So, having completed the Foundation exam in April 2021, the Intermediate exam in May and the Advanced exam in June and got my callsigns M7RBE, 2E0HGA and M0RLF (RaLF) I figured one of my next steps was to look at HF Transcievers and see if I could get one at an affordable price. So I had a few watches on Ebay week after week and learned about a few of the more popular classic models. I had a short-list of Kenwood, Icom and the value favourite, Yaesu. Most where selling as mostly working and complete for around 400 - 600 GBP. I knew I would be happy to do some work and use that experience to feel my Youtube channel as I have done other projects like recondition a Yamaha Pacifica Electric Guitar and Marshall practice amplifier before I started the channel and had worked in Electronics for 25 years includinh a stint at Racal Communications on, yes, HF Transceivers.
Then on Thursday this week my eyes lit up, a Yaesu FT-101B in 'unknown' condition but appearing complete, i.e. all knobs and dials. Then I looked closer, there was also a Sommerkamp FT-277E (Identical to the Yaesu FT-101E) in the deal too. A quick search for FT-101 parts revealed quite a range of bits at sensible prices. These had no mics or mains leads and the Yeasu featured some sort of audio processor too. A quick glance at the specs on other sites showed these are 1.8 Mhz to 29 Mhz receive and 100 watts SSB power on Tx and the Tx side featured a large number of FET stages and transistors while the transmitter uses 3 valves. A great combination for robust radio. I later found out that is has a fairly unique arrangement of a large mains transformer which can run the set from 100, 110, 117, 200, 220 , 234 volts AC but amazingly also feed 12-13.8 volts DC into the built in invertor using the same transformer. This will generate the required output voltages of +13.5, -100, +160, +300, +600 volts DC. Even 100 volts AC for the cooling fan which operates only when transmitting.
Now these where being sold on behalf of an operator who had passed away, they where also finishing the bidding at 2:00pm when most people are at work. I work from home so easy to bid and there was only one bid on already. Let's just say I got it for 2 GBP more than the starting bid. So here they are cleaned up -
|The Yaesu FT-101B - the Sherman tank of radios|
|The Sommerkamp FT-277E, same as FT-101E|
Now I am under no illusions, I bought these cheap, in unknown condition and effectively imcomplete. Initial inspections reveals that the internals have minor damp damage which I do not believe will affect them. The internals feature 4 plug-in circuit boards, so most of them are the same in both receivers which will aid fault finding. The mains lead is a critical piece of equipment as it also forms the voltage selector so you cannot just buy a USA lead and swap the plug and these are selling for over 46 GBP on Ebay plus shipping! Rather than pay that I managed to source the 12 pin 'Cinch Jones 12 pin Female Socket' on Ebay from a guy so close he offered to deliver it by hand and for a tenth of the USA lead price. Sure I'll have to construct a mains lead but that is straighforward enough and cost another couple of GBPs.
*** Caution *** the pin numbers on Cinch Jones connectors are reversed compared to original ones and will certainly cause damage if heed is not paid to this!
|Cinch Jones 12 pin female plug|
|High imepedance replacement mic|
The PTT Microphone is available for a few places but a fellow amateur suggested Technofix UK https://www.technofix.uk/. I am always willing to take advice from those who have done it before. After annoucing my project on Facebook 4 other operators said they had FT-101's in use and one guy was the original owner of this 50 year old beast!
Another useful resource is Fox Tango http://foxtango.org/ft101/foxtangoft101.htm which has been going for many years and was moved form the old Yahoo group.
Yaesu FT-101 video 'First peek' https://youtu.be/rdKmG3AKB8A
Sommerkamp FT-227E video 'First peek' https://youtu.be/tRtG1RBcPfM
I will continue to update this page as I find out more and progress this project!