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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Base/Mobile (non hand-held) | Yaesu FTM-400DR Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FTM-400DR
Yaesu FTM-400DR Reviews: 67 Average rating: 3.8/5 MSRP: $$699
Description: The FTM-400DR uses C4FM FDMA (C4FM – 4-level FSK Modulation, FDMA –
Frequency Division Multiple Access), which has been developed for the
professional LMR communications. It uses this enhanced technology for a
lower BER (bit error rate), resulting in stable communications without
interruptions during mobile operations, even in a rapidly moving vehicle.
Product is in production.
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VE2DIY Rating: 0/5 Oct 4, 2016 18:22 Send this review to a friend
Rating revision  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I went from a 3/5 review after the first weeks of ownership to a horrible 0/5 couple month later. Now my radio started to transmit a low power for no reason. I get a 20-30 watts in vhf and a 4-5 watts in uhf. Two other ham operator locally had the same thing happen.

Ergonomically speaking, this was designed by people's knowing nothing about user interface but it turn out it is unreliable too.

I'm not surprised Yaesu revised the radio but I think they should had thrown the model to the garbages and start fresh.

I've never had a radio I hated like this one.

KK7PW Rating: 5/5 Sep 2, 2016 12:30 Send this review to a friend
Great rig!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Great rig! Question: anyone know of an alternative / workaround for the scu-23 mic extention cable? Any equivalent computer cable to recommend?
KC5DBH Rating: 4/5 Jun 15, 2016 21:36 Send this review to a friend
Good radio with a few glitches  Time owned: more than 12 months
FTM 400DR points:

1. Audio output connections

2. Update the firmware

3. Mic extension, particularly the Yaesu part. How to get around it and how well it works.

4. Crossband repeat function

5. Programming software and process.

I have two of the FTM-400DR radios. I find them to be wonderful radios to work with although I think there are a few items of mention that should be addressed:

1. The radio has a good transmitter and receiver package. I’ve no complaints with either.
2. The touch screen interface is wonderful. It is sensitive but not too sensitive. It is quite responsive with few if any glitches.
3. There are plenty of menus but not menus on top of menus.
4. The radio is intuitive to use and master.

Now for the rest of the scoop…..

—Audio Connections—

It appears that the radio uses a push-pull audio output circuit. Yaesu advertises the radio with a 3 watt output to the internal speaker and 8 watts output to the external speaker. It must be noted that the external audio socket does not utilize a standard configuration! The external audio socket is a 3.5mm tip-ring-sleeve (TRS aka stereo) connector. It is wired such that the tip is connected to one side of the audio final amplifier and the ring is connected to the other. Neither connection to the audio final amplifier is to be connected to ground (chassis). Doing so results in cruddy sound from the sub band and can result in damage to the audio final amplifier. The sleeve connection is connected to the chassis (grounded) and is not used for anything but shielding purposes. It must not be connected to either the tip or the ring connections.

2. The audio adapter supplied by Yaesu is not what you think it is! It is wired as follows: the tip connection of the plug connects to the tip connection of the socket. The ring connection of the plug connects to the sleeve connection of the socket. The sleeve connection of the plug is left disconnected and is not used. If you lose your adapter, you must go back to Yaesu or whomever supplies these audio adapters to obtain another. A trip to the local electronics shop for a standard 3.5mm stereo to 3.5mm mono audio adapter will not work and will likely damage the audio final amplifier of the FTM-400DR. Do not allow the exposed sleeve connection of the socket to contact any grounded surface. Do not allow any of the external speaker wiring to come into contact with a grounded surface or circuitry.

3. You may make an external speaker by using a 3.5mm stereo plug (TRS plug) wherein you connect one speaker terminal to the tip connection and the other to the ring connection.

4. The beep tones disappear if you try to use any method of mixing the tip and ring audio connections, active or passive, and using the sleeve connection (grounded) as a return. The main band and sub band RX audio will still be present.

—Firmware issues—

Update your FTM 400DR to the latest firmware. I have done so and have experienced none of the issues that others have experienced. Firmware updating can be a pain with this radio as it requires removal of a cover plate and throwing of a small switch inside the radio to facilitate the process. There is much room for improvement here.

—Mic Extension—

The microphone connection of the FTM-400DR works well in some installations and not so well in others. Here’s how to deal with it:

Utilize a six pin (RJ 45) telephone extension cable. Ensure that it is a “straight through” cable that does not alter the position of any of the connections (that is, pin 1 on one end goes to pin 1 on the other and, so on). I use a 25 foot extension cable that terminates in RJ-45 male plugs on each end and, I use a RJ-45 female to female socket adapter to facilitate connection of the microphone to the extension cable. My cable is not shielded and has given me no problems as a result.

It has been suggested that the Yaesu MEK-2 microphone extension be used with the FTM-400DR as a means by which to extend the microphone connection. It will work with the RJ-45 connections and the issued microphone(s) for the FTM-400DR. What does not work is the 8 pin round connector! The MEK-2 was designed for radios such as the FT-8800 and 8900 series that multiplex their microphone connections, using digital words to communicate the PTT, channel/VFO up-down and, keypad functions to the radio. The FTM-400DR does not use the multiplexed connection, rather, it uses a standard PTT and up-down connection where the switchgear pulls the PTT line to ground to key the transmitter and, the up-down lines to ground in order to activate those respective functions. It appears that the RJ-45 connections are “straight through” on the MEK-2; thus the issued mic(s) for the FTM-400DR will work and, it appears that the MEK-2 generates digital words to communicate with the radio when the 8 pin microphone connection is used.

The MEK-2 is rather expensive at over $50. The RJ-45 telephone cabling can be obtained at a lesser price although it isn’t really cheap either.

—Crossband Repeater Function—

This function is not documented in the Yaesu owner’s manual. Turn off the radio, then depress and hold the “DISP”, “F” and, “GM” buttons all at once while turning on the radio using its power button. The radio will power on, without the usual welcome tone and, will show X-band repeater in the middle of the display. Both channel displays (main and sub) will be grayed out so you must choose your channels / frequencies prior to engaging the crossband repeater. To exit crossband repeater mode; repeat the process for going into crossband repeater mode.

—Programming software and process—

The easiest way to program the radio is to purchase the RT Systems programming package ( then choose the proper software by means of make and model number of the radio. If your computer is equipped with an SD card reader; you will not need the SD reader offered by RT Systems. If not, you’ll need it.

You’ll also need a micro-SD card and adapter. The radio uses the micro-SD card for programming, voice recording and, GPS logging purposes. It will support anything from a 2GB to 32GB micro-SD card.

The micro-SD card inserts into the front of the radio then you go through the menus (press and hold the “DISP” button) to the “SD Card” then “backup” then “read from SD” if you just programmed the card with the RT Systems programmer or, “write to SD” if you’ve made changes to the radio through the control head and wish to retain them for future use and/or reading with the programming software.

The micro-SD card system seems a bit unwieldy but really works out well once you get used to it.

—Final thoughts—

All-in-all, the FTM-400DR is a great radio with plenty of great features. The digital audio performance of the FTM-400DR is wonderful; comparable at this point to the APCO P25 equipment.

The radio is reasonably priced and works very well. The things I would change are the length of the control cable, provide for a better microphone connection scheme and, rid the radio of the single external (tip-ring-sleeve) audio connection in favor of two monaural (tip - sleeve) external speaker connections!!

73’s to all de KC5DBH!
KC5AV Rating: 1/5 May 11, 2016 08:16 Send this review to a friend
When life gives you lemons...get a refund  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I ordered the FTM-400XDR on Feb. 8, 2016. Once the radio arrived, I installed it in the mobile. Installation and configuration were simple and straightforward. Life was good for about a month. Once the outdoor temperature reached about 65 degrees (obviously higher in the vehicle), the touch screen and buttons on the control head and the microphone stopped working. This could be remedied by running some cool air to the control head. I contacted the retailer, and was sent a return authorization form.
The radio was sent back during the first week of March, where it sat on the bench for 2 weeks. Once it was determined that the radio would be replaced, I was told that they were out of stock, and continued to be out of stock for a month.
My replacement radio was received April 19, and promptly installed in the vehicle. Configurations were restored from the SD card, and life was good. Until I tried to make contact with anyone. Very poor transmit audio quality was the report on the first attempt. The 2nd attempt told me it sounded like I was 'hill topping'. The 3rd attempt told me I was bringing up the repeater, but had no transmit audio. Additional testing at home confirmed this.
The retailed offered another return authorization, but they are out of stock, so I 'might want to work with the manufacturer'. Instead, I requested a refund. My Kenwood will be here tomorrow night.
KE6GYD Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2016 10:09 Send this review to a friend
Great Radio(s)!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Like to update my experience now that I've had some time with the radio. Actually have a 400DR and an XDR. I've had no issues with reliability on either. The DR is in the shack so the issue with slow GPS acquisition is not a problem in that situation. I just set the coordinates manually and other digital or APRS stations can see direction and distance. The XDR is in the vehicle and gets a lock on within a minute.

Firmware upgrades have gone without a hitch on both radios. The XDR now has a rubber plug and access hole over the firmware update switch so one does not have to remove the cover.

I love the touch screens brightness, ease of use, and the way it allows menus to be accessed. The ability to assign the 4 touch keys as well as 4 mic keys makes it very versatile. IMO, much easier than on the Kenwood 700 or 710 that I was used to once you acclimate yourself to the different menu system.

The digital texting and picture ability is a plus as far as I'm concerned for ECOMM if all other ways of messaging are down, even though it takes up to a minute to transmit a picture and another signal on the frequency can disrupt it. But that's just a matter of clearing the frequency.

It would be nice to be able to program specific memory channels for digital vs. FM operation instead of the global setting for the current channel you are on, but once one gets used to it, it's less of an issue.

We have a Fusion repeater for our ECOMM group and are getting used to the AMS and Digital aspects. While there is some teething with this technology, so far, we are learning and are happy with how it works.
W8NAP Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2016 03:07 Send this review to a friend
Love it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've only had the radio a short time at the time of this writing but I will be back for a more in depth review at a later time.

Let me start off by saying that prior to owning this radio, I also owned a yaesu ftm100dr and used it frequently.

Let's start from the beginning....... As usual it was packaged very well, everything was secure and came in perfect condition. As I mentioned I had the ftm100dr mounted in my mobile so when I got the ftm400xdr all I had to do was unplug the old and plug in the new. Installation took less than 5 minutes. When the radio powers on you are prompted to enter your call sign and after that the radio restarts and displays it on the power up page, which I think is a nice feature. I was able to wing it and get aprs running the way I like and programmed our local fusion repeater and away I went. In my opinion the menu is very intuitive and with the bright display it is very easy to see. If you can proficiently use a cell phone or tablet I believe you can run this radio. I admit, I was a bit intimidated when I heard the radio was a handful to run but I was glad to find out I was worried for nothing. It's a fine radio and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to try it out. Perhaps the people who gave the negative reviews never gave the radio a chance? Or maybe they are entirely unfamiliar with small touch screen menu driven devices? I'll be back for another review at a later time!

Harrison Roach W8NAP
KN4NN Rating: 2/5 May 3, 2016 07:10 Send this review to a friend
Issues from the start!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Radio was bought at the end of Jan and started having issues with the buttons and touch screen not responding. Sent to Yaesu for service -LCD replaced. Radio returned and reinstalled in middle of April and after a few days started having the same issues!! Trying to get Yaesu to return emails/calls.. Saga continues
K5ACL Rating: 4/5 Feb 5, 2016 05:48 Send this review to a friend
Great for mobile - not so great for shack use  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I love the FTM-400DR. The touch color screen is responsive. Signal reports are always great.

The fan can be a tad loud at times, especially if you are using 25-50w for long rag chews.

The radio isn't so great for data modes though, that's my only complaint about the radio. So I've decided to keep this one mounted in the vehicle and use a TM-V71A in the shack.

Glad I was able to snag this during an HRO sale for about $350, because the new 400 models are close to $700!

The microphone cable is very short, and finding an RJ12 cable & female coupler to add to it was just another pain, but not a biggie. The control head unit cable was plenty long enough, as was the power cable to be mounted in my vehicle. I have the speaker pointed backwards in my truck & I can still hear the audio fine.

APRS works great with the radio when your mobile, and it has the ability to SmartBeacon.

I haven't found many other C4FM users in my area to test out simplex, so if you get one of these radios, let other hams know! I'm in Central Texas if anyone ever wants to do simplex! The audio on C4FM mode is just amazing. I'd almost compare it to cell phone quality lol!

I've updated to the most recent firmware & DSP software, so make sure to update your radios! Yaesu made several improvements to the DSP functioning & firmware since the radio was first introduced. It did come with a data cable (that was extremely short (2-3 ft maybe?). All the software for this radio is on Yaesu's website, so you can download it and try it out, the programming software is quite simple, but easy to use. Updating the firmware involves removing the top cover of the radio, flipping a switch, running a software update & resetting the radio, was fairly simple, even for a new ham :)

Overall a great little radio if you can get it on sale.

KM4NYI Rating: 5/5 Jan 24, 2016 16:31 Send this review to a friend
The most "Bang For Your Buck"   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The pre-Christmas sale in December combined with the $100 Yaesu rebate made me pull the trigger on the FTM400DR radio. After spending some time with it, I believe it would be a good deal even without the rebate.

I usually buy the software for programming, but since the FTM400DR has free programming software on the Yaesu website, I decided to try it first. While it's not the most advanced programming software, it does work. However, programming from the radio itself is not nearly as hard as I imagined.

To say I am pleased with how this radio performs would be an understatement. I have received uniformly positive reception reports, and I couldn't be happier with it's sensitivity. While most of my time is spent on analog FM, I have a choice of several local Fusion repeaters. The difference between analog and Yaesu Fusion digital is like night and day.

I have tried to think of things I don't like about this radio, and to be honest, I can't come up with much at all. A longer mike cord would be good, and it really should come with a decent stand for use as a base unit. There are some aspects of the menu I found a bit difficult, but once I spent some time with the manual it made better sense.

I spent a lot of time looking and reading reviews, and I really don't think you can get more radio for the money than you get with the FTM400D.
N6PG Rating: 5/5 Jan 15, 2016 06:38 Send this review to a friend
Great radio with some room for improvement  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I own Kenwoods, Icom's, Yaesu, and Elecraft (and boat anchors). The VHF/UHF get use in the car or hiking, so I generally like a radio that's easy to use and set up. That being said, I found my VX-8R nearly impossible to use without the manual. The FT1RD was a big improvement, and this is even more so. I can head out without a manual and still quickly make any needed changes to the setup.

Once you figure out the logics, it's easy to navigate the menus and set up the radio. The menu items are the same (almost) as the FT1DR, so they work well together. In the day and age of smartphones it seems the radio manufactures are missing a better way to enter text on the APRS message screen. It's should be quick and easy, but it still needs work.

The display is nice and easy to read. I like the touch screen. I would like to see an easy way to dim or brighten the screen as day turns into night. I like the size of the control head. Someone else said they would have liked it larger, but then I'd have a hard time placing it in my car.

The audio is very nice, especially on digital. The APRS has a beep ringer that can be set to a sound level of "high" or "low." They could use a few more increments. Maybe with a firmware update.?.? Also, I miss having a dedicated squelch knob. The menu item is an easy button sequence, but I still like a knob for that. I've had to replace that knob on my FT-857, and I will say that having only one function on the knob (volume) makes the knob more solid feeling. No wiggling like the FT-857.

This radio is loaded with features. I used RT Systems to program the radio. I cut and paste the setup from my FT1DR. Easy and quick. I wish I had a few of these radios! What do I do with all of my FT-7800s and 8800?

It's a great radio that I'm sure you will enjoy. It's not perfect, but no radio is. It seems people only give a 1 or a 5 on eham... So here is my 5.
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