Yaesu FT-8900R Review: Awesome Mobile Ham Radio for Beginners

The ham radio world is flooded with handheld transceivers. This is why I had decided to try a mobile ham radio this time. A bit of research has narrowed down to a stunning high-quality Quad Band FM transceiver.

It’s none other than Yaesu FT-8900R 29/50/144/430 MHz FM Transceiver. Tell you what it’s one of the best mobile ham radios on our list.

As per Yaesu, the ham radio highlights edge features & FM capabilities making it the best on the market.

Well, is it really worth investing in? Hold tight, this review will tell you the answers.

Before that, here is a quick overview of the Yaesu FT-8900R, as per our testing:

Performance Features Ease of Installation Value for Money
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Most drivers agree that the Yaesu FT-8900R is a pretty fine amateur radio for the price. It is compact and dependable with all the right features. The dual receive and full-duplex operation make it an ideal choice. However, it lacks a few features like mic gain knob and front mount mic jack. It is super easy to set up using the radio’s in-built menu. However, it is even easier to use chirp. Given its economical price and single-hand operation, users are all praises for the FT-8900R!

Check Price on Amazon

Yaesu FT-8900R Review

Kenwood TH-D74A

This Yaesu ham radio combines high watt performance with rugged and stunning designs to deliver compelling communication. The FT-8900R Quad Band gives users incredible power output when on the road. You can be operating it 70 centimeters or 10 meters without having to worry about coverage!

You get all the leading-edge features like cross-band repeat, dual receive, over 800 memory channels, and much more.

Along with offering powerful communication, the FT-8900R has all the essential features to look for in amateur radio. Users describe it as having exceptional transmit and receive functions. Moreover, the range of frequencies is the highlight of it.

What we love the most is how easy to set up and operate it is. Along with being compact, it has some of the best user-friendly functions and knobs.

What You Will Get: The Specs

Here are some of the features to look out for in the FT-8900R:

      • 50 Watts Output (35 Watts on 430 MHz)
      • Alpha-Numeric LCD
      • Cross-band repeat
      • Access to the internet
      • Smart search
      • Over 800 memory channels
      • 50 Watts Output (35 Watts on 430 MHz)
      • Dual-band operation
      • Wide frequency coverage

With its rugged-built, it quickly becomes the top choice for drivers looking for extended coverage. Most importantly, the FT-8900R and its optional YSK-8900 Separation Kit makes installation a breeze. Even in the tightest locations!

In emergencies, the FT-8900R includes Cross-Band Repeat capability. Aside from this, the Tone Search Scanning monitors the tone on an incoming signal. It allows you to match tones when you are operating on a new repeater system.

Lastly, this model functions as two radios in the body of one. It allows you to configure the FT-8900R for 144-144 MHz or 430-430 MHz Dual Receive operation. You would never have to miss out on any action!

Yaesu ft-8900r Problems

While most users term it as one of the greatest Ham radios, it sure has a few shortcomings.

      • The FT-8900R needs a better-quality speaker.
      • Additionally, the knobs and buttons are too small on this device. The squelch control is behind the volume control. Users tend to struggle while performing essential functions when driving.
      • Some of the functions on it are “press one/two-second” kind.
      • A few customers have complained about receiving devices that did not work. However, the attentive customer service representatives at Yaesu have resolved the issues promptly.

However, despite these minor drawbacks, it continues to reign on the market. The small size and affordable price tag are what make it a hot-seller!

Who Should Use This?

To be honest, I didn’t expect this ham transceiver to provide the best features. Some of you might be asking ‘why’.

This is because I knew it clearly that FT 8900R is not designed to give you the topmost features. On the other hand, it’s a convenient device that you can mount on your vehicles to enjoy the ham experience at it’s best.

Who will love this FM transceiver the most?

I believe it’s the beginners in the ham radio world. Of course, with little tweaks here and there you can improve its performance. But even without that, this is a ham worth every penny.

Check Price on Amazon

FAQs

How to program Yaesu FT-8900R?

Order the programming cable and use the Chirp software for convenient programming.

Put the FT-8900R into clone mode by turning off the radio and connecting the cable. Next, push and hold the V/M button while simultaneously turning the radio on. Rotate the frequency knob until you “clone start” appears.

Download chirp and:

  1. Select the radio option.
  2. From there, select “download from radio” and choose the right COM port.
  3. Select Yaesu as a vendor and choose FT-8900R for the radio model.
  4. Next, you need to show your speed by pressing “OK” in chirp and the V/M button on the radio. The timing is critical!

You can now easily download frequencies and transfer to your radio. For ease, you can even use RepeaterBook.com to download them. It includes proximity settings, and downloads frequencies, offsets, and tone requirements accordingly.

How to turn Yaesu FT-8900R 52.525 MHz?

To select the frequency band on the device, press and hold the left dial to move the operating band on the left band. You may select the operating band on the main band by pressing and holding the microphone key P1 for half a second.

Additionally, you can also configure the FT-8900R to operate either in a V-V or U-U mode.

Yaesu FT-8900R, what good is FM on 10m?

There are plenty of 10-meter mobiles around, but limiting yourself to FM limits your options. Majority drivers use SSB as there are more stations to talk to. Often DX stations join in on local conversations, which can be quite enjoyable.

A great idea would be to check with locals to see if people close by are running on FM.

10-meter will increase activity, but you may also want to try out the sideband instead of FM. The SSB has more traffic than FM.

Yaesu FT-8900R Mods

So, if you are not a newbie and want to enhance the ham radio, you can definitely do it.

For extended transmission, some necessary mods can do the deed. All you need is a small screwdriver and needle-nose pliers.

  1. The first step entails removing screws from the radio cover. It includes four screws on the back and two on each side of the radio.
  2. After unscrewing the cover, tug on the wires to unplug it. Following this, use the pliers to crush the rectangle diode strip. Some users prefer sticking to a soldering iron for this purpose.
  3. Once done, reconnect the speaker and tighten the screws on the cover. Use the Yaesu recommended G4HFQ software for programming.

This process puts your radio through a factory reset. Lastly, in the software, change your radio type from the drop-down menu.

Once the modification is complete, you get access to the following frequency ranges:

      • 28-30Mhz Rx/Tx
      • 50-54Mhz Rx/Tx
      • 108-180MHz Rx
      • 137-174MHz Tx
      • 320-480Mhz Rx
      • 420-470MHz Tx
      • 700-823.9875MHz Rx
      • 0125-868.9875MHz Rx
      • 0125-913.9875MHz Rx
      • 2125-958.9875MHz Rx
      • 2125-985MHz Rx

Yaesu Ft-8900R Antenna

This Yaesu model works with antennas presenting an impedance of close to 50 Ohms. When connecting an antenna to the FT-8900R, make sure the transceiver is on. It prevents damage that could result if transmission occurs accidentally without the antenna.

Additionally, another critical point is, look for an antenna that is compatible to handle 50-watts of output power. Some traditional antennas like those for hand-held transceivers may be unable to withstand this level.

For antennas such as Yagi or Cubical Quad, make sure the position is upright to product vertical polarization. With the cubical quad, you may need to pay attention that the feed-point is at the center of the vertical sides.

Some suggestions by FT-8900R users include AR8900, Diamond Comet CR 8900 antenna, and Maldol EX-107.

When setting up an efficient antenna system, your efforts will go to waste if you have a sloppy cable. For this reason, always consider the highest-quality coaxial cable for the lead-in.

Comparison with Competitors

Features Yaesu FT-8800R Yaesu FT-8900R
Channel Memory 1000 800
Internet Access WIRES
Cross-band repeat
Operation Two-channel Operation Two-channel Operation
Power 50/35 watts 50/35 watts

While closely similar, the Yaesu FT-8800R is better with memory management. Additionally, the FT-8900R is quad-band on one side. The other is strictly 2M and 70 CM. However, please note, the Yaesu FT-8800R is no longer in production.

Features TYT TH-9800 Yaesu FT-8900R
Channel Memory 800 800
Internet Access WIRES
Cross-band repeat
Operation Two-channel Operation Two-channel Operation
Power 50/40 Watts 50/35 Watts

The only significant difference between TYT and Yaesu is the power output and internet access. However, according to many users, the warranty, performance, and customer service of Yaesu is far better.

Features Kenwood TM-V71A Yaesu FT-9800R
Channel Memory 1000 800
Internet Access EchoLink Node Terminal WIRES
Cross-band repeat
Operation Two-channel Operation Two-channel Operation
Power 50/50 Watts 50/35 Watts

The Kenwood device, like FT-8900R, is quite popular among truckers and drivers. The features are quite similar to those of the latter. However, one significant difference is the price. If you want to save bucks while purchasing a ham radio, we would recommend the Yaesu FT-9800R.

 

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to stay connected or are exploring options, ham radios are an excellent choice. If you’re new on the market and are unsure, the Yaesu FT-8900R 29/50/144/430 MHz FM Transceiver can be a great starting point. It has all the prominent features needed for effective communication.

It is a high-quality device that won’t burn a hole in your pocket!

Last update on 2020-08-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Spread the love