Yaesu FT-450 HF and 6 Meter – QST – ARRL Product Review
Reviewed by Rick Lindquist, N1RL ARRL Contributing Editor
The FT-450 is Yaesu’s latest entry in the HF/50 MHz transceiver field. It’s a sturdy and competent general-purpose radio in the under $1000 price class. It’s generously endowed with an array of features, a few borrowed from its more vaunted brethren. It is not a mini FT-2000, however, as some Internet wags have speculated. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer. In broad strokes, the FT-450 is a lightweight, compact — but not too compact — multimode 100 W transceiver that will do yeoman’s duty in a variety of Amateur Radio applications, including portable (but probably not mobile) operation and HF or 50 MHz beacon service.
I have been testing some of the quality HF transceivers. One of the options popped up in my mind was Yaesu FT-450D.
The strong brand name has always shown me the indication that my testing would end up in a good note.
Before we dig into the details in my Yaesu FT-450D review, I wanted to tell you that this is a feature-rich Ham radio every beginner would love to have with them. The affordable price is another highlight of this rig you are going to love.
Here is how we rate the key indexes:
|Yaesu 450D delivers World-class performance in an affordable and easy-to-operate package.|
|As a beginner, you will thoroughly enjoy the authentic HAM experience, all thanks to this feature-rich model.|
|This HAM radio has a few bells and whistles like the high-end rigs, but the user manual takes care of it!|
|Value for Money|
|For this price, we don’t think you will find a better-looking HAM transceiver with the same features than the Yaesu 450D!|
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If you’ve been contemplating buying the ultra-powerful and sleek Yaesu 450D, this review is for you!
After weeks of use, we are delivering you a detailed analysis of the rig and its features.
Who Should Use Yaesu 450D?
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The premium Yaesu transceiver is designed to fulfill all your HAM radio needs. It is quite a popular rig among DX chasers and casual operators owing to its exciting features.
When you have an affordable yet powerful transceiver like this one, there’s no reason to consider a low-cost, Chinese device.
450D is ultra-compact and works just perfect if you’re looking for a portable amateur device. Its state-of-the-art DSP technology makes the purchase worthwhile. You’ll receive nothing but excellent reports regarding sound and signal on this device.
It is the ideal choice for new licensees, contesters, field enthusiasts, as well as emergency service providers.
There are quite a few choices available in the market for praise-worthy transceivers. However, my simple reason for buying the Yaesu 450D was its all-in-one package! For premium HAM operation, you typically require a high-quality Ham microphone and an antenna tuner.
Luckily for me, I found this transceiver that offers both these features at an affordable price! I did not have to look for expensive external components.
What You Should Know? Yaesu FT-450D Specifications
Yaesu FT-450D is an amateur base transceiver with state of the art features.
Much of the specifications offered by Yaesu 450D are just as good as those of rivals! It features a fast 400 MHz IF Digital Signal Processing Technology. Here are some more of its noteworthy features:
- 100-watts output power
- 6-160 meters
- Built-in automatic antenna tuner
- Illuminated key buttons
- Tunable notch filter
- Digital noise reduction
- Built-in TCXO
You name it, and this Yaesu HAM radio does it!
My Personal Experience
I initially bought the radio owing to its built-in antenna tuner. However, after extensive use, I realized that it needed an external manual one. The external tuner comes in handy when you want to experience with wires having a higher SWR.
One thing to note is that the Notch control only works on the SSB and CW bands, and not on AM.
Although I had a lot of fun using the device and exploring different features, I also struggled with the menu. Having so many exciting features can be a tad bit confusing for newbies like me.
You can refer to online tutorials and the Yaesu website for more information on how to operate it. The instructions are detailed enough to help you navigate through the menu easily. However, keep in mind, the instructions are not written in a dummy format.
After using the rig daily, I am delighted by its performance. Most surprisingly, I love how well it works on all modes and bands. The DSP technology works exceptionally in optimizing performance!
At first glance, I thought of the device to be slightly bulky and challenging to carry around. But in reality, it weighs about 8.8 pounds and is pretty lightweight.
You can pack it in your bag for an outdoor adventure or during relief operation. That is why many consider it one of the best survival radios!
Unlike many other transceivers, this one comes with a cooling fan that prevents heat up. You can use it inside your vehicle without having to worry about damage to the internal components. That is another reason why Yaesu 450D is a top choice for contesting.
After using it as a backup rig over the last few weeks, I have decided to use it as the primary digital transceiver for its striking transmit audio and interface.
Quite frankly, for an entry-level HAM radio transceiver, this one works excellently. It outshines many others owing to its high-power abilities. Coupled with a high-quality antenna, you will be making across-the-globe connections in no time!
If you’re just starting on the HF bands, you may not find a better option than this.
Yaesu 450D Problems
Although the radio meets all my expectations, there are a few areas of improvement.
- It is a small package with a whole lot of features to offer. This compact size means that some controls perform multiple functions. It can be seen in the form of the DSP knob, which controls DSP, performs tuning, and other menu functions. Having a third knob would have been a better idea!
- Another issue with the 450D model and many other Yaesu gadgets is the rubber buttons. The lettering often rubs off after extensive use.
- We also mentioned the antenna tuner being too limited. If you’re interested in experimenting with different wires, like G5RV, for example, you will need an external manual tuner.
- If you’re someone that is using the radio on the field, you may have trouble with the display.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the list of problems, wait! Read below:
For a newbie, it may be challenging to learn the different functions. The multi-purpose knob may be an advantage instead of a disadvantage for a beginner! As for the antenna tuner, if you’re not looking to experiment, you can do without an external one.
Yaesu 450D is a lot of bang for the buck! It performs very well and comes close to many high-end rigs.
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The FT450D from Yaesu is easily worth far more than the price you pay. It offers fancy features, optimum performance, and the best quality, all at a very economical price. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best hf transceivers you can buy with full confident.
When you draw parallels with rivals, you will find a few misses here and there! However, despite those, the rig is an excellent purchase.
The steep learning curve seems to be a problem for most beginners. In spite of that, newbies continue to purchase it for its ease of modification, affordable price, and powerful functioning. You can refer to the user manual to get out of minor snags.
You would love to know that many users were able to make inter-state and out-of-country connections, thanks to this powerhouse!
If Yaesu 450D fits with your HAM needs, it’s truly a spectacular device; one that we highly recommend!
Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The FT-450D is a compact yet superb HF/50MHz radio with state-of-the-art IF DSP technology configured to provide World Class performance in an easy to operate package. New licensees, casual operators, DX chasers, contesters, portable / field enthusiasts, and emergency service providers…This Radio is for YOU !
The current "FT 450D" model includes some great features not offered with the original FT 450 and FT 450AT models that have been discontinued.
- Illuminated Key Buttons
- 300Hz / 500Hz / 2.4 kHz CW IF Filter
- Front Feet Stand *
- Classically Designed Main Dial * and Knobs
- Dynamic Microphone MH-31A8J Included
* Yaesu sells these items separately so that FT 450 and FT 450AT Owners can equip their radios with these desirable features. The parts can be purchased from Authorized Yaesu Dealers or direct from the Yaesu Parts Department in Cypress, CA. Click on "Files" tab at the top of this web page for Instructions for making these modifications.
|Compact Size & Lightweight|
The FT-450D comes - complete with an Automatic Antenna Tuner - is a compact 9âW x 3.3âH x 8.5âD (w/o knobs) weighing only 8.8 pounds. This lightweight package is designed to be used as a desktop radio at home or in portable applications. The FT-450D can also be used mobile with the MMB-90 convenient mobile bracket accessory. Besides home or mobile operation, this easy to pack radio is a DXpeditioner or Emergency Service Provider dream come true - compact, lightweight, high performance receiver, and 100 watts output on 160 through 6 meters Amateur Radio bands.100 Watts RF Ouput 160 - 6 Meters
Enjoy a cool 100 watts RF output on all HF bands 160-10 meters plus the 6 meter band. The rugged FT 450D aluminum die-cast chassis with its quiet, thermostatically controlled cooling fan provides a solid foundation for the power amplifier during long hours of field or home use...including the challenges of contesting.Power Requirements
The FT-450D can be powered by any convenient 13.8 VDC 22 amp external power source.Large Easy-to-Read LCD Display
You will love the FT-450D 9-segment Black-Nega type LCD frequency display with Larger-Than-Normal easy to read characters.Illuminated Key Buttons
Ease of operation enhanced through the use of easy-to-find illuminated front panel buttons.Classically Designed Main Dial & Knobs
The FT 450D is equipped with classically designed Main Dial and Knobs giving it the desirable "Big Radio" feel.400 MHz built-in IF DSP
Fast and robust IF DSP processing!IF Roofing Filter
The FT-450D includes a 10 kHz bandwidth Roofing Filter in the 67.899 MHz 1st IF, right after the 1st Mixer. This filter provides narrow-band selectivity to protect the following IF and DSP stages â a feature rarely found in rigs in this price range!IF Shift & Width
The FT-450D IF Width and IF Shift features are the primary tools you will use for best interference reduction.Contour
The Contour filtering system provides a gentle shaping of the IF filter pass band to suppress or enhance particular frequency components, thus improving the sound and/or readability of a received signal. The DSP Contour filter is a unique capability of the receiver, providing either Nulling or Peaking of tunable segments of the receiver passband to suppress interference or excessive frequency components on an incoming signal, or to peak those tunable frequency segments. The amount of Nulling / Peaking and the bandwidth over which it is applied are adjustable via the Menu. The peak position of the contour filter is graphically depicted in the âCONTOURâ indicator of the DSP Graphic Display portion of the LCD front panel main display. SPECIAL FILTERING NOTE: The steep slopes of the DSP filtering can, when adjusted aggressively, impart an unnatural sound to an incoming signal. Often, a narrow bandwidth is not the key to improving copy. The incoming signal itself may have undesirable or excessive frequency components. By judicious use of the Contour filter, the âshoulderâ of the passband response may be altered, or components removed from within the passband, allowing the desired signal to rise above the background noise and interference in a manner not obtainable with other filtering systems.IF Notch
The IF Notch filter is a highly effective system that allows you to slice out an interfering beat note or other carrier signal from inside the receiver passband. You may observe the graphically depicted peak position of the IF Notch filter in the âNOTCHâ indicator of the DSP Graphic Display portion of the LCD front panel main display.DNR - Digital Noise Reduction
The Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) feature utilizes eleven (11) different mathematical algorithms to analyze and suppress different noise profiles encountered on the HF/50 MHz bands. You get to choose the selection that provides the best noise suppression. The DSPâs Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) system is designed to reduce the level of random noise found on the HF and 50 MHz bands. It is especially effective during SSB operation. Any of eleven different noise-reduction algorithms can be selected. Each of these algorithms was created for dealing with a different noise profile. You will want to experiment with the DNR system to find the best setting according to the noise currently being experienced that concurrently will allow the signal to rise up out of the noise.Manual Notch Filter
The FT-450D Manual Notch Filter is a highly-effective system that slices out an interfering beat tone/signalClarifier
Lots of receiver frequency verstility provided by an easy to engage ClarifierIPO/ 20 dB ATT Built-in
The FT 450D includes all the gain you will need all the way up to 50MHz. For lower HF bands where too much gain can lead to receiver issues, you can easily adjust the gain from the front panel.TX Watch Monitor
When in split frequency mode, depressing the TXW button lets you listen to the frequency you have selected for transmitting.Digital Voice Recorder
Record and playback up to 20 seconds of audio!Digital Microphone Equalizer
Custom set your rig to match your voice characteristics for maximum power punch on the band.CW Features:
The FT 450D comes packed with all the CW operating features one could ever ask for!â¢ Narrow CW IF Filters
Terrific CW selectivity provided by 300Hz, 500Hz, and 2.4kHz CW IF Filters. Nothing to buy!â¢ Built-In Electronic Keyer
The Built-In Electronic Keyer speed is adjustable from 4 to 60 WPM. You will also be able to select your favorite CW weight - Dot-Dash Ratio.â¢ Spotting (Zero-Beating)
The FT 450D Spotting feature will help you get right on frequency with the station you want to call.â¢ Memory Keyer
Load up the 3 memory channels with information you repeated have to send.â¢ Sidetone Generator
The CW sidetone volume and tone are menu adjustable to fit your favorite settings.â¢ Beacon Function
The FT 450D CW Beacon allows up to 118 characters using the CW mMssage Keyer's 3 memories.â¢ CW Training Feature
Random Morse code is generated for code practice via the built-in sidetone generator.Linear Control
A jack located on the back panel provides control circuitry for your high power linear amplifier.Built-in TCXO
The FT 450D includes a TCXO for incredible frequency stability. No option to buy!Dedicated Data Jack for FSK-RTTY operation
The rear panel of the FT 450D has a jack dedicated to FSK-RTTY and digital mode operation....it could not be easier to get on the air with these modes!CAT System (D-sub 9 pin): Computer programming
The FT 450D CAT System allows uploading of factory provided firmware updates as well as computer control of the radio.Versatile Memory System
Up to 500 memory channels can be set and separated into as many as 12 Memory Groups.My Band / My Mode Functions
Use the FT 450D My Band / My Mode functions to recall your favorite operating environmentsScan Function
The FT 450D includes a number of very useful and versitile Scan function settings.CTCSS Operation (FM)
We did not forget to include CTCSS operator for 10 and 6 meter FM operation.Important Feature For Visual Impaired Operators
The FT 450D provides Digital Voice Announcement - Select Frequency, Mode, Meter Reading
N9EWO Review :
The discontinued Yaesu FT-450D HF / 6 Meter Transceiver.
Nice affordable Transceiver for Amateur use, but understand the caveats.
Receiver performance is actually good, however the fair to poor ergonomics,
hissy receive audio and fan noise just in receive mode make a sour outcome for SWL use.
Model Tested : Yaesu FT-450D
Country of Manufacture : Japan (Tokyo)
MH-31A8J Hand Microphone : China
Firmware Version Tested : V 02.27
Serial Number (approx.) of Test Sample : 5N200xxxx (manufactured in Dec 2015)
Optional Accessory Tested :
MH-67A8J Hand Microphone : China
N9EWO's Review : YAESU FT-450D HF / 6 Meter Transceiver
You will see reference in this report with comparisons made to the Icom IC-7600 and Icom IC-7200 previously owned. Nor do we currently own a FT-450D as this report was typed. We also talk about the Yaesu VR-5000 Wide band receiver for some comparisons, my full review is available here. Our IC-7600 review can be found here.
This report will be more on the side of the fence as for monitoring general SW / HF broadcasting stations. So if you are looking for a more detailed report with "amateur radio" TX / RX use, you will have to look elsewhere. However, I will cover a few topics on the TX side of the fence as well (microphones for one).
Nice Solid Cabinet / Differences over old 450 Model / 1 PPM TCXO Included / No Spaghetti Bowl Of Wires - DC Power Cable Another Story
The Yaesu FT-450D HF Transceiver is the updated model to the original FT-450. The “D” model includes the internal automatic antenna tuner; different larger (and metal) knobs and 2 flip down feet that give a small rise to the front. However it’s still a far cry from what it should be and just like with the Yaesu VR-5000 receiver.But being the rear mounted jacks are close to the bottom of the cabinet, I can see what they did this. Also added are backlit buttons, more CW bandwidths, and a different included hand mic which is the MH-31A8J and it fits in the hand MUCH better over the previous MH-67A8J (more on this later).
It features a 1 PPM TCXO for excellent stability and we found it to be rock on frequency out of the box and stayed there. However the Icom IC-7200's includes a .5 PPM TXCO (much better) as stock.
Black cabinet is the typical Yaesu “sandy” paint finish, just like with the later VR-5000 production samples. But it’s a nice solid steel one, unlike the plastic top and bottom covers on the Icom IC-7200. Excellent, but is a bit of a pain to clean dust off of it (again just like with the VR-5000 receiver).
Size in inches is smaller 9” Width x 3.3” High x 8.5” Depth (without knobs), weight is 8.8 pounds (4.0 kg). It features a solid aluminum (inner) die-cast chassis. The DSP section is located behind the front panel PC board (vertically) also involved in the die cast part of the chassis. In comparison the Icom IC-7200 weight is 12.1 pounds and has no internal tuner.
The DSP being used in the FT-450D is the 2003 "Analog Devices" Blackfin 400 Mhz ADSP-BF531SBST.
We have the FM mode in the FT-450D, which is missing in the Icom IC-7200.
The included internal antenna tuner worked adequately for our modest Comet H-422 dipole antenna for touching it up. Yes, it’s a bit noisy while it does it thing, but normal for a relay tuner of this type. Sorry, while it can be used for receive too (changed in the menus from default), one would have to transmit on it first to tune it. So for in a SWL only mode, it’s of no use. Of course the Icom IC-7200 lacks any internal antenna tuner.
Something not usually noted for Yaesu. There is NOT the usual barrage of single loose white wires all over the place in the FT-450D. It’s a much more neat and tidy affair (more use of ribbon cables, which can have it’s own bug-a-boo’s).
Speaking of loose wires, why does Yaesu continue to include "loose" DC power cables (that is the + and - wires are not attached together). This turns into a huge rats nest in short order and drives me crazy !!
Sensitivity / DSP Selectivity / IF Shift
Receiver in the FT-450D is just as good as any other set we have tested even being a dual conversion design. Not anemic, and is what it should be. This is of course with the IPO setting OFF (so the preamp is ON). Yaesu makes this confusing to us with receiver preamp operation as IPO. With the IPO ON (pre amp OFF) the sensitivity goes down way down of course. There is also a desirable 20-db attenuator, which cuts the sensitivity down more for super strong signals. By the way we never heard the receiver overload in normal testing, so the dynamic range appears to be decent.
There is a full time 20-db attenuator when tuning the MW band, but we found sensitivity to be pretty decent anyway (but please note I’m not a MW DX person).
Real DSP available bandwidths are much more limited when compared to the Icom IC-7200. Instead of having a near continuous slew of bandwidths, Yaesu gives just a few selected ones. 3 for SSB, 3 for FM, 3 for CW and 3 for AM modes. 2 for FM modes. Mind you were well chosen and a nice 9 kHz one for us SWL types. That is one 1 kHz wider over than what the 7200 gives (8 kHz) for a maximum AM receive bandwidth. Yes, we still like to have wide AM bandwidths available (certainly above 8 kHz) being our main interest is still monitoring the HF bands. No nifty 3 preset bandwidth selector as in the Icom IC-7200.
FT-450D Available Bandwidths
SSB : 1.8 kHz / 2.4 kHz / 3.0 kHz
CW : 300 Hz / 500 Hz / 2.4 kHz
Data : 300 Hz / 2.4 kHz / 3.0 kHz
AM : 3.0 kHz / 6.0 kHz / 9.0 kHz
FM : 2.5 kHz / 5.0 kHz
There is a lone single IF Shift control and operates as it should. Thank goodness it’s has it’s own dedicated control. In comparison the Icom IC-7200 features a Dual PBT control. The FT-450D is using a dual conversion design whereas the IC-7200 is triple conversion.
Using Real TAC switches / LED Backlight and Buttons
Pushbuttons are of a rubber variety and all have good tactile response. All are backlit, which makes for easy viewing. Good news is underneath are REAL separate TAC switches being used. With the Icom IC-7200, they make use of rubber buttons as well. However here the contacts are being made with a carbon coating on the rear of the actual rubber and pressed up against the raw PC board. Yes, just like in a $ 2.98 TV remote control at the dollar store. So Yaesu did it right here even at this price point.
Excellent LCD negative type display using LED backlighting and the brightness and contrast are both adjustable in the menus. We found the defaults to be the best settings. Very good nice LARGE numeric digits and all other icons were easily seen even with my ever-deceasing vision.
The weighted main tuning knob is of a smaller size, but did not find this to be a drawback after some use. It even uses a set-screw for attachment to the optical encoder. Icom can’t even do that in the much more expensive IC-7600 transceiver (believe it or not Icom is using a “push on” type main tuning knob with the IC-7600).
Clean Reception / However Noises In The Background / AGC
Receive audio quality is extremely clean and distortion is near non-existent (all modes). However there is a certain amount of audio amp hiss that is disconcerting. Try turning down the volume down fully and the hiss shines it’s ugly head through. No amount of fiddling with the DSP adjustments improved this (this is issue is with the audio amplifier side of it). To make this bug even worse the rear-mounted sleeve-bearing fan operates full time in the FT-450D, yes even on receive. So between the 2 of those nasties, makes for noticeable background noise on any received signal and was a BIG turn off to me with the transceiver.
Fan is not that noticeable on receive I will admit (but again mixed with the hissy RX audio amp trait adds to the equation and a major issue with me). On transmit at any time or if the set gets hot enough when in extended transmit use then back to receive, the fan speed-noise increases to very high to near unacceptable to our ears. If one tries to make use desk mic along side of the rig, it’s going to be a hard mix. Best to use this rig with a hand microphone ONLY !!
The real downside running the fan is in just receive “full time” even at this low rate (when transmit is NEVER to be used) is there is a certain amount of room dust being sucked through it continuously and in time will be a dusty mess internally. Of course with all of this air being more around it's DEAD COLD in receive and pretty cool in transmit (unless you really push the duty cycle).
I still stick to my guns on this: A radio (receiver or transceiver) where just in receive mode with no transmit ever enacted should NEVER have a fan running. I call that just bad engineering (even more so if it get hot in just receive).
IMPORTANT NOTE: I’m VERY SENSITIVE and subjective to this type of noise with any radio (I use radios like this in a base / home situation only...not mobile) . Many probably don’t hear anything and so be it. But let it be known that for those who are like me…this noise mix is a real issue. The Icom IC-7200 has none of this nonsense.
AGC has 3 settings: Fast Slow and even Off. A variable RF gain control is provided, but shares the control with the Squelch. Unlike Icom which does a RF gain and squelch combination, Yaesu does one or the other. Default is RF gain and Squelch on FM, but can be changed in the Menu’s.
Busy Encoder / Ease Of Use
Ergonomics are a mixed bag. First there is no direct keyboard entry. This alone makes for tuning around much more difficult. The lone sub encoder (DSP-SEL knob) gets used heavily, not only for a faster way to get around a band but to adjust the DSP functions AND for adjustments of the 62 menu items (yes 62). Its a push in “enter” type of MECHANICAL encoder, but has no excessive rotational play either (has some from side to side however) and it has a good feel in use.
There is an EXT MNU in the Menu’s (where else) that allows one to cut the 62 menus down to 16 of the more used ones and this does help on the Menu Madness greatly.
Accessing the DSP functions (Contour, Notch, DNR, Width) is another experience in pain. For example, to adjust the Width (that’s actually bandwidth), one presses the DSP button 4 TIMES to order to access WIDTH setting (then spin the DSP-SEL knob).
Another Example: Adjusting the RF POWER output.
- Push and hold the "F" (function) button for second.
- Rotate to find RF POWER selection in the menu
- Push in the DSP-SEL knob
- Adjust the power level desired (rotate knob)
- Push the DSP-SEL knob in again
- Press and hold "F" AGAIN for a second to exit.
Now mind you that goes easier once you do it a few times ..but really Yaesu for at least adjusting RF POWER !!! There should be a dedicated button for RF Power on the front panel. There is a way to program one button for certain “selected” function (the CS button), but alas RF Power is not one of them.
True, the Icom IC-7200 RF POWER adjustments are also located within the menus, but are much easier to access and control.
UPDATE : Gust ON6KE informs us that with the last released firmware 02.44, "RF POWER" was added to the "SELDIAL" list. This helps greatly.
No Auto Notch / Contour Control & DNR Disappointing / Excellent Manual ECSS Tuning / Tuning Steps
There is no Auto Notch function to be found on the FT-450D. A silly oversight but perhaps due to limitations of the DSP hardware that could be the reason why they left it out ? While we found the manual notch to work OK, but was not a stellar performer either. Yes, you guessed it was another pain to make it happen or turn off.
We also found the Contour feature to be a joke. Nothing more than a fancy tone control of sorts to our ears. We found leaving if off was better. Sorry for those who love the feature, but we did not find it of any use.
Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), was useful but no way did it work as well as the one found in the Icom IC-7200 and IC-7600 transceivers (Icom wins here, no contest). But at the price point this can be expected.
Manual ECSS reception is excellent. Great audio (aside from the hiss) and 1 Hz tuning steps makes for a killer combination here. Manual ECSS is where one zero beats an AM mode signal in SSB mode for better interference rejection and lower distortion. The sour limitation is the maximum SSB bandwidth of 3 kHz (wider is better here of course). Mind you this set did a much better with ECSS than the Icom IC-7600 test sample, where we experienced popping and other nasty noises (see my review here).
Speaking of tuning steps, it has a fast button, which selects half the available steps (hz) using with the main "optical" tuning knob. The DSP-SEL knob is used for the other half (kHz). A bit strange in our testing but gets the job done. You are NOT able to do 1 or 5 kHz steps with the main tuning knob and that was a HUGE drawback to us for SWL use.
Operating Mode MAIN DIAL DSP-SEL (KHz) Knob
LSB/USB/CW 1/10/20 hz 1.0/2.5/5
AM 100/200 hz 2.5/5.0/9.0/10.0/12.5/25.0
FM 100/200 hz 5.0/6.25/10.0/15/20.0/25.0/50.0
DATA 1/10/20 hz 1.0/2.2/5.0
RF SSB Output “100 Watts”, but do NOT count on the internal meter
We tested the FT-450D’s SSB RF output power on TWO EXTERNAL RF power Meters known to be 100% accurate (with and without using a dummy load) and WAS found to be putting out the proper 100 watts of RF output (yes even on SSB modes). Actually it was measured at 105 watts overall on SSB and CW, slightly less on 10 meters. With SSB modes the power output meter on the transceiver itself was inaccurate in our testing. Only showing about 70~75 watts when it is actually at the proper 100 watts output. IMPORTANT NOTE: We found In CW and Data modes the internal meter was more accurate at the higher readings. Oddly at lower power settings (<50 watts) the internal meter indication becomes more accurate with SSB readings.
This topic has been coved elsewhere around the Internet over the years, with no real solid facts given. Now you know.
It's not all bad news with the metering. The S-meter readings appear to be unusually accurate. Also gives SWR and ALC indications.
Digital Recorder / 500 Memories / 60 Meter Presets
There is a built in 20 second “off air” digital recorder. It works well enough and not degrading the audio much at all. However 20 seconds maximum time is not too useful for SWL. For amateur radio use it is more of a plus.
500 memory channels are provided. Also can be divided into 12 memory groups. The 60-meter frequencies are permanently entered in special extra memory channels (and you cannot change any part of these including the bandwidth), but display of these are in the offset realm and not the actual frequency (but don’t worry are proper).
The FT-450D includes the MH-31A8J model hand microphone. It uses a dynamic element. If one uses the flat (default) MIC EQ setting it sounds muddy and muffled. With the MIC EQ setting of the FT-450D at the number 4 (high boost), we found this setting to “greatly” improve the sound quality of the microphone. So this one needs to be adjusted out of the box. We found the tone switch on the rear of the case does not to do anything for audio quality. It does use a nice micro switch PTT and fits in the hand superbly. Also includes “up-fast-down” buttons and those can be programmed for other limited functions if desired (same list as the CS button).
Some have purchased the MH-67A8J model hand microphone separate (this mic came with the original FT-450 models). We tested one of these with the test sample FT-450D and it does give for slightly better SSB tone response at “flat” (or number 4 as well) MIC EQ setting. It uses an electret condenser mic element. A lower cost TAC type switch is used for keying it case is MUCH larger round and clumsier in the hand when compared to the MH-31A8J. No “up-fast-down” buttons either. However in OUR testing, we found the MH-31A8J (at # 4 MIC EQ setting) to drive the transceiver RF output slightly better, but the MH-67A8J does give for slightly better audio punch.
One other note, we used the NOR and HIGH “MIC LEVEL” settings in our tests. Did not seem to make much difference between the two (use NOR and that is default).
The FT-450D does include a microphone compressor circuit, but there are no adjustments and only works in NOR an HIGH mic level settings. Icom IC-7200 includes a honest compressor adjustment (so be it the menu’s).
On the plus side, at least Yaesu includes most usable hand microphone in the box and doesn't require any modifications (unlike with some Icom microphones).
Yaesu FT-450D Computer Connection / FREE Software (that is good)
Will NOT be held responsible for any information that is listed here
ALL DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK !
Just as it was on the tested Yaesu VR-5000 receiver, the FT-450D uses a SERIAL MALE DB-9 connector for connection to a computer. Yes, you will need a FEMALE to FEMALE DB-9 cable for connection. However unlike the VR-5000, a Null Model adapter (or cable) is NOT used, so it’s straight thru connection here. Be sure with any connections to a computer, be sure and change the CAT serial port baud rate on the FT-450D to 9600 (default is 4800), as well as the program to use 9600 baud. Most computer serial port cards default at 9600 (so that SHOULD be good to go…but you need to check that). If all is not at a equal setting and of course the right COM Port selected …none of the software is going to work !!
Please Note : This serial connection is also used for firmware updates. No additional boxes or other tricks are required.
NOTE: The PC Software programs covered here work with the D version (as well with the older versions). Operation verified using Microsoft “Windows 7” 32 and 64 Bit and XP Pro. Was not tested with any other Windows Operating System. Again be sure and use the SERIAL PORT baud rate at 9600. We used a REAL serial port on the host computer for these tests (USB to serial converters were NOT used, you are on your own if you TRY to use one of these with the FT-450D).
PCC-450D “Yaesu's Simple Control Software”
Gives a close GUI of the actual set and you poke at the controls on the screen. Displays the 1 hz digit which is not available on the set itself.
Simple memory management program for the FT-450. Written by Bob Freeth G4HFQ. Only allows for Frequency and Mode entry. One will have to go back and touch those up after use. Be sure and download a template file BEFORE any entry into the program is attempted. But it works good.
A CAT control program for Yaesu radios also by Bob Freeth G4HFQ : FRG-100, FT-450, FT-817, FT-847, FT-857, FT-897, FT-920, FT-1000MP MkV, VR-5000. Features a scan screen display (spectrum scope of sorts). 12 “Quick Set” memory channels for favorite frequencies.
A Worthy Transceiver for Amateur Use / Good Bang for the Ham Buck / Now Discontinued
General receiver performance is good, but with the fair to poor ergonomics, fan noise and receive audio hiss issues, we feel the Yaesu FT-450D is best suited only for Amateur radio use. Here it is a good value. Having the internal tuner is a great feature to have in such a small package and at a affordable price. As we type this report there is no equal in the new marketplace.
However as a SWL set, it was just not pleasant experience for that purpose to us.
In our view, all around a used Icom IC-7200 is a much better “transceiver” for SWL use even with IT'S own bugs (and staying in the same price bracket). With maybe a transmit session on the Ham bands once in awhile (or not). The FT-450D is also a discontinued model (so has to be the used market if you desire one).
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Yaesu FT-450D Links For Additional Information (all subject to change without notice)
Yaesu FT-450D eham reviewsPoor Grounding in FT 991/A : Tuner causes high SWR warning after tuning
450 review yaesu
Reviews For: Yaesu FT-450D
|Probably the best transceiver on the market for this price!||Time Owned: more than 12 months.|
|I bought this radio about 3 years ago from HRO, as quick second radio (make that tenth radio, probably closer to the truth ????). It was on sale, I paid only $600 for it (after mail-in rebate) during a Black Friday promotion, which included shipping.|
It arrived quickly and well packed.
I have always liked Yaesu. In fact, my first HF radio was a Yaesu, an FT-707S, many years ago. And I have owned many Yaesu radios since. I do believe Icom has surpassed them as the number-one ham radio manufacturer (just my opinion, I could be wrong), but Yaesu is still an excellent ham radio brand, no doubt about that.
Back to the FT-450D. Excellent receiver, perfect modulation (ALSO in AM and FM!) and so many features it is too much to list it here. And covers 50 MHz as well for this $600!
Remember the days where we had to shell out hundred of dollars for additional crystal filters after a radio purchase? Those days are over. The FT-450D does it all in the digital domain. And the filter sharpness that you get with this radio’s IF DSP is much better than any crystal filter ever could offer.
Another nice feat: Very easy to modify for MARS/CAP (I like to be able to use my ham radios as a signal generator when I service vintage receivers/transceivers).
One would think such a low-priced radio cannot be built properly. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This radio is built like a battleship in a diecast alloy frame, one tough little bugger the FT-450D is. High quality PCBs throughout, and very sturdy bezel and controls. And an excellent readable LCD display. And made in Japan, not China.
Just for fun, I compared this radio against a top-of-the-line transceiver from the Nineties: the FT-1000(D) which I also have owned in the past. That transceiver set me back thousands of dollars in the day. Worth every penny then though, it was (is) an excellent transceiver. Even up to this day. But just for fun, take the QST test reports for the FT-1000D and the FT-450D, and do some comparing.
20 kHz blocking gain compression for the FT-450D: 137dB. For the FT-1000D: 143dB (both best case)
Third order receiver IMD at 20 kHz: FT-450D: 101dB. FT-1000D: 98 dB (both best case)
Minimum discernable signal (noise floor): FT-450D: -137dBm FT-1000D: -137dBm (both best case)
Transmitter composite noise away from the carrier: FT-450D: -120 dBc/Hz. FT-1000D: -110dBc/Hz
As you see, the FT-450D performs perfectly on par with a top-of-the-line transceiver from the Nineties that cost more than 10 times as much in the day (taking inflation into account). And on top of that, the FT-450D gives you six meters as well.
Ham radio an expensive hobby? Nonsense. It is cheaper than ever these days to buy first class transceivers….
|Best buy and easy to use.||Time Owned: more than 12 months.|
|No radio is perfect, but this little unit works well for general amateur use. I had the original model FT450 for a couple of years, sold it to a friend, and bought the upgraded FT450D and it was well worth the upgrade. The DSP works well, the menue is easy to navigate, and the radio in general is very easy to use. I have owned dozens of HF radios over the decades but this is one of my favorites. I also have an FT950 which has more features, but really like using the FT450D because it is more simple to use. This is a good radio for the money, and probably the best out there for the features and price. It is also compact enough for mobile and portable use and the tuner works well. After about several years of use, I will say I have no complaints about it and it has had no problems .I don't think you can buy a better or more practical radio in its price class.|
Earlier 5-star review posted by WB4TJH on 2016-06-28
I owned the original FT450, minus the tuner, for several years and was quite happy with it. I sold that radio to a friend, and then acquired an FT-450D several years ago. I also own an FT-950. The FT-950 has more adjustments, and offers more adjustable parameters than does the FT-450D, but I find myself using the FT-450D more and more because of its simplicity of use and its outstanding performance for 90% of my day to day operation. I'm not a DX hound, and abhor the confusion and bedlam of contests, and don't need the "contest" quality, $3000 radios. For general ragchewing, casual CW, and ease of use, including portable, I find the FT-450D very close to an ideal radio for me. I'm even considering trading my perfect FT-950 for one of the soon to be available Yaesu FT-891 mobile radios. In the meantime, after 45 years on HF and having owned dozens of HF transceivers of all brands, the small, portable FT-450D with the 300hz CW filter, and other enhancements over the original FT-450, fits my needs very, very well. Both of my FT-450 models have been totally trouble free for the past 5 years. It's a darn good little radio.
Earlier 4-star review posted by WB4TJH on 2015-07-28
I bought one of the original FT450s minus the tuner new and got good service out of it for a couple of years. I sold it to a friend and then bought an FT-950. After my 950 developed a problem, I bought an almost new FT-450D and I must say, the improvements made to it over the original are very welcome. The lighted buttons and the 300Hz CW filter really make this little radio shine. I'm going to get the FT950 repaired and will be keeping the FT-450D which will make a handy radio for portable and maybe even mobile use. I gave it a 4 rating, but I really rate it a 4.5 overall. It's a good radio for a new ham or an old one who wants a good, solid, functional all around radio without having to hock your soul to buy one.
Earlier 5-star review posted by WB4TJH on 2014-11-20
I just bought this radio used from another ham, and am very pleased with it. I bought one of the original FT450s without an antenna tuner several years ago and was very pleased with its over all performance, but decided to sell it to a friend to finance a new FT-950. That original FT450 is still going strong. But I wanted a full featured, small radio for portable use and the FT950 is a bit large and heavy for portable use. I have a 10 watt Elecraft K2 for qrp, which can be turned into a 100 watter, but a used FT450D can be had for little more than what I needed for my K2. The FT450D offers the lighted buttons and has a new 300Hz CW filter in addition to the 500Hz of the older Ft450. That makes a big difference in a crowded CW band. Some reviewers have bad mouthed the built in tuner's limited 3:1 SWR tuning ability, but the fact is, only Ten Tec and Eecraft offer built in tuners with a wider range, 10:1. So the more limited range of the Yaesu tuner is right in league with radios offered by other makers, including Icom and Kenwood. My antenna systems consists of a tuned trap vertical, ground mounted with 1000 feet of buried radios, so I rarely need the tuner for that. I also have a 135 foot dipole up 50 feet, fed with balanced feed line. I use an external Palstar tuner for that, so the limited 3:1 capability of the FT450D is not an issue, and I usually keep it disengaged. I find the menu system easy to use and have the CS button programmed for a 10 watt signal so I can tune my Palstar. That is a very neat feature of the radio. No radio is perfect, but the little FT450D has a good receiver, tho not as selective as my Elecraft, but it has a good DSP system that is effective and easy to use. I get good reports on transmit audio quality with the stock hand mike, but also have a Yaesu desk mike that will probably get some use with it also. So for the money, the FT450D is a real bargain radio, and especially now that Yaesu has cut the price to $699. They undoubtedly are going to release a new radio to replace it, but I'm happy with the FT450D, especially for what I paid for it. I'm sure what ever replaces it will be a nice unit too, but that will cost a lot more money, After 45 years on HF, I pretty well know what I need, and the little FT-450D has some nice improvements over the original model and takes care of my needs. I'm primarily just a rag chewer. It's a good, solid little radio, and there is nothing else to buy to take advantage of what the radio can do. For that and its ease of operation, I rate it a 5. Though I have only had this radio a short time, I did use the original FT450 for several years, so I feel I have had enough experience to give it an honest appraisal of the newer FT450D.
|Nice simple little rig||Time Owned: more than 12 months.|
|Used the 450D as a vacation and spare rig.|
Nice compact size rig
+Easy to use
+ All functions you need in a compact size
+ Build in ATU that works with all antennas worth using (less than 1:3 SWR)
+ Large numbers on display
+ CW peak filter and other digital filters
- Awkward selection of filters
- Display works poorly in sunligt
- No USB for digital modes
- Digital filters perform better and sounds better on newer rigs
Receiver peroformance is good enough except for most demandig users i.e. contests and very very weak signals
You will not make many more DX contacts with a more expensive rig
|FOR AMATEUR RADIO USE ONLY||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.|
|I am updating my previous review of the FT 450D. I reviewed it too soon. It is ok for a beginner ham. I like the DNR system better than what I have on the FT DX 1200 and FT 991a. Controls are accessible and the voice announcement would be good for hams with poor eyesight. |
I was using this rig for portable operation. It is a little tough with the type of screen it has in daylight, but it can be worked around. I wish it had a Digital Notch Filter. I would like that.
But what I really disliked about the rig was the fact when I am out portable I can't listen to news on the hour out of Chicago on the AM band. The radio automatically puts in attenuation when using it on the AM BCB. You can not work around it. The FT DX 1200 and FT 991A do not do this.
Yaesu doesn't have the sense to let a license Amateur Radio Operator determine when attenuation is needed.
John Kruk the Yaesu representative denies that their product does this. Further Mr. Kruk states we only intend our equipment for amateur use. So if you buy Yaesu, Mr. Kruk's statement with their radios, it would be a poor selection for a SWL. This guy is the poorest company rep I have ever met.
I can't recoup enough money out of selling a brand new rig, so I have it running digital operations on my desk top with the SCU 17. After all it is "used only on the ham bands."
Reviews For: Yaesu FT-450
|It works||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.|
|I got this radio as a "Loaner", for the used price nowadays of $500, you can't beat it...It does have Noise Reduction, which for me is a must..|
Once you get around the menus, it is not all that complicated. I never owned a Yaesu, only Kenwood, so it took me a little to get around the knobs, so to speak
I had some fun getting this to work on digital modes, but all good..
All in all, you can't beat the functionality versus the price...
|Ok for small cheap radio||Time Owned: more than 12 months.|
|I compared my ft897, came out in 2002, with my ft450, came out in 2007, with my ft891, came out in 2016 and my ft991A came out 2017, here are the results.|
Easy to use ft450, least menus
Best DSP, all have draw backs
Ft897 & ft450 good but some noise
Ft891 good but doesn't reduce noise when station isn't present, blanker distorts SSB
Ft991 best but requires external audio amp to hear
Lowest cost ft891 $599 Sale
Highest cost ft991a $1199 Sale
Largest footprint tie Ft897 and ft991a, also both uhf and vhf.
After almost 20 years, I would have expected more and better performance differences rather than repackaging mediocre performing designs. After listening to ft1200 and ft3000, the have more knobs but same mediocre performance.
I understand if you spend more money you would expect better performance and defend your choices, but it is what it is!
Earlier 4-star review posted by KE7MU on 2008-12-21
First let me say, I do not ridicule the radio because it has a small tuning dial, it's monochrome display, different power connector etc. In fact I do not have a problem with anything I could evaluate before the purchase. Hams that give radios a poor review on such things baffle me. Here are the
1. DSP Filters are nice and work great.
2. DNR Dynamic Noise Reduction works great.
3. Mic EQ works good.
4. $635 delivered.
1. Noise blanker doesn't seem to work at all.
2. Not being able to use the tuning dial in AM mode is inconvenient.
3. SWR meter goes to max with an SWR of 2:1 as indicated on an external meter.
4. I couldn't get the notch filter to notch out hetrodynes on 40m.
5. Not being able to reprogram useless front panel buttons such as NB and Keyer should be addressed in future software upgrades.
So why did I give it a 4, it's all about features per $ invested. A hi-tech HF rig for a weeks pay, not bad. Of course if I could get an Orion, SDR5000 or K3 for a weeks pay, that is what I would have chosen.
|My Favorite||Time Owned: more than 12 months.|
|I got mine from a trade. I bought a FT-897D new and although it did everything it was supposed to, it was just the most boring radio I've ever owned. So an opportunity came up to trade with a friend for his used FT-450 (non-D/AT) + accessories, I jumped on the deal, and haven't regretted it a bit. I won't jump into details that are already covered here, but I will mention that I own a TS-940S/AT, an IC-781, and two IC-7200's, but this is the radio I prefer on my desk. The Icoms are good radios and I have no desire to part with them, but the little 450 is just fun to operate, and holds it's own against the 7200's. If you want an excellent "beginner" radio, I suggest the FT-450(D).|
|Great value!||Time Owned: more than 12 months.|
|If you look around on the used market, you should be able to find one of these in the $400-450 price range, and it is an incredible radio for that price. People are asking that much for a used Yaesu FT840 or Kenwood TS140, and this radio comes with so much more. |
Look at what you get as standard with this radio:'
1. IF DSP noise reduction
2. Narrow DSP based CW and SSB filters
4. Manual IF notch filter-much better than AF auto notch filters
5. CW memory keyer
6. Voice keyer
7. Voice synthesizer
8. Transmit audio equalizer
9. Transmit audio monitor
#2, #3, and #7 would run you a couple of hundred dollars for the Icom 718, and you still wouldn't have 6 meters on it, nor the voice keyer or CW memory keyer-the 718 does have a built in keyer but no memories with it.
The receiver on the FT450 is very good for its price range. It isn't in the same class as the FT1000 or Icom 756PRO series receivers, but then it didn't cost near as much either. It's receiver is better than entry level radios. The noise blanker is pretty good at taking out the power line noise I am getting at my QTH that the power company is in the process of fixing.
Also, this radio does have a menu system, but most of those are set and forget things. You can do all of the basic functions from the front panel.
The only downside to the non-D model of the FT450 is that you can't use the narrow CW filter on the digital modes for RTTY contesting. You can use it if you run split and use CW for receive.
If you need a dedicated RF power knob, or CW speed knob, you can program the MULTI knob to service as one. I use mine to change CW keyer speed.
Get the MH-31 hand mic with the UP/DOWN/FAST buttons (standard with the FT450D) as you can program those buttons to control different radio functions. I use the DOWN button to send voice keyer message #1 and the UP button to control voice keyer message #2.
Another nice function of this radio is that they call the SWR function. I program the C.S button to control that, so when I push in the button it switches the meter to SWR, and sends out a 10 watt carrier. Great for using the external antenna tuner. This is just another function which shows how well thought out the design of this radio is.
|total vomet||Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.|
|i have had this radio for 4 weeks recieve audio|
sounds crap i just cant understand what people are saying its that bad.
please dont waste your money get an icom i got a pro
for what i gave for this pile of poo.
Earlier 4-star review posted by 26JLH on 2013-11-20
works well fan blows fast and strong i thought it was going to fly out of the window.
radio works well out of the box,i had to get a tilt bale and a case handle should be on it from new.
got this used and it in nice shape.
also has the atu as for the dsp it works ok but it will never get rid of the noise to zero but its a good tool in a town qth like mine.
looks a little ugly but i dont care for looks it makes me feel i need to get my old vhs tapes out.
cw filter ok for my use but not stellar.
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Yaesu FT-450D Ham Radio Review – Worth Buying?
Yaesu FT-450D is highly compact, have just a 6-meter transceiver. Now don’t let the price throw you off. This ham radio breaks the myth that if a product is too inexpensive, it is not worth it.
Because I know the functions offered by FT-450D are unrivaled against models like FT-817ND and FT-891. A fancy price tag does not guarantee a fancy operation.
If we consider this ham radio frequency, it operates on a high frequency with exceptional sound quality. This noise cannot be just fixed with handling the DSP, and the noise is just a curse that comes with all radios.
The voice can still be heard if the volume is increased significantly, and you will face no voice distortion. After rigorous use over the months, I can assure durability when it comes to the sound quality of the ham radio.
Yaesu FT-450D Features
FT-450D has an Automatic Antenna Tuner and receives 30Khz to 54Mhz transmission. This is often used as a desktop radio, but because of the functionality, it has been widely used for expedition and exploration.
A perfect companion for people on world tours or nationwide tours, this instrument will always ensure communication at all times with excellent reception.
The disturbances are minimal and will only be affected by major external disturbances, which are not very frequent. Therefore, chances are, you will not be having any problems regarding the transmission.
The communication, though, has certain limitations to ensure that no other conversation is being overheard or interrupted. This is the reason why some ham radio manufacturers need you to possess a license.
Moreover, certain frequencies are not available to each user of Ham Radio. It is directly linked with the purpose of your communication.
Hence, if you possess a ham radio just to fulfill your hobby or maintain connectivity while being out and about, chances are not all frequencies may be available to you.
Some communications are even highly encrypted to avoid imposing. To attain higher frequencies, one has to clear some certain exams which will get you an official license.
The LCD display is very easy to read, and it does not crop up any complexities for people who are unfamiliar with the usage.
The figures are very large, and the characters are all legible. Interestingly, you need not worry even if you have poor eyesight. It comes with a voice announcement system with excellent sound quality. So hurray!
The IF DSP is fast processing and very easy to operate and the navigation works nicely as well, all in all, it is a system that is very easy to use.
If you are travelling overseas, this little thing can come in handy in an SOS emergency in which the high frequency transmission works well.
It comes with 3 years of warranty and limited technical support. The manual can be found on the internet, and once you get the hang of its operation, you will face no major problem.
In case of technical issues, the supplier can be contacted directly, and they will assist you in every possible way. But personally, you will not be facing any such problems if it is being treated and operated well.
No matter where you live, maintaining contact with your roots is necessary. While cell phones cannot always be relied upon for that purpose, despite its wide functionality, communication is one thing where radios will never fail you.
They can reach any person, anywhere. They have also served as a savior in the past for very many people as their functionality is rarely interrupted by ambient conditions.
Therefore, owning a ham radio does not only serve as a hobby; it can be of great use personally, too. Investing your money into such an instrument will be a decision you will never regret.
About the Author
I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.