- Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Yaesu FT-290R Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-290R
Yaesu FT-290R Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: The original Yaesu 2 meter all mode portable
Product is not in production.
(Web site missing—add URL)
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Yaesu FT-290R.

<— Page 2 of 3 —>

GM1SXX Rating: 5/5 May 1, 2006 02:19 Send this review to a friend
Follow up  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a follow-up on my earlier review.

My oldest FT-290R (owned since new) has just clocked up 20 years of service both as a base station and used portable.

It was bought in 1986 from a local radio dealer in Glasgow who fitted it with its MUTEK front end.

Apart from a fresh coat of paint for the outer cabinet a few years ago (Ford Polaris Grey is good!) it works pretty much the same as ever.

I'm not sure of the age of my backup FT-290R (bought from EBay a few years ago) but it also works very well.

Don't confuse the FT-290R MK1 with the more recent model. It's a different radio altogether.

G7VOT Rating: 5/5 Apr 19, 2006 11:42 Send this review to a friend
Delivers as it should  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
What a great rig. I bought mine second hand at a good price. It needed a bit of work on it (Alignment)hence the good price.

It only took me a few days and it was 100%.

Great readio and a pleasure to use. Sure it's basic, but it does exactly what it's meant to do. And for that it gets a 5 off me.
AI4DH Rating: 5/5 Feb 14, 2005 18:45 Send this review to a friend
An old and reliable friend  Time owned: more than 12 months
I (then N6HVP) also purchased my FT-290R along with Frank (N6EDR) and Don (WB6MZR) from Jun’s in Los Angeles in 1983 and it has been a constant companion ever since. Frank modified the front end of his “Luggytalkie” with the MUTEK board which made the 290 really sing, and I found the preamp in most Mirage amps did the same. We would QSO with Frank on sideband late in the evening since he worked the night shift (he crawled the outdoor catwalks on his break!) with great success. We later started the 2 Meter Sideband Swap Net in So. California using our 290’s which is still going on today. Since its purchase the 290 has traveled with me on relocations to the Bay area, a stint in Germany and now in Kentucky where it still performs like new. And if I can scare-up some 2 Meter sideband activity around these parts (So-Central Kentucky) she’ll be working nights once again. The FT-290R and my Kenwood TS-520S have proved themselves as my most reliable radios of all time. I can’t imagine operating without them so if you run across one grab it and feel the true weight of portable 2 Meter sideband operation. : )

Mike, AI4DH
GM1SXX Rating: 4/5 Feb 14, 2005 08:27 Send this review to a friend
Great little rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought an FT-290R MK1 brand new when I got my ticket in 1986. I still use it today.

Known as the 'electric handbag' by some, it was a revolution in its time.

The receiver is a little bit deaf by comparison with modern radios (no bad thing really) so I fitted the excellent MUTEK replacement front end. With that I've copied low earth orbit satellites satellites easily on the whip inside a moving car.

As a transverter driver, the 290 is ideal.. 800mw low power/2.5W high power.

Would I buy another one? Well since 1986 I've owned three of these radios. I gave one to a friend and still have the other two. One is my main 2M shack multimode and the one without the MUTEK is in use as a transverter driver.

I still use the 290's often. They do a good job of work and are robust and dependable.

In the UK, a usual second-hand price for one in good condition might be £80-110.

Modern Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries seem to work better than Ni-Cd's so my FT290's (and FT-790) all have DIY replacement battery packs.

I can't imagine ever parting with my 290's.
Although not perfect, these little radios are immensely versatile and useful so I have to give them a high score.

73 Al.
IW2CZG Rating: 5/5 Feb 7, 2005 06:29 Send this review to a friend
Mine have 20 years !!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I'm very glad because shortly (in april) mine FT-290R will celebrate 20 years of service.

After so long time the performance are still more than acceptable, the Pb batteries I installed at the place of the "A" are giving enough power to my QRP-fun ... and I'm still collecting long-range QSO from the hills around Milano area.

Ok, now it's surely obsolete but I will never sell this wonder-radio !

M5TAW Rating: 5/5 Oct 17, 2003 13:54 Send this review to a friend
Good reliable radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have just bought another one of these (3rd one I have owned)and am enjoying it very much. In terms of build quality they are very robust, perfect for portable operation where they are likely to be subjected to knocks. The performance from 2.5 watts is surprisingly good even on the built in telescopic whip. I can reach repeaters 25km away from my house. SSB audio is very good and punchy (probably even better with a processor or amplified mic). I regularly work in excess of 100 miles with a simple halo loop. Receiver sensitivity is fine too. The 's' meter on this one is quite lively with strong signals, but moves less than my other radios with low signal strengths. Maybe this is why some people regard them to be a bit deaf? I would not tend to agree.
290s can be picked up on ebay in the UK for about £90 depending what accessories they come with. Great value for money and suitable for a starter 2m radio, or for more experienced users..
IZ2EAS Rating: 5/5 Sep 15, 2003 05:25 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought this radio at a Ham flea-market in May. I never regret it! The radio was in excellent conditions, both cosmetic and electric. I realigned the local oscillator, and from that moment on the radio has been working flawlessly. New set of batteries, and I did some QRP contesting during the summer, with a HB9CV... great fun. I will definitely keep it.
HA5X Rating: 4/5 Apr 2, 2003 08:42 Send this review to a friend
My most active radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned my FT-290R since 1982. It was a wonder radio at the time, and I still believe every VHF licensee should try the world of SSB and CW. My home VHF setup was the FT-290R, a 25W linear, 9 element yagi (horizontal) another 9 ele yagi (vertical) and an 5/8 vertical. I took part in VHF contests, actually won a few (!), made a number of DX contacts on 2m, including an UL7 station in Kazakhstan, some 2500 kilometres away 59+ both directions...

Then I used the radio for regular FM chatting, packet radio (it required some modification: a line-in conector and a speaker off switch had to be built-in.) As far as I remember, a VOX circuit had also been built in for CW, but it was at the very beginning, so my memory has fainted on that point.

I used the radio for field-day and portable operations, some hilltop VHF contesting for instance. Used the internal whip antenna a few times, but afraid of breaking it, it was minimal.

I also used the 290 for satellite activities (especially A mode with old RS satellites, but also Oscar 10 and 13.) I had a converter for 70 cm, also run by the FT290R.

I think my FT290R has been the most heavily used radio in my shack, for over 15 years. Not the best radio, but not bad either. At its today's price it is a bargain for those who would like to explore the world beyond FM.
M0BTZ Rating: 4/5 Mar 9, 2003 09:54 Send this review to a friend
Good 2m protable rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The FT290 performs well as an Portable rig on 2m. I found the radio was very lively using an mutek front end board. I was able to hear a beacon at 5/4 on the internal whip 100km away! I have had good reports using this rig on SSB but I feel the output power at 2.5W is quite non-linear. If driving an external linear, I would recommend using the rig on the low power setting (0.5W) as the output signal is much cleaner at this level.
The radio is easy to operate but best of all is that the second hand price is quite low.
The main improvements I can think of are a front panel headphone socket, a better loudpeaker(The internal one has quite poor audio) and an PTT socket for an external linear.
Overall, a good radio for portable operation.
I intend to use mine to drive a 23cm transverter to leave my main 2m multimode free for 2m.

Hope you enjoy your FT290!

73 de Bill, M0BTZ
VK3BRZ Rating: 4/5 Oct 17, 2001 23:07 Send this review to a friend
Can't be beaten at the price.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought by FT290R for $300 (VK) some six years ago from a friend who upgraded to a Mk2. It hasn't missed a beat. I mostly use it in my workshop for casual work on SSB and the local repeater, as well as mobile.

The receiver sensitivity is OK, but a preamp makes it sparkle. 148 MHz pagers do crunch the front end, but compared to HT's there's no contest. Output power is about 2.5W - good enough for back-pack hill-topping or for driving an external amplifier for more serious work.

I ripped out the plastic "C" cell carrier from the battery compartment (it's only held by double-sided adhesive tape) and fitted a 12V 1.8 AH SLA battery. These were cheaper than NiCd cells.

I intend to keep my FT290R for as long as it keeps going. Soon I'll have a 23cm transverter so the FT290R will be used as the tuneable IF.
<— Page 2 of 3 —>

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.