Yaesu FT-707 re-visited

The Yaesu FT-707 'Wayfarer' has been one of my favourite radios for more years than I care to admit to (since 1982 actually!) and whilst not my original HF radio (it was actually the second rig I bought BUT I still have it!!) it is still here and still used. I've actually written a 'kind of' review for my favourite old Yaesu before here when I was putting the JARS club magazine together many years ago.

So some of what I write here may well repeat previous comments elsewhere but I'll make no apology for my enthusiasm for what has always really signified my particular enthusiasm for short wave radio. My own FT-707 was bought from Tavistock radio rally back in about 2005 I think and needed work as it was 'deaf' amongst one or two other more minor issues and it has been the stalwart in the MJ0RZD and latterly F4VPJ radio shack ever since! It needed another repair job a few years back but it is working and happy at present.

Above: MY photo of MY Yaesu FT-707 which would you believe has often been copied from the website as well as from my Flickr page and has turned up on other websites including mods.dk I think as well as on eBay amongst various others. So COPYRIGHT vests with me...., isn't it a good job I'm not precious about such things!!

Anyway all of that and history aside I was slightly startled to see a JARS club member (Nigel - MJ0AQJ) 'giving away' a load of old radio gear (see page header) which was now surplus to requirements, someone else had first dibs on a FT897 and Buddipole but I got in soon enough to secure his FT-707 with VHF transverter! It came with a 'health warning' though that it had not been plugged in since 2005 so came untested AND had been used 'maritime mobile' prior to that! Well not one to be disheartened I figured lets give it a go but decided as we were conveniently visiting Cornwall in October (2021) to take it to James M1APC for his investigation and any work that may be needed. To cut the story short I now have a second working FT-707 and I couldn't be happier!

So the prognosis is pretty good from James:

"Just letting you know your 707 is up and running. The PA predrive stage had failed so it was a full strip down job to sort that out. Being an old rig it's a little cantankerous however it is working surprisingly well without any immediate need for a recap. Someone has fitted an FM board in which works well on the Fix button and the Shift acts as a Squelch when FM is on. The FIX switch has to be out to operate SSB and AM. Now on to the transverter. I've made up an RF lead to go between the radio and the input for TX. The unit was tuned up for the 146-148 band which in turn had to be fully realigned back to 144-146. There seems to be a 2.5Kc difference between the 707 and the transverter but I'm guessing its the xtals that have been fitted in the US that are making it happen. Anyway, all works fine now.

So all in all thats not too bad! I now have my original good condition 'Wayfarer' but with 12m converted to Top Band (which I never use, ah well!) and the 'new' (to me) 'Wayfarer' which is working but needs a bit of external TLC having some minor rust on the case and generally dirty BUT has FM on board for 29MHz and I was informed was fitted with a good narrow CW filter (possible cue for action to learn morse!). Looking forward to collecting it over Christmas (2021) and giving it a bit of a clean up and a try out!

Shortly after getting the 'new' FT-707 fixed I let Nigel who gave me the rig know that all was well and the radio had found a good home and he was kind enough to reply and share a little more information as quoted below:

"Oh, I'm so glad it still has life in it. It was a great workhorse when it was fitted in the boat and we sailed around the N Atlantic. It always got great signal reports, transatlantic, on SSB, and I really enjoyed using it on CW, especially after I tracked down and fitted the narrow CW filter.

The website I wrote as we travelled (they hadn't invented the word blog yet) is still up. Here's a couple of radio-relevant links.

http://www.mistweb.f9.co.uk/content/atlantic-we1.html. Here's another relevant page - it even has a photo of the 707 fitted (before I got an auto-tuner) http://www.mistweb.f9.co.uk/content/radio.html. I can't believe Force9 still keep the site alive. They've been bought up by PlusNet longsince, and I stopped paying them any money for my dial-up service decades ago! Dating back to 1998, that's probably one of the oldest websites still live. http://www.mistweb.f9.co.uk/

My photos on my site are surprisingly low resolution by modern standards. The digital camera I bought for the trip cost about £500 and was proudly billed as '1 megapixel'. Even so, at the time, they almost filled the screen of my Win98 laptop! I'm glad to see the old radio has found such a good home.

The name of the original owner is written in pencil on one of the boxes, I think. The one with the mounting brackets in. I got it from a silent auction of all his stuff at JARS, after he went silent key. I never met him. Just for completeness of its history. He may be recorded in the membership records of JARS if they keep such things."

Nigel - MJ0AQJ

Photo of Nigel's FT-707 when installed maritime mobile in his boat.