Which vhf radio?

Hello guys this is my first post on here! I have a few radios that I can use a mizuho sb-2m and ft 290r. Both radios need aligning so my question is which one is worth spending the money on? Is there enough activity on ssb for activations? Matt 2e1ihz

Hi, Matt, in your shoes I would get the FT290R done up, it is a robust golden oldy - and you would get a good price for the Mizuho!

SSB is a mere shadow of its former self, other than in contests, activity nights and the occasional opening it is pretty well dead. Even FM has gone down somewhat in the last year or two, though with FM it very much depends on where you are.


I’m with Brian, get the 290 sorted. The Mizuho is a good radio but it’s too nice to use now, they are worth much more as a collectors item.

Thanks for the replies, I have managed to find someone who will service the 290r. Most won’t touch it due to lack of spares! The mizuho is virtually a minter and boxed, like you say too nice to damage. I may well get it serviced and get it going in the shack with a linear!

A common problem with the FT290 is that the CPU can lock up, freezing the frequency display and preventing most front panel operations from working. That can be resolved by switching the internal battery switch to the off state. Then, turning it back on will allow the CPU to reset when main power is restored. This is a simple fix for an apparently dire problem.

I used a 290 for a few years without a good backup battery for the CPU. It is a solder-in 2032 or similar button cell. I installed a battery holder to allow me to use a more readily available type of cell. This required drilling a suitable hole in the PCB to accept the solder tabs of the socket.

Of course if there is an RF problem in the tx or rx, that’s a different matter altogether.

With the current special price on the ft817ND I would be tempted to replace the 290 with that. The 817 is lighter and gives more options for an activator. Depends on how much it will cost to get the 290 back on the air.

Hope it gets you on the air again and good luck with the SSB activations - I find local mailing lists and even repeaters are good ways to scare up some locals for direct 2m contacts.

73 Andrew VK1DA

Andrew beat me to this comment Matt. If the 290 turns out to cost too much to repair and you can stretch to buying an FT817 it is very much suited to SOTA usage and of course gives you multimode 160m through 70cm at up to 5w rather than only 2m and 2.5w. Good luck with your 2m SSB activations in any case.

73 Ed DD5LP (G8GLM)

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My ft 290 is sounding better than ever after a few ic component changes at the vast sum of £5!


That’s great news Matt. I’m sure the FT290 will give more years of service. Enjoy SOTA with the repaired rig.

73 Ed.