    sunbulls Well-Known Member

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    I’m curious about your other “better quality” radios. Those President Washington’s after being recapped and tuned are tough to beat, at least on SSB. The President Washington has a good reputation that developed into a cult following. Selling it as is souldn't be a problem if you decide to do so. .
     
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  8. S&W357

    S&W357 Old Codger Member

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    I talk to a couple of semi local guys that have the 4-pin President series Washington radios. They really sound good on both AM and SSB.

    I'd have to get it checked out by a good tech if were mine.

    Of course all of my radios are low quality. :barefoot:
     
  9. nomadradio

    nomadradio Analog Retentive

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    The radio is just a tool. Even if it's a good one, age takes its toll. Mileage takes one, too.

    Still, the value of the tool is in how you'll use it.

    When I diagnose a radio and tell the customer the estimated cost, it's up to him to decide what the radio is "worth" in terms of how he wants to use it. I draw the line at advising how much it will cost. What that's worth to the customer isn't my department.

    If the 5-pin Washington is only 30 years old, (maybe) you may have another ten years before it needs this same level of routine (every 40 years) maintenance.

    Maintenance is changing parts you already know will be needed.

    Repair is finding what's broke, and fixing that alone.

    If doing 40-year maintenance by recapping the radio also serves to repair it, that's great. Not cheap, but still great.

    And if catching up 4 decades of maintenance doesn't fix it, someone will need to troubleshoot the cause of the fault and finish the "repair" part of the job.

    Recapping the radio is still a gamble, not a guarantee.

    Hint: If the country of origin on the 5-pin radio says "Taiwan", it was made between 1979 and 1989. If it says "Philippines" it's still under 30 years old. Might have another ten yeas on it if so.

    How long before it falls on its face like the 4-pin radio is anybody's guess. And if it's a 1979 radio it's on the same borrowed time as the 1978 model, minus one year.

    73
     
    Shadetree Mechanic likes this.
  10. S&W357

    S&W357 Old Codger Member

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    My Uniden Washington says Philippines. I’m so old perhaps my Washington will outlive me! :)

    Thanks for the info regarding production dates +-
     
  11. nomadradio

    nomadradio Analog Retentive

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    The first digit of the serial number on a Philippine radio is the last digit of the year.

    If it's "7", that should be 1997, just old enough to buy a drink.

    And if it's "0", that should be 1990.

    73
     
  12. S&W357

    S&W357 Old Codger Member

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    The first digit on my Philippine Uniden Washington serial number is 8. So 1998 I'm thinking.

    Does the same thing go for a Uniden Grant XL? If so, my Grant's first digit is 3...1993 possibly.

    Thanks!
     

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