Manager


Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

Reviews For: Yaesu FT-991/991A

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - not 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-991/991A
Reviews: 169MSRP: 1699.95
Description:
The FT-991 is the next generation in all mode, all band MF/HF/VHF/UHF
transceiver with C4FM (System Fusion) Digital capability. The FT-991
includes multi-mode operation on CW, AM, FM, SSB, and Digital Modes
(Packet, PSK31, RTTY and C4FM), with 100 Watts of HF/50mhz Capability
(50 Watts VHF/UHF). High-resolution full color 3.5" TFT Touch panel for
superior operability and visibility, High Speed Spectrum scope with ASC
(Automatic Spectrum-scope control) built right in. Internal High Speed
Automatic Antenna Tuner included in the package.
Product is in production
More Info: http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=102&encProdID=D24F60F33816ED8BE5568D7E2B5E2131&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
54.41694
AE5GG Rating: 2016-03-28
Love it!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've read most of the postings on the FT-991 and really thought hard about whether or not to purchase one. But then I looked at my shack and realized that I've had Yaesu products since the 70's and never had a Yaesu rig I didn't like (nor have I ever let go of one)!

So here are the benefits and my suggestions for your consideration:

1) I don't seem to have any issues with the menu system, in fact it's far easier to configure than I ever thought.

2) If you own Ham Radio Deluxe logging software than be sure to connect this rig to your PC using the USB port because it opens a DREAM world of options for controlling your radio. If you're like me and you have another rig connected to HRD, no worries, you can add it separately and select which radio you're using when starting up HRD! So, again, if you don't like to use the touch screen on the rig, no sweat - use HRD's rig control and have a ball!

3) I did purchase the FH-2 option (remote keypad) thinking that I could punch in frequencies without having to lean over my desk...bummer - all it really seems to do is various prerecorded voice / data messages. Probably could have saved $95 on that one...

4) I operated this barefoot on just about every band from 80m to 70cm and, unprompted, I received many glowing comments about the audio...even though I was using the out of the box hand mic!

5) I have had zero issues with the output power that others have reported (See also #1 below on items of concern). I ran it into my dummy load and tested each band on multiple modes, it operated on each band and mode as published.

6) Why pick Yaesu's Fusion over Icom's D-Star? VERY simple answer...first, I did an analysis of the number of Fusion vs. D-Star repeaters in my area (Dallas/Ft Worth) and Fusion far exceeded D-Star. Second, all Fusion rigs automatically detect the repeater's output and switch to the appropriate mode (e.g. if it's digital on one repeater it will change to digital. Change to an analog repeater and the radio will auto change to analog...GREAT when you're mobile!)

7) I do like how Yaesu allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the VFO by turning the outer skirt. You can go from "easy fly" to an increasingly harder turn (fully adjustable). So for those that hit it accidentally too often, perhaps you just need to adjust it to the harder turn...

8) I LOVE that you can change the TFT screen colors. So many manufacturers use colors that actually bother me (like yellow...). I prefer the default blue, but they have orange, light blue and so many other choices - REALLY nice touch!

A suggestion for Yaesu? Allow us the option of having the screen time out (turn off) so that when we're monitoring for hours we don't have to worry about any screen burn in). Seems like a super easy adjustment in the config software.

9) This radio is a DREAM - it's small enough to be portable, yet large enough to be a good base station. The DC power chord is the longest I have ever seen on any radio I've ever purchased - EXCELLENT job Yaesu!

10) My thanks to Richard at Ham Radio Outlet in Plano. He owned the 991 for several months now and went on and on about how great it is as a mobile rig. Then he showed me how compact it was in his vehicle. It really made a difference to me as I could actually see how useful this rig could be portable or as a base.

11) I have to admit I like the simple corny stuff...you can program in your call which displays when you power up and you can even set how long it displays...cool!

12) The spectrum analysis was great! I could easily see adjacent signals and decide to move to them if I got bored with whatever I was listening to.

13) The received audio is, as many have said, incredible! The automatic noise reduction and auto notch filter are amazing! The multilevel preamp - took signals from an S-8 to 30+

14) Okay, admittedly I didn't want to leave with an unlucky 13 items, so my 14th is this...this radio is of high quality in look and feel. While some mfg's are junking out their equipment or using cheap feeling knobs, this is a nice black rig with metal knobs (vs. plastic etc.) I'm super proud to have it as part of my collection!

What have I noticed that puts a question in my mind?

1) When you **initially** key up in AM or SSB it slightly exceeds the power setting you have set (meaning it pops up several watts then settles back to your setting). This is normally not an issue unless you're running it into an amp...in which case it could cause you to input too much power into the amp thus overdriving it. But again, it's only for about a second or so.

2) I did find myself knocking the tuning knob from time to time as I used the buttons alongside of it, but honestly it was very minimal and, if you're generally clumsy, they have a very handy "LOCK" button that is away from the main tuning knob that you can press - bingo, problem is now eliminated.

In summary, In reading the early reviews I think of how complex our radios are today and just like a new car model, sometimes you have to work out the kinks. Well, this rig had all the latest updates out of the box and I didn't run into any of the other reported issues. Furthermore, it looks and feels like a very high end, finely made, automobile.

Excellent work Yaesu!
W9BJS Rating: 2016-03-28
What a Nice Radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I have been out of the hobby since 1983. That being said, I bought this unit October/ November 2015, from HRO.
To be noted their sales / technical department were very helpful in the purchase and support of this radio, they had even sent me a replacement radio for my issue, which I promptly returned to them.
The Yeasu Technical Engineering phone help,although direct and responsive, were also of great benefit.
The only problem that I have had with the unit was due to ignorance on my part.
That being said, I run this radio with a YT-1200 antenna tuner out to a Butternut HF9V ground mounted vertical with 20 35 foot radials.
I have read several reviews, on this site, and not being an expert, can honestly say, this is a fine unit for re-entry back into Amateur Radio.
I have made contacts to Argentina (20m) and Hawaii (10m), with little effort, from my back yard, along the central Indiana/Michigan border.
I am still learning the radio and its many features, and there is at least one Looong review on this site that is very helpful.
I try to keep my unit updated with the latest firmware, you have to go look for it, whereas Yeasu could e-mail their customers, when updates are available..
I suppose that one could pick the unit apart, but for the money, I suppose that this box is the best bang for the buck for a new amateur radio operator, who wants most all of it in one box.
To date my work has been mostly phone work.
The unit boasts 160 through 6 Meters coverage, as well as 2m and 70cm. In addition to the normal Aircraft and weather frequencies to listen on.
I am fortunate I suppose, like I said, I have not had any problems other than the one that was self imposed.
I have had no Finals issues and the like, that others have had.
Have a great day and enjoy your new radio.
N9TA Rating: 2016-03-26
Not for me!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I don't normally leave negative reviews on things, but this radio will be the exception. First the good> The Audio is good and strong, the receiver seems fine, and the rig comes with lots of bells and whistles. Now the BAD> The ergonomics are horrible and the rig is smaller than the videos and pictures I saw made me think it was. Most of the buttons are positioned around the main tuning knob....which means any time you push a button you also knock the rig off frequency. To enter a station into memory you tune the station...push the A>M button...move your hand past the main tuning knob to the Multi-select knob and select the memory slot you want the station to occupy...and then move your hand back past the main tuning knob to hold in the A>M button for one second...and of course that's when you notice you've bumped the main tuning knob away from the actual frequency you wanted to store to begin with. Wanna check to see if the Noise Blanker is on??? Push the Function button and page through 6 or 8 pages of functions to find out. ACKKKK!!! I will gladly pay the 15% restocking fee to dump this &*%$ !!!
VK2FSTU Rating: 2016-03-19
Brilliant Rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Well, finally have a radio that is so good with the audio my poor old ears can now hear what is going on. What a fantastic rig, has everything I need on a radio and more. Excellent in audio, output (all others say I sound great), and what a great internal tuner.
VK3SIR Rating: 2016-03-02
Outstanding !! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Living in a high-noise urban environment in a Unit in Metropolitan Melbourne (City Pop. 4M) means a VERY high noise... Compared to the FT-897D workhorse, the sensitivity of the receiver and 2 front-end amplifiers is beyond outstanding!

Just as a suggestion, ensure that the latest firmware is applied to the radio as there are considerable enhancements over the stock firmware.

I have had some outstanding Tx reports from the device on SSB as well - although the MH-36 Microphone that I also had needed the "plastic blocker" between the electret and the outer housing removed in order to gain reasonable reports with this mic.

I find, as many do, the Waterfall a little disappointing; A tap at the IF into a single device as simple as a Softrock in technology would have overcome this issue.... But the way it has been implemented with a sample every so on (and a slight upset to the Rx) is a more than acceptable way of achieving this.

Programming is extremely easy - but made a real snap using the RT Systems FT-991 Programmer. The best US25 I have spent in a while.

Overall... An Excellent Radio from a fantastic heritage. Its just a shame that some on these forums have been dismissing the radio due to a poor experiencer with Finals. I would suggest updates are the key to this experience.
VE3TCV Rating: 2016-02-22
Best field day/portable rig out there Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I currently own a Yaesu FTDX-3000 and was looking for a field day/portable rig with the smallest footprint, the FT-991 was it! It was a toss up between the FT-991. Icom 7100 or wait for the new unreleased Icom 7300. I own a Yaesu Quadra amplifier so I preferred the FT-991 to keep the connections simple, the radio also has VHF/UHF and a decent frequency receive range that comes close to most scanners!

The FT-991 is not that small but it is small enough for portable use, it may not be the best choice for backpacking but I can see it being a great fit for field day, lighthouse events and dxpeditions. I installed mine in a Gator GR-4S 15in deep case using the optional mobile mounting bracket. There was plenty of room available for a switching P/S, speaker and power connectors. The whole case weight about 25lbs and could also be brought on board flights as a carry on piece of luggage.

How does the radio work? Well, on SSB the DSP is great, it blows away the FT-857 and FT-897, I also found the DSP was actually too strong even on the lowest level, the latest DSP firmware update seems to have resolved this by weakening it a little. It is still not as nice as the DSP on the FTDX-3000 but it is pretty close, for example on the FTDX-3000 my DSP on level 6 is comparable to the FT-991 DSP level 2 or 3. Most of the time I have the level set to #2 as anything higher starts to create a fishbowl effect.

SSB use it pretty straight forward the microphone EQ is the same as the FTDX-3000 and the processor is just about the same as well, the transmit audio sounds fantastic and is highly customizable to whatever microphone you are using. The internal antenna turner is not a miracle worker but it does tune most antennas up to a 3:1 SWR pretty effectively.

This radio shines with digital modes, the built in USB sound-card means that you no longer require any type of Signalink or Rigblaster devices, you simply connect the radio to your computer with the USB cable. The USB cable provides two com ports, one is for CAT data and the other for PTT functionality. The USB connection also creates a microphone and speaker for digital mode software to operate. I have successfully configured the FT-991 to work with Omnirig, Log4OM, Fldigi, N1MM and JT65-HF-HB9HQX-Edition. If anyone needs assistance in setting up any of these applications please let me know via QRZ email.

VHF/UHF and C4FM use is excellent, RX audio is crystal clear even with the built in speaker. TX audio reports are all excellent. I have only tested Wires-X a couple of times and this seems to work as it should, I presume many more Wires-X repeaters will start to come online shortly.

Interfacing the radio to an amplifier is pretty straightforward, I have mine connected to my Yaesu Quadra using the same interface cables that I was using on my FT-857.

So what are the radio's downfalls? Well there are a few and I will do my best to detail them:

- Touchscreen madness: Almost all of the radios features need to be reached through the touchscreen, I understand this is they it has to be to keep the radio size down a minimum and for the most part this would be fine especially on SSB mode. But when it comes to the digital modes and you like to zoom into a particular signal it is a bit tricky and time consuming to use the shift/width features in the menu. Also, when the radio is in transmit mode you can only adjust the feature that is selected, so for example if you have TX power selected you will not able to feather the MIC gain up/down. Once you get use to this it will not be much of a problem however you should expect a bit of a learning curve.

- Antenna jack: There is only one antenna jack for HF, at first this bothered me somewhat but if you want a smaller radio you need to leave some stuff out. An $80 Alpha Delta antenna switch solved the problem here for me, I even mounted it in my portable case.

- Memories: 100 memory channels may not be enough for this radio, I quickly filled this up as I have HF digital modem frequencies, Air band and repeaters. Many people would like to have some other frequencies such as weather, AM/FM radio, police, fire etc. The Icom 7100 has 500 memory channels, this would have been a perfect amount for this radio as well.

I highly recommend purchasing the FT-991 radio programming software by RT-Systems for this this radio, it is a lifesaver in backing up all of your radio menu settings and memories. It also makes programming the radio a breeze.

Final thoughts:
Would I replace my FTDX-3000 with this radio? No! But it is a worthy radio for it's size and probably the best band for the buck radio available at the moment. It is perfect for portable use, field day, dxpeditions and probably on par if not better than many of the current big metal rigs out there.

Just think about it, all you would need for field day with this radio is a power supply, laptop and a USB cable. An antenna would be nice too. :)

WP3TQ Rating: 2016-02-22
So Far outstanding shack in the box Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
For my first review I owned the 991 about 2 1/2 weeks an man I got to say for my own first new radio it's awesome. While I havE only tried 10m, 2m, ssb, FM, c4fm, and Am.
Here's what I've done since it arrived
1.where I live can't have an outdoor antenna and I wasn't gonna put it in the mobile.
2 got brave and built my own Antennas, 1/4 wave 2m at 45degree + side down 1.1 swr indoor table top. For 10m 1/2 wave dipole 1:1 mfj balun 1:6 swr tuned nicely with internal tuner to 1 flat about 5 secs flat
3. Talked on local 2m repeater 5watts great audio full quiet on the repeater
4. This is where I almost fell of my chair on 10m dipole strung up in my bedroom 25 watts made a great 5/7 to Puerto Rico from my QTH In NC that was also had 3 contacts to Puerto Rico one after the other not even in my mobile with 10m setup and 100 watts did I get out so fast and easy
Am On dummy load and to sdr and sdrsharp sounds great.
Forgot to mention I did read about all the problems and was doubtful but no Regrets great radio

FIRST THing I did do as soon as i opened the box was the Feb 3 2016 firmware updates.
VO1OE Rating: 2016-02-18
bad start from the get go Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
got the radio dec 27th, and was using it for the c4fm 2m/440....in the process of migrating the ft-857 to car and then making the 991 the permanent shack radio I noticed I wasnt making any contacts, and I noticed the modulation wasnt peaking. Further investigation and back and forth from my supplier and yaesu and 5 hours of trouble shooting updating back and forth the final results were:

on 3.4Mhz with power at 100w set and meter on PO...I show 10W
on 7Mhz with power at 100w set and meter on PO...I show 40W
on 14Mhz with power at 100w set and meter on PO...I show 70W
on 18Mhz with power at 100w set and meter on PO...I show 80W
on 21Mhz with power at 100w set and meter on PO...I show 60W
on 24Mhz with power at 100w set and meter on PO...I show 75W
on 28Mhz with power at 100w set and meter on PO...I show 90W

144 & 440 were fine with 50w output...

now I have to spend $100 to ship the brand new radio back and hopefully dont get another lemon..(assuming they will replace rather than fix)....impressed I am not. Kudo's to jeff at radioworld for being quick replying to my asking for help and quick responses in the troubleshooting
W3M0GOC Rating: 2016-02-18
Great bang for the buck! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had the FT-991 for 3 days now. It's a solid 5 in my book.

Here's why.

My budget was originally around $1000 for a "shack in a box" style radio. Just as the money became available to me, Yaesu removed most of the rebates, putting the price back up to almost $1500. Also, the power transistor issue made me have doubts.

Time for a rethink. So, I bought the Icom IC-7100. This was a mistake for me, for several reasons. D-Star is not prevalent in my area, and even with a high gain yagi I couldn't reliably hit the local D-Star repeater from 30 miles away. D-Star also requires registration, and is quite complex to setup when not used to it, and even more difficult to use when you can't get a reliable repeater connection. Further, when working HF I was hitting the same low power SSB output that others have complained of. As most of my time is spent on HF, this was unacceptable. I spoke to quite a few local hams who told me that this was a known issue, and that the FT-991 output transistor issues had been resolved now. So the radio was returned, and swapped for the FT-991, with an additional $250 added into the mix.

Setup straight out of the box is easy. Almost, plug and play. The screen is clear and well colored. The touchscreen works. The Menus are clear an concise, and the manual actually tells you how to do things. The quick access menus allow you to put your favorite menu items close at hand to suit your preferences.

The receiver is amazing in comparison to the FT-857D, and the TS-2000 that I used to have, and similar to the IC-7100. Audio quality for the money is amazing. Listening to 40m AM hams, the richness of sound is breathtaking. The mic seems to suit my voice, and I get good audio reports, and that's without playing with the audio processing module, or even turning it on.

15 types of noise reduction....filtering....I could go on.

It puts our a solid 100W, just like it's supposed to. The autotuner is a typical minimal manuafacturer effort, but it tries to get a match.

My QTH antenna setup is not ideal. The IC-7100 struggled to get a signal out. Within 3 hours with the FT-991 at home I had multiple HF QSO's. At the local club site with an 80m loop and the FT-991 I've already worked Europe, Cuba, and French Guiana. I never had a single HF QSO with the IC-7100 at either the club site, or at home.

C4FM, quite simply, works. There are lots of Fusion repeaters here, and no registration required. Simple to use, and reliable.

One small complaint.... No USB cable, and no CAT/Data cable plugs, as per years gone by. For the $5 or $10 it would cost Yaesu to add them into the box it smacks of cost cutting.

I haven't tried the digital modes (PSK31 et al) yet, but I'm told it's simple to setup. So, I'll report on that another time.

Re-reading this review, it sounds like an Icom bashing session, and it isn't meant to be. Trust me, I could have been scathing about the apparent misinformation (being told that the new firmware fixes the low power output issue prior to purchase, and then denying it once I've actually bought the radio).

Yes, Yaesu brought the FT-991 to market too soon. They too had issues. But, they 'owned them', and the issues are now resolved. Now, it's brilliant!!

I just hope that Yaesu have learned their lesson in terms of real world product testing.
PE2CJ Rating: 2016-02-15
Great radio (after mods) Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The FT-991 is a leap forward comparing to the FT-897D. SQL and RG Gain opertion is much easier than at the FT-897(D). The DNR is extremely good!

There was unfortunately some AM audio trouble. I heared more HAM's about this problem. The transmitted AM audio sounded bad. This can be fixed simple. The AM carrier level should be adjusted in the service menu described here: http://www.amateurtele.com/index.php?artikel=168&hlk=en&id=#752

After the adjustment of the AM carrier level, the radio is great! I owned the FT-817, FT-857, FT-897D and FT-450. Now I'm the proud owner of a FT-2000 and the FT-991. I like the built in clock of the FT-991. The display is large enough and very clear. The audio and data over USB is a big plus next to the "standard" RS232 port. The voice keyer is also a nice feature I liked already on the FT-2000. The FT-991 is a well tought design. The three second mute possibility on the power button is one of the clever additions to the design.