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

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-450D
Yaesu FT-450D Reviews: 167 Average rating: 4.6/5 MSRP: $$899.00
Description: 160-6 Meter Base/Mobile/Portable Transceiver.
Product is in production.
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Page 1 of 17 —>

K7LZR Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2018 23:26 Send this review to a friend
Good modern radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
So I started out in 1977 with a homebrew 80/40m tube type CW transmitter - Crystal controlled 6AG7 driving a 6146 in the PA. Receiver was an Elmac PMR-7. This stuff was quite old even then but it worked well enough to fill two logbooks before I moved on.

Fast forward a bit, early 1980s. A Kenwood TS-511s graced the shack. Made many contacts then moved to a Kenwood TS-520s. From there a Yaesu FT-101B. And then in 1993, a rig which I would use almost daily for the next 14 years - a Kenwood TS-430s. My TS-430s was fully tricked out with all available filters, FM board, etc. and I had quite a bit of money invested in it. I took it everywhere - home, camping, traveling, Field Day. It was once even used in a pinch for about 2 hours as a low power commercial MW transmitter but don't tell anyone :).

Said TS-430s was sold in 2007 but I always missed it. I finally decided that for general use, I'd like to have a similar 100W rig but with a few modern features such as comprehensive CAT control, good DSP, FM as a standard mode, more memories, and maybe 6m coverage too :).

I tried a Yaesu FT-891 but quickly found it to be too dumbed down for my taste and the inability to switch easily between USB & LSB was a real show stopper for me as was the quirky and somewhat unreliable USB CAT interface.

Enter the FT-450D. I've spent the last week or so with this rig and it is doing a wonderful job of filling the gap left by my TS-430s. It does all of the things which that radio did and much more in a similar(in fact slightly smaller)sized box.

Only nit for me is no auto notch but the TS-430s had manual-only notch also so is comparable.

I do love the old-school RS-232 CAT interface - no drivers to load nor conflict, no compatibility problems, no speed hits. Just pure 38400 baud data back & forth. As it should be. Compatible way back to MS DOS if needed. No serial port on modern computers you say? No problem - cheap USB to serial converter, drivers and all.

At first, the "Black Nega" LCD display took a bit of getting used to and I do wish that it still allowed for color changes as does the FT-450 non-D model. But after getting used to it it becomes easy to read and really shines in low light i.e. mobile at night or clandestine operations.

The transmitter of the FT-450D is a treat and I find that my particular unit does indeed put out a full 100w PEP on bith SSB & CW as verified with a calibrated oscilloscope and dummy load combo. This is a dead reckoning test and so is accurate. The built-in autotuner is nice too and I like it is foolproof in that it won't try to tune grossly mismatched loads and burn itself out. Instead, if it sees a gross mismatch it will simply beep, not activate, and thumb its nose at you. Of course, wider range tuners can be used with this radio too and so you aren't left in the cold if you need such.

I won't touch on pros & cons of the built-in IF DSP because that horse has been beat to death elsewhere, and its highly subjective anyway.

I find the receive audio to be pleasant, especially when used with a good external speaker. And you have many choices for fine tuning it to your liking and incoming signal condition.

To sum, if you want a good basic yeoman duty radio which gets the job done and adds just enough snazz to spill into some special applications then here you go :).

AB2DP Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2018 15:46 Send this review to a friend
First Impression  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I finally had the chance to fully tested the transceiver in all the mods. Everything works beyond my expectation,flawlessly ! I hope they make more products like that. Honestly I do not know what else somebody should ask for.
WB8YQJ Rating: 5/5 May 31, 2018 16:59 Send this review to a friend
Great value in a standalone 160-6m all mode transceiver  Time owned: more than 12 months
Update June 2018 - Improved fidelity receive audio for home use can be found by selecting the "Contour" DSP option and selecting PEAK rather than the default of filter. Three horizontal bars are seen with one bar above them in the middle of the Contour field display. Then rotate the DSP/SEL control to move the PEAK fully left in the Contour display field. Connect the speaker output on the back of the FT450 to the "Line IN" of the PC sound card and use the sound card equalizer program to boost bass and treble. Both SSB and CW audio on FT450 are powerful and effective for mobile/portable but this little setup allows a really nice listening experience in the hamshack. I also can't over stress finding a better microphone for the hamshack, my D104 preamplified microphone works great without any mods or changes. (End update).

Original review from May 2017:

I bought the FT450D in May 2016 as the 100 watt transmitter side for my SDRPlay receiver and as a backup for my fixed station HF. I was hooked by the Hamvention price of $599 online. There was a short wait from GGParts. The original SDRPlay had been marked down to $125 at HRO when the RSP2 was announced.

The radio has proven to be a very desirable addition to the hamshack along side of my FT2000 flagship HF. After some time using it, I find the FT450D to be greatly better than most entry level standalone HF rigs and comparable or better than many mid priced transceivers when used with an external SDR such as SDRPlay or Afedri.

Although the footprint is small, the receive current draw should be lower for mobile operation and is a little high for portable.

There is ample AF Gain and I don't hear the fan running at all on receive.

The fan increases speed on transmit and I do hear the air moving but no fan buzz.

This is a super CW radio and a good phone radio.

The receiver AGC is excellent. In fact, it is a great compliment to this rig that it sounds so much like analog, digital artifacts are surprisingly absent. The crystal filter is 2.7Khz on tx/rx. Using a computer soundcard and equalization you can find some great fidelity on receive that you would never guess was present when using the internal speaker or a small portable speaker.

I use a preamplified D104 on phone transmit to maximize the 2.7 khz transmit bandwidth available. The modular microphone jack is not the easiest to wire but the included hand microphone really needs to be better for fixed station use.

There is no Automatic DSP Notch, but the manually adjusted dsp notch is outside of the AGC loop, so you don't have the S Meter showing 20db over S9 with an associated reduction of the RF Gain as you would see on the typical auto notch after nulling a big carrier.

You can also turn off the AGC and rotate the RF Gain at the front panel for just the right receiver sensitivity.

The unit is of very nice construction even though I originally bought this unit to be the "hidden" transmitter side of a Windows SDR receiver. With an MFJ automatic antenna switch (or equivalent) you can use any of the wonderful computer SDR programs on receive and fully control the FT450D as transmitter from that program. SDR Console V3 is my favorite, HDSDR also integrates seamlessly.

I found myself wanting to use the radio standalone as often as not on CW. You get 100 watts, Auto Tuner, All Modes, 160m through 6m and that is a lot!

I ran a TS480Sat for over a year and that one is a great design, it has Auto-Notch, but all and all I do prefer the FT450, mainly because it has a better CW receiver to my ears. There is less noise and a better AGC.

This radio is an amazing value, for a backup or something fun to try with SDR, it's hard to lose with this one.

de Wb8yqj/6 Don
N3HKN Rating: 4/5 Apr 16, 2018 04:09 Send this review to a friend
Good Starter-audio marginal  Time owned: more than 12 months
Receive audio is indeed compromised. Even with all DSP off it surffers. I believe it is due to the short attack time on the AGC. Turning off AGC and using the RF Gain improves it but a round table of several stations can be an exercise.

The DSP is rich in features but not so good in terms of quality which is often dependent upon the amount of processing and the speed ($$$$) of the processor(sample rates). I am on my third unit but the audio (at my age) needs to be better.
KB9ERU Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2018 13:07 Send this review to a friend
Feature packed, small footprint  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Iíve had the FT-450D for a few weeks now. Here are my observations when I worked 3B7A (SSB on 40m):

3B7Aís SSB TX frequency was in the CW sub band, so the lids engaged in a CW QSO on the same frequency. This QRM would have been a challenge for me on my older radio.
This is where the DSP features came in handy. I was able to use the notch filter to reduce the QRM to almost zero, and was able to hear 3B7A without issue. That alone was worth the purchase price of the FT-450D.

Donít expect the built-in tuner to perform like a standalone tuner. Iím finding that itís not going to match anything above 2:1. No issues Ė as I use an external tuner anyway.

I like the built-in CW/voice keyer. Itís nice to plug in the paddles and go. The voice keyer works great, and you can set up the beacon mode to send canned CW messages upon a key press (call sign, 599 TU, etc) instead of using it in automatic beacon mode. Sweet.

Speaking of voice keyer Ė here are the undocumented CAT commands provided by NZ8D via
To TX and play VM1 = PB7;
To TX and play VM2 = PB8;

Having a DB-9 CAT connector is great. No needed converters, just a straight through cable if you have a serial port on your computer.

If you want all the options for the FT-450D, all you need to buy is the carrying handle. No TCXO, IF filters, optional boards, etc.

Coming from an FT-840, the additional features of the FT-450D made it easy to become my new main rig. Iím glad that I made the purchase, and Iím looking forward to many years of service.
AG5T Rating: 1/5 Feb 2, 2018 15:25 Send this review to a friend
Can't hear anything  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The receive audio is terrible. I can't hear any of the DX stations whether it's ssb or cw. I can make a few contacts on FT8, but a lot of times someone will respond to me but then disappear. Also the vox does not work with fldigi it goes chop chop chop for 10 to 15 seconds and finally enters my call sign. But the audio is terrible. Like I said I can't hear anything when others in my area hear everything! So I am very unhappy with this rig.
KK5R Rating: 5/5 Jan 2, 2018 13:21 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio...!!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I had a Drake TR-7 for several years and think that for its time, it was unbeatable. I went to China in 2003 and left it with my son, also a ham. When I came back, I was disappointed to find he'd sold it a few months previously to upgrade his station. But I left it with him with no strings attached so after looking around on my return in 2007, I opted to buy an FT450AT for $600 from a ham who got it while his other Yaesu was being repaired. It had been used only 10 hours, though, before being put on the shelf for a few months. However, his main rig returned much sooner that he anticipated.

I've had mine for about ten years and find it's much better than the TR-7 was, overall... Once the menu is set up, it is rarely messed with except for output power levels when checking out new antennas. I get great reports with the matching MD-100 microphone which, by the way, is inter-matched with the rig's transmit audio menu settings.

One old complaint was addressed when I got some early-on reports of an audio tone on transmit which I found was due to the brightness setting on the display. The display grounding was not adequate in one area of the display board (near the microphone jack) but instead of taking the radio apart (which was never done!), I found the tone was not there when the display brightness was set to Max or to Off. Therefore, I set it to Mex and adjusted the contrast to lower the brightness. This adjustment is the next step in the manual, in fact, and kept me from getting into the radio and "finding" other problems. {;->

Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the radio. In fact, it gives me a lot of free time for antenna experimentation instead of finding fault with the main radio.

My backup rig is an ICOM IC-718, chosen for its simplicity and automatic heterodyne nullification when QRMed. It is rarely used, however, except for SW listening which is seldom done. it is there, however, "just in case." Considering that the FT-450 has never failed me, I sometimes wonder why I even have it.
KA4ANA Rating: 5/5 Jan 2, 2018 09:42 Send this review to a friend
SUPER RADIO  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What a GREAT Radio the YAESU FT-450D is!!!
I have owned many radios over my 40 years of being a Ham...but the YAESU FT-450D is the very BEST one. A great radio at a great price and with so many build-in features and a 3 year warranty to boot!!! Thanks YAESU!!! 73 Al KA4ANA
WD8TA Rating: 5/5 Oct 3, 2017 20:02 Send this review to a friend
Love it!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I love this little rig. The display is massive and incredibly visible from all angles. I have an 897D and an ATAS-120. The 897D cannot find a tune point in my car on 20/17 but the 450D tuned it instantly and I was working all over the US from my driveway. I bought it mainly for a 6m rig to replace my RCI-5054 but love it mobile. Personally I think it outperforms my 897D which has been relegated to PSK usage. It's nice to be able to see the big display in a vehicle on this rig.
W8NOR Rating: 5/5 Oct 3, 2017 18:25 Send this review to a friend
Great little rig but with limitations.  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I bought this rig specifically as a backup to my FT-DX1200 and to be used on vacation or in the back yard. Most reviewers agree that there are a few flaws, but for the price you can hardly do much better. The relays and fan are noisy, the controls are not what I'm used to from the bigger sibling, and the speaker isn't great. The tuning knob is small and the tuning not as smooth as in the 1200. But this little guy/gal performs very well and is doing what I wanted in a 2nd rig. The receiver performs very close to the FT-DX1200 and the DSP works very well.

I have used it primarily on FT8 over the last few weeks and it works great. Transmit audio appears to be good and the interface to my laptop and Signalink is solid. I have decided to use this in my shack as the primary digital transceiver and use the FT-DX1200 for CW.

The FT-450D works well on CW but the relay is too noisy for QSK and access to CW speed control is a little awkward but adequate. I suggest an external keyer if you work mostly CW. And an external speaker or headphones are helpful.

This a great product with Yaesu quality and performance but be aware of the flaws if you want this to be anything other than a starter rig or a backup. I hope that Yaesu will update firmware with improvements such as reducing the intermittent annoying fan noise. On the hardware side they need to have a quieter transmit relay. Still, this rig deserves a 5.
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