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The FT100 Resource Page

From KC1QF/VA3PPV - 21 April 1999

FT-100 impressions

written by Peter Vekinis, KC1QF/VA3PPV

I bought a FT-100 via hamradio outlet in Anaheim, March 13, 1999. Have used it since and carried it half way around the world. It was one of the first and serial number 13. This radio was arranged long ago which is the reason why I got one relatively fast.

Good points for me:

  • Small, full frequency, powerful radio (100W/50W/20W) with DSP, fully adjustable.
  • An extensive set of setup facilities including bandwidth filters spacing (hearing the signals as you adjust), huge numbers of memories, automatic search (same as Yaesu's HTs), scan, many other features (see Yaesu's site).
  • Has DCS for links with other Yaesu radios (better that PL) AND Yaesu's Range system (great when I go camping) AND Automatic Search to load up stations, either public service or repeaters that may be in use at the time.
  • Great adjustment of power levels saves battery for portable use, 4 sets, per band (HF/6m/2m/70cm).
  • Works great with the ATAS antenna, good performance similar to Hustler, when mounted in the same place, such on the front bullbar of a pickup or SUV (like on my TJ Jeep).
  • One radio does all philosophy, excels in many aspects, Yaesu shipped it only after the many bugs were fixed (this is why there was such a delay in delivery).

Points to ponder:

  • Some problems, including the main frequency knob falling off, indicate not enough mechanical QC at factory (the electronics were good however).
  • No adjustment for frequency knob tension.
  • Fan noise excessive at 100W (fan stops during receive), but then it is too small and use up 195W to give 100W output, thus the need for efficient(=noisy) fans.
  • The two antenna connectors are RG-58s pigtails terminated in SO-259 connectors with hoods. As the radio has two fans, there is no more space left for SO-259 connectors on the radio chassis. This is to be expected and poses no problems. I have tied the two antenna connector pigtails and the control signal pigtail with a tie-wrap to avoid them jiggling around too much.
  • The power cable uses a special new connector which is not available for purchase. If you need a second connector, you may have to built another one. The fuses are standard automobile fuses and easily found.

Verdict:

I own many radios (more than 28 radios) and for me the FT-100 is one of the best I ever bought. For what I am looking for, it does the job and then some. It is small and easy to pack. It runs off 12V. It operates the ATAS antenna. It has DSP, all band and does split band for satellite use. It does 9600 packet. Has VOX, Processor, full band, wide FM, and scans to 1GHz. In one radio you an now do hamradio, FM, wide FM, weather satellite - with proper bandwidth, AM, SSB, RTTY, real FSK and more. It weighs peanuts compared to the 746 I have. Has a great display and costs only $1349 (only about $300 on top of a standard rig) you get 2m and 70cm all mode thrown in. I own a 706, and it doesn't. Icom doesn't have the features and remember the coming 706MKIIG, is just a modification to the MKII, to include 70cm (for marketing reasons against the FT-100).

The 706MKII is a great multimode rig, but the WFM leaves a lot to be desired, the DSP doesn't compare with Yaesu's, and will not do 100W, with that flimsy fan it has (the FT-100 has 2 real fans in the back). Although I own both Icom and Yaesu, I think that the FT-100 is better and I waited for it. I was not disappointed.

Things to remember:

The FT-100 has many features. If you can't get the radio to do something you did a certain way before, look in the manual to see how this radio does it. There are still many things to be discovered. I used it on Pactor and did a great job on HF.

Thanks, Peter Vekinis, KC1QF/VA3PPV

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