note: first appeared in February 2015
As mentioned in Part #1 of this series, I really love this mobile unit! The Yaesu FT-8900r is an amazing piece of Ham radio technology wrapped up in a very compact and sturdy package. This thing does it all and matches my mission requirements and then exceeds my expectations.
In the last post (Yaesu FT-8900R Mobile Ham Radio – Part #1) I covered the specifics of the Yaesu FT-8900R itself. In this post I will go over the accessories, installation info and some other tidbits.
Vehicle external antenna for temporary dual band (2m & 70cm) operations : This antenna is a must have for temporary vehicle operations. It is not a permanent antenna, it is a magnetic mount antenna. You can move the antenna to other vehicles if needed. You can also use it in a non-vehicle setting as well by placing the antenna higher than the radio would normally be located. The drawback to this antenna is its design for dual-band operations (2m & 70cm) not all the bands that the 8900 is capable of using. Great option where portability is needed and only dual-band operations are needed..
Vehicle permanent (or semi-permanent) mount external antenna : Diamond CR8900A Quad Band FM Mobile Antenna. I love this antenna! It took almost no tuning out of the box. Probably really didn’t need to tune it all if truth be told. The CR8900A is pretuned to give best bandwidth and VSWR over the FM portions of 10m, 6m, 2m, and 70cm Ham bands. Designed specifically for the Yaesu FT8900.
Gain dBi: 2.15 (10m/6m/2m); 5.5 (70cm)
Element Phasing: 1/4l-10/6; 1/2l-2m;2-5/8l-70cm
Note: Not recommended for use with magnet mounts. Grounding required. I would not run down the interstate at 75mph with this puppy mounted on your roof. I feel this is a great antenna but better used when the vehicle is stationary. It has a “fold-over” joint for storing when moving or going under low hanging branches…or through the McDonalds drive-thru.
Mobile Antenna Band Frequency Coverage Range Vertical Antenna Gain Element Phasing (wavelength)
10 meters 28-29.7 MHz 2.1 dBi 1/4
6 meters 50-54 MHz 2.1 dBi 1/4
2 meters 144-148 MHz 2.1 dBi 1/2
70 centimeters 440-450 MHz 5.5 dBi 2 x 5/8
Pull in the signals with Diamond Antenna CR8900A Quad-Band FM Mobile Antennas. Designed specifically for the Yaesu FT-8900 or FT-8900R radio, these antennas are pre-tuned to give the best SWR bandwidth over the FM portions of the 10m, 6m, 2m, and 70cm ham bands when mounted on the side of your vehicle. Plus, Diamond mobile antennas offer a “one-touch,” fold-over hinge that allows for easy access into low-overhead buildings.
External Speaker : I had to go with a Yaesu MLS-100. You can buy other speakers but I like the idea of a speaker that is matched to the radio by the manufacturer. The Yaesu Vertex MLS-100 external loudspeaker is a high performance communications speaker matching the impedance and output requirements of most Yaesu transceivers. It mounts on a swivel stand that is supplied along with mounting screws and bolts. A 6.5 foot (2m) audio cable that terminates in a 3.5 mm mono mini plug is also supplied. Black plastic cased speaker and black metal mount. Impedance is 4 ohms and the maximum power input is 12 watts. Yes, the FT-8900r has an internal speaker, but for vehicle operations and the associated noise I think an external speaker is really needed. Dimensions: Height: 3.75 in., Width: 5.5 in., Depth 1.75 in.
Headset with Boom Mic : Heil Sound – PMS-6 & Headset Adapter. Why? Because I believe that there are times when you want, or need, more privacy or the ability to hear/speak under adverse conditions. A headset with boom mic is the right answer. The Pro Micro Single Side is a very unique high performance single sided headset. This headset is outfitted with the HC-6 element and is designed for commercial broadcast applications, the -3dB points are fixed at 100 Hz and 12 kHz with sensitivity of -57 dB at 600 ohms output impedance (centered at 1 kHz.). The microphone audio for the Pro Micro series terminates into a 1/8” male plug while the head phone terminates into a 1/8” stereo with adaptor. To adjust the headset simply bend the stainless steel piece that is inside the black padded headband.
Adjust the mic gain while watching the ALC meter. Adjust so that the audio peaks just fill out the ALC scale and do not go beyond the ALC scale.
The 706 speaker works all the time. To turn that off simply plug an empty 1/8” plug into the front headphone jack.
Vox (voice activated transmission)
Set the Vox gain controls for proper activation.
If your rig has carrier balance it acts as a type of mic tone control. It is best to listen to yourself in another receiver as you transmit into a dummy load. You are actually moving the carrier + or – 200 Hz above or below the center of the filter network, which causes your microphone audio to change its tonal quality. The use of the AD-1 series mic adapters allow simple interface with popular transceiver inputs. The adapter is 6” long and has a 1/8” female input jack for the boomset microphone and a 1/4” female that is for the PTT (push to talk) line for the Heil foot switch or hand switch. The 1/4” stereo plug goes into the headphone jack on the transceiver front panel. All Heil Pro Micro Boomsets are shipped with foam windscreen that fits over the microphone. The windscreen does not change the frequency response, just the breath blasts directly into the microphone.
Programming Software w/cable : RT Systems FT-8900r Radio Software. While the radio is fully programmable from the front panel that is not the way you want to try and program this radio. I tried several different “free” programming software program; had problems with all of them. RT Systems puts out a superb product that can’t be beat in my opinion. FYI – You can use the files from any of the RT Systems software to transfer to any other radio that you are programming. So I can use all programming I did for my FT-60r for my Yaesu 8900 radio with a simple click of a software button.
NOTE: I will be posting programming files for different parts of the country as well as different repeater systems.
AC Power Supply : MFJ Enterprises Inc. MFJ-4230MV COMPACT SWITCH (COMPACT SWITCH PS, METER, 4-16V ADJ. 110/220VAC). This is a great AC power transformer, high quality and very reliable.
This is the world’s most compact switching power supply that also has a meter and adjustable voltage control. Just 5″ W x 2 ½” H x 6″ D, it weighs only 3 lbs. — it is the perfect pack-n-go power supply for field day, DXpeditions, camping, hiking or to pack for your next business trip or vacation to some far away place. MFJ-4230MV gives you 25 Amps continuously or 30 Amps surge at 13.8 VDC. The voltage is front-panel adjustable from 4 to 16 Volts. MFJ-4230MV also has a selectable input voltage: choose from 120 or 240 VAC at 47 – 63 Hz.
A simple front-panel push-button switch lets you choose either Ampmeter or Voltmeter — allows you to select Amps or Volts as you wish to read them. MFJ-4230MV has an excellent 75% efficiency and extra low ripple and noise, < 100 mV. Awhisper-quiet fan cools by convection and forced air cooling. Normal air-flow around the power supply is continuous and a heat sensor increases the fan speed when the temperature rises above 70 degrees Celsius. DC output is five way binding posts on the back of the MFJ-4230MV so you can power your dedicated HF, VHF or UHF transceiver with ease.
TIP – Battery protection when installed in a vehicle : I also use Charge Guard CG-MP timer for my truck’s power installation. This ensures that I won’t inadvertently run my battery dead using my Ham radio without the engine running. Well worth the $’s.
TIP – Power connectors : I use Anderson Power Poles for all my power connections. This makes hooking up my power “brainless” and quick. Plus it gives me the added advantage of using power cables, fuses, etc. for more than one radio. Basically allows for flexibility. I chose Anderson Power Poles because there are essentially the standard for Ham radio operators.
So this concludes my review of the Yaesu FT-8900r quad-band radio. It is a solid “Buy!” You will not be disappointed and it will serve you for a very long time.
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