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Old 06-23-2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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Default Sailor vhf radio problems

Has anyone else experienced the disastrous effects of 10 years in the
Mediterranean or similar hot climate on the handsets supplied with Sailor VHF radios?

On our set, purchased in 2000 prior to leaving the UK, not only has the rubber covering of the lead rotted, but also the rubber on the handset PTT button, rendering it almost inoperable. By contrast, the
rubber coating on my Icom SSB set (fitted in 1987) is still going strong after 25 years.

Emails to Sailor in Denmark have produced a zero response. Does anyone have similar negative experiences of this company?
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:30 PM   #2
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You know the saying that nothing lasts forever? I suppose this is the proof of the pudding.

Did you buy this handset yourself? The cord doesn't look like the marine type cord but rather like an ordinary telephone cord of the old style here in the US. Here is a link for the mfr Service to obtain service worldwide on their stuff. Pick your region and follow up there.

I'm not familiar with the Sailor brand/line of VHF radio, but a quick google search makes me believe they're quite reputable. I would imagine that you did such a search yourself already.

Your radio may have encountered something which degraded the polymer coatings. Things like insect spray, spray-on sunscreen and common household cleaners can easily cause such degradation especially when combined with hot sun day-after-day. If you (or a former owner) are the sort of person who sprays Lysol on everything (for example) that can cause problems. Considering Lysol used to be marketed showing someone spraying their phone to get rid of germs...it's no wonder that things fall apart.

I wouldn't really compare the housings and accessories of SSB radios to marine VHF radios simply because the typical SSB is built a bit sturdier to the typical VHF marine radio--with the prices reflecting such.

Sounds like you should take advantage of this to purchase yourself a new DSC MMSI capable VHF radio?

Fair winds,
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:51 AM   #3
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Default Rotting sailor vhf handset

Thanks for the helpful suggestions, Redbopeep. Actually, the handset is the one supplied with the set (which is a fully specified and expensive DSC MMSI set) in 2000 and no, I haven't put any exotic substances on it nor has it been exposed to sunlight. It can only be the effects of age and/or the kind of temperatures common in the Med. Either way, it shouldn't happen and I do feel it's a manufacturing problem to do with the quality or composition of the rubber used. What really bugs me is the company has simply ignored the issue and, like most sailors, I get annoyed when what I believe is a legitimate complaint is treated in such a cavalier fashion. I would be tempted, as you say, to upgrade to a DSC set if I didn't already have one.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:17 AM   #4
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Default Ode to a sailor vhf

OK - I realise I'm probably going to get nowhere with this, so let's at least have a bit of fun at Sailor's expense!


ODE TO A SAILOR VHF

A decade has passed since you joined me aboard
As the ultimate marinerís friend,
But little I knew you were fatally flawed
And would leave me distraught in the end.

Your rubber has rotted, your cord is a sight,
With its entrails all open to view;
Your PTT button is perished and quite
Unlike its condition when new.

Though shielded from sunburn, kept out of the rain,
I cosseted you through the years,
Iíd sooner have sent you to Denmark again
If I'd known it would all end in tears.

Itís not that I bought you at deep discount prices
Or failed to maintain you with care;
But what isnít so nice is, if we have a crisis
Iím better off firing a flare!

I shudder to contemplate all of the woes
That could stem from your premature failure;
So itís vital I highlight what every girl knows:
That youíre really not safe with a Sailor!
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:19 AM   #5
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Kudos to you for your delicious poetic licentiousness! The HQ brass at Sailors would surely appreciate an autographed copy of your ode to embellish their salesroom walls.

What BoBeep said is correct, cleaners and even vapors of some "electronic lubricants" I as well have found to be disastrous to some plastics and rubber products. The damage does not show itself immediately but is like dry rot, ongoing and pernicious.

Ivo on Linnupesa in St. Augustine, FL and looking for crew to head to Maine.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for the comments linnupesa, but I suspect the top brass would have trouble pinning the ode to the walls of an ivory tower. Good luck with your voyage to Maine. Never sailed there, but I spent several happy days at Boothbay Harbor.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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This is funny. I have an ancient Sailor VHF which I purchased in 1984. It is a very large green box with a big rotary dial for channel selection. It came with a black handset that looks like the handset of an old telephone with the addition of a push button. No rubber. The unit has been operating flawlessly since 1984.

I did get a modern DSC Simrad VHF few years ago but I still use the Sailor.

I guess this is the case of the older the better.
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Old 07-06-2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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Default The old ones are the best

It's like old wine, old furniture and old friends - they just don't make them like that any more!

Happy cruising, Vasilis!
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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Pitching back in here, though it could be heat, I still heavily suspect that some chemical or another has done the trick on you. I've been victim of it myself. Even if someone standing nearby happens to spray themselves with a bit of insect repellant that could harm many polymers. I've witnessed spray-on insect repellants ruin a set of sunglasses. Not the lenses, mind you, but the frames.

Did you contact a service center via the link I gave you? Which service center did you contact? They should know if certain radios had problems with manufacture of materials and so forth.
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Old 07-06-2012, 07:10 PM   #10
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Default No deleterious substances

No, redbopeep. No quicktan spray; no hairspray; no suntan lotion; no mis-sprayed deodorant. No hydrocarbons; no insect repellant; no volatile substances; no short-chain carbohydrates.

What bugs me is the total lack of response from Thrane and Thrane (so bad they named them twice), the owners of Sailor, and their UK service agents. It would indeed be useful to know if there was a problem with certain batches of Sailor VHF handsets, but, as you will appreciate, communication is a two-way process and at present it's just a monologue.

Anyway, thank you for your continuing interest. I'll let you know if they suddenly wake up!
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Old 07-30-2012, 04:21 PM   #11
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Gordon,

Check your email.

Fair winds,
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:24 PM   #12
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Default The power of poetry?

Well, I'm pleased to say this problem has now been resolved. Like most, it was essentially a problem of communication and once Thrane & Thrane were aware of the issue, a replacement handset was dispatched promptly through their UK distributors, SES (Ships Electronic Services), without charge. Thrane & Thrane acknowledge that there were few 'rogue' handsets installed before they changed the composition of the rubber covering about 5-6 years ago.

Suffice to say, they appear to value their reputation among the yachting community after all and I am happy to withdraw my earlier criticisms (although writing the poem was admittedly fun!).
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Old 08-02-2012, 03:40 PM   #13
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Good to see a positive result. Send the poem to a few sailing mags, it is definitely worth publishing.
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Old 08-02-2012, 06:10 PM   #14
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Ah, but he'll have to change his poem to have a more positive ring about the Sailor radios now. LOL.

A note in support of the really friendly and quick responsiveness of the UK Sailor rep--

I'm so glad that it did turn out to be just a matter of communication after all. It was really bugging me that there was dead silence from the vendor on this. So, I emailed them myself on July 9. I was concerned that there could be a comm glitch. After all, we had no resolution to our thread here--it was hanging open. I sent the email via my private email not CL. They emailed back to me within 24 hours with info about the issue. I was busy and didn't get to my pile of non-business email until just a few days ago when they re-emailed me again saying "did you get our email?" so they were following up nicely even when I left them in silence for a fortnight. I then sent a note on to Athene. It seems they'd communicated with Athene way back on June 25th...but the internet must have swallowed up that information whole.

Now, I'm so very happy that they're taking care of the problem promptly once they were able to link up properly with Athene.

Email is a strange thing--you never really know if it's getting where it is supposed to go, or that someone is actually reading it, do you?

All is well that ends well.
Fair winds,
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