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 shortwave reception.

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 adjustments.

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

Mic/Speed – 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 manual.

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 transmission

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 each mode.

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 is CW DECODE function to the 1200 display BUT ONLY IF THE FFT OPTION IS INSTALLED.

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 IS INSTALLED.

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 band scope.

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 tuning.

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?

While 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 important.

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!!!!!!>


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