Yaesu FT-101 HF Transceiver Web Page

Presented by Fox Tango International.

Yaesu Musen Co. FT-101

(Yaesu Wireless Co.)


Fox Tango International History

What is Fox Tango? , Founded in 1972 by Amateur Radio operator Milton Lowens (N4ML) as a Yaesu users group for the purpose of interchanging information, ideas, experiences and problems of the FT-101 owner, "By and for owners of Yaesu amateur radio equipment."  Milton was the editor of the Fox Tango New Letter which ran for nearly 14 years.  Many modifications and contributions to the newsletter where sent in to the editor by the Fox Tango membership and printed 10 months out of the year.  So valuable were these newsletters and suggestions that even the Yaesu factory engineers had them translated into Japanese and acted upon the suggestions from the club membership which resulted in significant improvements to the FT-101 during its production.  Current Yaesu equipment owners still considered the newsletters to be of value even now in  the 21st century.  Much enthusiasm continues even to this day to keep Milton's efforts alive with a Yaesu users group he started over  a quarter century ago.  So it is our pleasure to bring to you this free sample of the first year (1972) Fox Tango Newsletter in PDF for your information.  On behalf of International Radio (Inrad)  and the Fox Tango Club of 2004 you can now receive the entire 14 years of Fox Tango Newsletters and 7 years of International Radio Yaesu newsletters on a single CD ROM.  This disk will bring you many hours of reading enjoyment covering a 20 year evolution in amateur radio from 1972 to 1985 and 1986 - 1992 of the International Radio Newsletters.  You are invited to click on the Fox Tango Logo above to download the 1972 newsletters free or charge.  Please join Fox Tango International to find out where you can obtain the entire set on CD.  Or visit our link at  FOX TANGO NEWSLETTERS ON CD ROM.  The quality of the first year newsletter was not the best as it was originally printed on a Mimeo Machine, subsequent years newsletters were greatly improved.  We also have a free down loadable cumulative index for the newsletter, see ordering page for more information about the index.


Carol L. Maher W4CLM

President Fox Tango International 2004


The Radio Yaesu FT-101

The FT-101 series of transceivers appeared initially in the USA in small numbers in late 1971

As Expected YAESU is No. 1


Click here for larger view. Early Yaesu Assembly Line  
Click here for larger view.   FT-101 Alignment Lines in Fukushima Factory

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Click here for larger view. FT-101 Testing Facility  

    A Brief History showing the various models

of the FT-101 Transceiver


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The first FT-101 transceivers were in production by 1970 they later found their way to  the United States in late 1971. At that time distributed in the United States was being handled by SPECTRONICS WEST in Lakewood California and SPECTRONICS EAST in Stow Ohio. They were being sold at that time for $559.95 U.S. dollars.  The same transceiver was being sold in Europe a Swiss firm named Sommerkamp that sold all kind of communication equipment on the European market, mainly to Germany and Italy.  The transceiver was hailed as a SOLID-STATE BREAK THROUGH, 10 FET's, 3 Integrated Circuits, 31 Silicon Transistors, 38 Silicon Diodes and Computer Type Plug-in Modules.  Except for the transmitter final and driver stages, all circuits are transistorized.  It was truly one of the first portable transceivers designed for mobile or portable use for car, camper, trailer, boat, airplane, suitcase or the home base, using 12 volt or 117 volt power source.   The first FT-101's suffered from spurious signals, front end overload,  inter-modulation distortion when strong signals were present during receive and image problems related to the front end.   By 1972 many of these problems were being addressed by  the Fox Tango Club which was started by Editor and founder Milton Lowens (WA2AOQ) who was in direct contact with the factory in Tokyo about the rig and it's problems. The factory went as far as reading the content of the FT Club Newsletter and translated it into Japanese then passed it on to their engineering department which resulted in many changes to this transceiver on behalf of suggestions being made from the Fox Tango Membership.


By February 1974 many improvements to the existing circuit design and the problems of the earlier FT-101 were resolved with the introduction of the FT-101B. The factory responded with a major circuit modifications which significantly improved the receiver over that of the earlier FT-101's.  Improvements were made by the factory such as an effective noise blanker circuit and  the  addition of the 160 meter band, then the FT-101B was released.  Externally the 101B differs but little from the earlier models.  By 1974 the price for an FT-101B was $579 USD.










While the FT-101s external appearance remained unchanged over a period of years, it was almost impossible to tell an early model from a later one until Yaesu assigned the letter "B" to the transceiver in 1974.  It wasn't until mid 1975 with the introduction of the FT-101E where one could notice a significant change on the FT-101 font panel with the addition of  black flip style toggle power and heater switches.  Also changed were five black flip switches including one new switch labeled PROCESS as the "E" model included a new "RF" speech processor similar to that of Harry Leeming's G3LLL's unit.   The new toggle switches provided for increased operating convenience and keeps fingers from wearing away the panel paint as was usually the case with the early model FT-101 and FT-101B.  There was also the addition of a red button near the clarifier to turn the clarifier on and off without altering the setting of the clarifier control, another modification suggested by a member in the Fox Tango Newsletters and a direct result of the Yaesu engineers listening to their customers requests.


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By the introduction of the FT-101E most all of the previous problems were worked out.  There were three models of the "E" were released, with exception of the "ES" model made for Japan.  The "E" model with all options at a cost of $749 USD.  For those who did not want the processor there was  an "EE" (economy) model lacking the speech processor at a cost of $659 USD and later the "EX" (extreme economy) model lacking speech processor, 160M crystal, DC options, and microphone at a cost of $599 US dollars.  There is little doubt that the FT-101 transceiver is one of the most popular amateur radio transceivers ever to have been manufactured and reached world-wide acceptance.   With the possible exception of the Yaesu FT-200 the FT-101 is the best known and most popular transceiver available on the used amateur market at the present time.  The FT-101E was the most popular and most produced model by Yaesu of all the FT-101 series sold.  There never was a "C" or "D" model produced.  Matching accessories included a matching FL2100B Linear Amplifier, FTV-650 (6 meter) & FTV-250 (2 meter) transverters, FV-101 (FV-101B) external VFO, SP-101B speaker and SP-101PB speaker phone patch, YD-844 dynamic base microphone, YO-100 and  later the model YO-101 monitor scopes, YC-601 and later the YC-601B digital display units.  Other matching pieces of equipment for the amateur market matching the FT-101 design were the FRG-7 communications receiver, FT-220 two meter and FT-620B six meter all mode transceivers.


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FT-101 Early FT-101B FT-101E FT-101 Alignment Points


The last of the series was the FT-101F

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The FT-101F contained all of the latest updates and modifications which were made to the FT-101E throughout it's production.  It  included the RF Speech Processor, Hum Modifications due to AC picked up from the pilot lamp circuit, noise blanker modifications and more.  However for all practical purposes the FT-101F, FE, FX  were the same exact rig as the FT-101E, EE, EX.  Only a few of the "F" models were made and they released by 1978 and were still available until 1980, this  included the "FE" (economy) "FX" (extreme economy) model.  Sadly enough for those of us who loved the FT-101 series of transceiver, this was the end of the FT-101 as we knew it.   By 1979 Yaesu had announced a new version of the FT-101 called the "Z" and "ZD" digital models. The newer model "ZD" looked more like the FT-901 and was being called the FT-101ZD a 901 junior. The newer model "ZD" was reaching for the high technology features now more commonly found in today's amateur radio market. Including such things as IF shift, AF Notch/Peak, Memory features, Digital Readouts and the future WARC bands.  However during the previous 10 years the FT-101 established an enviable record for durability and performance throughout the world, with it's use of pluggable circuit boards that set a standard which few have been able to emulate as successfully or economically.  With an estimated 250,000 units still in use, it will be a long time before they all disappear.




Other Models of the FT-101 were sold in Japan for the limited power requirements of the Japanese licensee.  To fill this need there was an FT-101S, FT-101BS, and FT-101ES.  These rigs were sold with only one 6JS6C final amplifier tube, with a normal rated power of 10 watts, and  50 PEP.  From the specifications  I can read it appears as though the FT-101S/BS/ES models ran CW power of  20w (A1) and SSB Phone of 20w (A3J) with only 300 volts to the final amplifier stage as per JARL specifications.



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For those amateurs in the states, above you can get a rare look into the FT-101ES

single tube version transceiver. The "ES" model is seldom ever found outside of Japan.




With the addition of the power up kit,

power could be increased to an FT-101E



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FT-101 vs. FT-101S

(Japan low power version)

Some interesting comparisons of the low power transceiver



FT-101S Single tube PA



High Voltage

FT-101 Vs. FT-101S


Note the 3 Ohm 30w resistor

 in the filament circuit of the FT-101S









Sommerkamp FT-277E


One can hardly tell any difference from an FT-101E Sold in Europe by the Swiss importers as  the Sommerkamp FT-277E, along with the Yaesu FL-2100 amplifier sold as the Sommerkamp FT2277 linear amplifier.

Sommerkamp was a Swiss firm that sold all kind of communication equipment on the European market, mainly to Germany and Italy.  Sommerkamp did not produced anything themselves, they bought big lots of equipment direct from Yaesu and other manufacturers, and sold them under their own brand, not unlike Radio Shack does in the USA. It started already with the FR-50 and FL-50 series.  Normally they bought standard equipment, but now and then they had something produced on their own specifications, (FTDX series) or CB stuff, that where sold in big numbers.  So: every Sommerkamp is in fact a Yaesu (or other brand). The only thing, original Sommerkamp is the nameplate. Wim Penders PA0PGA


If you have an item of interest you would like to see added to the Fox Tango Web Site

Email Suggestions or Corrections to: Web Master Fox Tango International

Carol L. Maher W4CLM

(c) Fox Tango International, 2004.  All rights reserved

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