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Author Topic: The Whole Yaesu VL-2000 Amplifier Story from an engineer that worked on it.  (Read 1370 times)
KD8MJR
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Posts: 2235




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« on: March 17, 2014, 02:49:08 PM »

About two months ago I met and started corresponding with a Japanese Tokyo Hy-power ex employee about the future of THP products and the servicing of the amplifiers etc.  During our correspondence the subject came up about what happened on the day the factory closed and in one of the emails he mentioned to me the VL-2000.  My eyes widened and I proceeded to reply to him asking for more details on the VL-2000 and how it was connected to THP.  I got the whole story but was sworn to secrecy because he was nervous of any possible repercussions for himself in finding a new job.  I swore not to tell anybody, but in light of the recent leaks of parts of the information I emailed him back asking for permission and he said it was fine to go ahead and make a post on the subject since the THP connection had already been revealed.   He only asked that I did not mention him directly.

So here’s the VL-2000 Story as told by a THP employee. (Some of this information you know already)

About 3 years before the unveiling of the VL-2000 the management of THP was contacted by Yaesu to develop a new legal limit SS amp.   Engineers from THP met with Yaesu executives and where told exactly what Yaesu wanted in terms of Power output, margins, and the powers supply design plus other features.

During the next 2 years Tokyo Hy-Power worked closely with Yaesu to make the Amplifier to all of Yaesu’s requirements.  Some elements of the amplifier did not sit well with THP engineers, such as the built in tuner using up extra cash and some of the front panel design ideas that clashed with THP style and the real insistence that Yaesu had on the Fans being really quiet, that took a lot of extra work.  None the less THP went ahead with the customer’s requests.

When the Prototype was finished and approved by Yaesu they requested that Tokyo Hy-Power proceeded to make the first batch of 25 units.  Contrary to other numbers you may have heard THP produced 25 units in total.

Of the 25 Amplifiers fifteen of them where delivered to Yaesu for various uses.  Some units where sent out for use at conventions and to head offices in various countries and some where sent to selected individuals within the company to be used as test bed models by Yaesu to see if the amplifiers had any bugs or issues.  One Amplifier was sent to a patent Lab to get the Amplifier certified, all paper work was sent to the FCC and certification was either granted or was pretty much going to be granted. (my friend was not clear on that but he thinks it was certified.)

The 10 remaining amplifiers where kept at the THP factory where at least two of them where put into field use by employees and another two where used for testing purposes to verify and diagnose any problems that may occur with the field units.  That left six amplifiers sitting in boxes unopened.

Yaesu had made it clear to THP that the target selling price of the Amplifier would be about $8000 USD and THP was able to build the amplifier within that budget.  The problem occurred when the Yen lost 20% of it’s value and the amplifier projected price was now going to be near $10,000 USD.  At that point Yaesu called THP and pulled the plug on the project.

I am told that the six amplifiers at the THP factory where still in the boxes when the factory closed and that they are most likely in the hands of somebody in Japan.  The two on the bench had disappeared that same day and where most likely removed by someone within the company.

As for the fifteen amplifiers that where delivered to Yaesu I am told by my friend that only Yaesu knows where they are.

As a cautionary tale, when you see somebody selling a VL-2000 which was the recent case on QRZ and they are asking for $50,000 for the only one in existence, that is simply not true, there are 24 more of them out there.

On a closing note I asked my source if this was the final chapter on the VL-2000.  He responded saying that he does not think so!  According to him there are two employees from THP that where hired by Yaesu after THP closed.  He has no idea what they are doing at Yaesu, but he said they are amplifier experts so….

Lastly, he told me that if someone wanted a VL-2000 they might be able to get their hands on the closest thing, the THP 2500Fx.   He said to me that the 2500Fx used many of the designs from the VL-2000 but THP gave it their normal look and they also cut out the tuner and a few other things that had driven up the price on the VL-2000, but he said it’s as close to the VL-2000 as you can get.

I really wanted to make this post so it would let people know the exact fate of the VL-2000 and also put to rest any rumors of someone having the only one in existence etc.
I suspect that those remaining 6 amplifiers at the THP warehouse will eventually end up on eBay or in someone’s private collection.

73’s
Robert
KD8MJR
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 03:04:38 PM by KD8MJR » Logged
K6AER
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Posts: 3514




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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2014, 03:59:09 PM »

That is a great story. We may never know the exact details but it does show the market price for a 2Kw plus SS amplifier is about $8000.

In this market of aging hams it might be a moot point in less than 5 years. A lot of used equipment will be coming on the market from SK sales. I get request from widows all the time to remove towers and antennas. When a ham dies their buddies scarf up the equipment pretty fast. Left are the hard to remove items.

Quite frankly at even $8k for the VL-2000, I would be surprised if THP/Yaesu would have sold that many. Remember the long awaited TS-990….only 60 reviews are listed. You can only do so much with hardware without a great antenna system.

Don't be surprised to get a letter from someone's legal department. I have found amateur radio business owners to be very thin skinned.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 04:06:09 PM by K6AER » Logged
KD0REQ
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Posts: 925




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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2014, 04:10:36 PM »

I offer three words:  reporter shield laws.  many states have them.
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KB1NXE
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Posts: 310




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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2014, 04:50:23 PM »

I offer three words:  reporter shield laws.  many states have them.

Yes,  but does Japan?
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KD8MJR
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Posts: 2235




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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2014, 04:59:55 PM »

Thanks for the concern, I doubt any of this is worth a lawyers time.  If I was the first to have broken the story about the Yaesu/THP connection and also followed up with all these details it might be an issue, but the most concerning part of this to Yaesu is already common knowledge.  As for how many where made etc and the other details, I doubt that they are all that interested in the details.
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