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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not QRP <5W | Yaesu FT-901DM Help


Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-901DM
Yaesu FT-901DM Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $1,895.00
Description: 160-10 meter All Mode Transceiver
Product is in production.
More info: http://www.foxtango.org/FT901/FT-901-902%20Web%20Page.htm
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K4DFH Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2018 03:34 Send this review to a friend
My first "Dream Rig"  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I got my first license at the Charlotte (NC) HamFest in 1980. They debuted the FT-902 at that event, or at least featured it prominently, but I had been drooling and dreaming of an FT-901DM for a couple of years already. It was the pinnacle of ham radio. I've had some good rigs over the years, including a Drake, TR-4C, and still have my Kenwood, TS-440Sat. Somehow they never quite lived up to the Yaesu FT-901DM, in my mind.

About 6 weeks ago, I was talking to an OM. He is and always has been a QRP ham. He told me his "primary" rig was a Yaesu, but he never did more than warm it up, to keep the caps from deteriorating. He said he had had the rig for 35 years, and doubted he had put 100 hours on it. He allowed that one of these days he might just sell it. I told him if he ever did, I might just buy it. Some how we got together in email, and he asked me to make an offer. I told him I couldn't offer what it was worth. He then made me that classic "offer I couldn't refuse".

Well, it is now sitting on my desk, as my primary rig. It is everything I dreamed it would be. It was absolutely as pristine as described. Without doubt, this radio has the best receiver it has ever been my pleasure to use. The receive is very quiet, and between the IF shift, and passband tuning, it would be a crime to run this through a DSP. The internal speaker is not much to write home about, but it came with the SP-901P speaker / phone patch; amazing difference! The VFO is silky smooth with no back lash, and after warm-up. I have zero problems with drift. The final tuning... well it's final tuning, but the controls are precise, with very little chance of tuning past the dip, if you are reasonably careful. This was Yaesu's flagship radio in 1978; 40 years later, it's still a class act!
 
SV9DRU Rating: 5/5 May 15, 2018 10:18 Send this review to a friend
One of the best !  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my 1st radio, bought from the UK used in 1996 after getting my license.
It surely needed the factory recommended service upgrades and some TLC as all equipment of its age but nothing major.

The reason that I grade it as excellent has to do with its quality heavy duty construction, but most of all its Rx performance. It has probably THE most quiet and natural sounding Rx of any solid state radio that I have played with ever since, and I had them all....

The only radio maybe surpassing this pleasant Rx is one with all tubes in the receiver section.

And those of us having owned a tube receiver can only appraciate just how good it sounds. There is just no way any solid state design to equal that, but the FT-901DM comes very close!

Absolutely no phase noise related problems, STRONG RF path design with cascaded crystal filters and properly balanced IF and Audio stage gain are responsible for this performance.

I have had the FT-902DM also , but for some reason it excibited much more IF gain which made the resuld more fatiquing to the ears.
As for the "better front end" of the 902, I have not seen that in reality.

In my book, this model is just a bit better in the Rx section than the legendary TS-830S, which I also have.

In summary, for anyone new or seasoned ham, interested in lack of listening fatique from synthesizer phase noise or even worse the modern DSP related distortions, this is the radio to own, unless if he/she is fortunate enough to get his/her hands on a hi-end tube RTX

73s,
Marinos, sv9dru / ki4gin
 
G8UBJ Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2017 09:43 Send this review to a friend
A classic  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I picked mine up at a rally with several issues and of course the output valves were soft. It was a great price so buying all the replacement parts to fully restore it was a good investment.

I downloaded the FT-901/902 survival guide by PA0PGA and worked my way through the rig. It required a fair bit of re-alignment but nothing I couldn't manage.

Quite honestly this rig may be nearly 40 years old but it was competition class in its day (I remember 1st Place WAE RTTY test) and still compares well against modern rigs.
I would note two things,
- This shouldn't be viewed as a cheap entry level transceiver. They are getting on in years and most require work to keep them going. Some parts are a little exotic but not unobtainable if you know where to look.
There are plenty of modern solid state boxes for beginners at competitive prices.

- They seem to like to be used not left to collect dust, so every so often I park the FT-5000 and warm mine up. It sounds lovely and gets good reports.

 
WB4IUY Rating: 5/5 Dec 7, 2013 16:58 Send this review to a friend
Still a great rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
Checking back in since my last review, over 2 years later. This rig is solid, beautiful audio, doesn't drive after a short warmup, and has been running in my shack since the early 90's. Truly a contest quality rig that was built to last. Love my 901!
 
PE1GUR Rating: 5/5 Oct 2, 2011 16:30 Send this review to a friend
One of the ever top trancievers  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my FT901DM second handed in 1990,since then it is in daily service for 22 years! I completed the rig with all the 8-pole Inrad-filters and even in the FM module I changed the ceramic filters for 12,5 hiquality ones.I work with it on HF and its driving my VHF/UHF transeverters.It let me only once down by a burned RF-choke in the FM-unit. Nowerdays the FT901 line has volume compared with the nano-technology, but its still nice to look at and to work with. The RX is sensitive on all bands and the balanced mixer is doing well, the preselector is doing the rest for a superb and quite reception together with a analoge design.The FT902DM added the WARC-bands.
The PA is rugged design with the two 4146B finals.
The audiosquelch + 20db RF-clipping gives me 8,5db again.
VFO doesn't run, stay as a clock..
(Curtis)keyer is super for CW use.
Descrete components and thus repairable, mostly BC1815 transistors.
Audio sounds good on a external speaker (intern is crap).
One memory channal is enough for 500Khz.
I can find one litle point and that is that the coniguration of the power amplifier could be a litle more designed for 10m.
The second point is that the reject filter is too low in Q so it doesn't work propper on CW.It works also on FM or AM and its usefull for narrowing bandwith if nessesery in these modes.
For Transverteruse I decoupled the driverstage and added a 2N222 (K1RI) broadband driver-amp. and why not I changed FSK mode in FSK CW.
The FT901/901 is the end off the evolution of radio. Its just a wonderfull top design from the end of the 70's! Last for ever and easy to use. All the functions on this tranciever are well designed and do what they should do!
I use the side brother YO901(scoop) for messurements and monitoring Es and Ms propagation..
 
N4UE Rating: 5/5 Aug 13, 2011 14:41 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned several of these great older radios. At the present time, I have the complete 901 station in storage. Antenna tuner, all 3 transverters, etc. I even have the rare (but uninstalled WARC kit).
Great solid, excellent sounding radios. Hears anything my new Icoms can.... What more needs to be said???
To those who say it's 'terrible'...... You need to learn how to operate a radio.

ron
N4UE
 
IW0GVG Rating: 5/5 Aug 13, 2011 12:04 Send this review to a friend
Good radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Old radio.
Good radio!!
 
WB0AAT Rating: 5/5 Feb 8, 2010 21:58 Send this review to a friend
Fantastic Radio all around  Time owned: more than 12 months
After reading some of the negative reviews, I have to add my two cents. I have been running the FT-901DM for over two years now and with never a hickup. It could not be better on both receive and transmit, both cw and ssb. It drives the Fl-2100B and the Ameritron 811H with ease. The filters make it very easy to remove interference. If there would be any changes or modifications I would recommend I don't know what it would be. Just a fantastic, solid keepable unit.
 
N8YX Rating: 5/5 Sep 23, 2009 17:30 Send this review to a friend
Test with a "known good" example  Time owned: more than 12 months
I often wonder how many of this site's 'older equipment' reviews are somewhat clouded by the reviewer's exposure to a malfunctioning or out-of-adjustment piece of equipment?

The FT-901DM which is sitting in my shack is the second one I've owned, and is the fourth "FT-90x-series" rig with which I've had extensive operating time. This particular rig drifts ~200hz from a cold start and once warmed up exhibits ZERO drift over the course of weeks. I might as well chuck the accessory FV-901 synthesizer and internal memory module in the trash; with an analog VFO that's this stable you don't really need an outboard unit.

When properly aligned, the '901 hears everything that my Drake 7-lines, Kenwood and ITT Mackay Marine receivers do - the fact that it's not 'general coverage' mattering very little. On the ham bands the FT-901 is a hard radio to beat, assuming you can do without computer control...and you know how to load a tube PA properly.

There are a number of enhancements and upgrades which one can make to the '901's various subassemblies to bring its performance up to that of the '902, whose overall performance is IMHO hardly discernible from that of its earlier sibling. A few of the noted reliability fixes (PA-input coupling capacitor replacement among them) should be incorporated, however. Most - if not all - of these will be found in late-production rigs...the aforementioned capacitor being one of the exceptions to this rule. (Both the '901 and '902 series were shipped with a mica part which can fail "shorted" over time; replacement of such is documented 'round the 'Net.)

Some of the changes can be effected by swapping the '901 boards for their newer counterparts. The RF board is a prime example of this. Of course, the stock one can be easily modified to '902 "specs".

My only gripe is the lack of WARC bands...but even this isn't too difficult to remedy, assuming you know your way around with a soldering iron.

See my accompanying review of the FT-902 for details on how to turn a "drifter" into something which is nearly rock-solid.
 
KC9MSA Rating: 3/5 Nov 26, 2008 11:40 Send this review to a friend
It's okay....  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Not a bad radio....the receive could be a little more sensitive, it does drift an unusual amount for a radio like that, and it does not have general coverage receive...it's okay.
 
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