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The FT-991 review

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KO6WB, Oct 10, 2015.

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  1. KG5CVH

    KG5CVH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok, this is my first time commenting on, so I got my tech licenses and upgraded to general back in 2014. I got into Yaesu because my Elmer was into Yaesu and was and is well respected and knows what he's doing. I have been pretty happy with Yaesu and have a ft-857D, and it has been pretty good. Most of my trouble has been operator error and HRO has been really good at helping me understand what I was doing wrong with the settings. My question that keeps coming back to me is with the 991 radios - were people blowing their finals with bad/mismatched antenna choices/setups and strictly using the internal antenna tuner? I was told by my Elmer before I bought the 857d to buy an antenna tuner and I bought an LDG YT-100 and it has probably saved me from messing up my radio due to my ignorance of proper antenna set up and use. Over time I have learned and as I study for Extra I'm finding little things about antennas that I thought I knew and had handled correctly but was wrong. So, could it be that lots of folks should have bought an external tuner aside from the obvious argument (that I agree with) that if the HF unit had a built in tuner it should be able to handle an antenna that needed lots of help? Just throwing my two cents in. And on another note, does the Icom radios hear better or have less noise than Yaesu? I have read a couple of Hams think they do. I'm on the fence and looking at 991a and think it would be a great choice but I'm really being pulled to the Icom 7300 as well. Thanks for any helpful hints. KG5CVH-John
  2. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I had three radios I bought side by side. Yaesu FT-991A, Kenwood TS-590SG and an Icom IC-7300. The Icom IC-7300 was first to go. I was in a noisy city environment and the IC-7300 could not hear weak signals like the TS-590SG or FT-991A. I mentioned this at another forum and was blamed for using RF gain at maximum. NOT! The IC-7300 also had to use the DNR at four to pull the SSB signal out of the noise whereas the TS-590SG & FT-991A heard same SSB signal without any DNR. The TS-590SG was better vs the FT-991A without DNR. The TS-590SG could dig out SSB weak signals with 100% copy that the FT-991A had about 80% copy. The FT-991A has a great DNR without any watery sound unlike the TS-590SG with watery sound. The IC-7300 also did not have watery sounding DNR.

    I sold the IC-7300 due to the noisy receiver. Later moving to an apartment I downsized and sold the TS-590SG. The FT-991A stayed due to a superior DNR and other good performance close enough to the TS-590SG. The FT-991A with a 20 over signal disappears at 2.5kHz away on the FT-991A so selectivity is good enough. And I have some interest in 2 meter SSB that the TS-590SG does not have. I would not try to contact marginal & very weak SSB signals so the FT-991A receiver is good enough.

    The reports of a unfriendly menu on the FT-991A is absolutely ridiculous. Once the menu few items are set such as display color options, brightness, MIC equalizer out of 158 item options are set, you never have to visit the menu again. The touch screen 'buttons' are larger than most plastic individual buttons on a transceiver plus the menu function is written in English and, of course, backlighted. So, if the Yaesu FT-991A menu is unfriendly to you, then every radio ever made with a menu is unfriendly. Do not blame the FT-991A having an unfriendly menu that is as friendly as it gets. That is IMO shameful!
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    KG5CVH likes this.
  3. KG5CVH

    KG5CVH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have heard lots of good things about the Kenwood TS-590SG, and thanks for the information on the IC-7300. I'm really leaning toward the 991a and like the idea of being able to work SSB on 2 meter. I'm actually looking at going with the ftm-400xdr and like its capabilities even though there isn't much c4fm going on in my area. I may end up in an area in the next couple of years that does support it. So the 991a and ftm-400 would be a good match for me. However, I'm reading all the negative post about finals blowing out that it makes me really evaluate what I spend my money on. I did have a couple of issues with the 857D when I first got it. I had a bad microphone. I borrowed a mic from my Elmer and sent it back to HRO, and in about a week got it back and it has worked perfect since. Well, thanks for the comments.
  4. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The FT-991A never had blown final issues, early FT-991 did. The TS-590SG is a great receiver, but not as fun finding signals on the band without the water spectrum scope the FT-991A has installed. It is a real time scope unlike the FT-991. You cannot go wrong with the FT-991A.
    KG5CVH likes this.
  5. KG5CVH

    KG5CVH Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's what I was hoping someone would mention, the 991a has not had issues with the finals. The more I research the 991a the more I really like it. I think I am going to have to upgrade. Thanks.
  6. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi John,

    Welcome aboard! Enjoy the site.
    KG5CVH likes this.
  7. KG5CVH

    KG5CVH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks, I have used the log for several years and browsed the swap meet features but haven't commented (that I remember) until today. So, thanks and I appreciate the help from reading the posts to the comments of the members here.
    KC8VWM likes this.
  8. KC8VWM

    KC8VWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds good John. Hey, if I might be of any assistance just let me know.

    Say, are you enjoying amateur radio? Tell us a little bit about your station antenna setup. I am always interested in knowing what some of the newcomers are using these days.
  9. KG5CVH

    KG5CVH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I got interested in amateur radio after a weather event that happened and I heard the Skywarn storm spotters on the scanner. I studied got my tech license on a Saturday, got my call sign on the next Wednesday and worked Field Day the following Saturday. I loved it. I was very active for the first two years and my job got really busy and I stopped getting on the air for about year and a half. I recently upgraded my HTs and got a new FT-60 and have jumped back in full force this year. My first rig was a Baofeng ht and a Yaesu 857D. I still have both and use the 857d as my base station with an Alpha Delta 40 meter dipole with 80 meter coils. I also bought an Alpha EZ military 6-160 for mobile and have mounted it on my roof this summer. It's actually working decent. I made a call on 6 meters this week from Southwestern New Mexico to Tennessee with the Alpha EZ. I picked up a Yaesu 2900 a couple of years ago on Black Friday for a little over $100 at HRO and run a Diamond X30 on my roof for 2 meter/440 work. I have a Yaesu 8800r in my truck and use it pretty often. I have started playing around with psk31 with Fldigi on an old desktop computer linked with a signalink usb to my 857d. I also started a while back trying my hand at satellite work using an Elk antenna. My first "HF" contact was with a 10 meter home-brew dipole I made from speaker wire (thanks to youtube and Gordon West) and made some great contacts in 2014. So, I'm enjoying amateur radio again and have been really active the last couple of weeks. I am getting ready to help work field day with my club and plan to work an education station as well as satellite station. Last year I encouraged a buddy to get his license and helped him out with a radio and a home-brew copper j-pole and I have a former student who is studying for tech and will most likely test in August, he's eleven. So, I think amateur radio is important and appreciate the hobby. I get excited about working HF or digital modes and it spills over into my conversations with friends and hopefully influences others to get into the hobby as well. I started studying for Extra but I have a long way to go before I am ready to test.
    KC8VWM likes this.
  10. AD0AC

    AD0AC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a late-run FT-991 that has worked well the last two years. Yaesu had a manufacturing issue when the rig was introduced where they biased the finals too hot during assembly. They fixed the problem just before introducing the A model to compete with the 7300. Factory service can fix the issue before it becomes a problem.
    KG5CVH likes this.

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