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Repair success for Air Force radio sparks more workload.

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- A demonstrated ability to overhaul the AN/ARC-186 Radio Set has earned more work for the depot. Technicians here began repairing and testing the radio in January, working on a 50-radio program for the U.S. Air Force's Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Ga.

"Warner Robins-ALC contacted us to ask about our repair capabilities on the ARC-186 in order to establish a second source of repair to supplement their current workload requirements," said James Walters, an electronics mechanic leader in the Airborne Communications/Instruments Division, Avionics-Intelligence Electronics Warfare Systems Directorate. "After arranging a site visit of their repair line at their facility, we discussed our capabilities and provided an estimate on the quantity of radios we could repair per month."

The Air Force was satisfied with Tobyhanna's projected quantities per month and established a repair program at Tobyhanna.

"Because of the success of the original program, Warner Robins-ALC increased program authorizations and we received an additional quantity of units to repair for FY-03 (Fiscal Year)," said Dave Shuleski, division chief.

The ARC-186 is a small, lightweight radio used in helicopters, planes and shelters for air-to-air and air-to-ground communications. Tobyhanna has experience working on the Army's version of the radio.

"The original radios were fielded in the 1960s and have proven to be very reliable," Walters said. "We were repairing about 10 radios per year for the Army before this workload began."

Five technicians overhaul the system's radio transmitter, power amplifier, receiver, audio, control boxes and synthesizer components. "The program grew as we developed capabilities to overhaul the circuit card sub-assemblies in the receiver/ transmitter," Shuleski said. "We received an additional six programs to repair the sub assemblies, which amounted to several dozen circuit card assemblies per program for FY-03."

"The synthesizer is the most difficult part of the mission," said Roy Dudeck, electronics mechanic. "It creates the radio's frequencies and is very complicated." Components can also be configured differently, adding to the challenge. For example, there are two versions of the power amplifier.

Walters said a program is being planned to troubleshoot the radios using automated test equipment. "We now troubleshoot them manually using voltage meters and oscilloscopes," he said. "It takes about eight hours for a complete overhaul, but with the addition of ATE, we should be able to reduce that and increase production to get radios to the field faster."

Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.

Mr. Ricchiazzi writes for Tobyhanna's Public Affairs Office.
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Title Annotation:Circuit check: news and trends of interest to the Signal Regiment
Author:Ricchiazzi, Anthony
Publication:Army Communicator
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2003
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