Monday, May 27, 2013

TK-890 Amateur Radio Mod

Over the past weekend a friend of mine asked if I would help him convert his Kenwood TK-890 mobile to work on the ham bands.  I wasn't sure how successful we'd be, since most every online search came up with at best little information or at worst flat out statements saying "Nope, can't be done."  As it turns out, it can be done.  Kudos to Tim K for his notes posted to Radio Reference which gave enough hints to make this happen. 

In general this is how it went.  My friend wanted his radio to work on the Bay-Net repeater system, which operates 443.225 with a +5 MHz TX split.  TX was fine, but RX was giving a steady "beep-beep-beep..." which indicates PLL unlock.

In the PLL section, under the copper foil, are three adjustment pots: A = TC302, B = TC303, and C = TC301.  (Don't ask why they're out of order.)  According to the Service Manual, Pot A sets the PLL for the low end of the receiver range, Pot B sets the high end of the receiver range, and Pot C sets the TX PLL.  The goal is to monitor test point CV with a voltmeter and adjust for minimum voltage during RX and TX.  This requires re-programming the radio's test frequencies to match the band of interest, so you'll need the KPG software and cable. 

Once we had the PLL voltages minimized for RX and TX, I found that the radio's TX frequency was way off, so a frequency alignment was needed.  This again required the KPG software - for some reason we couldn't get the radio into Panel Test/Tune via the control head.  It was easy enough with the KPG, once we realized you need to press "Enter" to lock the modified value. 

Other things like adjusting the BPF and checking deviations should be done.  In the end, the conversion was very easy and the radio is working well on the UHF amateur band.

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