Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Yaesu FT-920

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
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
N4OI Rating: 2007-11-05
Five Years Already ! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Can't believe it has already been five years since I got my first ticket -- and ordered my FT-920 the same day. Absolutely no issues with the radio -- never even a hiccup -- it still operates as great as when it was unpacked. I love the ergonomics, the location of the filters, modes and VFO controls. And the "real" buttons -- not those squiggly rubber bumps like my Drake R8 has. The concentric, interlocking DSP dials are great for sliding a minimal passband across a CW signal. (I am still amazed that this knob approach has not become a standard for hi-cut/lo-cut DSPs.) The CW QSK is phenominal (but keep those headphones on), as is the tuning / spot indicator. I recently added the INRAD 250Hz filter, which really makes the CW signals pop out of the noise and QRM. I could go on -- but if you have an opportunity, pick one of these up -- it will be a joy to operate! 73 de Ken - N4OI
M3LMY Rating: 2007-11-02
Perfect Radio. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Exchanged my FT-897D for the 920 best thing I ever did, the 920 looks and feels like a real radio! Very quiet on receive, fantastic transmit audio. Yaesu must have designed the radio with the U.K licensing in mind the menu output settings of 10-50-100 are perfect, I have all three callsigns but only ever operate as an M3 on ten watts, worked all over. The DSP is great. The display great for my poor eyesight, buttons and knobs in the right places. only one minor gripe the I.P.O is global unlike the 897 which could be set for each band, answer leave it switched out/in, splits a doddle to set up. A notch filter and noise blanker that works better than most. Receive only anttenna a great bonus, I could go on, if you see one used, buy it! you wont regret it. and if you want to improve it in any way pop the Inrad filters in. 99% perfect, can't give it a 100% that would be unfair to other radios, Hi'
KK8ZZ Rating: 2007-10-11
Excellent Radio ! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I recently bought a nice 920 for an amazing $725 and sold the TS-480SAT I used before it. I liked the 480, but my ham activity goes back to the days of the SB-102, TS-180 and other "larger rigs" that had decent displays and knobs that most guys with normal-sized fingers could use. I saw one of these at AES in Cleveland when they were being discontinued several years ago and liked the size and looks then, and so when one became available at a very reasonable price, I bought it.

The display is large and easy to read for older eyes. The knobs are large and easy to operate. I'd long since forgotten what a "flywheel tuned knob" was like, but handling the 920's main tuning knob is like dialing through soft butter. The "heft" of the knob is clearly evident, and wonderful to use, and like nothing else I've ever used before in over 30 years of hamming, and many, many rigs. The DSP works well, and is easily adjustable. One the air contacts report excellent audio with the supplied hand mic, and the Heil boom mic cable is now on order. I imagine it will make the audio reports even better than with the supplied mic.

In short, if you're a bit put off by the tiny rigs like the IC-7000, FT-857D and similar, you'll love the size and heft of this one. The orange glow of the display brings back good memories of evenings spent before other rigs, in other times, and the performance of the 920 is exceptional. This one's a keeper. If you can find one at a good price, grab it and put it one the air. I don't think you'll be at all sorry you did.

K1EY Rating: 2007-10-04
One of the nicest HF rigs Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The FT-920 is probably the best all-around HF rig for the money. It is an absolute bargain nowadays. I have also a FT-1000MP Mark V Field but I prefer the FT-920 for causal QSOs. The radio has really nice feel and excellent performance! The receiver is very quite. It has a lot of features and excellent DSP. The DSP implementation is one of the best I've seen! It is an audio DSP but with very convenient controls and incredible performance. When it comes to ergonomics FT-920 shines like no other rig - not even my Mark V! The Omni-Glow Display is an absolute delight to look at. The controls are laid out very nicely!
This is not a contest grade rig - it doesn’t have many of the features seen in FT-1000MP but it has 6 meters, digital recorder and better ergonomics. It is and it will be one of my favorite radios.
The only gripe I have is the IF filters implementation - the radio has only one crystal SSB IF filter with no option for another one. There is a slot for optional narrow CW and also AM filters. If one needs better filter selection, INRAD makes switch-board for two cascaded filters. Two such boards can be installed - one for SSB and one for CW. The stock filter choices are pretty limited right out of the box and spending on INRAD filters and switch-boards boosts the overall price too high, bringing the radio close to FT1k MP Mark V field. IMHO for rag-chewing, casual QSOs and DX and as backup it is best-bang-for-the-buck HF base radio.
EX_AA5JG Rating: 2007-10-02
Great features and good performance Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had the FT920 for a couple of weeks and really put it thru its paces, except on 6m which won't open, here is what I can say about it,
given that you see so many positive things about it once it was discontinued. I have also owned an Icom 756, 746, 756PRO, 706 (all models), Kenwood TS850, TS950SDX, TS450, TS2000, Yaesu FT100D, FT990 FT1000MP and FT857D so I have had quite a few rigs for comparisons. I really wasn't looking for a FT920, but ended up with one as a replacement for an Icom 756 lost by fedex (long story). Here is what I can say about the 920:

1. Receiver-the receiver is very quiet, much quieter than the Icom 746, TS2000, or FT100D. And it isn't because it is deaf, it seems to hear
stations pretty well. I worked New Guinea and Indonesia recently on 40m with it. It just seem resistant to alot of the noise I have around here. The FT990, TS850 and TS950 were similar in that regard. I haven't used it under crowded band conditions like a contest yet, but for some reason I seem to get the feeling it will only do OK. I don't think it will be near as good as an 850 or 450 when the band really fills up. Don't know why I feel like that, I just get that sense about it, and some people did mention that on the contest reflectors.

2. DSP-some of the best DSP I have ever heard. The noise reduction is much better than Icom or Kenwood in that is reduces the noise, but you get no digital artifacts either. The autonotch works as good as you can expect an autonotch to work, which means it needs a manual notch. The band pass
filtering (DSP based) also seem to work pretty good. Think about how the low cut/high cut were on the FT100/847 and make it a little better, and much easier to use. I am pretty impressed with the DSP considering it is only AF based. It is fully adjustable (unlike the FT1000MP) and it works better than the MPs DSP noise reduction also.

3. Noise blanker-the noise blanker works very well at taking out noise and other crud I get here. Probably as good as the NB in the FT100D. However, it does distort loud signals so you can hear them 10khz away or more. That is one reason I think the FT920 might not do real good in a contest. The TS2000 is one of the best in this regard as it will take out all of the noise without distorting the signals. Don't think I will be taking the FT920 mobile anytime soon as it is a large rig.

4. Features-this rig has them all. If I were going to design a rig, the features I would put on it are probably closer to what the 920 has then any other rig I have owned. A built in voice keyer that is easy to use (much easier than the 756PRO, I never could figure that one out), a built in CW memory keyer, dual bandstacking buttons (something Kenwood needs to figure out), a special knob for everything-AF gain and RF gain each have their own knob, most other rigs have concentric knobs for this. The autotuner works as good as all late 90s and recent tuners do-not near as good as the late 80s and early 90s ones do, but something you can live with. The built in keyer does 6 memories, and one will do contest serial numbers. You even get a spotting tone switch for CW also, to help in zero beating, although you really don't need it (see below). The transmit audio monitor also works very well, much easier to hear than on the Icom rigs. With it I can hear that the DSP equalization for the transmit audio should be left off, you sound better without it.

5. Ergonomics-one of the best laid out rigs I have used. Everything is in front of you, and you rarely need to go into the menus. The display
contains as much if not more information than I have seen on most other rigs. You can get it to permanently display the CW offset if you like. It
has a CW tuning indicator to tell you if you are zero beat, or which direction to move to zero beat the signal, but you can also change this to
show DSP bandwidth instead, if you like. Having a separate knob for the VFO B does make split frequency operating easier. You can even mute the audio (instead of having to turn down the AF gain) or set the rig to temporarily transmit at 10 watts for tuning your manual tuner, just by pushing a button. One of the best designed rigs, in most areas.

Now the weak areas (which is why I gave it a 4):

1. I already mentioned the NB problem.

2. The filter setup just plain sucks. You can only install filters at 1 IF, and if you want a narrower SSB filter you need to pull out a circuit board, unsolder the stock filter, etc. That is a real pain. You can cascade filters for each mode by getting the INRAD board, but that is $250 or more for each mode after you buy the filters, plus you have to do some rather serious surgury on the rig-especially for SSB. IF you are going to drop $500 to get the cascaded filters for each mode, you might as well buy a 756PRO or FT1000MP instead.

3. The rig is kind of too large. I think something about the size of the Kenwood TS570S is perfect for base use, or the size of a TS60 for mobile use.

4. If you want to run semi-breakin on CW (I don't like QSK) you have to press in the VOX key. When you go to SSB then, you have to unpress the VOX key or it will trip the VOX. I tried turning the VOX gain all of the way down (a menu setting, handy) and it still trips the VOX.

Overall I could live with this rig. It is a nice rig, easy to use and full of features. It does just about everything you would want a rig to do, plus some things I never thought of. Only time will tell on how well it does under contest condition. I would guess the receiver is probably about as good as an Icom 746. If you need 2 meters in the same rig, get that one, if you want more features like a voice keyer, get the 920. If you really want to contest on HF, get a TS850 or TS950. Of course I could be wrong, it might do just find for contesting. If nothing else, I am glad I got to play with one for awhile. Overall, I would have to say I probably like it better than the FT990 which it replaced in Yaesu's lineup.

VK2CA Rating: 2007-09-29
10 years and gets better! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
HI All
I have owned my 920 since new in Sept' 97 and have worked 5BDXCC etc and on my way to DXCC on Digital and lately have started the climb on CW. This radio has never missed a beat in all that time. It has even been on Dxpedition with me to a couple of IOTA islands and got a real workout early on with those.

I have used my 920, until recently, completely unmodified and had great results. TX audio is universally commented on favourably no matter what the microphone I use. Mostly I use a Heil HC5 but alternate to the hand mic as well and still have great reports. Recently I was very tempted to go to the 2000 but decided that the 920 could be updated with the Inrad filters instead. I installed the 1.8khz SSB (with cascade board) and the 400khz CW filter and both opened up a new world of options for me. Working CW with the 400khz filter is a buzz as the signals literally jump out of the noise when you turn the filter on and the SSB filter works supurbly on 75/40 and can really make the difference between a log entry or mssing that new one. On digital the filters are outstanding also.

The display is great - dodgy eyes and i can still read the freq across the room! I am not a real fidler on the nobs (but there are lots if you like to play) and find that once I set things up I can virtually leave them alone and just get on using the radio. The receiver is excellent and very quite and being able to use everything from 160 - 6m is fantastic. I use the 920 in conjuction with a Quadra and together they are a dream. I use DXBase as the log book, linked to the 920, and have the cluster running in that so when I want to make a contact one click and the radio and amp are instantly ready to go! It can hop around the bands faster than my attention span can run out! Great.

Some of the best things:

TX Audio oustanding
Inbuilt tuner - very quick
Display - one of the nicest around
Working split is a snap
Auto band change with amp - instant and flawless
Great receiver - and quiet!
Upgradeable to compete with the best - put the INRADS in!

.....I could go on :-)

I guess you get the message that my 920 is going nowhere. If your thinking of picking one up - just do it - you will not be sorry.

Cheers....Allan VK2CA
YO3FXF Rating: 2007-07-28
GREAT! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
FT 920 It is a verry good HF+50Mhz transceiver and I'm happy with it!
Has a good and noise free Rx,TX audio is great!Verry ergonomical(intuitive) and easy to operate !This transceiver bring me total satisfaction!You don't regret buying this good performer!
73 & Best DX!
N0NB Rating: 2007-07-13
Stable performer Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my '920 in May of 2000 and it has been a stable solid performer. I use it for SSB, CW, PSK31 and MFSK16 so far. I have used it for some shortwave listening and monitoring of other modes such as SSTV.

When I bought it, the FM board was included and installed "free". The first addition was the INRAD 400 Hz CW filter. The blowby was disappointing and then I discovered that just turning the DSP on virtually eliminated it.

Somewhere I have a copy of an email I wrote to one of the Yaesu mailing list (probably the one) detailing marrying the KAM to the '920. Since I, and a lot of others, are using soundboard based modes, this information isn't as important anymore.

A few years ago I went through a phase of a lot of SWL and installed the INRAD AM filter. Yes, I lost some fidelity, but I could now comfortably listen to one station at a time.

Earlier this year I installed the INRAD filter switch board and cascaded the OEM SSB and the INRAD 2.1 kHz filters with it. On the crowded 75m band, the cascaded filters make the difference between copying the other station or watching TV instead.

I also added the MD-100A8X microphone and immediately received complimentary audio reports. That was nice since my voice isn't the best for radio work. At the same time I replaced the HC4 element in my headset with an HC5 and the HC5 audio sounds very close to the MD-100 when I listen to myself in the monitor.

For a while I felt like I had a bit of "buyer's remorse" as I had considered the FT-990 as well. I had fond memories of guest operating the FT-990 of N5HEL/NJ5S (SK) back in the mid '90s. The '920 came out ahead as it offered 6m (new band for me) and a transmitted audio monitor. The DSP was just an added bonus of a next generation transceiver. Plus, I could buy the '920 brand spankin' new!

I have guest operated both the FT-1000MP and FT-1000 MP Mk V and I find the FT-920 is a much better radio for me. I much prefer the style of the DSP controls of the '920 and I am a fan of reasonably easy to use radios. The '920's panel provides a lot of functionality, but really doesn't overwhelm me. OTOH, it's not the nice simple panel of the FT-890 (my other HF radio) either. The '920, like the '890, has the famous quiet Yaesu receiver. I wasn't one bit sorry to have traded the noisy TS-850S I had at the time for it.

There are very few really bad radios out there. What a person needs to do is find the radio that fits them. If you get the chance, try a '920. You may be pleasantly surprised.

As time has passed and I've learned the '920, I believe that it will be on my desk for years to come.
MW0KEV Rating: 2007-04-26
Great Value Used! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned the FT920 for seven years now and can honestly say that I have found this radio reliable and an excellent performer. The receiver is wide open, but a bit of careful operating can improve things no end.

For example, I tend to keep the IPO in on all the low bands. If there are many strong signals on 40m, 80m and 160m I keep at least 6db of attenuation in to protect the front end. sometimes 12db. This has no adverse effect on the recieved signal, reducing it only by one or two S points and improving readability no end.

The DSP works best if the RF Gain control is used in conjunction with the high cut, low cut AF DSP, and noise reduction needs to be used carefully and takes about a minute to find the wanted signal.The digital IF Shift is supurb and the auto notch really works.

I also have an FT857 and the noise blanker is much better on the FT920!

All in all this is a fantastic rig for the newcommer. If you press the red led on the main VFO then it will restrict the transmit power to 10 watts. Ideal for the Foundation licensee!

If the rig is driven with intelligence it is a better tranceiver than many other expensive radios of its time, and even some modern ones.

For 6m this rig is must, one of the best 6m receivers I've ever heard.

If you're on a restricted budget and want a great performing, reliable and easy rig to get on the air with then I would not hesitate to recommend the FT920. It still looks great and performs well seven years on!
N6CIC Rating: 2007-02-27
Inrad Filter Improved Performance Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This is a follow-up to my earlier review about two years ago. I have since replaced the OEM SSB filter with a 2.1 KHz Inrad filter and have been very pleased with the improved selectivity and reduced blow-by. Installing the filter involves moving a circuit board, but the Inrad instructions are clear and the filter worked perfectly. I continue to think this is a great rig!

Earlier 5-star review posted by N6CIC on 2003-04-12

I bought this rig used on eBay several months ago and have been very pleased with its performance. I have installed the FM unit, the high-stability oscillator TCXO-7, the AM filter, and the 500 Hz CW filter. Although I was happy with the hand Mike, I purchased a MD-100AX8 and have been told that the audio is very good. With very strong, nearby, CW signals, I did experience some of the filter blow-by others have reported. However use of the DSP eliminated that. The low cut/high cut DSP is phenomenal the way it improves signal clarity.

Also I have an ICOM IC-735 for comparison. Using the same antenna, the FT-920 is somewhat more sensitive and receive audio is better. Much less tiring to listen to over the long haul. Not that I don't also love by IC-735, which I will use as a portable rig.

Some other positive notes about the FT-920:

Very quiet and smooth antenna tuner.
Easy to use and sensible menu.
Very clear display.
Quick band change buttons.
Visual display of DSP high/low cut settings-great!
All the controls you might need to tweak on the front panel.

I keep reading reviews that the OEM SSB filter has a poor shape factor, and I will consider replacing it with an INRAD filter. However I will wait until I have more experience with the existing filter.

Overall-an excellent value for the money and I hope to keep it for many years.