In the early 1990s ,The Yupiteru MVT-7000 multiband scanner had an almost cult following amongst Aircraft Enthusiasts and Marine Band Listeners, especially with hobbyists based in the Netherlands.
From memory, I think some parts of Europe received the MVT-7000 many months before the UK versions with UK 240v mains charger plug started appearing into the magazines and shops over here.
This radio was very popular with Ship enthusiasts in the area of Rotterdam port and Aircraft spotters at Amsterdam Schipol Airport.
So much so It seemed it was the de facto standard for the Dutch spotter.
The benchmark… Just about everything else handheld out there in the 1990s marketplace wasnt as good as the “MVT-7K”. It was very affordable and it covered just about every frequency needed with no gaps, Battery life was excellent and the audio was full , rounded & robust , very handy indeed if you are out “in the field” which was a welcome change from the very tinny “raspy ass” sounding portable offerings from realistic and bearcat.
The MVT-7000 was to be a game changing product for Yupiteru (Jupiter).
There were not so many sold in the UK unlike their next model, the MVT-7100 which sold in droves worldwide. Savvy 7000 owners kept their older models, some airfield spotters bought the newer MVT-7100 and were not exactly head over heels in love with it . Out in the field, the older 7000 seemed to be better than the 7100.
The 7100 was very very good but not as sensitive as the 7000 on am airband.
The 7000 did not have great RF shielding, and it was prone to overloading when coupled up to a high gain base antenna such was the combination of signal gain (inside the radio) and sensitivity. It will sniff out anything, including unwanted interference from mains wiring,noisy routers etc. The 7k can be a difficult radio to tame indoors with high gain base station antennas such as a co-linear, j-pole or similar. The 7100 performed much better on a base antenna,it had slightly lower gain and it had filtering for unwanted noise, but the “71” was not as sensitive to weak signals in the VHF and UHF bands..horses for courses I suppose.
Yupiteru had made earlier scanners such as the MVT-3000 and MVT-5000 handhelds, they had an excellent reputation for audio quality and this continued with the MVT-7000 which gave the user 200 channels , 20 in 10 banks. This in combination with the excellent ergonomics made the MVT-7000 very easy to change program or alter almost any setting “on the fly” with the minimum of fuss. The MVT-7000 was so well thought out and laid out. It seemed as though Yupiterus engineers had done their homework, and some !
It seemed like the boffins at Yupiteru had taken on board the short comings of just about every other scanner on the market and decided to eradicate all the annoying problems of multiple button presses to do simple things and the issue of badly placed controls which was very common in portable units of the day.
Good button placement sounds very easy, but it isnt… The Yupi designers must have locked themselves in a room with an older mvt-5000 and all, and I mean all.. their competitors models..they must have stayed there undisturbed and tweaked and changed everything until they were happy.
In one hit they managed to create a handheld scanner that blew the rest out of the water including some more expensive offerings like the Icom R1 (terrible radio btw..sorry Icom !)
Looking at the MVT-7000 radio now, it seems dated but the layout and ease of use is so refreshing and would put many modern radios to shame .
The sensitivity and audio quality is as good as anything hand held you can buy today, In fact , a lot better in most cases I would wager !
I purchased this non working/faulty “mvt7k” for old times sake I suppose, I repaired one for a fellow spotter once but I never actually owned one, so good back in the day I thought if the radio was complete (and it turned out it was), a repair should be attempted if only to gain further knowledge.
On receipt the radio powered up and display showed but it was very feint, there was no audio at all.
The battery compartment was in a very sorry state due to battery leakage.
Completely at random, the radio would do strange things without my intervention/any button pressing..go into search mode, change bands, change step size. Still no audio at the speaker though but there was some distant crackles of audio at the headphone socket…hmmm very strange.
So , lets open her up and get a look inside and perhaps find out what is going on.
Heres the radio as received, a bit tatty, I wasnt expecting a perfect radio given the price paid.
First we have to remove the plastic knobs and unscrew the 3 brass thread collets holding the pots in place into the chassis. Using a sharp flat screwdriver being careful not to slip and scratch the top of the radio. These can be very tight, if you are joining in with your radio..take your time with this, perhaps use masking tape around the openings for protection against slippage.
When the collets are removed it will look something like this.
I say again, be careful here, the rotary encoder with the slotted brass tip is very fragile. It is held on to the control board with solder only now. When the threaded collet is removed, there is not very much mechanical strength to support the encoder .The rotary encoder has very thin legs,which are easy to bend out of line with its mating hole in the top plate of the casing or worse still they could snap off completely leaving you with the horrible job of reinstating it.
I said the battery compartment was bad… it was this bad !
Note the stress crack to the lower right edge of casing due to over zealous battery insertion by the previous owner..There is another one to the left edge as well..more on that later.
Here is one of the four battery contact plates.
The acid gas from the previous owners batteries had migrated up inside casing, so much so there was evidence of acid deposits on the outside 3 of the 6 casing screws holding the radio together. One at the bottom was particularly bad and difficult to remove. The screws go through holes in the plastic casing and screw into threaded metal tabs inside the chassis for structural strength. The screws have to be the right size, any longer and penetration of other components on the PCBs will occur so getting that bottom one out ,in tact, was important.
With all the screws out and the 3 collets out, and the glued on lamp/keylock/reset/contrast legend plate removed its time to lever away gently at the 2 halves of the casing. I used a cut up sim card as plastic shims to gain access space ..easy does it, there are wiring harnesses inside.
After a while of gentle coaxing, both halves came apart to reveal the electronics.
A closer look around the power pcb revealed a very dry barely there joint at the 3 pin voltage regulator..also a lot of acid deposits on the 16 pin female socket to the left of the regulator.
At the main RF board side (the other half), the 16 pin male header was in bad shape as well.
A combination of the poor solder joint at the regulator and the bad electrical contact at this power control pin header turned out to be the reason for the random misbehaviour of the radio.
A quick dab of solder on the regulator pin and a cleanup of both sides of the 16 way connector with isopropanol cured the faults. To finish off, a touch of servisol switch cleaner was applied to the volume-on-off and squelch potentiometers.
Success ! I had full crackle free audio from the on board speaker and headphone socket.
If you are following along with your MVT-7000, here is a schematic diagram (the schematic copy is in very bad condition..sorry).
I have marked the Toshiba TA78006AP 6volt Regulator IC1 on the power feed board (ident= A), the 16 way pin header female socket (ident= Bf) and its male partner header on the RF board (ident= Bm).
I was not satisfied with the cosmetic condition I decided to go further in to the radio to make some further improvements.
The LCD window was dirty as was the speaker grille so I embarked on removing the control/keypad pcb from the front casing..In hindsight I dont know If I should have been so brave !
Okay so far ! Note the old incandescent lamp tube for night viewing and the side controls/ buttons…
Note that piece of brown foam on the LCD window..Some of the buttons are not sitting correctly. The more I struggled to jiggle the buttons back the more the foam self destructed.
It is horrible , horrible stuff…25 years or so has passed since installation at the factory. The foam was unrecoverable a complete mess, shards of it everywhere.
The foam is stuck to a copper plate, the buttons sit inside the plate nestled by the foam to prevent rattle.
The buttons only fit one way, each one has its own hole.
With a pile of buttons on the bench, it took a while to figure out which one went where. Little bits of foam kept popping up all over the place !
I stripped back the foam and disposed of it, and removed the plate from the keypad pcb board here is the copper button plate with its recesses. Note the corrosion .
I cleaned up as best I could, and here I am holding the plate by a small tang which is soldered on to the keypad pcb ground track, this was a very short piece of copper bent just right to fit around the contours of the casing… well you would think so..hmmmm
Now, with the back half of the casing stripped out and bare, some much needed repairs to those awful stress cracks mentioned in the first part of this post. the casing is very thin and not very strong at the lower part of the case.
Sometimes Loctite and me just dont get on ! It sets damn quick… The most difficult part of this was trying to fill the crack with adhesive and preserving the slide rail arrangement for the battery cover to fit. The crack went straight across this “rail” thingy so the cover didnt slide along it and fit properly. With the assistance of a 10x mangification illuminated sight glass,Much patience and Careful multiple applications of loctite with a cocktail stick and the tip of a dressmakers pin, I eventually sorted things out.
At this point, it looks very untidy but a quick buff with p1000 grit abrasive paper and a bit of artistic flair with a sharpie marker made the fill invisible (from a good distance !). A tiny drop of Greygate plastic polish on a cotton q tip made a nice job of it in the end.
With the LCD window and outer casing cleaned up it was time to re-assemble.
Popping all the buttons back first, (which took a while) you can see the tang to the left with a tiny blob of solder on it.
At this point I will mention the on board speaker, made by Namiki of Japan.
They are a well known miniature speaker manufacturer and they still exist today.
Of all things they specialise in mini equipment for jewellery polishing and cutting, insanely small DC motors.. they still make speakers btw
Yupiteru did not go for a cheap and cheerful speaker, they sourced one from a Japanese specialist company..part of the reason why MVTs sound so good !
Back to the radio, here all the buttons are back and the what turned out to be the “awkward copper tang thingy” arrowed but you will notice a small extension of copper wire added. I did this after 3 failed attempts of soldering it back in place without ,and spilling the buttons all over the bench it was just so fiddly !
A little tack of solder held it in place, too much heat and the extension wire would come back off and I would be back to square one with buttons all over the shop !
Boxing everything together and testing…Lets link up the excellent yupiteru telescopic and see what happens.
Here we try dialing in NATS “London Control” on 132.860mhz for some high level passing traffic transiting my area ..and.. she works !
And it works amazingly well considering its recent open heart surgery !
The audio is lovely, lets give it a try outside with just the OEM telescopic antenna with Liverpool EGGP Approach on 119.850mhz … 4 bars out of 5 on the signal meter from one of our Ryanair 737s..Im very happy.
I managed to resurrect one of the all time great scanner radios of the 1990s.
It is fantastic on airband and would give any handheld radio of today a good run out which considering that this is over 25 years old is some kind of accolade.
Frustrating at times to repair, but well worth it in the end.
The audio is awesome, very strong and very clear. The excellent Namiki speaker must be optimised for voice communications because the big rounded sound defies its small size.
I hope you found this trip back into the 1990s interesting.
Before you contemplate spending a wad of cash on a UBC-125 or similar, think again..Do you really need the hassle of computer programming before you can start listening ?
Yes this unit is quite big, about 3 times the size of a ubc-125xlt..but thorough internal speaker or headphones, you get 10 times the sound quality out.
Do you really need more than 10 banks of 20 channels ?
Perhaps I am being unfair, The Uniden UBC-125 series are excellent little radios, they are relatively inexpensive and pack a lot into a small unit. Owners seem to be very happy with them and its good to see Uniden back in the international market again.
I think the MVT-7000 had the mix just about perfect, the only feature missing was a backlit keypad but the ergonomics were so good chances are you will select and hit the right button for the job without even thinking about it.
This 25+ year old yupi can “kick it” with the best of todays modern airband radios.
Now and again they appear on ebay and most have been very well used so dont expect a mint condition example, chances are it will seen a bit of life. Spare parts are very hard to come by now.
Yupiteru are still around as well, they no longer manufacture radio scanners.
They have their own niche market in the in-car cctv camera and car audio business…Glad to see they are still trading after all this time.
If there was a scanner radio hall of fame, Yupi would be in there.. without a doubt.
A small company ..Coming out from nowhere and taking on the mighty Sony Air 7 and AOR models head on ..and winning hands down.. and by a considerable margin.
By the time 1995 came along, there wasnt a listening magazine or shop on the planet that didnt feature Yupiterus products.
A UK advertisement of the range back in 1993 when the MVT-7100 was lunched.
Pricing in GBP.
“The Worlds Favorite Scanners !”… Not advertising blurb, a statement that was true.