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Reviews For: Yaesu FT-8900R

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held)

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Review Summary For : Yaesu FT-8900R
Reviews: 171MSRP: 469.95
10M, 6M, 2M & 440Mhz Quad Band Radio with Dual Band Receive.
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VE6BGM Rating: 2023-05-26
Wish the mic plugged into the main body. Still great in 2023 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
2023 and still going. Easy to program in the field. Started programming before RT had their software available. Always manual program new radios so can change when doing public service events. For a radio brought out in early 2000, far ahead of most radios I have used. Great cross band repeat. Only complaint I still have is wish the mic connected to main body and not the head. Still give it a 4+ after all these years of use.

I have had 2 8900s for over 10 years. Used in the heat and -40'C [same as -40'F]. Still strong as ever. With distracted driving now in place, I don't require back lite keys. It is easy to know and feel what each key on the head does without even having to look at it. And the hand held mic can be programmed to do the most common functions one needs as well. No need to even take your eyes off the road to change the parameters that are important to you. Thus can keep your eyes on the road and not the radio. I just hate the fact the mic plugs into the head as the head is almost on my lap every time I use the mic. Oh for it to be plugged into the main body. But that isn't the reason I gave it a 4 out of 5. I have yet to use a radio that I could rate as a 5 out of 5. The 8900 does come very close however.

Earlier 4-star review posted by VE6BGM on 2010-06-23

I have owned 2 x 8900 for over 5 years. I cannot give them a 5, but certainly a 4. Yes, I have had minor problems. One being the microphone connector on the remote head tends to come loose or break so that one has to put another connector on the cord. Or make sure it is seated in correctly. I do not like the mic. Cord attaching directly to the detachable head. One tends to pull on the mic. Cord too much and it will eventually cause the connector to come loose or to separate from the cord. Can get around this by installing an adaptor and extension cord. But then, I don’t know why they don’t connect it directly to the body of the radio and supply an extension cord like ICOM does. The other problem I have seen with the 8900 is that some people turn on the NARROW function and this decreases volume of transmissions. This is the same thing that can happen with any manufacturer’s radio if the settings have been changed by a user. And this has been the most common cause that I have seen with the 8900. I have done it myself, not even knowing that I have left it in NARROW FM mode. There is another problem when switching from cross band repeat. In this case, it is advised to stop the cross band repeat and turn the radio off and back on before transmitting in a non cross band mode. I’m sure the Yahoo 8900 group will have more causes and actions to correct. All manufacturers can have problems. And I have had problems with ICOM and KENWOOD radios. I would just like to see a non company radio tech review these problem radios and come up with a definitive diagnosis. This will tell if it is a user problem or hardware problem.
Earlier 5-star review posted by VE6BGM on 2008-03-16

I think the scanning function has a lot of options. One that I like in particular, is on One Bank Side of the memories, you can set the system to scan ALL frequencies. On the other side I can set it to scan only Preferential Scan. Thus, when it the city, if I do not want to scan out of town repeaters, I can set them up as non Preferential Scan. Then in the Menu, I can set either the left or right side to scan every memory frequency, or either side to scan only Preferential Scan or one side to scan all and the other just Preferential Scan. When I go out on a trip, then, again, I can set this up the same way if desired. Yes if you SKIP a frequency, it SKIPs it on both sides. I would like to see something like the old FT-90R where pushing skip quickly only would skip it until radio turned off. Generally, if I want to set the SKIP memory channel, I WANT it removed from both sides anyhow. If the interference or problem with the memory clears, I can go back to ALL SCAN or PREFERANCE SCAN. I do have radios with Band Scan but never use them anyhow. I find thes Preferential memory system on the FT-8900R just excellent. Programming with a program is required based on the large number of memories. Programming or changing information on a Memory is very easy as well. Have had this radio for 5 years and it is very flexable for my, and probably, most people's use. With lots of memory space, can set up a number of frequencies with, for example different PL, and using Preferential Memory can scan them all the time or only when required. I see no reason to give it a 2 based slowly on memory, as I think the memory system is great!
G0MJW Rating: 2023-05-25
Junk - an unusable interface completely spoils it Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is just so unusable from the front panel it is a joke. The interface is absolutely awful, I mean really bad, even for 2005 it was primitive. Worse than a 1980s VCR. None of the automatic repeater settings work in Europe, every repeater needs individual adjustment. The buttons are just labelled with numbers rather than function, so setting up requires a good memory.

The only way this could be usable is if it were programmed by PC, which is how I suspect most use it, but no software or cable comes with it and it's not easy either. The cloning is flaky at best. Yaesu really lost the usability plot on this one.

N2UBP Rating: 2022-05-06
Not quite as good as it could be. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased my 8900R when they first came out. Could never produce the spec output wattage on 70 cm as measured on the bench into a dummy load even after a trip back to Yaesu under warranty where they replaced alot of its innards. Keeps blowing gnat size diodes on the 70 cm output circuit using a base antenna with good swr. 10 meters produces too narrow a signal even after changing settings in maint mode resulting in everyone telling me my audio is too low. No problems on 2 or 6 meters. Receiver prone to picking up harmonics from public service band transmissions adjacent to ham bands. Probably less of a problem now that public service has migrated to 700 and 800 mhz trunking in my area. Microphone cable insulation disintegrates after 5+ years of home shack use. Same microphone cable failure occurred on 5 other FT-8900R's purchased for use by my ARES/RACES team. Works well on packet Winlink at 9600 baud attached to a KPC-9612+. I've given up on mine because of the blown diode issue. Not enough room in the case to replace that diode with a physically larger diode that can handle the use. My local Elmer expert tech tells me Yaesu may have made an engineering change in that part of the radio later in its life to correct for the problem I am having.
G8UBJ Rating: 2021-09-29
The peak in non digital transceivers Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I recently sold mine to a friend when his FTM-100 died. I can't say more than has already been said about these transceivers. I think the 8900 represents the peak in non digital transceivers, for mobile use there is adequate power, I measured the sensitivity as -120dbm for 10db sinad which is marginally less than later digital transceivers but it doesn't suffer inter-mod issues so I will let you draw your own conclusions on that.

Having sold my original 8900 I thought I would pick up another but it looks like they aren't available in the UK with suppliers offering the TYT and other knock-offs. Fortunately they are still available on HK / Chinese sites. The price including shipping was very competitive and testing shows its in top condition so I'm hoping this lasts the course like its predecessor!
VE7REN Rating: 2020-12-12
bulletproof and practical Time Owned: more than 12 months.
these ft8900 are solid. dual recieve,and great scan speed are a plus for many parameters of this radio to adjust to your liking,its a versatile tool for the radio enthusiast. the overall build is excellent,and the removable faceplate is a plus. only nitpick....the output of the volume could go higher .. in my opinion,but a external speaker solves this problem. nothing bad to say about this radio. i have 2 and 2 ft8800 also. they all perform as they should. ide purchase again.
GW4XXF Rating: 2020-12-12
Compact and versatile Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The detachable front panel is a must for /M but also a real bonus in the shack as the main unit can be tucked out of the way.
A bit of a nuisance that the speaker output is not carried into the front panel to a jack skt.
Any rig without a forward facing speaker really needs an external one anyway.
I agree that the two volume controls are very touchy at the low end.
Some research with the cct dgrm showed pull-up resistors of 22k on the sliders of the DC control pots.
It is R5006 on the right side.
Tiny chip job, easily removed if competent.
Result? Amazingly smooth control of volume!
I'd love to get another of these rigs to save swapping between motorhome and shack.
G1XXV Rating: 2019-02-08
works OK Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Do as I do read the instructions first. The first thing I noticed, for some odd reason the Antenna plug is different on the European Version to the American version. The European version requires a type N plug. While the American version needs a PL259. Since both antenna plugs look the same at a glance using the wrong plug could cause damage. It's really easy to set up, however I knocked a point of the rating score as mine had a rather tight spot on the antenna plug making it appear the antenna was fully plugged in. Unless it is fully home there is no reception. The VHF and UHF bands appear to be working fine. Not yet tried the 29 or 50 mhz bands so can't comment on those. Lack of a mobile antenna for those bands being the reason.
VE6OAK Rating: 2018-11-28
Definitely not "plug and play" Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have been a long time Yaesu customer,...But...this one feels like a trial run of something with great potential. Main issues:
- speaker is very poor and mic cord has a telephone type jack.
- volume control too sensitive, forever turning it up or down. Needs index mark applied.
- squelch control hidden behind volume, very hard to use. Worse when trying to drive.
- dual function upper knobs have “press momentarily” or “press 1/2second” functions!!!!
- programming channels is fine, but anything beyond (left/right sides, hyper memory, menu system) will frustrate to the point where you WILL buy software to clone. I assume this will go smoothly. Been using just left side for now.
- I will likely never use the 10 meter FM.

So, why a good rating? With external speaker, transmit/receive functions are very good. Range of frequencies is attractive and it likely will remain in the ‘shack’. Fan seems to come on at strange times but is relatively quiet. Great receive on aircraft traffic(AM) 90 miles away on just VHF antenna. A lot of radio in a very small package. Don’t know how they could have done it better.
NG2F Rating: 2018-09-28
Dud. Yaesu won't replace. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I hesitate to give out 0's anywhere, but Yaesu has left me with no choice. I bought an FT8900R more than two months ago. A week after purchasing it, I began getting reports that my audio was very low and my signal was in/out, even on repeaters very close to me.

I opened a ticket with Yaesu explaining the problem (at first I thought it was a relay.

Yaesu had my radio, which I had just purchased around a week before contacting them, and claimed that it was all up to specs. How I love intermittent problems. They called and said they could find nothing wrong with it, so I agreed to have it shipped back to me, assuming it was something I had done.

It arrived a week later and it still had the same problem. I called Yaesu and opened another ticket, and sent my FT-8900R back to them immediately.

A week or so later I get an email from Tim Factor telling me that the radio was up to Yaesu specs. I wasn't satisfied, as it was obviously an intermittent problem. It was still getting me crappy reports on UHF.

Finally, after around a week of hemming and hawing, Mr. Factor agreed to send me out a loaner to try it. Well, the loaner worked fine. My assumption? That they would send me a new radio, as I couldn't duplicate the problem.

Nope. They insist that there is no problem with the radio I paid good money for, which I had tried in my car, at friends' shacks, all power setting, full reset, still with the same problem.

I have been a Yaesu man for more than 25 years, preferring it to all other makes, and this - the first time I have a problem - is on the verge of losing me as a customer forever. Brand loyalty can only go so far.

My hope is that they'll let me keep the loaner that works perfectly and keep mine. Not a chance.

So, here I am with a Yaesu rig that doesn't work properly on UHF. I bought it because it was a quad-bander. I guess they feel I should just be happy with a tri-bander.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, Yaesu. I won't likely buy a Yaesu product again.

The last thing I'll say is that after more than two months without my radio, and no remedy offered by Yaesu, I've had an Intent to Sue letter drafted by my lawyer. I feel really sick over it, but I didn't pay for a radio that doesn't do what it says on the box.
KC9OEK Rating: 2017-01-12
nice enough quad band w/X-band repeat Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I only needed a dual-band radio (so, for me, the quad-band is a waste) with x-band repeat. The radio is easy to setup and use and quite compact. As many have noted, the knobs are small and do not inspire confidence since they wobble a lot. The transmit audio is very good - although the receive is pretty lousy with the small poor quality speaker. The speakers on my other Yaesu mobiles are MUCH better, so I don't understand what happened here. I have a lot of long QSO's and this radio stays cool (even if the fan is annoying). It does what I need it to do - but if I did not want xband repeat I would have selected a different radio; preferably something further up the Yaesu food chain.