What is the Yaesu FT-201 and where was it sold ?
The Yaesu FT-201 not to be confused with the FT-102 sold by Yaesu (Musen / Wireless) of Tokyo Japan in 1973, resembles some what that of the more famous FL-101 / FR-101 Yaesu Twins. The hybrid transceiver is completely Solid State, with the exception of the 12BY7A driver tube and the two 6JS6C final amplifier tubes which made it look very similar under the bonnet to that of it's bigger brother the Yaesu FT-101 transceiver.
While portability was among one of the key features of the economical transceiver, weighing in at nearly 30 Lbs (14 kg) is a far cry heavier then today's modern transceiver of the 21st century. The transceiver was very popular in Europe and very few actually found their way back into the United States. Features included built-in AC and DC power supplies, 260 Watts PEP SSB mode, 180 Watts CW & 80 Watts Am. Other features included 1 Khz readout, noise blanker VOX, automatic break-in CW operation, +/-5 KHz receiver clarifier and built-in WWV/JJY reception. Optional equipment included the FV-201 external VFO, SP-101PB speaker phone patch and mobile mounting bracket MMB-1.
|Type:||Amateur HF transceiver|
|Frequency range:||10-80 m|
|RF Power output:||260W PEP 180 CW 80 AM|
|Sensitivity:||0.3 uV S/N 10 db|
|Selectivity:||SSB, 2..4 Khz @ 6db|
|Voltage:||100,/110/117/220 VAC @ 50/60 Hz|
|Current drain:||RX: 0.7 Amp for receive (Heater OFF)
TX: 24 A for transmit
|Impedance:||50 - 75 ohms|
|Dimensions (W*H*D):||340 m/m wide, 153 m/m high 285 m/m deep|
|Weight:||Approx 14 Kg (30 Lbs)|
|Other:||Audio Output 3w at 4 ohms|
|Related documents:||Instruction Manual|
The FT-201 was sold as an ECONOMICAL Mobile / Base station.
Need I remind you that the definition of ECONOMICAL in the Merriam Webster dictionary is:
1: archaic : ECONOMIC,
2 : marked by careful, efficient, and prudent use of resources: THRIFTY ,
3 : operating with little waste or at a saving.
What's the point?
Well some place along the line Yaesu had to cut some corners to make the transceiver ECONOMICAL.
Lets take a look inside.
At first glance we see what appears to be a nicely laid out transceiver and that it is.
However Yaesu apparently found many ways to cut corners and cut that they did
when comparing this transceiver to its better known cousin the FT-101.
FT-101 computer grade circuit board connectors.
While in comparison to the more popular FT-101 that uses a high-grade computer socket for each and every circuit board, the FT-201 used a far less expensive plastic push on socket that plugs into the bottom of each of the transceivers modules. None of the modules in the FT-201 plug in and out without first removing some screws and only then carefully removing the board. Not that it's all bad, but what can happen to the wiring on these plastic sockets is that brittle wiring will start to break and can wind up becoming a technicians nightmare. As long as the rig is working then all is well. If a problem does occur in this rig, you might want to use extra caution before you start yanking on those circuit boards with their flimsy connectors. The same type of circuit board connectors could also be found in other Yaesu products in this time period, such as the FT-620 Six meter transceiver and the FT-220 Two meter SSB transceivers. It happens without fail when ever I pull out one of the circuit boards even for the simplest of service jobs or update to the filter board, a wire will break from one of the connectors. So I recommend if you own one of these transceiver, ALWAYS check every wire on the board connectors before you put the covers back on the rig.
Note the Plastic connectors on the bottom of FT-201 modules.
If you're going to work on this rig be careful with the connectors or you may find yourself doing a little extra soldering work and repairing some broken wiring.
Compare the under side of this FT-101 transceiver with that of the FT-201 above.
The wiring on the FT-101 transceiver is never touched unless there is a problem that requires you to do so.
I like the FT-201 a lot, but if there was one thing I could change, it would be these plugs. As long as you don't
touch them, they work great and last a long time!
The rig has a striking resemblance to the Yaesu FL-101 / FR-101 series transceivers.
However the Yaesu Twins used the better quality circuit connectors similar to those used in the FT-101 series transceivers.
Here is a look behind the main tuning dial.
The Mic Amp Unit resides under the transceiver's speaker.
FT-201 Premix Unit (Crystal Osc. & Trimmers)
FT-101 Crystal Sockets
Compare the FT-101 Alignment Trimmers
with that of the FT-201 above.
Note the two band switches on the FT-201
I also noticed in other areas of the FT-201 were corners were cut in the Premix Unit( PB-1383) the oscillator circuit leaves little to be desired in the way making repairs to this unit easily. God help you if you ever have to replace a crystal or one of the trimmers should break during alignment. You would have to look under the transceiver to see what I mean. This board is located directly over one of the two band switches, also requiring removal of the RF Unit to gain access to the bottom of this board. You will also note there are NO CRYSTAL SOCKETS to be found in the FT-201 for easy crystal replacement. As in the FT-101 series transceivers each crystal was installed into a plug in socket.
FT-201 PA Stage
The power amplifier stage resembles very closely that of the FT-101 and FL-101 transmitter, with only slight differences. The PA stage of the FT-201 uses two familiar 6JS6C final amplifier tubes with an idle current of 50 ma like that of the FT-101 and FL-101 transmitters.
It is interesting to note the use of a dual control for the PA Plate and Loading controls. This is called Concentric Shaft Control for PA Plate and Loading Condensers and was used in other Yaesu equipment of the same time period like the FT-200 / Henry Tempo One for example. In the photograph below, you will see that we have two shafts one running inside the other in order to accomplish this process. The Plate control on the front panel of the transceiver turns the variable capacitor we seen in the far left photo, while the Plate Load control turn the outer shaft which then turns the gears and tension spring and finally turning the loading capacitor which resides directly below the plate tuning capacitor see in the left hand side photo. This kind of tuning arrangement is really nothing new. I remember seeing a similar PA tuning arrangement of sorts in the early Heathkit transceivers (SB-101// HW-101) but they used a less reliable large rubber grommet of sorts to tune Plate and Loading using the one shaft arrangement.
Alignment on the FT-201 is mostly done by adjusting inductors
where as in the FT-101 your primary alignment is done by trimmer capacitors.
FT-101 PRESELECTOR T101, T102, T103
Gone is the familiar PRESELECTOR found in the FT-101 (T-101, T-102 T-103) in the FT-201 we see it has been replaced with a three gang tuning capacitor as noted in the lower far right hand corner in the photo above. You will also note in the photo that we are dealing with many circuits contained on one large circuit board. Take for example the AF unit (PB1385) this board has the familiar AN-214 audio amplifier chip and Vox circuitry. We also have on this board the regulated 6 volt DC supply for our VFO, the final amplifier bias supply and 100 Khz crystal oscillator. Lots of things going on the board which resides just to the left of the power transformer. The large board to the far left (I.F. unit PB-1382) contains the transmitter I.F. and receiver I.F. as well as the crystal filters, AGC circuitry, noise blanker circuitry and SSB and AM detectors.
A closer look at the FT-201 block diagram will show the circuit board layout a little better.
In the photo above the FT-201 has a 9 Mhz I.F. frequency. In the photo above you are looking at PB1382 I.F. board. you will see one filter installed, that is the XF1 / SSB filter (XF-92A) with a center frequency of 90000 Khz . The original Yaesu XF-90B AM filter for this board is not the easiest thing to find. The optional XF-90B was also used in the Yaesu FT-620B six meter transceiver which had the same I.F. center frequency. The second optional filter is the XF-90C CW filter. In the photo you can easily see the flimsy plastic connectors at the bottom of the board. The connectors are held on by two small pieces of plastic on the side of each connector (Which like to come off.) If I had to point out one good thing about this design, I would have to stop and think a while. Then I came up with the fact that NO extender boards are required to repair this unit. The board can be pulled free, plugged back in and service outside of the transceiver chassis. PB-1382 has on it the transmit and receive I.F. components, the AM detector, SSB balanced demodulator / detector, AGC circuitry and noise blanker circuitry. Note the list of filters below; it is interesting to note that many other Yaesu transceivers used the same I.F. frequency as the FT-102 and you can some times find these filters in other rigs if you are savvy and take the time to hunt them down. Two such rigs are the FT-301D (HF rig) and the FT-620B (^M rig) use the same filters. I was lucky and found a XF-90B AM filter for my rig in an old FT-301. Typically the AM filters will be costly if you have to buy them new. Now that I have all three filters installed in the FT-102, I can honestly say I am far more happy with the way the rig works in AM and CW modes. AM mode sounds really good with the XF-90B installed and it also made a big difference in my six meter FT-620B. It was worth the wait hunting those filters down. If your a C.W. operator you will also appreciate the XF-30C as typically the SSB filter is a bit too wide for comfortable C.W. operation.
Filters used in the FT-102
XF-90A SSB Filter 2.6KHz
XF-90B AM Filter 6 Khz
XF-90C CW Filter 600 Kc
PB1385 A.F unit
Next we look at PB-1385 the A.F. unit. On this unit (PB-1385) we find that we have the familiar AN-214 audio amplifier chip in it's upper right hand corner (Right Photo.) We also have in the lower left hand corner (Center Photo) of the board the familiar MFC6034 highly regulated six volt DC supply voltage for our VFO, which was commonly seen in the FT-101B power supply board (PB-1314A.) The AF unit also includes the Vox circuitry, final amplifier bias adjustment for the final amplifier and a 100 Khz / 25 Khz crystal oscillator marker generator.
PB-1388 (Mic Amp board) resides under the transceivers speaker.
One comment on the way this rig sounds to your ear, USE AN EXTERNAL SPEAKER!
All the filtering in the world will not improve the way this small internal speaker sounds.
I will often use the rig with the internal speaker as a matter of convenience, but it really doesn't sound all that great with that tiny speaker.
Carrier Oscillator Unit (PB-1384)
Looking from the top of our FT-201, just to the left of our speaker and just forward of our power transformer resides PB-1384, the CW and AM Carrier Oscillator. This board like all the others has screws holding it in a vertical position with the same type plastic connector used on it's far right side. On this board we find our carrier oscillators, USB oscillator of 8998.5 Khz, LSB oscillator of 9001.5 Khz and AM/CW Carrier oscillator of 8999.3 Khz. We also have on this board, similar to that of the Yaesu FT-101 the transceivers ALC circuitry, AM modulator, SSB balanced modulator at the boards output the start of the 9 Mhz transmit intermediate frequency feeding into the IF board next.
Finally what you are looking at here is the FT-201 RF Unit. (PB-1381)
The RF unit is similar to other Yaesu products produced in this time period, this module contains the usual receiver front end field effect transistor FET 3SK40 and a second FET 3SK40 for the receiver mixer. Should you have a loss of sensitivity in the rig, there is little or no way to repair the front end board without having to pull the RF unit out of the transceiver. Where as in the FT-101 the front end FET is on a removable circuit board and in the later models the front end FET was installed into a transistor socket making substitution considerably easier for front end replacement and experimentation. It is interesting to note this transceiver also the the 16 volt fuse lamp in series with the antenna circuit providing some protection to the front end FET. The very early FT-101 did not have this fuse lamp, but every model after the FT-101B had the fuse lamp included. You can see this fuse lamp as it is directly up to the right of the Transceivers output SO-239 connector as seen in the photo lower right.
In conclusion, I currently have two of these rigs, in my experience and encounter with these FT-201's that I have had on the workbench, I did a quick alignment that got me quickly familiar with the rig. Having only briefly tested the transmitter I found the power output to be slightly lower then that of my FT-101 series transceiver (Using good tubes) and the receive appeared to be a bit wide making it prone to adjacent station interference, recommend you seek out and find the filters as noted above. You will note in the pictures above that many things look similar to that of the more famous FT-101 series transceiver, looking from behind the rig you see the same accessory fan kit, the DC-DC inverter on the rear panel including the same power socket and accessory socket which can accommodate the FTV-250 and FTV-650 transverters. Other then that when comparing the FT-201 against the FT-101 we have two different animals. From reports I have received from previous FT-201 owners, they loved them. I can only imagine however that their love for this rig lasted only long enough until the transceiver required servicing. My impression of the rig is that it's OK, not great but OK, however it has grown on me the more I use it. I enjoy CW & AM modes, thus the XF-90B filter is a must for AM and the XF-90C for the C.W. operator. The more I use the rig, the more I like it. In my opinion it will never be as good a rig as the FT-101 but again it was an ECONOMY RIG! The FT-102 while somewhat RARE to find in the United States it is not EXTREMELY SCARCE or valuable. Many were sold in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. Performance of the rig is about as good as the FT-101, so it's not a bad little transceiver. In closing I will leave you with Harry Leeming's note (G3LLL)
A Note from Harry G3LLL
Harry Leeming G3LLL
The Cedars 3A Wilson Grove
Heysham Morecambe LA3 2PQ
tel 0790 1932763
Never had many pass through my hands. Over here it was priced as though the
importer really did not want to sell it, as it lacked some of the features
of the 101, and yet was nearly the same price. The receiver I think was
better than the 101E as it was only a single conversion as per 101ZD. I got
the impression that it was some kind of experiment that did not work out
commercially. Harry G3LLL
73's Carol L. Maher W4CLM
Down Load the Original FT201 Instruction manual here!
In order to open the file you will need
Win Zip and Adobe Acrobat Reader
FT-201 Instruction Manual, with Alignment and Schematic.
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