In my days as a youngster, when I understood radio would have got my heart earlier than many other things, Yaesu put out FT-23. It did cost around a month of pay, and had specifics that made it look like coming from another planet (don’t forget my generation witnessed contraves on V-UHF radios!). Neverthless, it did conquer the market and suddenly entered our “radios to die for” top three (other two being Kenwood TS-430, and one of the President CB line – personally the Jackson). Twenty-five years after, with an ham license in my pocket, I found my FT in a drawer. I had never paid any more attention to it, and felt guilty. It’s true it has less features than a Wouxun, but – probably in an auto-assolution mode – I decided it was time to bring it back to its glory days. First thing was the battery, obviously fried due to inactivity. Ebay rescued me, with the pleasant discovery of 1700 mAh long ones, for around 20 bucks. That would have revealed useless, however, if I wouldn’t have been able to score also the original charger, the NC-28C. An hamvention (think to remember it was the Busto Arsizio one) helped in this case. Now I was able to switch on and have the transceiver to work. To operate it properly, something else was needed. Back then, the world divided between who owned the FT-23, and who didn’t. Former group had a further division: “cool guys” with a speaker microphone plugged into the radio, and “standard owners” working with the front mic. I wanted to count in the elite, although a quarter of century later. Once again, walking among stalls at a rally solved the problem. The seller looked me with a grin on his face: “Have you an FT-23?”, as I picked up the white and blue microphone box labelled MH-12. “Yep, how much for this one?”. 20 Euros (it seems to have become the standard price for accessories), and it was in the bag. Hey, my handy was starting to look alive again. I think, at the beginning of the nineties, I would have had enough of all this stuff. Now, I really wanted to repay my radio for the neglect that had to suffer for my sake. So, I went ahead with the search. Another hamvention, and another 20 note… the FTT-4 DTMF keyboard. Installed thanks to my Elmer IX1VKK, it has my 23 sparkling in colours. Now, there is one more item to go: the tone squelch unit FTS-12. This one is a toughie, probably because it’s really needed if you want to have the radio work on repeaters (back then, tones weren’t still in effect). I quite never saw it for auction, nor found it on biggest online shops. The few times I noticed it somewhere, it was quoted around 70 bucks. It’s more than the actual value/rally price of the radio itself! I once landed on a site which sold a compatible one (and several customers were there to witness it was working), but as everything else is original (aside the antenna, that I changed with a Tagra, offering a better gain) I’m looking for the Yaesu one. I’ll continue searching, but if anyone of you out there could help, please drop a line in the comments. Waiting for tones, the other night, I got in a QSO with two guys on a simplex channel. One of the two asked what radio I was using. When he heard the answer, he said to the other colleague: “hey, have you heard that modulation? That’s the FT-23…”. We all have been young, and time passed won’t come back, but the love story still goes on.
73 de Chris