Yaesu FT-2900R 2 Meter FM Transceiver
Reviewed by Howard Robins, W1HSR ARRL Contributing Editor
Sturdy and powerful, the FT-2900R has all of the features we've come to expect in a 2 meter transceiver and adds some useful new ones.
The FT-2900R is very similar to the FT-2800M and replaces it in the Yaesu Amateur Radio product lineup.1 At first glance the most significant difference is increased high power from 65 to 75 W. On the front panel, the positions of the POWER and WIRES buttons have been swapped, the stenciling on some of the other buttons has changed and the front panel lines are a bit smoother. When I compared the manuals for both radios, however, I discovered that the FT-2900R manual had 30 more pages. So, there is a bit more to the new rig that is not so obvious and some neat features have been added.
As with other Yaesu mobile transceivers, the FT-2900R is built on a massive cast aluminum heat sink and does not use a cooling fan. There is nothing dainty about this radio, and I would bet that it could be driven over and never skip a beat. Normally, I would be cautious not to drop a delicate instrument for fear of damaging it. If I dropped the FT-2900R on my ceramic tile floor, I think the floor would
be the loser. I have been using an FT-2800M to send APRS weather beacons every 10 minutes for more than two years and it keeps on going. These are very rugged radios.
The front panel has a large six digit liquid crystal display (LCD) with controllable backlighting. There are three knobs — VOLUME and SQUELCH on the left and the MAIN TUNING dial on the right. Six push buttons
— POWER, WIRES/LOCK, SET/MHz, DW/ REVERSE, A/N/LOW and MW/D/MR are below the display. It's obvious what several of these controls are used for. I will explain the less obvious ones in this review by example. I have used radios with more cryptic labeling.
The rear panel SO-239 RF connector is recessed and partly shrouded by an extended part of the cast aluminum body. The external speaker jack is recessed in the lower left corner next to the power pigtail. Note that there is no data port on this radio. You would need to use the external speaker and mic jacks to interface with your TNC or other data device and adjust the squelch and volume levels accordingly.
There is a bottom-firing internal speaker that sounds crisp and loud enough to me. Lab testing showed plenty of audio output — nearly 4 W. The mic is the MH-48 with keypad that comes packed with most new Yaesu VHF radios. This mic permits users to safely control many of the FT-2900R's features and functions and uses an RJ-45 connector.