After over two years of owning the FT-950 it’s still a solid performer. In the field, during Field Day 2008 with auxiliary power and a PAR EF-40 End Fed along with a Buddipole it was exemplary. At home in the shack it’s even more fun. The menu system offers lots of settings for personal preferences and I often change parameters if I see something on the Yahoo FT-950 group that I find interesting. I keep copious notes in a small notebook of all the settings I’ve ever tried, with dates and comments. The primary use of the 950 is on psk and cw modes; I rarely run more than 30 watts to my antennas which include the Cushcraft R6000, and several PAR End Fedz dipoles. The PAR antennas have survived two brutal winters with ice storms. The last ice storm a few weeks ago saw the PAR antennas coated with almost 2 centimeters of ice but they held up very well. The EF-40 is over 20meters (66 feet) in length so that’s a lot of ice load to carry. We also get terrific winds out here but the PARs just keep going – a testament to their engineering and design. I have plans to erect a full G5RV and an end fed loop this year on my 2 acre property south of Ottawa. I would like to get back on 160 meters in time for next winter.
Since the release of the FT-950 in the fall of 2007 Yaesu in Japan has released firmware updates – numerous updates called the PEP950-Performance Enhancement Program with updates available for download on the Yaesu website. Each update added features and improved functions – with feedback garnered from the user community and Yaesu’s monitoring of the FT-950 group on Yahoo. Dennis Motschenbacher K7BV, (Yaesu VP of Sales) often drops by the group with information and comments. Dennis was even kind enough to send me a poster of the new Yaesu 5000 transceiver including the Yaesu world map. It’s really great to see a company interacting with users and potential users in this way.
In 2010 it’s hoped that Yaesu will continue to improve and update the firmware in the FT-950. With the release of the new FT-5000 Yaesu will continue to be at the forefront of cutting edge communications gear.
Some of you may be aware of free amateur radio publications such as WorldRadio online magazine available for download. There’s another publication free of charge from the Robert F. Heytow Memorial Radio Club called the KY9A Telegraph. It’s by subscription so an email notification is generated and sent to you when a new issue is ready for donwload. Both of these publications are in the Adobe PDF format. Highly recommended reading during these long winter nights.