eHam.net - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community

Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net


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: 17 Average rating: 4.1/5 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.
More info: http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=106&encProdID=227201D29C822AEFF8482F3367495319&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to this review.

Subscribe!
My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

You can write your own review of the Yaesu FTM-400DR.

Page 1 of 2 —>

KC2YQF Rating: 3/5 Jul 7, 2014 08:29 Send this review to a friend
Good technology, kludgy interface  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've spent some time with this radio, testing it and the System Fusion with the local club. I'm not a big Yaesu user, so some of my thought on the interface structure may be not applicable only to this model.

As others have mentioned, this radio only has a detachable head. There does not appear to be any configuration where you can mount it, or the bracket, to the unit itself. Fortunately it comes with a very long cord to connect the display, and I used a cell phone suction mount to put it on the windshield of my vehicle. The microphone cable is comically short in comparison, only a couple of feet long, which precludes remote mounting without extending it. The microphone's transmit button is insanely sensitive, it's way easy to brush it and key up, even unintentionally.

Not being a Yaesu user, I had hoped to use this radio out of the box without too much trouble, but I found myself going back to the manual time and again to figure out where something was or how to get to it. Despite the size of the manual, for some reason you have to go and get PDFs of the APRS and GM manuals. Even with the GM manual we could not get that function to do anything between digital radios.

This radio really wants you to use the System Fusion, with the D(X) and GM buttons taking up physical button space. It seems to transmit periodically as a poll or beacon when you have it in DM mode, much to the dismay of others on frequency, but it will switch back to FM automatically.

The touch screen interface is bright and clear, easy to see. There are no "notches" for the volume or tuning knobs, they rotate easily, for better or worse. Trying to operate the touch pad mobile is impossible, having to press and hold or poke squares that are not readily responsive. As others have noted, you're getting some software to program this, or you will be pressing buttons all day to populate the memory. The supplied USB cable doesn't do anything for programming, just writing new firmware to the radio.

Again, though, audio quality, sensitivity, the output level from the built-in speaker, are all up to par for a mobile transmitter, in my opinion. If you don't need the System Fusion mode, then you perhaps would find it best spending your money on a different radio, with a better interface.
 
W4KQB Rating: 5/5 May 30, 2014 11:50 Send this review to a friend
Great investment -so far!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Received and installed in mobile now one week. So far, all is fantastic and programming was done in about 10 minutes due to the touch screen and prior Yaesu knowledgeI have. Received excellent audio reports and have worked simplex digital with the HT companion I purchased. Truely clear digital!!

Does get a little warm when in high power setting on x-mit, but used high power for testing only as I run 5 watts with the repeaters.

Look forward to testing with digital repeaters.

I would reccomend this radio to anyone wanting to make a step up. Not having very long, I will report back in a few months on my review.
 
W5RLW Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2014 05:27 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLANT RADIO  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I PURCHASED ONE OF THE FIRST RADIOS RELEASED. IF YOU TAKE TIME TO READ THE MANUAL THE SET UP IS VERY EASY. I AM RUNNING THE DR-1 REPEATER ON 146.79 WITH A TONE OF 123 HZ IN EDMOND,OK. THIS REPEATER HAS BEEN WORKING FOR FM AND DIGITAL WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS. THE AUDIO IN DIGITAL IS EXCELLANT.IF YOU ARE IN THE EDMOND OR OKC AREA, THE REPEATER WORKS FOR ANALOG OR DIGITAL AND IS OPEN FOR ALL TO USED. THANKS,BOB W5RLW.
 
KK7COX Rating: 4/5 May 15, 2014 13:28 Send this review to a friend
I am pleased with the FTM-400DR  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm pretty new to amateur radio and this is my first mobile radio so perhaps I'm giving more or less credit than I should. I have no past mobile radio experience to compare it to.

I like the crisp and clear display and the radio functions great. Programming from the control unit could probably be simpler but I use the aftermarket software on an 8" Windows 8.1 tablet and programming it that way is pretty simple.

I may be in the minority but am pleased that the microphone jack is on the main body and not the control head. I have my radio mounted down under the dash and the control head is horizontally even with my DVD/Stereo receiver display up high. I did have to fabricate my own bracket but that wasn't too difficult. More brackets for mounting options would be appreciated by most, I'm sure.

Right now I have the microphone cable running under the passenger floor mat and I just slide the mic under the seat while parked (small pickup truck with a split bench that is recessed in the center). I'll probably re-route to have the mic cable coming out of the ashtray. Then I could stick the microphone and cable inside the ashtray and close it while parked. I ordered a cheap "RJ11 6p6c straight coupler" and a "RJ11 6p6c flat cable" from Hong Kong via a popular online retailer. They sent a 8p8c RJ45 coupler and 6p6c cable with the lock on one side up and the lock on the other side down. Luckily both of them cross the circuits over so the end result is straight through and all of the microphone functions work fine. On this I spent $6 instead of ~$40 for the microphone extension kit from Yaesu that provides a flat rather than coiled cable.

I think I'd like to run the control head cable out of the glove box too so I can detach the head and put it in the glove box while parked. It looks a little cleaner now but that control head is quite visible to anyone who peeks in the window.

The complaints that I do have (if anyone at Yaesu is listening):

1) microphone cable is too short; the extension kit costs more than I'm willing to pay and I like having the coiled cable.

2) screw for mounting control head to bracket; this should be a thumb screw rather than (or included with) philips head screw for those of us who would like to remove/attach the control head regularly.

3) no memory banks; this wouldn't bother me as much if you could read various .dat files with various names directly from the microSD card using the radio rather than having to use the software to write the main file back to the card each time you want to switch frequencies around for scanning and such. I have been spoiled with the VX-6R which allows you to assign frequencies to multiple banks and allows scanning by bank.

4) low audio internal speaker; I didn't think this would be a problem because I bought the bluetooth module and thought I would be able to play the audio through my bluetooth stereo/DVD receiver. I can't get my stereo to recognize the FTM-400DR and it just errors out after a period of time. The built-in speaker is nearly worthless with a window slightly open. I will remedy this when I build an external speaker but it would be nice if the built-in speaker was better.

There's probably more but this sums up my most prominent thoughts.
 
M0HOW Rating: 4/5 May 8, 2014 16:05 Send this review to a friend
Yaesu FTM-400 Crossband  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The manual does not detail how to cross-band.
It is achieved by holding down the 3 buttons ( Disp Setup/F MW and GM) below the on/off button then press the on/off button to start transceiver. To deactivate just repeat the procedure.( on european version DE)

The radio does have Bluetooth ability with the optional card BU-2 card and I paired this with an old mobile phone bluetooth headset. The vox sensitivity settings can be turned down but with my old Motorola headset it was still far too sensitive to operate mobile so I have used it by turning the vox off and just pressing the talk button on the headset,this works great.

One negative issue is that the UK does not have any Fusion repeaters yet.

The screen is very clear, well laid out and works well as a touch screen, though sometimes in direct sunlight it is difficult to see but this is not often. The displayed functions on some screen layouts can be changed to ones the operator uses more frequently.

When using the bluetooth unit I don't see the need to have a microphone that needs to connect with the head, in my opinion this reduces the number of cables making a mobile set-up safer.

Whilst setting up I did not realise that the APRS is set buy default to the VFOb. If i had read the manual a little more carefully then I would have saved myself some time but there are many options in the menu as to how to configure not just the APRS but many of the functions.

Yaesu do not at the moment have any software to programme the rig, however RT systems do. For the UK going to a site like G0LFP.com and using the CSV generator you can import UK repeaters details. Using RT systems software you can also modify the settings of the rig straight onto the micro sd card. The programmed channels including changing how the channel info is displayed for both VFO's and the rigs settings can be done on a PC then simply imported into the rig by inserting the micro-SD card into its slot and importing the newer data. This way you can setup more than one micro-sd card, one say with all the repeaters for your area and another if visiting another part of the country or even if taking the rig abroad. This will keep the list of unused or unrequired repeater details/channels etc to a minimum and easily be able to reset the rig back to the familiar set-up that you had before.
 
ON5PDV Rating: 4/5 Apr 21, 2014 07:41 Send this review to a friend
Nice dual-bander with some extras  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This review is about the FTM-400DE (identical to the DR, but slightly different in a few specs). In use for just over 3 months, digital voice mode tested in simplex.

The FTM-400DE here replaces a Yaesu FT-8900, because I liked the new features that were advertised for the FTM-400DE : color touch screen, APRS, a digital mode.

The good:
- The screen is very readable (memory name + frequency), the soft ‘button’ layout (button ‘icons’ on the LCD screen) is also quite ok, I believe, and to some degree customizable. The tactility (touch) is not ‘iphone’ quality, I assume they used some older tactile screen technology.
- APRS works fine. I cannot compare with the Kenwood APRS devices (which seem to be the standard for APRS work), but it works well. The satellite fix does take some time. It seems feature rich, although I believe it cannot digipeat standalone. I have not yet been able to test digipeater or igate through the PC (lack of finding a software to run on a Mac OSX.
- Small and simple spectrum scope is a nice-to-have feature: you loose the 2nd receiver when using it, but it allows you to quickly see activity on nearby frequencies (I don’t use it often though).
- The FTM-400DE is very sensitive in receive (it hears very weak signals as good as an icom IC-9100 on VHF/UHF). In my case – I have some quite strong signals from a tower 1 mile from here with all kinds of telecom on it - it does suffer from time to time from which I think is a intermodulation issue. This is of course less of an issue in case of mobile use.
- The standard SD card slot is really very convenient to backup a complete configuration with a few buttons, or to clone it to another FTM-400DE


Could improve:
- The user manual is written in ‘a different way’ (i.e. the way they group related information), I personally do not find it always easy to quickly find in the index on what page to look for something I need to find. The manual of the FT-8900 was less than 70 pages, the FTM-400DE’s is over 200 (that is without the separate APRS manual or GM Function manual)
- The standard separation cable is ok (10 feet/3m), but why not make it 3 or 6 feet longer, so it fits in a few more places or car-types…
- Too bad the microphone connects to the body and not to the controller; the latter is typically installed in eyesight, close to the operator, the controller usually under the seat or in the trunk. Moreover, no extension cable for the microphone is provided. I don’t see the logic of that (basically, you cannot start using this rig mobile unless you get a microphone extension cable some way. And if a RJ-45 was used on the rig, a Ethernet cable might be used (with a connection block to connect the microphone), but unfortunately RJ-11 (6 pins) is used on the rig.
- Idem for the controller, I would personally like to have a more ‘standard’ RJ connector type used, so it is easier to custom build cables required for separation of controller and body
- I would find it more logical to find a N-type connector in stead of a PL on a UHF capable transceiver (the FT-8900 had an N)
- I thought (before purchase) that the USB connection would also transfer the audio (i.e. that the transceiver would present an audio interface to the computer, like on most modern HF rigs that have a USB) but it doesn’t. The cable providing the USB interface to the computer is used for firmware upgrades (for which you have to open the device and change a switch…), and it supposed to also include packet signals but I was not able to test it.
- The FT-8900 had a very nice feature, which the FTM-400DE doesn’t: hypermemories. If they would have only just add 3 physical buttons somewhere on the controller for hypermemories, that would be a plus to me.
- Maybe the US (DR) version does, but the FTM-400DE does not seem to have crossband repeat functionality (the FT-8900 did)
- APRS digipeating (by the transceiver) does not seem available
- The ‘communication’ mode (the 2 different digital modes or analog) does not seem to be saved in the memory together with the frequency and other configuration settings. Scanning can only be done in a particular modulation mode for all memory channels (FM, digital) or you can choose auto (it checks the modulation mode on reception of a carrier)
- Small error on the front printing : The power-on button is also the “LOCK” button, but the labeling is inversed (you need to push the button short to activate the lock, but the label’s typeface ‘font’ let’s you believe you need to push it long)
- The upgrade of the firmware requires opening the transceiver to change a switch

Summary: I like it, although there’s room for improvement. It is a good dual band/dual receive mobile rig (very small also), powerful, sensitive in reception, easy handling with the nice touch screen. Extra topping is APRS with GPS receiver (if you are into that). The digital mode is nice, but I wonder if this version of C4FM FDMA will lift off, being a 3rd digital standard in HAM radio now, and digital noise-free (but also emotion-free) voice alone, has little to offer, to my opinion. All in all happy with the purchase, it has replaced the FT-8900 here for good.
 
K6NJ Rating: 5/5 Apr 19, 2014 18:01 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
This radio has a very nice form factor. It's touchscreen, beautiful display and ease of operation makes it a great radio. Audio quality reports are excellent. The built-in GPS and APRS works very well. Another cool feature is the SD card memory and Settings backup. New price of $639.99 with a current YAESU $40 rebate makes it very competitive.
 
KE4BHU Rating: 4/5 Feb 28, 2014 07:57 Send this review to a friend
like it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this radio at the Orlando hamfest and had it installed in the car a few days later. Yaesu needs to supply a better mounting system for the control head as the only mount that came with it would not work in my vehicle. I have not played with all the features it has and have not been able to get the APRS working yet but I have local "experts" I plan to get with for help with that.

So far the transmit audio reports have been good although to me the receive audio is a bit weak. I find I have to turn the volume up past the 3/4 mark in the car even using an external speaker. The radio I got came with an adaptor to use a mono speaker instead of stereo speakers. Unlike the FT-7900 that I had in the car before, the microphone connects to the main unit and not the control head. For those that mount the main unit under the seat or inside the dash like mine is, the microphone cord is too short. I do like the color touch screen and the button layout is good too.

I got the RT systems software for programing and it uses the sd card instead of a cable to program the radio. It works great but if the radio is mounted in a hard to reach spot, like mine is, the sd card can be a pain to access.

I have not tried the digital mode yet as there are no repeaters locally and I am not aware of any other local hams with the same radio to try simplex. I have not checked for the cross band repeat function and if it's not there then that would be a negative mark in my opinion.

So far I really like the radio. I will try to update my review after I have had more time with it.
 
M6DHV Rating: 5/5 Feb 13, 2014 08:02 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding !!!   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After having the 350 ftm for a year I got this and it does miss a few things I liked on the 350 but wins in many other ways.The audio on uhf /vhf is super no issues with noise on mine try turning dn mode of if you have noise .Good touch screen that also works with a stylus from my note 3, has to be one of easiest radio's ever to program memories . Aprs works super and has no problems with the sound that the 350 had .
Tested digital simplex with a guy over 50 miles away and it was brilliant on 5 watts on a gp-9 I have used Motorola MOTOTRBO vhf at my work place and this eats them for digital coms... Great size easy to see display does get a tad hot after long overs but most radio's I have used do.I want another for my car...Check out my video test on youtube mrblogger913...
 
G4EVK Rating: 1/5 Feb 12, 2014 13:11 Send this review to a friend
Noisy then failure  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Not impressed! Very noisy on UHF receive with intermittent buzz. Reset several times.

After 4 min over case too hot to touch - long beep and then no RF out on UHF.
Reset to factory settings - no RF out on UHF . VHF seems OK but case very hot after only 1 min Tx fan is working.

This is the last of many issues with this rig - not well thought out or tested before being marketed
 
Page 1 of 2 —>


If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions about Reviews, please email your Reviews Manager.