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
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:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K5OUI Rating: 2017-10-02
Good Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought the FT 991 as they were being closed out by all the dealers. Got a very good deal with all the rebates. The 991A has the real time scope but I really don't feel like I missed out. I am brand new to amateur radio and this was my first purchase.

I have been very happy, no major issues, as I have worked both VHF/UHF and HF with great success. I use HRD and there have been a couple of times I had to do a hard reset because my wattage output seem to lock on a specific value, but I think it is more of an issue with HRD and CAT software.

I have been real happy working digital and all the menu setup options available. It took some googling to figure them out but very flexible on my needs once I understood where to set all the values.

All-in-all I would buy this radio again with no regrets.
HA5X Rating: 2017-09-11
a great second radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought the FT991 to replace my FT897 as my travel radio. I needed a transceiver that is small enough to fit my carry-on suitcase, yet big enough to remain operable. After having spent a few days reading reviews and watching youtube videos, I decided to go for an FT991 (non-A version) from my shortlist. Reasons? a) It cost half a radio less than the new A version or the IC7300 b) 2m + 70cm c) somewhat smaller dimensions and less weight than the IC7300 that did matter on the flight I was just preparing for.

I used the radio extensively from a DX location, working some real pileups as well as some contests. 90+% of my experience is CW, so I cannot say too much about other modes, but people seem to hear and understand me on SSB as well :)

My experience with the TCVR so far is favourable than not:

1) I like the receiver. I believe (no real tests) that it has less noise than my IC74400 (IC746Pro). From the DX QTH I heard many real QRP stations surprisingly clearly and at home I was surprised to have way less noise than what I am used to. DSP filters also work great.

2) Ergonomy. For me this is perhaps the most important quality as I usually just work contests, hunt DX and manage pileups so I usually have no time to dig into menus to set something simple. In this respect the radio is a quantum leap from the FT897. The touchscreen and the dedicated VFO A/B, SPLIT etc. buttons make handling of the radio way easier. I am not fully happy though, the display has 10+ screens/pages and although I tend to use about two only most of the time, it would be much more convenient if the operator could customise the arrangement of buttons as there are some buttons that I hardly ever use, while the ones I do use are scattered across these 10 screens. Also, the physical buttons should be made customisable, I would be happy to sacrifice memory-related buttons to things like filters, etc. Would Yaesu put the firmware into the public domain, I believe we would see a lot of alternatives from HAMs who actually use the radio. For example, I would for instance enjoy a tune button, which would reduce temporarily reduce the power and send a carrier for manual tuning.

3) USB. Compared to the FT897 (and my IC746Pro) I love that the radio has a USB port, so you only need one single USB cable and enjoy CAT control as well as a soundcard interface. A true advantage if you use the radio for travels so you save on the weight of boxes and cables! CAT control works very well compared to the FT897, and using the antenna tuner does not make you lose CAT control.

4) Looks. Well, I love the design, a true ornament of the desk :) I know many people will just laugh at the LCD saying "why you need a colour TV on a TCVR", but I love having it, it looks great and colours help decoding the information presented to you. Another feature I love is that the front panel buttons are back-lit. As I usually work at night while the family is sleeping in the same room, it is a FANTASTIC feature.

All in all, for the reduced bargain price I paid it is a very good transceiver for travels and as a second radio for the shack. It is lightyears better from all aspects than the FT897 it got to replace. The only thing I miss from the feature set of the FT897 is its (optional) internal power supply (FP30).

To say one negative. I am not 100% confident with the one multi-function knob. Not only because it is not always comfortable, but also because you tend to use it for everything so I am afraid it will not last forever. Time will tell.
WB4CNL Rating: 2017-09-03
Great Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just got the FT-991A love it great reports on HF SSB, love the C4FM on VHF and UHF.
K4TB Rating: 2017-07-29
The Complete Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After lightning fried my FT-991 I just had to have the FT-991A. The addition of real-time simultaneous audio and spectrum display to the basic FT-991 design makes the FT-991A the most complete radio on the market. My FT-991A does everything I want in a radio and is particularly useful on the VHF and UHF bands, which is where I primarily use it. I also have an IC-7600 which is my primary HF rig, but the FT-991A is just as sensitive, selective, and adjustable on the HF bands as the IC-7600. The only real advantages of the Icom are the better antenna tuner, the fixed, full band spectrum display, and the antenna tuner range. The FT-991A is the most complete HF/VHF/UHF radio on the market, and if I could only own one radio, it would be the FT-991A.

Earlier 5-star review posted by K4TB on 2016-02-14

This is my second update to my original review. I've owned an FT-991 for two months now. In my first update I mentioned that I thought there was some receive audio distortion in CW modes. It turned out to be magnetically induced by my power supply. After remedying that I found the FT-991’s receive audio is excellent – as good as I’ve ever heard from a radio. I mean that in terms of communications quality (i.e. “intelligibility” vs. “studio” quality). Communications quality is the key to a good ham radio in my opinion.

I am totally satisfied with the radio so I still rate it a 5. It is an outstanding value for the money. Here is the rest of my original review:

I did update the firmware, and I loaded memories using the RT Systems software, all of which was straightforward. The USB PC/radio interface for programming, audio and control was easy to configure. Other than a bit of an initial learning curve the radio is easy to use. That said, it most definitely takes a few steps to go from chasing DX on CW on the HF bands, to scanning local repeaters on the VHF and UHF bands, primarily because it's a small radio without many buttons or knobs so a lot of things must be configured by the touch screen. Once configured, there doesn't appear to be any operation the radio can't handle. I haven't really tried the digital modes.

I use a simple 33' vertical antenna on 80 - 6 meters that is matched by an LDG RT-100 remote tuner. To load up, I key the FT-991 until the LDG tuner settles to under 2:1 SWR (usually 1.5:1 or less), then I turn off the LDG (which saves the tune position) and turn on the FT-991's tuner to tweak the SWR down to 1:1. All that works just fine, even when I've sometimes tuned at full power.

I also own an FT-897D and an Icom 7600 so I can compare the pluses and minuses of the 3 radios. While the FT-897 is simpler to use and my preferred "go bag" radio due to its ruggedness and handing both AC and DC power in the same box, the FT-991 is much better at receiving and better sounding. Meanwhile, the FT-991 comes close to the audio quality of the Icom 7600 but the 7600 is my choice for DX chasing due to the dual watch receiver function and more buttons. Having more buttons saves time over stepping through menus as with the FT-991.

I was impressed when using the FT-991 spectrum scope to monitor a satellite downlink band; it helped me to quickly find some downlink signals. I've never had a VHF/UHF radio with as good of receiver quality and features as the FT-991. Also, it is evident from use that the Yaesu engineers did a very nice job in attempting to make the menu system as fluid and easy as possible.

The FT-991 is a good complement to my station. It provides the ability to monitor and operate on different bands when using my other radios at the same time.
KN6Q Rating: 2017-07-28
A great deal Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased my FT-991 in January of 2016. I don't get to play radio nearly as much as I would like, but on this radio I've made 1200+ QSOs earned WAS, and have worked 75 different countries toward DXCC. According to Club Log about 70% of my contacts have been digital (using the built in Soundcard on the 991, which is also handy for Winlink and APRS on VHF/UHF) and 30% SSB. The vast majority have been using a end-fed wire antenna about 30 feet up.

What I think is misunderstood is that the FT-991 is close cousin of FTDX-1200 and FTDX-3000. The DSP/DNR and all the filters from them are there, and you can pull signals out of the dirt like nobody's business. I have an MFJ transmit/receive splitter that I toggle sending the receive to an SDRPlay -- after I click a signal on the waterfall I almost always switch the SDR off and listen to the audio on the radio because I can filter out the noise much better. The SDR applications are getting better, but still can't match it.

I have my FT-991 mounted in a Go-Box and take it camping with me, field day, etc. I don't plan on upgrading it to the "A" because I honestly don't think much of the waterfall (and I use my SDRPlay anyway).

The touchscreen isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I'm fine with it. You can customize the softkeys at the bottom and put function items that you need frequently down there.

When the "A" version came out, Yaesu had firesale on the original version and you could get a new one for $850. Used ones are now always less than that. To me, this is a steal - you are getting FTDX-1200 plus VHF/UHF plus a built in SCU-17 soundcard interface for the price of an entry level radio.

Earlier 2-star review posted by KN6Q on 2016-02-01

I bought a FT-991 at HRO last Thursday (1/28), hoping to get it on the air in time for Winter Field Day. Serial number starts with 5K200XXX.

I hooked everything up, turned the radio on and changed the band to 40M, turned the transmit power to down to 10 Watts to tune it and keyed up the mic and - nothing.

I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, or didn't understand the display, so after fiddling for a while on other HF bands I finally tried 2M - and it worked fine.

So then I hooked up a dummy load to the radio, and it was still not transmitting - it dawned on me I wasn't crazy, but this radio was bad out of the box.

So, not being able to get back to HRO until Monday (today), I decided to try the receive and USB Sound/CAT controls. I really do like the radio, the DNR is awesome, the menu system is easy to use, digital with USB (minor nitpick, they don't include a USB cable) works great. Windows 10 automatically installed the drivers.

I got it replaced today at HRO, but I haven't tried the new one yet. I'll review it again. I'm just afraid now (especially considering the other reviews) that even if this one works it's going to eventually go bad. I hope I'm wrong. I don't know what the percentage of bad radios there are, and I know everyone will write a negative review when it doesn't work and not necessarily write a positive review when it's fine.

I just would have thought that the radio has been out long enough that Yaesu would have figured out a fix by now.

K8INA Rating: 2017-07-10
Good Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
While not a GREAT radio, it's good one. At least on par with the much heralded IC-7300 and easier to use. My one complaint isn't with the radio, it's this review site.... many of the low reviews are based on the old 991... can't we get a 991A review list to see how the new one's work compared to the old? I think the review rating would be much higher....
AA3YW Rating: 2017-06-26
Great Little Rig Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Hi All,

Worked field day 2017 with my upgraded FT-991A and it worked flawlessly. Nothing but good signal and audio reports. Worked of 300 contacts at 100W on a 80m G5RV at 30ft and an external MFJ 939Y tuner in our BCARA GOTA station with 3 different operators. Well done Yaesu! This rig is a Keeper.

Dave AA3YW
BCARA President
K1GUY Rating: 2017-06-10
Best Yaesu Small Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I recently bought the 991A after hearing stellar reviews from 3 well-seasoned ham members of my evening net. I have a Yaesu FTDX 3000 and an ICOM 7300. I wanted another smaller radio. I took the leap. I think it's fair to compare the 7300 and 991A, side by side with the same outboard, Fostex studio monitor speakers and with the same and different settings and modes.

After a week or so, of using them side by side, here are my findings:

Clearly, to me and others in the room, the Yaesu had far far superior audio in SSB, even though it's bandwidth maxes out at 3200 wide. The proper use of its unique CONTOUR setting gives a very pleasant sound that is not fatiguing. On the other hand, after listening to the 7300, and even trying to adjust the receive for best sound, with its treble and base settings, the sound was riddled with digital artifacts, sounding harsh and hollow. Noise reduction was clearly superior in the 991A. Winner in SSB quality sound is YAESU 991, by contest.

The width and shift adjustments, and blocking ability, while playing with both radio's IPO's and RF gain and other settings was about clear winner here. I know Sherwood gives the nod to the Icom 7300, however, the Yaesu was not tested at all different IPO settings in this category.

For digital modes, the ICOM has a better scope and also the menus are a bit easier to use....just a bit.

Final analysis, SSB YAESU, Digital modes, ICOM.

Summary: I consider the Yaesu 991A to be the better of the two radios.

I have decided to use the Yaesu for all SSB use and some digital. I am using the Icom solely for digital. The ICOM may not be long for my shack.

All told, the Yaesu 991A seems to be the best value and performs far better than expected. A great, small, even portable radio at a very fair price. It's staying in my shack !
One more thing, did I mention all mode UHF/VHF... To quote another ham, "it's a killer there" Spectacular on sideband as well as FM. I have a Diamond X-300, and now the Yaesu 991A has replaced
my UHF/VHF radio on my desk.

Well done Yaesu, you got it right with the 991A.
AH6DX Rating: 2017-05-17
A definite "keeper" Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Originally had 991, but sold to get 991A mainly for real-time pan adapter. BOTH radios performed/perform above expectations and all reports have been favorable. I also like that both radios have C4FM/Wires-X built in, and the front panel backlighting is great!

Since we have had two of these 991's and give them both a 9+ of 10 overall, it's hard to understand some of the "issues" posted by others.....

Tommy KH6TA
Hawaiian Islands DX Club
South Point, Hawaii
N6PET Rating: 2017-05-08
Worst Yaesu product Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
After 2 years of dozens of firmware updates and bug attempted fixes, this model is by far the buggiest and most unreliable modern transceiver that Yaesu has ever manufactured. First let's address the most common problems that until today still has not been addressed by Yaesu:

1) Finals burning out - reports has been pouring in that a batch of the none A version has cost many customers $$ with unexplained burning out of their finals.

2) Inconsistent power output on HF SSB - can be fixed by restarting the radio but still needs to be addressed.

3) ATU glitch - this has been a problem since conception and until today no fix has been done addressing not only how ATUs has also contributed in burned finals and but also stops working intermittently until reset.

4) ALC Problem and HF PA Issue (2+ years issue):

5) Pre Amp 1 always requires to be on/ IPO not working. Turning this off will make your radio deaf. I compared this with my other 2 HF ( FT450 & IC7300). While a station is coming in at S9+10 on both these radios without any preamps, FT991 has no signal reading and Q2 audio receive of station. Only if you turn on AMP1 that the station can be heard at S7.

6) Inaccurate SWR reading on 70cm and 2m - SWR shoots up when power is over 5W. (ie. 1.3:1 SWR at 5W is 3:1 SWR at 25W)

The lists goes on and on and all you need to do is either YouTube or Google "FT-991 problems" and you will get over 506 thousand search results of articles mentioning problems with this radio. But it does not end there.

The design and UI (User Interface) is badly engineered. Yaesu tries to integrate their old design with modern technology. Instead of making the UI work easier for the user, they made users learn how their engineers want you to use the radio in the most tedious and complicated way. Menu got more complicated or as disorganized as it has always been, and hidden. After weeks of getting used to how the radio is designed, will make you think differently how unconventional and badly designed this radio is.

I bought this radio because of the hype and maybe same reason most of us had - Modern All Band plus Fusion. This is a clear example of quantity vs. quality.

I strongly recommend getting the iCom IC-7300. You will be disgusted with this radio as soon as you get your hands on the 7300. I have both and only use my FT-991 for Fusion and SSB 2m and nothing else.