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FT-101E Intermittent Audio level/S-Meter level

Discussion in '"Boat Anchor" & Classic Equipment' started by KB3GWQ, Jun 26, 2018.

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  1. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Frank, just one thing that I have thought of and never thought to check with you before . . .

    Is your VFO dial drive nice and solid? The final ball-reduction drive tends to become quite loose with a lot of use (I have replaced mine twice!).

    What can happen if it's loose and the winding handle is not at 12 or 6 o'clock, is that it's weight can make the VFO knob turn on its own! This can be immediately obvious . . . or just very slow and gradual.

    Just wanted to check that your VFO "drift" isn't down to this? (especially as you seem to note that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes OK)

    Roger G3YRO
  2. HS0ZED

    HS0ZED Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Jackson Bros "Made in UK" ball reduction drive is adjustable. Not entirely obvious and its possible to make a right dogs breakfast of it but careful application of pressure to the "fingers" will improve a really loose one, This works if your balls shrink very slightly as well as if the spring pressure washer looses its bite. Not found one I couldn't make good as new yet. Great British engineering, only the finest for Japanese radios eh :)
  3. HAMHOCK75

    HAMHOCK75 QRZ Member

    I don't think this is entirely about drift but also involves efficient manufacturing and service. For example, it is more efficient to adjust the parameters of the VFO including selecting capacitors and adjusting TC1 and TC2 all at the same time with a counter and a precise +6 VDC. If all FT101 chassis are set to the same +6 VDC, then any VFO can be put in any FT101 chassis without readjustment. In other words, plug and play.
  4. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Never tried that, to be honest . . . (good tip!)

    Sometimes they just become loose . . . but they can also become "notchy".

    New drives are still available, as another British company make them, having bought out the dies etc from Jackson when they went out of business.

    Roger G3YRO
  5. HS0ZED

    HS0ZED Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've noticed a certain "notchiness" on odd ones. I wonder if its more from lack of use, the bearings get pitted then they have an odd feel. You can also get that though if the finger pressure is not equal all the way round. Practice on an old one would be my first suggestion. There are 3 of them in the 101. Maybe swapping the plate control with the vfo could help if you have a rough one.

    I'll have another measure of the 101E I have here in a day or two. I'll just set it on a time signal with an audio beat note, feed that into a pc soundcard and audio analyser program to see how much the recovered audio of the whole rig moves.
  6. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first one got very notchy through 15 years of a LOT of use!

    The second one just became loose after about another 15 years (and would cause the VFO to move on its own if the Winder was at 3 or 9 o'clock, as I described earlier)

    Think I may have kept the last one I replaced, so may try squeezing it together !

    However, I've never had ANY electronic components need replacing in my FT101E . . . and I replaced the 6JSC PA Valves after 25 years, just because they were about 10% down. (kept them as spares . . . and still have a brand new set of Toshiba ones in the drawer!)

    Roger G3YRO
  7. HS0ZED

    HS0ZED Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regular use is probably key to good longevity, apart from wearing out mechanical parts. The FT-101E here has most definitely spent a long long time unused. Likely about 20 years I'd say. Had I been a bit more cognisant of that I might have avoided the loss of the electrolytics on the regulator board. They were however the only things to suffer so I feel both lucky and impressed. Other issues, well the previous users (a 3rd world government department) had managed to destroy the vfo gearbox so I've used the one from my very early Mk1 101 which was much better, and of course the PA tubes are amazingly soft. I might have to learn to use my tube tester to quantify just how much but I'd say they are at least 60% plus down on what they should be.

    One thing I will say is it seems almost too sensitive. Connecting an antenna moves the S meter to about S 5-6 whereas more current radios, TenTec Orion, Omni V Elecraft K3, K2 etc barely make S 2. Its not noisy as such, just a bit over heated I feel. And for a solid state radio it has nice smooth audio, who said a tiny speaker couldn't sound good.
  8. G3YRO

    G3YRO Ham Member QRZ Page

    According to Sherwood, it's one of the most sensitive yet quietest receivers made.

    I've never used the internal 'speaker (way too small!) . . . but the recovered audio is better than most later rigs. (apparently the AN214 IC they chose for the E models was rated by HiFi buffs as being very good)

    The Mk1's sounded even better, as they had a proper discrete push-pull transistor audio output amp.

    The Mk2 and Bs used a Sanyo module that was actually a Stereo Amp . . . so you had a spare built in !

    But you can use any of the Boards in any of the versions, if you wish.

    Roger G3YRO
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018
  9. KB3GWQ

    KB3GWQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Regarding the S-Meter... Apparently the book description may possibly be a little to high. Did you try adjusting it with a real signal generator? I didn't because I don't own one. But doing it by the book instructions I know exactly what you mean. Signals that are clearly more of a 579 are reading about 599-599+10 and it's at a point I don't even look at the S-Meter now because of how much that annoys me versus what the book said was "right" (i.e. adjusting at 100khz calibrator at 14.200 for S9+20). May or may not be wrong because see

    So maybe Al is on to something there.
  10. KB3GWQ

    KB3GWQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is fairly good but there are a coupe of soft spots where it may move on it's own just a tiny amount. Like 2 o-clock and 10 o-clock something like that. The drive does need replaced eventually but I cannot afford it right now. That's a project for the winter.

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