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Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-450 Help

Show all reviews of the Yaesu FT-450

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KE7TMA  Rating: 3/5 May 11, 2013 18:18  Send this review to a friend!
Good but could be better...  Time owned: more than 12 months
When I initially reviewed this radio I was a new ham and it was my first "real" radio - ie a desktop, full powered transceiver. I had been a SWL for many years.

First, the good things about this radio. The 450 is a perfectly decent radio and the price can be quite low. It's sturdy, easy to use, and the display is really bright and nice. There are just enough knobs to make it comfortable to use. The radio is very stable - after being on for 1/2 hour or so it will not drift. The antenna tuner is great. I have matched many ad-hoc antennas with it over the day and it seems to do an excellent job with almost anything. The internal speaker, which while being very communication-y (ie great for voice but terrible for SWL) is extremely loud and understandable. Some of the DSP functions are very useful, the contour filter is nice and the NR can be useful for some types of noise, at the lower settings. For the price it is hard to beat a radio that gets you on the air with 100w with ATU and DSP, and I think Yaesu probably sold a lot of them on this premise.

Now the not so good parts of the radio. The first problem I started experiencing was that the radio is very hard to work with in low signal strength situations. The noise is very harsh and really weak signals almost seem like they have been garbled by the DSP. It is a painful radio to use after some period of time, because it feels like your ears need to work overtime! It is also quite susceptible to local interference. The AGC is far too jumpy, even on "slow" and so this thing really roars at you a lot. I don't feel like the roofing filter is really doing the trick either. Sure, it's there, but it almost seems like it is only good for FM. The DSP is handy in its way but also extremely limited. The noise reduction is only useful for dealing with low band noise, at its lower couple of settings. When you crank it all the way up, it simply converts the static noise into a noise that I imagine is pretty similar to a jet engine in a wind tunnel. It doesn't help you to understand the audio at all, and does nothing for comfort either. The really annoying thing is that the contour filter could eliminate the majority of this new kind of noise, if it had more steps / adjustability, making the DNR much more useful. Some parts of the display make less sense over time, like the roofing filter and antenna elements. Sure, I know there's a roofing filter in there, but I can't change anything so why put it in the display? Likewise with the antenna, I couldn't find the "ANT B" input on the back of the receiver, so why show an antenna to me on the screen there? I may seem to be nitpicking but, overall these things add up. I started using the FT-817ND instead because of its better receiver, and now own an Elecraft KX3 which is in a totally different league when compared to these Yaesu radios. The receiver is the most important part of a radio like these in my opinion.

Even despite these complaints, it is a decent radio and given the very low prices a used one fetches it is probably a no brainer for a lot of people who just want a simple reliable radio with internal ATU and some other extra features that usually come with higher-end rigs. It's relatively small so if your shack is space-limited you can buy just this rig and you've got HF totally covered. I probably wouldn't buy another, but I would recommend it to a new ham as I feel it really got me feet wet on HF in a very capable and inexpensive way. 
Product is in production.
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