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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
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KC0EJR Rating: 2005-10-21
Well worth the money Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned my 920 for about 5 years now, and have not had any serious problems. The only thing I did have happen was the typical tuner "hang-up". This happened a couple times over about a 2 week period. Did a master reset and all was well and hasn't happened in over 4 years now.

I'm not very active, I do more listening than transmitting, but the few contacts that I have made, I have received excellent reports.

I have been very happy with the receiver, even without the Inrad filters. But those will come in time.

This is definitly one rig I won't part with!
W2RJL Rating: 2005-07-10
almost 2 years later Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Almost 2 years later and nothing but excellence! I can not see "MY" need to have added the INRAD cascading filters for SSB and for the time of the mornings & band I am on , the 2.4 OEM filter is fine and I do not need to do any mods inside of this radio. I do not contest either!

A great radio that has really outshine all the others I have owned, including the Mark V 200-watter.

Earlier 5-star review posted by W2RJL on 2004-03-08

I bought the FT-920 after my Mark V (200-watter, we're not talking about the MkV Field which seems to be the better of the two Mark V's)went south and had to go back to Yaesu for repairs. Anyway, I owned the MkV for just about a year when it went back. So I ended up buying the 920 for a back-up and because of the low price tag and what a great radio it turned out to be. I have not experienced any problems with the 920 like the problems mentioned in previous rewiews of this radio (I guess there is always one bad apple in any bunch) but instead I had problems with the MkV. Well to make a long story short (NOT!), I got the MkV back (about 2 months later and still working fine, no problems so far) and with listening to the radios side by side, on a 40-meter monoband dipole (because 40m is where I operate and mostly hang out every morning from 4am to 6am EST - look me up on QRZ) - both audio's with SP-8 ext speaker are same (I do not listen to the in-radio speaker), adjustments of TX audio EQ and off-sets of USB & LSB can be adjusted as well as off-sets of Proc/Comp (so they equal there too), both reciever's are the same without those filters, dsp, nr - of course, the MkV's has optional filters that can be installed (2nd IF & 3rd IF stages)on a plug-n-play where on the 920, only the CW & AM filter are plug-n-play but the OEM ssb filter must be desoldered if you want to tighten up the band width on the 920 (I found for my QTH that the original 2.5kz ssb filter to be perfect for my ears) *See the INRAD company for optional filters for ssb if needed... Both are fine radios and hold their on. It's still preference of taste and a matter of opinions and everyone is entitled to them, but because of the QC control on the MkV and the problems that I have had with it and hearing some of the other horror stories is my reason that I will be offing the MkV (coming to an ebay auction soon - really!!!)and making the FT-920 from a back-up rig to the front. I might be looking at the MkV "Field" in the future. The field is supposed to be the better of the two versions of the MkV. We'll see and continue to do the homework... 73's and remember these reviews are only one's opinions and there are different achieved results with different QTH's.
PY3AT Rating: 2005-06-18
MUITO CONTENTE Time Owned: more than 12 months.
WT4K Rating: 2005-06-03
Fantastic Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I found one of these, did the Inrad mods for SSB (1.8 with the stock filter) and added a CW filter. All I can say is that it's amazing, consistant reports with a HF9V vertical (due to deed restrictions but I hid it well in the trees) if you can find one, take your time with the mods and you'll have an excellent radio for a fraction of the cost of new equiptment. For comparasion I had an Icom 746, Kenwood TS 850, Icom 706 MKllG and a Yaesu 857, 890.
LA0HV Rating: 2005-05-29
Fantastic value Time Owned: more than 12 months.
If your looking for a superb audio, and a low signal to noise ratio, the 920 is a very good Rig to buy.
The audio sounds like just the 1000D, which is superb. The audio is warm and designed to the DX feinsmecher, making it easy for the ear to read a weak signal.

The front end filters has unique low noise barrier diodes, not found in say the noisy ft847 and ft-1000mp front-end's. The rf-amp is based on low noise JFET's.
The whole system is extremely quiet with no additional faze noise, making the rig "The first choice for 6 meter freaks all over the world". You just do not get any rig with a lower noise floor today.

The downsize of the rig is the leak of filter banks. In the standard version you got one SSB, one CW and an AM filter. This is no problem for 12, 10 or 6 meter work, but for the contesters and mid-band DX'ers, this is a problem, especially on CW.

Fortunately the filter's IF is 8 MHz, which make it easy to improve the selectivity performance of the Rig.
INRAD has constructed a filter enhancement kit to this Rig. Why? Because this increase the Rig's total performance far beyond most High-end Rigs. I once explained to one of the development engineers at Yaesu how the 920 could be modified and performance improved dramatically. He answered: "I know".

My radio has two Inrad boards installed, a 2.4K/2.1K for SSB (Wide) and 400/250 for CW (Narrow).
Unofficially it is possible to install four boards in the Rig, so you get 2.4K (or 2.8K) a 2.1K and a 1.8K in CACADE!!! For SSB. And in CW (or data) mode, 500 (or another 400), 400 and 250Hz is a good choise.
Further improvement is possible for CW freaks, eliminating filter blow-by on strong (9+40) stations in Contest's:
The mod: Remove the CW filter-terminal's mini-molex on the PC-board and solder in the Inrad coax directly into the PC-board. At both input and output place a 1uF monolithic ceramic SMD capacitor between the cold side of the filter terminal and ground. This will give you approximately 12dB. And finally use some copper print board to isolate the in- and output terminals. Solder the copper strips directly on the PC boards ground, that's another 6 dB of improvement. (I am not responsible for any damage done to your radio, the modification is difficult and should only be performed by professionals).

Bottom line, the FT-920 is a most highly capable radio once good filters are installed. It's not that selective without them and the difference is dramatic. If you've never seen what cascaded crystal filters in an 8Mhz IF stage can do for selectivity, you're missing out on one of the best kept secrets in amateur radio. Nothing gets through that wall.
The radios dynamic range does the rest.

Be sure to go into the menu and adjust the carrier offsets to line up the passband so the bottom end is snug with 0 hz audio. That's critical to make it sound good. Here's a tip. Digipan makes a great analyzer for making the adjustment. Just watch the waterfall.

The combination of IPO maximizing, attenuation, RF gain and RX-ANTENNA TUNE (kick it in and you got a good old Preselector in addition to all the other goods), give adequate tools to manage the front.

The Audio-DSP makes the Rig an AF-Pro, the filter is sharp as a razerblade and any bandwith can be set directly on the front of the rig, it is awesome on CW when the roofing cascaded crystal-filter is installed, as explained above.
Auto Notch and Noise Reduction can dig out the dx most of the time on the back end. The Noise reduction system takes a while to understand: It is a part of the DSP and calculate reduction parameters based on the passband noise components. This will take 2 to 5 seconds. Now if you change any IF parameters (IPO, RF or filtersetting) kick in the NR again and wait some seconds listening to the noise disappearing.
The Noise blanker is fully adjustable on the front panel, its very effective, here on the farm we have electrical fences all over the place, and this is the only Rig removing all the "clicking".

The 920 has a voice and a CW recorder with several memories, you can record interesting calls directly by pressing some buttons. Also you can record your own voice or CW flow from one of the many build-in keyers and combine it to easy DX or contest call. In CW you also have a dedicated QSO counter for contest use.

In the Digital modes the rig really chine's, the dynamic range of the 920 makes it easy to run PSK31 just by turning the IF-shift. Remember to set the RF-PWR to 100% and adjust the power out by adjusting the mic gain.

If you do get this radio I can assure you it will provide you with the opportunity to learn a lot about the operating arts. The controls are where they should be. They operate predictably and that says a lot right there. If you are a beginning HF operator, this rig will provide you an enjoyable journey from neophyte to artisan. And you'll sound good.

best 73 LA0HV
KV4DP Rating: 2004-12-31
No Problem Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The Yaesu Ft-920 was the first New rig that I bought (I bought an Icom 725 used as my first rig) after becoming a ham in 2000. Since that time I have used the rig with very little problems.
When I first set it up I didn't understand all the setup items in the menu area. When I would transmit using the Heil HC-5 mic I was told that my audio was "tinny" sounding. A fellow ham suggested that I go to one of the websites that offer Radio modifications and use it to help set up the menu. I did this and with a little tweeking now have a rig with audio I can be proud of. I have had no problems at all with this radio and highly recommend it to anyone. I have used the Yaesu ft-1000d and the Icom 756 & 725 and would rate the 920 right behind the 1000d for ease of operation and quality reception and transmitting.
N9IO Rating: 2004-12-26
Inrad 400 hz CW and SSB board with 1.8 Khz Filters work great! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased the FT-920 at Dayton in 2000.
Shortly afterward, I installed a 400 hz Inrad CW filter.
For phone I installed the Inrad add-on board, I retained the OEM 2.4 khz filter, and added the Inrad 1.8 khz filter in cascade with the 2.4 filter. Follow Inrad's instructions to the letter, take your time, removing the main board was not that big of a deal. Just take your time. I had originally replaced the 2.4 OEM with a 2.1 in cascade with the 1.8 khz filter. I found the 2.1 to be too narrow for my taste, so fas as normal arm chair rag chewing, so I put the 2.4 back in-line with the 1.8.

During CW contests, run the 400 hz filter along with the DSP low cut around 10 o'clock, and high cut at around 12 o'clock, IF shift centered, and you'll find the combination are very tight and sharp.

On phone, running the already narrow 1.8 khz filter with the DSP set to around 12 to 1 o'clock on the high cut, and 8 to 9 o'clock on the low cut (adjust with QRM) is a real winner indeed. Just adjust the IF shift slightly right on LSB, and slightly left on USB (1.8 is narrow). If you've ever been tuned up on during a contest when you're trying to copy a week signal on phone, you'll find that tightening up the DSP cuts and punching the automatic notch filter can actually make near arm chair copy out of Q's you might have had to pass on. Reason is, the tuner upper takes out the noise floor, the multiple auto notch filters take out the hetrodyne, all you have to do is fine tune on the weak signal with the DSP filters. Very cool, indeed...BTW: the auto notch filter is the best I've ever seen. I like it better than what I've seen on the Mark V's. Certainly, much better than the IC-746's notch, and believe me, the 746 is also one fine rig.

I've only recently begun to use the 920 on RTTY. It has FSK inputs, making it easy to run RTTY, works great!

All interfaces are very easy to build. The CAT System RS-232 is built in the radio, meaning the com cable is straight through, pin for pin DB-9 to DB-9. Much easier than building the interface for my IC-746.

Dual VFO's, auto split with software from your DX Cluster through the CAT. Manual split is also seemlessly easy.

Easily adjust power out from the front panel, I generally drive my L-4B with about 30 watts for around 500 out on the L-4B. Otherwise, puts out a solid 100 watts from 6 through 160.

A/B antenna and receive antenna buttons on the front panel. Fast Auto antenna tuner also. The list goes on.

The ONLY thing my IC-746 has over this radio is 100 watts on 2m. Beyond that, the FT-920 is one of the finest bangs for your buck you'll find. As I saw posted earlier, "a sleeper" best kept secret around.

I highly reccomend this rig...
Not one one moment's problem in 4 1/2 years of use.

Clay, N9IO
IK0YGJ Rating: 2004-10-29
Great, exp. fer CW Op Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
A great rig, it seems expecially designed for the CW operator.
The built in recorder is very useful in pile-ups, both for recording and playback of cw messages. The rig allows the connection of 2 cw keys, by using the earphone parallel plugs you are able to connect up to 8 cw keys. I currently have 5 keys parallely connected to it, and the rig allows a flexibility in operation which is unmatched.
The built-in keyer is perfect, with all the CW controls at hand and easy to reach.
The DSP and Narrow filters, when used together, allow a very selective signal reception and a very relaxing and confortable copying. As a matter of fact, with this rig I made 20 new countries in few weeks, resolving the problem of having "only" a vertical antenna on the roof.
The ATU is a little bit less efficient than my old TS450, which was able to tune a wider freq range but the 920's tuner is much faster and retains the setting in every portion of the bands, requiring a very rare re-tuning: once you tune the antenna, you forget it forever.
Having a less efficient grounding confuses a little bit the ATU, but this is an installation problem, not a rig one.
I am only unsatisfied about the quality of the internal loudspeaker, but for a CW op this is quite unuseful, since I always use the earphones.
K3ICH Rating: 2004-08-12
Great Value Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The fix for filter blow-by is to install the Inrad cascade filter board. You won't believe you're listening to the same radio. I agree completely with the previous evaluation and won't repeat it here. For what the 920's go for on the used market these days, it is a real "sleeper" and probably the best bang-for-the-buck out there.
N4KZ Rating: 2004-08-11
Solid HF performer Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought this transceiver used after using one several months ago at a station in the Caribbean. I was that impressed. It's an attractive radio with great audio on both receive and transmit.

The DSP is very good and produces fewer noise reduction artifacts than my Icom IC-746. Plus, the 920 has none of that down-in-the-barrel sound I get from my 746's DSP. The 746 notch filter produces a strong barrel-effect while the Yaesu doesn't. The 746 is no slouch of a rig -- I love mine -- but the 920 has a hotter receiver. The 920's DSP is clearly the better of the two making it easier for me to DX on 40 SSB.

The 920 has some nice features I've not had before, e.g. DVR, shuttle jog, CW tuning meter, linear amp pulse tuning, etc.

But I am disappointed with blow-by from my newly installed CW filter. I put the Inrad 400 Hz filter
in the radio and was dismayed to hear so much blow-by. I get very little from my IC-746. I've had a bunch of HF rigs over my 35 years on the air and have seldom heard so much blow-by. After the initial shock wore off, I got online and discovered that this is apparently a design deficiency in the 920. It's no reflection on the Inrad filter. It would have done the same with the Yaesu filter too. I did discover and online comments confirmed that turning on the DSP makes the blow-by all but completely disappear so I am a happy camper again.

The Yaesu 2.4 KHz crystal filter is too wide. When a strong SSB station is nearby, chances are I will hear it. So I plan to install the Inrad 2.1 KHz SSB filter too. I understand that it tightens up the front end considerably.

I love to work SSB DX split frequency on 40 meters and the separate tuning knob for the B VFO makes working split SO MUCH easier. That feature in itself, for me, makes this a great radio despite the CW flaw which does irk me -- but the fix (turning on the DSP) is easy enough.

I'm very tempted to buy more Inrad filters and cascade them for top-notch performance but I hesitate to spend so much money for filters on a used radio. You never recoup the cost of such items when selling the radio later.

Anyway, I love the FT-920. I have been on the fence on whether to give it a 5/5 rating or a 4/5. But, all in all, the good far outweighs the bad so it's a 5/5 for me.