I know at some point I’ve mentioned that I own a venerable, old Yaesu FT-736R.  By serial number I’ve dated it to around 1989.  While it’s getting to be an aged model now, it still packs in a lot of great features.  It makes an ideal fixed station radio because of its large size and built-in power supply.  It just looks like a radio should–with all the buttons and knobs and analog meter.  Can you say, “No menus!”  In addition to the standard 2m/70cm all mode and full duplex satellite operation, mine also contains the optional 6m module and CW filter and tone board.  I don’t think Yaesu makes anything like this today.

I was bummed out because the VFO encoder locked up right in the middle of a VHF/UHF QSO party contest.  I don’t do much of the weak signal work but it’s nice to know that I have a radio capable of performing the task, and I was enjoying making some 2m SSB contacts. I eventually found a work-around that entailed using a software emulator that took the FT-736R CAT commands and converted them to FT-847 CAT commands.  This allows for control via HRD.  Unfortunately, the radio is so old that most radio software doesn’t support it.  The emulator works fine but is a little extreme for just casual repeater contacts and dial spinning.  This is what I do mostly on 2m.

With the aid of some suggestions on QRZ.com I’ve managed to free up the stuck VFO.  Very carefully, I was able to dribble some WD-40 down the encoder shaft through a very tight-clearance opening that leads to the innards.  It seems a little extreme to go after an encoder with the WD-40 but as it was inoperable I didn’t figure there was much to lose.  It seems that this is a common problem with other Yausu’s of this era, too.  I guess they even still stock the part.  Nice to know this…but I was able to get mine freed up.  After two day of soaking I grabbed the shaft with a pair of pliars with padded jaws.  It started to move a little.  I just started working it back and forth a little at a time and then soak it with some more lube.  I’m pleased to report that it now turns better than it ever did!  As much as I like this old radio I think it’s time to sell.  It’ll go on the block at Dayton this year.  Hopefully there’s a weak signal enthusiast out there that’s in the market for an old-school radio with no menus and limited CAT capability.

Categories: Activities, Amateur Radio | 2 Comments

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  1. Oh WD-40! One of my two favorite things. A wise man once said “If it is stuck, and not supposed to be, WD-40 it! If it is NOT stuck, and is supposed to be, Duct Tape it!”.

    Since I am a cold war history buff a little trivia.
    WD-40 has an interesting history for those who might not know. It was first developed to displace water in ATLAS ICBMs. (WD-40 means water displacement formula 40).

    It’s cool you got the Yeasu going, and sad you are going to sell her, but the VHF/UHF board for the Flex 5000 would be really cool!!! (I’m just saying).

    Dayton is only like 2 weeks away now. I love going and always have a good time with good friends.

    73! de Nick N9SJA

  2. Tabb

    Nice work, maybe you should trade up for the FT-847 kinda wish a had not sold mine but oh well!

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