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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Yaesu FT1D Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT1D
Yaesu FT1D Reviews: 29 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $565
Description: The introduction of our FT1DR 12.5 kHz C4FM/FDMA 144/430MHz Dual Band
Digital Handheld Transceiver ushers in The Dawn of a New Digital
Communications Era in Amateur Radio. Yaesu has introduced the DR-1
Digital Repeater and FTM-400DR Mobile Transceiver products to work with
the FT1DR to provide efficient and large data handling capablities not
currently available on the Amateur Radio bands.
Product is in production.
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KT4NR Rating: 3/5 Apr 11, 2016 06:57 Send this review to a friend
Pretty Good Little Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
So this is an initial impressions review. I've only had the radio a couple days so I will update this later.

I have had a VX7r as my primary HT for seemingly 10 yrs. As part of a major shack overhaul (due to a move and downsizing) I wound up at HRO to trade in a radio. With the funds of that trade-in (and very little outlay) I walked out with a mobile rig and a used FT1DR. I had not really been fond of the idea of the FT1DR based on user reviews and lack of Fusion near me, but for the price (and because my VX7r was on its last legs) I figured what the heck. My use will be hiking and APRS plus talking to the wife while roaming about. Might be a backup at public service events as well.

I will admit, I wanted the Kenwood D72 however the weight and size plus price kept me holding back. I hope not to regret it.

So a few items of note.

1) No issues with GPS lock. Maybe it's where I live, maybe it's updated firmware but the GPS locked within a couple minutes indoors. For reference: I live in a townhouse surrounded by tall buildings so I am not exactly a perfect line of site to the sky.

2) As an outdoors rig it seems pretty good. Has a light weight and solid feel. The Volume can't be knocked senseless by accident and the frequency lock will help. I am not sure on battery life yet as i have yet to kill it off. Analog audio sounds good per the wife (also licensed).

3) Having external power cords that you can wire up is nice, particularly because I can get the cord and put Power Poles on it for a bigger 3ah battery in the backpack.

4) Reference cards rock!

5) Mic sensitivity, That should be helpful.

I rated it as good because:

1) Why can't there be standard nomenclature for APRS abilities. Kenwood uses the term Phrases for prescripted messages. Yaesu has no term and makes it hard to find how to do that.

2) 2 huge manuals????

3) Using the F button with anything does not always work. Takes a few tries.

4) Two hands on the Volume? Yes this is a pro and a con...for exactly the same reasons.

5) My primary use of this will be hiking and outdoors fun. Why the heck can't Yaesu just keep one set of connectors. I am sure there is a reason other than marketing they will share, but the VX7r speaker mic was waterproof and worked well. So, not happy to have to source a new mic.

6) Belt clip on the battery? Seriously?

7) Yaesu was associated with/owned by Motorola for a while. You couldn't have done a dumbed down DMR mode or developed a rig with DMR that has an equivalent to the DStar DD mode??

Should be fun seeing how this rig plays out over time. May have to get the wife one of the newer ones if this works well enough(her VX7r is still working fine.)

YELLOWLEMON Rating: 4/5 Mar 24, 2016 20:34 Send this review to a friend
Solid HT for the price.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The Yaesu FT1D is solid, compact, rugged and I love the feel of this radio.

- APRS built in with GPS,
- wideband receive, AM&SW radio.
- lots of buttons, direct DTMF access,
- microSD card slot for programming, and
- USB data cable included in the box for free (FTDI USB-to-Serial converter based).

- I especially liked the "Auto Repeater" feature where you just dial in a repeater freq. and it automatically loads the offset ... it's even preset for Australia (in the "AUS" model)

- The menus are OK, but a bit tedious. Like everyone says, it's a shame TONE and REPEATER settings are in completely separate menus.

- There are lots of functions that require you to either 'press the F key first' or 'press and hold for 1 second' or 'press and hold for 2 seconds' and these are too easy to forget if you don't use the radio everyday! Some of the secondary functions are labelled, and most are included in the manual. But for example one day by accident I discovered if you press "F" then "A/B" it displays the battery voltage on the screen! Cool! But try remembering that?!? Or if you want to save a memory, you hold F, then press F again! If you press "ENTER" instead, that clears the memory! What the??

- The rubber covered PTT key feels a bit "cheap" and I find the whole left side of the radio is a bit of a mess, with PTT,Moni/Sql,VOL,and PWR all squashed together under one rubber cover.

Overall I like the ICOM ID-51A Plus better than this Yaesu FT1DR for it's more intuitive layout, it's FM repeater search, and nicer PTT button.

I use the Yaesu for APRS, wideband receive and as a backup. The Yaesu radio/receiver function is much better than the ICOM, it can do Marine VHF, SW radio etc.
KD0WZW Rating: 5/5 Oct 1, 2015 20:19 Send this review to a friend
a great workhorse  Time owned: more than 12 months
this HT is a solidly built, great performing workhorse HT. I use mine daily on FM and Fusion, and the thing just works. I've dropped it into a water puddle during a hot Minnesota summer, taken it out in -30F during winter, and even forgotten it on my vehicle and bounced it down the road. It still works fine.

Yes, the stock antenna kind of sucks. Most stock HT antennas suck so I replace them all anyways. I love this HT and will be using it for years to come.
VE2SLO Rating: 5/5 Jul 26, 2015 17:13 Send this review to a friend
the little king  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
ok first for the antenna
antenna work work well because yeasu dont do a false antenna with rx gain and nothing on rx----
antenna work like fair to good --but if U plan to rx some other band buy a good aftermatket --not chienese-- the digital,gps ,aprs is a keeper...
but the software is not equal to the name ......
But for my part this is a good radio yhat you carry with you all day long to keep in touch...when fusion grow in popularity it will be nice to talk digital with HD vocal ..
i give 4.9 cause nothing is perfect ----
IZ1MGZ Rating: 4/5 Mar 14, 2015 15:12 Send this review to a friend
Update my prev review  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
An update of my first review where I noticed an issue about reliability of the battery indicator.
With the last fw update and the new 2200mah battery SBR-14LI the battery indicator is now useful because starting at 7,2/7,00 v it "loses" first mark in rx and two in tx and so on
W5DOM Rating: 3/5 Mar 12, 2015 10:41 Send this review to a friend
Lots of potential but missed opportunity  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
There are a number of thorough reviews here so I will just add my observations that I feel need to be emphasized.

The stock antenna that comes with the radio is not very good. I've had two FT1DRs and both had mediocre TX/RX performance compared to the FT-60 that they were supposed to replace. Aftermarket antennas fixed this in short order. Yaesu tech support identified the poor antenna/transceiver match from the factory when I spoke with them so I know it wasn't me. I was told "that is just how it is" so -1 to the rating. Be aware that you may need to purchase an aftermarket antenna to meet your TX/RX expectations for the new unit.

I also found the AMS feature on which this transceiver is marketed to be glitchy. When active, the AMS feature randomly chops up a FM signal that is being received. I brought it to the attention of Yaesu; they identified and duplicated the issue in-house and as of six months ago the engineers in Japan were working to resolve it. That was the last I heard of it and thus far no solution or update has been offered. Informal surveys on the Yahoo groups indicate this issue may affect about 50% of units in use.. I waited almost six months since discussing this with Yaesu hoping for a solution before posting a review but alas, nothing so -1 to the rating.

As mentioned in other reviews, the battery indicator is almost useless. Of the two FT1DRs I've had, they both failed to show accurate battery readings... one all the time and the other during charging only. This isn't too big of an issue for me since I like to use the voltage reading (while on single band display press "F" and then "A/B") instead of the battery indicator icon.

Really, this transceiver makes for an excellent FM HT with APRS. If you were hoping to dabble with the digital aspect of the transceiver just know aspects of AMS may prove glitchy. At first glance, this unit appeared to be a winner. With time, it is becoming apparent that Yaesu missed an opportunity by releasing a product not fully vetted in my opinion.

Would I do it again? Eh, maybe. At the lowered price it makes a nice FM HT but really, I would seriously consider sticking with the FT-60 or maybe moving to the ID-51A. I know that nothing is perfect but at a minimum I expect a product I purchase to work as advertised and neither of the FT1DRs I've had have done so...

My opinion; 3/5 rating.
WB5RUE Rating: 5/5 Jan 11, 2015 12:24 Send this review to a friend
Nice and compact  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been a Yaesu fan since my FT-101 days. I really like this rig, compact, light with plenty of features. The only "con" is that it's a bit complicated to access some very commonly used features (like squelch.) Those should not be menu functions but should have a knob. It's a large learning curve to get all of the menu functions down but that seems to be the state of most modern rigs.
Bottom line -- it's an excellent rig and is a credit to Yaesu!
W0FAA Rating: 5/5 Jan 9, 2015 13:53 Send this review to a friend
Feature packed - well built - good value  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wanted to love this radio and I do! I have been using it non-stop for 2 months.

The radio is very well built and a typical high quality Yaesu. It feels solid in the hand.
The radio is packed with features and is incredibly advanced.
The sensitivity/selectivity is excellent on the ham bands and very good to ok on wideband receive.
The quality of the audio is EXCELLENT and the user adjustable mic gain can accommodate kissers or arms-lengthers. When heard on the console speaker of the DR-1X repeater it is literally broadcast quality!
The build quality is excellent and the radio is submersible.

You must read the manual if you are coming from another brand of radio.

The main knob defaults to being a memory/frequency knob but this is fine. I, and perhaps most people, hold the ht in one hand and turn the volume knob with the other. The FT1D requires you to press a "Vol" button located below the PTT button while turning the knob to change volume. It's right there, your PTT finger can slide down over it, and pressing it briefly while turning the knob is no big deal. If you MUST adjust the volume one-handed, it is possible to hold the radio in your left hand, thumb on the Vol button and reach up with your index finger to turn the knob. I just tried it and it was not easy but was doable.

Personally, I change frequency/memories way more often than I change the volume and I like changing repeaters with a quick twist of the top knob. Of course two knobs would have been great, but then where would the built-in GPS antenna have gone? Their system makes sense to me, that there are no menus involved to change frequency/memory is great.

All keys are backlit and well illuminated. If you must look at the unlit silk-screened secondary buttons in total blackness, you could always turn on the front facing flashlight LED. I don't know of any manufacturer that illuminates secondary functions.

The functions accessible with one button are:
Receiver/Xmitter A or B active (press)
Mono or Dual monitor mode (press and hold)
Memory Write (press and hold)
Band (press)
Band Scope (press and hold)
Cycle through digital/analog modes (press Dx)
Group Monitor (this is a wasted button until many more Fusion radios are out there)

By the way, that real-time band scope is great for finding interference or can be used similarly to the "close-call" feature of some scanners within its range.

Everything else requires at least a press of the Function key first, or accessing a menu. They chose to leave the number keys as numbers as I prefer. It's great for direct entry of frequencies and DTMF.

If you can't remember the volume button is below PTT just above the power button then I guess it could be a frustrating chore to look for it every time. It is a square button and angled differently than the others, so it is easy to find by touch. Sure, it could be more convenient, and I wish it was, but it's certainly not a show-stopper for me.
Squelch change is buried in the menus, not convenient at all. Fortunately for me I guess, I have never needed to change the squelch since I have had the radio.

Of course there are no "intuitive" radio or computer interfaces. It's PC/MAC and I suspect that anyone used to Kenwood might have a learning curve. Kenwood would probably sue Yaesu claiming they infringed intellectual property if the menus worked the same.

That said it IS very different and it took me some time with this, my first Yaesu radio, to get used to it, but once you wrap your head around the meaning of the top menus it does make sense. CTSS really does belong under the broad heading of "Signaling" along with Bell, DCS code, DCS inversion, DTMF mode, DTMF select, Pager, PR frequency. Here you will also find Squelch level, Squelch S-meter, Squelch Expansion, Squelch Type, Tone Squelch Frequency, Tone Search, and WX Alert.

With such an incredibly feature rich radio, making CTCSS special and a top menu item would have broken the logic of where to put all this other stuff which you might also want to find.

As for the free programming software it is total garbage, has poor documentation, spelling errors, and 90% of the time your file will spontaneously have CRC errors, but it can be made to work.

Reset your radio, download from the radio, make your changes, upload to the radio, then immediately save to SD Card for when you need your next reset. Also don't forget to save your radio settings separate from the frequencies once you have APRS and everything else set the way you want it so you don't lose that during a reset.

If you don't have the money for RT systems it is usable, barely! This is unacceptable in a high end radio, Yaesu you should be embarrassed.
The cable is non-standard but included, so that's a wash for me.

I was disappointed that you had to be in A or B but not dual watch mode to see the long memory labels but what other HT gives you 16 (!) characters to work with?
If I need to read a label I have forgotten I just briefly hold the A/B button and momentarily switch to single watch mode. Not ideal, but again, no big deal for me.

Anyone considering an expensive radio purchase should download the manual and see what they are getting into with the UI. Totally self-inflicted if you don't.

This radio has MANY MANY features. It is packed with functionality. Since it is now available for under $300 brand new, I'm satisfied and would buy it again.

I LOVE this radio!


K4SOL Rating: 4/5 Jan 3, 2015 08:20 Send this review to a friend
For the current price-its a good deal  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The previous reviews are right. The interface is clunky, poorly designed and hard to manage. The free supplied software programmer sucks. I expect there will NEVER be system fusion repeaters in the rural area where I live. (heck, we dont even have D star yet),so the digital voice portion is useless except for simplex work. So why did I buy TWO of these?
When they were first announced at MSRP of $600+ I said no way. When the first units were available at $580..I said no way..When the price dropped to $400+ I said no way...but over Christmas Gigaparts had these for $309 for the black and $279 for the ugly silver...well Clunkyness, bad software, ugly color and all of the other comments made here (which are true) aside, I bought them and I dont regret it. For $600 or even $400 I expect better-much better. but for $279 for a new radio with APRS and built in GPS, digital audio and lots and lots of features, I'll put up with the clunky poorly designed interface and go buy the RT Systems programming software. It IS a well built radio. The features DO work just fine when you can learn to navigate the horrible menu system. You couldn't buy anything similar in features for near the price- The VX8DR is going for $339 and that's without the extra $79 GPS module!
So if you can pick one of these up for $279 or, even better, find a used one cheaper from somebody who just dont want to spend the time and trouble it takes to understand this rig- then do it. If you have a little patience you will certainly get value for your money.
W5BSJ Rating: 2/5 Jan 1, 2015 22:06 Send this review to a friend
APRS/GPS...that's about it  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wanted to love this radio. But there are too many annoyances and poor design decisions to justify giving it a better review. It really isn't good. It has integrated APRS/GPS and that's about it.

Let me start over. This radio isn't bad. In fact, the actual transceiver is typical of a high quality Yaesu. Good audio. Good transmit. Seemingly good sensitivity/selectivity. The radio is PACKED with features. It is incredibly advanced. Which is why this radio desperately needs a better human interface. You better memorize the multiple (three I think) user manuals if you want to be proficient at using this rig.

The build quality is quite good. Everything is tight, rugged, and sealed. But there are some idiotic design features. There is no volume knob making it impossible to operate this unit single handedly. Almost everything requires the "F" (function) key to be depressed. All keys are backlit and well illuminated but of course it's impossible to see the secondary button functions. So, even changing the volume or squelch is a frustrating chore. Those are probably the most basic settings, and Yaesu didn't get those right.

Next, would be setting the frequency. Simplex is easy. But setting a repeater duplex? That's another story. You have to navigate a sea of counterintuitive menu options to set repeater offsets and PL tones. Yeasu should take a lesson from Kenwood who makes outstanding interfaces on HT's like the F6A. Squelch, offset, tone type, tone frequency, reverse, etc are all on the front panel on my F6A. Everything is pretty difficult on the FT1DR.

For example, to change duplex settings for a repeater you might think you'd go to menu 2 "TX/RX" but you'd be wrong. Instead, go to menu option 8 "Config" sub menu 15 "RPT SHIFT" for the direction and sub menu 16"RPT SHIFT FREQ" to set the duplex. To set a CTCSS tone you need to go to option 4 "Signaling" sub menu 11 and 12. Confusing, cumbersome, and counterintuitive to say the least!

Well, you say, I should use the free programming software and included programming cable. Not so fast. The Yaesu software is (and I'm not exaggerating) the worst programming software I have ever used. Ever. It is worse than useless. Despite the horrible spelling and counterintuitive design, the software is almost completely incompatible with the radio. It takes FOREVER to read from the radio (which must be done first) and then if you are lucky enough to NOT have some type of "checksum error" after reading, then you spend 15-20 minutes getting all the settings just right only to find that the software won't "talk" to the radio and crashes. Your file is, of course, unrecoverable. I spent two hours trying to use the software. I bricked my radio several times because I was inadvertently programming WFM into all my channels because NFM (12.5kHz in my world) is the default. I had to perform reset after reset to try to recover. Alas, I purchased RTSystems.

RTSystems software is excellent. No complaints. They did the best they could with Yaesu's worthless programming protocol. The new USB cable (which of course isn't a standard USB cable) doesn't work with RTSystems. You have to use a micro SD card to install a "backup.dat" file. Of course, you can't read the file from the radio if you haven't first written one. Then you try to remove the microSD to reprogram it in RTSystems, but you find out that you can't remove the SD card because of the excess recess card slot well. What a terrible design! You have to use tweezers to remove the card. Hope you never need to swap cards in the field. However, despite the flaws in the SD card slot design, the fact that you can program this through an SD card is an excellent feature!

Finally, after hours and thanks to RTSystems, I had a working radio. I was getting good reports from all contacts on both VHF and UHF. I am afraid to touch it with the USB cable ever again.

After programming it, I discovered that the channel names can only be displayed in single channel mode. That is obnoxious! There are 999 channels in memory and I've used 500 or so. I can't remember all of them by frequency. This unit really could benefit from a better screen which could display more information.

I purchased this radio solely for the APRS functionality. APRS is fairly seamless on this radio. But it does require you read and comprehend the APRS manual, which is separate from the operating manual. Good luck trying to figure out how to shut the APRS noise up entirely. It takes about a dozen menu settings. If you need a GPS/APRS HT, this is probably a good choice. However, don't expect more than 12 hours of battery life with APRS/GPS enabled.

I tested the FT1DR today transmitting a beacon every 10 minutes and it barely lasted 12 hours before dying. I made no other use of the radio. Just charged it, turned it on, and let it run. Also, the battery indicator is 100% useless. If you can figure out how to display battery voltage (only on single channel mode), it gives you a better idea of when it's low. But even still it went from 7.4V to 7.2 over 11 hours and dead (<6V) within one more hour. I will be disabling APRS/GPS unless I need them. They are excessively power thirsty for my typical needs.

I have yet to try any of the digital functions. I wish there was a open source standard that Kenwood/Yaesu/ICOM could all agree upon so we could end these senseless wars over digital bandwidth and just settle on a system with interoperability between brands.

Okay, my review was pretty harsh but it was fair. To be even handed, this radio has MANY MANY features. It is simply packed with functionality. The functionality is just unfortunately trapped behind an iron curtain of an interface which really limits the usability of the rig. For under $300, I'm still satisfied and would buy it again...despite my criticisms

If I could suggest improvements they would be:
1) More controls with a better layout (i.e. volume knob, common duplex buttons, etc)
2) Larger battery than 1800 mAh
3) Better screen allowing more information to be displayed
4) More intuitive, less cumbersome menu system
5) Free programming software that actually works with the radio
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