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Yaesu FT-891 Review: A Sleeper of a Deal

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KE0EYJ, Jul 6, 2017.

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  1. ND6M

    ND6M Ham Member QRZ Page

    now down to $579.95, and a free HM 12 mic and cable assy too.:D

    I just bought one for my SUV. @ that price, I'm not very worried about using it in a vehicle.

    The HM 12 will stay in the shack tho.
  2. K7LZR

    K7LZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had my FT-891 for about two weeks now, and I find it to be top-notch in terms of performance. The transmitter delivers a solid 100 watts and the receiver is sensitive and selective. Even down into the NDB frequency region around 200-450khz it performs well.

    This is a GREAT radio for the money. Well worth it, no doubt.

    But I do have a few minor beefs:

    1 - The method for changing bands. What the heck were they thinking???. Traditional up/dn buttons are MUCH MUCH better.

    2 - Ditto with Mode switching.

    3 - The internal speaker (to me) sounds HORRIBLE!!. And you cannot fix this by replacing the speaker because there is nothing wrong with the speaker itself - the radio as constructed forms an acoustically tuned audio chamber which makes it sound the way it does. Easy to test this yourself - remove the upper case screws and then gently tilt the upper case up and away from the speaker. You will notice an immediate and dramatic change in received audio quality. Replace the upper case and audio becomes quite focused and VERY tinny so as to cut through surrounding noise. Good news is that you can easily fix the issue with the use of an external speaker.


    If you're on the fence about buying one of these radios, I say go for it!. My little personal nitpicks certainly do not detract from an otherwise fine radio :)
  3. KD9CKB

    KD9CKB Ham Member QRZ Page

    so far its been a great mobile radio,, Also new Firmware , DSP, and Panel display updates came out yesterday
    ND6M likes this.
  4. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    At $579 I will be buying one. I will probably wait closer to the date the rebate ends 11/30. That is an incredible deal, I wonder why they are discounting it so much.
  5. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hear they don't do well connected to an amp. What problems will I have connecting to an al 80a?
  6. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just replied to your post in the other thread.

    Here is what I wrote there:

    You can make your own cable, but I just bought mine off of an ebay seller. My Tokyo Hy-Power 1.2KFX works with it. The cable the guy made for me goes from a Yaesu-type plug, and a 1/8" phono to RCA's on the other ends. Those plug into Send and ALC on my amp. You have to set one of the menu items in the radio to LAMP to make it work. There is a Facebook forum or two for the FT-891. Someone there will probably know more.

    The FT-891 isn't the cleanest signal out there, as has been referenced. I found that it is a must to keep the ALC at 1/4 to 1/2, and no higher, for it to behave in a friendly way. I'm not sure what drive you need for the AL80a, but at 50w output, the FT-891 is still clean enough. According to the ARRL, it is on the dirty side above that. If you keep the ALC down below half on peaks, it helps.

    Keep that in mind. I didn't buy mine with the intention of amping it, but I find I'm actually doing it, on occasion. A Japanese ham with scopes and whatnot took a look at my amped FT-891 signal, and he didn't see anything in terms of splattering, and not much different than the average IMD he sees with the issues the ARRL mentioned. He was 500 to 600 miles from me, if that means anything. It does flick the amp needles higher than my Icom 7300 does, if I don't stick to my rule about keeping the ALC peaking at 1/4 to 1/2. Probably because it's transmitting and amping some additional crap. If I am careful with the ALC, and drive around 70w-75w max, I find I'm good, on mine -- that crap is kept to a minimum, in terms of needle flickage differences from my Icom 7300 (how's that for technical? Bet the engineers are vomiting about now).

    You might want to look at the updates to my review... here (Pros and Cons will tell you enough):

    Of all of the downfalls associated with this radio, if I were to pick one that bugged me a bit, it would be the HISS in the headphones, at low AF gain levels. I found one pair of headphones that have highs cut substantially, and they do not hiss. But others do. Also, the rear speaker out port hisses even worse than the hard-to-find side headphone port.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  7. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    That will not be a problem. I usually drive with about 50watts.

    That is an excellent article on your blog!
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
    KE0EYJ likes this.
  8. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have had a chance to play with the ft 891 for a couple of days. I'm very impressed with this little radio especially for the price. It has a learning curve with the menus and multifunction buttons but makes sense after studying it awhile.
  9. K5IKR

    K5IKR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Under the stingyham cons "11. Some user settings, like signal bandwidth, return to default, when switching between bands."
    anyone know if the all filter settings are lost or retained when switching between bands? Thanks.
  10. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not all, per recent updates. I haven't installed the newest update, but my RX bandwidth does change between bands. It is a quick-menu setting. I also lose my NR filtering settings between band changes (it turns off, if memory serves). I have to turn it back on again, when I change bands. The longform menu settings seem not to change. For example, the TX bandwidth does not change. Other settings, such as high/low cut and Slope adjustments in the longform menu (from 11-01) do not change, either.

    What specific filter settings concern you? I'd be happy to check directly.

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