The FT-101ZD

What is there to be said about the Yaesu FT-101ZD which hasn't already been said elsewhere? Probably nothing. But here is my two cent's worth ...

More than twenty years after these rigs went out of production you still hear them every day on the amateur bands. They were very popular, and sold in great numbers. They were competitively priced (although way out of my price range at the time!) - I like to think of them as the "Ford Cortina" of radio equipment. Functional, reasonably reliable, reasonable performers, built to a price, and most definitely NOT a Ferrari.

Having said that, when was the last time you saw a Ford Cortina on the road?

But above all that, if you plot the evolution of this rig from the early days of the vanilla FT-101, through the various improvements - the FT-101Mk2, FT-101B, FT-101E, (I don't think I have ever seen an FT-101F, though I know they exist!) to the FT-901 and FT-902, you can see a company with a popular product moving with the times and responding to the positive criticisms of the huge user base.

To my way of thinking, the FT-101ZD in its various marques, ending with the Mk3 is the product of that evolution.

I am fortunate to own a nice example of the FT-902DM, but from an operational point of view, the "cut-down" version is the nicer rig to use. If you fit a narrow CW filter to the 902DM there is no facility for working CW without it (apart from implementing a modification using the mostly superfluous AMGC switch). The 101ZD has a CW-W and CW-N position on the mode switch. Not a big deal, but I know which rig I prefer to operate on CW! I actually find the Audio Peaking Filter very functional, meaning that the narrow CW filter isn't really a "must have" anyhow as far as I am concerned.

From when I somehow became a "collector" of classic rigs from the 1970s and 1980s era, I developed an ambition to have what I have come to regards as the "ultimate FT-101"so now, dear reader, read on!

At the time of writing (December 2007) I have two 101ZDs, both EBay purchases, and both Mark 3s.

The first of them was a "worker", as bought, though when it arrived, it actually didn't work at all.

The second was advertised as an "ex-QRO-CB" unit, spares or repair, so I was expecting an interesting time from the start with this one!

FT-101ZDMk3 #1 - s/n 1K 28 0123

This rig is in very good cosmetic condition. Apparently it used to be owned by GCHQ in Cheltenham, and was used on receive only. The rig has been modified with a simple inline on off switch between the mains supply and the fan unit, so that the fan need not run when the rig is used only as a receiver.

Internally, it also looks as though it has had a relatively easy life, very clean and tidy, no modifications.

However, as first received it didn't work at all. Click on the image to read all the gory details!

FT-101ZDMk3 #2 - s/n 2I 31 0450

Second FT-101ZD

At the time of writing (September 2010) this is "work in progress".

Originally this rig was u/s, being a "spares or repair" item from EBay.

Click on the image for the details and latest news about this interesting purchase!

This page updated :- 19th September 2010