Recommended By Charlie Tango DX

Hy-Gain 2795DX Restoration by David 26CT1862 G0SLV

Ok… I picked this Hy-Gain V up the other week. It’s a bit on the rough side. so I’m going for a full restoration.

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The front panel bezel has been horribly painted with a garish, overly metallic and cheap looking paint… complete with overspray into the black areas.

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The case is a disaster. Why do people not prep surfaces before spraying???

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…not that it would have helped, as it’s a million miles away from the factory finish, so this will be blasted back to bare steel and started again.

The front panel will be sanded down to bare plastic, and the front panel also… yes… I mean sanding off the satin black and lettering!

So what am I going to do to get it back?

I’m having a white water slide decal made, based on accurate artwork I’ve just created…

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The black left hand panel, once surface prepped, will be sprayed in satin black, then the decals applied, and a very thick layer of non-shrink varnish applied. Once cured, it will be flattened back with 2400 wet and dry, then a final satin lacquer spray applied.

The silver will be resprayed the correct colour once the surface are prepped.

Same treatment for knobs of course.

Inside is not in bad shape…

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…just done a full alignment… all is well. Modified the final bias circuit to cure the typical cybernet scratchy audo. Done the “thimping” squelch mod.

It has a broken VCO core as they always do (why do the chimps always break these things?) so a new one from Spectrum is on order. The VCO is actually perfectly adjusted, but it’s still getting a new one.

Bleep reconnected and removed from the NB switch, and NB re-attached.

Doing some more work on the 2795DX.

After inspecting the paint, I’ve opted for stripping rather than blasting. Less aggressive.

Applying some evil, foul smelling paint striper to remove the 36 year old paint, and about 4 layers of other assorted cellulose spray paint other idiots have applied over the years.

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20 minutes later…. a test scrape.. looking good.

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A further 20 minutes and after a rinse… most of it gone.

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It’s having another soak to remove the last, stubborn bits and pieces and get as much bare metal showing before a final rinse and dry.

Top cover as stripped as it will get. Just needs a light sanding with 1200 grade wet and dry to flatten it ready for priming. Now I know the paint stripper works well, I’ll do the bottom cover tomorrow.

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Anodised finish was gone for good.. so brushed steel and lacquered it is… until I can find a nice replacement.

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Final decal artwork as sent to the printers. (actual size). The decals will be white on clear.

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Back panel reassembled.

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I think this is what’s commonly referred to as “the point of no return” :)

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Just got a new mylar diaphragm 5 watt speaker to replace the pathetic paper diaphragm, 0.2 watt piece of crap that was in it.

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Masked off for the first pass of silver paint.

Masking at this part is not that vital, it’s when the black goes on things get critical!

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The black parts will initially be sprayed GLOSS black. While this sounds awful, it will be the best surface for the water slide decal to be applied to. Once the decal is on, GENTLY… layer by later, a fine mist of matt varnish will be sprayed on. You have to be careful with water slide decals: Too much varnish in one go and they wrinkle when the varnish dries.

Not a massive amount of work done this weekend due to bad weather… awful for painting when there’s damp in the air.

however… crap weather is great for keeping up your attention to detail. As I want this radio to look not only great… but NEW…. nothing escapes treatment.

The channel display filter was very, very scratched. I was worried it was beyond restoration, but I’ve managed to do it.

One of the popular myths you hear about scratches on plastic is that you can use T-Cut. You can NOT use T-Cut on soft plastics like this if you wish to retain pure, optical clarity (unless you follow it up with much lighter polishing compounds). T-Cut (the clue is in the name) is a cutting compound, and far to coarse to be used on plastics like this. If you use T-Cut, it may appear to be clear of scratches, but it will appear misty in appearance when light is shined through, and reflection from a point light-source will reveal many swirls and micro scratches.

You need a much kinder polish than T-Cut.

I use this with good results.

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Here are the results: Literally as new.

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The make or break point is applying the decals actually, as to avoid a tell tale edge to them I’m going to apply the whole set of decals in one sheet… which is VERY difficult. Don’t congratulate me just yet :)

I’m really hoping it goes well too, as finding as new versions of these is next to impossible now. Those that exist will be in glass cases somewhere, probably never to surface again. I’m enjoying this. If there was enough demand for it, I could easily do this for a living LOL I find it relaxing.

Final job for today: The top case panel. The case on this radio is in very poor shape, and now the paint is removed, there is deeply pitted corrosion that can not be sanded flat without removing too much steel. The case was sanded back to bare steel, and then some to flatten it as much as possible, then soaked in distilled malt vinegar to remove corrosion, washed, then baked in the oven at 200C for 20 mins.

Once fully dry and cool, a generous layer of primer applied. The painted panel went back in the oven at 80C for 20 minutes to low bake the paint finish.

This now allows me to see where any paint correction is needed. There are one or two spots that require additional sanding, which will be done soon, and a final primer layer applied, flattened and ready to take the first coat of satin black.

once the satin black is cured, a gloss black will be stippled on by flicking a paint soaked toothbrush to complete the factory finish… don’t laugh… it looks brilliant if done well, and exactly like the factory finish of most Cybernet radios.

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I was worried about the paint keying to the plastic, so I removed all the masking from the front panel, and gave it a coat of grey primer. Glad I did as there are areas that still require some attention.

Still… looking mighty fine.

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I have decided the only way to mask these parts off satisfactorily is to use a liquid mask. This will be used to mask off the fascia while I apply the silver, peeled off, and reapplied to mask off the silver while I apply the black. Masking tape is just too crude a tool for this job.

Last one for tonight. A test fit of the panel to test how the s-meter looks with a new, pure white LED in it.

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All looks well. Evenly lit.. not too bright, not too dark.

it has however made the poor condition of the s-meter lens apparent. This will now receive the same treatment as the LED filter and made to look as new again.

Time to attack the lower panel casing. This radio has clearly spent a long time in a damp environment – shed, garage etc. The circuit board and interior are in pretty good shape, but the casing and rear panels are poor. The rear panel is restored already as is the top casing (in primer yet), but the bottom one has some pretty aggressive corrosion.

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So what did the last owner do? He just painted over the rust!

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If you’re going to do this yourself, I implore you: Do NOT just paint over rust. Not only does it look damned awful, but that oxidisation is still there underneath the paint, and still corroding away very nicely. This is why the paint has bubbled up like this.

[edit]… and would you LOOK at that paint finish! Please people… paint spraying is a skill long learned. Do not just blast these old radios with a rattle can from Halfords or some poor sod like me has so much work to do in order to rectify your mistakes! These radios need preserving, not ruining.

Paint will be stripped, case sanded flat and then a bath of distilled malt vinegar (yes… this really does work but you need the clear distilled stuff, not the brown stuff you put on your chips).

I suspect the corrosion will be so bad, that the lower case will need some filler in parts.

Liquid mask applied to front panel, and ready for silver paint.

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This stuff is great. It just peels off like rubber when you’re fisnihed.

Silver paint applied. This is just raw paint. Finally there will be a clear coat of matte varnish.

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In the interim I’ve been having a rethink regarding paint. I never was happy with the silver paint on this. Most silver paints I’ve been trying are heavy in appearance… metallic flakes suspended in clear… looked very coarse.

So.. while I’ve not been actually doing anything on the radio, I have been researching. Model maker’s forums are a great resource for this. There are loads of paints out there suitable, and I’ve actually opted for an aerosol paint, which is something I rarely do. I’ve ordered 2 cans of Tamiya TS30 Silver Leaf paint, which appears to be a match for the OEM finish after comparing it to my other Hy-Gain V (Yet to be restored).

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So…. problem…..

Getting the old paint off and getting the panel back to bare plastic. Sanding is out of the question, as I’ll just be taking too much plastic off. Any regular paint stripper will just dissolve the plastic. All the rubbish you read on the net about fairly liquid is just that… rubbish.

So… I got myself some of this.

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Works beautifully. Designed for plastic, it removed the silver paint, and some of the black paint I had already started to apply. It advises not to immerse the item, but I decided to throw caution to the wind, and did any way. I’ve used it before, and never had any issues.

So…. the panel is now back to bare plastic again (minus some original OEM paint that never would come off).

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I had an accident however. I dropped the panel and it cracked!!

A hairline crack at the corner of the s-meter aperture.

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At this point you’re probably thinking, “Bloody hell Dave…. you’ll never see that when painted”, and you’d be right, but the problem is not the crack itself, but the fact that any flex or movement in the panel when working on it will crack the paint, and almost certainly the water slide decal when applied, so the crack itself is not the issue, but the movement of that crack.

Thinking on my feet I decided to apply resin to the rear of the panel to stabilise it and prevent movement.

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Now it’s set, a very light sanding over the crack with grade 1200 will level it out ready for painting. I’ll report back when I’ve got the panel back in primer. It’s a wet day here today, so not good for painting with so much moisture in the air. It may be tomorrow unless the weather changes.

Oh.. forgot to say… also ordered some of this.

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The first one is a setting agent for the decal and the second is a solvent that actually partially melts the decal when applied. That sounds scary, but the problem with water slide decals is that need a perfectly flat surface or they wrinkle. While the front panel appears flat, it is not. The edges around the cut-outs for the knobs are actually rolled inwards slightly, and I also want to the decal to overlap the raised centre section so you can not see the edge of it. Partially melting the decal base layer once applied allows you to apply it to irregular surfaces. It has been used by model makers for years to apply decals to irregular and bumpy surfaces.

Front panel back in primer. Been inspecting it under a magnifying glass and the finish is perfect. Had several passes with primer to show errors.. sanding to correct… repainting etc… Happy with the finish now.

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Crack restored…

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..and a detail shot showing level of finish, ready for the top coats.

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Just need to wait for the Tamiya paint to arrive now and I can crack on. I’ll get back to working on the case panels tomorrow if the weather is dry.

OK.. first pass with the satin black…

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Some imperfections need flattening out.. will probably take 3 passes to get it perfect.

Satin black flattened with grade 1200 wet and dry.

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This is s stage most people never do, yet it’s crucial. I can understand why it’s often skipped, as the case didn’t look TOO bad with the first pass and it is wasteful of paint, but now it’s flattened you can see how irregular the paint finish was. Anything matte has been flattened, and anything still satin has not been touched by the wet & dry…. that’s how lumpy paint can be, even when sprayed.

Time for a second pass with a much lighter spray.

Ok… second coat of black.

Once the heavy base coat is applied and flattened, I sprayed very lightly… almost a mist settling on the panel. I did this allowing 1 minute between coats to build up a slightly stippled finish that you will find on the 70s/80s cybernet radios from the factory.

only one extra pass was needed as I was very careful with the flattening.

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Low baked at 80 degrees C for 15 minutes and first coat of black done.

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Next up the lower panel, which was a complete basket case. There’s a story to tell with that…

A couple more shots of the base coat of black as the other images didn’t show the finish very well.

The stippled satin finish

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A close up detail shot showing the textured finish.

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…and a final detail shot.

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As you may recall (see page 2) the case was in VERY bad shape. I stripped the paint and sanded and ran into a whole world of hurt! I’ve never seen such a crap piece of steel in my life! The rust literally appeared before my eyes as the panel dried. Even if I wet and dry sanded, then IMMEDIATELY dried with a paper towel, it was going red rusty before my very eyes.

Arse! I can’t paint over rust as it just comes through eventually.

In the end there was only one practical solution, and that was to chemically change the rust into something else…

Enter Hammerite Kurust.

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This stuff, which is a white fluid, will chemically change rust into a hard, protective coating which turns a purple/black when cured.

I applied it liberally, and left this panel to one side while I got on with the house work I needed to do. This was 4 weeks ago now, and no rust is coming through.

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That’s not painted… that’s just the Kurust left to dry.

The corrosion is stable now, so I need to flatten ready for primer. I cannot use wet and dry though, as I’ll run into the same issues, so I’ll have to dry sand… not recommended, but I have no choice. I’ll use a high build filler primer and do the flattening at the primer stage instead.

Well.. this is a first. I’ve never had to use filler on a CB radio before. :)

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Got some primer on it and it just revealed the extent of the damage the corrosion had done. Even though the rust is dealt with, the deep pitting it left behind simply can not be sanded out without leaving a noticeable depression in the surface. No choice… filler time!

This bottom panel has fought me all the way! Paint… sand… paint.. sand… Arrrgh!

I’m done for the day. It’s looking good now in primer. There are a few really tiny errors hard to correct, but unless you happen to know exactly where to look and also happen to have a magnifying glass handy you’d never spot them. It requires one more flattening with wet and dry to clean up excess paint around the speaker grille, and if tomorrow is dry, it will get the satin black.

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In case you’re eagle eyed, and curious… yes, there is paint gumming up the speaker grille. This is normal when using “high build” primers, and I needed to use such a primer to help fill in the irregularities caused by the corrosion pitting and filling. Once all paint has hardened this will be dealt with tomorrow before the satin black coat.

I’ve just noticed something. That crack was NOT as a result of me dropping it, as I just noticed it on the earlier shot after first sanding it….

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It’s a bloody good job I DID drop it, or I may never have noticed that! It really would have thrown a spanner in the works once the decal was applied as you could move both halves of the crack when flexing the panel.

It probably happened when a previous owner dropped the radio, as the rear panel was also dented (sorted out now).

Just goes to show you… no matter how much attention to detail you give a project, there’s always something easily missed.

OK… been experimenting with paint and decals.

I got an old store card, primed it… flattened it… painted in satin black… flattened it… basically all the stuff you’d normally do, and then applied a water slide decal. Just a clear base off cut from the sheet.

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Normally if you lacquered over that you’d see the edges, so I then applied Microsol to the edges… brushed.. dried.. re-applied… dried, and kept doing this for 5 or 6 passes. As it’s a solvent it was melting the edges away each time.

After 6 passes of Microsol.

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Now then… I applied several light coats of matte lacquer.. really light… like a mist falling on it. Did this for 3 or 4 coats, and…..

Spot the waterslide decal!

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Can you?

Nope… me neither.

I’m going to sacrifice part of one of the decals to thoroughly test this out before I decide, but it may be that I do not have to apply the decal as one massive sheet, but can actually apply them individually. If so, this will make the job MASSIVELY easier.

Spot the edge!

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I’ll be buggered if I can either.

Here’s a backlit shot.. if there was an edge, back lighting would have picked it out. (forgive the rough paint finish… this is just a test.. forgive the fingerprint too LOL).

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I can safely assume that I do not need to apply the decals as one huge sheet, which is a massive relief as it would have been a nightmare.

This also means… perhaps more excitingly… ANY radio can be restored despite its complexity… even something like a Multimode II with no bezel!

Watch the video below in 1080P

Oooh!… look at what’s arrived!

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Just done a quick test spray, and when compared to my other Hy-Gain V waiting to be restored it’s a match, both in colour and texture.. if being picky.. perhaps EVER so slightly colder. My other one has never been repainted so is still in original factory paint.

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It’s really difficult to show this in a photo , but up close the silver is really smooth… no coarse metallic flakes… just a smooth silver.

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Forgive the finger smudge… it surprised me how long this stuff takes to dry compared to what I normally use. Got a silver finger now… LOL

And… just in time for this arriving, the rain has arrived. Relative humidity is shooting up, and rain is forecast for pretty much all weekend too. I’ll do what I can when I can, but I need dry air to paint in as I’ve nowhere with air con or a dehumidifier to spray paint.

I also got the basket case of a god damned hateful lower panel in its base coat of satin black today. Just flattened it out. Ready for any corrections, and a final top coat or two. Bad weather may put a stop to any painting if the temp drops and humidity rises though.

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Due to terrible weather, today I shall mostly be giving my knob a good seeing to!

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Right.. I know what you’ve all been waiting to see…..

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He he… you do know that the whole reason I am restoring this radio is so I have a reason to get away with making cheap knob gags don’t you? :)

On a serious note.. I started sanding and thought.. sod this…. then I soaked them in Testor’s ELO despite the instructions saying not to. I seriously think that warning is a basic “covering their ass” statement… rather like McDonald’s having a warning that the contents of your apple pie is hot :)

I’m sure there are some plastics that may not like it, but the ABS these knobs are clearly made from seems to be fine. 24 hour soak and the original paint just rubbed off. However, I take NO responsibility if you do the same and your knobs melt!…. ooh errr… that sounds a bit rude :)

All ready for some primer.

Ok.. silver paint take 2!

Masked off.. ready to go… as soon as it’s dry.

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That’s not a gap in the masking over the “channel selector” text…. it’s a piece of tape. The liquid mask is a pig to remove from inside the lettering.

OK.. panel back in silver now.

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Some light sanding of the edges to remove the bits of paint where the mask peeled off is required yet.. once the paint has hardened.

I’m just going to have a bit of a strokey beard moment, while I work out the next step to get the black in place.

Bottom panel in final base coat of satin, ready to be gloss splattered.

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Ok…. decided the best way to get a precise edge of black against the silver, is to actually do it by hand. So.. satin acrylic model paint and a size 0 water colour flat… and carefully butted up to the edge of the silver. I then painted in a border of overlap for the spray coat to follow.

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All of this needs a very light flattening with grade 2500 yet, and then when teh rest of the black is on, it’s time for the decals… then top coat.

OK.. knobs in primer.

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One or two of them will need a little dab of filler and sanding due to dents and scratches.

I’m pretty much done for the evening. I don’t want to do anything else to the front panel until the paint has fully hardened.

It’s hard to imagine it finished by these shots, as the hand painted black is not the right finish yet. You have to imagine it flattened and then covered with a matt lacquer which will even out any of these problems.

I will finish with a close up shot that shows the accuracy of the black edging.

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Needed a VERY steady hand :)

Someone may find this one day :)

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I know it’s not in the same league as the gold records attached to the Voyager spacecraft, but…. (shrug)

It’s lacquered over… so it’s going nowhere :)

I couldn’t resist just test fitting everything loosely together, just to see how the silver looks against the new panels :)

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Massive set back I’m afraid. Applied lacquer to the panel, and it just ruined the silver. It’s just gone a dull grey colour.

Good job I did this now and not after everything else.

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Nothing else for it… paint will be stripped and started again.

I’ll be back when I’m back to the same stage, as there’s no point in repeating a lot of the same processes.

I’ll have to mask off the silver when I do finally come to lacquer over the decals… if I ever get there!

Just been looking at the Tamiya range of clear coats…

I’m liking TS79… very close to original finish.

Found this on a watch forum of all places

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2 cans of TS30 arrived today, so I’ve been playing with knobs again :)

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Just waiting for the mask to dry and I’ll put the panel back into silver, then paint in the black edging again. Should be back on track by today.
.. sorry that pic is dark… no idea why that is… and here’s me a professional photographer too.. LOL. No point retaking it… you’ll see the knobs again soon when I put the black markings on them.

It’s expensive in paint!! Let alone hours :)

Ok.. panel back in silver, but I’m letting the paint harden before I remove the mask.

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Busy doing other stuff today, so updates may be sporadic.

OK.. finally got back to where I was before the lacquer disaster.

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Also the TS80 lacquer arrived today, so I did a test on a spare knob before committing the panel to it, and it’s a good job I did, as it did exactly the same thing: Dulled the silver down a great deal.

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Left is the bare Tamiya silver paint, and right is the same paint with the Tamiya lacquer. This paint just doesn’t like lacquer. The more I look at it though, the more I’m not sure if I like it or not. Opinions?

The panel was than masked off and black applied… quite a scary sight!

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Removing the mask was a pig though, and there will be some paint corrections to be made, but the panel is now in black and silver at last.

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I’ve learned one thing though. On the next one, I’ll do the black first, then the silver. While this is going to look very good… it will not be perfect. I’ve come to the conclusion that this restoration is pretty much a test bed for the next one. There’s so much I would have done differently if I was to start again. The Tamiya paint is VERY fragile, and takes a long time to harden, and I’ve inadvertently marked the paint slightly in places. The next one will have that freshly painted TS30 left for at least a week before I go near it. I think this 2795DX will be up for sale, especially now I know I can get a genuine pee-wit bleep installed in the 8795. I’ve got three Hy-Gain Vs now.. LOL… this is getting silly.

That raps it up for the day.

I had a go at the gloss splattering. It looked really good, but the paint I’m using is too thick, and didn’t dry flat enough, so I’ll be experimenting with thinners for the paint I think. I didn’t shoot any pics of it, as I wanted to get the paint flattened before it became too hard. The case panels are now back in satin black. I can respray flat panels in my sleep, so having a few attempts at them in order to get it right doesn’t bother me.

I’ll post more updates tomorrow.

Ok… from left to right.

1.Tamiya TS30 Silver Leaf. 2. Original Hy-Gain V. 3.Tamiya TS30 Silver Leaf and Tamiya TS80 Flat lacquer.

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Decals are on now. Not lacquered yet, as it’s far too damp to paint today.

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I am gonna remove and replace the L M H decal though, as the edge tore when applying.

OK.. lacquer on.

Finish is pure matt, and perfectly flat.

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Am I 100% happy? No.. it’s not as perfect as I had hoped. The biggest issue, if anyone wants to have a go themselves, is the time the Tamiya paint takes to dry. Next time I do this, I’m just going to put the paint on, then place the panel in a cupboard for a week and forget it’s there. It really is that soft.. 24 hours just don’t cut it. Lightly tap it with a finger nail and it leaves a dent ect. Remove the mask and it roughs up the edging. As a result, the silver is not as perfect as I’d have liked. It’s good enough for this test project, and a million times better than it was when I bought the radio though :) For me, 100% happy woudl have been looking identical to a brand new radio. As it stands… it’s perhaps 90% by my standards. I am 100% happy with the black/decals though… although a small part of the Hy-Gain logo was removed by the Microsol that I hadn’t noticed. It just looks like a gap in the white you can often get with the original tampo printing though.

Still… this is going to be once nice looking Hy-Gain V when finished… one of the nicest around.

Just a loose fitting together and power up to give an idea of the finished radio.

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I was going to wait until everything was finished and put up a list of materials used, but I only feel it’s fair to mention Precision Decals at this point.

John at Precision Decals was extremely helpful, and I have to add, patient with my constant questions. He knows his stuff, and the quality of the decals is superb. Much better than the original tampo printing on the OEM panel.

If anyone needs decals, then I can only recommend them with no hesitation.

John is extremely helpful and will ensure you get exactly what you need.

I bought two versions of the same decal set.. one on a thin base, and one thick. I bought the thick one when I originally thought I’d need to apply them as one large decal. Now I know you can lacquer over them, the thin base is what I recommend. If you spray the matt lacquer on VERY thin.. like a mist… in several layers, they just disappear. I do recommend using the Microsol on the edges though, but be VERY careful, as you can lift the actual transfer ink from he base.

John has read this thread, and asked why I never showed a photo of the actual decals. Answer? They’re a complete sod to photograph as the white lettering on the pale blue backing paper makes them almost impossible to see. It was fun trying to cut then out. I’ll post up a pic of the decals on the backing in a minute.

Decals as they arrived from Precision decals.

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If you catch the light just right you can see them.

Just posting up something I forgot to do earlier, which was the restoration of the S-meter, and fitting of the white LED.

As I am working on this alone, I can not take any shots of the actual work taking place, as the my little work room is too small to set up a tripod, sorry about that.

WARNING: The plastic on these s-meters is VERY brittle. It does not flex. Try to cut with wire snipper… it will shatter. Try to cut with a saw.. it will shatter. Try to bend it or pry the meter open, it will shatter. However, the s-meter assembly, belive it or not, is held together from the factory…. with sellotape… just regular, clear plastic tape. Just take the tape off and the meter cover just slides off. If the 40 year old tape refuses to come off, just cut carefully along the joints between meter and cover with a sharp scalpel.

You saw how damaged and scratched the lens of this s-meter was on page 2, where you can see all the marks and scratches when the meter is lit.

While I merely used a light polishing compound on the channel indicator filter, this required more. As the scratches were very deep, it needed sanding flat. Sanding a clear s-meter window may sound like madness, but if done in logical stages, it is fine. Place a new piece of 400 grade wet and fry paper on a flat surface, wet it, and then basically press the surface of the s-meter window flat against it and sand in circular motions until you have sanded down to the level of the deepest scratch. Keep the paper wet. Once done, the meter window will be completely opaque…. frosted in appearance. You then need to start flattening it down in stages… so repeat with grade 1200 wet and dry…. and eventually, I ended up with 2500 grade wet and dry sand paper. The finer grade you take it to, the less polishing it will need.

Once flattened and smoothed, start using cutting compounds. I started off with regular T-Cut, and polished it until it was clear. Once optically clear, I then switched to Meguiar’s Swirl Removed 2 as shown on page 1.

It takes time, patience and a careful hand, but keep checking it not only by looking through it, but also be reflecting a point light source in it’s surface… a bare light bulb or LED is good for this.

Eventually the extremely damaged s-meter lens was crystal clear and looking like new.

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Next, I removed the old incandescent lamp and wiring from the s-meter chassis itself. It is held in place with a dab of hot glue or something similar and just pulls out with care. Once removed, you are left with a groove or channel cut into the s-meter chassis. You can then use this channel to route your new LED into place. As LEDs are supplied with stiff wire leads, you can actually bend the leads into the shape you require to place the LED where you need it. WARNING: Do not let the leads touch! If you do, you will obviously short circuit the supply voltage.

Here’s a pic of the bare channel and my LED with leads bent to shape to fit.

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I bent the leads so they were arranged vertically one above the other within the channel, then bent the pins to rotate the LED 90 degrees so it pointed straight at the top of the meter housing.

LEDs come in a variety of packages. I used a 3mm LED for this, and to save wiring up a current limiting resistor, I bought a 12V LED that can be simply wired in place as a direct replacement for the incandescent lamp originally fitted.

LEDs come in clear, or diffused packaged. The most even spread of light will be from a diffused package, but all I had available to buy at the time was a clear package. Worry not if this is the case, as simply sanding the LED with grade 400 sand paper will diffuse it and give it a frosted appearance. Even a diffused LED package will give very directional light though, so what you do not want to do is point the LED at the back of the actual meter, even though that seems the logical thing to do. If you do, two things will happen: The meter will be VERY bright, and secondly, it will not be even, and will have a “hot spot” in the centre. If you do as I did, and aimed the LED at the “roof” of the s-meter, it is a more even, diffused light that is not too bright.

Once you have checked the leads are not shorting out, the channel in the meter chassis will conveniently hold the LED in place.

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Then it can be secured with epoxy resin, or hot glue. I prefer epoxy, but be aware that epoxy will be permanent! So if you use epoxy be sure you wire the LED up correctly. It is possible to damage an LED if wired the wrong way around, and if you do, and you’ve secured it with epoxy, there’s no going back. If unsure, use hot glue or something capable of being removed.

LEDs almost always have the anode (+) denoted by the longest of the two leads.

Here’s the LED secured with epoxy.

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If your epoxy hardener contains styrene then it may also slightly melt the plastic.. don’t panic… it will not eat right through it like the alien blood in “Aliens” :)

As the front of the s-meter is clear, you do not want anything brightly coloured in there, so as my epoxy was red, I also painted over it once set with white paint before re-assembly.

Meter re-assembled.

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When fitting, you must insulate the LED’s leads, for obvious reasons. Heat shrink insulation is by far the best way of doing this. Do not use insulation tape, or electricians tape: It’s crap… it will come undone eventually and when it does, not only do you risk damaging the radio, but it leaves a horrible sticky residue.

Meter being fitted.

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The eagle eyed (and more nerdy types) amongst you will notice that is a Cybernet PTBM125A4X and not the PTBM121D4X in this Hy-Gain 2796DX. Like I said… I forgot to shoot this stage, so I’m using one of my 8795s here to demonstrate.

Extremely bad weather today, so I STILL can’t get on with gloss splattering the case panels, which is the only remaining job now.. along with a proper re-assembly, and a final alignment and tune up of the radio itself.

It’s the black part that’s the hardest, so if that’s in good shape you may not need the decals.

BTW…. not really talked about that boxed 8795 I picked up, but while the silver has some damage, take a look at the black part of the panel!

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Literally like new apart from one minuscule dent around the clarifier.. which is hidden by the knob any way.

OK…. it’s finished… finally :)

Tried a few methods to get the gloss splatter, but the best results came from ordinary non-drip gloss paint, let down with thinners or white spirit. Around 50/50 mix.

I used a toothbrush. Dip the toothbrush in the paint… flick off the excess until it seems that almost no more is coming off it, then hold the toothbrush around 6 inches away, and flick the paint on. Simple as that.

So here it is… finished and working.

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Sorry about the dust on this one… I cleaned it off for the rest :)

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I’ll post up a couple of videos in a little while.

It’s been an interesting ride.. learned a great deal. I’m not 100% happy with it, especially the silver paint, but it’s a m,million times better than it was, and a very, very nice radio.

I’ll probably sell this on now, as I now have the very nice 8795 with the pee-wit bleep in it and can’t really justify having two.

It’s been fun and I hope you’ve all enjoyed being along for the ride :)

Best 73




  1. That is incredible. Better than factory. You have the patience of several saints 8) If that wasn’t enough, there are many very useful restoration tips in there, thank you!

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