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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur (inc. HF+6M+VHF models) | Yaesu FT-950 Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-950
Yaesu FT-950 Reviews: 280 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1840
Description: The Yaesu FT-950 is an HF/6m transceiver which features IF DSP as well as 3 kHz, 6 kHz and 15 kHz roofing filters. The transceiver can be interfaced with the DMU-2000 to add additional functions such Band Scope, Audio Scope, X-Y Oscilloscope, World Clock, Rotator Control, and extensive transceiver status displays, in addition to station logging capability. The optional RF µTuning Kits may be connected via the rear panel, providing improved selectivity to protect the receiver from close-in interference on a crowded band.
Product is in production.
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<— Page 16 of 28 —>

KT0DD Rating: 5/5 Dec 6, 2009 11:36 Send this review to a friend
Surprised me  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I sold a Ten Tec Orion II due to financial hardship and was looking for a bang-for-the-buck rig to replace it. I listened to the 950 at HRO in Denver and the receive audio caught my attention. It sounded alot like the old Kenwood audio which I like. So I decided to try one.

While this is NOT an Orion II class rig, I was mildly surprised at how many features & flexibility the FT950 offers. You can adjust everything from DC to daylight, and it has a TX equalizer that puts the OII TX tone control to shame. I was probably wasting a great CW rig with the Orion as I dont do CW. I think the FT950 will be in this house a long time as it meets all my basic needs. 73
OE4VIE Rating: 5/5 Dec 1, 2009 10:42 Send this review to a friend
Unbeatable for price  Time owned: more than 12 months
I am using this rig more than 12 months now. Still works perfectly, and has been improved or updated with firmware updates when available. The receiver sensitivity and audio quality is outstanding.
CW functions are great. Also I use this rig together with an 2m transverter and they performed very well, it is nice to use the FT-950 functions on 2m too.....great stuff!
This rig has to be one of the best buys for the money.
G3XOV Rating: 4/5 Nov 30, 2009 06:16 Send this review to a friend
Good choice for me  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I use cw 100% and am quite pleased wih the 950
in this mode. Previously owned an Ft2000,Ft450,
Pro3,7400 and Ic7200 but like the 950 enough to
have added the DMU to the station primarily for
the bandscope function.The radio is easy to
operate and everything does what I expect it to
do apart from the noise reduction which is just
unusable. It will take out the noise but it also
takes out the wanted signal and no ammount of
tweaking will stop this happening.This is my
reason for the 4/5 rating.Otherwise very pleased
with it.
K4TB Rating: 5/5 Nov 18, 2009 17:04 Send this review to a friend
FT-950 or IC-756 Pro 3  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought the FT-950 about 2 weeks ago and am also fortunate to own the Icom 756 Pro 3, so I thought some hams might be interested in my comparisons of the two. I also purchased the MTU 80/40 and 30/20 microtuner units for the FT-950.

First, I can say both are super rigs. The FT-950 is every bit a match for the Pro 3 in many ways but each has something over the other. It’s sort of like comparing a PC to a Mac, or an Acura to a Lexus. Here are some detailed comparisons:

- FT-950 has more adjustable audio response for both TX and RX. You can enhance the RX audio to make it sound like (almost) studio quality, or tighten it up for good communications quality. The Icom has just plain solid communications quality audio which is optimum for digging out the weak ones. The FT-950 can do just as well but may require more adjustment, since there are more adjustments. I found I could make the two rigs sound about the same on any given signal, once I found the right adjustments.

- The audio contour control on the FT-950 is amazing and the Icom doesn't have anything that quite matches it. I found that setting the contour control level for peaking (+ gain) rather than leaving it at the default level (- gain) significantly enhanced received SSB voice, while the CW peaking mode greatly enhanced CW reception.

- The Icom DNR is definitely easier to adjust and perhaps more effective than the FT-950 DNR, although the FT-950 DNR works well too.

- The FT-950 can sound better than the Icom on moderate or strong SSB signals because of the ability to make more audio adjustments.

- The Icom may have a very, very slight edge over the FT-950 when listening to weak CW over a long period. You can hear weak CW just as well on each, but the Icom has a smoother background noise. Both receivers seem equally sensitive however.

- Icom does a better job of implementing both the manual and automatic notch filters. The FT-950 notches work well but it takes a little more adjustment with them than with the Icom.

- The NB is slightly better on the FT-950 but the Icom has a super NB too. The FT-950’s NB has two selectable widths - narrow or wide – each with its on level adjustment.

- The Icom has only a 15 KHz roofing filter while the FT-950 sports 15, 6 & 3 KHz. The more narrow filters do reduce band splatter noise a little better than the 15 KHz filters.

- The FT-950 has the optional outboard microtuning preselectors which provide an effect similar to the roofing filters, i.e. a slight reduction in band noise, especially from static crashes. They are an interesting reuse of technology seen back in earlier days of ham radio. Their effect is somewhat subtle so don’t expect these filters to perform miracles despite their cost. They should be very useful in providing immunity from interference by co-located stations at a multi-station site, like in Field Day.

- I found the FT-950’s implementation of the VFO B/Clarifier knob a little confusing, and wish the knob had a friction adjustment like the main tuning knob so it wasn’t too easy to turn. Nevertheless I could readily use it for split operation when desired. The Icom dual watch feature and clarifier implementation are definite benefits by comparison.

- I didn’t have a problem that the FT-950 has such an extensive menu selection. I like the fact that though the menu you can tailor so many things to suit your taste. Although some have complained about not having a power control on the front panel, I think that having it in a menu makes it less likely to change the power erroneously, as when using a transverter. Similarly I don’t use features like DNR or DNF so much that I need a knob. For knob lovers, there’s the higher-priced FT-2000 or FT-9000.

- Some of the other things I love on the FT-950 are the CW tuning and CW spot features, and the instant audio mute functions. Additionally the ability to do software upgrades is a plus for the FT-950 in my book. Yaesu’s new free PC control software for the FT-950 provides some nice extra tools also.

- Of course the Icom has the invaluable spectrum scope which I love. Coupling that with its dual-watch function, and the fact it is the only rig currently hooked up to my amplifier, it is still my contest go-getter. Those things notwithstanding, I find the FT-950 really fun to operate and will probably use it more than the Icom for the indefinite future. The FT-950 cannot be beaten for the price, and even if you add the DMU-2000 and a computer monitor for the band scope function like the Icom, the FT-950 still costs less.
OE5BFM Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2009 02:36 Send this review to a friend
Smply satisfied after one year  Time owned: more than 12 months
After owning my FT-950 now for one year, I write my neutral impressions. That means I am not a fan of one brand. My other rigs are the famous Kenwood TS-930 and the Kenwood TS-830, both with all CW-Filters in it.

I used the rig on the big antennas of our Club-station, also on fieldday-antennas, did SSB, CW and PSK and in summary there were no problems.

First, this rig seems to be very durable. I never heard or read in the net about frequently occuring problems. Also mine works fine without any troubles.

Normally I like radios which are simple to use, because I want make contacts and not "play" with radios, hi. But the menues of the FT-950 are really no problem to use, only one knob to reach them, choosing for the right one and adjusting it. I think, that couldn´t be easier.

This radio has a lot of possibilities to adjust the modulation.
The free software from the yaesu site PCC-950 has the facility to show the frequency-curve of your modulation-response. Really a great help! I adujsted it to the same curve as e.g. the famous astatic or shure microfones have and I get very fine reports!

One thing I noticed in CW-Mode. If using the narrow filters, eg. 400Hz or less, the hiss sounds a bit "harder" in comparison to my analog rigs. Maybe this will be a bit tiring for some hams when listening for hours. But on the other hand, the possiblilty to dig out weak CW-signals and bring them into the understandable range is really great and just as well as on my TS-930 /TS-830.

Of course it´s alway a question of your demands, and there are enough rigs available for more money which possible meet them, but I think my demands are not so little and even after one year I am satisfied. And don´t forget the price!
W5JLF Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2009 20:47 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had mine almost 2 years. I liked it when I got it and have liked it even better with each software upgrade. I don’t understand why you would need to spend any more money and not get that much more radio.

Joe, W5JLF
K1FT Rating: 5/5 Nov 13, 2009 07:47 Send this review to a friend
Not to be confused with a FT-950  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This is a review about the FT-950 with the PEP upgrades. The PEP version does not require one to turn off the contour, or width, or notch to make other adjustments to those same functions, it only requires one to press the appropriate function key to enable their adjustment. I do agree that the 10 pin DIN is an extremely poor choice as an interface connector. Agreed the menu system could have been more intuitive and there should be more than one panel key to perform a quick menu function access. But these are nits in a radio that Yaesu is supporting through irregular but feature enhancing upgrades.
As commented by others, it is absurd to compare this radio with an Orion, 7700, K3 or any of the radios of that class. Equally absurd to compare it to a FT-450 which is a great performer (for its price), but like the K2 - for me ergonomic nightmares and I have owned and used both. The FT-950 is a great radio for its class and I believe it is a good bang for the buck today. Semi-professional contesters, and extreme DX’ers, should look elsewhere – they wouldn’t be reading this review anyway.
WE1X Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2009 19:04 Send this review to a friend
Excellent for It's Price Class  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have both the FT-2000D and FT-950 after being a loyal Icom fan for many years...and after owning many Icom HF rigs ranging from the 706 up to the 7800. Given the topic is the FT-950 I will comment only on that rig.

Clearly the FT-950 is not in the same category as some radios considered to be "contest" rigs. It was neither designed to be or priced that way. However, the FT-950 is a radio that offers considerable value with respect to features, functions and performance given its price tag. The March 2008 QST review of the FT-950 positions the radio very well with respect to the IC-746PRO, TS-2000, and Ten Tec Jupiter. The QST lab numbers also indicate the FT-950 is no slouch. Again, being a FT-950 and FT-2000D owner I can attest to the quality of the radio's receive section, its selectivity and some of its tools for fighting QRM.

With regard to the FT-950's complexity, yes it is complex to set is the FT-2000 and 9000 series. That complexity is the result of many hams wanting greater flexibility in fine tuning or tweaking their radios. Flexibility leads to complexity. For those wanting a plug and play radio that's a problem. For those of us who enjoy learning about a radio (and who find learning a fundamental component of our hobby) it's a blessing. It's all a matter of perspective and from where you come.

Is the FT-950 perfect? Absolutely not. But then each and every radio regardless of its price, manufacture or class has its quirks and issues. As many of the previous reviews have pointed out,the FT-950 has its quirks, yet the owners still rate the rig with high marks.

While I think many of us are influenced by advertisements everyday, seldom do we make major product purchases upon ads or their hype alone. In short, give it a rest.

Harry WE1X
W3DDF Rating: 5/5 Nov 12, 2009 18:42 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Value For The Money  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have had my FT950 for almost a year and love it. For the money you can't beat the FT950. Of course if you put a Icom 7600 in front of me I wouldn't toss it to the side. Get a FT950, you won't be disappointed.
N2RRA Rating: 1/5 Nov 12, 2009 05:54 Send this review to a friend
I hate to say it, but............  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
All though it is a pretty looking radio and I hate to say it, but the FT-950 just flat out sucks!

I’m reading some of these reviews and their comparing the FT-950 to some radios that flat out blow it away. After my experience with the FT-950 I have to say I do like it better than the FT-2000. The FT-950 has a better roofing filter section in the radio, better for CW and has less problems getting the audio to sound better in the wide setting than the FT-2000. The FT-2000 has a flawed roofing filter section which is a hardware issue not a software issue so it can not be better than the FT-950 and that goes the same for the audio section. That’s just a couple of things wrong with the FT-2000 which I’m not seeing in other reviews mentioning, but the FT-950 does share other negatives in the same respect.

I know this to be true and no one is saying anything about it, but the receive audio is absolutely terrible. Whether it’s the speaker it self or how it’s incased makes it despicable to listen to. You definitely need an external speaker!

The Transmit Monitor section is horrible making it useless unless you’re looking for RF in the audio. Other than that forget it!

Processor: As I mentioned before it has fine audio characteristics, but the processor was still tricky to use. Operating with the Heil Heritage microphone that has elements 4 and 5 for wide and narrow audio I was able to get it to sound pretty good with the EQ and slight touch of processing combined which it needed desperately. All though there were limitations on the adjustment at about nine O’ clock anymore would result in series over modulation. Unless used with the stock microphone you might be able to turn it up if needed, but not with most after market.

Is it user friendly? Definitely not! It boggles the mind how one could compare functionality with another radio that does not require the use of a manual to figure out the features or work your way around the menu. To have to go into a menu keeping a note catalog with both the FT-950 and 2000 of what number menu does what sucks! Then you have to save it before you get out of it. There are others rigs which you can perform the same functions on the fly without a map and is self explanatory. Not with the Yeasu rigs!

Sensitivity and IPO (Pre-Amp) - is not better than the Icom 756 proII and III series along with respect to MDS and IMD! It’s certainly harder to hear signals amongst QRM and QRN and the MDS numbers “do not” correlate with what I’ve seen and heard in the FT-950 or FT-2000. In an Icom pro II or III with the pre-amps “off” receive is that of an FT-950 with IPO in stage 1. In IPO stage 2 receive is that of an Icom pro in pre-amp 1 and the Icom has still one more pre-amp to go. Not saying that they hear the same, but giving an idea of how the pre-amps are functioning in the FT-950. Where some other folks are seeing this to be untrue is beyond me since I’ve compared this to not one, but two FT-950’s with the current update.

When using the Contour, shift and width selectivity I found it to be lousy compared to how other manufacturers have done this. I know that older radios you would have to allow your hearing and memory to play a big factor with similar feature which I can perform very well. The problem is we’re not living in the past and one would like to know which way to slide these features and by how much in a whim to consume less time. Timing is everything!

When adjusting your IF shift PBT (Pass Band Tuning) in other radios, which is the “Shift” and “Width” on FT-950 you have no idea how much band width and shift your using and it doesn’t seem so effective compared to other rigs I’m used to. Its cheesy horizontal bar graph for this feature left me feeling cheated. You also have to push the button separately which is annoying instead of having both on one knob like the Icom rigs. Which is quicker in a test between the both? ICOM hands down!

The contour works OK in conjunction with it but not crazy about it. To perform these functions you always have to be turning “ON” or “OFF” the contour feature. N.G.!

Tuner: I did notice as the other poster below mentioned his Kenwood TS-480 which is no slouch seemed to perform this task better. I too have experienced better internal auto tuners in other radios.

Accessory jacks: I have to agree with NK7J and I’ll quote him.

“The two things I dont really like about it... The 10 Pin din connector for the amp.... I mean really what a pain that they didn't at least include a empty 10 pin plug so you could wire it yourself. And number 2.... No way to adjust TX power besides in the menu, there are times I want really low drive to my amp or for PSK and going into the menu is a pain to just adjust power.
If they had put a power level adjust on a knob this radio would even better.”

Another thing I didn’t like are the pin din jacks that differ from one another and are clearly quite different from the typical pin din found on most radios. So if you wanted to walk into Radio Shack or somewhere to wire your own it can be a task. Guess the money would be in their expensive cables they sell you that you could’ve made for under $10.

The way the VFO and VFO A/B is situated brings me to another thing I dislike about the ergonomics. I found myself needing to adjust the AF Gain and hitting the VFO or Clar VFO/B. I know a lot of you have gone through this with out a doubt. If you managed to get used to this or from not doing it anymore I know it becomes irritating to be thrown off frequency sometimes without knowing because you tapped either or VFO.

Operating split is a chore which should be extremely simple, but becomes a learning curve which should not be. Yes, it’s another feature with a bit of learning curve which eventually one would figure out, but the fact remains it’s not simple as the others.

No way of simultaneously viewing all meters was a bore and inconvenience compared to some other radios.

I and other Yaesu owners already know that the DMU for the FT-950 and FT-2000 looks like a great feature, but we also know that it’s nothing more than an expensive, Gimmick! Just ask anyone who as owned one and owned another rig that can perform the same features that can compare and validate this.

Another thing I noticed talking with many DX stations and U.S. stations that own the FT-2000, or FT-950 for contesting, DX-ing and general rag chew along side the older FT-1000 Mark-V and Field have an interesting view. Consensus proves that they chose the FT-1000 series with all roofing filters to be a better radio over all. Bottom Line!

If I were to purchase a Yaesu rig it would be the FT-1000 Mark-V with all roofing Filters and 3 Khz Transmit Audio mod and would be way better off. I was an owner of a Yeasu FT-1000 D and Mark V so I can say I did like them better than the FT-950 and FT-2000. Unless you are just a person that would like to push the “ON” button and simply rag chew and nothing more I guess this would be the radio for you, but not if your series about other aspects of this hobby. Guess that’s where all the misleading reviews are coming from.

I can go on an on, but how would you know this to be true? Guess you’ll have to buy one to find out and really compare with others which I know some have already claimed. I’m just not sure what world their living in.



Don’t believe commercial advertising Hype! Test and compare units side by side, also check to make sure you don’t have an hearing impairment like being tone deaf.
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