The FT-450 is my first HF tranceiver. I also considered the Yaesu FT-857 and FT-897 and the Icom IC-703. I finally went for the FT-450 because I like the fact that it has IF-DSP, HF and 6m (I don't really care about 2m and 70cm) and it does 100W. The Icom only does 10W and I think is more a vacation/mobile rig. The FT-857 is nice, but the buttons are so tiny that you're almost forced to use some sort of computer control software. The FT-897 is also very nice, it has 2m and 70cm as a bonus. But it doesn't have IF-DSP and it's quite a bit more expensive than the FT-450.
Before the FT-450 I've had several receivers, like the Yaesu FRG-7000, FRG-7700 and Kenwood R-2000. As I said the FT-450 is my first tranceiver, but as a receiver it also performs very well. My previous rigs where all quite vintage. The FRG-7000 even featured 3 pre-selector knobs to tune the thing. As you can imagine, the FT-450 is a pleasant and stable rig to work with compared to my former receivers. I don't have to re-tune every 30 seconds any more, I like that :)
Some have commented on the small knobs. They are a bit small, true. But I haven't had any problems in that respect. Tuning is easy enough. Managing the 500 memory channels is more of a challenge. Entering a frequency into memory is strait forward, but to add an alpha tag requires going deep into the menus and is not intuitive. Every time I need to programm a tag I need to get out the manual. For this I have rated the ergonomics only 3/5.
The display is sometimes no so easy to read. The contrast between when items are 'on' or 'off' in the display isn't that great because the 'off' items also light up slightly. I finally managed to get it fairly good by turning the contrast all the way up and the brightness almost zero. If Yaesu manages to fix this, I'll rate build quality 5/5, now I'm going to go for 4/5.
The FT-450 is a decent rig with IF-DSP that actually works, even the DSP noise blanker is usefull. Being able to set Width, Notch and Contour filters comes in handy when trying to hear just that small signal next to all the clutter. I haven't regretted going for this rig!
I swapped a ft 897 for the ft450.it makes the 897 like its 50 yrs old.so advanced,the tuners great,using 9ft 1/4 twig ,pulls in lovely all bands,mike settings good ,a great swap,
Just what you need for a modest station. I bought a IC 718, no AM, FM! Upgraded immediately to FT450 then added an AT450, works great with Hy Gain 4 band Vertical with good conterpoise system.
Would I buy another...yes, probily a FT950 next!
Size of Main Tuner Knob marginally too small.
DSP like the big boys! The screen is a real nice change , and I love the voice keyer for calling CQ.
I do wish the headphone jack were 1/4", but that's a bit nit picking. I use the one without the tuner as I already had an SGC tuner that I was very happy with. I also like the way it works with the MD-100 desk microphone. I've had this radio going on three years now and no problems I can report!!!
I got back on the air on September 1, 2009, with my FT-450AT. I use a 110' long wire with an SGC237 auto coupler at its base. I don't use the built-in tuner with my base station, preferring to match at the base of the antenna. I will use the unit's antenna tuner if and when I go portable for Field Day or another event. Power supply is the SEC 1235M.
The FT-450 has performed perfectly from day one. Basically, if I can hear a station, I can work that station. Of course, the 100 watts will not cut through a big pile-up, but patience and good operating techniques can make up for the lack of an amplifier.
I achieved WAS on ssb in 14 months of sporadic operation on 80, 40, 20, 17, and 15 meter bands. I have also worked four continents so far.
Signal reports have been quite good and I've had numberous compliments on my audio, using the hand-held mike that comes with the transceiver.
My FT-450 has also worked well hooked through a SignaLink USB controller for use with PSK31.
The FT-450 does not come with any tilt-up mechanism (the new FT-450 has a tilt bar) so I reversed a laptop computer stand (cost under $10.00) and solved that small issue.
Some people have objected to the smaller main tuning knob, but I have not had a problem. I use the tip of my index finger to move the knob across the band. You can adjust dial increments to suit your operating style. Additionally, the DSP/SEL knob can be used to quickly move across the band in 5KHz or 10KHz increments.
I have been using the unit's built-in code practice feature to rebuild my CW speed.
The small footprint does mean that there are multi-use knobs and buttons that require use of the fairly simple menu system to make changes in the way the unit operates. I have yet to figure out an easy way to use the memories, and some of the other versatile features. The manual does provide pretty good instructions.
I think the FT-450AT and the newer FT-450D may be hard to beat unless you pay more than double the price!
Dick Morgan K6RAH, Dallas, TX
I bought my FT-450 new out of the box 6 months ago. It is one of the best relaxed HF/6 rigs I have ever owned. I only wish it would open up the 60 meter band. Or does it?
Other than that I would not trade for anything. It does every thing and more than I expected. Larry TN