Yaesu FT-101ZD page

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The FT-101 history

The Yaesu FT-101 series transceivers, produced in 1970-1978 were a very good alternative for the very expensive American made receivers and transmitters of the time, they were full of useful options, for which you had to pay much $$$ extra (if available) in other ham equipment. Build like a battleship, with a modular construction, it was easy to repair, and the big numbers which are still around, prove the sound work of the Yaesu engineers at the time. The FT-101 series was very successful, and there were many versions of it, starting with the FT-101, released in 1970 to the FT-101F, who was released in 1978. See the FT-101 page for more information for the FT-101 series of transceivers.

The Yaesu FT-101ZD was brought on the market in 1979, as a low-cost alternative for the FT-901ZD, which is the real descendant of Yaesu’s famous FT-101 series of transceivers. As Yaesu already had a very good reputation for performance and durability, it is no wonder that the new series transceivers became very popular in the ham community, especially in Europe, because the high price of the available American equipment and the high import taxes on them, and the fact that there where almost no agents prohibited a broad distribution of American equipment. I still think the American industry at the time missed a chance here. Only Heathkit had a representative over here, and was very popular at the time for their nice kits. Yaesu had a small sales network in Europe and the Swiss firm Sommerkamp imported the same sets with other type numbers and under the name Sommerkamp, were a big success in Italy and Germany.

1979 A new era begins the FT-101Z/ZD

In 1979 Yaesu announced a new version of the FT-101, called the FT-101Z (analog dial) and ZD, (with digital dial). The FT-101ZD looked very much like the FT-901, but had a simpler internal construction with just a couple of plug-in boards for HF, pre-mixer and oscillator. The IF and the audio board, were connected with plugs from a wire harness, the power supply boards are soldered direct to the wire harness, thus not the overall modular construction that made the older FT-101 and new FT-901 so popular. Although the construction of the FT-101ZD was simpler, the transceiver was packed with useful features, that appealed to many hams, (including myself, I bought one in 1979, and still use it almost daily,). It had a very sensitive receiver, SSB and CW modes, a digital display, very linear VFO, smooth tuning, a good set of filters, a PA with real transmitting tubes (6146B’s), speech processor, IF shift with pass bands between 300hz and 2.4khz, a clarifier, a calibrator and a noise blanker, making it a very complete package for a very reasonable price. Later models had also AF notch/peak filters, W.A.R.C.  bands and AM/FM capability. There were outputs for connection to a transverter and linear amplifier, inputs for a second VFO and phone patch. It was one of the best buys you could made at the time. The FT-901 had even more bells & whistles, but had also a $ 1000 higher price tag. The transceiver is very well build, with good quality components, and, if used normally, will last forever. Weight is in excess of 15 kg, due the built-in power supply, giving it the feel of a battleship. The power supply can be fed from 100/110/117 or 200/220/235 Volts 50/60hz, and with the optional switching unit, even from 13.8 Vdc, although you need a heavy-duty car battery. (current in voice peaks around 20 Amps).

Analog Model FT-101Z

FT-101ZD MK2



Note the addition of AM mode on mode switch

Specifications FT-101Z, FT-101ZD:

Click here for larger view.

The FT-101ZD is updated several times during its lifetime, and there are in fact 4 different types, using the same designator. By the introduction in 1979, the transceiver had only SSB and CW, later there was a AM (tx/rx) option, still later the W.A.R.C. bands were introduced, and the last version had it all, including a optional AM or FM board, and Audio notch/peak filter. The later models have more features, so they are more in demand, and are normally higher priced in auctions or on the internet. It seems difficult to see what the difference is between the first and last models because there is not much changed on the front. Fortunately there is a easy way to see at a glance the difference between the various models, the only thing you need to know is the serial number of the set.



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