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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Yaesu FT-8500 Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-8500
Yaesu FT-8500 Reviews: 37 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $699.99
Description: DUAL BAND VHF/UHF radio that has achieved cult status
Product is not in production.
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N2BSS Rating: 1/5 Mar 16, 2002 12:14 Send this review to a friend
poor quality  Time owned: more than 12 months
You know, I really liked this radio. I liked its features, and even came to love the Mr. Potato Head microphone despite its bulk and how easy it was to accidentally reset the volume and squelch levels when chatting.

Unfortunately and for no reason mine lost its power module chip when the radio was only 2 years old. The 2m side failed while the 70cm side continued to work flawlessly. At first I received signal reports (on 2m, not 70cm) indicating alternator whine on my signal. However I was in base station use with a 12v power supply! Over time the whine on 2m grew worse and I started to get noise in the speaker on transmit. Eventually the power module failed and I replaced it at a parts cost of appx. US $100.

Unfortunately within a few months, despite very low usage, the new power module began to fail with the same symptoms.

Now you can't blame the operator as the radio was used exclusively in base station use with a good antenna system, and was always disconnected from both the antenna and power connections when not in use. It also did not have many hours of operation on it when it failed each time.

Too bad, as it really is a nice radio otherwise. I just don't think it is worth the $100 yearly you'll need to throw at it to keep replacing the faulty power module. The horror stories of this unit's reliability are all too true and it is a shame.
VE7MDT Rating: 5/5 Jan 28, 2002 12:50 Send this review to a friend
No intermod!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I own 2, one of each mic style. One home, one car. Recommended to friends, and 5 of my friends own them, some of them also own 8000, or 8100, and we collectively have also tried various other brands and models.

I don't understand why VE7CRA has intermod problems in "inner city", and he didn't specify which city he was in. I have travelled to many cities, big cities on the west coast in North America, and have experinced few intermod issues. And according to all the other excellent reports, I can only assume that VE7CRA has a defective unit, or he has changed something that leads to that problem.

Of course, I am not saying that there are no problems w/ this radio, but to me, intermod is number 1 issue with our issues, and few dual-band radios tackle this part well. I can count them in one hand (Alinco 610, Standard (unconfirmed) and barely ok FT-8100).

The solution to the FS-10 being too cumbersome in mobile application is to buy the MEK-2 (or build one yourself, we have done that), and attach a boom mic (which we prefer) or another hand mic.

The Menu manipulation should be made a little more logical as to mimic a "tree" style layering etc.

Another criticism is the internal Lithium battery gets drained dead within 2 years, and it is a pain to replace (soldered inside), and also harder to get the spark-welded version of the otherwise easy to get CR2016. I wish they could have put it in an easily accessable battery holder, like those used by calculators, and it'll be a perfect radio.

Another suggestion/hope is that it'll have the antenna jack on the body and not on a dangling cable, and also wish it has the N connector which I think the European (my friend has one, not sure if it's European export model or not, bought in Asia though, but it's not a Japanese ver. which also uses SO-239) will be great.

A few of the common problems inc. burnt out bulbs (and will do if you attach the extension cable for the panel on the wrong side!!), damaging the panel button travelling in badly packed luggage, it's a very delicate button! (not as bad as the 8100/8000 problem).

One bigger problem is the noise getting onto the receiver or transmitter in a mobile setup. We have had various combinations and sometimes it gets alternator whines on the receiver, usually fixed by a DC line filter (I use the American Power made one), and sometimes on the TX. Friends driving certain cars (BMW 3xx, Subaru Forester), have various problems getting the TX w/ alternator whine, and sometimes they cannot be fixed even w/ filters. One gets resolved by isolating the chassic from the car body (ground loop issue), but the other case it's still a problem.

Otherwise, it's a pretty good solid radio. I just wish the CTCSS board is not that expensive.

One interesting fact is that it has very narrow bandwidth, so any wider signals will get muted completely, and not getting thru. This is totally opposite to Icom radios, which takes almost anything from adjacent freq. in!

If they add remote control to the cross band feature, then it's better than perfect!! :-)

Was an expensive radio, but it was cleared out by HRO and a few others, and it was an excellent buy (US$400. w/ FS-10) at the time.
KB1FZA Rating: 5/5 Sep 28, 2001 11:51 Send this review to a friend
Excelent mobil rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought FT-8500 at a ham-fest and I simply love it. The receiver is sensitive and no intermod problems so far. The transmited audio is great.
The radio is packed with features - spectral analyzer, paging, dtmf msging, cross band repeat and what not. The spectral analyzer is really helpful during scanning and for finding activity on the band. The omni-Glow orange display is big and readable. It matches nice with the orange glow of my dashboard.
The display is equaly readable in direct sunlight as in the dark, thanks to the automatically adjustable backlight. This is a real dualbander, and i enjoy hearing my voice from the UHF side, while transmitting on VHF to an amature satllite such as UO-14 (FM repeater, uplink - VHF, downlink UHF).
I am missing few features such as the abiliy to save in the memory pairs of frequncies for both sides (VHF and UHF) (really helpful when working with satellites) and scanning the signal for PL Tones, which can be done manual of course.
The menu system looked a bit weird in the begining but once i got used to it, was just fine.
Dont forget that this radio is 5-6 years old, so its understandable.
Too bad that Yaesu discontinued this radio. I think this was a big mistake..the radio will be a hot seller even today!
GW1MCD Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2001 17:20 Send this review to a friend
Excellent !!!.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned the 8500 for 2 years. I first purchased Icom and Kenwood Dual Banders , and had to "Dump" them pronto. Totally hopeless with Pager and any other RF transmissions , whatever the frequency. Enter the 8500 , absoloutely Superb. Not a hint of "Breakthrough" on receive , excellent Transmit reports. My Qth is 850ft ASL and although has no local non Ham transmissions , I do receive non local transmissions at quite "hefty" signal strengths.FT8500 , "SUPER DUPER" Rig.
M1CVA Rating: 5/5 Sep 3, 2001 12:34 Send this review to a friend
Mainly great  Time owned: more than 12 months
The 8500 was my first mobile rig, and I have no regrets about getting it. The mic makes operation easy without having to be anywhere near the radio and the RF side is good.

My only problems with it are: I dropped it and it landed on the front panel and now one of the lights wont work (I have tried replacing it!) - purely my fault
My other problem is when I try to use it in v-v mode (vhf both sides), the left is fine but the right is incredibly insensitive. u-u mode works perfectly though

I am appalled that yaesu stopped making this radio and even more appaled by the fact that they replaced it with the 8100 - most of which go wrong after 2 months (from friends' experience)

A great radio by all accounts :)
KC6TYG Rating: 5/5 Sep 1, 2001 22:02 Send this review to a friend
Best mobile ever!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Love this radio! I have 5 (4 cars and 1 in the shack) Even got the FD (I am a member) to buy them and put them in the rigs and in the station (emergency disater center for ARES). Potatohead mic is great on the road. Software is outstanding. Been using them since they came out. Yaesu really dropped the ball by discontinueing the line.
AH6P Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2001 16:19 Send this review to a friend
Reliable and Easy  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my FT-8500 for 3 years now and love it. It was my first mobile rig and I've had no problems with it. The "Potato-Head" mic makes mobile operations a breeze making it easier to keep my eyes on the road. Intermod rejection is very good in the inner city areas. No complaints here.
N4SRQ Rating: 5/5 May 16, 2001 14:35 Send this review to a friend
If you're a Ham and a Geek - it's Nirvana  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I hated it - at first. I didn't have a manual and that Mic was something out of Alien. I was pretty lost until that great day when I found a copy of the users manual and purchased the ADMS software package. Now that I understand this little beast, I love it. Bells and Whistles aside, this transceiver works like a charm. When I travel by car I take my laptop. I find out the local repeaters or nets or frequencies of interest and in 2 minutes they are typed in and downloaded. I could do it by hand but I actually find the download method quicker and error free. On camping trips with my family, it serves as a handy cross band repeater. I can't think of anything that I don't like about this radio. It's unfortunate that this radio is no longer in production. It would still be a hot seller.
AD9Z Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2001 15:55 Send this review to a friend
Excellent mobile rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I don't think they should have ever quit making this rig! It was the best mobile I ever owned. I sold mine because I needed the extra money at the time, but want to get another one! I have heard of people complaining that it's hard to program, but after you get use to it it's a breeze! I had the mc-39 microphone & never had to take my eyes off the road. I really wish that yaesu would make another rig like this one again!
73, Dave
KD4LEI Rating: 5/5 Mar 28, 2001 12:08 Send this review to a friend
I love this rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have heard all the horror stories associated with this rig and cannot understand what all the fuss is about. I haven't had ANY (zero, zip, nada) trouble with this machine. Even though I have it in my car, I usually use it when I am on long commutes and vacation trips. Yes, the menu is a little hard to figure out but other than that it's my first mobile rig and it has survived almost 5 years of use. The orange display is a blessing at night (bright and easy to read) and by day my only worry is keeping the display covered from prolonged exposure to sunlight, depending on where the sun is at (nothing anyone can control). Have had bad experiences with LCD interfaces and sunlight, so I try to protect it as best I can.

I love the Mr. Potatoehead mike... Why? It's easy to control once you get the jist of operating it, while driving at most roadway speeds. Reminds me a little of the HOTAS (HandsOn Throttle And Stick) systems that the newer military jet fighters have to help keep the pilots eyes straight ahead, rather than looking down too much. The thumbstick control in the center of one side of the mike is a breeze to use. Once you know where the other buttons are, you are set for minimal worries. Best to plan ahead what you know you can do and what repeaters you intend to utilize. Safety is a MUST! Pre-planning and the use of this machine will get you ahead every time. Someone mentioned having trouble with the mike because of accidentally hitting buttons and causing it to do something you never intended for it to do at that current moment. An easy fix is to flip the keylock switch (just left of the thumbstick control) when not using the mike.

Overall, nothing bothers me about this rig. However, I am a little bothered Yaesu never continued the marketing for it though. Used might be your only option, but get one of these if you can.

Chad Eagle

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