The Amateur Amateur

Click to read “The Amateur Amateur”

I’ve enjoyed reading Gary Hoffman’s, KB0H, “The Amateur Amateur” on the ARRL (American Radio Relay League) web site for years.  The ARRL no longer publishes Gary’s articles, but he still writes them.  In Gary’s own words:

The Amateur Amateur is a column about my experiences in ham radio. Since I have little technical expertise and not much knowledge of electronics, I make a lot of mistakes. I consider myself to be just an amateur amateur radio operator, but I keep pressing on and trying new things. This column details my triumphs – and foibles – and I try not to take myself too seriously. Whether you are an experienced ham or new to the hobby, I hope you find these chronicles of my efforts to be entertaining.

Gary Ross Hoffman, KB0H

Gary’s “The Amateur Amateur” columns are available HERE.
Enjoy! -John, K7JM

Repairing My Icom IC-706MKIIG Final Amp Board

Final amp board with old finals removed, and ready for board modifications.
Final amp board with old finals removed, and ready for board modifications.
IC-706MKIIG amplifier board with new final transistors mounted in modified circuit board.
IC-706MKIIG amplifier board with new final transistors mounted in modified circuit board.

A few YEARS ago, I noticed that my Icom IC-706MKIIG Amateur Radio Transceiver was very hot.  The problem was, it was NOT turned on!  I immediately unplugged it from its 12V powers supply, and pondered it for a long time.  Apparently, the final amplifier transistors in the IC-706MKIIG are not wired through the power switch, but they get their power directly from the 12VDC line coming into the radio.  If all is working well, and there is no drive to the transistors, there is no current drawn.  One of mine, was drawing current, and a lot of it, all the time.  Ten Amps of current, all the time.

My radio sat for a few years, with me occasionally looking at it and wondering what to do.  Finally, in late 2012 or early 2013, I contacted a repairman about my radio.  The ball was moving to my court, because #1: the repairman was too busy to take additional jobs, and #2: the repairman informed me that my radio was of an “old” design.  It had SRF-J7044 Mosfet transistors for the HF finals.  They were no longer being made, and they are extremely rare to find.  An alternative was to “replace” the final amplifier board at the cost of over $400.  No thank you!

I did a lot of searching around and found Jose Gavila’s (EB5AGV) web site. He replaced the transistors in one of these older Icom radios with newer transistors, and he documented it very thoroughly.  Being a hardware kind of a guy, I decided I could do the repair following his steps.  And here are the results.  I videoed the process for your viewing pleasure.  If you have an older IC-706MKIIG with the same problem, you CAN repair it.

As a side note about the Icom IC-706MKIIG:  Apparently, damage can be done to the final transistors while the rig is off when the installation is in a vehicle.  I did have mine in a vehicle at one time.  Constant starts of the vehicle, and heavy loads and fluctuations at the battery, enter the radio, and are applied to the finals because of the previously mentioned problem with them not being switched.  If my radio again ends up in my vehicle, I will have it switched, so I can make sure no power is applied to it while I start or stop the engine.

Most of this information was found at EB5AGV’s web site at:

Thank you a thousand times for the nice details that Jose, EB5AGV provided in doing this mod.

–John, K7JM

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Linux In The Ham Shack

New Logo, New URL

I am an avid user of the Linux operating system, and of course, a Ham Radio Operator. There happens to be a great podcast that combines these two endeavors into one.  Linux In The Ham Shack.  Recently, they have moved their web page and therefore have a new URL and here it is: Check out Russ’s and Richard’s Linux In The Ham Shack site and their podcast.  If you are a regular listener to the podcast, it might be worth mentioning that they also have a new feed, so if you have been missing episodes lately (like I have), try updating the podcast feed.

I’ve also updated their link on my Links page.  Check that page out for other places I visit often.

Keep up the great work guys!

John – K7JM