The Yaesu FT-7B was the successor of the FT-7, a solid state QRP mobile HF transceiver and appeared in Europe around 1980. The B model offered AM mode, more power output (50 Watts instead of 10 Watts), a noise blanker and an input RF attenuator. Most importantly, the B version had the complete 10 meter band covered, divided into four 500 KHz segments. The earlier QRP version offered only one 500 KHz segment.
My FT-7B, Sommerkamp version, shown with optional YC-7B counter
If you own an FT-7B and treat it well, it is nearly indestructible. FT-7’s are built like a tank, so reliability has never been a problem – unless you dropped it from a 10 story high building. Thanks to a modular design, similar to that of a PC, the transceiver is very easy to repair. You just take out a board, locate the problem, repair it and slide it back into its slot. In spite of its age, the receiver sensitivity and selectivity are quite good. Modulation can be described best as TOYS (Typical Old Yaesu Style): warm, civilized, beautiful, Hi-Fi even.
As was common for many transceivers in those days, you can’t switch on your FT-7B and immediately start making your first QSO. Your FT-7B will drift and it will take about 30 minutes before the VFO settles down. After that period, drift is minimal.
There is no other way to check wheather the VFO settled down or not than by listening to the signals. The (optional) YC-7B counter is of little help, as it initially drifts down at an incredible rate of 100 Hz per second(!) Personally, I don’t mind a little bit of drift at all, it is one of the charms of working with an old trx.
When very strong signals are present, nearby, out of band or otherwise, the frontend can be overwhelmed and buckle. Pushing the ATT button solves the problem.
That’s about it, I guess. If you can find one at a reasonable price, you won’t be disappointed.