Yaesu FT-991A Review

It cost a pretty penny, but the Yaesu FT-911A is truly a “shack in a box.” It provides amazing all-band coverage for both transmit and receive, and is packed with so many features that you’ll still be learning new things a week, a month, or a year down the line. Sure, it’s not cheap – but with its rich features and Yaesu quality, it’s truly built to last.

Good

  • All-band coverage – The Yaesu FT-991A covers all bands from 160M to 70 cm, and also supports C4FM for digital transmission. It really is an all-in-one unit, so it’s a great option for ham users who use a wide variety of frequencies.
  • Compact and portable design – Though it’s most often used as a base transceiver in a ham shack, this unit is small enough to be mounted for mobile use, and it even has an optional mounting bracket. However, it does weigh in at 9.5 lbs, so it may be better suited to use in a truck rather than most passenger vehicles.
  • Beautiful touchscreen display – The touchscreen LCD is responsive and bright, and includes a waterfall display to help you pick out signals quickly and easily.
  • Up to 100w transmission power – The Yaesu FT-991A packs up to 100w of transmission power. When paired with the right antenna, this is more than enough to reach other ham operators worldwide.
  • Absolutely jam-packed with features – We really can’t fit them all in here. The Yaesu FT-991A has a 32-bit DSP, a 3kHZ roofing filter, Automatic Scope Control (ASC), a built-in sound card for use with computers, USB programming capability, and tons of other great features.
  • 100 memory channels – You’ve got 100 memory channels to play with, so you can save all your favorite frequencies. Yaesu has also used a Internal High Speed Automatic Antenna Tuner system to minimize delays and tuning times when changing frequencies.

Bad

  • Steep learning curve – Unless you have lots of experience with Yaesu radios, learning to use all of the features of this unit will take some time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that this may not be the best radio for newcomers to ham radio.
  • Only 50w VHF/UHF – Some comparable radios like the ICOM IC-7300 offer 100w transmission in both HF and VHF/UHF. However, the FT-991A only supports full 100w transmit power on HF, dropping to 50w for the UHF/VHF bands.

Bottom line

The Yaesu FT-911A is not a great radio for novice hams – unless you’re really dedicated to the hobby and are ready to learn a lot. It’s got so many features that newcomers may feel overwhelmed. But if you can push through that learning curve or you’re a more experienced operator, this powerful, all-mode base unit is sure to have a place in your ham shack for years – and decades – to come. Sure, it’s an investment, but like all investments, it’ll keep paying off the more you use it.

Product Specs

Frequency Range0.03 56 MHz, 118 164 MHz, 420 470 MHz (operating), 1.8 54 MHz,
144 – 14BMHz, 430 – 450 MHz (specified performance, Amateur bands only)
TX Frequency Ranges1.8 – 54 MHz, 144 – 148MHz, 430 – 450 MHz (Amateur bands only)
Frequency Stability+0.5 ppm (after 1 minute @14°F – +122°F/-10°c – +so°cJ
Emission ModesAIA (CW), A3E (AM), J3E (LSB, USB), F2D, F3E (FM), F7W (C4FM)
Frequency Steps5 / 10 Hz (SSB, CW, AM), 100 Hz (FM, C4FM)
Antenna Impedance50 Ohms, unbalanced
16,7 150 Ohms, unbalanced (Tuner ON, 1.8 30 MHz Amateur bands) 25 -100 Ohms, unbalanced (Tuner ON, 50 MHz Amateur band)
Power Consumption (Approx.)RX (no signal) 1.8 A RX (signal present) 2.2 A
TX 23 A (HF/50MHz 100 W), 1 (144/430MHz 50 W)
Supply VoltageDC 13.8 V z15 No (Negative Ground)
Dimensions (W x H x D)9.0″ x 3.2″ x 10″ (229 x 80 x 253 mm)
Weight (Approx.)9.5 lbs (4.3 kg)
Power OutputHF/50MHz: 5 – 100 watts (2 — 25 watts AM carrier)
144/430MHz: 5 – 50 watts (2 — 12.5 watts AM carrier)
Modulation TypesJ3E (SSB): Balanced / A3E (AM): Low-Level (Early Stage) F3E (FM): Variable Reactance / F7W (C4FM): 4-level FSK
Maximum FM Deviation+5.0 kHz / +2.5 kHz
Harmonic RadiationBetter than -50 dB (1.8 – 30 MHz Amateur bands)
Better than -63 dB (1.8 – 30 MHz Amateur bands, above 30MHz)*^ Better than -63 dB (50 MHz Amateur band)
Better than -60 dB (144 MHz, 430 MHz Amateur bands)
SSB Carrier SuppressionAt least 50 dB below peak output
Undesired Wideband SuppressionAt least 50 dB below peak output
Bandwidth3 kHz (LSB/USB), 500 Hz (CW), 6 kHz (AM) 6 kHz (FM/C4FM
Audio Response (SSB)Not more than -6 dB from 300 to 2700 HP
Microphone Impedance600 Ohms (200 to 10 kOhFFJS)
Circuit TypeSSB/CW/AM: Triple-conversion Super heterodyne FM/C4FM: DouDle-conversion Super heterodyne
Intermediate FrequenciesSSB/CW/AM: 69.450 MHz / 9.000 MHz / 24 kHz
FM/C4FM: 69.450 MHz / 450 kHz
SensitivitySSB/CW (BW: 2.4 kHz, 10 dB S+N/N)
0.158 IV (1.8 – 30 MHz) (AMP 2), 0.125 pV (50 – 54 MHz) (AMP 2)
0.11 IV (144 – 148 MHz), 0.11 IV (430 – 450 MHz)
AM (BW: 6 kHz, 10 dB S+N/N, 30 No modulation @400 Hz) 5 pV (0.5 – 1.B MHz) (AMP2), 1.6 pV (1.B – 30 MHz) (AMP 2)
1.25 pV (50 – 54 MHz) (AMP 2)
FM (BW: 15 kHz, 12 dB SINAD)
0.35 IV (28 – 30 MHz) (AMP 2), 0.35 IV (50 – 54 MHz) (AMP 2)
0.18 IV (144 148 MHz), 0.18 IV (430— 440 MHz)
There is no specification for frequency ranges not listed.
Squelch Sensitivity (TYP.)SSB/CW/AM
1.0 IV (1.8 – 30 MHz, 50 – 54 MHz, AMP 2)
1.0 |JV (144 – 148 MHz, 430 – 450 MHz) FM
0.35 pV (28 – 30 MHz, 50 – 54 MHz, AMP 2)
0.125 IV (144 – 148 MHz, 430 – 450 MHz)
There is no specification for frequency ranges not listed.
SelectivityMode -6 dB -60 dB
CW 0.5 kHz or better 0.75 kHz or less SSB 2.4 kHz or better 3.6 kHz or less
AM 6 kHz or better 15 kHz or less
FM 12 kHz or better 30 kHz or less(-50dB)
Image Rejection70 dB or better (160 – 6m Amateur bands)
60 dB or better (2m, 70cm Amateur band)
Maximum Audio Output2.5 W into 4 Ohms with 109a THD
Audio Output Impedance4 to 8 Ohms (4 Ohms: nominal)
Conducted RadiationLess than 4 nW

Expert reviews

  • Ham Radio Concepts reviewed the FT-991A, and was very impressed by this unit. He called it “basically everything you could want in a complete rig,” and a “truly awesome radio.” He also called the touchscreen “spectacular” and loved the bright colors and clear display, as well as the well-built knobs and buttons. He also said the radio was surprisingly easy to learn how to use, despite its feature-rich interface.
  • In an unboxing and review of the Yaesu FT-991A, Ham Radio TV had good things to say about the radio. He was a big fan of the multi-button design, which mostly uses buttons and knobs rather than digital menus to control the unit, and the inclusion of a top-mounted speaker and carrying handle. He also liked that there was a built-in tuner and sound card, and small portable size.
  • In a comparison video between the FT-991A and Icom IC-7300, Ham Radio DX recommended the FT-991A for users who are looking for a reliable all-band radio. However, he did note that the IC-7300 performs better on UHF and VHF due to its higher transmission power. However, he did note that the radio has a pretty high power draw both when receiving and transmitting, which may make it less-than-ideal for mobile use.

User reviews

  • On eHam.net, the Yaesu FT-991A has an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars across 181 total reviews. Users called this base unit a “very nice radio,” and the “best value in radio today” for users who are interested in multi-band ham radio. They also praised the clear screen, small form factor, and high number of memory channels, as well as the good receive sensitivity and high transmit power. On the more negative side, several users noted a large learning curve for this unit, and difficult-to-use software menus that made negative programming a challenge.
  • DXEngineering users have given this Yaesu radio an average rating of 4.87 out of 5 stars across 122 total reviews. Reviewers called it a “lot of radio for the money,” and noted that it had “great signals on all of the bands, including SW.” Several users noted that they were easily able to connect to other ham users worldwide with just a portable antenna and 100 watts of transmission power. Critical reviewers noted the steep learning curve and difficult-to-use software as the biggest drawbacks.
  • GigaParts reviewers have given the Yaesu FT-991A an average rating of 4.95 out of 5 stars across 21 reviews. Users called this radio a “superb rig,” a “great first radio,” and “all you need” to get started with ham radio on every band. They also said the audio output is “phenomenal,” and that it rivals all other high-end HF, UHF, and VHF radios out there. More critical users noted that manually programming this radio is complex and difficult, and that the internal speaker is not as high-quality as you may expect for such an expensive radio.

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