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Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

Old 07-14-2005, 03:12 PM
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Default Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

Hey, all

First, let me say what a great site THT is! I spend alot of time reading, not so much posting.

I have an Apelco 8500 VHF (2, actually) which is about 4 years old. When I installed my primary unit in the boat this spring, everything powered up just fine, but I could get nothing out of the built-in speaker (no static....nothing). It worked fine when I removed it from the boat last winter. I have not yet tried hooking up an external speaker, but will do that at some point. In addition, I have not hooked up my SWR meter to see if it transmits, but I assume it does as the TX LED comes on when I key the mic and other LEDs dim slightly. In the meantime, I simply installed my backup unit, which works fine.

Can anybody offer a suggestion as to what the problem may be? Raymarine wants a flat fee of $150 to fix it (yeah, right!!! I didn't pay that much for it new!!). I'd throw $25 or so at it for a backup - any more and it will become dumpster ballast, as it has always been a POS anyway.

Assuming I don't get it fixed and was going to replace it, what would you suggest? I fish primarily inland waters in MN, occasionally a few miles out on Superior or Michigan for walleyes and/or smallmouths. I would like DSC just for piece of mind, and would hook the unit to a Lowrance LMS 320 or 332C GPS. I don't think I would need DSC Polling. I am leaning toward a Standard Horizon, based upon the praise on THT, as well as Scott's participation on the board. Any comments on the Quest?

Thanks for any and all info!
Old 07-15-2005, 12:51 PM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

It soulds like it is shot. The tx indicator will come on even if you do not have the ant. connected. There should be some sound even if it is static

I wouldn't spend a penny on that unit. Just replace it will the unit of your choice. I prefer ICom.
Old 07-15-2005, 01:09 PM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

Throw the 8500 away and buy a new VHF. Plenty of good VHF's available for 150. I have a Quest as a secondary and it does great.
Old 10-18-2005, 10:35 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

I have same problem, but have hooked up external speaker and all seems to function, but I can't get any reception at all??

I don't have any $ to buy new or repair, so would appreciate some troubleshooting tips.

Old 10-18-2005, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

Wayne A. Broughm - 10/18/2005 11:35 AM

I have same problem, but have hooked up external speaker and all seems to function, but I can't get any reception at all??

I don't have any $ to buy new or repair, so would appreciate some troubleshooting tips.
So does this mean you now have static that can be squelched out, you just never get anything breaking squelch on a popular channle like 9 or 16, or do you not even get any static when you turn the squelch down?
Old 10-18-2005, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

No, I have static and if I leave if low, seek stalls for a bit on each channel then moves on . . . if I squelch it out, seek speeds up looping over and over threw all channels.

I have opened the box and reseated all contacts as well. It pristine inside the box - no corrosion at all! My mic buttons seems to function OK as well. When I change a channel, it goes beep then I hear an open channel sound, then nothing! I have even soldered a new antenna on using some copper co-x cable I had. I'm in my basement but have antenna in front of window with ocean view.
Old 10-18-2005, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

OK, since we knbow the speaker and the amp inside work, do you get anything on a weather channel is that dead/static too?
Old 10-19-2005, 07:56 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

Nothing is there on WX channels. . . even put antenna outside and higher last night, but nothing received (new antenna is RG 62A/U Type coaxial - about 15-20 feet long). I never use radio before - supposed to squelch out the static - correct? I tried channel 9 - PTT button on mike makes TX appear on LCD, but nothing received! Why would internal speaker not work? I have a small multi meter if you can suggest anything I can test with it?
Old 10-19-2005, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

Your speaker works, that is the static that you can squelch out. What you have is a receiver problem, although your antenna's coax isn't helping the issue, I don't think the coax is the primary cause. Your VHF antenna should be using RG58 or RG8x, which are both 50 ohm, while RG62 is 75 ohms. The impedence difference probably wouldn't cause the total lack of reception you are seeing, but once you have that worked out, it isn't going to help things. Are you using a base loaded whip like the ones from Metz that have the PL-259 connector at the bottom of the base load?
Old 10-19-2005, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

All I had left of the original antenna was the connector that screws onto the back of the radio (I assume this is the PL-259) with a 5 foot piece of RG58 soldered into it. Thinking I might improve things I soldered in a 15-20 foot long piece of RG 62A/U coaxial.

No "base loaded whip" <- would this be the actual whip like fiberglass jacket that the coax antenna runs up threw . . . heavier at the bottom I presume (base loaded)?
Old 10-20-2005, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

As this may be important I will point out again that it's only a speaker hooked up on the external speaker connection that works. The internal speaker is silent even after checking it all over (pristine) and re-seating it connections.

I really appreciate any help you can offer me
Old 10-20-2005, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

OK, you've now got two problems, your internal speaker is blown, and you can't receive, and they probably (unless water intrusion related) aren't linked. Problem is there isn't a work around for the receiver problem like there is for the speaker. Even if the antenna was shot, I'd still expect you to get weather unless you are in some remote, hilly area where lines of site are obscured badly. At this point I'd walk away from the radio, because anyone who can fix it is going to hit you for $70+ an hour plus whatever parts they may need. Unless the radio was in the $400 to begin with, it doesn't make economic sense to drop $100 on a radio when $180-$200 can buy a good VHF these days.
Old 10-20-2005, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

Wayne A. Broughm - 10/19/2005 11:12 AM

All I had left of the original antenna was the connector that screws onto the back of the radio (I assume this is the PL-259) with a 5 foot piece of RG58 soldered into it. Thinking I might improve things I soldered in a 15-20 foot long piece of RG 62A/U coaxial.

No "base loaded whip" <- would this be the actual whip like fiberglass jacket that the coax antenna runs up threw . . . heavier at the bottom I presume (base loaded)?
Wayne, if I understand you, your antenna consists of the piece of RG6 soldered onto the RG58. Correct?

This setup should give you the ability to at least hear weather channels, unless you are down in a valley as someone else suggested. However, you have in all likelihood fried the transmit side of the unit. The impedance mismatch and lack of any antenna is a formula for toast!

As has been recommended, do not invest any more time or money in this unit. Get a new one. My VHF of choice is ICOM. Try one, you will like it!

Bob
Old 10-21-2005, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Problem with Apelco 8500 VHF

I guess I lost my current contact who was trying to assist me!

Anybody else out there want to jump in?

Is there another forum I might try?

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