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Connex 3300

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Scipio Kid
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Connex 3300

Post by Scipio Kid » Monday, 28 August 2017, 11:35 AM

Found a nice Connex 3300-x. Well, that's what the "Freedom" faceplate says on it. I think it's a 3300. The fellow says it works great and will sell it cheap. Has a nice Astatic 636-L with a Gearkeeper hanger and a Bearcat external speaker with the rig. This is like some of the other nicer radios I've been looking at in that I think it was originally supposed to be a Ham Radio, modified for CB frequencies. It has the AM-FM selector, the Hi-Lo band selector, and the D/A - E/B - F/C - selector but he claims it operates on CB frequencies. It also has a Hi / Lo RF power switch on it. There's a warning lable on the case that says an FCC license is required to operate it. Thus my assumption that it was a Ham radio. I opened it up and the frame is very well made, strong and thicker metal than the typical Cobra 29 (which is what the guy told me it was initially)made in Malaysia. There's also a small toggle switch (looks to be aftermarket) on the left side too.

I hooked it up to find red meter lights on the channel selector and the power meter, I like blue or green a lot better but it's a very nice looking rig. It gets good, loud static and not much else. I can't pick up a thing, no matter the antenna or combination of positions on the switches mentioned above. I tried transmitting in several modes and got next to nothing, doesn't hardly move the SWR meter (which is a 1.3 with other radios) can't even get the needle to go all the way to the right when calibrating and can only muster 1.5 to 2 watts. With a monitor radio hooked up, I can hear myself but it's faint and muffled as if on the wrong frequency and I get the same thing on receive. Almost nothing but muffled noise from a radio on the same desk transmitting on an antenna 10 feet away. It also has echo which, amazingly I can hear quite clear through the internal speaker (sounds like automatic talkback when it's in the Echo mode).

I figure this unit is messed up and I'm wondering if it's worth fixing. Seems to be a nice rig and I've found a couple of good ones going for 200 or more. If I can get it for 50 and put another 50 to 75 into it, well I'd think it'd be worth it. But I don't want to do that and find out the cobra 29LX (I bought for 40 bucks) out-performs it.

Any thoughts, suggestions, advice (or the more common insults)?
Happy Trails




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sonoma
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Re: Connex 3300

Post by sonoma » Monday, 28 August 2017, 13:25 PM

I take it you do not have a freq counter so you can see what band you have it on. does this have dual finals in it with a heat sinq on the back? I have one ands trying to remember what position is the cb bands. try it on the middle position with the band switch in high mode and see what you get. maybe one of the other guys can remember what position you need to put the switches in. I have a single final one coming to me I bought and needs work. but not here yet.

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Re: Connex 3300

Post by sonoma » Monday, 28 August 2017, 13:54 PM

looks like the D position and the band switch on high should be the cb channels.

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Scipio Kid
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Re: Connex 3300

Post by Scipio Kid » Monday, 28 August 2017, 14:34 PM

Thanks sonoma,
No, I don't have a freq counter except in a couple of radios. I'm no tech so don't understand as much as a lot of you guys here. But I know a few things and try a few more. It does have dual finals but no heat sink. I saw a couple on the web with heat sinks and it looks like you could easily install one with a couple of screws though holes already drilled in the rear panel where the finals are mounted. I found a manual on-line that shows the power output rating at 3.5 or 7 watts. I assume the heat sink would be for a hopped up version. I have a nice cobra 29 chrome that someone tweaked and put new finals in and if I bucket mouth on it, the rear panel gets hot. I think it puts out around 10 watts.

I'll try that combination you suggested and see what happens. If this is a stock radio then maybe it's doing what it should and my equipment, all CB only, can't read it correctly. The fellow who's selling it said it came out of his semi rig so I naturally assumed it was altered to run on the CB frequencies. The manual I mentioned shows a frequency range from 28.015 ~ 28.585 Mhz, well above CB bands but I'm not sure what that makes it ... Ham? The manual simply calls it an "AM / FM Mobile Transceiver". Do a lot of truckers use these radios instead of CB's? (not stupid, just ignorant ... well a lot of folks would argue that point...) I have a Galaxy 48T that's similar but it has the heat sink, puts out a ton of wattage and has the 40 CB channels.

Hey, looks like you posted again while I was being long-winded! Thanks for the ideas & suggestions, I'll set it up that way and see what happens.

Thanks!
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sonoma
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Re: Connex 3300

Post by sonoma » Monday, 28 August 2017, 15:28 PM

if it is a dual final radio it came with a heat sink from the factory. they made a single final version also. the one I have coming that I bought is the single final version. single final version does not have the heat sink

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Scipio Kid
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Re: Connex 3300

Post by Scipio Kid » Monday, 28 August 2017, 17:44 PM

Well, this may be a matter of me, once again looking stupid (while never admitting to being so, mind you). There are two transistors (again, an assumption) mounted on the rear panel of the radio behind where the heat sink would be, if it had a heat sink. Now I surmised those transistors were the finals. I once had a fellow insist his car had two carburetors. I explained to him his car was fuel injected. He wasn't stupid, just ill informed. (Didn't stop me from calling him an idiot though.) I've also discovered those who are truly experienced, trained, savvy and smart here have a lot of good information, answers, ideas, and advice for those of us who somehow remain relatively "ill informed".

I cleaned the unit up, found a broken zip tie jammed up into the control area behind the face plate, got it out, tightened a few screws, cleaned out some lint and grime, put it back together, worked all the switches and knobs which were, BTW covered with something that looked and felt like a sticky, black, soft ,rubber cover but were, in reality, just caked on ... goo (I think the guy must have been eating glazed doughnuts when he used the knobs on this radio, every time he used the radio. Over the years the stuff collected, layer by layer, and apparently started to grow.) Once I got the knobs cleaned off, I realized they weren't black at all, but had a nice shiny chrome finish with orange strips to indicate knob position.

Then I set up to test it again exactly as you suggested ... and what do you know? ...now it works like a bear!!! Thanks sonoma! Like so many radio manufacturers, they must have made several iterations of this unit. I noticed the 3 position switch labeled Off/ANL/ANL-NB is actually the three position power switch that gives about 2, 4 and 10 watts. The 2 position RF power switch is in reality the NB/ANL switch and the small toggle on the side turns off and on the talk-back feature that only works when the Echo is engaged. But if you turn the echo all the way down, you can leave it on and use the talk-back all the time without having the echo bother anyone. Everything else is working good too. I'm now receiving good signals as well.

So with the help and wisdom of sonoma, I've got my hands on another really good radio (I hope) that I was ready to trash.

Time will tell.

Thanks again
Happy Trails



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Re: Connex 3300

Post by sonoma » Monday, 28 August 2017, 18:24 PM

some of those radios even had a 10kc switch on them. so there is a few different versions.
if you only have a total of 2 trans on the back panel it will be a single final. a dual final will have 3 trans on the back case. one is the driver and 1 or 2 are the finals depending on which version you have. ether way those radios talk good.

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Scipio Kid
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Re: Connex 3300

Post by Scipio Kid » Monday, 28 August 2017, 21:48 PM

OK not dual finals ... hmmm ... I'm still pretty sure it's fuel injected.

Played with it some more and suddenly it wasn't working right, just like when I first tested it and this time I knew I had the frequencies right. I hate solving a problem and not knowing exactly how because you know it'll come back. I figured the poor thing probably rattled around in a long haul rig for years, which means vibration etc. I took a second look at the finals ... the screws that hold them to the back panel, they weren't loose but they needed some snugging up. But the problem was still there and it cut in and out while transmitting so I wiggled things while transmitting and got it to kick in and out while I wiggled the coax jack. It felt tight until I put a wrench to it and it took a full turn to get it tight. The chassis ground screws needed cinching too. Got that all done and put it back together and now ... it works good.

Another thing I noticed, my Workman SWR / power meter, reads lower than my Pace and shows almost no swing with modulation. So, on high power the Workman shows about 9 watts and swings a little. On the 100 watt scale it doesn't swing at all. On the Pace meter it dead keys at 12 and swings to almost 50. I guess the Workman has some protective circuitry so it won't swing. You guys all have those nifty expensive meters but a lot of us have to rely on the cheap stuff sometimes.

Anyway, thanks again. Finally looking like a good deal, I told the guy I'd keep it. I figure with the radio, the Bearcat external speaker and the Astatic mic, it's well worth the 50 bucks. And, with all the goop and grime cleaned off, it looks almost like new!

I'd still like to have a good tech go through it and several others and get them in tip-top shape. I've called my ol' buddy, Rob over at the Flying-J and he's not returning my calls. If he's gone, I don't think there's anyone left out here in Utah. That means shipping to some of you guys. Who wants a shot? Isn't shipping pretty reasonable with those flat rate boxes at the post office? I googled "CB radio repair in Utah" and got almost nothing. One place had (20) 4 or 5 star reviews ... everyone of them said he was the best TV antenna installer they'd ever had. I called another and asked about his experience with CB's. He said "well, they can't be all that different from a T.V." ... Yeah, I want those guys tearing into my radios.
Happy Trails



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Re: Connex 3300

Post by sonoma » Tuesday, 29 August 2017, 2:33 AM

sounds like you might have a cold solder joint. on the solder side of the radio you will see one or 2 metal plates soldered to ground. in that general area is the PLL, VCO and crystal areas. look close at the solder joints and reflow the bad looking ones. I usually find bad joints in those areas . if you touch a solder joint and flux flows out from under the solder it may be causing a bad connection. you can make sure the screws are tight holding the board in place also. you may even have a bad solder joint under the little shields they have soldered there. you can take a pencil or tooth brush and push around on the board in those areas and you may even find the bad area that way. over the years I have found most of the problems to be a bad solder joint when the radio does this. like I even mentioned the screws being loose. just take your time and work the joints over and see if you find the problem. just do not start changing parts out. it just sounds like a bad joint since you messed with it and it started working then quit again.

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Scipio Kid
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Re: Connex 3300

Post by Scipio Kid » Friday, 29 September 2017, 15:49 PM

Hey Sonoma,
Thanks for the advice. Been working good for a month now but haven't used it a lot.

Out of the blue today, I got a call from Rob, the local CB guru tech I'd started to worry had quit the business. Only problem is, his real job is fixing jets and flying them all over the country, which he'll be doing for the next few weeks. He says maybe sooner though, so I'm packing up my problems in some cardboard boxes and taking them to him.

To anyone out this way or passing through (northern Utah) with radio issues Rob usually hangs around the Flyin-J on 201 in Salt Lake with his mobile CB shop. He doesn't hang around Sapp Bros. much anymore. He'll even come to you if you want him to. He's there afternoons until late at night.
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