I bought a new marine radio for the boat from Amazon and I figured that it would be a good idea to setup a base station at home so I can monitor channel 16 and also let my wife contact via the radio while I’m out sailing. I didn’t think I would need a new radio since it might not get that much use so I looked to eBay. After bidding on a few of them without success I finally won an auction for a used Standard Horizon Eclipse. After about a week and a half this radio lands on my porch. It was pretty much as described once I opened the box. A closer look revealed the PL259 antenna connector is fused to the radio due to salt water corrosion. I was kinda bummed out. luckily there is enough cable coming out the end to allow some splicing. So that’s not that big of a deal.
The radio as it was posted on eBay.
After splicing some wires and cables I got the antenna setup on the side of the house with a cable running into the house. Using a 6 amp converter I have 12v power as well. I connected everything up and turned the switch to the on position…. Nothing…. Not even a click. This was pretty irritating. I email the buyer from eBay to let him know that this thing was not as described. While waiting for the response I figured I may as well try to do some trouble shooting.
I first checked out the connections and immediately found that the inline fuse also has a lot of corrosion build up. I scraped off both ends of the fuse as well as the terminals in the containing and put it back together. This time the radio turned on! I was thrilled. I was thinking that I would email the seller back to let him know that I had fixed the problem. Before I got that far I picked up the microphone to make sure I can communicate with my handheld. After setting them both to channel 71 I tried to press the button on the mic…. Nothing again. This is starting to piss me off. The button on the mic doesn’t even move. It is permenantly depressed but the radio does not transmit although it receives just fine. This radio does not have a detachable microphone so replacing it is pretty much out of the question. I didn’t want to go into that much trouble if the seller would just let me return it.
Later that day the seller emails me back apologizing about the mistake in the posting and agrees to refund me. Great. I write back asking for the time frame and the method of refund but got no reply for the next 24 hours. I wrote back again. This time I suggested that I should get my refund before I have to send the radio back since that is how I first acquired it from him. Makes complete sense to me as this would be how the transaction would be done if I was to sell it to someone else on eBay. You get the payment for the item then you ship it. This solicited an aggravated response from the seller. He writes back.
“I have allready told you to return the unit and I will refund the purchase. You must return the item first or nothing. I will not go back and forth on this, just do it my way or nothing. This is my final offer, I will not answer again. If you leave feedback I will leave feedback immediately positive for positive or negative for negative.”
WTF??? This guy is nuts. I looked further into the history of this sellers history and saw dozens of negative feedbacks regarding DOA items. One of the reasons that triggered this research was that he wrote me back using a different eBay account than the one I originally contacted him with. The inquiry showed that this guy had another eBay account that he had been using since 2001 that has a rating of 631 but 16 negative feedbacks. His new account has only been established since 2005 and it already has 4 negatives. I figure this is not gonna go down quietly.
I began an onslaught of research and record keeping through both eBay and PayPal. I was prepared to drop this guy his 5th negative feedback of the year and hold on tight for the aftershocks. Well, not so fast I thought. This thing has the potential to drag out forever. Do I really want to do that? I may not see my money back and I’m stuck looking for another radio on eBay unless I want to take the blow and buy another new one. I decided that I may want to give it a shot at fixing the microphone. I figured it couldn’t hurt since it is already broken.
I opened up the microphone casing and find further corrosion of parts. Its not completely hopeless as most of the parts seem to work fine. Specifically it is the push-to-talk actuator that suffered the brunt of the damage. It was corroded pretty badly and it is also the reason why the push to talk button was stuck on as it no longer has the ability to push back. I ran down to the local radio shack and picked up a replacement microphone for 25 bucks and came home and opened her up. There was the exact part that matched what I needed to replace in my marine radio. I just don’t know for sure it the internal schematics have changed that would require me to wire it differently when I resoldered them back up. I went ahead and started disassembling anyways.
The microphone showing in this photo is the one I sacrificed for the radio.
The new microphone disassembled. The object to the right with all the wires going to it is the part i needed.
The original part that needed replacement. The black part on the right goes in and out when the push-to-talk button is pressed. This one no longer moved.
desoldered the old part and ready for disposal
The new part prior to desoldering and removal of wires.
After awhile of fumbling parts around and making sure nothing gets shorted out I managed to rewire the old mic with the new part and placed everything back into the little compartments inside the mic casing.
Reassembly of the old mic. The new part is installed and soldered with the correct wires as I know it.
Now came the moment of truth. I started with a useless radio and soon I may end with with another useless microphone. I plugged everything it and clenched my teeth as I pressed down on that PTP button….
The radio turned on and ready to be tested
The PTP button depressed and transmitting!!!!
Hooray! It worked. Note the red light under the LCD screen. It worked. I am pretty glad I don’t have to find another radio. But I still have this eBay guy to deal with. At this point I have spend about 80 bucks into fixing up the old radio and for another 20 I could have bought new. I guess you live and learn. Maybe this ebay guy will agree to refund part of my money for the repairs. I’ll write an update when I find out.
This is what’s left of the now useless new microphone from Radio shack. Note the old PTP module on the bottom left.