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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-980 Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-980
Yaesu FT-980 Reviews: 26 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $1,999.00
Description: HF Tranceiver, 10 - 160 m + WARC
Product is not in production.
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W5VIN Rating: 5/5 Apr 30, 2006 17:01 Send this review to a friend
Solid Performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my FT-980 new in 1983. It's a great old radio and hasn't given me any problems other than a lightning strike. I agree about the jumpy VFO and this is caused by a 10 Khz per turn frequency change. This can also be modified with a divide by two circuit. I recently performed two mods on mine and both are listed on dk.mods. I added an INRAD 1st IF roofing filter and an INRAD 2nd IF cascaded filter board with two 2.1 Khz filters into the 2nd IF. This rig has an excellent MDS of around -138 to -140 dbm. That coupled with a very low quienscent noise receiver is probably why complaints were lodged about synthesizer noise. I own a Kenwood TS-2000 and it won't even come close to this old rig. For what these old rigs are bringing on the used market it's a good buy.
K7UQ Rating: 4/5 Jan 19, 2006 22:31 Send this review to a friend
A Great Collectable  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have always enjoyed the style of the FT-980. I had a friend back in the mid 80's who owned one and at that time thought it was a nice looking radio. I would rate this radio at least 4.5 . The reason I would not give it a 5.0 is it's lack of scanning functions like some of the Kenwoods had during the same time period. I have owned a Kenwood TS-930 and the TS-940, plus in the same time period a TS-430S. The Kenwoods, with their heavier tuning knob have a better feeling to them for tuning. I have only had this rig about 3 weeks. I bought it on e-bay on Christmas Day, "Merry Christmas Harvey" and have really enjoyed it. For new hams, beware, this thing is Big and Heavy. About the same size as the big Kenwoods, and no built in antenna tuner. I have operated it on ssb, cw, and now psk31. I wanted to
operate it on the digital modes, before giving a review. It was very easy to hook up for psk. Just run computer audio into the patch rca jack in the rear, obtain radio audio from audio out rca jack in the rear, enable vox operation and you are in business. I have gotten excellent reports, running about 30 watts. I am looking forward to when ten meters open up so I can try the AM and FM capabilites. It is refreshing to operate this radio, without fighting different levels of menus.
For awhile, you do have to keep the owner's manual handy to learn what all the switches and buttons do, but it is well worth the time. BC band listening is a pleasure with it. I recommend it to anyone who wants a nice, classic looking radio, but, buy at your own risk, as I understand Yaesu does not support these fb radios anymore. Perhaps I was lucky in getting this radio, and for now, my Icom IC-746 and IC-706 MKII G are collecting dust. If and when this old rig gives up, will have the satisfaction of owning a very classic radio.
Harvey K7UQ
VE3CUI Rating: 5/5 Jan 9, 2006 10:05 Send this review to a friend
OUCH! --- Key Clicks!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I absolutely LOVE my FT-980 --- bought it brand spanking new in 1983 --- but have been getting complaints of key clicks while operating on 160-meters of late. I recently improved my transmitting antenna on Topband by a vast margin compared to what I had before. This precipitated the "unsolicited" comments. QUESTION: has anyone else with an FT-980 ever encountered "key klix", and if so, what can be done on the transceiver to cure it of this condition...? Eddy (VE3CUI - VE3XZ)
N0VJC Rating: 4/5 Dec 20, 2004 08:25 Send this review to a friend
Still A Great Rig with CAT Control  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well, the CAT Control project is coming along well. If anyone would like to run their FT-980 from their computer, feel free to download my beta release of CAT980w control software. Get an interface and you should be ready to go.
Download at
-Steve Weidman, N0VJC
WA3GKX Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2004 07:28 Send this review to a friend
Beautiful radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is one big beautiful radio. The high profile metal front panel gives it a look of stature. the two analog meters, abundance of chrome buttons and knob skirting gives it a look of richness. Receive audio makes for smooth and pleasant listening. Transmit audio always brings complements. It has true fidelity not over done bass or thin audio. I bought mine used in 1989 and it has been on my operating desk ever since. If you can find one buy it and go back to the 80s when knobs were full size and building materials weren't spared for the bottom line.
VK6FJA Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2004 11:26 Send this review to a friend
Best of the BIG HF sets  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I was so impressed with my repair of the FT102 many years ago that I needed to get something like it again with Gen Coverage receive and solid state TX. The FT980 is the perfect replacement. It performs perfectly on all the HF bands I've used it on so far. AM reception in the b'cast bands is very high quality as well. My unit was purchased second hand from VK3, requiring a few small repairs. The VFO knob had come loose and the silver VFO dial ring spun around - the VFO knob jammed on it's spindle and had to be forced off after taking off the top and bottom covers of the radio. After cleaning the meter glass and the VFO knob it's almost like new. A top of the range rig for those who hate the digital graphic displays ala FT1000MP Mk5 and want large buttons and knobs for every function. I like the 2 analog backlit meters personally. CAT control works brilliantly too. There is no 12v connector for this rig which is a pity for emergency operation - but for a nice base station the FT980 is still the best of the 80's rigs.
DG9SCI Rating: 5/5 Mar 10, 2004 19:04 Send this review to a friend
gerat buy  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
First of all: The FT-980 was my dream about 20 Years ago when I saw it first in some catalogues.
Now I got one this year for about US$400.- full loaded but with a non functional S-Meter. The S-Meter and Discriminator output were fixed fast, cause the problem were only cold solder points in a relay.
This rig is really great. The receiver is very silent and the audio output with or without the connected SP-980 is amazing. In addition with the MD-1 microphone I receive very good audio reports. I use this baby to drive a FL-7000 with a selfmade band control cable (Yaesu supplied me with the very rare 28pin connectors. Great service) and this is also working flawlessly. I use my FT-980 more often then my FT-847 in the last time. I also like this "old" big rig with the two meter design.
VE3YKE Rating: 5/5 Jan 4, 2004 00:00 Send this review to a friend
Great  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased this radio two years ago. It has performed flawlessly.It has a nice audio, and I have both cw filters installed. I could not afford this rig when it came out, but this rig can be picked up now at about 600-800 bucks depending on condition. It comes with most bells and whisles, so I think these rigs are a great buy for the buck.
K3FNW Rating: 5/5 Nov 29, 2003 05:23 Send this review to a friend
Original Owner  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well not sure where to start but I really enjoy the performance of my FT 980. Unlike most of the other reviewer I have owned and operated my 980 since October 1984. The purchase of this rig is a story in itself. I had a WRL Galaxy III transceiver since 1964 and wanted to move up. At the time a FT 980 listed for more than $2000 and HRO and AES were cutting deals at about $1400. The $1400 + pricetag was a bit out of my range so I was looking at a Kenwood TS830 or Yaesu FT102DM at around $900.

Well in the middle of my research I had to go on a business trip to Tokyo Japan and had read of their famous Achi-Habara electronics district. So off to Tokyo I went with all my research data. Took a taxi to the Achi-Habara district. It was like building after building of the Dayton hamvention. Anyway with the Yen to Dollar conversion I found I could purchase either a Kenwood TS930 or Yaesu FT980 for about the same price 240,000 Yen. With the conversion of 255Yen/$1.00 that came out to about $975.00. I recall the trepidation as I made the choice for the 980 mainly because of the built-in keypad frequency entry and the CAT feature, both of which Yaesu seemed to pioneer. I was a bit worried when the technician opened my transceiver on the bench as I watched and changed the AC supply from Japan's 100V @ 50Hz to US 120V @ 60Hz. He tested it with a 120V @ 60Hz converter and boxed it up, put a handle on it, handed me a Xerox copy of an English users guide. The rig came with a users guide and service manual in Japanese. So there I was carrying my 980 to a taxi for my hotel. I also bought the MD-1b desk mike also. Anyway I carried it back in an open business class seat on Pan Am. US customs was not much of a problem and when I arrived home in Jersey unboxed it and fired it up and it has worked ever since.

Anyway that is the history, as I know it. Since that day I have worked near honor role level (>320) of DXCC, CQ, ARRL and IARU DX contests. The only addition I made to it was the SP 980 speaker. I purchased an English version of the users guide and service manual from Yaesu USA for $25.00 in 1984. The radio performs flawlessly and it is so intuitive to use. I never got into the CAT capability. Not sure where I could get the FIF interface. To summarize in spite of the less than glowing articles in CQ and QST I really enjoy the performance of my 980. My antennas include a 14AVQ vertical and a Explorer 14 tribander with a 40 meter add on kit at 50 feet. Never needed an antenna tuner.

I know the manufacturers tell you not to do this and Icom has different model numbers for Japanese marketed transceivers but Yaesu and Kenwood did not. Never hear many accounts of purchases like mine.
N0VJC Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2003 13:53 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have had my FT-980 for around 4 years now and have been very pleased with it. I operate voice and digital modes quite successfully. One overlooked aspect of these rigs is the CAT control. After searching for good (and inexpensive) CAT control software, I decided to write my own based on Art Harding, K5YEF's CAT980 DOS program. With CAT control and digital control software, PSK31, RTTY, SSTV and HDSSTV are a joy to work. In regards to voice QSOs, I have found that I make contact on the first call, or not at all. I'm sure the antenna plays into this situation just as much as the rig though. I have found the filters are quite good although no comparison to digital filters, but good non the less. If I changed anything about it, I would make the controls easier to read. Overall, I like my FT-980 very much. By the way, I'm looking for beta testers for the FT-980 CAT software. I plan on releasing it as freeware once it is tested and ready to go.
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