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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: 23 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $(missing—add MSRP)
Description: The original Yaesu 2 meter all mode portable
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IZ2EAS Rating: 4/5 Aug 19, 2018 07:21 Send this review to a friend
Had to have another one  Time owned: more than 12 months
The FT290R was the first all-mode VHF radio I had; I bought it in May 2003 (see my first review), and had a lot of fun with it, hiking mountains to get the longest hops, etc.

Then in 2004 I sold it to get money to buy the "brand new" FT817.. after few years, guess what ? Yes, I missed it... so in autumn 2012 I started a search to get one, and eventually found one for a reasonable price. Cosmetically kind of ok, it had the usual electrical "quirks" due to age: S-meter deflecting to the right on turn-on and sloooowly going back to "0", FM starting to work after few seconds after being turned on, etc.

I decided to take the "brute-force" approach and I changed ALL the electrolytic capacitors; I took it as a hobby (what it actually is) and replaced maybe 2 or 3 caps a day (and not every day), taking it slowly, relaxing and enjoying doing it... It took me 10 euros worth of capacitors and 3 weeks of time, but eventually more than 40 caps were replaced. I also did an alignment, that was somehow needed after caps replacement (especially carrier balance in SSB mode). Since the overhaul (knocking of wood) it has been working flawlessly...

I bought her C-size 4000 mAh NiMh batteries, whose charge seems to last forever, and a couple of year later I found a good-looking and perfectly working FL-2010 matching amplifier... now I am ready to have some fun again with the "new old" FT290R.
26JLH Rating: 4/5 May 25, 2013 09:54 Send this review to a friend
solid as a rock  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
i always wanted one of these radios.
i got one on ebay last year but i never got it but i did get a refund.
then i saw this one last week and i bought it 2 days later i also got a 790 as well.
will put an aerial up soon but most likly use them on foot on ssb.
next i hope to get a 690 .. jeff m0prf
G0UOO Rating: 5/5 May 21, 2013 06:04 Send this review to a friend
A classic.  Time owned: more than 12 months
Got mine as a new ham in 1982. It did everything I wanted - mobile, base and portable. Perhaps not up to today's operating conditions (narrow channeling, etc.), but in its time it was THE rig to have.
AA1BW Rating: 5/5 Jun 3, 2012 11:34 Send this review to a friend
Solid performer  Time owned: more than 12 months
I used the FT-290R back in the '80s. At that time it travelled with me to several hilltops. Used it on SSB with a 30W linear (ALINCO) and a HB9CV mini beam. After climbing ontop oif hills I made several good dx QSO-s. It was then I decided to get one. Later I purchased the MkII version. Used it the same way. I liked it but somehow was missing the "old" MkI ergonomics. So recently I purchased one off ebay.
I had to realign it according to the manual, and wow, it is detecting signals on CW at -149dBm !
I had to realign it to achieve this.
Overall this is a very solid perfomer radio, but as being old, you have to have measuring equipment to realign it. It is very easy to tune, realign, as it uses the good old conventional RF techniques, so if you have signal generator, oscilloscope, freq counter, RF voltmeter, you can do it yourself.
Overall: I think it is the best possible 2m portable FM/SSB radio.
73! Lajos
W1DGA Rating: 5/5 Oct 22, 2009 11:33 Send this review to a friend
Great Over The Sholder 2 mtr rig  Time owned: more than 12 months
I used it for yrs ( bought new in 1980s) & had the nicads from Mexico blow up inside many yrs ago. Major melt down! I am trying to make it work again after 12 yrs no use. There are at least 2 button batteries (origional)inside that might be part of the problem? I see no modulation on the SSB meter, but signal on FM. Mike wires look OK both ends.Have read out & receives OK. Where do I start? I have orig book.Likely will be used in Philippines more that US!
Dick W1DGA in MD
G7MRV Rating: 5/5 Jan 6, 2009 11:02 Send this review to a friend
A real workhorse  Time owned: more than 12 months
My FT-290 is my second, although ive briefly owned several while trading them. It sits on my 'VHF/UHF' shelf and is the workhorse of my 2m station. With its MUTEK front end, and a microwave modules 30W linear its a potent setup. Ive even found how to cure the AGC fault many seem to suffer in old age. I use if for local FM simplex, SSB local and DX, and even plan to try a little CW. It doesnt have CTCSS as needed for the repeaters now, but i only use the repeaters mobile anyway, and the mobile and handie take care of that. The telescopic whip is a little flimsy but fine if care is taken. I have the leatherette case and strap, and a set of 4000mAhr NiMH cells inside, so its also a potent emergency or portable setup.

I love this rig so much i even set up a yahoo group dedicated to it under the name 'electrichandbag'!
M0RTS Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2007 07:11 Send this review to a friend
Well? what else can i say?  Time owned: more than 12 months
Well another one of Yaesu's famous old rigs.

This was the first 2m rig that I purchased when i got my licence.I used this radio daily and had lots of use as a base station rig,portable and mobile, contest on hill tops were great fun(except for heavy rain as usual)hi. Very easy to use,multimode and all in one box. Very handy for portable use with the facility to insert 8x size C cells also inside the radio and telescopic aerial on front.

You can easily store 10 memorys by the push of a button which some may find limited compared to modern radios,two VFO's (i run mine wih one VFO on ssb portion of the band and fm on the other)

Transmit audio reports have always been good, reciever has been criticised for being deaf by some but with transmitter output of 2.5 watts the reciever is compatibe with treansmitter.

I was fortunate to get my hands on the Fl 2010 matching linear which takes you up to 10 watts and makes a great 2m set up, i will admit that 2.5 watts could restrict you depending on what you were doing at times.

Very reliable and well bulit and fun to use at the same time. I went out and got another one of these gems.

If you see one of these in good condition you will not regret buying it , you can now also get them for reasonable cost aswell and serve you many years of fun!

PE1RLN Rating: 5/5 May 7, 2007 15:52 Send this review to a friend
Oldschool but best there is  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The FT-290 is the best portable VHF transceiver ever built. Maybe it's successor the FT-290RII is better, I never tried, but it is much harder to find.
These things cost only a few bucks because nobody seems to like them as they are old-fashioned and have no fancy functions. Well, try to make a QSO with fancy functions... it only has to transmit and receive properly and that's what it does.

If you are planning to buy this rig, you should be aware of some facts that may be a good or a bad thing, depending on your demands:

- Memory: you can only select memories with the memory-switch on the front and scanning doesn't work well
- VFO-tuning has to be done with the main dial which has keyclicks on every step. It doesn't bother me, it makes me even sure what I'm doing when not looking. The UP-DWN buttons on the mic do the same, which some believe is more comfy...
- Antenna: the front antenna is a telescopic whip. Mine is as new, but I can imagine that it will die some day. BNC socket might be better... a mod seems possible
- Reverse: it has no Reverse button to listen to the other station on the input frequency when using duplex. There is a very useful mod that lets the CALL button do this Reverse and it emits a 1750Hz tone when transmitting: essential!
- Speaker: the speaker is a bit small for outdoor-use. Headphones are always better.
- Batteries: this thing uses C-type batteries. I first used Alkaline batteries, but I bought the cheapest NiCd batteries and they work even better. I always keep a spare package of Alkaline for emergency.

The overall rating is a 5/5 because all these points are being overruled by the performance: output is very clean and reports are always very good, audio also. The reception is very good too, even better than most of the HT's I ever had.
And the size of the rig might be the only disadvantage... or wait a minute... you can even press and adjust every button very easily au contraire to many other portables...! Seriously, the size doesn't matter (whatever women say) and is even an advantage when using it outdoors.

Wanna buy it for a good price? Go for it, it comes always handy!
N4DYR Rating: 5/5 Aug 27, 2006 20:20 Send this review to a friend
A fun rig!  Time owned: more than 12 months
The most fun I've ever had as a ham was in the 80s, when I ran an FT-290R (and later also a 790R) in NE Scotland as GM5DTB. I had a 100 watt Microwave Modules amp and a 19 element Cushcraft Boomer, and was the ONLY 2M/70cm SSB station in the old ZR square (now IO97, I think).

Almost all of that square is water, so I was a very popular fellow for a couple of years, and worked all over Europe on tropo, Es and Aurora.

Sadly, my 790 disappeared when I moved back to the States, and my 290 was damaged in storage. (I'm keeping it for spare parts.)

But when I decided it was time to get back into VHF DX, another FT-290R seemed the logical way to get my feet wet and decide whether it's still fun, so I just picked a 290 up on eBay and I'll soon have an antenna ready to go.

My main gripes about the 290 are two. First is the fact that tuning the thing is tedious. The tuning knob is small, and it has click-stops on every increment. The good news here is that this problem goes away if you use the up/down buttons on the mic. Once you get used to it, it's no problem at all.

The second gripe is the small incandescent backlight that has to be replaced periodically, and is a real pain if you do your own repairs.

Those complaints aside, it's still a great little rig, and I highly recommend it as an inexpensive alternative to some of the current DC-Light multi-kilobuck rigs now on the market.
KC0TUD Rating: 5/5 Jun 28, 2006 12:55 Send this review to a friend
One of my favorite radios  Time owned: more than 12 months
As many before have rightly noted, it's not a perfect radio, but it's great at being what it is: a decent all mode portable 2 meter rig that can take accessories (tone board, external amp, external antenna, etc.) and work portable. When I get the chance to operate portable, I leave my '817 at home- it's a battery pig that's not better enough than my $100 FT-290r to come along.

I have and FT-690r and an FT-790r also. Great great radios, and as a previous reviewer said, very different than their MKII replacements- Which are really neat in their own right.
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