Yaesu Factory Service
I would like to start with the fact that I haven’t been a ham for awfully long, since May 2020. I am employed by a multi-national electronics company and work in the repair department with enough boards to make my brain numb. I’ve seen a LOT of things.
My first rig is a Yaesu FTM-7250DR. Fast forward several months a club member had a Yaesu FTM-400DR that he fried the final on and tried replacing it with no success. I bought the radio from him and looked it over and couldn’t get why it wouldn’t operate correctly.
- No TX power in VHF
- Low (mW) power in UHF
- UHF VFO would not change from 438.000
- One relay near SO-239 had a melted corner, presumably damaged by prior repair attempt. Relay clicked and appeared to be operational.
I removed the final and cleaned off the pads and checked voltages, had oscilloscope to check various points where the culprit could be to no avail. I should have done one more test, but more on that towards the end, as it really ended up being the issue — the only issue. I took note of what was wrong, re-soldered the final, and re-assembled the unit fully. I put it back in its original box and set it aside for while I decided what to do with it.
I work a lot so I had not much time left to work on the rig and after I decided to move from my current location I decided to send my unit to the Yaesu “Factory Service Department” — they would know the transceiver the best, right?
Around mid-November 2020 the unit was shipped after one brief chat with a representative on the phone to give some details. Shipped with insurance and adult signature required to their service department, was received the following week. After a while I hadn’t heard a peep so I decided to contact them again late November 2020 or early December 2020 and I was told that the received units get quarantined for 7 business days (uhh… okay) and after verifying that it had been there for longer than that and that the rig was actually received I was informed that the technician it was assigned to not only has a backlog he was out for about two weeks… so we agreed that probably wouldn’t hear anything back until maybe late January 2021 or early February 2021. Mind you this call took several attempts since nobody picked up the phone.
Fast forward to late January 2021, which I made several inquiries — left voicemail with the general support department mailbox, the lady I was speaking to originally, and sent an email to this same lady. No reply. Early February 2021 I decided to go through the Yaesu USA site and sent a service status request through their website and next day I receive a call from someone at Standard Horizon (the Yaesu “Factory Service”) that wanted to talk about the rig. I was informed that there was a broken trace in the final section and that they recommend replacing the final board, but this being a single board unit — meaning I would have to replace the entire single PCB which is basically the radio itself — it would cost as much as a entirely new unit. He gave me the options of replacement as recommended by the technician or just have it sent back to me and I could dispose of it as desired, which I chose to do.
A while after I received the unit at my door I hurriedly took it inside after work and I wish I hadn’t. I opened the unit and I was missing nearly all of the RF shielding, the final transistor, screws that hold the RF shielding down around the final transistor, and much to my displeasure I found out that a whole pad and part of a trace were missing on one of the four legs of the final (ground pins). I was so furious I put the cover back on and walked away for the evening. Next day after work I came back and looked at the unit with more detail and found out that the melted relay had been replaced (thank you!) and figured out that the final was removed with the solder COLD (partially melted, soft, not completely reflowed). The legs of the final left impressions on the solder which are unequivocally the part being removed without the solder being hot enough to melt properly. I understand this is on a ground plane, I know the struggle at work of working on ground planes sucking up the heat, but this was just a shock. I was told it was a BROKEN TRACE. NOT what I found. I wish they would’ve come clean and we could’ve been in a better place. This is more than likely the cause for the missing trace and pad.
See the pictures below and tell me. I took all of these the day after it arrived and I decided to look at it closely.
I spoke to several OM at my local club and they recommended I contacted someone (which I will not name, they were not a party to this issue) and see what they could do. I did so and explained my situation, and within a week I received an email from a Customer Support Manager asking for more information.
After presenting my case and my findings from the returned unit… I was hoping they would either actually repair it for a discount or some sort of discount on a newer unit. Not ONCE did I mention getting service or a unit for free, but this “manager” immediately proceeded to shift the blame onto me as “the unit had been previously worked on and there is no way to know that the damage occurred in their possession” — I wish I would’ve been less trusting and taken lots of pictures of the unit beforehand. I did not. I was also informed very abruptly that they cannot take responsibility due to this and that they cannot afford to provide free replacements as it is not in their budget (or some similar excuse that I really don’t want to look up to quote correctly).
Yes, I was furious. This butcher calling themselves a technician damaged my unit and tried to hide it and make me eat a brand new replacement board. I called them out on it and furthermore pointed out they are thieves since they did not return the unit in the same condition it came in. The unit was missing internal RF shielding, screws, the FINAL itself, and a spring clip that goes on one of the screws holding the board down — this is all part of the RF shielding. I — in no uncertain terms — told them I was less than pleased with being called a liar especially when I know what I was looking at and how the issue was caused and the complete lack of regard at the issue. I told this person that receiving my parts back was acceptable as the communication was going nowhere and told them that the message was my last to them. I was promised my parts back and that was the last I heard from the “manager.”
It is July 2021. No parts, no communications from Yaesu (more specifically “Standard Horizon”).
I took the pictures of the damage to the unit to the repair coach at work and the IPC instructor that trained me and told them nothing other than to look and tell me what they saw. Both of them told me the same thing I thought — the final was removed without properly reflowing the solder, and more than likely it pulled the pad along with part of the trace. Other possibility is that they overheated the one pad and then tried removing it while the solder was cooling down instead of using a hot air method. Either way, negligence.
Which never replied to any emails and voicemails and to whom took an unreasonable amount of tries to get a hold of
Whom your blame-shifting, condescending, and rude attitude reflects on your professionalism (or lack thereof) and somehow still call yourself Customer Service Manager
The butcher calling themselves a technician, who successfully scammed me and did his best to destroy my rig… I wish I had his name so I could call him out too. I really wish that you do not screw over other people the way you guys did to me. It is sad that Yaesu USA allows such scum to represent them.
The lack of communication, shady behavior, and complete disregard for others’ property is beyond what anybody should be able to get away with… but I guess they are a big company and I’m just a nobody. BEWARE. Moral of the story: find more reputable technicians. Stay away from Standard Horizon — the actual company performing the repairs on behalf of Yaesu USA.
Also posted most of this review on eHam. Everything except for names as I don’t want to get eHam in any trouble. My website is a different story.
Update (9/8/2021): Any further emails to recover the parts stolen have gone unanswered. Not only did they butcher my rig and tried scamming me, they stole my parts which they promised to return. No word, lies, and no integrity.
Update (8/8/2022): At this point I gave up on the stolen parts as a loss as fighting for them with a stone wall would require money for counsel and frankly it is not worth it. However beware – I hope your rig is not touched by this butcher calling themselves a technician of any sort. Total loss? $49.91 for the RD70HUF2 transistor and ~$30 (if found, since you can only find >$400 working units at the time of this writing) for a grand total of $79.91 in parts stolen by this company.