||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
excellent hybrid sdr receivers
good audio from the build in speaker
much of connections possible like a if-sdr, external display etc
good modulation possible with the standard microphone if u setup equalizer
extended CAT options and still RS-232
no pin diode rx/tx switching for fast qsk without loud clicking possible
no remote cw operation with the additional SCU-Lan10 interface possible
no eq for rx audio
no playback from the voice keyer with the eq settings possible
|Still one of the greatest toys
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|I wrote my first review of the FTdx101D when I had it for 2 months. That is more than 2 years ago, so it's time for a second review. Final verdict? To me it is still a great radio and I would buy it again.|
My transceiver was one of the early ones so it suffered from the ALC overshoot. It was sent back by the importer to Yaesu UK and fixed with no costs at all.
The presently sold transceivers already have this fixed. I never have had an issue with this or anything else since it was fixed.
Yaesu uses something called AMC to prevent overdriving the audio path in the TRX. One has to get used to the settings, but once understood, it works fine.
But you have to follow the instructions supplied by Yaesu to get it right. Information how to set up things can be found at the Google.io group.
I do a lot of FT4/FT8 with JTDX and WSJT-X (and JT-alert). Doing this with the FTdx101 is not difficult. In a software update Yaesu introduced the "Preset" mode. It is intended to be used for FT8. In my opinion this is only a confusing mode and I do not use it. I just use Data-U mode for FT8/4.
One of the reasons that I am writing this second review is because of the information which is sometimes spread in reflectors about the FTdx101. There is a lot of talk about bugs and change requests, which are ignored by Yaesu (they say). There is a large bug and wanted features list and there is also a website where all of this is mentioned/listed.
Most of these bugs and requested features are probably valid. But there is none which would make me change my mind about buying an FTdx101 again. There is no radio which incorporates everyone's wishes.
And though one may expect a manufacturer to update software once and a while, they have to keep earning money with new stuff too. My car was 10 times the price of the Yaesu and it has had not one free update yet. Just to see things in perspective.
I recently also got a Kenwood TS-890. Another great radio, but a lot more complicated to learn than the FTdx101 and it has ten times more settings than the Yaesu. And also, not perfect. As said in my earlier review to my surprise the amount of menu settings in the FTdx101 is less than expected and finding the right settings is not difficult. Though it is kind of an SDR, it has the look and feel of a conventional Transceiver, apart from the display.
Around the VFO knob there is a large ring which turns very smooth. It can be used to control 5 different functions, one of those 5 can be user selected (like power).
Switching between those functions is fast, but it takes some time to get used to it. There is also the possibility to put a function under the Multi button.
I usually have the Level setting for the spectrum under that button. But you can switch quickly to another function. The menu structure is not deep and user friendly.
The touchscreen is of high quality and works fine, the most important functions can be selected directly on the screen for both receivers.
In the beginning I mostly used the 3D display, but actually this is more a gimmick. The regular waterfall is now mostly used. I noticed that the contour function works different than with my FTdx-3000/2000. On the those it is always on, to get the best results. On the FTdx101 I seldom use it.
In my previous review I mentioned that the frequency display for Data was 1500 Hz off. However, that is now fixed with a software update, so your FT8 frequencies (i.e. 7074) will read correct now.
The only things I still mis, is a setting for tune power and averaging for the spectrum display. But one can deal with that.
It is a great pleasure playing with it. It is still a real HAM toy.
|What a Fantastic Transceiver I Love My FTDX-101D!
||Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
|I have Owned my fair share of Radios in my time.|
And I know a great Receiver when I hear one.
With that being said this Radio The FTDX-101D is up there with the best.
I am big into SDR running rigs like Anan and Flex on a nice surround sound you really get to hear the quality of the receiver and its flaws.
And in comparing to other receivers I had in the shack i was really impressed.
Here are a few things that stood out for me.
I notice the DNR is very close to the FTDX5000 and works FB!
When in engaged it will suck down the noise and bring the person you are trying to work to the front so the DNR is excellent.
The NB is ok just has to be adjusted correctly for SSB and on AM.
VC-Tune Which has Been the topic lately.
How I utilize the VC-Tune, when the band is very noisy I put on the 3D Waterfall turn on VC-Tune as you adjust the VC-Tune you will see the dirt drop off the sides and it will focus on the signal you are trying to work.
It will Fine tune to the optimum point that attenuates the strong signal and when in 3D mode you can see the VC-Tune working.
I love it and it works for me.
Transmit- 4K Bandwidth for Rag chew is great
SSB AUDIO is Excellent once the EQ is adjusted properly.
AM AUDIO is flat sounding out of the box you can try to adjust EQ for AM or just use outboard AUDIO gear for the AM.
For me the The layout is simple and easy Everything is up front the more buttons and knobs the better.
The screen, Big Beautiful Crisp Clear Display with Zero Lagging!
Extended Display I am running a Acer Monitor on it with DVI-D to HDMI cable no issues.
FT8 VIA USB is Plug and Play and works great.
CW/RTTY Decode-works as it should fast and crisp.
Both Receivers in the radio are identical less one VC-tune unit for standard "D" Model.
Thanks for Reading my Review.
You can check out some of my Videos on YouTube.
|Yaesu must try harder - or it’ll suffer the consequences
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|UPDATE - A MYSTERY UNSOLVED.|
My FTDX101D was returned to me yesterday (January 27th, 2022) after more than a month in the repair workshop.
An engineer was unable to replicate the high-SWR-on-every-band issue and, for good measure, he “checked the PA driver bias and the appropriate settings in the service menu. They are all correct and did not need any adjustment.”
The rig, as of today, is functioning normally and both Steve, the extremely fastidious technician/engineer, and I, the so-called end-user, are frustrated that no fault was identified.
I’m delighted, of course, that the FTDX101D is now back on my shelf, but disappointed that my polite e-mails to Yaesu in Britain and the USA have not elicited a single reply.
I had written to the company detailing my woes, especially as I have been a loyal customer for five decades, and pointing out that, morally, I should be offered some form of compensation for having been without the equipment for more than a quarter of the time since its purchase last February.
The retailer, too, is not inclined to dig into its pockets.
Sadly, Yaesu’s apparent lack of concern for good client relations appears to be the norm nowadays - a poor reflection on those who rely on US, the BUYERS, for their very existence.
And, for once, Covid-19 should shoulder none of the blame for this unfortunate state of affairs.
I had a Yaesu FT101ZD for 10 years - it developed one minor fault (a frequency jump).
I have had a Yaesu FT290R since 1984 - it has developed one minor fault (the dial lamp blew four decades ago).
I have had a Yaesu FTDX101D for 10 months - it has had three faults, so far, and has been at the repair workshop over the whole Christmas and New Year period with no indication when it will be returned to my shack.
The transceiver’s first two malfunctions concerned the rear keyer jack which decided to send “dits” only, necessitating lengthy spells away last spring within just weeks of purchase.
All was well until November when the rig developed the high-SWR-indicated phenomenon on 70mHz. Thanks to a Google search I discovered that, in theory, it was probably a software error that could be negated with a few antenna and band changes involving both main and sub VFOs.
This work-around, which I achieved after a firmware update - don’t get me going there! - proved successful for at least half a day until the 5:1 standing wave ratio problem migrated across the entire frequency spectrum.
Despite external meters indicating near-resonance with every antenna, the FTDX101D display insisted that high SWRs were present everywhere.
So, reluctantly, the transceiver has been sent packing yet again.
I’m told on this occasion that “the PA bias needs re-aligning and the ALC and TXG settings in the service menu then need setting up”.
To add insult to injury, the retailer/repairer has offered me £1,850 in part-exchange for a new rig. To lose almost half the original purchase price on equipment that I have had in use for less than nine months is beyond unreasonable.
So I face a difficult decision.
Do I hope the XCVR, when/if repaired, proves reliable at last or do I try to sell it privately and, for example, buy a Kenwood TS-890S which had initially been the number two choice on my what-to-purchase list?
Amateur radio had been a source of enormous satisfaction for me. Right now, in what has just become the fourth year of Covid-19, it is a source of financial frustration that I had not anticipated when I made that FTDX101D versus TS-890S decision less than a year ago.
Perhaps gardening would prove less stressful…
|Outstanding radio, a worth successor to the FTDX-5000
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|I have been joyfully using Yaesu HF radios since 1976 and have had the FTDX-401b, FT-101E, FT-1000mp, FT-1000mp Mark V, FTDX-5000 and I now own several FTDX-101(d) radios and one FTDX-101(mp). |
I originally borrowed a 101d from a friend and tried to set it up without consulting the user manual. For about an hour, I truly struggled with the radio.
The next time I sat down with the 101, I also pulled up the on-line manual and got to know the menu system. There is plenty to criticize with respect to this menu system, and many have already done that prior to my review. Thing is, once you get the radio set up, and you get used to the menu system, the pain quickly fades compared to the sheer joy of using this radio.
The build quality (fit and finish) is exceptional, and the front panel layout is very natural. The VFO and controls on this radio feel solid and tight. Having a vividly colorful, fast acting bands-scope is a welcome addition.
I particularly like the VFO concentric ring for RIT and VC Tune adjustments. Most of the day-to-day functions needed as a contester are right there on the front panel, WITHOUT going into a menu!! The receiver is a delight to listen to, very quiet, "tight" sound, and it is a lean mean machine on your QRM-laden run frequency. Having the ability to shift your passband, narrow it, and VC-tune it to reduce splatter form someone 1.5Khz away from you is VERY HELPFUL!!
For those that operate SSB and like the older FTDX-5000 series as I did, you will find this is a very natural upgrade. In fact, the transmit audio section of this radio is remarkably similar to the 5000, right down to the sound levels, and 3 band parametric equalizer available (I use the same settings I had on the 5000).
All my old legacy Heil microphones (HC4, HC5, Proset Plus) work GREAT with this radio, and so does Heil's new Proset 7 with the HC-74 mic element.
In the CW mode, this receiver is the best I have experienced in separating out signals of a rather enthusiastic pileup. It is also less fatiguing to listen to hour after hour.
Some of the little gripes I have about the radio do NOT detract from the long run joy of using it, however, here they are:
#1) The band scope needs to have an averaging function.
#2) You need to be careful with your level of recording voice messages to play back, otherwise they are easily distorted (simple: lower the gain significantly during recording, or talk far away from the mic while recording).
#3) The CW side-tone monitor suffers from a lack of clarity when the monitor volume is turned up. Solution: Keep it at a nice low volume and it sounds great.
#4) The pop-up menus that disappear are laughable, like changing meter functions. Solution: You'll get used to this and after a month and it will cease to bother you.
And my biggest "complaint", easily solved with CAT commands, is the lack of a dedicated button to engage a receive only antenna while transmitting on another antenna.
This takes two pushes of a software menu as opposed to one instant "click" on a dedicated RX antenna like the old MP and 5000 have. To be sure, it's a minor nitpick, and fortunately it has a simple solution if you can pass through CAT commands to your logging software like I can with N1MM+ logger (email me if you want details).
The bottom line is this: The unique combination of new features combined with bringing forward what was most loved about the old FT-1000mp and FTDX-5000 series radios makes the 101d (and 101mp) a true winner!!
Jim Nitzberg WX3B
|Beautiful Physical design with flawless receiver
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|The receiver is, without a doubt, outstanding. Audio to my small HiFi speaker is exceptional. When listening to a station with a properly setup transmitter with a good mic, it almost sounds like FM broadcast, especially if you open up the passband.|
The physical layout of the front panel is simply beautiful and highly functional. LEDs light up in the row of band selection buttons so you can easily see where each receiver is set. There is also a duplicate set of controls for each receiver. Everything is logically laid out and easy to understand.
The receivers are incredible. I have never experienced such fantastic selectivity in a transceiver. DSP noise reduction, beat removal, noise blanker, and adjustable bandwidth are all top-notch. With three antenna ports, it's easy to have my six meter antenna on one port so receiver B can monitor six meters while I operate receiver A on 17 meters. The third port has my super quiet loop that is strictly receive only. To top it off I have receiver A output directly to a small DSP receiver (RSP1) for another full-functional receiver.
The waterfall on the 7" color display works very well. Even the weakest signal with leave a trace which is perfect for hunting down a station running one of the many digital modes. The graphing component (upper half of the spectrum display) is very clear with many color combinations to suit my taste. However, it could use a little bit of averaging to make a little bit less jittery. Personally, I find the 3DSS display of little value. But, perhaps others will feel differently.
The main tuning knob is big and incredibly smooth. The secondary ring just behind it lets me tune receiver B conveniently. Very slick!
So, overall, the FTdx-101D is one outstanding transceiver and everything is nearly perfect - until you come to the menu system which is extremely complicated with odd behaviors like when you bring up a secondary menu where you have less than two seconds to make a selection before it mysteriously disappears. Timing out selection menus so quickly makes absolutely no sense. This behavior is carried over to the little brother FTdx-10 where it is much worse. For example, I want to change the function of one of the two simulated meters. I bring up the selection menu by touch the meter and before I've even read all of the possible modes, the selection menu disappears? Why? Why have any timeout at all? Why not just wait for the user to make a selection? This behavior occurs through many of the selection menus and makes no sense whatsoever.
Push the "Func" button to bring up the main menu and you are presented with a very large number of tiny menu buttons. Too many. These could be logically grouped into sensible categories. Let's just say that while you can work through the menu to find the various settings you need, other manufacturers organize their menus far better.
Bottom line: The best overall performance on the market today. To any one with a little experience with transceivers, the front panel is a near perfect design. Flawless receiver, outstanding transmitter.
But... the menu system could be vastly better. With experience you learn where everything is and you get used to it's complexity. I wish Yaesu would learn to field-test their products with actual end-users. Maybe then they would get to that last bit of refinement that would make this product truly outstanding.
If there was one single feature I could ask for it would to do something the Elecraft K2 could do 21 years ago. That is to provide some simple means of switching to a constant carrier with a selectable power output - say 10 watts. This would allow the adjustment of external tuners and amplifiers. The fact that this doesn't seem to be a consideration on any major transceiver is surprising. Once again, why doesn't Yaesu get actual input from active hams on what they need.
Another annoyance is - why in the world does Yaesu use a monophonic 2 conductor 1/4 headphone jack on the front panel? Can you even find a pair of headphones with a 1/4 plug? This is ridiculous. 1/8 stereo has been the standard headphone jack for decades. Why force the use to make or buy an adapter just to get headphone audio?
After several weeks of use I still find the menu a pain in the butt. I wanted to add DNR because a signal was dropping into the noise. Hit "Func", search through the tiles to find DNR, click it to assign DNR to the multi-function little knob, close the menu. Now you can adjust DNR. This is way too much work.
Too many buttons on the front panel are way too small. I really think transceiver design should be form follows function rather than what the 101 is which is function follows form. The 101 is pretty but it lacks true functional layout and engineering. Far too many features are buried in the complex menu.
USB ports are on the front rather than the back which means more wires to deal with. You'd think wireless keyboard and mouse would solve the problem. Nope. I tried 3 different wireless mice. None would work. The menu is much easier to use when you have a mouse attached. But, if there's a wireless mouse that will work with the 101, I haven't found it.
Still... A great receiver and transmitter. I give them 5 stars. Navigating the menu with it's tiny text on 29 little tiles - this I give 1 star. It could be so much better.
If you're the least bit sight limited - this is not the radio for you. Every label is very small.
Now one last thing: If you have a radio that can accept text from a keyboard - why in the world can't I have a terminal mode where I can type and send freeform text? The Icom IC-7600 could do it years ago. The ability to record certain bits into the transceiver's memory is of little value if I must use an external program anyway. The two leading digital interface programs provide memories for storing the usual bits of a QSO. Why would I switch and use what's in the radio?
If there was an ability to have freeform text, the 101 could operate without the need for a computer. This would be a really nice feature.
||Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
|I purchased my D model from a deceased estate and had it fully optioned out before picking it up. This radio replaced my much loved Orion II which was also fully optioned.|
It is easier to drive than the Orion II and I think a better radio, though the Orion had an exceptionally quiet receiver.
The VCTune units are in a word, brilliant. The latest firmware update adds more functionality and frees up the sub receiver to allow the main receiver to both TX and receive on two different antennas.
I can be working DX on 40 metres ssb on the main on two antennas whilst listening to 10 metres or what ever on the sub.
The waterfall display once setup is very functional and has made it possible to pick up a few extra otherwise missed stations.
Yes it takes a little while to learn though so does any radio in this price range or any other radio for that matter these days.
For memory programming I use RT Systems FT-DX101D Programmer for programming memories and settings using Windows 10 on top of Parallels on the iMac and WSJT-X native on Mac OS. One at a time.
There is plenty of help on IO Groups and Facebook to help with menu settings, YouTube for setting up the display 3D waterfall. I have recently flipped to the 2D waterfall and am undecided which I prefer. They both work great and I can understand the opinions offered here. Though using online resources and groups does help a lot. I keep the manual as a pdf on the iMac and find myself hardly touching it these days after 6 months of ownership.
Living with home ownership restrictions on antennas leaves me with a Diamond CP6S trapped vertical for TX and using a Parelectronics endfed SWL antenna for RX.
Did I say the VCTune units are brilliant. I can wipe off 9 S points of local noise using them in combination with the Contour control. As far as the filters are concerned I have used the 1.2kHz ssb filter and you would not want a tighter bandpass filter for ssb. The audio is intelligible though I have not had to use it as of yet other than for experimenting.
CW is not my bag though it is a project in the works and one day I do hope to go there. Though I am having too much fun working digital modes and the world and local and interstate Nets on ssb which would be considered DX in any other country. I am in Australia.
Would I recommend this to a friend, YES! Though I would advise to purchase the MP model, only because that is the max power the Diamond CP6S antenna can handle.
There is a plan to put up either a 40 metre or 30 metre dipole. Though that is another project in the works.
I have the optional M-100 microphone as I have far too many hand microphones (4) on the radio desk and have received wonderful audio reports from both the standard microphone and the M-100. The M-100 is nice to have though not necessary. Again, use the internet IO Groups or the Facebook group for radio settings to get you in the ball park. The ALC can be tricky to setup and I have one setting in the radio ssb audio and another using the volume slider in WSJT-X software package.
For digital I use the rear ports and have the M-100 plugged into the front microphone connection. There is no need to change any settings when going from one to the other. The only trick for WSJT-X is to use the transceiver in VFO mode and not memory mode.
I should clarify that with digital computer control and ssb. You can only do one or the other. You will have to close down the computer control, in this case WSJT-X software to resume front panel control for ssb.
I see no reason to complain about this radio. I prefer knobs and was deciding between this and a Flex. I purchased this as a to have a break from using the computer for everything. I do not use it for SWL and rely on my Palstar R30A for that.
This is an excellent amateur radio transceiver and that is what you are purchasing. Anything else is a bonus.
As far as interface cables for muting the Palstar or digital use. Everything is available on eBay or Amazon.
Purchase the MP, add the secondary VCTune unit and enjoy an excellent radio to cut through the noise. While the radio is in the shop, why not purchase the optional filters. They will be gone one day and you will wish you had.
My rule of thumb is to fully option my iMacs and my radios. I have never regretted this philosophy. No regrets 12 years later when parts are no longer available, as was the case for the Orion II. I think it helped me sell the Orion and sweetened the deal for the happy purchaser.
In a previous job I used to solder to NASA standards. These days my eyes are not as sharp and as I am happy to have my car serviced by a mechanic and have my radio options installed by a factory authorised technician. Who wants to purchase a radio from Joe Bloggs with his or her unknown soldering skills.
Almost forgot the tuner. I do wish it would have been a 10:1 as was the case for the Orion II. My CP6S is tuned for where I wish to go and the 3:1 tuner allows me to work the areas of the band where I wish to go a little further a field. It does everything that I require and looses no marks here. Just a last minute thought before I close this review. The tuner also remembers where it has been unlike the Orion II.
Well that's my two bobs worth on this excellent transceiver.
|New Rig-New Learning Curve
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|Read the reviews here. Nuff said. Have just received this 2nd hand rig. Out of box, on my table and operating in less than a half hour. Enjoying it. Coming from a FT-2K, used to Yaesu's human engineering. I like the ease of operation so far. I operate with the manuals for my radios close at hand and use them. More as I gain more experience.|
|Use the radio for a year before rating it
||Time Owned: more than 12 months.
|So many here are whining about the radio having a difficult menu system and so-so waterfall display. Its a great radio, period. If you take the time to learn the proper setup and learn your way around the menu system, operating it will become second nature. The radios display is fully customizable and looks great. I use it as a quick reference to see whats going on when I don't have my full size bandscope on. If you expect to be able to plug it in and attach an antenna and have it magically set itself up you will be disappointed. RTFM and practice using its many great features. Realize that it will take time to learn how to use all of them. I also see people here are comparing it to full SDR radios which isn't fair. This is a standalone radio which has a smaller built in screen. It's a real radio with awesome RX and TX audio. It does not require a computer to operate. Attaching a computer to it can make it only a little easier to use. Maybe I'm just old school but I want a radio that has knobs and buttons that I can turn and push, not a screen to click on. This radio has the best of both worlds and I couldn't be happier.|
|Powerful SSB transmit audio
||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
|With good antennas I work many stations on SSB. Some stations have good audio and some require extensive equalization for good readability. With same S-meter reading, some signals sound weak and some sound loud, a measure of efficiency of speech processor. Some have perceptible distortions and some sound linear. But one radio stands out where the transmit signal is crystal clear yet punchy. It is FTDX101D. If you want your audio to be a few times more effective than the average, to be heard in pileups and keep your run frequency in contests, this is it.|