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Reviews For: Yaesu FT-980

Category: Transceivers: HF Amateur HF+6M+VHF+UHF models - non QRP <5W

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Review Summary For : Yaesu FT-980
Reviews: 26MSRP: 1,999.00
HF Tranceiver, 10 - 160 m + WARC
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4UDX Rating: 2021-04-23
Absolutely awesome vintage HF transceiver Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I managed to acquire not one, but two properly working FT-980's from sellers on eBay. This is quite an accomplishment because they are getting hard to find... people are parting them out. One of mine is fully loaded with all the optional internal filters and keyer. The other has the Keyer and one CW filter.
Are these 980's as good as a modern radio...say, a FTdx10? No. A 3000? No. A 1000MP? No. They are OLD. 1980's old. So if you want to compare it to a modern radio, you may be disappointed. However, they do what they were designed to do very well, and are fairly well preserved, because they were very difficult to modify for CB use.
I love these radios because they sound awesome on receive, and with the MD-1 desk microphone, you will get good audio reports. They come with a 2.4 KHz wide filter, but it has broad skirts. I have been told by Flex users that my transmit is 2.7 KHz wide and sounds very good. No menus, lots of buttons and knobs, and fun to use. They are getting up there in age, so expect some maintenance. The cooling fan is noisy, and if the meter lamps go out, they are a pain in the arse to change. But these kind of repairs are typical for a radio of this vintage.
Someday I may sell my two 980s and get something more modern, but for now, I am having a lot of fun using a radio I could only dream about owning when I was a new ham. If you are a seasoned ham and jaded by the latest whiz-bang scope heavy dsp-sdr auto-everything radio, try a retro Yaesu FT-980. And use a paper logbook while using will remember why you got into ham radio in the first place.
HK4OC Rating: 2016-02-16
Still very happy with it Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Got my ft980 at AES 1983 lots of money at the time, together with a speaker,,base microphone MD100 ,cat system and interface for the Fl2100 work many ,many hours for about 7 years ,send it to yaesu in Cal. for check up in 1990 cost $350 and since still working and Do not sale it,use it every day in 40 meters along side with the FL 1200dx and team-up with the Fl7000,tri-band with 40 meters kit ,after 40 years of ham radio ,many Ken wood ,Drake,Collins and others still DX and talk to friends from all over, when conditions permits with my 980

W5ATK Rating: 2015-08-13
Nice Vintage Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I am very glad I decided to purchase this old radio a few years ago. My intent was to find a vintage, solid state radio for my shack. First, because of its looks. This radio is impressive. Everything is up front. Looks like the instrument panel in an aircraft. With the matching SP-980 speaker, it really is a show piece. Rx audio is better than my newer rigs including the FT-1000MP Mk V and the FT-950. Rich audio. I enjoy just listening. Matched with the MD-1 mic, my signal and audio reports are as good or better than using the equalizers in the other radios. Runs a little hot due to the power supply, so I only use if for special occasions. This is not a technical review on performance. However, if you are looking for an impressive edition for your collection, this is The Radio.
SV9DRU Rating: 2012-05-02
Great rig ! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
They do not make them like this any more.. Excellent solid construction, high quality circuit, chassis and controls. Not like the flimsy single - use rigs of today.

Inside, the boards are easily accessible and very well shielded. Easy to align and service if needed. Relatively low circuit complexity (compared to other analog high end radios) increases reliability and ease of maintenance.

Big radio, but tall and narrow (as opposed to flatter and wider like my TS-940) makes better use of my desk. Big analog, easy to read dual meters and lack of menus, everything at your fingertips.

From the operational point of view, the rado is a dream: Full smooth analog sound, excellent immunity to nearby strong signals, VERY tight bandpass filtering (not an iota of IMD in the busy 40m band at night in southern Europe).

Combine that with an excellent IF notch and one of THE most effective NBs I have ever used (comparable to that in the TR7 and better than the one in the TS-940) and you have a winner !

Paid a high price by todays standards for one of these rigs but came in as-new condition with the matching speaker and MD1 mic from Germany. A very good ham invesment in my "book"

73 to all,
Marinos, sv9dru / ki4gin

F4GUK Rating: 2012-03-19
After 25 years of service... Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I own this tranceiver since 1988.

I use some "basic" HF rigs too, but the RX quality of this oldies & goodies FT-980 is, for me, still a reference, more than 25 year after it's conception by "Yaesu Mussen" !

The audio quality in TX (with a MD-1 microphone), is awesome for a tranceiver from the 80's.

Notch filter is great and combination of IF-Shift and IF-Width is very usefull for hard QSO on a busy band.

Of course, like other tranceivers from the past, it has only 12 poor memories and an achaic CAT System: when CAT System is "on", you lose control of 99% of the command buttons on the front of the tranceiver.
Note that the better CAT System for this rig, was the CAT interface developped for the Apple II (FIF-65A): it includes an A/D interface to convert the RF signal strength. Useful to program a "scanner fonction". But no commercial CAT program on Apple II computer: you needed to develop everything yourself ! It was funny: i did it in Basic applesoft & 6502 assembly language on Apple II GS, long time ago.

What else about this rig ?

AM and FM are both perfectly usable modes in TX: 60 W (and may be more) on AM without modulation distortion, and 100W on FM with a very clear modulation. Some modern +$4000 tranceivers, can't do that properly today...

With the MARS mods, the GEN VFO is usable in TX too.

The Squelch (usable only on FM), is a "mix" of a traditional "level squelch" & an "automatic squelch".

The Automatic Antenna Tuner FC-757AT is a great add for this Tranceiver, but it needs a specific communication cable (not the same as the FT-757).

I have encounter some iritating problems with the "clock board" during the 90's, but after i have fixed this board, everything is ok since the end of the last century... !

Please note that ventilation (with its noisy turbine) is terrific: it switch on even in RX, after some minutes.
Definitely, the Ft-980 can't be used in your sleepin'room, unless your wife is deaf !
In fact, you could add a little low noise extra vent in the up side to avoid ventilation "on" during RX.

I have swapped recently the traditionnal 8 Volts bulbs inside the 2 S-meters with 2 white band-LEDs, and it was renewed for the 21th century !

Yaesu has done a very good job with this 80's transceiver. I would be happy to be able to do the same review about my other tranceivers, after 25 years of use !

Note of 4.5/5 for the "clock board" problem during the 90's.
G4AWN Rating: 2012-03-18
A true Yaesu classic Time Owned: more than 12 months.
A truly excellent piece of kit. Bought it late eighties for a mere £450 at local Ham store. Yes, had a couple of faults over the years which were not too difficult to fix. Yaesu make great gear, but the later kit does not do too much more, if anything, than the FT 980. However parts may well be a problem when it gets older since later kit is loaded with bespopke parts which may well not be available in a few years time (also, I don't "do" menus). As has been said upthead, if you have one - get another just in case. If you haven't, and the opportunity presents itself - best get one. In particular the receiver is truly extraordinary. It's a classic.
N3LZG Rating: 2011-06-21
Gone retro and very happy about it. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
As a new owner of an FT-980, I feel obligated to review from the perspective of a user of a newer HF rig.

The 980 is certainly an impressive rig. Clean receive, good filtering, CAT control, general coverage receive and many conveniences that keep it relevent in the 21st century.

Being a user of a menu-driven radio (FT-857), it's nice to have all the controls up front. Nothing is buried. The unit is heavy (35 lbs./17kg), a real boat anchor with a handsome diecast bezel. Warm receive audio; it is a pleasure to listen to this rig. TX audio quality is superior to my 857. With the processor switched in, I get heard. Add the IF shift and width, manual notch and peak (for CW), who needs DSP?

That said, it is an older rig. The way it works seems a bit quirky to this modern rig user. The digitally simulated vernier readout is interesting, but not sure what it is trying to accomplish. Care must be taken when running split. You have to stay within the same band or risk damage to the radio. Operating split is different also because the memory function is used, rather than having two VFOs like most modern radios. There are a limited number of memories (12). VOX and break-in must be on for CW. That said, when you switch back to SSB, you have to remember that VOX must be turned off again.

The FT-980 in use

I have been able to make several DX phone contacts so far, with little effort. When I use the 857, is wasn't unusual for me to have to repeat my call many times. For CW, operation is quiet (no loud relays) and receive with the narrow (250Hz) filter dials out everything but the station of interest. Over the last weekend, I had some fellow hams help me optimize mike gain and processor settings. In a head to head between the FT-980 and the FT-857, they said the 857 was no match vs the 980.

Had I known a year ago what I know now, I would have looked for one of these radios instead of the FT-857.

73, Andrew
WP4KTF Rating: 2007-10-21
Mi 980 es fenomenal!! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
...I bought mine used for $400 from an HP1 friend while stationed in Panama' around '94-95 and have been ENCHANTED by this big rig ever since. At the time, he also threw in a 5 band vertical and the external speaker to round off the deal. That antenna I sold, 'cause I already had an R-7, but the speaker and the YM-34 mike are always hooked up to it. The VFO might be slightly off and "cold solder points" do act up every now and then, but other than that, it is truly relaxing to sit in front of my 980, slap a pair of headsets on and enjoy its glow, while turning its shiny knob for signals! I have enjoyed doing so for over 13-14 years now and, God willing, intend to keep doing so for many more to come!

I recently upgraded to General and began tinkering once again with the dusty keyer and bug. I have also considered adding portability by investing in an 897R (and possibly an 8800), but you can credit the 980 (and my FT-2200, and my FT-470, and ...catch my drift?) for having made me a truly Yaesu fanatic shortly after becoming a ham in '91! I do have a couple of Kenwood and ICOM dual banders in my modest shack, along with an Alinco talkie, and they are all outstanding rigs, but the Yaesus I can operate in the dark, with my eyes closed...

Just recently, I picked up the perennial mess around the desk and also took some pictures. A couple of the hams that saw the pics said that they "wish had money to burn right now to make shack look like yours"...hihi...and all because of its centerpiece, the Yaesu FT-980. One even loved the many buttons on it. For fear of unsolicited offers, I'll just make sure, those fellows don't get near my 980.

I'll eventually take care of the solder points, maybe someday that I compromise long enough not to continue to enjoy this rig's exceptional reception, but do know, that my FT-980 is NOT for sale. :-)

Siete Tres, Jorge
W8BBM Rating: 2007-10-17
Solid Big Rig Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I purchased my FT-980 as a big rig backup 3 years ago knowing it needed a few minor repairs. Those completed, I find this old rig as spledid to operate. There is no doubt that while the rig is strong in eye appeal, it is also a very nice performer. I absolutely love using it on both CW and SSB and consistently receive excellent reports. The look and feel of the rig is substantial and I take mine up to my cottage where I feel like I'm at my home shack with the big rig in front of me. Drawbacks...yes, there is no internal antenna tuner and the dial tuning can be slightly jumpy because of the 10hz step tuning but that is hardly a frequent issue. If so, even the fussy user only needs to push the dial lock button when in a rag chew and forget about it. If you enjoy CW, the use of the built-in peak audio filter will prove to be an outstanding tool even without the narrow CW filter installed. Listening to AM is a true pleasure with the AM-wide filter kicked in. The fidelity is quite pleasing. I like that the controls are large, logically laid out and easy to get to.

Perhaps the best news about this rig is the price. I purchased mine with matching filter speaker for $500 and believe it is worth every penny. It is true that Yaesu doesn't support the radio anymore but as long as you don't operate AM, FM or packet all day, you should get MANY years of service from the radio. If you want to hear mine on the air, drop me an email at

All of that said, when buying ANY used amateur equipment I would stay away from one that is well worn, experiencing significant issues or coming from an individual you have not spoken with.

God Bless All,

IK4CIE Rating: 2007-03-11
good radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Nice radio, i can copy weak signals without problems; easy to improve output power up to 150 watt; nice to have band-filters for HAM bands and general filters for 0-30 MHz receiver.
Nice to see the two analog meters. Nice capability to mount a keyer inside. Still a good 20 years radio.
73 ! Victor ik4cie