Getting into ham radio gives you a fun and fulfilling new experience, especially if you have the right transceiver.
If you’re a total beginner and you want to ease into the new world of amateur radio instead of buying overwhelmingly advanced transceivers, then the Yaesu Original FT-450D HF / MHz Amateur Base Transceiver is a solid choice.
The Yaesu FT-450D amateur radio is user-friendly and made with the novice in mind, yet it’s still packed with the standard features with a bit more functions added. While the Yaesu FT-450D is an entry-level transceiver, it’s one of the best you can get at its price range.
It offers a variety of DSP functions, classic design, a built-in automatic antenna tuner, CW filters, and a lot more.
In this Yaesu FT-450D review, we’ll be discussing the attributes of this radio transceiver as well as how the different features you get will make your ham journey easy.
Let’s start this review by looking at the design.
Housed in a compact case, the Yaesu FT-450D is lightweight and feels durable – great for home or portable use.
The Yaesu amateur radio has a pretty basic compact design with knobs and tactile buttons, but it’s one of the things to love about this rig.
It’s compact, easy to operate, everything is clearly labeled, and the illuminated keys make it easy to read in both light and dark conditions.
For these reasons, the device makes a great choice for beginners. It can be the ham radio a novice can aspire to have while studying online for the ham radio licensure test.
All the basic functions have dedicated keys on the front panel so operation is smooth. Furthermore, the tuning knob has a nicer rubber grip compared to its predecessor, the FT-450.
The LCD multi-function display is big enough to show you most of the amateur radio functions without being overcrowded. While it’s not colored like the G90 from Xiegu, the Yaesu FT-450D has a well-organized screen layout compared to the G90.
Another ergonomic improvement from the Yaesu FT-450 amateur radio is that the FT-450D now has a foot stand to prop up the front panel.
Foot stands are rarely included in entry-level transceivers within this price range, so kudos to the Yaesu team for including this in the design.
Whether at home or on portable applications, these come in pretty useful. Note that this is not a handheld device though, so if you’re interested in handhelds, the BaoFeng UV-5RA would be a better fit.
What’s in the Box
- Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver
- MH 31A8J Hand Microphone
- DC Power Cord with Fuse
- Operation Manual
- Warranty Card
It’s common for ham radios like this to require an external power source, and the Yaesu FT-450D is no different as well. It needs a 13.8 VDC 22 amp power source.
400 MHz IF DSP Technology
With DSP technology built into the system of this amateur radio, you have fast and robust processing during ham radio operations.
Some of the functions include modulation and demodulation, Contour filtering, Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), manual notch filter, microphone equalizer, a speech processor, frequency read-out function, and much more.
You can use some of these DSP functions together for that optimum listening and transmitting experience with significantly less noise and interference. It’s fast, reliable, and highly configurable according to your needs and preferences.
Note that not all transceivers have DSP technology, so the Yaesu FT-450D amateur radio really gives you a bang for your buck. If you’re not very familiar with DSP, some of the features will be discussed further along in this Yaesu FT-450D review.
RF Output and Coverage
The Yaesu FT-450D amateur radio has a 100 watts output on 160-6 meters amateur bands. This high quality transceiver covers 30 Khz to 56 MHz with different operating modes including AM, FM, SSB, CW, and Data.
As such, you have an extensive array of listening options in a flexible mode that you will certainly enjoy. With a powerful RF output and expanded coverage, there’s a high possibility that you’ll use this for hours at home or in another setting. But don’t think too much about it because there’s a quiet cooling fan on the Yaesu FT-450D’s rear that will cool down and maintain a good temperature in your device.
100 Watts on HF and 50 MHz
Generally, it’s better to have more power. At 100 watts output on 160-6 meters, this is one of the best you can find on the market as it puts out 100 wattsh on HF and 50 MHz
One user did an independent test to review if the SSB output power was really going at 100 watts. He tested it on two external RF power meters to make sure of the accuracy.
The result? He did found that the Yaesu FT-450D radio was adhering to the promise of 100 watts even on SSB mode. For SSB and CW, he found it measured at 105 watts, a bit less on 10 meters.
However, the test revealed that the power output meter on the transceiver was displaying inaccurately.
In the review, the meter on the transceiver was just displaying 70-75 watts even if it was actually at 100 watts, and although this can be somewhat good, inaccurate meter readings may cause problems. S meter readings were also accurate.
Digital Noise Reduction (DNR)
Improve your listening experience on the Yaesu FT-450D compact radio with the Digital Noise Reduction function. As you may already know, there are different kinds of noise profiles you can encounter on the Yaesu FT-450D HF bands and 50 MHz bands.
Thus, the FT-450D’s Digital Noise Reduction function provides 11 noise-reduction algorithms you can choose from, each effectively dealing with a different profile in the HF and 50 MHz bands.
While any of these algorithms will work fine for any random noise, you can experiment with the system so you can find out which setting is best for a specific noise you’re hearing.
Built-in Antenna Tuning System
You don’t have to spend extra on a separate antenna tuner to improve the performance of your transceiver, because the Yaesu FT-450D ham radio already features an automatic antenna tuner built-in.
Basically, an antenna tuning system transforms the impedance at your antenna’s feedline to a value that can be handled by the transceiver. With matched impedance values, you will be able to transmit on maximum power without damaging your transceiver.
If you’re going to use the Yaesu FT-450D device on the road like when you’re on a roadtrip with your family or friends, it will also help expand the bandwidth of your antenna.
IF Roofing Filter
Another feature you rarely get in entry-level transceivers as well is the IF Roofing Filter, which is fortunately included in the system. An IF Roofing Filter protects IF and DSP stages by providing narrowband selectivity.
Simply put, strong radio signals that can cause overloading and distortion are blocked by the receiver.
This one has a 10 kHz Roofing Filter. It gives narrow-band selectivity for the protection of IF and DSP stages. The IF width and IF shift features are really just the main tools for the mitigation of interference. At this price point, the IF Roofing Filter can be really hard to find.
This contributes greatly to the value of the Yaesu FT-450D radio, and that’s another reason why we highly recommend it for beginners looking for a great radio to start with. But for those looking exactly for a dual-band model, we have a list of mobile ham radios with a dual-band feature.
IF Width and IF Shift
As mentioned, these are the main functions to be used for reducing the interference on the Yaesu FT-450D. you can narrow the bandwidth or adjust the center of the pass band according to your liking.
If you want to take it to the next level, you could also use the Contour control for additional benefits on enhancing the signal on the net residual bandwidth. And if that’s not enough, you can use the manual IF Notch Filter for a significantly improved listening experience.
Now, let’s break it down a bit in this review. What is the IF Shift and IF Width?
IF Shift is a tuner that allows you to modify the DSP filter pass band higher or lower. The pitch of the incoming signal won’t be changed, so you don’t have to worry about that. Also, you don’t have to re-tune the operating frequency if you need to reduce the interference.
For the IF shift system, the total pass band tuning range is ±1 kHz. To use the IF shift in the Yaesu FT-450D, simply rotate the “Shift” knob left or right for interference reduction.
On the other hand, the IF Width is a tuner that allows you to modify the width of the DSP IF pass band in order to eliminate interference.
If you want to enhance incoming signal fidelity when there’s low interference, know that you can actually expand the bandwidth from its default setting.
IF Width is varied in steps:
- CW – 0.5/1.8/2.4 kHz.
- SSB – 1.8/2.4/3.0 kHz.
- AM – 3.0/6.0/9.0 kHz.
- FM – 2.5/5.0 kHz.
Clean audio is an important aspect of any transceiver. Aside from other aspects like power and ease of operation, being able to receive any signal clearly is crucial for a good communication experience. After all, a radio is useless if a receiver can’t understand what the other person is saying.
For a rig in this price range, the audio is surprisingly good. It’s rich and clean compared to many other radios, making communications effortless and messages easily grasped by the receiver. However, some customers also experience muffled receive audio in the Yaesu FT-450D.
The noise blanker which reduces certain noises can be a weak point of this transceiver, and this is reflected when the product is used. Still, you can connect speakers or headphones for better audio listening.
Some of us have headphones we haven’t used in a while, that would be good for this. Meanwhile, handheld transceiver Kenwood TH-D74A has a crisp sound that is worth trying out.
The Yaesu FT-450D comes with a hand microphone, which is a given for transceivers. Although, you can always replace this microphone with an aftermarket one, we found that this microphone is sufficient especially for the beginner.
The microphone fits nicely in the hand when used, so there’s no awkward or unnatural grip. It has a micro switch PTT as well. One thing we liked is the buttons that can be programmable for other functions so you don’t have to reach for the unit itself in some operations.
This function is also common in many transceiver microphones since using the buttons on the unit all the time can be time consuming.
This microphone of the Yaesu FT-450D uses a dynamic element. You may need to work out some adjustments out of the box, so keep that in mind before using this microphone.
However, we found that having the MIC EQ setting of the unit at number 4 or high boost really does make a world of a change in the sound quality.
The Yaesu FT-450D model provides a voice announcement feature in the menu for functions including mode, meter reading, and frequency selection. This is so you know what’s going on even without glancing or reading everything on the menu display.
Voice announcement is also particularly useful for sight-impaired operators. Combined with the tactile buttons on the transceiver, operation will always be easy-peasy in radios such as this.
Yaesu FT-450D Review Conclusion
For beginners looking for a worthy investment, the Yaesu FT-450D is a great choice at a good price. While there is a learning curve in devices like this if you’re new, you won’t have a super complicated learning process as you work with the Yaesu FT- 450D.
It packs in a lot of power with features such as an extremely functional DSP technology, noise and interference filters, automatic antenna tuning system, and a 100-watt output on 160-6 meters amateur bands. It’s perfect for home or portable use.
Compared to many entry-level radios, it gives you value for your money.
Next up: check our article and review on the best power supplies for ham radios.