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Reviews For: Yaesu FT-920

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : Yaesu FT-920
Reviews: 162MSRP: 2299
Yaesu FT 920 HF/6M Transceiver
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4FBI Rating: 2013-07-09
EXCELLENT!!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
OK, had it for about 2 months. Previous experience with TS-180s, TS-450SAT, FT-450D, IC-7200, IC-735 and FT-890SAT. None of these can touch the FT-920. Receive noise floor is REALLY excellent, and the audio DSP works better than IF DSP in other transceivers. It has the INRAD SSB filter and it really works well.

The only reason I gave it a 5 is that I couldn't give it a 6!!!
KE4EX Rating: 2013-03-21
Still here still running strong Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My last review on Feb 25, 2003 stands strong.
Wow can you imagine over 10 years, love it.
Almost traded her for a ft 950- WHEW....
The FT 920 is a great all around rig.
Not great in one area but very good in all.
I have added a 500hz cw filter so now she is loaded.
I guess she is a keeper..
LA8DOA Rating: 2013-02-23
YuuuP Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Use it 99% on CW.
Very easy and fun to operate!
Superb RX and great audio reports with Heil headset!
I love it a lot.......

K9EGS Rating: 2013-01-24
Great radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my FT-920 used in July 2009 at a local hamfest. I was a little reluctant laying out $600 to a complete stranger, but after spending some time talking to the seller I was convinced that he was a good guy and not trying to unload a piece of junk on me. I was originaly going to purchase a new Icom IC-718, but the Yaesu FT-920 was a bit cheaper and had many more features than the IC-718. This was my first radio and as far as I am concerned would be fine if it is my last.
It performs well on all bands. I operate SSB and PSK-31. It has great receive audio. I am told that it also has great transmit audio using the Yaesu MD-100A8X desk microphone, but I have to talk in a louder than normal voice level to get the ALC meter to proper deflection. I solved that problem with the addition of the EQplus from W2IHY. Wow, what an audio boost! The radio puts out a full 100 watts on all bands. The digital voice recorder is a nice feature to use for repetitive "CQ" calling for contests. The noise blanker works very well to remove pulse type noise. The notch filter usually cuts out any interfering heterodynes. The DSP high cut/low cut dials are very handy in reducing interference. The split function is very easy to use and the radio has 2 separate VFOs.
The FT-920 has a built in antenna tuner that works fairly well. I normally don't use the tuner though because it does not have as wide a range as my outboard MFJ auto tuner. One nice thing that I really like is that most all of the normal everyday functions that you would use are right there on the front panel dials and buttons. No menus to dig through to change simple things like RF power level, etc. There are many other features to this radio too numerous to go into here.
I have been quite pleased with this radio for 3-1/2 years and would recommend it to anyone. As you can see from all the other reviews on this site, most people are pleased with it. So if you get the chance to buy one I would say go ahead and see for yourself that it is a solid good performing radio.
MI6OJK Rating: 2012-11-25
excellent base rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Bought a yaesu ft 920 used few months back, it was like new nota mark on it. Its my second hf radio sold my icom 720a and accessories to buy it im Im glad I did.

pros: excellent receiver
Internal atu works brilliantly I always get 1:1 with my monoband verticals.
voice/audio recorder
good size radio
Dsp cleans up signals well with notch for pulsing noises
All in all love the rig would buy another!
WU0R Rating: 2012-06-18
Underrated, great performer! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
The 920 has been around for a while and quite honestly, a very undervalued, underrated performer. Won't do into all the aspects of the radio but here are my pros and cons:

1. One of the top 5 ergonomically set up and designed radios.
2. Great rcvr, great DSP/NR (hard to believe non IF stage).
3. Easy to use, to understand, minimal menu tinkering required.
4. Hears exceptionally well and the rcv Audio sounds great!
5. Display is very easy to use, operate and understand. Nothing buried or too busy.

1. Would like to see certain functions on the display perhaps in a Red font (i.e. MONI, Split, etc.). User preference.
2. Would like to see some extra controls brought out like the FT-1000 series. Again, user perference.
3. Remove the antenna tuner - make it optional. Most Base radios never use them when you run an amp in the shack.
4. Like to see add'l filter slots. INRAD switch board mod is a bit cumbersome and clunky.
5. AGC: would like to see adjustable AGC constants not just Off, Slow, Fast (then again, most radios don't have this feature either).

All in all, this radio for the 600-800 you pay for a used one, you won't go wrong. Exceptional rcvr, great on 6 meters, wonderful rcv audio, easy to use, all around great base or back up radio for your shack and doesn't cost you $xx,xxx.00 dollars. A keeper.

Earlier 5-star review posted by WU0R on 2011-05-03

Will toss in some past experience with this radio. I found the 920 to be on par with the "contester" grade radios at a much reduced price. Sure, in a crowded contest, it will suffer, as will many of the $X,XXX.00 dollar units. This radio at the price they are at now, is a great bargain. For instance, comparing the 920 to the ICOM 7600, the Blocking Dynamic Range is far better on the 920 then the 7600. One woudl think as we progress in technology, the performance would either peak or continue to excel, not step backwards.

For a casual DXer and CW guy, this radio is a great radio. For the 6 meter op, it is a stellar performer. For ease in use, ergonomics, it is great.

I still think that DSP is way over rated and even though this radio doesn't have true IF DSP, you would be hard pressed to really notice it when you use it.
W3DBB Rating: 2012-03-19
trouble-free for 11 years Time Owned: more than 12 months.
That's saying something in this age of transceiver manufacturers using their customers as beta testers. I made the mistake of buying Yaesu's CW filter 10 years ago. OK for casual operation, but on a busy CW band like the PA QSO Party on 80 meters the rejection of close-in strong signals is poor. If I had to do it again I would at least investigate the INRAD arrangement. If you examine Sherwood Engineering's tranceiver ranking based on rejection of strong, closely-spaced CW signals, you'll find the FT-920 isn't on the list. Presumably this (non-)ranking results from tests of a FT-920 with Yaesu's CW filter installed.

The receiver's audio DSP low cut-high cut controls introduce a pink noise artifact that is objectionable. The IF shift control is quieter and more effective when encountering adjacent QRM in SSB operation. The automatic notch filter can come in handy if the tuner-uppers are not too close, otherwise it takes out the desired signal as well as the unwanted carrier. Don't know the limitations of the FT-920's SSB receiver bandwidth but suspect it is a bit broad for contesting.

The quality of the FT-920's transmitted audio on SSB with the DSP transmit audio equaliser out of the circuit is good. This is using the accessory Yaesu MD-100 desk mic. I'm not sold on the audio-DSP transmit audio equaliser with the possible exception of position 3 or 4 in AM operation. I suspect the DSP transmit equaliser introduces additional distortion into the transmitted audio but don't have the instrumentation to prove this.

If AM operation is your thing the FT-920 presents a bit of a quandary. The ALC is not disabled on AM, probably to protect the finals. Testing into a dummy load, with the microphone gain control at the Yaesu-recommended 9 o'clock position and with the power control set at any level, carrier power is inversely-proportional to audio power. This is not going to give good results on AM. You might get 60% modulation if you are lucky. Advancing the microphone gain beyond Yaesu's recommendation does not increase the percentage of modulation but does introduce additional distortion.

Have experimented with introducing a negative DC voltage to the FT-920 ALC jack to defeat the ALC on AM but that trick doesn't work on the FT-920. The I-alc (ALC current) potentiometer can probably be dialed-down internally, which some have stated also improves SSB performance (less off-frequency shot noise) but this is messing with transmit alignment, something I am reluctant to do. Speaking of which, my particular FT-920 puts out a 95 Watt CW carrier into a dummy load which to my way of thinking is as it should be.

This FT-920 has Yaesu's optional 6 kHz AM receive filter installed. Something a bit wider would have been a better choice for receiving AM.

I've never used the built-in automatic antenna tuner because I don't use coaxial cable for antenna feedline below 30 mHz. IIRC the automatic tuner is an interesting arrangement using small stepper-motors to drive air-variable capacitors. Every time a FT-920 is powered on you will hear the ATU initialising.

On the rear panel, Yaesu gives FT-920 users the choice of relay or transistor switching to key a linear amplifier. I key an Ameritron AL-811 using relay switching and get good results without need of an external amplifier interface or ALC line running between amp and rig.

Yaesu also provides a rear panel jack for use of an external transverter for VHF-UHF weak signal work. This feature has disappeared from some transceivers costing more than the FT-920 did back when it was new.

The FT-920 has a separate PA output SO-239 dedicated for 6 meter operation. Power can be limited to either or both of the 160-10m and 6m SO-239 PA outputs via menu options. Yaesu provides for the connection of a separate receiving antenna if so desired, maybe for a 160 meter receiving loop or balanced horizontal antenna to mitigate noise.

The transmitted RF power control is a front panel rotary potentiometer as it should be. So is the speech processor but it is just one of a row of control potentiometers with just the shafts protruding through the bottom of the front panel. These are spaced too closely together, the bane of modern amateur equipment.

On the subject of the speech processor, Yaesu provides a LCD-bargraph metering display for this and other parameters. Makes it very handy to get a feel for the amount of speech processing without going overboard.

The noise blanker is adjusted via one of the earlier described shafted potentiometers and works pretty much like all noise blankers. If you're evaluating someone else's transmitted audio, turning off the FT-920's noise blanker is a must as it introduces additional distortion on the other station's received signal. This is particularly the case if the other station is running too much microphone gain, speech processing, bass equalisation, or overdriving his amplifier.

The FT-920 has front panel buttons for "IPO" (intercept point optimisation) which toggles the receiver's preamplifier on and off. In addition to the front panel RF Gain control there is also a button for "ATT" (attenuator) which attenuates receiver gain by 6, 12, or 18 dB. Receiver AGC has a button and positions fast-slow-off. Receiver AGC can be turned off and the audio gain control advanced, using the RF gain control for receiver volume. Cleans up a lot of crud on a busy band but defeats the S-meter bargraph display.

11 years ago when contemplating the purchase of a new amateur transceiver, the choices in my price range were were: one of the two Kenwood TS-570 models, the Yaesu FT-920, the Icom IC-746 PRO, or the Ten Tec Pegasus. The Kenwoods were physically smaller than what I wanted. I examined an Icom IC-746 PRO and was not impressed. I wasn't interested in a computer-controlled rig so that left the Pegasus out. The FT-920 won by default, not so much for what it was, but more for what it wasn't. Glad it did; could have done a heckuva lot worse.

W0LD Rating: 2012-03-18
A Great Rig for the Money! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is the second FT-920 I have owned. For the money it can't be beat. With the INRAD filters it is the equal of most of the current rigs. As a 6 meter rig, it is superb. The controls are configured just right. It is easy to operate and intuitive. For the $850 you will spend you can't beat this radio!
VK2FSTU Rating: 2011-11-05
My first Home base and very happy. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've been on the lookout since gaining my Foundation license 4 months ago, and found this on VK Ham for a great price.

When received it looked like it was brand new, came in the original box all packed with plastic sleeves and bubble wrap. Set it up and read the manual, on I went and after initial twiddling, a nice clear signal and great conversation with my first long distance Australian call to VK7 at King Island Light House for a few days, the call went through and was great.

Love it, and sure I'll get many years of good use from this very nice rig.
N5VEG Rating: 2011-05-12
Super Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently acquired a used FT 920 in excellent, as new condition from a YL ham in Florida.

I also operate a Icom 718 and a Yaesu 857D. Well, in a nutshell, the 920 outperforms the other two with respects to reception. They all transmit well but the 920 has this uncanny receive segment that makes listening to the radio an absolute pleasure. VERY quiet receiver! This radio has many well placed ergonomic knobs and switches so there are no daily menus to confuse or hinder operation. Most of the 73 memory items are set and forget.

I particularly like the DSP. It it much better than the ones in my two other radios.

In summary, If you can get one in good condition, grab it up. I think it is one of the best used radio bargains around.