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C.L. Maher W4CLM, Club Administrator
Manufactured for Sears & Roebuck
Exclusively by YAESU
Sears Model 3880 & Model 3573
Pop Quiz: The Sears model 3880 Two-Meter VHF-FM Transceiver,
did it ever have an FT designator outside of the USA? Read on and see.
Original Sears, Roebuck & Co. Advertisement
Fall / Winter 1977 Catalog for the (Yaesu) Sears (#1) 3880 and
(#2) 3881 Remote 200 Channel selector in 10 KHz steps.
Why at this late date and time would we even care about such a thing like the Sears 3880, 3881 and 3573 when there is no doubt you can purchase a fantastic two meter rig that does 100 times as much as these two transceiver could ever do. A new transceiver would have every bell and whistle known to man kind by today's standards, so why do we care? Because its a piece of Amateur Radio history that evolved right from the innovative Yaesu factory in Japan into your living room directly from the Sears Catalog. I wonder just how many amateurs in the late 1970s flipped through the pages of the sears catalog wishing they could find the money ( $299.95) to purchase a programmable 2 meter transceiver with a LED readout, in a time when most amateur transceivers were still crystal controlled. And just how many of you actually owned one of these transceivers as your first rig? I bet there were lots of hams who did! And even thought these rigs say SEARS on them, they are 100% through and through a Yaesu product and worthy of a place in the Fox Tango hall of fame and on this site. An interesting piece of amateur radio funk that should not be lost into the black hole of some file cabinet, lost and gone for ever never to be seen again. So we present to you this brief tutorial about early amateur radios sold by Sears & Roebuck in the United States, built exclusively by the engineers of YAESU Musen. (By the way: Musen means = Wireless in Japanese)
Sears Catalog 1978 showing both models
3880 ($299.95) and the 3573/FT-223 ($149.95)
There were two VHF FM transceivers sold by Sears and Roebuck in the United States both transceivers built for Sears by YAESU. There was a crystal controlled transceiver Sears Model 3573 (412 3573 0600) this particular 2 meter FM transceiver was sold elsewhere throughout the world as the Yaesu FT-223. The model 3573 sold for $149.00 with three frequencies installed for 146.52 simplex 146.16/76 and 146.34/94 repeater use. Additional crystal frequencies had to be ordered separately for $4.95 each. The second and maybe more interesting of the two radios is the Sears model 3880 (Made exclusively for Sears by Yaesu) it has a striking resemblance to that of the more popular FT-227R transceiver inside and yet the front panel still resembled closely that of the FT-223. The big difference is that the model 3880 has a PLL and digital display, where as the crystal controlled Sears 3573 (FT-223) did not have a PLL circuit. The Sears model 3880 PLL synthesized transceiver also allowed for an OPTIONAL device that would sit on the top of the transceiver called the CHANNEL SELECTOR 200 it was known by the Sears model number 3881 and can prove to be difficult to find at this late date.
Sears Model 3880
A 22 channel PLL synthesizer that uses a rotary channel drum for programming two meter
VHF / FM frequencies from 146 through 148 MHz.
If you are lucky enough to find the(3881) Sears Channel Selector 200 you will
not have to mess around with the programming of the internal Optical channel selector.
I looked around for the selector 200 for many years before being able to grab hold of this one.
The Sears 3880 internal optical channel selector is explained in more detail below.
Sears model 3880 PLL synthesized transceiver
with internal optical channel selector tunes
10 KHz steps between 146 MHz through 148.00 MHz
What makes the Sears 3880 described above, is that
front panel resembles that of the Yaesu FT-223 shown.
(Model 3573 is a crystal controlled transceiver)
Sears Model 3573 was known world wide as the FT-223
it is 10 Channel Crystal Controlled 2m FM Transceiver.
The Yaesu FT-223 was also sold under the SEARS name
by Sears & Roebuck in the United States. The
Sears Model 3573 (412 3573 0600) in the 1978 Sears Catalog
is shown as a crystal controlled transceiver that sold new for $149.95
The Sears 3880 is a fully synthesized PLL rig.
No crystals were required to operate form 146 to 148 MHz
When these transceivers were produced the two meter FM sub band
in the United States was limited to that of 144 MHz to 146 MHz.
The FCC proposed the first repeater rules for 2 meter repeaters in 1970
with the inputs authorized from 146.3 to 146.6 MHz
and the corresponding outputs from 146.9 to 147.2 MHz.
The Sears Model 3880 (412 3880 0700)
Looking inside the 3880 it looks more like the insides of the popular
Yaesu FT-227R Memorizer but most likely predated the FT-227R
by several years in production. (Circ 1977, 1978)
Left Sears 3380, Right Yaesu FT-227R
Sears 3880 Top View Yaesu FT-227R Top View
Sears 3880 Bottom View Yaesu FT-227R Bottom View
Sears 3880 Heat sink View Yaesu FT-227R Heat sink View
Now if you're still not convinced the Sears model 3880 2m FM transceiver was made by Yaesu
This next picture should do it!
PB-1666 front panel switch board in the Sears 3880
clearly shows the Yaesu LOGO!
The Sears 3880 Optical channel selector is made of
You break this puppy and it's all over for the 3880!
Much like many of the very first synthesized scanners the users had to look up frequencies in a code book and tediously program the information into the scanner in binary form. Some models, like the Bearcat BC- 101, Radio Shack COMP 100, and Tennelec MCP-1, resembled Altair or PDP-8 computers, with a row of 16 or so toggle switches. Instead of toggle switches, the Regency WHAMO-10 was programmed by breaking teeth from metal combs. The SBE Optiscan (and its Sears clone) required poking a series of holes in plastic cards which were then inserted into a slot on the front panel. The Yaesu / Sears 3880 2 meter transceiver uses an optical tuning drum that can be programmed to provide 22 PLL channels between 146 to 148 MHz. With the use of an optional channel selector, 3881, the transceiver can select 200 channels.
Programming of the rig is accomplished by covering the transparent slits in the drum with a small nontransparent dot to allow for binary programming of the PLL synthesizer circuit which would allow the rig to tune from 146.00 MHz through 147.99 MHz. If you were lucky enough to own one, the optional Channel Selector 200 (Sears model 3881) would plug in the rear panel accessory jack of the 3880 allowing for the transceiver to tune in 10 KHz steps with out the need of having to program the optical tuning drum! Wow what an advancement in technology!!
Sears 3880 & 3881operators manuals and schematics will be available here soon.
We definitely know the Sears model 3880 a PLL controlled
two meter transceiver was definitely made by Yaesu!
(Circ 1977 - 1978)
However the question still remains unanswered;
Was the Sears 3880 ever sold elsewhere in the world under another FT.... designator?
Or was the 3880 EXCLUSIVELY made for Sears & Roebuck as was advertised?
If you know please fill us in!
Mailto: Fox Tango Club
Another item manufactured by Yaesu for Sears, Roebuck Co
was the FRG-7 Communications Receiver.
Click here for more information about the FRG-7
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