The YAESU FT-450 Transceiver

 
                                           This page has been added to my Website by request.
In the fifties, my enjoyment and fascination of Amateur Radio was in building, testing and experimenting with Radio. Most Radio 'Shacks' consisted of large units, usually in Racks (see photograph of my 'Shack' shown on the Menu page). I enjoyed having all the 'Knobs, Meters, Dial Lamps, Etc.' which made it look very technical.

In the seventies, commercial equipment was made available and a large number of Radio Amateurs purchased Transceivers. I preferred 'separates'; a separate Receiver and Transmitter. This allowed cross-band operation, very useful when working stations in the USA on forty metres. Duplex operation was possible using say, Topband and eighty metres. I was a member of the Bed-time Net, which operated in the late evenings/early mornings using Topband and Eighty Metres. I was a student at that time (1960's), living in 'digs' and operated duplex whilst speaking under the blankets, so as not to make my landlady aware of my operating. That is another story!

In the Seventies, YAESU introduced the FT101 Series of Transceivers which were renowned as being excellent.
You can read about the FT-101E on this Website. I used the FT-101E as part of my Teaching the RAE, as I found it excellent when demonstrating 'how to tune-up', and measuring PEP Power. All the continents of the World were worked from the college at Stretford, Manchester, (Call-sign G4FXP). Details of G4FXP can be read elsewhere on this Website.

Over the years, new Amateur Bands were introduced; unfortunately, these bands couldn't easily be incorporated in the FT-101E;  major modifications were required. 
After much thought and consideration in 2008, I decided to look at the commercial equipment available.
You will note from my comments on the FT-101E Webpage, components are simply not available and P.A. Valves are very expensive to replace, as production ceased twenty-five years ago, and only small stocks exist at exorbitant prices.

Looking around the advertisements, one may at first give up, especially after looking at 'Limited Offer Transceivers' at £3370. After all, I still have my 'Home-built Equipment' to keep me active!
The Yaesu FT-101E in 1977 was priced around £430, and when one looks at the price of the Yaesu FT-450 in 2009, it is no wonder that many Radio Amateurs consider purchasing one. When one looks at Inflation over the last thirty years, the price of the FT-450 looks very attractive. The Specification looks as good as its predecessor, in fact, it looks even better. One has only to read reviews, ask FT-450 Owners, and listen to contacts on the Air-waves to find out.

The Receiver covers all frequencies in the range 30KHz - 56MHz.
The Transmitter covers ALL Amateur bands 160Metres - 6Metres.
The Modes of Emission include: A1A, A3E(AM), J3E(SSB), F3E(FM), RTTY, Packet.
The Power output on Transmit is 5.0 - 100 Watts. 

There is no point giving full details of the YAESU FT-450 on my Website, as full details including a User Manual is available FREE of charge on the YAESU Website (Click on FT-450; then click on Files) at:
Click here to download the Operators Manual and Full Specification from the YAESU Website
 


 
The YAESU FT-450 is available as the basic unit, or FT-450AT which incorporates an ATU.
I considered the basic Model, as all my aerials are resonant, and I can simply switch to any band as required.
Of course, many Radio Amateurs will already have Aerial Tuning Units they have either purchased or constructed themselves. I do hope that Radio Amateurs continue to make full use of the equipment they already have, and show that they aren't all 'Black Box Operators'. It is easier to build an ATU, than build a Transceiver!
It is important to remember that an ATU only matches the Transceiver to the Feeder, it doesn't make non-resonant aerials resonant.  Many Radio Amateurs go for the Expensive Transceivers because they like 'High Power', thinking that they will be as loud as Commercial Stations. The best way to put out a strong signal is to construct a good aerial. The Aerial may give many decibels gain, whilst doubling the power output only increases the signal by 3dB; (100W - 200W) or 200W to 400W, another 3dB. One has only gained an 'S' Point, and maybe caused a lot of unnecessary EMC problems, which could have been avoided.

Having purchased a new Yaesu FT-450, I find it an excellent budget priced Transceiver, which is easy to use and has a good overall performance. Initially, I was disappointed the unit hadn't got its own Power Supply Unit like the FT-101E, but I appreciate now that the price would have increased substantially, and also the unit size would have been much larger. The Unit requiring a 12Volt PSU enables it to be used Mobile or Portable and allows one to use either a 'Home constructed' PSU or a Commercial one. Speaking to Radio Amateurs, most are of the opinion that Home Constructed ones (using a Mains Transformer) are best, as most commercial PSU are Switched Power Devices, which cause noise on the Receiver. Some SMPS have an adjustable control to adjust the switching frequency, allowing the interference to be moved away from the frequency in use.
The ALINCO DM-330MW giving 12Volts, 30Amperes is a good example, and in my opinion is excellent.
If the FT-450 had been fitted with its own PSU, then it would most likely have used 'Switched Mode Technology'.

It is nice to be able to change frequency bands and be able to quickly return to previous bands without having to re-tune, Tuning dial, Preselector, P.A. Tuning and Loading Etc. Having TWO VFO's is also excellent.

I use Topband a lot, and like to operate using Amplitude Modulation (AM). It is convenient to be able to adjust the Output Power Level so as to ensure one is keeping within the Regulations for Topband.
When one sets the PEP Max. level (32Watts - 15dBW) for SSB [HF section of Topband], then when AM is selected, the power output becomes (7.94Watts - 9dBW).
The bandwidth required to receive Amplitude Modulation is also excellent, not like the FT-101E, which was very narrow.

The main adverse comment on the FT-450 I have read, is that there is no provision to raise and tilt the front of the transceiver by using a 'bail stand' or extendable front feet. The controls at the bottom of the transceiver are close to the table top. A Bail Stand is now available as an 'option', by paying an extra £19.95.
I have overcome this problem by pushing a Rubber Ferrule over each of the two front feet (See Photograph).
These can be purchased at any Wilkinson Store @ 39p each. They are called Stick Ferrule 15mm (5/8") Black; Bar Code 0159 4942.

I have read a number of reports on various Amateur related Webpages about the YAESU FT-450.
The main question seems to be, "Why are there so many Radio Amateurs selling YAESU FT-450 Transceivers"?
Some are advertised "as new"; or "only been used for a week". They are being advertised as £200 less than new.
I can only assume that these people were so impressed with the product, that they have decided to purchase the Yaesu FT-950 at twice the price, or that they haven't got the experience and determination to learn how to use the menu's. Most retailers give a TWO YEAR Guarantee with the FT-450, so there cannot be any major problems.

An example of a typical advert from a Radio Amateur is as follows: "Like new in the box and everything that comes with it new - This Yaesu FT-450 is 2 months old and has about 1 hour of use. I'm selling it because it is just too much radio for me. Way too many bells and whistles for my taste - This rig has one heck of a receiver, the same one that is in the FT-950! IF DSP, Roofing filters and everything else but the kitchen sink. Puts out 100+ watts on all bands with ease" 

In response, I would like to point out, that the Transceiver can be set up to be 'The ideal Transceiver' to meet ones requirements. All the 'Bells and Whistles' do not have to be activated. The Transceiver can be used like any other basic Transceiver, and if one later thought, "what a pity it doesn't allow me to do this or that", then a quick glance at the manual would explain how to programme the Transceiver to do it. One thing I like especially, is that the 'CS' Button can be programmed to inject a 10W signal for tuning up. On the FT-101E for example, one has to inject carrier manually, making sure that one doesn't 'do the P.A. Valves in'. Here, it is 'quick and simple', just press the button when in any mode, and the Meter even reads the SWR for you. When one says 'Tune up'; with modern Transceivers, we only need to tune the ATU, (unless our Aerials are resonant), as all the stages (Preselector, Driver, P.A.) are automatically done for you. 
 

                 If a Radio Amateur is looking for a Great Deal, I suggest they look for a second hand FT-450.
One word of advice is to make sure the owner has paid for it - ask to see the receipt and ask for the Guarantee.
As the Transceivers haven't been on the market long, the unit should still be under Guarantee.

 
Latest Info: 
Stations worked on Forty Metres (SSB) include: WB3HUZ (Virginia); 
ZL4IR (New Zealand) and VK7GK (Tasmania). 
The Forty Metre Band is a delight to use in the evening and early mornings, 
as the FT-450 doesn't suffer from unwanted images! 
 The Aerial used was my Semi-Vertical; details are given on this website. 

My FT-450 doesn't have a built in ATU, I didn't require one as all my Aerials 
are resonant. I like to observe an SWR of 1:1 on my SWR Meter at all times.

The Aerials currently used at my QTH are: 
1.8MHz to 10MHz; the G3NGD Semi-vertical; 
14MHz, 21MHz & 28MHz; inverted 'V' Trapped Dipole.
(In June 2010, an additional aerial was added, see below).
 
 

 I decided in June 2010 to use the 12, 17 and 6 Metre Bands.
In order to do this, I had to build a new Triband Trapped Dipole.
I can report these Bands to be excellent especially the 50MHz - 52MHz (6 Metre Band). I hadn't operated on this band ever before; I found it a very enjoyable band and now know and appreciate why Radio Amateurs call it the Magic Band. In the first Month of using the SIX Metre band, Radio Amateurs in over forty countries were contacted. The most distant so far is South Africa.
       Having looked on the Internet as one does, I found a number of reviews on the Yaesu MD-100
       Microphone. On my Chatterbox Transmitter, I  use an Eagle International Microphone Model DD.7
       (this can be seen on the Chatterbox Page on this website). The FT-450 comes with a Hand-held
       Microphone fitted with a RJ-45 Plug. On reading the reviews, I decided to purchase a MD-100
       and find it excellent. When holding a Hand-held microphone, one has to hold the TX Switch down,
       whilst using a Desk Type (with a Latching Button) it is a little more relaxing. 
       The MD-100 is designed with a switch to allow users of the FT-450 to scan up and down the 
       band without having to rotate the VFO knob. Five single 'clicks' moves the VFO 5KHz which is
       quicker when requested to move up or down 5KHz in frequency.
       The control can also be switched to search continuously until a station is found.
       Another exellent reason for my purchase was the ability the change the Audio Characteristics.
       Especially, the High Emphasis which is great when working DX in a Pile-up. (+6dB @ 3KHz).
 If anyone is thinking of purchasing a Yaesu FT-950, a much advanced Transceiver at twice the price, then read on: The FT-950 has a built-in ATU (Aerial Tuning Unit) and this maybe one of the reasons for change. The ATU has a restricted range of only 16.7ohms - 150ohms and the ATU Memory only stores a Window of 10KHz width. This means that it will only match an almost resonant aerial (SWR 3:1 Maximum). A G5RV Aerial for example may not be within that range and the display would show an error. Note: Although the receiver works within the frequencies 30KHz - 56MHz., the ATU is only in circuit when Transmitting and Receiving in the Amateur Bands 160m - 6metres. Also, if one wanted to use an EXTERNAL ATU, such as the KW107 SUPERMatch , one wouldn't be able to inject a 10watt carrier signal as in the FT-450, as the SWR function isn't available on the VOICE/C.S. Button.
The only way to inject a carrier signal so as to tune an External ATU for an SWR of 1:1, would be to switch to AM (Amplitude Modulation) and lower the carrier power to 10watts using the Menu. This would be a 'bind' if continually changing bands!
In my opinion, this would be my main reason for not upgrading my FT-450 to the FT-950. Apart from this problem, I think the FT-950 is an excellent Transceiver.
 
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Page updated: May 2014