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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-902DM Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-902DM
Yaesu FT-902DM Reviews: 23 Average rating: 4.9/5 MSRP: $Yaesu FT-902DM
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ZL3AX Rating: 5/5 Jul 24, 2016 17:17 Send this review to a friend
The Best!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The old story. Had one in the 1980's and always regretted selling it to guy in Holland.
* Got one last year, and gave it a complete service, including changing about 100 capacitors (Ebay kit is good, just did the lot in one go), changed the speaker that was warped.
**Very happy with it, goes just as I remember. Easy to use, great performer, real radio, not darn computer noise!
*** The receiver is VERY quiet, due to a fantastic double balanced mixer and a stable oscillator. For me the test is this. Go on SSB, dummy load, and turn up the volume a long way on your transceiver. Gentle hiss, or does it sound like un-squelched FM? A quiet receiver is everything... if you want to operate with phones, pick up quiet signals (no I am not a 59 only person) and find signals close to other powerful stations you never know were there!
Yes, I love this set. Have an old FL2001, FC902 and it is still the line-up I am happy with.
Michael. ZL3AZ / G0GPX / J87AB
G0UOO Rating: 5/5 Aug 12, 2015 04:01 Send this review to a friend
A Lovely Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
My first proper HF rig, bought used back in 1994. It came fully-loaded, and with the outrigger boards too. Just a lovely radio to use. No menus, everything you need right there on the front panel. I wish I still had it, but, like a fool, I sold it and have regretted doing so ever since. I would buy another, but I'm mindful that these rigs are pushing nearly 35 years old now.
IT9AHH Rating: 5/5 Apr 28, 2014 23:26 Send this review to a friend
what a gem radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
i bought five months ago the 902 dm from italian yaesu radios dealer. it's in mint conditions.has all the optionals and a 600 hz cw filter.i have a wonderful receiver by 160 to 10 mt.the apf and cw filter put it on par to the ts870;i did not want to believe it but in the end this is my conclusion.vy hot clean and selective receiver.the evening, on 7 mhz, you get just the signals that you want to receive, and the silence, especially with long wire short buy it and use it every day, it will return for hours of enjoyable radio.
73's, franco.
KG6YV Rating: 5/5 Apr 10, 2013 07:35 Send this review to a friend
Beats the Kenwood 830S "Hands-down"  Time owned: more than 12 months
OK, the Kenwood 830S gets all the press but an FT 901DM will put the Kenwood to shame. I have owned three 830S transceivers and now have my second 902DM.

1 The 380S receiver is noisy, much lower noise floor on the 902DM. Better receive audio too!
2. The 830S has long term stability issues with the need to seat/clean/reseat boards, moungint screws,etc. The 902DM is a dreadnaught battleship in its construction.
3. More than half of the 830's out there drift frequency like a small boat on the ocean due to the cost-reduced VFO capacitor with plastic insulators between the plates instead of phenolic... The 902DM needs no "huff-n-puff".
4. 902DM has a keyer came with a CW filter and other accessories thatKenwood ignored.

Overall all, I would not sell my 902DM, I sold all three 830S's I had within a year of buying them...

No contest, the 902DM was the best hybrid of all time. it holds it's own against many later vintage transceivers too!
YO9HSW Rating: 5/5 Apr 10, 2013 03:32 Send this review to a friend
Best hybrid transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought mine from $250 in mint condition but with the common problem, a defective MSM9520 IC. Thanks to JA2SVZ the counter module is now up and running. Easy to operate, built like a battleship. Nothing more to say.
KR4XF Rating: 5/5 Sep 26, 2012 18:40 Send this review to a friend
Kr4xf Rock Solid Rig!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Bought this gem about 6 months ago
had a few issues s meter lights analog light
12 pin multi purpose relay new rectifire Eco's
hv caps and bleeder resistors, Kens electronics
in Michigan has exact replacement relay 18.00 dollars, hv caps i put 500 volt 150uf instead of 100uf cleaned all switches and every module board socket etc.
This radio is awesome nice quiet recieve I have great audio reports. The work I put into it was well worth it.Thanks to Keith N9UTJ helped me solve this problem on carrier unit board. Make sure carrier unit board the solder connections on the 16v 30uf that connects to relay is connected good or you have a intermitted loss of audio when 1st keying to talk, I touched up all 21 connections with solder and made sure it was gettin a good snug fit in slot.My rig does not drift after warm up of about 30 mintes. pictures of recaping is on a link on my qrz page
Parts Caps were ordered from digikey. I will be hanging on to this rig hence no stories from me about how I should of never got rid of my 902dm gem.
K5KEN Rating: 5/5 Mar 8, 2010 05:11 Send this review to a friend
What can I say....!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
We'll for my first review on my first HF radio all I can say is wow! My 902DM is in near perfect condition for being built in 1981. The gentlemen I bought off was the first owner and for the past 15 years has only used it on AM.
I have no drift on either the main VFO or the FV-101Z VFO. I also got the SP-901P with my deal. I had to replace the 30 y/o speaker which had dried out, which was no big deal to do.
I did have the the 3 final tubes replaced which where the original one and my tech did a quick alignment which to my surprise was still set to factory spec's and still pretty close!

As my first HF rig I am very happy with it.

I really enjoy the 902DM and for the price it was a great deal.
N8YX Rating: 5/5 Sep 23, 2009 17:57 Send this review to a friend
A solid performer - IF...  Time owned: more than 12 months
Anyone reading this might first want to check out the FT-901DM review section, particularly where the comments relating to frequency stability are concerned.

I recently got hold of a "drifty" '902. It is the second of these radios I've owned; performance of the first rig mirrored other reviewers' experiences.

This one, however, would drift a total of 5 KILOhertz in 24H from a cold start!

A search around the 'Net directed me to a site which detailed another amateur's VFO repair tale. In his case, bad N750 temp-compensating caps in the '902's internal VFO led to a severe drift condition. My rig suffered from exactly the opposite problem: Some of the NP0 caps were way off spec. In addition, a bad 20pF NP0 in parallel with the reference oscillator crystal's trimmer cap on the digital readout board made netting the display to WWV impossible. Replacing the part fixed the problem, but a sporadic drift problem was still observed. This was ultimately isolated to the ATT/RIT/XIT switches...dirty contacts...and floating voltage reference levels. A shot of Faderlube F5 and a drop of DeOxIt in each switch fixed the problem.

Drift is now ~400hz in 3 hours (from a cold start) and ~40hz per hour thereafter...which is well within Yaesu's specs. (The author of the repair article got his rig's total drift to within 300hz, so better VFO performance is possible!)

If the lack of computer control, general-coverage receiver and the presence of a tube PA doesn't bother you, these rigs will do anything "on the air" that you wish.

If you get a problematic example, they're not that difficult to fix. Aside from the digital display IC, the various capacitors used in these rigs quite possibly are the only components which will give an owner any sort of grief...and they can be replaced if necessary. Clean those switches and potentiometers as well.
AC5XP Rating: 5/5 May 26, 2008 11:48 Send this review to a friend
Yaesu's number-one classic!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The FT-902DM radio I think is Yaesu's #1 classic. It basically is the last of a family of radios that started with the FT-101 and went on in evolution through the FT-101ZD and the FT-901. As such, it is the last and best of its class. It actually is much better than the FT-One which came out later after the FT-902DM.
The 902 looks like the 901, but it differs from that radio in major aspects. The most important improvement that the 902 offers over the 901 I believe to be the improved receiver front-end, which was already pretty good in the 901, that one being the first to use a double-balanced mixer. (The 101 series only used single-ended mixers in the receiver front-end, using a dual-gate MOSFET).
Everything on the 902DM radio works very well and as such it is a pleasure to operate. Also from an ergonomic standpoint Yaesu did a good job here. Large knobs well laid out on an aluminum diecast front panel complete the impression of ruggedness.
The digital readout will require calibration when you buy this radio used, but once you have done so it stays very constant. Which is actually strange because the radio uses the same frequency counter board as the FT-107M and the FT-707 but for the latter radios the counter drifts about 200 Hz from warmup. On the 902 I have not noticed this, maybe a better quality of crystal was used for the counter board.
Just to make sure, I’m talking about the frequency counter accuracy, NOT the VFO stability because the latter drifts much more from warmup, about 400 Hz. But that is easily compensated for by adjusting the radio dial back to the correct readout. When the counter drifts however, this error cannot be compensated for, so that is why it is so important that the counter time-base is drift-free.

All boards in this radio are of the plug-in type. Nice to quickly replace a board but not so nice if you need to work on them because you will need extender cards which are not easy to get.
What is really neat on the 902 is the memory feature. Nowadays memory features and second-VFO capabilities are easer than 1-2-3, one just stores the frequency code for the digital synthesizer in as many memory registers as one wants. But in the days of the free running VFO’s (as the 902 has), this was much more difficult to accomplish. Yaesu basically solved the challenge by measuring the 5 MHz VFO frequency in a counter, and using the counter result as the frequency code for a second VFO based on a digital synthesizer that spans the same range as the main VFO (5.0 MHz to 5.5 MHz) In this way, a particular set VFO frequency can be memorized and reproduced by the synthesizer. Now you also will understand why this only works within a set band; because the master VFO is re-used for each band. As an example; suppose you memorize 3.800 MHz; then on 40 meter the memory channel results in 7.300 MHz, on 20 it would be 14.300 MHz and so on. That is also the reason why cross-band splits are not possible in this concept. But within the same band it works well.
For the 902, the synthesized memory VFO uses a very low step-size (100 Hz resolution) which results in a very slow settling time (several seconds) because of the low cutoff frequency for the loop filter (probably less than 10 Hz) combined with the fact that this is only a single-loop synthesizer. But it works well, albeit without the possibility of a memory RIT function; what you store is what you get, rock-solid but nothing more.
The same memory concept is used for the FT-107M and the FT-707 external VFO. But for the FT-107, it was implemented slightly different; there the resolution is 1 KHz where the 100 Hz steps are made outside the PLL (by pulling the reference crystal). As a result, RIT is possible but synthesizer over-all stability is heavily compromised. I therefore prefer the method used for the 902.
The FT-707 digital VFO has this implemented the best though; it uses a two-loop PLL capable of making 10 Hz steps without the need for shifting crystals. As a result, this synthesizer is fast with a high resolution while maintaining stability. But at the cost of added complexity.

Back to the 902. I really have nothing bad to say about this radio because everything works well. The receiver uses a manually tuned front-end which, in combination with the double-balanced mixer yields an excellent near-frequency rejection of unwanted signals.
And because it is a single-conversion receiver, the IF crystal filters ARE the "roofing filters", the latter concept a popular advertisement slogan for today's radios. Let's not forget that "roofing filters" became a necessity because of the general-coverage up-converting receiver concepts that became so popular soon after the 902 saw the light of day.
Another nice touch on the 902 is the variable IF filter concept which works very well. One really would not need the optional 500Hz filter because of this. Just to be clear; this is NOT a simple IF shift. It is a true variable IF setting which is done by letting two sharp-edged crystal filters "run into each other" (an old Collins patent who used the concept extensively in its high-end receivers)
By the way, the same concept is used for the FT-107M and the FT-707, as the latter radios share a lot of DNA with the 902 and are clearly designed by the same Yaesu engineers who did the 901/902.
Another great feat is the tube PA, with 6146 tubes, thus abandoning the sweep tubes as used for the FT-101 series. Sweep tubes seemed like a good idea at the time due to their abundant availability for the TV market, but when the 901/902 were released that was not the case so much any more. We have to thank Yaesu for that decision because the 6146 is still easy to obtain in today’s markets, where this is much harder for the sweep tubes.

What else can I mention? The excellent speech processor; the very well performing AM and FM modes; the high quality of build; just to name a few.
And last but not least, this radio really LOOKS and FEELS like a HF transceiver. This in contrast to today, where radios apparently all need to look like something that walked out of Darth Vader’s living room, in an attempt to appeal to the X-Box generation…

73s, Loek "Luke" d'Hont, AC5XP
M0RTS Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2007 06:39 Send this review to a friend
Great Example of its time  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned one of these gems for 8 years now since i have been licenced.

Transmit reports have always been cracking with excellent audio,have heard this radio on the air when it was on loan to another ham and could not believe what i was hearing. The reciever is sensitive and pulls in the weakest of signals.My friend who borrowed this beast went out and purchased one himself.

I run mine with the matching accessories i.e External VFO,ATU,2m/6m/70cm transverter and monitor scope. All works well especially transverter 10watts output on 6 metres is great as is 2m and 70cm for local ragchews.

Very reliable and built like a tank, cannot justify buying new radio with bells and whistles when this one is more than adequate.

Only snag is that the line up is very bulky equipment but we can make an accept this as these radios were not built in recent years. If anyone needs a radio to get on to HF i would suggest this one anyday of the week. If you have no experience of plate and load this may be slightly different at first but performs just as well as any modern rig.

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