The following legend will record the location of the information referenced: Volume, Edition, Page, Paragraph. Therefore, the notation [1,2,1,3] will refer to Fox Tango Newsletter Volume 1 (1972), Edition 2 (February), Page 1, Paragraph 3. Since the physical format of the Newsletter changes over time, the legend remains applicable regardless of the format. The original Fox Tango publications are in 8-1/2" by 14" format and were produced by mimeograph processes. They soon changed to the more traditional 8-1/2 by 11". Note that Edition #10 is the yearly December issue.
I am writing to suggest that you join with me and other owners of the Yaesu FT-101 in an informal association which we might call the FOX-TANGO GROUP. It would serve as a sort of benevolent, protective, mutual aid and perhaps social club, essentially for the purpose of interchanging information, ideas, experiences, and problems. [22.214.171.124]
The entire edition was only 1100 words long and about a page and a quarter in length. It was folded and mailed in S.A.S.E envelopes provided to him by the members at the time of printing. Officially, Milt organized the Club in 1971 with the Newsletters close behind in January 1972. The Newsletters did not have a logo. It was not until April 1975 that the Fox-Tango logo appeared in the header area of the Newsletter. [126.96.36.199]
The original Fox Tango Newsletters were hand-typed on a mechanical typewriter and then reproduced on a mimeograph machine. The process starts with a mimeograph "stencil"- a special paper that allows you to type and draw your newsletter content. Since stencils have neither error-correction nor spell-checking features, it was common to see strike-thoroughs followed by the proper text/annotations. There are a few of these in the Fox Tango Newsletters, but not many. Milt was near-perfect typist in this regard. Soon he started to draw schematics, highlight, annotate, circle, and even write messages sideways in the margins. It was there we first saw the artist sign his work with the familiar "Milt" in cursive. The stencil represents your "camera ready" product for one page. It is pealed open to expose the inner page which consists of special materials to take and resist ink. The stencil is then mounted to the mimeograph’s 6" drum roller with the stencil facing outwards as a mirror image. As the operator manually turns the drum, chemical ink is presented to the stencil, target paper is picked and moved to the roller, rolled, and a bluish-color impression is left. One page has just been printed. The cranking process continues resulting in 20-30 pages per minute. All of this effort results in one page face! Repeat for all page faces! Today, finding mimeograph printed material is a rare find. The glossy-looking paper stock becomes quite brittle. The look and feel is unmistakable, as was the high VOC smell- which lasted 2-4 hours at most.
Milt pledged to support the Fox Tango Newsletters provided that the costs were subscriber borne, the effort was needed, and that the "job doesn't get too big". [1,1,2,1] Milt also suggested 10 issues per year. This is reflected in two joint issues annually: July-August and the November-December newsletters, as an example, in 1972 (Volume 1).
It was not until the last issue in December 1985 that Milt reveals that new membership in the Fox Tango club peaked at 4,000 and spanned 42 nations around the globe [188.8.131.52]
Newsletter Supplements -
Milt had purchased his FT-101 in 1971. Spectronics Inc was the distributor in the United States and is the source of Milt’s FT-101 purchase. They (Spectronics) also covered the factory warranty and customer service for the FT-101 product line. Milt was made aware of a problem with his FT-101 radio while operating CW on the 15M band. He was operating on 21.050 MHz and fellow hams reported to him that his CW signal could be heard on 21.440 MHz. Milt verified this problem on his radio and asked others to verify theirs radios as well. The results exposed a design flaw in the original FT-101 transmitter. With Spectronics asking to have the entire 35 lb radio to be returned for factory warranty service, Milt wrote directly to Yaesu factory in Tokyo for an explanation instead. [184.108.40.206] It turned out that the factory was well aware of the problem and would offer Milt an interim suggestion pending a formal factory fix “kit”. His response was: “what about the other FT-101 owners?” [220.127.116.11]
It was then Milt started to type. He wanted to ensure that all FT-101 owners were afforded the same treatment and technical support. By January 1972, the FT-101 radio had been released in global markets for two years and in the domestic US/Canada markets for a year. With purchase prices in the $550 range, it was almost a month’s take home pay for many owners. At minimum wage, 2-1/2 months! New radio equipment was an investment and not for the faint of heart!
The Yaesu factory appears very responsive and supportive to Milt’s letters. A technical exchange begins… Readers of the Fox Tango Newsletters will soon learn that Milt’s postal letters and the entire Newsletter itself will be translated into Japanese and shared at the Yaesu factory in Tokyo. Subsequent responses back to Milt will be in English with some Japanese characters still present- especially in schematics and drawings.
Milt starts to type, and he continues to type until the last issue December 1985. Nothing like this had ever existed before, nor has been seen since. So one man can make a difference- and what a difference he made! Thanks Milt!!
On The Air – Milt continued to suggest 21.440 MHz at “0300-0400 GMT” as the rendezvous time and place. The call “CQ Fox-Tango” would be the voice preamble. Many wrote to Milt with their SASEs indicating that the 15M band was not open to them (poor propagation conditions) at that time of day. Since the HF bands change constantly, Milt kept the freq/time schedules until something else could be discussed via the membership at large. [18.104.22.168] The 21.440 MHz rendezvous frequency was not selected at random. It was the frequency where local hams heard Milt's CW signal when he was operating on 21.050 MHz.
Image of a March 1974 edition postmarked from San Miguel Mexico, dated 19FEB74. Milt's callsign is WA2AOQ.
Image of a June 1974 edition postmarked from the Bronx NY, dated 28May74. Milt's callsign is WA2AOQ.
Image of a March 1975 edition postmarked w/Bulk Rate from the Bronx NY, undated. Milt's callsign is WA2AOQ.
Image of a October 1977 edition postmarked W. Palm Beach, FL, undated. Milt's callsign is WA2AOQ/4.
Image of a June 1978 edition postmarked from W. Palm Beach, FL, undated. Milt's callsign is WA2AOQ/N4ML.
Image of a July 1972 inside page showing the original mimeograph layout and the 8-1/2"x14" long format.
Image of the April 1975 cover page showing the Fox-Tango Logo for the first very time. Note the 8-1/2"x11" format.