Yaesu FT-9000

A few years ago saw the release of some amazing new gear for Ham and Freeband radio operators but none was more appealing than the breathtaking Yaesu FT-90000 transceiver in 2005 which retails at a whopping $15,000 AUS.  Described by those lucky bastards who’ve already added the rig to their shack as the “ultimate” in radio comms, I was fortunate enough to have a play with one for a few hours thanks to a good mate of mine who reps for Yaesu here in 43 Division.

To put it simply, my first impression of the radio was “Oh my God – it’s bloody HUGE!”  In fact, the FT9000 is sooo big it could have its very own zip code.  Plug it in and turn it on, and the display reminded me more of a space shuttle control panel than of any radio I’ve previously seen.  No that I’ve ever seen one lol…

According to my ruler, the width of the FT-9000 is exactly 20.4 inches which is more than 4 inches wider and deeper than the earlier FT-1000 model and allows the controls to be spaced far enough apart to allow each to be operated easily (Unlike my Kenwood TS-2000, incidentally, which is pretty finicky with tiny knobs!!!).

After a few tries, I counted 37 rotary controls and 96 push buttons on the front panel.  What’s cool about this is that many controls serve a single function with menu functions and “soft buttons” mostly reserved for the TFT display.  I found all the controls to be of user friendly size – no tweezers required. 

Like my TS-2000 with its 55 different push buttons and 8 rotary controls, these controls provide lots of flexibility and features for the different operational modes, allowing the DX’er to customise the receive and transmit parameters through variable IF-based DSP to suit a given set of requirements.

On the word of my mate who hasn’t stopped raving about the rig since he first laid eyes on one, a primary focus of the FTDX9000 design team was on receiver performance which is perhaps the most critical feature for serious DXers.  In short, this means that an operator will want to be able to receive a weak signal without interference from one or more strong stations very close in frequency to the desired station.

Transmitter Highlights

  • 400-Watt (External Power Supply)
  • 200-Watt (Internal Power Supply) versions available
  • Class-A operation at 100-Watts (400-W version), 75-Watts (200-W version) output with Adjustable
  • Bias Control
  • IF DSP Speech processing and Microphone Equalization
  • Low-Level Transverter Output Port
  • Monitor for Voice, Data, and CW modes

Receiver Highlights

  • Selectable Roofing filters (15/6/3 kHz) for excellent performance
  • Typical IP3 in excess of +40 dBm, and best close-in Dynamic Range on the market
  • 32-Bit IF DSP with Adjustable Filter Response Contours, Variable
  • Bandwidth, Variable Passband Centre, Noise Reduction, and IF Manual NOTCH + AF Auto NOTCH Filters
  • Dual Receive with Identical Receivers for Main and Sub
  • IF Noise Blanker
  • Variable RF Filter on all bands
  • Adjustable Audio Limiter in addition to RF/IF AGC
  • Fast-acting Spectrum Display with Variable Frequency Range Feature

Highlights

  • HF + 50 MHz Frequency Coverage
  • Four TX/RX Antenna Jacks plus Two RX-Only Jacks
  • Flash Memory Port
  • PS/2 Keyboard Connector for Logging
  • Data Port for Interconnection to your PC
  • “My Band” Quick Band Switching feature (eliminates unused bands)
  • Direct Frequency Entry and One-touch Band Change
  • Huge Multi-Function TFT Display
  • Analogue Meters for Ultimate Precision in Measurements
  • Rotator Interface Jack for Direction Indication on TFT Display
  • Direct Input/Output Sound Card Connections.

In addition to the World Clock feature on the TFT monitor, one of the most intriguing features for me (although a little bit mind blowing, lol) was the 160 Menu options.  As the pic shows, the large comfortable tuning knob that dominates the middle of the panel does exactly what you would expect – turn it to the right and the frequency goes up, left and the frequency goes down – and it probably has the best “feel” of any I’ve ever twirled.  Like the TS2000 menu options, I gather understanding how to use these different functions would require some practice and lots of time to get your head around them!

If you’ve got the cash and can justify to the XYL why you MUST have a toy that costs sooo much money, I would highly recommend this particular rig for the radio shack bench top.  Most of the reviews I have read about this radio have been glowing which is really what you would expect from a modern day “release” and a product of this price!  I just wish I had time for a bit more of a play…

73 de Darren
43DA010