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Reviews For: Yaesu FT-90r

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

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Review Summary For : Yaesu FT-90r
Reviews: 138MSRP: 399.96
Micro 2m/440 transciever
Product is not in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KA2AYR Rating: 2015-08-01
Over the years summary - "OK" Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my radio about 15 years ago. Some products keep their value, but this one is in hospice. In the beginning, this was a fine radio. It was mounted with the remote kit and worked nicely. Then it developed a crackle in transmit. I reflowed the shielding and also made sure everything was burnished and bonded. Still some crackles, but that was reduced. Then the display discolored and has a centered bubble making it barely visible. The only replacement would be to get a "parts" radio and swap the control head or the board itself. Then the external speaker began to work intermittently. I eventually hard-wired in an external speaker. I'm on my second microphone because the material used for the cord disintegrates in warm climates. I'll need a third. The coup de grace is that this thing is difficult to program through the radio and mic, much less with a clouded display. You think you've got it set and it defaults back to the old parameters. If you can find one in relatively good shape and you'll baby it, it might do fine. Otherwise this is light duty. Either way, get the programming software and cable for it, because you will not want to be pushing this, waiting for the beep, keying the mic, waiting for another beep, and twisting the knob for however many channels you're interested in.
AF6RR Rating: 2015-03-27
followup Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Following up on my earlier review. The problem with the UHF finals was that a couple of the solder joints where the PA module leads were soldered to the board had cracked along the leads. IIRC, it was the RF input and bias leads, so the module was not being keyed. Reflowing the solder joints fixed the issue..

Replacement mic cables are currently all over ebay from asian suppliers for $7-10 each. Also clone MH36 microphones for ~$20.

Disclaimer, I have not yet tried either of these, so I cannot speak to their quality, but the price is right.
W9MT Rating: 2013-06-20
I like it, quirks and all... Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
There is a software bug in the radio's code. (This has been documented elsewhere on the Internet.)

If you have 2m set to the default step rate of 5KHz and the radio begins to get a bit warm, the squelch "works in reverse". By this I mean if the radio is squelched, even loosely just past the point of initial silence, no receive signal will open it. You can even see a full indication of the S-meter, but even a booming signal won't open the squelch. If you turn the squelch off, the signal will pop in with good audio, but you'll have the white background noise between receptions.

Change the 2m frequency step to anything but 5KHz and the radio will function normally. 440 doesn't have this issue on any frequency step size.

So, this is an easy workaround, but can drive you crazy if you don't know what's causing it.

The radio programs well with the ADMS-3 software. Establishing communications between the radio and PC is a bit obtuse, but read your manual and the display messages on the radio carefully and do exactly as they say...and you won't have any problems. It's nice to blast the memory full of settings in seconds instead of the drudgery of hand programming the radio.

Also, I program every memory channel to the Mid 1 transmit power range (about 25 Watts output). The radio runs cooler this way, and you can always up the power to the full 50 Watts when running in a fringe area on simplex. Rotating the main frequency knob to a different channel or one step up or down in frequency and the output power setting reverts back to the pre-programmed value.

I bought mine used about a year ago, and was lucky enough to get the remote cable for the control head as part of the package. It makes for a nice, clean, neat, and compact installation. When my wife drives the truck, she doesn't even notice it's there.

Treat it right, know the quirks and how to work around them, and this is a great dual-bander that fits where others don't.
KF4HPY Rating: 2013-02-07
Puzzling Radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
This the second FT-90r I have had. Once again the mic cord is frayed; this time at the radio end. I contacted the folks at Yaesu via E-mail. Same price for cord;$35.00. Received phone #'s and ordered cord. Seems audio is a bit low to listeners. Mic buttons work OK. My first FT-90 works Just Fine! So have to troubleshoot the radio, Will open rptrs.far away, weak audio. Maybe SMT as usual, cold joint. 73, Ed

Earlier 4-star review posted by KF4HPY on 2010-08-19

I bought my FT-90R in Dec. 2002 it has a lot # 5 as the third digit. Therefore it has a 60W module. In 2006 had a failure to power up; had it repaired by Skyland in Atlanta. I bought it for disaster relief use, as it is a two band radio. Been using it for a home station since 2006. It is easy to use, and the manual is easy to read and heed. I color code the passages I need to heed. so I have a colorful book. Yaesu does have a problem in seemingly introducing a radio a month. However, they do have a warranty( my 817 went in 3 times for a PA fix) and after a while get their ducks in order. Yesterday I replaced the microphone cable,down to the last strands on one wire at the strain relief. I'm satisified with my FT-90, it's a good radio. TNX, 73
GABRESEVEN Rating: 2012-06-04
Mic Cord Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The only gripe I have about the FT-90 is the mic cord - mine just frayed badly after about a year of use as a receive only rig...

There's no (as far as I know) exact replacement for the stock mic, the MH-36. So you're s-o-o-l if you want to get a replacement MH-36 mic. I heard the MH-48 mic works for PTT only - so that would work if that's all you need...

Being a retired airline pilot, I use my FT-90 primarily for aircraft VHF listening, and have used it on 2 meters a few times...

The receive is awesome, but I can't say about transmit since I have little experience using it for that...

My only gripes are the mic cord, and I see I'm not alone in that regard, and the overly senstive volume control - you just gently touch it and the volume will break your eardrums just about...

KB3WVR Rating: 2012-04-11
Packs a PUNCH Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought this radio used on ebay. Needed something small for my Jeep Liberty. Something I can quickly disconnect and bring into my apartment since my Icom 208H has died in my base station. I love this radio. Easy to use, good reports, good power. Half power is all you really need. I have other Yaesu rigs and love the quality. If I find another one of these used I am going to pick it up.
KE6LCE Rating: 2011-03-23
If this radio had an odometer Time Owned: more than 12 months.
This radio was bought new in 3/03. I have used it till the key button wore through. It has been in 3 vehicles -02Jeep, 04Ford PU, 06Dodge PU. It would be in the "million mile club" if it had an odometer. It has never failed to work. It has bailed me out in the "boonies" when cell service was no-go. Guess I was lucky as it has a poor rating. I am NOT selling this radio, EVER! I posted in '03 see page 7. 1st 4 digits of serial# are 2L67.

Earlier 4-star review posted by KE6LCE on 2003-03-13

I consider this a "bare bones" dual band radio. The unit is very easy to program. Fits almost anywhere and I get good reports on it. I get a bit of noise when it's quiet in the jeep - I think it's the fan. One of the few radios for a Jeep Wrangler. You can use a 6pin satin line cord to extend the mic. It works fine and is cheaper than Yaesu's part. The removable face is great. It can be taken off and put back on with 1 hand. The only complaint I have is the audio output. Not very loud. Unless your car is quiet you will need an external speaker. I have had better radios with intermod rejection, but this unit is not bad. It's worth $249.
KD6KZU Rating: 2009-05-18
Heres the scoop on these radios. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just bought this radio used for $120 from an estate sale. I got it mounted up as a base station with a Diamond X200 antenna and found the 2m Final was blown. After searching I found some information on this radio. The original design uses a Mitsubishi M67781L power output module for the 2m side. This module is only rated for 40w and blows easily. Later models have a M67746 module that is rated for 60W. I'm guessing that the people who have good FT-90Rs have this module. This module has been replaced with the RA60H1317 and the RA module can be used in any of the FT-90r's if you have a bad 2m final.

If you plan to purchase one of these check the serial number.

Mine is S/N 1D440178
The third digit/number is the lot code. Lot code 5 and above have the 60w m67746 Module.
KF4FRK Rating: 2008-10-12
Great Little Rig! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
My FT-90 was mounted under the front seat of my Jeep Wrangler and stood up to all the abuse it received. I never experienced any of the issues others did about heat and so forth but my radio was rarely operated on high power because it was rarely needed. I would still be using it expect the microphone cable got chopped by accident (it was under the front seat and shorted out when the seat was moved forward) and shorted the radio. Not sure what can even replace it, the control head was mounted on top of the steering column with double sided tape and was very unobtrusive. This entire rig was just perfect for a vehicle needing a small radio or 'stealth' type installs (soft top jeeps). I'm going to miss my FT-90.
N3DF Rating: 2008-09-08
Great Small Size Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have operated a Yaesu FT-90R mobile since 2000. My only problem came last month, when the mic cord disintegrated near where it enters the microphone. Replaced it for $35 from an ebay ad from Hong Kong. I like the small size and easy mounting of this rig. The South Florida heat has not affected rig (other than the mic cord).