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Author Topic: Yaesu FT-1900R vs FT-2900R  (Read 8185 times)
KD8PMK
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Posts: 10




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« on: July 11, 2012, 08:16:11 PM »

Hey everyone,

Seems like this must have been discussed before, however I have yet to find much.  I am looking to buy a mobile 2m to use in the house and truck.  I have been using a Yaesu VX-5R for a while now and would like more power to reach out to some of the repeaters and simplex in my mountainous region.  The two that I am debating about are the Yaesu FT-1900R vs FT-2900R.

I keep going back and forth about which one to get.  The +'s to me are that the FT-1900R is smaller and lighter, more sensitive on receive(.2uV vs .4uV, will this matter?), and has a fan to keep it cool. The FT-2900R is more robust, sealed, and higher wattage(75W vs 55W); the lack of fan concerns me as I have read that they over heat and shutdown.  The price difference is not enough to play an important role in my decision.

So with these things considered, what would be my best choice?  Any recommendations?

Thanks a lot in advance,
Dave
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KB7FSC
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Posts: 37




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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2012, 09:10:29 PM »

Hi Dave,

I have both a FT 1900 and FT 2900 that I use.  I consider them both to be nice radios, and to tell you the truth, I am happy with both rigs.  I want to point out that the 1900 does NOT have a fan.  IMHO, it would be nice if Yaesu would have put a small fan on the back of both rigs like they do on the 7900 or 8800.  My experience is that both rigs do have a tendency to get hot if you have an extended QSO.  I'm not sure that this is something to lose a lot of sleep over.  It has been documented by many users that this is the fact, and if you keep the SWR low, it will help.  I've noticed that the heat sinks keep the temperature in control for a while, but after you get the heatsinks warmed up, the radio temp climbs rapidly.  With that said, I've yet to have the radio shut down in the middle of a QSO because it was overheating.  It should come as no surprise that the 2900 takes longer to heat up then the 1900.  There is a setting in the menu of both radios that will let you monitor the temperature of the radio if you want.  If you are planning on operating either rig at max power for extended periods of time, I would recommend rigging up a small 12V fan. 

I bought the 2900 first, and it is a beefy rig.  It is noticeably larger and heavier then the 1900.  I like the fact that the display is larger on the radio.  I bought the 1900 next because I needed a smaller rig for a mobile install.  Aside from the size difference, I would spend the extra $20 and go with the 2900 if I had to pick one rig.  I just personally like the "heavy duty" look of the 2900, and think that it will stand up a bit better then the 1900.  My only advice is make sure that you have room for the 2900 for a mobile installation.  As far a receive sensitivity between the two radios, I can't tell a difference.  Both radios operate the same as the menu's and functions are essentially identical between the two radios (aside from the xmit power).  I also like how you can manage the memories in different banks, and link the banks together on both radios.  As a general comment, I think you are on the right track to get a mobile and step away from the VX-5R for mobile and base applications.  I think you will be very happy with either rigs performance over the ht.  I did the ht mobile thing for about 3 months before buying a mobile radio and was quite pleased with the upgraded performance.

73, and enjoy!

Wane - KB7FSC
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KD8PMK
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 11:52:25 AM »

Thanks for your response. 

Still going back and forth on the two.  Yesterday I was planning on the 2900 and now I am leaning back towards the 1900 based on the fact that the receiver is twice as sensitive.  I have read that that would not make a lot of difference and also read that it can make a lot of difference pulling in weaker signals.  I would be curious if you ever had both of yours side by side and compared signal strength?  The main reason that I was thinking about the 2900 was because of the higher TX output.  However I have been reading that the extra 20W would not really make any difference on 2m.   The thing I also like about the 1900 is the smaller size and weight. 

Ahh, I have such a hard time with these decisions.

Thanks,
Dave
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GREGWTH7MMMAG
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2012, 06:32:50 PM »

I'm a novice, so keep that in mind.  I'm running a 2900 as a mobile rig in the jeep here, and have yet to have an overheat issue, though I'm not heavy handed on the mic either.  I've yet to even need half that power it has on hand.  On the flip side, I do not know how much difference in sensitivity there really is, and you may be splitting hairs with the difference.  I've heard from a few, that sensitive recievers tend to pick up alot more noise then the less sensitive models, and can cause headaches in urban enviroments.  Hopefully someone can elaborate more on that though. 
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KD0PWN
2E0JTP
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Posts: 10




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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2012, 07:19:56 AM »

Thanks for your response. 

Still going back and forth on the two.  Yesterday I was planning on the 2900 and now I am leaning back towards the 1900 based on the fact that the receiver is twice as sensitive.  I have read that that would not make a lot of difference and also read that it can make a lot of difference pulling in weaker signals.  I would be curious if you ever had both of yours side by side and compared signal strength?  The main reason that I was thinking about the 2900 was because of the higher TX output.  However I have been reading that the extra 20W would not really make any difference on 2m.   The thing I also like about the 1900 is the smaller size and weight. 

Ahh, I have such a hard time with these decisions.

Thanks,
Dave

In operational use, there is virtually no measurable difference in sensitivity.

The FT-2900 is designed *more* around a home based desk top install. It comes with little plastic feet to raise the front for desk use and the heat sink is MUCH chunkier.

The FT-1900 is smaller and more mobile friendly (install wise). The heat sink is much less substantial and the whole unit is thinner.

You can't go wrong with either of them, they are both really good 2m sets, but unless you know why you want the FT-2900, the FT-1900 is probably what you want.
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KB7FSC
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Posts: 37




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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 06:50:13 PM »

Hi Dave,

You ask a good question, and I never did connect the 1900 and 2900 to an antenna switch and go back and forth between the two to see if there was any noticeable advantage for either one of the radios.  My observations fall more into the anecdotal category, but let me share anyway.  I've observed that I can hear conversations (not necessarily full quieting) that are outside my tx range.  For example, my 2900, set up in a base station, can consistently hear a distant repeater with 4 or 5 bars on the bottom, but I can't always get into the repeater with the full 75 watts.  Some days I get there full quieting, other days I'm told my signals are to faint to hold a QSO.  I've also observed that the 1900 can outhear its tx range.  IMHO, I don't think the receive specs between the two radios really amounts to much real world difference, and both radios hear quit well. 

The best part about your situation is I don't think you can make a wrong decision with either radio.  I think you'll be happy with either one, and you'll be well pleased with the upgrade from your ht.  Sometimes its nice to be in a win-win situation  Wink.

Anyway, enjoy the researching, and remember that the journey is usually better then the destination!

73,

Wane - KB7FSC
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AF6WL
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Posts: 129




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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 09:29:59 PM »

I've also observed that the 1900 can outhear its tx range.  IMHO, I don't think the receive specs between the two radios really amounts to much real world difference, and both radios hear quit well. 

It's not uncommon for repeater receivers to have a noise floor that is degraded by the far out phase noise of co-sited transmitters ( or their own if the duplexer isolation is lacking ).
In this situation more uplink power can help.
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KD8PMK
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2012, 10:10:46 AM »

I've also observed that the 1900 can outhear its tx range.  IMHO, I don't think the receive specs between the two radios really amounts to much real world difference, and both radios hear quit well. 

It's not uncommon for repeater receivers to have a noise floor that is degraded by the far out phase noise of co-sited transmitters ( or their own if the duplexer isolation is lacking ).
In this situation more uplink power can help.


Thanks for the response, but I think you lost me.  I am not really sure if you are saying this is a negative or plus for the 1900.
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AF6WL
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Posts: 129




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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 11:23:22 AM »


Thanks for the response, but I think you lost me.  I am not really sure if you are saying this is a negative or plus for the 1900.

Pro 2900:
55w vs 75w may only be 1.3dB but for only $15 extra, if you need fringe coverage, why not.
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W7RUE
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2012, 10:34:30 PM »

I have had both; one FT-1900R and three FT-2900Rs. I like both radios. I think the 1900R has a wider receive than the 2900R. However, I do like the power output on the 2900R. If I had to settle for one it would be the FT-2900R -  W7Rue
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KD8PMK
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2012, 07:21:13 AM »

Well I want to thank everyone for their input.  I ended up ordering a FT-1900R from Gigaparts.  I just got it in the mail yesterday afternoon and really like it.  I am running it off of an ATX that I modified Friday night.  It now puts out a stable 13.1Vdc with only a few tenths of a volt drop when transmitting.  I had a number of contacts yesterday and had really good reports of the radio and power supply.  Apparently my transmissions were very clear with no hum or static.  So that makes me happy.

The reason I went with the 1900 is along the lines of my original thinking.  More receiver sensitivity, smaller size, and less power consumption. 

I know that a lot of people including responders to this post said to just go with the 2900.  This seems mostly to be based off of the fact that it puts out a little more power.  However from my research and talking to other hams in the area, my findings would indicate that the extra 20w is not going to make that much difference in transmission distance.  A few miles perhaps.  I also found calculations that stated to double the transmission distance of a 55w radio, that you would have to bump up to 500w.  This would indicate to me that the gain for the extra 20w's is not enough to worry about.

The one thing the extra wattage does for the 2900 is use more current and this is something I wanted to get away from.  One of the things I would like to be able to do with this rig is to run it off of a simple solar system consisting of one 40 to 85 watt panel and a 35 -50 Ah battery.  While doing this you could easily reduce power on both rigs, but I would like to be able to use a higher power with less current consumption.  This is where the FT-1900R has a benefit in my eyes for my application.  The 1900 at 55w will use around 9A vs 14A at 75w for the 2900 as tested by ARRL.  To me that is a significant increase in amperes for just a few extra miles of reach.

The receiver sensitivity is another concern for me.  I know a lot of people say that the difference is not that much, but I feel that any increase in receiver sensitivity is a benefit for me living out far from any large cities.  The closet large city is 2 hours away and is under 30,000 people so the chances of a more sensitive receiver picking up unwanted interference is minimal.  If you lived in a large city perhaps this could be a concern, but I have yet to hear anyone with the 2m Icoms complain about too much receiver sensitivity and they are about the same as the 1900.  If anything the complaint around here is that the 2900 and some of the other transceivers with less sensitivity have some problems picking up some of the weaker signals.  Not owning both I cannot say for sure. but this is the word I am hearing locally for our mountainous region.

Also a factor for me is the smaller size.  From how many people talk about these rigs, I was thinking that it might be a little on the light side or dinky.  I have found it to be very sturdy feeling and heavier than I would have thought.   The build quality seem excellent as well.  The 2900 must be massive compared to this one for the comments I have read about how dainty the 1900 seems to them.  The less clutter on my desk the better, and if I put it in the truck or car for trips the same applies there as well.

Overall I am very pleased with this rig and would recommend it to someone with the same requirements as myself.   Having only used it for two days now I cannot comment on its durability, but with the reviews on this site, it looks like it will be a great rig. 

Thanks again for the comments and suggestions.  They did help me to make my decision and feel good about it.

73's

KD8PMK
Dave
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 07:23:51 AM by KD8PMK » Logged
N2IK
Member

Posts: 220




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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2012, 06:50:03 PM »

Regarding the home brewed computer supply as a power source for ham radio:

Congratulations on your initiative.

But be aware that unless you added it, your supply has no overvoltage protection for your radio. That is not such a big deal with a single band radio, as the investment involved is not too large. But be careful about hooking an expensive radio to such a supply. Investing in a supply with overvoltage protection or building a simple crowbar circuit can save your expensive transceiver from damage in the event that the supply fails in a high voltage output mode. this does happen and the crowbar circuit can save you many hundreds of dollars in damage.

I think Phil Salas has an article in QST not too long ago that describes an inexpensive construction article for an outboard crowbar circuit that will fill the bill and not break the bank.

73 de Walt N2IK
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