Author Topic: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver  (Read 16119 times)

Offline Alan Georges

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Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« on: July 27, 2013, 07:33:02 PM »
There are lots of reviews for this transceiver out on the web, covering it in far more detail than I’m going into here.  So I’ll stick to answering the two questions I really couldn’t find ready answers to in these reviews:

(1) How easy is it, really, to operate?
I’d had eyes on a Yaesu FT-957D over the winter, but various friends and internet advice steered me toward an FT-450D.  Less compact = more faceplate controls = fewer menus and (hopefully) easier operation.  In practice, while the 450D is not iPod-easy to operate, it’s not really any more complicated than something like MS Word when it comes to dealing with its menus.  I do keep the manual nearby at all times however.

(2) How’s the internal tuner? 
It’s dead easy to operate, just press & hold one button.  It’ll tame any reasonably efficient but not quite perfect antenna, i.e. anything with SWR < 3.  It won’t tune random wires, G5RV’s, or anything else too whacky, but it does help clean up the band ends for dipoles and extends the operating range a little.

(3) One more thing (bonus!).  Size-wise, at 9” wide x 4” high x 10” deep, it’s too big for a BOB but reasonable for a BOV.  “Compact base station” describes it best.  I’ll have to make a go-box for it eventually.  Or maybe sooner, we’re getting into the thick of hurricane season.

Overall, it’s a solid rig that has enough features and flexibility to do most jobs.  While not quite small enough to be a true mobile unit, it’s small enough to pack for a bugout, or even a camping trip.  Here’s a review that swayed me into getting this thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxRAoMs22Yo  (about 16 minutes long).

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013, 06:51:14 AM »
Thanks.  That's helpful.  I've been debating between the 450d and the 950.  Any experience with the latter?

zanedclark@att.net

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 09:13:27 AM »
And I'd like to hear about the choice of the 897D instead of the 450.  Any thoughts there?
z

zanedclark@att.net

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 09:15:42 AM »
I was just over at Universal Radio and see that the 950 is discontinued, replaced by the http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/1200.html

z

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 09:03:48 PM »
Thanks.  That's helpful.  I've been debating between the 450d and the 950.  Any experience with the latter?
Y'all're welcome.  No, no real experience other than shopping and reading/watching too many reviews.  The main reason was that the 950 was outside my budget, and now the new 1200 is even more so.  After that, both seemed too large to be really bug-outable.  Yeah, I know that's very relative and subjective, but I'm the one who's got to lug the damnthing.  Finally, the 950 just felt like too much rig for me, too many features for a new ham.

I gave the Alinco SR8T a serious look too.  Price is right on that one, but by the time you hang on a tuner the price is beginning to stack back up.  And then, I wasn't sure it was enough rig to grow into.  I mean, some of the DSP stuff on the 450D is just too sexy to pass up!

And I'd like to hear about the choice of the 897D instead of the 450.  Any thoughts there?
z
Looked at that one hard too.  Feature-for-feature, it's nearly the same as the FT-857, with all those advantages and disadvantages.  The internal battery is neat, but I didn't want to be married to a proprietary NiMH battery pack, and be limited to 20% TX power when using it.  Comes to it, I'll rig up a gel cell bank if I need that kind of portability – or just hook onto my truck's battery.  Not exactly hiking gear I know, but that's not my focus right now.  Got to say though, an 897 with a 20 meter end-fed antenna and maybe a little UHF antenna would be one sexy compact emergency comms go rig.

It's all a balancing act, and I can't say that I 100% researched the 950, 897, 857, or SRT8, but I did get to the 80% researched level and was suffering from analysis paralysis and hurricane season is upon us and an OK decision today is better than perfect too late, whew.  They all look really good, and I'd probably be happy with any of them.  It was just the 450D hit my combo of price, features (enough, not too many), and size/bugoutability.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 06:33:09 PM »
One more feature I've learned to use and love: the IF notch filter.  It saved my bacon on last Sunday's TAPRN net.  Listening, there was some steady QRM causing a squeal right on top of the net frequency.  The notch filter cleaned it out without affecting the audio, yielding a total saving of at least 400 milligrams of aspirin.

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 05:17:16 PM »
I was just over at Universal Radio and see that the 950 is discontinued, replaced by the http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/1200.html

z

Yeah...just one more reason I'm thinking of buying one sooner rather than later.  The 'replacement' doesn't seem like a 1-1 at all.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2013, 08:09:08 AM »
And after four months of light use, the dreaded main dial encoder fault strikes.  I'd read about this problem at eham (http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9529), but figured that after a couple of years Yaesu had it sorted out.  I mean, it's got to be so much cheaper to just build in a slightly better part than do all of this warranty work, right?  Bzzzt! wrong.

It's not a fatal problem, it's just that the main frequency dial doesn't work properly now.  It sort of randomly skips around.  This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqrEMU2pLCM) shows what mine's doing.  Note that the video is two years old – this is a well known problem.  The rest of the radio is still working, including the smaller dial that tunes up and down by 2.5 KHz per click.  So the unit still works, after a fashion, except for not being able to get on frequencies that aren't a multiple of 2.5 Khz.

Evidently it's a straightforward part swap.  Off to see how HRO & Yaesu handle this.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2013, 09:39:17 AM »
Ham Radio Outlet did their part, emailing a sales invoice within minutes of calling them.  This is a big plus for them in my book, given my haphazard record keeping.  Gave them my call sign and boom, they had all of my prior purchase records right up and ready to send.  Yaesu technical is closed on weekends, so the rest will have to wait until Monday.  But things are basically on track.

I won't keep posting the step-by-step here, but will post how things work out in the end -- whenever that is!

Offline Canadian Prepper

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2013, 03:35:53 PM »
I only recently got my license and am hoping to purchase an HF rig in the upcoming months but hadn't considered the FT450D before this. A quick check of my local HAM radio store reveals that it's on sale for the same price as the 897 that I was eying, and even cheaper with a $70 mail in rebate if purchased before December 31st.  Add the savings of the internal tuner and the greater ease of operation than the menu driven 897 and it might win the contest between the two. OTOH, I may be limited to antenna options by space and may need to rely upon a G5RV that might require a manual tuner. I'm also a bit tight on cash at the moment and may have to start off with an FT8900D for now and get the HF rig later. That could change if some other toys that I plan to get rid of sell by then, but we'll have to see.

I'll certainly be watching this thread with interest. The 897 seems a bit more appealing on account of it's more portable design, but if the 450 can listen in where the 897 might not be able to filter out noise, perhaps it's a better pick. I'll definitely follow the videos and reviews on Youtube and elsewhere!

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2013, 04:42:31 PM »
Got the rig back today.  All plugged in and tested, and back at 100%.  7 days shipping, 4 days in the shop, 5 days shipping back.  Covered 100% under warrantee with no questions (I think they may have seen this problem before  ::)), though I did have to pay to ship it there.

Hopefully this is the last main dial problem for me.  I didn't remember until after I'd posted that the frequency fine tuning could also be done with the up/down keys on the microphone.  So if the dial goes out again, in a pinch the radio's still completely useable.

I'm still happy with the radio overall, but I'd hoped Yaesu had gotten this long-known problem sorted out.  Evidently not.  Something to consider if you're shopping.

Offline iam4liberty

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Re: Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 05:42:51 PM »
I have had my eye on an FT-450D for quite a while.  Another potential advantage is that it has a really good reputation with the CW crowd.  It includes appropriate filters, keyer features, and even a beacon.  So for anyone interested in CW as an option, it is a strong contender.