Yaesu FT-2000 Transceiver

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Summary: After 2-1/2 years of use, including lots of DX'ing and many contest efforts on both CW and SSB, I'm very pleased with the performance of the transceiver. The roofing filters and variable bandwidth DSP circuits have worked well. I'm able to coexist with other stations just a few hundred Hertz away in a cw contest environment, just as I was with my modified FT-1000MP. I really like the FT-2000's receive audio quality, which is very clear and non-fatiguing. The display presents information in an attractive, colorful, and useful manner. It performs well, looks great, and like a well-designed mobile phone or other piece of electronics, it's a pleasure to operate.

Things I Like:
1. Integrated 6-meter operation.
2. Built-in roofing filters.
3. Great receiver performance in crowded contest environments.
4. No key clicks. No mod required and you can even adjust the keying rise/fall time.
5. Front panel VOX gain and delay controls.
6. Bold, colorful display. Very nice choice of colors.
7. Quick Split feature and Menu Item 31 that allows you to program the split to your liking.
8. Parametric equalizer for transmit audio.
9. Optional features like the DMU and Hi-Q external filter set.
10. Programmer friendly CAT protocol. Ability to set baud rate and handshaking.
11. USB and LSB buttons light along with CW button when pressed, telling you all the time whether you are in CW "USB" or "LSB" mode.

Things I Don't Like:
1. CW monitor audio doesn't appear on the rear audio output jack.

2. In the full QSK mode you can't hear between dots and dashes at higher CW speeds.

On September 28, 2006 I purchased the first FT-2000 to be sold by the local Ham Radio Outlet store in Woodbridge, VA.  I usually prefer to wait before buying a new piece of equipment until any bugs have been worked out, but in this case I threw caution to the wind.  As I learn about the rig, I'll be posting information here that I think might be of use to owners and prospective owners.

If you are replacing an FT-1000MP with the FT-2000, you'll find that you can reuse most or all of your existing interconnecting cabling.  Most of the commonly used input and output jacks on the FT-2000 are the same as on the FT-1000MP (at least the ones I normally use).

Once installed, operation is very similar to the FT-1000MP.  The biggest change for me is not having to select filter bandwidths.  The new variable "Width" knob is used to continuously adjust the bandwidth of the IF DSP filter.  This is a really nice feature, as you can immediately set the bandwidth to whatever is appropriate for current conditions.  There are other nice new features, but I'll discuss them below in appropriate sections of this page.  Now, here's some of the information that I learned during the 2-1/2 years that I've owned and used the rig:

1. First, I must mention that the FT-2000 I have today is quite a bit different than the FT-2000 I bought in 2006.  Why?  Because its firmware has been upgraded several times and this new firmware has significantly improved some of the features in the radio.  For example, the noise blanker that initially seemed ineffective is now the best I've ever heard.  The QSK speed has been improved.  New features, like the new CW peaking mode with the Contour control, have been added.  If you have an FT-2000 be sure to take advantage of the free firmware upgrades that Yaesu posts on its website.

2. If you want to use the rear panel TX GND jack to perform TX/RX switching of an external amplifier, you must first enable it using menu selection 146 tGEn ETX-GND.

3. The CW monitor can be heard using the front panel headphone jack and speaker output, but not on the rear panel audio output jack. Yaesu technical support told me on Oct 2, 2006 that this was not a fault in my FT-2000, but was a result of the FT-2000 design. For me, or anyone who records cw QSO's using this audio output jack, this is a serious problem because only one side of the QSO will be recorded. The FT-1000MP included the CW monitor in this audio output. I have no idea why it was changed in the FT-2000.

4. If you want to find out when your FT-2000 was built, here is some information provided by Bill, N5TU:

The first digit in a Yaesu serial number indicates the year of manufacture. The second digit, typically a letter, indicates the month of manufacture. The way to determine the month is to take the position of the letter in the alphabet (C=3, D=4... N=14) and subtract 2 from that number. Hence radios with an "L" are October radios (L=12, 12 - 2 = 10, October=10th month), radios with an "M" are November, "N" is December, "C" is January, etc. The next two digits indicate a manufacturing "run" number. The final four digits are the order in the production run. For example, if a radio has a serial number of 6K050095, then by using the above explanation you can determine that it was built in September 2006 and was the 95th unit of production run 5.

5. For my tastes, the main tuning dial torque was too high, even when I adjusted the knob for minimum torque. I performed the following modification suggested by Randy, W8RAN, and WOW, what an improvement! Now the FT-2000 knob feels like it has some inertia. As good or better than my FT-1000MP. Here is Randy's original description of the mod:

I removed the rubber cover from the VFO knob. Remove the set screw that locks the knob on the encoder shaft, it's metric. You will find 2 silver wavy spring washers and several (didn't count them) fiber washers. The silver spring washers apply pressure to the fiber washers and to the vfo knob and the black mount around the encoder shaft. This applies pressure depending on the setting of the brake adj. I removed 2 FIBER washers. Make sure that there is still fiber washers between the silver spring washers and the knob and the black support for the encoder shaft. The fiber washers keep the silver springs from digging in to the vfo knob and the encoder shaft support (black) on the other end. Mine works as it should now. I can tighten it perfectly as well as loosen it to the point of it being to loose. I saved the fiber washers just in case. DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK!!! Got to have a disclaimer.

A couple of notes: The needed metric hex wrench is 2mm.  I removed just one flat washer and immediately put it in a plastic baggie stapled to the back of my FT-2000 operating manual in case I ever need to replace it.  Left the wavy spring washers on the shaft with all the other flat washers.  When I first reassembled the knob it was TOO loose, even with the maximum torque adjustment.  I reassembled it a second time with a little bit of pressure in towards the front panel and now the torque adjustment range is perfect. To remove the rubber cover from the knob, I used Randy's suggestion to gently lift the front and then work it off the knob.

6. The latest CPU and EDSP firmware upgrades have significantly improved the noise blanker performance.  I've seen it COMPLETELY remove S7 line noise without any remaining audio artifacts.  The line noise just goes away.  It's amazing.

7. I have the CAT interface working fully with my personal logging program, LogPro.  I can set and read VFO frequencies, set up split operation, set and read modes, etc.  Here are some of the notes I made while learning about the CAT interface:

- I verified that the FT-2000 CAT system sends data on Pin 2 of the DB-9 CAT connector.  Therefore it can be considered a DTE device.

- If a DTE device and hardware handshaking were enabled, however, I would expect it to provide an RTS output on Pin 7.  Instead, it appears to provide a CTS output on Pin 8.  For my initial setup, I jumpered pin 7 and 8 together, but have since removed that "forced-handshaking", turned off the "RTS" (Menu Item 29), and both my Log Pro logging software and the Yaesu PCC-2000 software work fine.

- Setting which VFO transmits is a bit tricky.  You can't just send "FT0;" or "FT1;" to set which VFO transmits.  If VFO A is currently the transmit VFO and you send "FT0;" it toggles to VFO B.  Same for "FT1;". So, you have to check first to see which VFO is currently active before sending the FT command.  Sending this command for either VFO A or B is the same as pressing the TX button for VFO A or B, i.e., it is a toggle effect.

- According to the FT-2000 manual, the pin assignments for the CAT connector are:

Pin 1 N/A
Pin 2 Serial Out
Pin 3 Serial In
Pin 4 N/A
Pin 5 GND
Pin 6 N/A
Pin 7 RTS
Pin 8 CTS
Pin 9 NC

I verified pins 2, 3, and 5. Being a DTE device, I expected the FT-2000 to provide an RTS output on pin 7, but instead, pin 8 has the expected output (DCE-type behavior)!!

- The FT-2000 menu item 27 allows you to set the baud rate to 4800, 9600, 19200, or 38400. Other serial data parameters seem to be "N,8,1", or at least that is what worked for me. RTS can be turned on and off using the menu.

One final note. The CAT DB-9 connector is recessed far in the rear panel of the FT-2000 and Yaesu did not leave enough space in the opening to accommodate many DB-9 connector shells. I had to remove the shell from my DB-9 cable in order to get the connector to mate properly.

8.  In April 2008 I decided it was time to upgrade the CPU and EDSP firmware in my FT-2000.  Yaesu had released many upgrades since I purchased the unit, but I had never gotten around to installing any of them.  One reason I put this off was the need to go inside the transceiver and throw a micro switch in order to enable downloading the new firmware via the RS-232 serial port on the transceiver.  That doesn't sound like a lot of work, but it was just enough of a hassle to discourage me from upgrading the firmware.

Fortunately, when I checked the Yaesu web site for the latest firmware upgrades, I discovered that they now offered a new interface cable, the CT-119, that allows upgrading the CPU firmware without the need to operate the internal micro switch.  One end of this cable has a DB-9F connector that connects to the COM1 port of your PC (a USB/CommPort adapter can also be used) and the other end connects to the PGM mini-DIN jack on the back of the FT-2000.  I ordered the cable from Ham Radio Outlet and it arrived the next day.

There are two pieces of FT-2000 firmware that can be upgraded, the CPU firmware and the EDSP firmware.  Directions are on the Yaesu web site, http://www.yaesu.com.  Go to the FT-2000 page and click on the "Files" tab to see the latest available software and documentation.  The CPU firmware should be upgraded before upgrading the EDSP firmware.  I found the directions for the CPU firmware upgrade to be perfect and the upgrade went smoothly.  The EDSP firmware upgrade was not as straight-forward, but eventually worked for me.  The problem was that Yaesu tech support told me I could use the CT-119 cable for the EDSP upgrade, but my FT-2000 would not power up during the EDSP upgrade procedure with the CT-119 cable installed.  I had to use the RS-232 connection.  Perhaps this is why there is no mention of the CT-119 cable in the EDSP upgrade info on the Yaesu web site!  The good news about the EDSP upgrade is that even though you are using the RS-232 port on the FT-2000, you don't have to operate the internal micro switch S3004, like you do if you upgrade the CPU firmware via the RS-232 port.

FLASH - February 2009.  CPU version 1.44 and EDSP version 11.50 installed.  Full QSK speed has been greatly improved.  Still wish it were faster, but you can now hear between letters at higher CW speeds and between dots and dashes at slow speeds.  The noise blanker works incredibly well and the DNR circuit provides meaningful noise reduction.  In my opinion the SSB receive audio sounds exceptional.  It was always good, but now seems even better, if that's possible.  I really like the new digital level indicator that pops up when you adjust certain controls.  For example, turn the power control and the output power level is temporarily indicated in the sub-receiver window.  The new peaking mode on the contour control is perhaps the best new feature and is very handy for digging out weak CW signals.

Hope this info helps.

 

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