The new kid on the block is the FT1200, replacing the soon to be
discontinued FT950. I was curious what the differences were. From a
reading of the Yaesu specs, here is what I have found. Along with
some ranting about READ THE MANUAL!
One of the antenna connectors ON THE 1200 can be assigned to separate
receive. This addresses a complaint about the FT950. By the way, the
microtune RCA jacks on the back CAN be used for separate receive or a
noise suppression unit like the MFJ 1026. Or the MFJ 1026 can be
inserted into the loop at the microtune connectors, with no fear of
roasting it from the FT950 output in transmit, since the T/R
switching inside the FT950 protects it. READ THE MANUAL! It actually
points out this application!
Complaint from one of the eham reviews actually dislikes the 2 antenna
connectors on the FT950! He claims it creates possible confusion by
putting it on the front panel. I use the three memories per band
button to store a setting for CW, SSB and AM or digital modes for
various bands. It stores all parameters, including the antenna switch
function. When you select the band, it automatically selects the
correct antenna connector. I have a Drake Low Pass filter, HF
amplifier, and manual tuner in line for 160 through 10 Meters using
antenna connector Two. The cutoff of the filter is very sharp, 80 dB
@ 50 Mc! Transmitting 6 Meter energy through this filter would roast
it. Also, the RF power meter and Monitor Scope is not rated for 6
Meter. Therefore, the Antenna Connector One is associated with 6
Meters ONLY to avoid this problem. READ THE MANUAL!
Band Scope on the FT1200 is on the radio display. But it requires an
adapter, the FFT-1 for about $200, similar to the FT950. It does NOT
require an expensive DMU2000 for operation, so that feature is a lot
more affordable. And it comes with a few other nice features that the
original 950 setup did not have. It is a nice addition, but I do not
require a Band Scope.
The FT1200 has built in RTTY/PSK31 Encode/Decode, CW
Decode and CW Auto Zero-in. I have a nice external Tigertronics USB
that handles that OK and allows updating via downloads for new modes.
Nice to have it all in one piece. BUT I see no way to attach a
keyboard to send RTTY or CW.
Some have complained on eham reviews about the FT950 CW zero display. I
found mine to work nicely when the audio notch is turned into an
audio PEAK by changing the menu parameter from negative numbers to
+10 and Q=11, and setting the frequency to 700Hz. This not only
improves the “zero beat” display, it provides a nice
audio peak on CW that augments the IF DSP filters (addressing some of
the “ringing” or “hollow sound” complaints).
Maybe the FT1200 zero display is better? The “auto zero beat”
function would be impressive and useful for quick operation like
contesting. Both the 950 and 1200 spec 500 Hz min BW on CW, and I
know I can set my 950 to 100 Hz on CW. The FH-2 keypad and all other
accessories are listed and compatible.
The existing 15, 6, and 3 Khz filters appear unchanged in the
up-conversion scheme to a first IF of 40.455 MHz. The FT950 first IF
is 69.450 MHz. This may mean an improvement in the 3 Khz roofing
filter performance that many have complained about. It will be
interesting to see the Sherwood test results to compare the two rigs.
The standard internal tuner match range limitation is still 3:1 SWR. BTW,
the TS590 has the same spec for its tuner.
The audio output spec is unchanged, but you can use the REC out RCA jack
on the back panel to a good amplifier and speaker for better AM or
The following has been gleaned from the FT1200 manual:
Some controls have been redefined, and address complaints about ease of
use. Ergonomics seem better. IF DSP filters have new shape factor
The 950 has four SINGLE KNOB controls (MONitor level, Volume, RF Gain,
Squelch) and ONE MULTIFUNCTION KNOB. None are user defineable.
There are four DUAL CONCENTRIC control knobs on the 1200:
Concentric Dual Control One
– Mike gain in voice modes, CW mode keying speed –
function changes appropriately for transmit mode.
Processor/Carrier – Compression Level in SSB mode, “Carrier” really
means Power Output? Only for SSB mode? What about AM? Unclear from
This might work to address power level adjustment complaints for adjusting
a manual antenna match or adjusting loading of a linear amp.
Concentric Dual Control Two
Notch – Adjusts notch filter
Cont/APF - Contour/Audio Bandpass Filter, effect varies with mode of
Concentric Dual Control Three
Shift IF Filter Setting
Width IF Filter Setting
Concentric Dual Control Four
AF – Audio Volume Control
RF/SQL – RF Gain OR Squelch, defined by Menu Settings of User Similar
to FT857 (Removes Dedicated One Function Squelch Knob of 950)
There is a new “sloped” AGC response available. You can also
set AGC to OFF.
Receive Audio frequency response (Low Cutoff, High Cutoff) can be set for
The S meter/ALC is no longer a horizontal bar, but a simulated analog
meter, if selected in MENU. The “peak hold” is still
available in the BAR mode. I find the PEAK indicator very useful, and
was able to get used to that display variation from an analog style.
There are TWO parametric EQ setups as before. One appears to be associated
with the COMPRESSOR, which is only available for SSB. Transmit
bandwidth selection in SSB is still the same.
The CW spotting system has been enhanced to automatically adjust transmit
frequency to match an incoming signal. NOTE THAT THIS IS ONLY
AVAILABLE WHEN THE OPTIONAL FFT UNIT IS INSTALLED.
There are now FIVE CW MESSAGE MEMORIES.
There is CW DECODE function to the 1200 display BUT ONLY IF THE FFT OPTION
There is RTTY DECODE function to the 1200 display BUT ONLY IF THE FFT
OPTION IS INSTALLED.
There is PSK DECODE function to the 1200 display BUT ONLY IF THE FFT OPTION
Using the OPTIONAL FH-2 CONTROL PAD, you can send pre-recorded (5) messages
in any of the above modes.
You can accomplish any of the above functions (and update the
functionality and types of digital modes) with a separate
CW/RTTY/DIGI mode box like the Tigertronics USB mulimode controller.
This is cheaper than buying the FFT unit. But the FFT gives you a
MENU ITEM 178 ALLOWS EXT AMPLIFIER TUNING POWER 10/20/50/100. You could
also use this function to provide low level drive to adjust a manual
transmatch. The 950 does this by assigning a special key to adjust
with the CLAR knob to whatever you want while transmitting. An
amplifier should get preliminary adjustments at a low level to get to
resonance and ballpark, with final adjustments to tune and load at
max power. You might be able to use the external CW/Data box to send
dits at various power levels and watch a monitor scope for amplifier
MENU ITEMS 111 TO 123 ALLOW ADJUSMENT OF SHAPE FACTOR AND SLOPE OF IF DSP
FILTERS. This will address complaints about ringing and hollow sound
by changing filter characteristics. The 950 does not do this.
You can adjust the reference oscillator calibration to match WWV on the
1200 using MENU function 049. I believe that if you have the SERVICE
MANUAL, there are settings described there.
You can still adjust the AM mike gain either with the front panel control
or fix it and store it using MENU function 054.
Would I trade my FT950 in for a FT1200?
the incremental cost of the band scope function is significantly less
with the 1200, I do not need one.
All the other FFT functions are nice, and if you buy a 1200, the extra
$200 buys you some other nice features.
The knob ergonomics are definitely a step forward, but I can live with my
950. The display may be a little easier to read. Some may find this
Some have objected to the sharp filter edges in the IF DSP on the 950, and
they are adjustable in the 1200. Some may like this enough, but not me.
So, unless my FT950 breaks beyond repair, I will not trade.
HOWEVER, if the 950 breaks, would I buy another Yaesu product, probably a
FT1200? DEFINITELY YES!!!!!!>