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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
KB1NBB Rating: 2012-06-27
Good unit Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I really like 6 meter capability. I installed with remote kit in my older volvo. I had a 7900 for a couple of years, and thought this would be fun.
I really like the 'toggle' modes from left to right. Super easy to use.
I had one problem-- the left side squelch would not open up, regardless of knob position. The right side worked fine, giving me a 'hiss' noise when the squelch know was turned completely counterclockwise. The right side did not. I consulted the formus and a few friends, and finally called Yaesu in CA for tech support.
I immediately got a guy named Tim on the line. He was really nice and walked me through a 'Full Software Reset" ---pressing a few buttons at the same time while powering it up.
He was professional and friendly and we got it done. Also, he had a unit at his desk that he powered up and ran through the menu with me 'side by side'.----Kudos Yaesu
This fixed the problem. However, I consider this an "out of box failure" and was a little taken back by the company.
i was impressed by tech support.

I have owned about 10 different Icom and Yaesu radios over the last 6 years, and don't think that this one has anything crazy to scare you.
6 meters works good. 2 and 440 are also excellent. I did not test 10m.
I paid $450 at HRO in New Hampshire.
Worth it....
N7USC Rating: 2012-02-07
Clunky Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After using and getting use to the 7900...the 8800 is a clunk to operate. But I'm sure I will get used to it. I bought it for dual band capability (i.e., monitoring two at once).

Now it works fine....clear reception. Got it programmed in minutes since I have a 7900. The manual is the usual Yaesu crap. But that's ok ... i can figure it out.

But the thing that makes me mad (and I blame myself for not reading the reviews closely) is the LACK OF BACKLIT BUTTONS. You have to memorize (bad for an old fart) the buttons and functions. Got spoiled for the great 7900 backlit buttons.

4 out of 5 is the BEST i could give it right now...maybe better as time goes on.
KJ6EPE Rating: 2011-12-07
Fine radio with Cross Band Repeat issues Time Owned: more than 12 months.
If your radio has locked up into transmit or just transmits noise following a cross banding session, check out this youtube video. The problems are demonstrated as well as the solutions.

It is a great radio with correct proceedure.
AI4HO Rating: 2011-09-28
Now mobile with my FT-8900 Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Well, almost a year ago I made my review, and had to do a little update. I must say that my FT-8900 is probably close to 6 years old now, and still would not get rid of this rig for anything.

I recently upgraded my vehicle..from a 2009 Ford Ranger nice truck..not much room. To a 2011 Toyota Tundra double cab, 4X4, with lots of room for rigs, speakers, etc. So..what to mount? First off with the help of friends in our local radio club, we first installed my Kenwood TS-480HX, with the Turbo Tuner, and my GAP Hear It speaker. So much for HF, I needed something for VHF/UHF, didn't have a dual band rig..having traded my last one for a 9 mm pistol.

I still have a couple of 2 meter rigs..with out remote capabilities. How about my FT-8900...yea would be doubling up on 10/6 meters, but the TS-480 does both, but my Tar Heel antenna is only capable to 10 meters, no 6 meters unless I go for a shorter whip..but then would sacrifice performance on the lower bands. So the FT-8900 wins, have the remote kit, the Diamond HV-7A antenna, which covers 10-70cms. Had bit of difficulty finding a spot to mount the control head, but finally figured out the best position and we got the rig mounted.

True, the control head could be laid out a bit differently, maybe widen the entire radio, give it a bit more body to the rig so to speak. My only nit if I had to pick would be to have the buttons back lit, that would be a nice feature. Other wise, I have had no issues in turning the knobs, pushing the buttons,etc. I do like the cross band feature, especially during the hurricanes we had roll through our area causing wide spread destruction. I could set the FT-8900 up with my HT and I could talk with our EOC while in a meeting with the shelter manager and staff of the shelter, or hospital administrators.

I am eventually going to get another dual band to install in my Tundra, I like the fact that I do have it all, its fun to work the local 6 meter repeater, the 10 meter repeaters when 10 is open is a blast, but I can use the TS-480's features for 10 meters..I'll just have to do with out 6 meters for the time being. I use the FT-8900 for our local ARES group, so I really need my 8900 back as base. For the time being I'm having a ball with my FT-8900 mobile again.

73 de Mark

Earlier 5-star review posted by AI4HO on 2010-12-15

Its been a while since my last review, more than 2 years. I was AI4HO then, my FT-8900R is STILL chuggin right along. Since my last review, it has been mobile, back to a base unit, back mobile and now back in the house. If there is any one aspect to this radio that is a factor when one purchases one of these great little radios, is reliability, that and durability. I have had this radio going on 5 years now, well OK 4 and a half, you get my point. I hope to have this rig at least another 4 and a half 5 years, the way its going I have no doubt it will,

I have seen a lot of trash talk about how the manufacturer wouldn't do this or that, or the vendor where I bought it wont let me do whatever. I don't think that is a valid reason to give the radio itself a 0, or a 1, or 2, this review is about the radio, not the company. If you want to complain about a vendor or manufacturer, do it on that forum, not on these pages.

Yes, I will admit that Yaesu has had there problems with this radio, what manufacturer hasn't, you're gonna get bad runs of this or any rig out there made in the last 10-12 years...nature of the beast. My only frame of reference is my own personal experience with this radio. So far that experience has been excellent,with the use and abuse I've piled onto this radio over the last 2 years, I'm surprised I haven't hd something fail on it.

Tis true that this rig can be a little persnickity when entering frequencies into memory, especially the 6 meter band. Bt if you read in the manual, it tells you exactly how to do it, recieved freq. in memory channel, your xmit freq in the same memory channel, but, before you try and put one freq over top another, press and hold the PTT button, then you can finalize entering the one with the other, make sure to have your off sets and tones in before hand...that's it. As far as the main body not being lit......yea well, ya got me there, wouldn't mind seeing that myself, however, the microphone is lit. I did most of my changes via the mic. still do for a good majority of things. Once you learn which button does what on the mic and it doesn't tke long to learn it, if you want to.

I don't care what the critics say, I've had my FT-8900 through the mud and the blood and it still keeps transmitting, buttons are getting a bit worn, probably wouldn't hurt to have it sent in, gone over, any little thing taken care of before it goes, but, with being disabled, and on a fixed income, its one of those things that until it happens, it'll just have to wait. I'm savin my jack now so I can have my TT Jupiter looked at by my good friend Lee at Technical Specialist over in Tampa, thats priority #1, then, maybe, I'll see if maybe he can take a look see at my 8900. I doubt that any thing is seriously wrong as once it came home to roost, I have taken excellent care, to make sure nothing doe go wrong.

But all it takes is a bad IC, or a diode blows, any one of a hundred things and poof, its now a paper weight. No sir, the FT-8900 gets a 5 in my book any day and everyday, with that, I'll say Merry Christmas to all, I truly hope you all have a great Christmas, may your New Year see you with better band conditions, and you work all the DX you can handle.

73 de Mark
N6CAV Rating: 2011-07-02
I own two of these... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Almost a 4...wish I could do a 4.5

1 - Very low power on squelched receive...which is important for those of us who xband with the rig and leave it on for extended periods.

2 - Reliable...does not get too warm like some other rigs when it isn't in use. I've had bullet proof performance out of both for 3+ years. I've had other rigs that you could fry an egg on just sitting there in squelched receive mode pulling over 12W. What's up with that??

3 - IN LOVE (I mean really impressed) with the hyper memory buttons. When you're mobile, you're not trying to switch between several hundred memory locations...six hyper memory settings are way more than enough...and you don't need backlit buttons to find them.

4 - Xband repeat...I use this feature ALL the time. I drive to work...hit the hypermemory for my xband setting...hit the menu button and the VFO button and I'm good to go. I take my tiny 440 HT to the desk in the office and now I can hit my 2M repeater 20 miles away using this rig in the car.

5 - Simple remote head install. I made (yes RJ11 cable to simply remote the transceiver). The control head is actually in my hinged overhead sunglass visor. Very impressive for folks to see that hinge down over head. The rig is under the seat...and the mic is remoted to another connector on my center console. Slick install with homemade cables.

Not so great
1 - The rig has to be power cycled to get it out of xband repeat mode (this was corrected in firmware about a year after my first purchase).

2 - Lack of backlit buttons...hey...I know my rig well enough not to require that...but not having these illuminated isn't bad enough to seriously ding it like others have. If you've read the reviews you'll see that it is really important for others. Less so for me.

3 - Fan comes on in xband with the first xmission...and doesn't turn off. Very little impact on battery drain...but it affects my engineering sensibilities to have it running when not necessary.

So...very easy to operate...bullet proof performance...four bands to work with...easy install...I realy like this rig. One of the reasons I got the Yaesu FT-897D for my base station...and I love that too (but that is another story).

Earlier 3-star review posted by N6CAV on 2003-01-15

I agree with most of the reviews, but I don't hand out 5s very easily. I have an Icom-2700H with all the bells/whistles. It works great, even with the IR mic (a nice feature). The downside was the PL was dropping when I cross-band and the standby current was too high for a mobile (alway 'ON' cross-band station). So I invested in the FT-8900R. However, within 10 minutes of opening the box, I'd found a 'problem' and already miss the ability to remotely control the cross-band operation. Some of the problems I've had so far:

1) When when making transition from Cross-band to direct transmission on 2M, the radio only transmits white noise (no audio). The only way (I've found) is to power cycle the radio. The configuration I was using: 146.175+, 100Hz PL, 20W with 431.000 simplex, 100Hz enc.dec, 5W.

2) When in Cross-band mode, you cannot transmit from the FT-8900R. So if you've got a body at the station and one in the field with an HT, the station remains silent unless the operating mode is changed (see problem #1).

3) As far as I can tell, there are no remote control capabilities for cross-band.

4) Still looking for programming software...I know it'll come, but should have been available from Yaesu right out of the chute.
IZ5RAQ Rating: 2011-05-16
Great radio! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is a fantastic radio easy to use, easy to install in my car.
G3GJW Rating: 2011-04-15
No problems! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
We use several FT-8900R rigs for 'RAYNET' = UK version of ARES without any problems, either in the field or in base stations. Many of us in Kent RAYNET Groups use two of them, including in our Mobile Control Unit. We use more of them than any other rig on the market.

Smudge, G3GJW
N1TX Rating: 2011-04-10
Solid radio but unfriendly Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned two FT-8900s for about five years. One is used for mobile, the other at home base. The rig is absolutely packed with many nice features with plenty of flexibility for any application, whether mobiling to and from work, emergency operations, or packet. That's exactly the functionality I needed in my V/UHF radios. For changing configurations quickly, the "Hypermemory" buttons come in handy.

The big ding comes from the user-unfriendly design. As others have pointed out, buttons are tiny and hard to see. Backlights would have gone a long way to ease the burden. The user interface is far from intuitive, so keep the manual close at hand. The ADMS-2H programming software from RT Systems is a must-have, because it makes setup infinitely easier than manual menu navigation and data entry.

Would I buy another? You bet, and probably at a good price from someone a lot more frustrated than I am. The FT-8900R works for me, but it's not for everyone.
KF7IIQ Rating: 2011-01-12
Good radio, poor panel design Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I've had this radio for almost a year and I use it mobile. The radio works well on all four bands, but the front panel is difficult to use. The knobs are too small and too close together. It might be great for a lady with small hands but my lunch hooks are too big. The crossband repeater does work well and I use it in emergency operations quite effectively. The computer port uses the 6 pin DIN plug which is difficult to insert properly. Do not mount in a tight location! It really helps to see the port. A more robust connector would be appreciated.
ON7WP Rating: 2010-12-25
Noit without a PC Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This radio is a total disaster to operate....

Outside the ARS ranges (where we are here in europe) you have to re-input every shift/split/tone for every time you move the VFO button dial.

Right part of the radio does not suppport Wide/narrow so useless in Europe's 12,5 kHz raster...

Will sell the radio after I have played a bit with the PC cable USB interface in order to get at least some frequencies inside...