FT-450D First impressions

My first rig the Yaesu FT-857D has proved a more than capable radio and as a shack in a box covering HF-VHF-UHF it is excellent and has allowed me to try my hand at most things since becoming licensed but I wanted a dedicated HF set up that was a bit less fiddly to use.   

So last month I succumbed to temptation and ordered a Yaesu FT-450D. While it is still an entry level rig I had heard good things about it and liked the look and feel of it. Martin Lynch & Sons had them at a low price and combined with Yaesu's 'Late Winter Warmer 2015' cash-back promotion made it an opportunity I didn't want to miss.

It arrived last week but I only got to properly have a play this weekend even then not for as long as I really would have wanted. I know people might detest HF contests but I was quite glad of the CQ WPX to try out the radio with plenty of contacts on 10/15/20 and 40m while keeping the output below 50W.

I have still to work out all the settings and the DSP functions but first impressions are of an excellent receiver with good tone and clear audio from the internal speaker. Being a very popular contest the bands were crowded at the weekend but I had no trouble picking out weaker stations even with very strong adjacent stations. Using the supplied microphone and the default processing settings I had no issue getting out either, working nearly all of the stations I called.

I have previously used a manual ATU and found the internal ATU is a nice feature when switching bands and it did a excellent job of fine tuning the M0CVO OCFD. It couldn't tune it on 40m directly as the VSWR was greater than 3:1 so had to revert back to the external ATU.

Only very minor gripe I had was the CAT connection, In my research I noted it was a standard RS232C 9-pin connector and assumed I would just plug in a standard PC serial lead, but I hadn't spotted the radio had a male connector not female!

I wanted to try out the CAT but hadn't got a gender changer or connectors in the shack to make up a lead. I did have a number of commercial RS232 extension leads moulded male connector one end, female the other, so chopped up two and spliced the appropriate halves together. It works fine with a USB-Serial adapter in Ham Radio Deluxe but refused to work with the Omnirig control used by PZTLog until I disabled the hardware handshaking. 

Still early days and I do need to read the manual but more than happy with it.
Andrew Garratt, MØNRD, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from East Midlands, England. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “FT-450D First impressions”

  • Hans PD0AC:

    Manufacturers should have abandoned those archaic serial connectors a long time ago. Maybe it’s proof we are archaic too…

  • Andrew M0NRD:

    I know what you mean Hans,

    I suppose it is easy for a manufacturer to put a RS232C serial port with whatever standard or proprietary connector they want and then let the end user deal with cables and driver issues.

    Interestingly have seen a few recent new PC that have now got the old 9-pin serial port back

  • Dave KB8XG:

    I must admit that I don’t understand the use of serial ports on any contemporary rig since I haven’t purchased a computer with a serial port in over 11 years. Wish they would all catch up and use USB for now

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