Lets talk about the Tram D201A, primarily its
faults and problems. The Tram D201 and D201A's are tube AM/SSB CB
base radios that were manufactured back in the late 70's and early 80's.
There were 2 versions of the Tram D201 and 2 versions of the Tram D201A.
The Tram D201 was the 23 channel version and the Tram D201A was the 40 channel version. The original model (or first version) of the
Tram D201 was the hand wired model. The 2nd version of the Tram 201 was the printed circuit version.
When 40 channel radios were introduced Tram revised their 23 channel version into the 40 channel model thereby the first Tram D201A.
Unlike the 23 channel model the Tram D201A had many more crystals to compensate for the 40 channels. Both Tram D201A models are printed circuit types. I mentioned that there are 2 versions of the Tram D201A and this is not easily recognized unless you look on the bottom of the
radio. When you flip the radio over and the controls are towards you will see the receiver board to the left, the balanced modulator board in the
center and the audio/modulation board to the right. The receiver board has the most defining way of telling the difference by the torroid
transformers to the extreme right of the receiver board. There is also a torroid transformer on the component side of the receiver board at the
extreme left dead center. There our a few other indications as well but the ones I have mentioned are the most obvious.
Another way of understanding which version D201A you have is the final tube. This tube is located directly in the rear of the radio and at dead center. The latest D201A version has a 6DG6 for its final and the earlier version D201A has a 6L6 final tube. This is not necessarily a true test because these two tubes are interchangeable.
All versions of the Tram had heat related problems which basically caused many malfunctions. Tram choose to use underrated (wattage)
resistors in many areas that required higher ratings to compensate for the heat emitting from these resistors. Tram also decided to lay many of these resistors directly on the board thereby causing the board to heat excessively through to the other side causing many solder joints to melt
The melting of these solder joints can cause many problems i.e. intermittent receive/transmit, modulation problems, excessive noise in the radio especially when turning the radio off or on or even tapping on the radio. The BA board ( the vertical board) to the left of the main transformer
and set alongside the 6L6 audio/modulation tube was a prime example of excessive heat related problems sometimes even burning through this board.
The next problem we have are the 2 Electrolytic Capacitors in the main power supply. These are located towards the front of the main
transformer. Although these capacitors are the proper ratings they do tend to leak after many years causing the radio to hum.
These Electrolytic Capacitors are very difficult to acquire and are very expensive, however, you can replace them with axial lead capacitors with
the same value or higher. Electrolytic Capacitors tend to leak when the unit is not in use for a period of time. This goes for any type of electronic equipment. The next, and not the last, problem for the Tram D201A are the crystals. Crystals do tend to change tolerance after time and
in many cases must be replaced. Tram Crystals are at a premium and are very difficult to procure and are very expensive.
Now the meat of the Tram. The channel selector. The channel
selector in all Tram D201A's will fail at some point in time.
This is because
these selectors were not manufactured with the utmost standards. When the channel selector fails you will notice as your turning the channel selector that some stations will not receive or transmit. Sometimes you have to move the selector between channel numbers to get any response.
There is nothing you can do to repair this control and these are non existent at the present time.
Maycom Manufacturing did a redesign on the crystal board of the Tram D201A utilizing an different channel selector and rewiring which worked
very well but these are no longer available.
Believe it or not tubes are the smallest problem for these radios, although they do malfunction, they are the last resort for suspicion. The tube sockets, however, can be a different story. Tube sockets in time tend to get corrosive causing erratic tube contact. The female part of the tube socket tends to open larger than normal especially if replacing tube after tube causing erratic contact.
The relay is also a very important part of these radios and visual
inspection can often be sufficient in determining if its good or not.
that is burnt or black is a good indication for replacement.
Its obvious I cannot tell you how to repair your Tram here but these
are some of the things you can look out for if/when your plan to purchase
one either on the internet or otherwise.
Repairing your Tram can be a very costly expense especially
if it has not been rebuilt either by R & R Communications, Inc. or
Please remember that the channel selector for the D201A, if bad,
be replaced. All other parts are available and can be purchased
either through your electronic parts store or through Barkett Electronics.
Greg Barkett has the largest inventory of Tram & Browning parts available
in the country. Greg Barkett may be reached at: www.goldeneagleradios.com
These radios, although with the problems specified, have great receivers,
great modulation and transmitting power and care must be taken
to allow sufficient ventilation around the radio.
Like the Browning, the Tram is also very poor for SSB operation as both of these radios tend to drift too much.
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