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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
KG6JFN Rating: 2005-03-11
At the top of the heap! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Yaesu has done it again! The FT-8900R remains versatile and functional after two years of service. Yaesu products have always been known for functionality and ease of operation. The menu system is as simple as one two three. Push the center function button rotate the knob to select the desired setting, push the dial in, set the function, then push the dial when done and push the center function button to get back to VFO or MEM operation. Easy to read and understand acronyms (Abbreviations) of each function are readily accessible.

The cross band repeat function is possibly the easiest I have ever used. After you have chosen your desired frequencies and tone settings, go to the menu. Rotate the dial until you see X-RPT, then push the dial in two times and it’s on,.. It even gives the “Ta Dah” Sound! To turn the repeat function off, push the center function button and you are back to normal operation.

As good as the FT-8900R is, there are some drawbacks to the radio that must be noted. First of all this is a quad band radio (10m / 6m / 2m and 70cm) but there is only one antenna output (SO-239) for all four bands. Sure you could obtain a Quad band antenna, but you will be sacrificing performance over convenience. Not to mention most hams prefer horizontal operation on 10 & 6 meters, as opposed to omni directional. This is more feasible for mobile applications where performance is expected to be minimal with a quad band omni antenna. If you are considering using the radio as a base station, an external duplexer will cure the problem but expect to pay in the neighborhood of $100.00 for a new one. Trying to find a used one (On Ebay, QTH, QRZ, ARRL, that separates 10m & 6m from 2m & 70cm is next to impossible.

Feedback on Audio! Why Yaesu did it to their stock microphones I have not a clue. For those of you that are like me, and do not yell into your microphone, you are going to get some negative audio reports. Yaesu has put a solid plastic disk in front of the microphone element, which makes light talkers hard to understand as they are very quiet. To ease this problem, I disassembled the microphone and removed the disk. Additionally only two of those holes you see on the front of the Mic. are open,… one is sealed up. So I heated up a small diameter safety pin with a pen torch and opened up the third hole. When reassembling the mic, I included a small piece of cotton that I flattened to use as a simple “Pop Filter”.

For the advanced user you can dig into the manufactures menu and reset the audio deviation. Mine is set at DEV 14 because I usually talk in a quiet whisper and need the added gain. To access this menu go to and look up the procedure if you are having additional audio problems after the microphone modification. Be doubly sure to write down the manufacturers original settings before you start tweaking the dial and twisting the knobs. Playing with these settings can and will destroy the radio later on if not sooner, if you are not absolutely positive that you have the correct menu setting.

Crossed up in X-RPT Mode! I know that I just got done raving about how great the cross band repeat on the FT-8900R is but there is one problem that may be encountered. While coming out of cross band repeat and back to normal operation sometimes the radio transmits noise along with your audio. The only way to describe the noise is that it sounds similar to the noise from your television when it can not find a station, only not as loud. To cure the problem, just turn the radio off for a few seconds and then turn it back on. Note that I have only encountered this problem a handful of times in the two years that I have owned the radio, but it should be noted.

The Setup, By KG6JFN! As long as this post is I should be a novelist. This is how I have my Yaesu products set up, so you can get a background on operation. I am using an FT-8900R as a base radio, powered by an Astron 35A power supply. The radio is terminated by a Diamond X-200 2m / 440 dual band antenna. My solution to the duplexer is a Diamond brand three way antenna switch. On the other side I have a horizontal beam for six meters and a Shakespear 10m omni for listening to the local AM rag-chewing.

I also use an FT-8900R in my car. The main unit (Body) is mounted in the rear of the vehicle and the YSK- 8900 separation kit offers remote head (Face Plate) operation. The antenna is the Diamond SG-7900 dual band with a UHF “PL-259” mount. My wife would not allow any holes in the car so I am using a Pro-Am triple 5’’ magnet system. The Magnet base is NMO so I am using a Pro-Am NMO to UHF adapter. SWR on the 2m side is 1:1 on high power (50w) and the 440 side is 1:1.7 on high power (35w). For 10 and 6 meters I use a Yaesu FT-100D with a mobile quad magnet and ham stick system, therefore the 10 and 6 meter sides of the 8900 are never really used in the mobile. It may be a little bit of overkill but I sure do love using them in the vehicle.

73's Stephen, KG6JFN
KE7CFA Rating: 2005-02-26
Works great Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've only had it, up and running, for a couple months. But is is a great radio. Diamond (CR8900A) has an antenna made specifically for the 8900. This is what I went with [see: antenna reviews].

I am getting out good on all bands, I have gotten out as far as 60 miles - so far.

I don't like the Mic plug, it's cheezy.

I'd like the volume controls on the Mic too.

I'll know more after I have had it for a while.
KI4IIU Rating: 2005-01-23
Great Tech Radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I am a new Technician and I love this radio. With the optional programming software, it is very easy to use. Like the other reviews, I recommend lighted front panel to ease night use in mobile. Also recommend that Yaesu consider making 6M SSB mode capable. Have made many 2 and 6 M QSO's even getting in to repeaters 50+ miles away. Overall, very pleased.
IW2CZG Rating: 2005-01-10
Comments & Improvement suggestions Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Hi !
I've seen that most of the messages about this radio are positive, and I've to say that I'm
really happy too.

What I haven't read is:
- The European version comes with the standard mike (no DTMF)
- The latest versions have "N" connector
- To separate the front panel you can use standard 6-wire telephone cable
- Only the LCD display is backlighted. I can't understand why Yaesu didn't placed some LED to lit also the keys. When operating in the darkness you have no chanches to push the right (tiny) button !!!!
- When using an external speaker you can redirect the AF out as you like (by menu) but the
"beeps" are coming only by the internal spk.

Possible Improvements:
- put some LEDs under the keys in the front panel
- put LEDs on the dark buttons on the mike
- install a loudspeaker in the mike to simplify the car installation

73' de Luca IW2CZG
VE3LLL Rating: 2004-10-21
Proven performer Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
In the first few months with this rig I had a very frustrating intermittent drop problem which was finally isolated to a bad mike cable. And when I was travelling in downtown Toronto the radio would occasionally squawk loudly - a problem soon determined to be related to taxis transmitting on nearby frequencies. Had I written a review then, I wouldn't have given this rig a 5/5.

After about five months I replaced it with the vaunted Icom 706MKIIG - a mistake. While the Icom may be a great HF rig, it is a lesser radio for VHF/UHF communications in a busy urban area. Intermod was awful - not only taxis but all sorts of mysterious signals clobbered the radio frequently. I'd drive around with squelch set at the 3:00 position to keep the radio quiet - so far up that sometimes repeaters only 10 miles away would not get through. Programming was not much easier than the 8900, and there's no software to help program the Icom. And people stopped complementing me on how good I sounded.

About a month ago, I returned the 8900 to my vehicle. Immediately, the complements on my signal started again - in fact one friend was on the air when I did the transition and said he couldn't believe the difference. The occasional squawks I get seem like nothing compared to the Icom. And the mild awkwardness in programming and using the radio are gone now that I'm familiar with it.

This is a heck of a good mobile radio.
K5ADF Rating: 2004-09-28
Good mobile rig Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought a new car in April and decided I needed a new UHF/VHF rig. I wanted something that covered 6m, 2m and 440 FM. During my annual pilgrimage to Dayton in May, I visited all the booths in search of a new rig. I did go prepared and read all the reviews on this website first. I decided on the FT8900 and ordered one from HRO as soon as I got home. Like all new cars, the head is mounted on the dash area and the rig is under the front riders seat. The rig fired up on first try and performed well on the three bands - I don't know anyone in the area on 10m FM so I could not check it. The only initial problem I did have was that the microphone was not putting out any audio. I returned the mic to Yaesu for warranty repair and they promptly sent me a new one. I used the mic from my Yaesu FT90 (old rig) as a replacement. I agree with others in that this rig has a lot of bells and whistles and is difficult to program. I bought the RT Systems FT8900 programmer software, which works very well. I also agree with others that the buttons on the FT8900 are very small and my fingers are rather large. I have hit the wrong button several times and have learned to use the mic buttons if at all possible. I rated this rig a 4 due to the complicated programming and the super small buttons. It is a great rig once you get it programmed and learn to be careful in pushing the buttons on the rig head.
KD5WLH Rating: 2004-08-05
Great mobile rig for the money Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I started my Ham career with this rig almost a year ago. I bought a Comet UHV-4 with it since it was tailor made for the 8900R. 2m and 70cm work great with this combo, 6m fm is pretty much dead in my area but I've had pretty good reports from the 'one' 6m fm repeater that there is (from about 30 miles away). I made one QSO on 52.525 once and had a good report from that Ham too. 10m, I don't have priv's for YET but I often hear quite a bit on 29.660 and 29.640 and it's been fun listening in. I love the menu's on the rig, and think programming it is easy once you read the manual and try it. I love the size of the rig, really small. It's built tough too because I've run this thing in HOT weather on 50 watts for quite some time and it keeps on ticking.

My wishes for this rig are:

- When selecting a MAIN side of the radio (this radio is basically 2 in one) I wish that the side you are currently on would light up and the other side would not (or at least that yaesu would give us the option to do this type of lighting). Only way you know which side you are on is with a real small icon "main" on the side you're on. I've started transmitted on one side many times thinking I was on the other.

- Wish the MIC would light up for the P1 - P4 buttons (the main ones I use) so you can see at night.

- Wish the alpha tags would also show the numeric freq as well. You have to press and hold P4 to toggle between alpha tags to freq number.

- I wish the speaker(s) was better. It starts distorting a bit when the audio gets high. I think this could be fixed with a better speaker. I have no idea if this rig has a speaker for each side or just one shared, but the speaker(s) needs to be better. I crank it up to hear above road noise and distortion is heard.

If you want a great rig for 2m and 70cm, then this one works great. You can monitor 2 bands at once, nice. Plus, Yaesu throws in 6m for magic openings AND 10m fm for a few dollars more than a dual bander. The bright display is easy to read even in much sunlight. 50 watts on 10,6,2 and 35 watts on 440.

A worthy rig. I'm a happy customer. Good job Yaesu!

K3GM Rating: 2004-03-04
Do you like menus? Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I've owned mine for nearly a year now, and run it exclusively in my truck. I have the head mounted to the underside of the dash lip using a RAM mount. This puts the display up at dash level and makes viewing it very easy while driving. The radio is underneath the seat and connects to two antennas on the fenders via a duplexer; 10 meters on one side, 6,2,70cm on the other. The radio has a great little feature. There are 3 buttons on each side of the display that allow you create and save radio setup "schemes". Pressing one of these buttons will instantly set each VFO to the desired band, frequency, power level, etc. This is a nice feature because the radio has a menu with 40 some selections. If you're cruising along the interstate and you have to set PL's, odd offsets, etc., you must to wade thru the menu selections. I keep the manual in the truck with me at all times because the cryptic menu titles are difficult to remember. Power levels are stored in the memory along with the usual repeater settings, but can be modified when recalled. Once a memory location has been used it cannot be erased. It's hidden from view until you overwrite that location. Memory scan features are neat. You can do a standard memory scan, but skip selected "channels". You can also set up a favorite channel scan that will only scan the ones you designate as favorite. There are also band edge scans as well as settable upper and lower limits band scans. I like the preformance and flexibility of this radio, but if someone tells me to QSY to a strange repeater with a PL, I tell them I'll meet them there in about 10 minutes......back to those menus! "Honey, hold the wheel for me will you?"
N6CPU Rating: 2004-01-31
Enjoy flexibility of FT-8900 Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I've had the FT-8900 for nearly a year, and enjoy it tremendously. It suits my needs very well. I like to run on 6, 2 and 70cm from my Explorer Sport Trac. I wanted only one antenna, so I use a comet tri-bander. The receiver sensitivity is excellent as is QRM rejection. Powerful and clear transmit audio make getting through a snap, even on a grungy day on 6m. Things that I would like vertex to improve: Put those little letters on the microphone so you know where the letter 'n' is on which digit, I would like to have scan-bands, like my FT-7800, I would like to see the freqency and name together. They could have done a better job on the display. Other than that, great radio, easy to use and wonderful transmit power and receive audio. '73
N4KMA Rating: 2004-01-27
Excellent Radio! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had the radio for about 3 months or so. This is a great radio! At first I thought that maybe 10 & 6 meter FM were not going to be that great to talk on as everyone that I spoke with told me that those bands were dying! Well I can honestly tell you that I have made alot of contacts and I am having a ball with this radio. I run it with a Diamond HV7A.
These two put together is an awesome match!