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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-102 Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-102
Yaesu FT-102 Reviews: 60 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1150 (When new per Oct '83 QST)
Description: Multi-Mode Hybrid HF Tranceiver with WARC Bands
Product is not in production.
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GM1SXX Rating: 5/5 Jan 10, 2011 04:32 Send this review to a friend
FT-102 relays  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a follow-up to my review of two years ago.
The FT-102 is an aging transceiver and the relays are likely to be a problematic area for owners. Most of the relays can be replaced by a competent tech,or hobbyist, and are easily obtained, but the Fujitsu relay numbered RL-02 is long obsolete, made of unobtanium. Of course it's possible to 'bodge' in another relay, but this can degrade the transceiver's performance. Instead, I used a canned mil-spec relay, very similar to the Teledyne 712-12 (12V Coil, DPDT type) which is still available. No bodging is required, since the relay can be made to fit the original pinout simply by fitting it into a DIL turned-pin socket, soldered into the PCB in place of the original relay. This has the benefit of neatness, and my transceiver has worked beautifully since doing this mod.
The other relays were replaced by ordinary sealed signal relays that are widely available. This radio is my main station transceiver, used for several hours twice every day over the last two years. The radio with the RL-02 mod has now been in regular use for several months, and I'm very happy with it.

Should you need to replace RL-02 in your transceiver, you can see my mod at..

Hopefully this may save some lovely old high quality transceivers from being scrapped or parted out.

73 Al.
K9CTB Rating: 4/5 Aug 26, 2010 22:03 Send this review to a friend
Nice Rig!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I guess I had to see for myself what all the hubbub is about this rig. I found one and the price was right. I thought I'd bring my experience with the FT-102 here.

It's a nice rig, but after looking it over and putting it on the air, I believe the big draw is those 3 6146s in the PA assembly. I guess I expected more elsewhere in this radio.

Transmitter sounds nice on SSB and AM. My rig has the AM/FM card installed, but this is not a rig you'd want to use on FM. There is no split nor is there a tone encoder. Still the SSB audio sound as good as my TS-940. It could have been my particular rig, but in CW, with my AEA MM-3, there was noticeable key click. It was worst on 40 meters. For checks and balances, I tested it with my horrible straight-key fist ... same click. So I concluded that this is an SSB'ers rig. Probably a good choice for the 11 meter gotta-have-that-power crowd as well. That scares me because what's out there has a good chance of being on the wrong end of a "golden screwdriver". It's been said elsewhere I think, but the relays in this rig are not suited for any of the ARQ modes or even Packet. I'm not sure what the receiver turnaround time is, but those relays probably won't give you very good figures and they definitely won't do so very long, either. To boot, I'm not sure the VFO is stable enough as well.

Receiver is great! I don't have fancy test gear in my shack, but I trust my ear pretty well. The receiver in the FT-102 is every bit as good as my TS-940 (de facto standard around my shack for non-dsp receivers). There might have been a tad bit more noise on the FT-102 on 10 meters ... but it's a tough call. CW sounds good on the '102, also. Shame the CW transmitter isn't as well behaved.

All in all the FT-102 looks like a tough rig, and it performs well within it's envelope. Unless you want those 3 honkin 6146s in one box, buy an amp. There are much better rigs out there with more reasonable price tags. For some reason, those 3 final tubes jack that price up beyond what the FT-102's features and performance are actually worth in my opinion.
PA0LPS Rating: 4/5 Aug 20, 2010 13:53 Send this review to a friend
Great radio for occasional QSOs.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my FT-102 new in 1984, as my first HF set.
At the time, it was one of the last hybrid sets; all-solid state sets like the FT-107 were just becoming available as an alternative. These had a reputation of being easily damaged by impedance mismatch.

I chose the Yaesu FT-102 because my main interest was antenna building and experimenting and I anticipated that a tube-type PA set would be more forgiving to impedance mismatching.

(Hadn't I ever heard about antenna tuners? I don't recall...)

The set was ordered with extra filters, the AM/FM unit and a set of spare tubes. But even now, I am still using the tubes the set came with.

About a year later, I ordered the FC-102 tuner and a FAS 1-4R antenna switch.
I never owned the FV-102 additional VFO.

Even though the set has not been used over a period of 10 years, it still performs excellently.
I like the receiver sensitivity and good audio quality (both TX and RX).
The speech processor has never been switched on, nor do I use a Power Amplifier.

The FT-102 gained early in life a reputation for relay failure, so I decided to order a set of spare relays, when they were still available, just in case.
But, in fact, I never experienced the relay problems that are so well documented elsewhere.

What I like are the good audio quality and the excellent receiver section.
Furthermore, the FT-102 has proven to be very reliable and is has a solid look and feel.
The knobs, and there are many of them, are just large enough.

What I never particularly liked is the elaborate tuning procedure.
Tuning and bandswichting is not an easy job.
In FM on 10 m, RX bandwidth is far too wide.
We used 10 kHz channel spacing when 10m FM was popular in the late 80s.
There is no provision for split-frequency operation (for 10 m repeaters).

Also, the set has no general coverage reception.
Much later, I bought a used SP-102 speaker, but this item does not add very much to the quality of the audio. A headphone set works much better.

Break-in (for Amtor etc). is not possible or, at least, not very practical.

I'm not a contest operator, I'm just making occasional QSO's, mainly to test my home made antennas.
For this purpose, it is a great rig, even today in 2010!
N8BHL Rating: 5/5 Feb 23, 2010 08:25 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful rig all around  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my FT-102 in 1982 and it was a great radio then. I shared Malcolm's enthusiasm as he revived it after nearly 20 silent years on a shelf. New relays were mandatory of course as part of the revival. I judge the 102's performance against my ProII (another great radio) favorably- I prefer the 102's audio on cw, the receive is as smooth and hears every bit as well as the newer rigs. Transmit audio is excellent, and I like the extra power from the three tube finals. Of course rig control is lacking, but I do run digital modes on the 102 with great success. I started back in the 80's with a Vic-20 and AEA Micropatch. Today, much better digital respources. I regard this as a great radio- the fact that it is still comparable to today's rigs, if not better in some areas, indicates it's overall quality.
AA4WB Rating: 5/5 Sep 7, 2009 07:39 Send this review to a friend
Amazing Radio !  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently bought an FT-102 (Malcomized in 2003) that is in pristine shape; even the case is in excellent shape 9.9 out of 10.

The radio has an incredible receiver that I would argue sounds and works better than my old Omni VI Plus. The IF filtering and crisp audio make listening to it enjoyable.

I can't say enough about this radio. - W1UOY
G0MJK Rating: 5/5 Jun 7, 2009 02:57 Send this review to a friend
A definite keeper  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my FT102 off the original owner as a 'not much used example' and quickly found that it was stone deaf amongst other problems. Replacing relays didn't cure the problem which turned out after a lot of searching and test gear to be the connection from the RF board to the LO. Once replaced and the insertion of a Malcomised relay 2 it is superb, receives well and very complimentary reports on the transmitted audio. Worth all the work? Yes indeed it is and compared to my more modern FT920 and Icom 756Pro3 it stands up extremely well. Unfortunately there are still numbers of these radios around which have been CBised and the so called mods make these basket cases as in some cases so many hands have been in it is difficult to know where to start. If you can find a good one snap it up - you won't regret it.
PD7P Rating: 4/5 May 1, 2009 11:34 Send this review to a friend
first time  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just bought a project ft-102 for the little amount of 100 euro´s,spent 2,50 for replacement and got it running again,so far trying to tune in which is not that easy compared to my kenwood ts930.sound is very good on rx but adjusting the signals coming in is quite some work.
don´t think it will leave here couse I like the old stuff.had a runaway tube already so a new set is looking for the fc-102 which seems to be hard to get.

73s Paul
KI6IUJ Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2009 21:43 Send this review to a friend
Top Shelf  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my FT-102 since 1985 complete with all the matching goodies...external VFO, tuner, speaker & phone patch. What a great looking / performing station. I have 4 HF rigs. My FT-102 is still my 'GO TO' rig when the conditions are rough and I'm chasing that rare DX contact.

The receiver is as good as it gets. It has a tight sharp, yet pleasing to listen to audio quality that is unequaled. When running it side by side with my Hi-dollar rigs like my Icom and FT-1000MP, the 102 still takes the cake even with the stock 2.7 KHz SSB filter. Kick in the optional 1.8 KHz narrow SSB filter when the band gets crowded and adjacent QRM is minimized while my friends with their FT-2000s are crying the blues...true story. Sure some of the DSP rigs handle certain types of noise better, but for most conditions the FT-102 is the clear winner. If your 102 is not one of the best receivers you have ever heard, as far as sensitivity and selectivity, spend the time & money and get give it the precision alignment it deserves. It will be.

Now for the transmitter. The FT-102 drives my 3-500z amp to full output giving me that extra punch to bust through the pile ups when my other solid-state rigs struggle. I also hang out with the vintage AM 'Boat Anchor' crowd. Most of them can't believe I'm transmitting on a 'Rice-Box'. I always get great AM signal reports from these audiophiles. When the sun spots are good, I like to work the 10 meter FM repeaters also with outstanding audio reports. As for the enhanced SSB folks, they too love the sound of my FT-102. I run a Heil PR-40 microphone straight into the mic amp of the 102. I have bypassed the internal FT-102 mic preamp and 2 band EQ. I'm told over and over, that I have the best sounding 102 they have ever heard. You be the judge. I'm on 17m & 20m mornings and usaully around 3.840 MHz late evenings. 73 - de...Gregg KI6IUJ.
W6UXB Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2009 22:25 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for its time as well as now  Time owned: more than 12 months
Great radio, the best of the hybrids lots of power, but you have to change the relays and then it's a keeper it gives my FT-1000MP a run for it's money. I can't believe some peoples comments about the radio especially EW1CK, he complains no automatic antenna tuner, it is a tube PA ! you actually have to be a radio person to operate this radio, no computer control, it was made in the '80's ! great radio, great receiver, great audio. I have just refurbished two of these gentle giants, just wish I had room to keep them all
MI3LVZ Rating: 5/5 Feb 2, 2009 09:15 Send this review to a friend
Big gun in her day.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Lovely flagship radio in her day. A pleasure to operate and can put out upto 200 watts!
I use an Astatic 575-M6 mic and get cracking audio reports. Cant really say more than what has already been wrote so its quite simply, see one, get one!
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