First Impressions of the Yaesu FT-1000MP
By Charlie, NC1N
For years, I had been dreaming of buying a Yaesu FT-1000MP. I recently made the leap and bought a near-mint used one. Some folks who saw e-mail about my first reactions suggested I package it up as an article for the Circuit. The 1000MP, while it shares a model number with Yaesu's top-of-the-line FT-1000D, is actually more of a distant cousin than a close sibling. However, the brand-new FT-1000MP Mark V is a close relative. The Mark V is derived from the original MP, but adds additional power, a Class A amplifier, and additional filtering. It also adds $1000 to the price. The Mark V accepts the same optional filters as the original MP. We're likely to see some additional MPs coming on the used market due to the Mark V's introduction.
This review covers the original MP. I expect we'll see more of them on the used market with the introduction of the Mark V. But the MP, Mark V, and 1000D will all continue to be offered for sale by Yaesu for the time being. (The original FT-1000 is being discontinued)
The 1000MP, like the 1000D, has dual receivers. You can receive on two frequencies at the same time. Unlike the FT-1000D, you are limited to receiving on the same (or very close) bands... the receivers share the same front-end band pass filter.
The MP provides cascaded IF filters (filters in two successive IFs) on the main receiver: 2.4 kHz SSB cascaded filters are standard; there are unpopulated slots for 2.0 kHz SSB filters; there are slots for 500 Hz CW filters (one comes standard); and there are unpopulated slots for 250 Hz CW filters. The subreceiver has a standard 2.4 kHz SSB filter and a slot for a 500 Hz CW filter. Most hams buy their add-on filters from Inrad, rather than Yaesu--they're cheaper, and reportedly, better. (I stretched my budget to the breaking point buying the stock radio; I'll be adding filters later).
The 1000MP features integrated digital signal processing (DSP). It's pretty useful. On CW, it provides an effective 240 Hz filter and is usable also on 60 Hz and 120 Hz. The bandpass filtering is less critical on SSB, but works well. Noise reduction, while not perfect, is quite good. The auto-notch is quite effective in subtracting carriers automatically. The downside of the MP's DSP is that, while it's driven by a DSP detector that operates on the final IF, it functions as an audio DSP that is OUTSIDE the AGC loop. This can lead to some artifacts in the received signal. (The new Mark V has an improvement in this area--it allows you to sync up the DSP bandwidth with the analog IF bandwidth automatically).
Changing parameters on the DSP is not as easy as on a separate DSP unit--you can set up one filter per mode. Actually, you can really set up two--by going from analog to DSP demodulation, you can have it reduce the bandwidth a bit (or not, as you choose). To change settings, you need to go into the menu system. Not hard, once you're used to it--but not as easy as the front-panel controls on a Timewave box. Also, all you can really tweak is the bandpass filter, although for voice modes you can independently set the low and high ends of the filter.
So, for QRM fighting, you have at your disposal:
1. Fixed filters (mostly optional)--very good.
2. DSP filters--very good, but hard to tweak on the fly. Best to pick one per mode and leave it. Easy to turn on and off.
3. IF shift--same as any other radio.
4. IF width--shifts the width from one side or the other... i.e., similar to IF shift but when you move one side of the passband, the other side stays fixed.
5. Auto notch (DSP)--very good at removing heterodynes.
6. Manual notch (non-DSP)--nothing to write home about.
For noise reduction:
1. Two traditional noise blankers... pretty good.
2. DSP noise reduction--very useful, but doesn't work magic.
The 'MP does SSB, CW, FM, AM, AFSK, and FSK.
For AM reception--which SWLs care about--there are
1. Traditional AM, full carrier.
2. Synchronous AM detection--to fight carrier fading, receives in LSB and re-injects a steady carrier. This can be quite nice.
3. Diversity sideband reception--receive opposite sidebands on each receiver.
4. Diversity signal reception--tune in different frequencies for the same station.
The MP features computer control--very important to contesters--and it works well. Mine worked immediately with both CT and DX4WIN, no tweaking.
As a relatively new contester, I had never used computer control before. It is truly neat with CT. Change bands on the radio and CT follows. Change bands in CT and the radio follows. As you tune the radio, the band map follows. Press return while on a station in the band map, and the radio goes there. Of course, there's the infamous Alt + F4 to grab the most-recent needed multiplier. And I'll never again need to type in the frequency when posting a spot!
As for the radio's legendary complexity: It is a very complex radio to SET UP but should be no more complex than a 1000D to OPERATE. It's very much like a complex software package with many "tabs" in the "options" dialog box. There are a zillion neat features you can tweak to your wishes.
I recently read a comparison of the hot new Icom IC-756PRO in which the review said that the PRO had every toy he could dream of... but the 1000MP had every TOOL he needed as a contester. With used MP's going for $1000 less than the PRO, it's an attractive alternative.