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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Yaesu FT-8800R Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-8800R
Yaesu FT-8800R Reviews: 195 Average rating: 4.5/5 MSRP: $399.95
Description: DUAL BAND RADIO
Product is in production.
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KC3AYT Rating: 5/5 Jan 7, 2015 11:23 Send this review to a friend
Liked it so much I bought a second one  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought my first FT-8800 in June 2014 and set it up at home with a Diamond X50NA antenna. I can hit most local repeaters on only 5 watts and reception is great. But the real bonus with the FT-8800 are the dual tuners. I was using a single tuner Kenwood rig in my car and missed the dual tuners so much that I bought a second FT-8800 for use in the car instead. Having the ability to monitor the calling frequency and scan through a bunch of others at the same time is nice. Because the FT-8800 has 1024 memory slots (512 per tuner) I was able to program in every 2 meter and 70cm repeater in Pennsylvania for use while traveling. Hard to manage that, you say? Not with 10 memory banks. I simply divided the state into 6 geographical sections and put the repeaters in each section into their own memory bank. If I travel to the northwest part of the state, a simple bank change means I'll only have northwest PA repeaters accessible in my radio. I used a 7th memory bank for repeaters that are very local to home, so if I'm just driving around town I'll only have a small selection of nearby repeaters available. Plus I still have 3 more banks I can use for some other reason. The memory management capabilities of the radio are excellent, but I highly recommend that you purchase a memory management program to use with the radio. I use the FTB-8800 software; it was only $15 and works wonderfully on either a stock or extended transmit FT-8800. And yes, the MARS/CAP mod can be done by removing only one resistor if you have a need for that. Easy to do in about 5 minutes. Of course no radio is perfect, and the 8800 could certainly have included a better internal speaker. I threw a $12 external speaker from Amazon on mine to get better, louder sound. And the rather long dials on the radio are prone to break if you smack them accidentally or drop the face piece, so it's best to be careful and mount the faceplate where it's less likely to get bumped. The remote head mounting kit was included with my first FT-8800 but not my second. However, for about $20 you can find the pieces to make your own kit from Ebay and Amazon. There's no reason to spend $50 or $60 on the remote kit. All in all, I'm pleased with the FT-8800 and I'd buy it again. In fact, I did. :)
N4MJG Rating: 5/5 Sep 25, 2014 14:44 Send this review to a friend
Great Rig !  Time owned: more than 12 months
I brought this radio about 4 or 5 years ago I love dual frq.

I never having any problem with this radio. plan on keeping this rig !

And I love the cross band too !

K2JX Rating: 4/5 Sep 25, 2014 12:33 Send this review to a friend
Good   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is an update to my review below. I wrongfully pointed out the that the separation kit was unusable because the mic plugged into the radio enclosure. Not so, as pointed out via e-mail from another owner, in fact the mic does plug into the control head. He's right and I apologize for the error on my part.

So, if your looking for a new dual band radio go ahead and buy this one. I have been happy with my 8800 since my last review, especially the Cross Band Repeat function, flawless. Great for ARES and public service events when a low power portable is not enough, your 8800 becomes a mobile repeater.

Both the VHF and UHF receivers experience low IMD and very high sensivity to weak signals. TX audio is very good, I am using the "Narrow Audio" menu setting. The 8800 becomes much easier to use as time with the radio increases.

I am glad I bought RT Systems programming software as I've added and deleted channels on both bands several times since new. Biggest changes were ENC-DEC PL tones. You can program the radio in your vehicle via a lap top or with your desk top out of the vehicle.

73 de K2JX
AI6JA Rating: 4/5 May 22, 2014 14:11 Send this review to a friend
Good radio, but...  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I rate this a 4 because 4.5 is not an option.

I chose the Yeasu over the Kenwood TM-V71A because the Yeasu had an $80 rebate and the separation kit was free. Over all, I'm happy with the choice

This is a good radio. I installed it into my Ford Focus without problem. I do use an external speaker, so I can't comment about the quality of the internal speaker. My contacts report that my audio is clean. I love the dual band capability. I live in the bay area, and there are lots of repeaters around here. Being able to monitor two at a time is very handy.

I have not tried to cross-band repeat feature.

There are tons of memory management features, which come in handy.

What I don't like is the lack of back lighting. When I bought the radio, I assumed the lack of back lighting wouldn't really be a problem, since controlling the radio from the mic is possible for the most important features. But it turns out that I do use the radio in low light conditions and the lack of back lighting has been a problem more than once.

I do like the radio, and would have no problems recommending it, but the lack of back lighting is a real drag.
KK4PLD Rating: 4/5 Mar 21, 2014 07:06 Send this review to a friend
Great radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have this radio installed in my car connected to a Diamond SG-7500A. I also switch this radio to my truck when I go camping using a Diamond SG-7900A.

The unit is remotely installed in the trunk using the separation kit that I purchased separately. My truck installation at the moment does not separate the head from the unit, I plan on getting a separation kit and a speaker.

The radio has a very small and light footprint and is easy to locate an installation point. It also runs fairly cool and had an external fan in the back.

The audio for mobile installation is anemic so I installed the recommended Yaesu speaker which remedied the low output. The radio speaker itself is clear and has good audio.

I have used the cross band repeater function while camping, it works well and is easy to set up. You can cross band from V/U and U/V as well as V/V and U/U. I have it set up with my HT using encode/decode to allieviate any unwanted signals. In remote areas my HT is not powerful enough to hit repeaters so this radio does all the heavy lifting. I can sit by the campfire using my HT 300 mW which transmits UHF to the FT-8800, the crossband will hit the repeater I have programmed on the other VFO and will send the response back to me via UHF.

I am able to update the memories using a generic cable interface using Chirp software on a MAC computer. It took me a while to find the right drivers to make it work. You can program using both the repeater frequency or the callsign to show on the display, holding the P4 button on the microphone key pad will switch between the two.

The dual VFO's come in handy if you are monitoring a particular repeater and want to scan frequencies simultaneously.

The lighted keypad on the microphone makes it easier to use in low/no light situations but the function buttons on the front panel are not backlit making it difficult to use at night.

The microphone has programmable buttons but those buttons are already programmed to useful functions such as VFO L-R switch, power level switch etc.

All in all this is my first mobile rig and it performs very well. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good dual band mobile unit.

What would make this radio a 5/5?
1/ Lighted front panel buttons.
2/ Increase the speaker volume a bit.
K9YC Rating: 2/5 Jan 1, 2014 11:38 Send this review to a friend
Could Be a Lot Better  Time owned: more than 12 months
Since my rating is negative, I'll start by listing them. First, and most important, I can't program different PLs for RX and TX. This is a deal-breaker for me, because some of the systems I work use different PLs for local and linked TX, but not for RX. The Kenwood TH-F6A and TM-V71A both have this capability and it's easy to program it that way.

Second, Yaesu uses a different miniature connector for the computer interface to this radio than they did for the FT100D, for which I had already purchased an interface cable. No excuse for failing to standardize on simple things like this -- it only forces me to buy another cable.

Third, the programming interface is something that even the programmer's mother could not love.

Fourth, the mount for the control head that comes with the separation kit is next to useless.

On the plus side, the radio has been reliable over the 3-4 years it's been in my vehicle, sandwiched between the passenger seat and the center hump of my SUV. It's been sufficiently tolerant of mismatched antennas that nothing has failed when I've transmitted into a bad one. There are enough settings for output power level to allow me to drive a brick amp without overdriving it. I also like the feature that lets me put the Reverse function on my mic.

I can't comment on the strong signal performance of the RX -- I live out in the boonies, and haven't subjected it to the QRM of a big city.

Bottom line -- I'm not a brand-name loyalist -- I've owned and used Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, Ten Tec, Drake, and Elecraft radios extensively. I'm an old timer, and have been using VHF/UHF radios and even maintaining repeater systems since the '70s. I find the user interface of Kenwood radios far more intuitive than Yaesu radios, and current Kenwood products have the missing features in the same price range.

73, Jim K9YC

KB4KFT Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2013 15:37 Send this review to a friend
FT-8800R - number three up and running  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have three of these radios: one used as base station which used
to be in my car, a newer one in the car, one packed for park
outings/portable operation. Of all the VHF rigs I have ever used
the FT-8800R is my favorite.

Other reviews here mention difficulty in programming while
driving. What are you guys doing out there? You don't condemn a
book because it is hard to read while you're driving do you?
Drive, program the radios while stopped and those complaints
might go away. As for programming tones, when in doubt scan for
it - two button presses. If you need to set it from a repeater
list then do the three button presses and knob turn required
while stopped.

For traveling the radio is the best for me because of the way
memories are set up into banks. A particular frequency can be
entered then put into as many banks as needed. So, for instance,
when traveling I let ARRL's TravelPlus build a list of repeaters
(could be several hundred), load that list into FTB8800 software,
break the trip into a series of legs with each leg's repeaters
in a memory bank, then pump the setup into the FT-8800R - takes
about two minutes to load. The result is as I travel I go from
bank to bank scanning only those repeaters in the same general
area I am.

Don't know of another rig that can be programmed and used that

Programming on this thing is a snap either by hand or using the
FTB8800 software though I will admit adding a hand-entered
repeater into a bank usually involves me getting the manual and
looking again a the ten lines that describe the process... for
some reason I just can't remember it.

Audio out: everyone reports I sound like me. Audio in: I use a
good speaker as the radio is mounted under the front seat...
everyone I hear sounds OK to me. No intermod issues.

If there was two things I would add to this rig it would be an
easy way to turn off one receiver or the other. It can be done
but is a menu selection and not something you'd want to do while
moving. The other would be a display that could be reversed -
dark background with letters - for night time use.

Note too - the FT-8900 looks just like the 8800 but has 10m FM
and a 10m SO-239 antenna jack. However there are differences
between the two radios that are not trivial.
KD0SLC Rating: 4/5 Jul 15, 2013 09:03 Send this review to a friend
Competent  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I must give credit where credit is due. Yaesu repaired this radio free of charge after it fell off my desk on to a carpeted floor and two of the front panel knobs popped off. Since that time the radio has performed flawlessly, but don't make the mistake of thinking that this is a tough radio that will handle being dropped. It is not. The knobs are not of high quality.
Everything else about the radio is of high quality, however, and I can recommend it if it is going to be mounted in a relatively secure location. It has good range, and the scan function works very well. But you do need the RT Systems programming software to program the radio.
KD0JAX Rating: 5/5 Jul 3, 2013 00:58 Send this review to a friend
Glad I bought it!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Had it down to this radio, the Kenwood and the Icom 880. I didn't feel D-Star was worth the extra money and I was familiar with the menu system since I have the FT-60. I have received great reports so far from other. The speaker is a little tiny but will be running off another speaker with the head of the radio. Plus I got $80 off the radio.
KD4CSO Rating: 5/5 Jun 1, 2013 15:48 Send this review to a friend
Great radio!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had three of these over the years, and they're all still working well. (I keep one as a spare for rental cars, and have installed the other two in my Ford Fusion.) The most recent time I bought one, I also bought the Yaesu ADMS-2I software. I was able to clone the 820 memories from my previous FT-8800R.

I use mine only in my car or in a rental, so I don't know how well it works as a base.

The microphone was the only thing I've worn out in years of mobile use. I bought a new Yaesu MH-48A6JA microphone, and the radio was good to go.

The FT-8800R has lots of memories, with the ability to display individual alpha-numeric labels. This is incredibly useful when you have a few hundred channels programmed, and can't quite remember where channel 312's 147.135 MHz is located.

the 8800 has more than enough power to get out, and enough sensitivity to work most stations. It's really two radios in one box, so you can configure it as a simultaneous dual VHF radio, a dual UHF radio, or the typical setup of VHF on one side and UHF on the other. It's easy to set up for cross-band repeat.

Using the separation kit and some double-sided tape, I was able to make a nice-looking installation of two control heads inside my dash, while the transceivers live in the trunk.

My only external mod (so far) has been to paint the "pointers" on left and right side knobs with some fluorescent yellow model paint.

I wish the 8800 could send audio from the left and right side receivers to separate speakers. It just blends them together in one speaker.

It's way to easy to get into the WiRES mode without knowing it. (Press the left volum knob momntarily, and you're THERE! Pess on the same left volume knob to turn it off.) To me, this is a useless Yaesu feature that should take many button presses on many menus to activate.

The lack of backlit buttons doesn't bother me.
It would be nice to have, but it hasn't been a deal-breaker.
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