AA8IA Amateur Radio

Yaesu FT-950


  • IPO – Intercept Point Optimization

    The IPO settings are ON, AMP1 and AMP2. If you set IPO to ON, you disable the preamp. The manual indicates that the preamp is always disabled between 30 khz and 1.7 mhz. The manual also suggests that IPO is generally not needed below 10 mhz (30m). I concur, although I often will disable IPO on 14 mhz (20m) as well. The manual suggests that if you can hear “band noise” with the preamp disabled, then the preamp isn’t needed in the first place. I again concur. This is especially true under noisy conditions, whether it be man-made noise, noise from thunderstorms and other atmospheric noise.

  • DNR – Dynamic Noise Reduction

    I’ve owned my FT-950 for almost a year now, and I’m still exploring the functions and finding out new things. I just decided to enable DNR this week and play around with its adjustment. I find that it is a very useful tool. It’s not meant to get rid of pulse noise. That’s what the Noise Blanker (NB) is for. The DNR can help reduce random noise / hiss / phase noise that you hear. It’s an audible thing. It doesn’t actually remove any of those noises. You’ll still see the noise indicated on an S-meter. But it will help to cancel out some noises so that you do not hear them through the speaker/headphone.

    The DNR is adjustable via the Menu setting 072 RGEN DNR. An example of when I find it very useful is when I am sitting on 50.125 SSB to monitor the calling frequency. I’ll be doing other things around the house and will want the radio turned up loud enough that I can hear it when I’m in the basement. But, oftentimes there are various noises [including simple phase noise] that are really irritating to listen to hour after hour while you are waiting for some activity. I will enable DNR and will change the value of 072 RGEN DNR to something between 6 and 12. It considerably lessens the background noise and allows me to turn the radio up louder so that when an actual SSB signal is transmitting I can hear it well but I don’t have to hear as much annoying background noise when there is no SSB signal. It works really well for that.

    The Yaesu manual suggests that it works best on SSB, but I find it also works well on CW. Although on CW it probably isn’t worth the effort to get into the Menu and enable/adjust DNR since there are other options available to make CW more pleasant to listen to.

    To enable DNR, you press Menu, then you turn the Select knob until you get to 072 RGEN DNR (or DNR if you have your Menu set up to display the menu options in a different manner). Once you are on that menu setting, you can rotate the VFO-B knob to adjust the DNR from from OFF to 15. 1 through 15 offer differing levels of noise reduction, with 1 being minimum and 15 being maximum. Of course, there are tradeoffs when doing this, as you can really alter the readability of an SSB signal if you set the DNR too high.

    You’ll need to experiment with DNR on your own, tuning to different types of signals in different conditions. You may find that on a given signal a DNR setting of 4 is great for you, whereas I might find a DNR setting of 10 great for listening to that same signal.

    Don’t forget — Just like any other menu setting that you modify, if you want it to stick you need to then press Menu for a few seconds to save that setting.

  • NB – Noise Blanker

    If you are like me, you don’t thoroughly read the manual. For the first four months of having this radio I would periodically feel the need to turn on the noise blanker to get rid of some static / man-made noise that was randomly irritating. I was extremely disappointed each and every time I attempted to use the noise blanker, as it never appeared to significantly reduce the offending noise. I was used to the FT-100, which has an excellent noise blanker.

    As it turns out, one day I held the NB button in for a couple seconds for the fun of it and realized that it goes into some other mode of operation. More importantly, when I did that the offending noise disappeared under 95% of the conditions I attempted to use it.

    The manual [which I hadn’t read] indicated that pressing NB button momentarily would engage a noise blanker effective for short duration pulse noise from switching transients, automobile ignitions and power lines. It goes on to state that if you hold down the NB button for two seconds it will enable Wide-NB, which is intended for longer duration man-made pulse noise. Eureka! NB-Wide works great to get rid of the most common offending noise around my QTH.

    With NB on, you will notice some strangeness when listening to SSB or CW signals [and likely any signal]. I can’ describe what you might hear, but if you turn on the noise blanker and you think a CW signal is suddenly sounding strange it is probably due to the noise blanker. That’s to be expected. You don’t get something for nothing. I’ve found that the “change” in how I hear a signal when the NB is turned on is definitely a reasonable tradeoff for the removal of the static / AC / pulse noise I was hearing.

    So, if you’ve never done anything more than pressed NB momentarily to try and get rid of an offending noise, you need to go one step further. In fact, there are also menu items 067 RGEN NB1 LVL and 068 RGEN NB2 LVL which can be adjusted for short duration and long duration pulse noise respectively.

  • WIDTH – DSP Bandwidth

    WIDTH is used along with IF SHIFT to minimize interference above and/or below the frequency you are trying to listen to. For instance, if you are listening to a CW signal you can turn on NAR to engage the narrow DSP filter. Then you can use WIDTH to adjust the width of the DSP filter with from 500 hz to 100 hz. I think 200 hz to 300 hz is optimal, although there have been times when I have used 100 hz successfully to tune in a weaker CW signal with other CW signals right above and below. The tighter [narrower] that you make the WIDTH, the more chance you will hear some ringing. I’ve read information stating that turning on APF (automatic peaking filter), which is engaged by holding down CONT for two seconds when in CW mode, will minimize ringing.

  • IF SHIFT – Intermediate Frequency Shift

    IF SHIFT will allow you to shift the passband of the filter higher or lower. Imagine if you had a RTTY signal tuned in and it was centered in the passband of the filter. Just inside the filter at the low end you are hearing another RTTY signal that is fairly strong. You might still be copying the intended RTTY signal, but the strong signal below it may be affecting your ability to achieve 100% copy. You could use IF SHIFT to shift the passband of the filter up 100 hz or more so that the offending signal lower in frequency than the one you are trying to copy now falls outside of the passband of the filter. I’m not an expert with filtering functions of radios, but IF SHIFT is a useful tool.

  • APF – Audio Peaking Filter

    When in CW mode, you can enable the APF to provide a very narrow audio bandwidth, in many cases enhancing the sound of the CW. There are no adjustments for the APF. You either turn it on or turn it off. My preference is to have it on. I find it makes CW much more pleasant to listen to. You may feel differently.

    To enable APF, you want to first make sure that you are in CW mode. Once you are in CW mode, you want to push the Cont button until the CONTOUR graph on the display is not displayed. Then, push and hold down Cont for approximately 2-3 seconds and you will see a graph appear next to CONTOUR on the display. To disable, simply press Cont again.

    Understand that momentarily pushing Cont will enable and disable the Contour Filter. What you want to do is make sure the Contour Filter is off and then press and hold Cont for a few seconds. The graph displayed next to CONTOUR on the radio display will look different when APF is set versus when you simply have the Contour Filter on.

  • R.FILT – Roofing Filter

    I must admit, either I haven’t caught on to the proper way of using the roofing filters, or the roofing filters don’t do much of anything. On a crowded band full of SSB signals during CQ WWW DX SSB I saw no appreciable difference between selecting any of the filtering options with stations in close proximity. I wouldn’t be surprised if others have had similar experiences.

    If you’re reading this and feel I’m just not taking advantage of the roofing filters in the way they were meant to be used, please email me and tell me how to use these filters to my advantage. I typically set them to the narrowest value in all cases, regardless of whether I’m operating SSB, CW or digital modes.

  • Yaesu FT-950 Audio Settings for my Heil ProSet

    Yaesu FT-950 Settings for Heil Microphone

Written by Mike

November 2nd, 2010 at 10:56 am

Posted in

19 Responses to 'Yaesu FT-950'

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  1. Michael, thanks for the blog. I will follow it with interest. I just purchased my FT-950 and find that the receive is a lot better than my TS-2000, which I am selling to payoff my FT-950. Your observations about the 950 are helpful and reminds me to read the manual. Please continue to post them.

    Hope you get to writing soon. Oh! is there a list which contain all your articles? The nearest to a list of everything is your monthly listing. Am I right about that or do you have a more comprehensive list?

    Check out my site. It only has one article but I will be adding articles in the near future. For now the main highlight of my website are the over 600 photos. The photos are of all the different types of antennas I have tried to use in a small roof. The roof is going to be re-tarred so I had to pull all my antennas for now. Jose – N2LRB

    Jose B Rivera

    27 Jan 11 at 8:36 AM

  2. David Shanks AJ4TJ :Mike,I think I’ve read somewhere on the Internet that you have successfully interfaced the N1MM Logger with the Yaesu FT-950, using a Prolific PL-2303 USB-to-Serial converter and straight-through cable. This is precisely the equipment I have, but I have not been able to successfully implement the N1MM to FT-950 interface. I’m definitely using a serial cable, a Gigaware seria cable from Radio Shack, and have successfully installed two successive firmware updates from Yaesu, using that cable and my USB-to-Serial converter.
    I’m sorry to ask you, but what were you’re settings for:1. N1MM Configurer (I’m using 4800 bps, 8 bits, No parity, 2 stop bits. DTR off, RTS off, and hardware flow control.)2. The Prolific driver settings (I’m using 4800 bps, 8 bit, No parity, 2 stop bits, and hardware flow control.)3. The FT-950 (Menu setting #026 is 4800 bps, #027 is 1000 ms, and #028 is RTS ON.
    I’ve tried everything I can think of without success, but if you have succeeded with the same equipment, I’d love to know the secret of your success!
    Thank you!David L. Shanks AJ4TJ

    David Shanks AJ4TJ

    29 Jan 11 at 7:29 PM

  3. Thanks for the informative FT-950 information. This radio certainly is not plug and play, however I do not regret one dollar that I paid for it. It has a great receiver and many features that make it a pleasure to operate. I agree with your comments about the roofing filters. Still, I would not trade it for another model anywhere near it’s price range. I finally purchase a decent microphone and have began tinkering with the built in parametric equalizer and the optional voice module. I also have problems with the prolific usb to serial converter causing my SDR-IF software to hang. This was corrected by purchasing one that uses the FTDI chip. Thanks for the input.
    Don Norwood

  4. Don,

    After having owned the radio for nearly a year now, I wouldn’t give up my FT-950 either. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have any complaints. I like to contest “casually.” I work quite a few RTTY, CW, and SSB contests and QSO Parties. Once I got my Heil ProSet, I felt much more comfortable with my audio and started doing more SSB. Well, the roofing filters don’t do anything at all when you’ve got wall to wall stations on SSB. Should a radio that i paid $1200 for work like a multi-thousand dollar radio? No. But I must admit that I’m finding its inability to function well in a hostile SSB environment a real shortcoming. I’ve been thinking about purchasing the roofing filter found at http://www.ac0c.com and having a buddy of mine, adept with SMT techniques and working in tight spaces, install it. That’s another $350 bucks give or take. I haven’t decided if I’ll do that or not.

    I’m extremely pleased with the CW and RTTY filtering though. And since those are the contests I prefer to work, perhaps I won’t follow through with the AC0C roofing filter solution. I have become more interested in working DX, and I’ve been pretty happy with the radio for casual SSB operation with the DX stations. Any additional monies are probably better spent on improving my antenna system.

    Fortunately for me, the FT-950 is the best radio I’ve ever owned/used, and as such I can’t help but to be very happy with it.

    I went to http://www.heilsound.com and used their recommendations for the parametric equalizer on the FT-950 when used with their microphones. I must admit I haven’t put a lot of time into tailoring my audio aside from making the few adjustments they advise. I probably should though.

    I’m surprised to hear about your Prolific USB-to-Serial converter. I’m betting the problem was due to the specific Prolific-based converter that you had rather than a problem with all Prolific-based converters. Fortunately, USB-to-Serial converters are a dime a dozen and you were able to get one with the FTDI chipset. Incidentally, that’s what my current converter is based on. I’ve never had a problem with my Prolific-based converter though.

    Thanks for posting and giving your input!



    13 Apr 11 at 11:54 PM

  5. I really liked Mike’s write-ups about the various controls which the FT-950 has that I have included aspects of them in a presentation I’m giving this month to our local club, “South Mountain Radio Amateurs”; the topic is “using DSP on-the-air”. Of course, in the bibliography, proper credit is given to Mike-aa8ia for his work.
    Thanks, Mike.
    73 Jerry-km3k


    7 Sep 11 at 2:13 PM

  6. Thanks, Jerry. I probably should add a little more to that at some point. I’m by no means an expert with the FT-950, but I find that during every contest I am tweaking more and more and learning more and more about adjusting the various DSP functions to make the listening experience nicer.

    No need to give me credit, really. What I offer here is free and in the clear with no expectation of any credit. Do what you want with it.

    Good luck with the presentation. I’d like to be there to hear it.

    When I first got the radio, the only thing I would play with was the Roofing Filter option. To be honest, it doesn’t do anything noticeable 99.999% of the time. I had gotten disgusted pretty quick because of that. After all, when you hear roofing filter you expect some serious help with strong signals close by. I’ve thought about getting the ACOC filter ( http://www.acoc.com ) and have somebody install it, but it isn’t cheap. It would be a tremendous help to those who use an FT-950 in a contest environment though.

    At any rate, it wasn’t until after my disappointment with the roofing filter that I had decided to actually mess with the DSP settings. And, I was amazed at how much help the DSP can be in noisy [QRN or QRM] conditions. It’s a beautiful thing. Prior to the FT-950, the only experience I had with DSP was AF-DSP on an Icom R75 receiver. It was not worth playing with. I was hoping the FT-950 would be better since it’s IF-DSP. And, sure enough it makes a tremendous difference vs not using any of the DSP filtering at all.

    I like Menu Item 72 and usually keep it at about 8, sometimes moving it to 10. And, of course, I really like the APF. During the Tennessee QSO Party this past weekend 80m was unbearable with QRN thanks to storms in the East. Using the APF, menu item 72, and about 400 hz on the filter made listening for CW signals a lot more bearable.

    Good luck with the presentation!



    7 Sep 11 at 2:30 PM

  7. I wonder if the problems observed with the roofing filters are actually the result of phase noise in the LO effectively undercutting the roofing filter. The Reciprocal Mixing Numbers (500 Hz BW) reported in the March 2008 QST are really quite poor. At 20KHz, 5KHz and 2KHz the results were -86, -69, -57 dBc. Compare this to the Icom 7200, another moderate cost transceiver, and see the weakness.

    Gordon Shackelford AE6QW

    Gordon Shackelford AE6QW

    15 Sep 11 at 1:03 AM

  8. Hello Mike,
    “…400 Hz on the filter”; you mean the IF-width set at 400 Hz, right?
    For menu#70 (Contour-Q), do you think Q=1 or Q=10 is the narrower? Yaesu’s manual really does not say (that I could find).
    73 Jerry km3k


    18 Sep 11 at 8:49 PM

  9. Hi Jerry,

    Yes, sorry for not making that clear. Yes, IF-Width set at 400 Hz.

    You know, I have never adjusted Contour-Q. So I can’t really advise you as to which is more narrow. I’ll try to hop on the radio tomorrow and play with “Contour-Q” and see what the differences are from 1 to 10.



    18 Sep 11 at 11:14 PM

  10. my yeasu ft 950 has a intermiting problem some times no tx audio this one problema 7 month old radio should not have i wait a secound then i have tx ausio


    21 Jan 12 at 3:02 AM

  11. i have read some body was think on buying a roofing filter for the 950 why is that the radio has them and other stuff built in from the factory if your not happy with the setting try to reset the radio back to factory specs then re do the menu settings


    19 Jun 12 at 10:31 AM

  12. I was thinking about buying the AC0C NS Roofing Filter. I am still thinking about it. Why? The internal “roofing filter” options are garbage compared to the NS roofing filter. Just go to http://www.ac0c.com and read about the night-and-day differences yourself.

    I love my FT-950. I won’t be buying a contest calibur radio any time soon. The NS roofing filter would make a tremendous difference in receive performance in crowded band conditions.



    19 Jun 12 at 10:46 AM

  13. how come nobody write a review on a new model radio every 3 month for the first year this way every one can read that it had no problems or any intermiting problem or the radio has parts inside by a cheap qc mfg just rember the most no quality radio you ever saw and that company parts are the new rigs built today the 2 new radio kenwwod ts 990 and the yaesu ft 3000 they will fight it out but i say i bet on kenwwod because they did not build manny new radio like other company one company always said the radio stop working because of light and one brand new radio out of the boxs did not work at all they said lightning dammage if the mfg was proud of the radio they have one on display with a glass top you can see the qc in parts and i say go kenwood go been more happy with radio then yaesu no bug,s in the kenwood


    21 Jun 12 at 1:22 AM

  14. my yaesu ft 950 in the shop got the techtrying to figgure out the problem it wont do it for him but he think the realy are bad my ft 950 does all kind of stuff other never herd of how come i got the brand new one bad from the factory it was sold to me a defects i hope yaesu take pride in there custmers and make it write with me if not i become a kenwood or icom freak and drop the yaesu line of radio


    29 Sep 12 at 5:04 PM

  15. Thanks for the good info in the filter settings people. I had no idea about the APF. I’m loving the FT-950 on CW.

    PS: I wish drooling imbecile Joe would stop trolling all of the sites that provide FT-950 information and go purchase his Icomwood and be done with it.


    1 Oct 12 at 6:06 PM

  16. I just got my 950 and I had been using a MFJ-297 mic with Kenwood. I got the adapter cable MFJ said should work but it doesn’t. So now which one can I use? Any su

    Joe F

    15 Oct 12 at 3:05 PM

  17. Problem with EQ..After setting up the EQ parameters and holding the menu button for + 2 sec. all is well..audio is great on ssb and am..I now turn the rig off then turn it back on..In AM, the audio is very “tinnie” but if I switch to ssb and hit the ptt switch momentarily then back to AM the audio is where I had set it for, sounding really great !! A very strange problem !

    Thanks Pete


    5 Jan 13 at 1:29 PM

  18. Thanks for the tips on the 950. I bought mine as a Christmas present for myself in October ’13 and love it. Prior rig was an FT-840.. love it for RVing.

    Question, when I set the DNR to about 5.. works fine. Coming back the next time after the rig is off, the setting is very tinnie.. set the DNR one up or down and it goes back to normal… Is this normal for everyone?

    Ron G

    Ron Gaddis

    5 Feb 14 at 11:35 AM

  19. I love the yaesu ft-950. It is a great performer…for the price it has all the filters plus other bells and whistles.. i really love the built in EQ..its a keeper..hey fellas hold on to it. Mine will stay in the shack for a long time…73 to all…ww2bls


    2 Mar 14 at 10:54 PM

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