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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-301 series Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-301 series
Yaesu FT-301 series Reviews: 17 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $935 (When new for 301S/D per Oct
Description: Introduced in 1976 -- first solid-state 100 Watt HF Rig.
Product is not in production.
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NC9K Rating: 5/5 Feb 29, 2004 01:54 Send this review to a friend
Rugged all around tranceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
My FT-301S was given to me by my brother as a gift Fall 1983. I was working at Northrop DSD as an Advanced Technology Dept. design EE at the time. Our dept. had a number of Ham operators and they encouraged me to study for a Ham license. (I had already gotten my First Phone with radar in 1976.) Anyway, I plugged a length of wire into the antenna input and learned to copy code off the FT-301S on 80 and 160M. I took the FCC exams in downtown Chicago Dec 1983 and received the call NC9K.

Now that it was legal for me to transmit, I got "serious" about this 10 watt rig. I put up a fan dipole for 160M and worked CW from coast to coast. The receiver was excellent because of the inductively tuned pre-selector front end.

Eventually I decided to run the FT-301S mobile so I designed and built a 12V 300W 160-10M amp and plugged it in on the back. I ran it through one of my homemade antenna tuners into an 11 ft. spring loaded whip on the back bumber of my Chevette, using the RF speech processor when needed. I was able to consistently work 20M SSB stations up and down the Ivory Coast while driving on the Tollway system around Chicago! This alone is a testimony to the quality of the receiver and the stability of the VFO.

I have listened to a number of "modern" rigs, and up until the recent crop their phase noise and digital display internal QRM made their receivers inferior to the FT-301's clean analog design.

I still have this FT-301S and am restoring it for fulltime use again. All I need now is a good top cover for it (my cover was damaged when I had it off the radio and it was accidentally bent).

KA9TZU Rating: 5/5 Dec 19, 2003 02:48 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I recently purchased a FT-301 off E-bay when I upgraded to General. I got it for $156.00. I figured for that kind of money, I could not go wrong. I was right. It is a great radio. This receive is great. I have used it on all bands with great reports. The noise blanker works great when I get noise on 10 meters. The RF Processor tends to overdrive the radio's audio. It does have a tendency to drift a bit. The AGC works great, even though a real strong station can still slam the meter over and it will stay there till you give it a little tap. I guess that is where the RF gain comes in handy. I like being able to use the clarifier in recieve only when I am on a net.

I have it paired with a Dentron MLA-2500 amplifier. The variable output makes it great for tuning the amp and controlling the amps output. The 13.8 volt output on the ACC jack is great for switching a relay box I built for keying the amp.

I am getting used to the analog dial, that was bit hard to grasp at first, since all my other radios have digital readings. A frequency counter solved most of the problem.

The auxilary position is factory tuned for 11 meters if you have the crystal. I have ordered a 12 meter crystal(39.000 mhz), in hopes that I can retune the trimmers for the aux cystal input to this band. I am pretty sure I won't have a problem doing this since the radio's finals can be tuned continualisly from 160 meters to 10 meters. The 10 meters C & D position are pretty much useless, since the radio does not have FM or split capability without an external VFO.

I use the radio with my 10 meter verticle from my Novice days and a 20 meter, a 40 meter and a 160/80 meter dipole. Even without the amp, the radio's 100+ watt output is enough to work almost any station I can hear.

It has been a great starter radio that i will probably end up keeping for a while and if I do decide to sell it, I bet I get my $156.00 back out of it!

(Forgive me for any spelling errors. It is to late at night to be looking up words!)
2E0MKA Rating: 5/5 Sep 9, 2003 18:57 Send this review to a friend
a great irg  Time owned: months
I first heard this rig at a friends and was amazed at the quality of the audio..I have a Kenwood ts50 and the Yaesu not only sounds better but is a lot quieter on receive.This is not due to a lack of sensitivity as i have tested them side by side..The yaesu has one dial for one thing and thats the way i like it..Variable rf gain not a useless 10db attenuator..FULLY variable power output from 1 watt to 200w..rit for rx or rx/tx..and NO cooling fans either in the power supply or the i can hear what the other station is saying without the roar...
No warc bands,,takes a few minutes to "warm up" and thats about all i can say in the cons dept..
I've just bought an 817 for qrp so have decided to sell one of the hf guessed the ts50.
N3IJW Rating: 4/5 May 5, 2003 09:08 Send this review to a friend
My first solid state rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned an FT-301AD (digital, 100W) for about 15 years. Been inactive for most of that time but the 301 was a nice step up from my previous rig, a Tempo One (another great rig in it's own right).

There really isn't a whole lot to complain about regarding this machine. VFO drift is a little excessive at power-on but it settles down after 30-60 minutes. There were some digital units that had problems with the LED displays overheating and losing elements, but that is a relatively easy repair, and I haven't encountered that problem yet (the LED does indeed run quite warm). When I first got the rig, it would oscillate on TX, a quick trip to a local Yaesu tech fixed it and to date it has been solid.

I could do without the needlessly complicated 12 volt power connector. I just pulled the 301 out of storage this weekend, and I haven't the slightest idea where the power cable is, so I am SOL until I figure out what type of connector it is and where I can get a replacement.

Overall, an easy rig to run. It looks great, was ahead of its time, has a good receiver, and frankly I can't think of any reason to sell it.

Four out of five, keeping its vintage in mind.
K9LDW Rating: 4/5 Nov 29, 2001 11:44 Send this review to a friend
Neat rig with a little age  Time owned: more than 12 months
Though it's been years, I have owned two FT-301's. They came in full (100W) and QRP (10W) versions, designated with the "S" suffix.
I have had an FT-301S (analog dial and 10W)
and an FT-301AD (analog, 100W). They had others that used a red LED display instead of the analog (drum and disc) dials.

I enjoyed the rig a lot - being all-solid was my first real HF radio. The need to "peak" or "tune" the preselector (and hence RF final) was not a problem - I usually did it by ear and didn't need to check the RF out to verify my settings.

I also had the companion FV-301 external VFO but did little with it - really didn't need to do split ops often.

It did have a serious birdie somewhere in the 10M band but not bad otherwise. It seemed reasonably selective and I always had good audio from it. I often used an external and (slightly) preamplified desk mic rather than the stock hand mic.

It was a bit too big for mobile use and didn't have any fancy tuning (and no memories since a generation too old for that).

Overall I was happy with it for it's time. Now I use other features that no radios had then - like band stacking registers (band edge memroies - great for mobile to stay in band while tuning around and driving).

It's not a bad "extra" rig - and good for lending to schools for inotro classes, etc.
KD7LSE Rating: 5/5 Mar 17, 2001 23:42 Send this review to a friend
Great bang for the buck  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I puchased my FT-301-S, with analog frequency display, just prior to returning to amateur radio after a 20+ year hiatus. A friend was selling it for a silent key's daughter. I actually didn't know it was a QRP rig until I had purchased it! There just aren't many of them around and I couldn't find any information on it. I gambled and won big. I have been acive since January and my WAS total is 36 and DXCC total is 35. All this with a tri-band dipole and 20 - 50 watts output with the 301-S. I attached a broadband 50 watt amplifier where the amp goes on the full power (100 Watts) FT-301. Without the amplifier, it puts out a solid 10 watts DC.
I get many compliments on the audio quality, which is always nice to hear. Having come from the earlier days of amatuer radio, I have always had to "load up" when changing bands, so "no-tune" band switching isn't really an issue for me. The VFO is rock solid, the notch filter is crisp and the tuning is solid and backlash free. This little rig, in my opinion, is every bit as good as my old Drake 4-Line, and that is saying something. I just don't have to replace tubes and listen to a cooling fan!
As of this writing, I am waiting on my "new" FT-301, FV-301 and FP-301 to arrive. I won them in an auction and am VERY anxious to get this station on the air. If the full power version is as solid as the QRP version, I will be one happy ham! These rigs can occasionally be found on ebay, and I would highly recommend grabbing one, as they apparently are somewhat rare. I'm not sure if they are collectible or not. I bought mine to use, and haven't been sorry.
I will report on the full power version at a later date.
If you have any questions, I will be glad to try and answer them.
73 and gud dx.

VK3YE Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2000 05:43 Send this review to a friend
A classic  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
(The following comments relate to the FT-301S, the ten watt version of the model)

This is an early all-solid state HF transceiver, perhaps overshadowed by the very popular 101 series of the time. Appearance bears a family
resemblance to the 101, though the cabinet is a
little smaller. Nevertheless the controls are
large and easy to use. This is not really a rig
for the portable QRPer seeking lightweight equipment.

The set boasts many features not found on later
budget models such as the FT-77. These include 160 metres, RF speech processor, notch filter, selectable AGC (slow, medium, fast, unfortunately not OFF) and VOX. However later rigs do have no-tune operation (the FT-301S requires peaking on each band), 10/18/24 MHz and an FM option.

Overall performance is very good. The transmit audio with the standard hand mic has always received complimentary reports. The included
RF speech processor is excellent, and introduces no audible distortion. Indeed I leave it on at all times. The audio quality on AM has also received good reports.

VFO stability is adequate, and quite in keeping with rigs of the time. If left for an hour or so on an SSB signal, it does require a small amount of retuning. This may put it at a disadvantage for digital modes or unattended voice operation via VHF/UHF remote-control links. The reviewer's unit has an analogue dial, which is large and easy to read.

I would rank receive performance as good to excellent. I prefer it to the FT-77S, though I haven't done head-to-head comparisons. The CW filter is worthwhile and works well. Front-end performance appears good, with no overloading oberved (maybe due to the front-end tuning).

The Reject control is the Rx notch filter. This reduces carriers by approximately 15 - 20dB. This is nowhere near as good as the automatic DSP notch filters on rigs like the FT-920 or the FT-847, but is still a worthwhile feature.

The noise blanker is effective on some types of impulse noise, but not others. It is certainly inferior to that of modern rigs (worth over ten times as much) such as the FT-920 and the FT-1000 MP.

What don't I like about the 301S? Not much. However, I would have preferred the headphone socket to be on the right of the front panel and be 6.5mm instead of 3.5mm. Also the Clarifier range is a bit much, and it's a bit finnicky. So is the Drive control, when trying to wind the power back.

For its time, I'd give it a 4.5 out of 5. When compared to modern sets, it's about a 3.5. If you see one for a fair price, buy it!
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