Yaesu FT-990

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n9emz
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Yaesu FT-990

Postby n9emz » Sat Oct 13, 2007 2:53 pm

Deciding I didn't want to run HF mobile and would rather have a full-sized, full-featured dedicated base rig, I studied up on rigs with the performance features I most desired and sought out a trade for my Yaesu FT-100D. In that I already have several Kenwood HF base rigs and my quota of tube equipment, I decided I'd venture into uncharted waters and try out a Yaesu HF base unit (Icom may be next). Here's the list of what I felt was most important to me regarding features in an HF transceiver in no particular order of importance:

1. Had to be all solid state but relatively easy/economical to service
2. Quality Tx & Rx audio characteristics
3. Good AM performance
4. General coverage Rx w/Tx capability
5. 100w all mode operation
6. DSP tuning
7. Minimally menu-driven
8. Good auto-tuner
9. AC/DC capability
10. And my final qualification was it would have to be an even trade deal.

After many, many hours on the web and reading seemingly unending eHam reviews, it appeared that only one Yaesu rig could possibly suit the above criteria....except where an even trade was concerned. The FT-990 AC/DC. My prospects seemed dim as FT-100Ds in pristine condition seldom sell for more than $600 at best; whereas, nice FT-990s go for up to a grand. Therefore, I also considered trading for another Kenwood....the TS-850S/AT....fortunately I have a 35A power supply and could also consider taking in an FT-990 DC. So, I took my best shots and posted for trade on several HAM sites.

After a couple of months with absolutely no results; as well as fielding inquiries about trades for other rigs I already have and a lot of relatively inferior rigs, I hit paydirt....just when I was about to give up and just sell my FT-100D. I got an offer of a pristine, low hours 990 AC/DC with MD-1c8 desk mic, MH-1b8 hand mic, op and service manuals, and original packaging. Without the least hesitation or reservation, I jumped on the deal....even trade, each pay shipping costs. You have all the salad and potatoes, now for the meat.

First, the FT-990 not only lives up to all the hype and filled my list of requirements, it's the first rig I've ever owned where all the knobs and switches actually work rather than just take up space on the faceplate. The noise blanker, DSP, notch, IF shift and manually selectable AGC permit operating at 9dB or more below the noise floor. The rig has a truly awesome receiver that can hang right up there with my TS-870S/AT. If a signal is out there this rig hears it and it is a real gem for SWL.

Next, it has the best damned auto-tuner I've ever seen. I'm running an 80m dipole at 35' and an Anttron99 at 90'....the tuner has never failed to drop my VSWR to 2:1 or less from 160m thru 10m on the dipole; and it tunes my A99 flat from 24-30 MHz.

Although this rig does not have the rich, warm Rx audio of a good tube receiver such as my R-4C, the only solid state rig I've ever run with better Rx audio quality was my Kenwood TS-940S/AT. The 990's receive audio is superb relative to all other solid state rigs I've run and puts the TS-870 to shame in that department. As for Tx audio characteristics and quality, I've received nothing but excellent reports on AM and SSB, and the transmit really kicks butt with the processor engaged. The Yaesu MD-1c8 desk mic has a 3-position switch where the audio can be tailored along the lines of switching elements in a Heil, and the audio response can also be tailored with the rig controls.

Where servicing is concerned, there are several excellent techs available with reasonable repair rates. The FT-990's chief componentry is in separate circuit board lay-out and most common failures can be easily diagnosed as board-specific problems. You just unplug a board and ship it off for service.

Finally, I'm pretty fickle about transceivers....I operate one for a couple of months and it becomes just "another radio." I've talked everywhere with this rig, all the controls are "old hat" and I'm so familiar with it it's become a one-knob, three-button rig....pretty boring where knob twisting and button pushing are concerned. Someone into state-of-the-art button pushing would have already tired of it and moved on to something else.

Not me....I love this rig and what's more is I am really high on it....enthusiastic! even.

One final thing....do not ever believe that a solid state HAM rig won't kick ass on AM.

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73 de Sam

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mancow
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Postby mancow » Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:29 am


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n9emz
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Postby n9emz » Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:38 pm

Then, get one of these for half the price....

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Been so long I'd forgotten how sweet they are.[/url]


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