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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
WB1AEX Rating: 2006-03-24
Very versatile radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
The FT8900R is a radio that can keep you plenty amused in a vehicle. It is great to have the ability to park one side of the radio on a favorite frequency while putting the other side to work scanning whatever you desire. The display is very easy to read from most angles and the ability to remote the head to a convenient place is a big plus. Once you have it programmed, the 8900 is very easy to control while driving.

A huge factor in ease of use is the ability to utilize the 6 hyper-memory buttons to set the radio up for different configurations. Once these are set, pressing the appropriate hyper-memory button puts the radio into your chosen configuration on the fly. Once you get used to the hyper-memory interface, you can do that without taking your eyes off the road. I ended up using hyper-memory number 1 as a scratchpad, number 2 has my favorite 6 meter repeater on the left and my favorite 440 repeater on the right, number 3 has 52.525 on the left and 146.520 on the right. I ended up setting up hyper-memory 4 in an aircraft band scan format on the left. Just use one of the limit range slots (I used 120mhz = L and 130 mhz = H) and let it start scanning then hold the hyper-memory button down for 2 seconds to save that configuration. I saved that to hyper-memory 4 along with my favorite 440 repeater on the right side. Pressing that hyper-memory button sends it off scanning the aircraft band in 25kc steps automatically. It takes it about 12 seconds to sweep the whole aircraft band. It catches everything. I did the same thing with the marine band for hyper-memory 5 (156mhz =L and 158.350=H) using 50kc steps. It hits all the channels in just a few seconds. I got creative with hyper-memory 6 and set it to do a preferential scan on the right side. I have all my police and fire frequencies tagged as preferential scan frequencies. Putting that side into preferential scan mode and then pressing hyper-memory button 6 to save that configuration while it is scanning makes it a one button police-fire radio on the right side. On the left side I dial in either my favorite 6 meter or 440 mhz repeater.

The cross-band repeat function works flawlessly. I have a little difficulty getting into my favorite 440 repeater from the house on my VX7R. With the 8900 connected to my GP-6 (2 meter and 440) base antenna, I can use 50 milliwatts with the VX7R anywhere in the neighborhood to access the 8900 and it gets me in just fine with its 35 watts. It should be great fun setting up the 8900 on 52.525 and a 440 link frequency for local 6 meter chats or band openings using the VX7R at 50 milliwatts and the 8900 at 50 watts on 6 meters. I am definitely getting a second 8900 for the house to handle that stuff.

The receive audio is excellent and the receiver front end appears to be extremely resistant to intermod issues. I have a pager within a half mile of the house that will bring a cheap radio to its knees, the 8900 doesn’t even flinch.

The transmit audio is pretty good right out of the box, but I ended up padding the coupling caps inside the MH48 mic and removing the mechanical obstructions in front of the mic element to get more low end and more total audio output from the mic. No real problems there, it sounds great.

The radio is very efficient and does not draw much over 6 amps when putting out 50 watts of power.

On the negative side, there are three things that could have been done better with the 8900. Its lack of a memory group feature (as found in the VX7R) is a deficiency that should be addressed in the next generation of this great radio. The lack of a CTCSS split tone feature (different TX and RX tones) is another limitation that can be worked around, but really, why is not included? The inability to put 10 meters into plus/minus 5 kc deviation is a serious limitation for this band. You can improve this slightly in the service menu, but you will get complaints from anyone you work on 10 meters that your audio is low. Not sure what they were thinking there. I know it has been reported that they did this to comply with some country’s requirements, but why not make narrow the default mode and then allow users to select the wide mode if it is allowed?

Even with the 3 limitations mentioned above, this is a tremendous radio that warrants a 4 out of 5 score in my opinion. I have no regrets and enjoy having it in the vehicle for daily use. I do plan on picking up a second one for the house and will use it with a GP-15 tri-bander (6m, 2m, 440) up on top of the tower.

KI4MYL Rating: 2006-02-04
overall good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The radio seems to be very user friendly and easily programmed. It works just like its' suppose to except for the crossband repeater, on a occasion when the xband repeater is disabled and radio transmission proceed on the transciever there is a fuzz sound in the audio when transmitting. This is easily fixed by turning radio off then back on. This isn't a big issue for me, because I seldom use it.
G6OCD Rating: 2006-01-19
Bought another Time Owned: more than 12 months.
These rigs are so good that i now have one in the Shack and one in the Car, these rigs do everything from X Band Repeat to Full Duplex with ease, so if you are looking for a reliable high power multiband rig, with lots of usefull features then look no further,
David G6OCD 73,s

Earlier 5-star review posted by G6OCD on 2005-02-26

I have eventually upgraded to the FT8900 after having Yaesu radio's since 1981, and i can honestly say that i have had about 30 different models of Yaesu Radios over that time spam, and they are as always superb 10 out of 10. I feel that the FT8900 is the "ultimate"


Dave G6OCD.
G3XYS Rating: 2006-01-15
Thanks for the memories! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Yaesu FT8900R

I have just returned to mobile working after 18 years and thought that an FM quad band would give me plenty of flexibility working the repeaters in the hilly areas where I live and work. Quick check through the many reviews and decided on the FT8900. I read through the manual and started thinking �how do I get the best out of this rig�? I manually set it up for the local repeaters and programmed the 6 Hyper-Memories which are an aid to safer driving � one key press and the saved rig snapshot changes.

But you can all read the many reviews below to compile the breadth and depth of the FT8900. One of my assessments is that it is not a �beginners� rig. To really take advantage of the user facilities you need to connect it to a computer and let the software do all the boring and tedious work of programming the 800+ memory combinations. I have just spent 5 hours learning two software packages and understanding many of the menu combinations of the FT8900.

Read/Study the FT8900 Manual, the software instructions and check that you have the correct RS232/TTL CT29B interface cable. Both software packages worked (no errors or hang-ups), Read/Write to the rig, saving and retrieving data, and printing memory and setting information.

Package A : ADMS-2H Yaesu/RT Systems, Falkville, AL 35622, came with an interface cable (CT29B), mini instructions and a CD-ROM.

Package B: Bob Freeth�s FTB8900 download a sample, pay some money, and get the full version. (Links to cable interface providers are included on this site)

Both packages do not follow the Microsoft user interface which we all love to hate, so if you are new to computers it will definitely be a challenge and a half. Help Menus are provided so don�t be put off. Modern rigs are comprehensive and it is knowing how to take advantage of the facilities to your operating advantage.

Package A and Package B are very similar in look and feel and could have come from the same stable but G4HFQ has the edge in ease of use and presentation of information. Package A, 4 out of 10. Package B, 8 out of 10. I also wonder how much Beta Testing of this software was done?

Back to the FT8900 � I am looking forward to many hours of use and will report again in the future. Currently a commendable 5/5 as it is facility rich.

Best wishes,
AC0DB Rating: 2005-12-08
Good Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The FT-8900 was born before the FT-8800, so I bought one and just like in my review of the FT-8800, the features of this radio for VHF and UHF are exceptional. I didn't find the 6M FM operation useful and I never used it. The crossband repeater function was GREAT. Again, as with the FT-8800, they used liner pots, so expect most of your volume change to take place in a very narrow turn of the volume knob. Remoting of the head is easy, clean, and great since they attached the microphone to the head and just like the FT-8800, it only requires one run of cable and RJ-11 ends. "4" only because I didn't find 6M FM worth the price or time. They should have gone with 220....
K3UG Rating: 2005-09-16
Bought a 2nd unit! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
As far as I can tell, this is the best radio out there for dual (multi!) band use.

I use one in my home station as part of a VHF/UHF contesting console. 52.525 .. 446.0 .. 146.49, etc.. all in one radio. Great for some extra Qs when you've worked them all on SSB.

I use one in the truck. I do alot of Public Safety monitoring.. local FD, etc.. when I installed this radio in a new pickup, I also installed a scanner. Well, this radio is so feature rich, that it serves quite nicely as both my amateur xcvr (mostly on the local UHF system) .. and as my scanner. I've since taken the scanner out of the truck .. don't need it!

Do yourself a favor and buy the programming software. Programming it by the front panel keys is a challenge, at best. The software will enhance your enjoyment of this radio many times over.

Great radio..! I highly reccomend it!

Earlier 5-star review posted by K3UG on 2005-07-13

I've owned an 8900R for about 2 years, and have been very pleased with it's performance. I use it mobile as both a monitor for public safety activity, and local ham stuff.

The programming software available is a little cumbersome, and primative, but it does the job.
I'd highly reccomend acquiring it, for full enjoyment of this radio.

I would not reccomend this radio for new hams, or hams looking for something simple.

I've just ordered my second unit for use in the shack.

Earlier 5-star review posted by K3UG on 2002-12-23

I installed this radio over the weekend. This is an upgrade from a Yaesu FT-2500M that I've used, and been very happy with, for several years.

I thought it was time to go with a dual bander, but when I researched the currently available dual banders, nothing really grabbed me.

Then I saw this little gem..

So far, this is a GREAT radio, with alot of features and capabilities. I've not even begun to explore all of them yet as I'm still getting used to the basics.

$414.00 at Gigaparts, you can't beat it.

I'll update in the future when I have had more experience with it.
KU4VQ Rating: 2005-07-13
Still a great radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have 2, one in the car and 1 in the house. On the car car I use a Diamond FT-8900 antenna and the house I use a UHV-4 by Comet. For those who wish for 222 instead of 10 meters, you are waisting your time, US hams do not buy 222 radios. You still can get new 222 radios that are over 10 years old from some of the stores. Its a shame as I operate both ssb and FM on 222 and its fun. I have made many contacts on both 10 and 6 FM while mobile, 10 has been open almost every day for the past month. As for the single antenna port, thats great also, allows the user better choice in antenna configuration.

Good DX on 10


Earlier 5-star review posted by KU4VQ on 2002-10-07

Have had the rig now for two weeks and have used all four bands with very good performance. Only hope that a decent antenna will come out soon to be used for the FT-8900. I am using a Comet UH6V and will be changing to a different antenna soon, probably and planning on using a Ham Stick for 10, a Larsen NMO-50 for 6 and the Larsen 2/70 for 144/440 or maybe a Comet SB-15 and a HamStick and then one less duplexer. Austin makes some good multi-band antennas also and HRO has a few models in stock. The one little quirk is the Channel Switch is above the Volume/Squelch and when changing frequencies, you cover the display with your hand.
NI1S Rating: 2005-06-29
awful radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This radio is a nightmare to program.I've been a ham since the sixties and have never seen anything this bad.I've lost 440 on it and can't wait to find out how much it will cost.The antenna was not a problem, just the radio. NEVER a Yaesu for the next radio!
KA3SEI Rating: 2005-05-31
Just bought ANOTHER! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Had one in the shack and finally got one for the car! I can't imagine a better mobile VHF/UHF rig. Having 6M FM is a real plus. What I like best is the "hyper-memories". Push one button, and everything from the frequencies to the power levels is set just where you like it. With Priority Watch, I can monitor 4 frequencies at once!
N4DMJ Rating: 2005-04-17
Works As Promised Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my 8900 2 years ago this May at the Dayton Hamvention and have not been disappointed in it at all. No major problems or glitches to report. Audio is clean and functions are simple.

I did experience one minor issue with it when I first starting using the radio in which it was putting out a lot of noise on the frequency during qso's (ie: static/white noise). I reset the CPU and have not had a recurrance of the problem.

Only thing I wish the good folks at Yaesu would have done is offered a 220 set up in place of the 10M freq's. (Something like the old Kenwood's that would allow you a 2m/440 or a 2m/220).

All in all, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this radio! Combined with the Comet UHV-4 it makes for pretty non-stop mobile communications!