FT920 owner comments

From W1MW

Having had my FT-20 for about ten days I can make some initial observations. My unit is SN 7H040141 which Yaesu tells me is from the sixth production batch. They couldn't (or wouldn't) tell me the cumulative production number. The issues reported earlier such as the noise blanker cross-talk seem to have been fixed in production by now. I've equipped the radio with the optional FM board, 500 Hz and 6 KHz filters. Overall, the radio has been fun to operate on both SSB and RTTY. I'm not much of a CW operator so I enlisted a friend who found the CW operation, especially the QSK, quite acceptable. The first night I had the radio I could not transmit a signal on phone. It turns out that the supplied hand mike had no audio. HRO swapped it out for me the next day. The first day I tried a Heil HM-5 mike and was given universally bad (no lows) audio reports. Reports on the Yaesu hand mike were good. I rewired a Kenwood MC-60 desk mike and, once again, got lousy audio reports (no lows). I've now got the matching MD-100 desk mike on trial from a friend and audio reports are good. It seems like this radio only likes Yaesu mikes.

I've had some negative experiences. A few days ago the rig locked in transmit. I turned the power off and when I turned it on again the radio would not transmit at all. I went through the various microprocessor resets to no avail. Ultimately, I opened the rig up and did a hard reset with the CMOS switch. That brought the transmitter back to life. I've experienced some problems with the antenna tuner which seems to find "Hi SWR" at times on antennas it liked the day before. I had an exceptional annoyance today. I was testing the antenna tuner into my three HF antennas and encountered Hi SWR at 7 MHz on one. Fair enough as it wasn't cut for 40M. I then went to my 40M dipole and couldn't get the tuner to get of it's "Hi SWR" shutdown. The SWR meter was reading infinity! After performing a memory reset it worked fine with that antenna. Making resets does not please me as I like to do some SWL and want to keep a couple dozen broadcast frequencies in memory. The microprocessor issues are making me a bit nervous. If the rig needs to see Yaesu it will probably me gone for a month from my Massachusetts QTH (slow boat to CA). I wonder if others have encountered similar difficulties?

Larry Ober, W1MW

Follow up comments from W1MW

Having a bit more time with the FT-920 I've discovered the cause of the microprocessor problems - RF! One of my dipole antennas backs a lot of RF into the shack. The main dipole has a large RF choke just outside the house due to earlier problems. The feed line of a secondary dipole comes in directly to the station. With a high degree of microprocessor control the FT-920 is more sensitive to stray RF than the fourteen year old Kenwood TS-930 it replaced. I'll either choke off or change the culprit antenna. Since becoming aware of the problem there has been no further need to perform resets.

The auto-tuner still seems a bit tricky. It sometimes seems to resist seeing a match on a good antenna where previously there was "High SWR" on a less than desirable antenna. A friend with an FT-1000MP reports a similar phenomenon. I suspect there's an operator issue here that we have not yet discerned as the tuner appears to be very good in most situations. I would appreciate operational tips from other users. Please bear in mind that I tend to stretch the limits of auto-tuning with a "random" length window line fed dipole.

The DSP high/low cut filtering does a very good job on SSB QRM. It's more effective than the Slope Tuning on the old TS-930. I was a casual participant in this past weekends RTTY contest. The 500 Hz filter in conjunction with DSP worked well to separate close in signals unless they were impossibly stacked upon each other.

Audio reports on SSB remain very good since adopting the MD-100 microphone. I guess it's time to make the mike a permanent addition. Overall, I am very satisfied with the FT-920.

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