Now that Motorola is going to have controlling interest in Yaesu/Vertex, I began thinking about how this new “controlling interest” may affect the Yaesu’s future product line and service department.
Back when Vertex took on Yaesu, its quality control and product line literally came back from the edge of extinction. No, I am not talking about the old FT101-B-E-EEE and F series. They were outstanding radios. I owned an FT101B an FT-101E and the matching FL2100B amplifier. That equipment offered nothing but rock solid performance.
Where Yaesu got into a bunch of trouble was during the post FT-101/pre-Vertex days. Equipment either came out of the shipping carton with a host of inherent problems or were seriously lacking in features. Perhaps you also remember the likes of the FT-757 GXII and its never ending problems. My FRG-7700 receiver was very nicely designed for its day and was easy to operate. If you were a non-discriminating SWL listener it was a rather solid receiver for the money. However, I quickly learned to forget about weak signals or trying to pick out DX in a pileup. Yaesu, in their infinite wisdom provided no slots for filters. Attempting to do any form of serious listening led to operator fatigue in a very short period of time.
Quality in Yaesu’s VHF/UHF product line faired much better back in those days. Thinking about todays standards in radios (yes… cell phones are radios too) I began to laugh when I started thinking about the contrast between my FT-470 and todays technology. The reliability factor in the FT-470 was great for its time but the radio always felt as if you needed two hands to hold it and a pencil between your teeth to push the buttons. I guess we have all become spoiled. Now we can all watch TV, get turn by turn driving directions, listen to music, take photos and videos, make calls with speed dial, have a 1000 slot phone book and “surf the Net” on a device that is 1/2 inch thick and weighs just ounces. In addition, the standby time is around 450 hours. I don’t remember what my FT-470 weighed but adding that extended “high powered” 🙂 Ni-Cad battery on the bottom made it possible for the radio to double as a blackjack (bludgeon) if you so desired. The extended battery hanging from the bottom of the relatively small radio reminded me of ballast hanging from the base of a construction crane!
It seems that when Yaesu tried to seriously compete with the likes of Kenwood and Icom in those days, their quality control simply fell off the cliff and they gave the impression of giving up their attempt at competing.
As we all know, Vertex performed wonders for the Yaesu product line. I am not going into detail here. The products offered by Yaesu/Vertex today are truly outstanding. A friend of mine just purchased the FT-897D. With a few shortcomings (don’t they all have shortcomings), the radio is turning out to be a good performer and seems to be indicative of the future of Amateur Radio gear. What I mean is that the 897D and the Kenwood TS-2000 are trending toward combining the HF/VHF/UHF radios all into one package. I personally think the jury is still out on this but it does seem to be the trend. It was not long ago that Kenwood dropped the TS-570D. That came as a surprise to me. I always though of that rig as a mainstay in the long lineage of the Kenwood HF rigs. One begins to wonder if Kenwood is going to offer the TS-2000 series as its only HF rig in the future. Having an “all in one” piece of equipment reminds me of the VCR/TV combo of the past. If one breaks, you can’t just discard the other. Well, suppose you have one of these all in one radios and your HF side goes dark. What then? You also end up giving up the working sections of the radio until it returns from from the tech bench. What’s you opinion?
If anyone can provide information about Motorola’s future plans for Yaesu, please fill me in. Since I have been and employee of Corporate America for the past 25 years, I have learned not to trust anything I hear or what I am told. So, as was said during a recent Newsline broadcast that Motorola states that they are not going to make changes to Vertex/Yaesu, I expect the opposite to be true. Time will tell.