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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. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Would like to mention that I added a Motorola HSN4038A external speaker to my FT-891, and that pretty much entirely removed any hiss from either port. This is a dedicated communications speaker, and works very well (per someone's suggestion about clearing-up hiss). Far better than the internal speaker. It's rugged, well-built, and sounds very good. I highly suggest it, and this model can be purchased from E-bay for between $10 and $50, used to new.

    K7LZR likes this.
  2. K7LZR

    K7LZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Agreed. Those are great, rugged speakers. I use an older version of same with my FT-891.
    KE0EYJ likes this.
  3. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    By they way, I mentioned your site on the 891 Groups on Facebook. Also mentioned your tuner on the
    Magnetic Loop Antennas Facebook page, which has about 4,400 members.
    K7LZR likes this.
  4. K7LZR

    K7LZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you, most appreciated! :)
  5. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the same speaker, just a newer model and it works great!

    How is the software coming?
    KE0EYJ likes this.
  6. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry, I am not the developer.
  7. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just an update on this wonderful little bargain.

    I added an LDG ZX11 Pro 2 tuner (used, bought off of QRZ) and it's doing a fine job, at the office). I'm a little worried, though... it's now late November, and we had a big lightning storm. Home is 1 hour away from work, and no time to travel there to unhook the antenna. Who expects crazy lightning in November! I hope the radio is still alive! Will find out on Monday.

    For now, here is a photo of the FT-891 with the LDG tuner. This is probably the weaker model in the line-up, as it's meant for QRP (although it handles 125w SSB). I have found it doesn't like much above 30w, for digital modes, per a test with my Icom 7300. Need to make the digital cable for my FT-891.

    891 pic.jpg
  8. KB4MNG

    KB4MNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm still using mine as my main base rig tethered to my palstar 1500 w tuner and als 600. It has spent most of it's time on 160 ssb and cw. I get really good audio reports and these guys I talk too are very picky about audio.

    I plan on getting an automatic tuner for it. LDG has a z100 plus for about $135, cheap enough.

    There is still a few days left on this deal, I believe it expires NOV 30. I've heard of some hams buying several.

    I'm really looking forward to the software that is being developed.
  9. KE0EYJ

    KE0EYJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Have explored digital modes with this, somewhat.

    If you plan to use digital modes a lot, or want to use rig control, this is not the best choice.

    Although rig control is easy, with a USB cable only needed for basic control, there is a clicking issue, which matches polling from rig control software, such as DX Commander, N1MM, etc.. Added are a few videos about it. Setting rig control to 38400 baud (max allowed), combined with using a comms speaker or filter to remove sound not from the voice range can help. Also, not using much RF Gain can mask the clicking.

    I can confirm that the radio DOES NOT NEED a SIGNALINK, or similar soundcard device. However, the USB cable does not carry the audio. You need to purchase the Yaesu 39A cable (which is bare wire on one end) and make your own, or make one from an old round-end keyboard cable, or buy a cable on Ebay that is pre-made. You then use VOX within the radio to handle switching.

    I made my own from a keyboard cable.

    Here is the digital clicking, which occurs as soon as you hook up the USB, and connect with rig control software. The USB was the only cable hooked-up, at this point, and later adding the 39A knock-off keyboard cable made no difference. Dropping the MONITOR to 0, and turning it off only helps remove the clicking if the volume is down. It returns as soon as you raise the volume. The clicking can be covered-up by radio noise, if volume is raised:

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  10. W1PJE

    W1PJE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi all,

    Just a note that my FT-891 pictured in the first Youtube clip above is now at Yaesu warranty repair with a request to eliminate the CAT driven clicking. I really did try everything possible (including a number of things not in the video) and could not get rid of it. KE0EYJ was very helpful in the discussions and suggested a few things that I hadn't thought of before I finally got this sent in.

    I will point out though that even at 38400 baud, I found that it was not possible to filter this out of the audio that well since it is impulsive and has an audio spectrum that goes right on up to 5-10 kHz+, meaning that a simple audio equalizer type filtering didn't do it for me. Perhaps this is my rig in particular, but we'll find out. I will certainly update this thread when I find out what Yaesu wants to do.

    Finally, it occurs to me that, while not very satisfying, you could still use this rig with digital modes - e.g. FT8, etc. - if you give up CAT control and don't use the USB connection at all, manually tuning to e.g. 7074 kHz and leaving it there. I suppose that would work if you have a CT39 cable and feed the audio to/from the radio, etc.
    KE0EYJ likes this.

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