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Thread: ICOM A200 weak?

  1. #1

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    ICOM A200 weak?

    My 'go fast' airplane RV8 seems to be weak on receive and send. ICOM A200, belly mount bent whip antenna.

    I fly between SW Kansas and Wichita frequently and 'out here' when given a freq change I usually have to pull the squelch to barely make out the controller until i get more into the sector. The controller seems to have as much trouble hearing me as I do him. I only have issues on fringe areas and usually about 5 minutes (15 miles) into the freq change I am loud and clear.
    I know I live in a area where the controller will often caution about areas with poor coverage but I am confident my radio is weaker in both receive and transmit than most.

    I know nothing about anything electrical. I am aware that less than optimum SWR will cause transmit issues..will it cause receive weakness as well?

  2. #2
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Check the antenna coax cable. It should be a tan colored RG400 cable. Check the security of each cable end. The cable ends should be a crimp type. Stay away from the hand assembled types. If all looks well there, pull the antenna off the belly. What model number antenna? The base of the antenna should be clean and no gasket used. Use a bonding brush to clean the paint off the panel around the mounting screw holes (I'm assuming a metal panel at least 24" round/square). Re mount the antenna keeping the antenna base and the belly panel CLEAN. Once the mount screws are tight, seal the antenna base with a small bead of clear RTV.

    If this antenna mounts on a non conductive panel, let me know and I'll describe how to fabricate a suitable ground plane for it.

    Web
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  3. #3

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    Web. Would dielectric grease be good/bad to use around antenna screws?


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  4. #4
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with it, in moderation. I don't use it unless the aircraft is on floats or parked on a beach.

    Web
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  5. #5

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    The antenna is a Comant Ci122. There is no paint or gasket under base. It looks clean underbase. I shined it up and reinstalled screws. The coax is tan with crimped connectors and secure
    Plenty of conductive surface (ground plane?)

    The belly was kinda greasy so it and rest of the bird got washed!!


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  6. #6
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Make sure the antenna is installed with no gasket.

    Fly it and recheck radio performance.

    What altitude and what distance is this happening?

    Web
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  7. #7
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Likely unrelated as yours is a two-way problem, but I had to adjust the internal squelch screw on my A200 as I lost reception outside of the pattern.


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  8. #8

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    I went through similar issues with my VAL com....after chasing things around I finally just gave up and got a new garmin COM, very nice to finally have a radio that works well.

  9. #9
    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    Did you actually test the antenna wire, or just look at the connectors? Use an Ohm meter. Have you pulled the radio from the tray and slid it back and forth into the tray a few times. Could be the connectors are "dirty".

    Jim
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  10. #10
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farm_boy252 View Post
    I went through similar issues with my VAL com....
    In the words of the great Adam Savage (. . . well there's your problem!)

    Web
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmboy View Post
    Likely unrelated as yours is a two-way problem, but I had to adjust the internal squelch screw on my A200 as I lost reception outside of the pattern.


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    Going into Wichita a couple days ago i was turned over to approach 50 miles out 6000’agl. I had to pull squelch button and told approach i was checking in but could barely hear her through the static. She replied “same here”
    Probably within 35-40 miles out i was loud and clear


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  12. #12

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    I will recheck. I will also pull the radio and slide it in and out a couple times to make sure of secure connection
    At 6000’agl in Ks (pool table flat) and 35-40 miles i can pick up ground stations without pulling squelch button


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  13. #13

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    In recent years center will hand me to Wichita approach ‘way out’ (50 miles)
    Back in the good old days you would still be with center within 25 miles??


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  14. #14
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Find another IC-A200 or Bendix-King KY97A and put it in for a flight or two and compare.

    Web
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  15. #15
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Radio shops should have something like a power out, % modulation, and SWR meter available. Might be worth a tuneup someday if the radio system underperforms. I've had them fix things like this before, especially if the plane's a static maker.

    Gary

  16. #16
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Man, it seems crazy to me that Center is kicking you over to Approach that far out. That's a lot to ask of a low powered aircraft VHF radio. And, That still leaves a long cross country for me.....

    MTV
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Man, it seems crazy to me that Center is kicking you over to Approach that far out. That's a lot to ask of a low powered aircraft VHF radio. And, That still leaves a long cross country for me.....

    MTV
    Me too!! It didn't used to be that way. But obviously other radios have no problem with it. My area often is sketchy coverage from sector to sector...often from Dodge City to Amarillo, unless I am 8000 agl the controller will advise with a handoff that I might be out of radio contact for 5 minutes or more before picking up the next sector.

  18. #18

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    Will do...i have a good radio shop fairly close that I'll also get the antenna system checked on his meters.

    thanks Web

    It's big sky country out here but this last Thursday Center cautioned me of traffic same altitude converging and finally advised I climb or descend...I climbed and watched a twin pass directly beneath, it woulda been close!
    Last edited by flynlow; 10-18-2020 at 05:13 PM.
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  19. #19
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    If you can verify that the antenna system is in good shape, you can switch over to a Bendix-King KY97A (5 watt) or KY197A (10 watt). They both slide into the same tray as the -A200 so you'll have no installation costs, but be aware that you may have issues with the back lights with a KY197A. It's been my experience that Bendix-King radios are the distance champs of typical aircraft radios.

    Web

    I just checked the Icom diagram. If your -200 is wired as per that diagram, you should be able to slide a KY197A into the tray and use the internal photocell to control the lights, with no adverse effects.
    Last edited by wireweinie; 10-18-2020 at 05:17 PM. Reason: additional info
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by wireweinie View Post
    If you can verify that the antenna system is in good shape, you can switch over to a Bendix-King KY97A (5 watt) or KY197A (10 watt). They both slide into the same tray as the -A200 so you'll have no installation costs, but be aware that you may have issues with the back lights with a KY197A. It's been my experience that Bendix-King radios are the distance champs of typical aircraft radios.

    Web
    Thanks again! I appreciate everyone taking the time to offer help.

  21. #21
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    With the right equipment a radio shop should be able to check and tuneup your radio to factory specs...receiving and transmitting. I looked over my copy of the service procedures and it does take some skill with the right gear and your radio on the bench so they can adjust things if needed. If the antenna's correct it may well help in case somethings not right.

    Gary

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    With the right equipment a radio shop should be able to check and tuneup your radio to factory specs...receiving and transmitting. I looked over my copy of the service procedures and it does take some skill with the right gear and your radio on the bench so they can adjust things if needed. If the antenna's correct it may well help in case somethings not right.

    Gary
    Thanks Gary, I will have my radio shop guy take a look.

  23. #23
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