Yaesu FTdx-560

As I type this in 2017, Yaesu is one of the big-three amateur-radio makers, along with Kenwood and ICOM (I don't count Baofeng because they're only selling handy-talkies (HTs); the Big 3 I listed sell HTs, mobile units, and big tabletop rigs). In the early 70s, Japanese equipment was looked askance (to be polite) at by American hams who valued equipment from the great American manufacters like Collins, Hallicrafters, Drake and such. Over time as the American equipment either disappeared or became Japanese-made-with-USA badges, people began to warm to them. When other foreign countries began selling equipment, like the Chinese Baofeng, Japanese equipment developed a golden aura.

This is one of Yaesu's early entries into the American market; it showed up around 1973. It's a variant of their base-model FTdx-400, which was a tabletop AM/SSB/CW rig. It was rated at 560W PEP for sideband, 500W for CW, and 125W for full-AM, which was a respectable amount of juice at the time and considered a decent flame-thrower today.

The 560 version is similar, with various tweaks, except that the AM was dropped. A shame, as I would have liked to have had the AM capability. The next version was the 401B, which restored the AM.

This is a sort of hybrid rig: twenty tubes, but also some solid-state components, particularly the power supply. It's approximately 18-inches by 16-inches by 6-inches high, which doesn't look too intimidating compared to my Hallicrafters and National rigs, which are both the size of large microwave ovens; but the Yaesu weighs around 40 lbs.

Mine came from a thrift-shop's online website so I bought it sight-unseen. A previous owner began a recapping job, and the big 3-stage electrolytic appears to have popped. Everything else looks okay; we'll see.

Later: heh.

The rig came with a copy of the instruction manual and schematic (courtesy BAMA), a handful of capacitors and some hardware, and a couple notes. One is that the fuse keeps popping; the other is that the primary, 3-stage filter can had been removed, and certain colored wires went to certain stages (since all three stages are the same value, wiring it back up would be simple).

Unfortunately, other wires were disconnected and not labelled. Some of the electrolytics had been replaced and poorly done. Some of the replacement components appeared to be make-dos—components that weren't quite the same spec as the schematic, but should work. One of the PC boards had broken leads and appears to have been burned. Some of the fixes looked professional. Some looked like work I would have done (i.e. not very well).

The end result is a mess. The Old Man and I (but mostly him) did our best to put it back together again; power up and a resistor on the PC board blew. Why? Not sure. It's possible that something got wired incorrectly by the previous owner; could be some other problem.

Right now I'm figuring this is going to end up being a parts donor for someone else's rig. Either that or I'll end up with a parts donor that has a good power supply.

Current status: this radio is no longer in my collection. This page will be removed in late 2024.

For more information: Larry's Yaesu FTdx560 page