FT920 owner comments

From KH7T

I received my FT 920 on 10/22/97. I really do like the radio, and used it during the CQWW SSB contest. The computer interface was excellent. I got good signal reports both barefoot and driving my SB-220. It has a number of human factors interfaces that I like a lot. But it did not meet my expectations and I returned it 10/24/97.

I did serious a/b testing of the receiver between the 920 and the 735 on 14, 7, and 1.8 mHz using the stock SSB filter. In no case was I able to read a signal on the 920 that I could not on the 735. Also in no case was the 735 better in my shack than the 920. The performance seemed equal. I use a JPS NIR-12 with the 735. The dsp notch on the 920 usually worked well, but in some cases required some extra fiddling to get it to acquire the carrier and null it. The NIR-12 seems make all such squeals disappear instantly.

I had expected some improvement over the 735 in the case of strong signal near by blocking of weak signal. The attenuator of the 920 is switchable in smaller steps than the 735 and I still hypothesize that in some cases this better controllability will result in better readability. I did not find those conditions.

I then hauled out a really good attenuator and shielded my signal generator. I used a separate signal generator (the modulated signal out of my MFJ 259) for the strong signal and fed them both into my dummy load to the antenna port. I was able to attenuate the generator to below the receiver detectable threshold in 1 db steps. The strong signal read about 30db over s9 on the 735 and 40db over s9 on the 920. The above readings were without receiver preamp or attenuator. I used a B and W grounding coax switch to a/b switch the recievers.

The ultimate sensitivity of the 920 was slightly better than the 735 on the frequencies I tested. The detectability of a weak signal near a strong signal was about the same, but very slightly better on the 735. The noise from the strong signal seemed to spread out more on the 920 than it did on the 735. The 920 seemed to generate some tone on the side of the strong signal that I did not like. I tried many combinations of preamp, shift, attenuator, and dsp settings.

If the FT920 were my first transceiver I would be very happy. It looks like I may have to go to an Omni + or FT 1000 or IC 775 to get the upgraded class of receiver front end that I am looking for.

The 735 has a home in the truck. I guess it has to come back inside for a while. I am still actively looking for an affordable transceiver with some bells and whistles and a more crunch proof front end.

To YAESU, the FT920 is an excellent radio, but for the price needs your top quality front end and a few minor improvements in the DSP algorithm.

73 John KH7T

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