Introduced in August 1982, the FT-102 is one of the finest amateur radio transceivers ever made for its time, and still remains an excellent option to buying a more modern Multi~Kilo~Bucks transceiver produced now being manufactured in the 21st century. Unfortunately for the FT-102 it did not last very long in production. By the years end of 1984 Yaesu was clearing the way for other transceivers like the FT-757GX, and production of the FT-102 was stopped with only being available for less than 2 years.. This is why there are so few, and why they fetch a premium price in good condition on the second hand market. Good marketing dictates not having too many models off the same manufacturer competing with each other.
Advertisement from June, 1984 QST Magazine.
One of the first things that you notice about the FT-102 is it's use of three 6146 final amplifier tubes in the final amplifier tank circuit. The forgiving nature of the three 6146 finals to an occasional high VSWR with full output gives one peace of mind not always enjoyed by completely solid-state transceivers. The three 6146 tubes gives the FT-102 more consistent power output and improved reliability over tube transceivers produced in the past such as the FT-101 with its sweep tube finals. The FT-102 claims 10db of negative feedback with third order distortion of 40db down giving the transceiver one of the best sounding audio of any transceiver ever produced without the use of studio equalizers in use by the (ESSB) enhanced SSB audio crowd found on the amateur bands of today. My experience with this radio is that the longer its on the better it sounds and audio reports are fantastic.
Another eye catching feature of the FT-102 similar to the of the Yaesu FT-One, is its use of a dual front panel metering. The dual metering system provides simultaneous display of ALC voltage on one meter, along with monitoring of plate voltage, cathode current, power output and compression level of the processor on the multi meter giving simplified monitoring of the transmit PA.
Ancilliary Units for the Yaesu FT-102 The FT-102 has a number of matching and useful additional units.. I managed to purchase all three units below, from another Amateur Radio friend, in May 2014
External VFO - FV-102DM
The FV-102DM External VFO is a very useful piece of kit. I
Antenna Tuning Unit - FC-102
WITH BUILT IN SWR METER AS WELL AS AN INLINE WATT METER WITH 3 RANGES, 20W, 200W AND 1.2KW. 2 SELECTABLE INPUTS AND OUTPUTS PLUS LONG WIRE INPUT. 1.2 kW POWER RATING.
Perhaps one of the finest ATU's available on the second hand market today, and currently fetching up to £200.00, or more if in really good electronic and cosmetic condition.
Speaker - SP-102
Reviews ~ 1983 and 1984.
100 Reasons to buy a Yaesu FT -102
TRANSMITTER: 1. - Lowest transmitter distortion of any transceiver ever tested by QST @ -40 dB. Translated that means that transmitter distortion is less than .01% or 1 part in ten thousand. (QST 10/83) 2. - Highest peak envelope power of any SSB transceiver on the market (below £6,000) @ 225 watts on SSB. Continuous key down power is 160 to 180 watts. 3. - Because of the high voltage final stages and dynamic head room of the power supply, the AM transmit capability can easily exceed 100% modulation. Properly realigned FT-102s will do 110 to 120% on positive modulation peaks without cutoff at the negative or positive peaks . Therefore, when properly adjusted there is no splatter distortion. In addition it is capable of HI-FI AM transmit audio with a frequency response (at 100% modulation) from 45 to 20,000 cycles with no attenuation and exceedingly low distortion. And, that is in all 102s that are unmodified, just stock. 4. - On SSB transmit audio, as well as for AM and FM audio, there is a built in adjustable graphic equalizer enabling you to independently change your base and treble.
RECEIVER: 1. - Sensitivity @ 0.12 to 0.145 UV for 10 dB S+N/N thru the wide SSB filter with the RF amp engaged and peaked. 2. - MDS on CW -140 to -141 dBM through the standard CW filter and -142 to -143 dBM through the narrow CW filter. 3. - Blocking dynamic range with the RF amp engaged is -127 dBM. 4. - Intercept point of +19 dBM (QST 10/83) 5. - Receiver dynamic exceeds 100 dB. 6. - Synthesizer noise - there is no synthesizer in the VFO of the 102 and therefore no reciprocal mixing products from it to degrade receiver performance. 7. - Exceptional effects of band pass filters (preselector circuitry) on receiver performance. Yaesu returned to this "older" technology in the 1000MP Mark V field as well as other current top of the line models as there is no other measure that so effectively reduces second order receiver distortion, effectively making the receiver brick wall to second order products at better than 130 dB rejection. 8. - High voltage, high dynamic range, jfet front end, same as used in the 1000D, 781, 950 and almost all of the present high end flag ship radios (except for the £6,000+ radios that have recently come on the market as I am not sure of their circuitry). As an added note the 102 was the first ham radio to use this front end (2SK125 in a high voltage [24 volt] doublet Darlington configuration). 9. - When properly aligned the 102 has an audio passband (-6dB points) of 250 to 2950 cycles on SSB and is the reason that the 102 has the crispest and cleanest audio of any radio on the market since it has both bass and treble level adjustment. Listen to the receive audio of most receivers on SSB and it will sound muffled in comparison to the 102 (played through the same speaker). That might not be a hindrance for the hearing of a 20 or 30 year old, but hams that are 50 and above will have problems with the lack of high frequency sibilants in other radios. So, the 102 is easier to copy and less fatiguing to listen to. In addition there is a treble control for the received audio on the front panel (not just a treble cut). 10. - The receive section of the 102 was designed by the same Japanese fellow who was later called upon by Yaesu to design the receiver in the 1000D. The front ends and early IF stages are identical in both radios. The first two IF stages are at the same frequencies and the filters are electrically interchangeable. The shift and width are the same circuits in both radios except that the 102 has the two controls ganged for convenience and flexibility while the 1000D has two separate controls.
REPAIRS: The newer radios today have their circuitry and boards based on surface mount double plated through configurations where the traces exit one side of a board and appear on the opposite side. This double plated through surface mount methodology is almost impossible to repair economically for the average technician because of the time and difficulty consumed in tracking down troubles and getting parts. Therefore the companies frequently resort to changing out boards instead of actually repairing a circuit. It is not unusual for companies such as Icom to charge £700.00 to change out a receiver board in the Icom 756 when it is out of warranty. The same type of charges and way of doing repairs is currently employed at all the companies. When you are out of guaranty and take a lightening strike which blows a 20 Pence diode it will cost you £800 for an entire board to repair that radio or you can buy another radio. On the other hand the 102 is accessible and repairable with most parts obtained for pennies. The user manual/owner's manual in the 102 describes in detail the function of each and every transistor and chip in the radio as well as the "to and from" signal paths. I know of no other radio that has a user manual or technical or repair manual that does that so completely. It vastly simplifies repairs for any technician . Most repair people can handle repairs with a minimum of charge and effort should they become needed so it won't cost you a down payment on a new car - more like a tank of petrol. COST: Depending on accessories, cosmetics, and whether the radio has been properly repaired and aligned, the average cost during 2013-14 for a working radio was about £350 to £500 on the open market unless there are special circumstances such as museum quality cosmetics. Compare that cost to an Icom 756 pro 2~3 or similar radio. You would save thousands on the purchase, and low cost for repairs if needed, and have a radio that would overall run circles around the pro with lower transmitter distortion, above 100% AM modulation, almost twice the power output and much better receiver performance characteristics such as blocking dynamic range at -127 dB, intercept point of +19 dBM. (I am not boasting - check the QST Lab reports and see the numbers for yourself). In addition the receive audio passband in the 102 on SSB is 250 to 2950 cps and is crisper than any other radio that I have heard. The only other radio that approaches that is the Icom 781 (not including the current crop of £7,000 radios as I have not heard them in action). Yes, the new radios may look nicer but you have to have a manual next to you to operate the multiple menu stages. On the 102 every control is labeled and what you see is what you get - so no confusion or accidental changes of the menus and you have to read the manual to find out how to get back to ground zero. Clean clear operation, low cost, reliable (well, after my Techy friends have serviced and aligned them), and will overall as a transceiver outperform anything under £7,000. As far as the transmit section there is nothing that outperforms the 102 at any price in regard to SSB and AM transmit functions.
ROOFING FILTERS: I have also researched roofing filters and in fact the FT-102 has provision for them in the SSB and CW sections and these were described in the original factory brochure when the radio was new. Yaesu saw into the future back in 1983. When those are installed the receiver performance characteristics are the same as the other current £6,000 radios.
DEPRECIATION: And lastly is depreciation. The resale value of a £7,000 radio will drop precipitously with time. The value of the Yaesu FT-102 will remain constant or go up...... Currently (2014) they command a price of around £350., but in excellent refurbished condition with above average (unmarked) cosmetics, they will attract a price of £400 to £500. Remember, these beautiful old ladies will still be happily working away, given proper care and maintenance, for yet another 30 years, when todays 'Black Boxes' have long since bitten the dust..
The 1982 Yaesu FT-102
Technical Characteristics Frequency coverage - All amateur bands from 160 to 10 meters, WARC included Operating modes - LSB,USB,CW,AM,FM (AM TX and FM TX/RX with optional module) Power requirements - Receive: 95 VA (73 VA with heaters off). Transmit: 440 VA (for 100W output) Dimensions - 368 x 129 x 309 (mm) Weight - 15 kg
Transmitter Carrier suppression - Better than -40dB at 14MHz Sideband suppression - Better than -60dB (14MHz, 1 kHz tone) Spurious radiation - Better than -40dB Third order IMD - Better than -40dB (14MHz, 100W PEP) Negative feedback level - Approx. -6dB at 14MHz Frequency stability - Less than 300Hz drift during first 30 minutes after 10 minutes warm-up. Less than 100Hz every 30 minutes thereafter Microphone input impedance - Low, 200 to 600 Ohm
Receiver IF frequencies - 8.2MHz and 455kHz Image rejection - Better than 70dB from 1.8 to 21.5MHz. Better than 50dB from 24.5 to 29.9MHz IF rejection - Better than 70dB AF output - 1.5W minimum (8 Ohm, 10% THD) AF output impedance - 4 to 16 Ohm Selectivity - (-6dB/-60dB) SSB, CW, AM: 2.7/4.8kHz. Width adjust continuously from 2.7kHz to 500Hz ~ Options - SSB nar, CW wide: 1.8/3.1 kHz (XF-8.2HSN filter) CW nar : 600/1300 Hz (XF-8.2HC filter) CW nar : 300/800 Hz (XF-8.2HCN filter) CW nar : 500/1000 Hz (XF-455C filter) CW nar : 270/600 Hz (XF-455CN filter) AM : 6/12.4 kHz (XF-8.2GA filter) IF notch depth - Better than 40dB
Sensitivity - (worst case in uV for 10dB (S+N)/N, except FM) SSB (no optional filters) - RF AMP ON: 0.25, RF AMP OFF: 1.0 CW (no optional filters) - RF AMP ON: 0.18, RF AMP OFF: 0.7 AM (no optional filters) - RF AMP ON: 1.0 , RF AMP OFF: 4.0 FM (for 20dB quieting) - RF AMP ON: 0.4 , RF AMP OFF: 3.0 CW (with APF ON) - RF AMP ON: 0.05, RF AMP OFF: 0.2 SSB (with XF-8.2HSN) - RF AMP ON: 0.2 , RF AMP OFF: 0.8 CW (with XF-8.2HSN) - RF AMP ON: 0.12, RF AMP OFF: 0.5 Dynamic Range (with IF WIDTH control at maximum) With no optional filters - RF AMP ON: 90dB, RF AMP OFF: 95dB With XF-8.2HC filter - RF AMP ON: 95dB, RF AMP OFF: 100dB With XF-8.2HCN filter - RF AMP ON: 97dB, RF AMP OFF: 102dB
Sales Brochure from 1982
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