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Reviews Categories | Ham Repeaters | Yaesu DR-1 (X) Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu DR-1 (X)
Yaesu DR-1 (X) Reviews: 9 Average rating: 3.3/5 MSRP: $1,699.00
Description: 144/440 Mhz 50 watt repeater
Product is in production.
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K2GW Rating: 5/5 Mar 7, 2018 19:20 Send this review to a friend
two years of no problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I installed a Yaesu DR-1X in December 2015 to replace an old GE repeater for our ARES/RACES group that I inherited. Running it in full AMS mode at 25 watts out on two meters in an unheated and un-air-conditioned shed at an FM broadcast site. I have only visited the site twice then to physically blow the dust off it.

Any $500 repeater that I can install as plug and play device and works unattended for over two years is OK with me.
AH6DX Rating: 5/5 Apr 28, 2017 21:58 Send this review to a friend
Awesome Repeater(S)  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
We have 2 DR-1X repeaters (1VHF/1UHF) and after the learning curve of the new technology C4FM, Dual-band, multi-mode (AMS)operations, we are now active on "wires-X', and using an ARCOM RC210 controller linking the repeaters on analog and providing a 3rd port for an Allstar link too.

I can easily see where some folks have had issues with these, as they are not "Old School" in any way, and I would not say they are Plug-n_Play either, however, many groups are getting full advantage of the many features.

Pretty much the days of old style kerchunk boxes and rf linking are becoming more extinct every day. Digital radio; D-Star, DMR & "System Fusion" are quickly becoming the new frontier........
KA3SXQ Rating: 2/5 Jul 15, 2016 16:05 Send this review to a friend
I would not buy Yaesu   Time owned: 6 to 12 months

I bought a fusion Oct- 2015 it worked flawless until May 2016 , the transmitter quit. Sent it back to Yaesu , three weeks later they sent me A radio that was all scratched up, found out it belonged to a local club. The radio Yaesu sent me was 10 months older than mine, scratched up and was real dirty inside. My repeater was in pristine condition other than the electronic issue. I called Yaesu, they said that was their replacement program, said that is how they do things. They could not understand why I would not except the replacement. After several emails back and forth and a long song and dance. I told them I wanted my radio back or a refund , they said their will be no refund, the girl said they shipped mine to Japan. I talked to the sales Manager he said he would red flag my radio and get mine back to me. Three weeks later an email from Yaesu said they just got mine into their repair center and it would take another three weeks. May 8, 2016 to July 7, 2016 that is how long it took to get it repaired. I did receive my repeater with no explanation of what was wrong no paper work at all. I am mad at Yaesu would like to sell this one and get something else. I give a rating of a 2 only because the receiver works really good. Very poor service. I was going to buy some digital mobiles, but not now.

Beware when buying Yaesu.

Denny Rapach
442.850 / 447.850 Georgeville Pa

VE3PMV Rating: 5/5 Apr 20, 2016 16:48 Send this review to a friend
works great  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
never had a problem,, works great,, if i paid 1700,, yes i would want more, for 500 or 600 its the deal of the century, get one while u can, yeasu provides fireware updates and support, repeater callsign is VE3LOW
VE3LC Rating: 3/5 Sep 18, 2015 19:21 Send this review to a friend
No full duplex audio on rear connector  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I concur with problems already noted by others. Connection of external controllers or slaved operation with another cross band repeater is difficult to implement because DR-1X as not designed to provide full duplex audio and receive function while PTT asserted on rear 15 pin connector.

We have also experienced transmitter lock up occasionally when repeating digital mode. This became a pain requiring power down reset at repeater site. We have now implemented a DTMF decoder on separate control receiver to momentarily interrupt AC to DR-1x as a remote reset.
W4YJ Rating: 3/5 Jun 14, 2015 01:19 Send this review to a friend
First review of this one  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I took delivery of my DR1-X this past Wednesday and ran it for a couple of days here at the QTH in to a dummy load. Mine has the Z firmware installed at this time. Everything seems to be working as I had hoped. I took the repeater to my site today and am going to run it for a few days to see how it performs. The receiver has great sensitivity especially compared to the Kenwood TKR 750 that I have been running for over a year that takes an Angle Linear preamp to get the receive sensitivity close to my old Mastr II!! The audio is excellent and so far I have not had any lockup problems at all. I am running the DR1-X in FM/FM mode right now because we do not have many local FTM 400s out yet. I am running the repeater at 20 watts to an external amp which is working very well for me. I run split antennas and split the duplexer and have zero desense in the receiver. I got this machine mainly as a back up repeater for the Kenwood however if I can get my CAT 700 interfaced to it may become the main repeater!

Things I like:

1. GREAT audio but would like it to be closer to 5 KHZ rather than 4.5 KHZ.
2. Fantastic sensitivity! Hotter than any other radio I have!
3. Great user interface. So easy to program!
4. Very nice appearance.. It looks good in the cabinet!

Things I don't like:

1. Short hang time-should be adjustable.
2. Difficult to interface with an external controller. I use a CAT 700 and I am going to have to try to hook it up for control.
3. No way to remotely control the repeater-you can not remotely turn it off, can not remotely turn tones on or off. Has to be done at the site!
4. Terrible squelch action. The squelch is way too tight and has no hysterisis.
5. You have to have an FTM 400 control head to do any reprogramming of anything like squelch, power out, deviation, etc. That is the MAJOR complaint I have.

Overall, I think some are a bit harsh with complaints about this repeater. After all, for 500.00 it is hard to beat. Some of the complaints I have read on the user groups are a bit ridiculous and show a lack of understanding in my opinion. This is a NEW repeater. Of course there are bugs that have to be worked out. And yes, it seems Yaesu has let us all be the beta testers for bugs but still for the price I can not really complain. So far all my users have had nothing but praise for the repeater especially the audio quality and ease of access. Run it at 20 watts only and if you need more power get an amp. We have at least two other repeaters close to my location and they have been running for several months with no problems at all. Be patient-I am sure that future firmware updates will address a lot of these problems. I am happy that I was able to obtain this repeater even though it has "new equipment problems", I am sure it will become a reliable and popular repeater in the future. And NO I do NOT work for Yaesu! :)
W2GLD Rating: 2/5 Apr 22, 2015 10:45 Send this review to a friend
Simply Not a REAL Repeater  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Okay, honestly I have to say I did not expect much from a $500 repeater; however, at YAESU's projected retail price for this unit, I would have avoided it like the plague. With that said, I will indeed give this repeater my HONEST review.

For $500, you basically get two (2) FTM-400DR mobiles in a box, be it they are running specialized firmware. The general construction of the repeater is pretty decent. On the surface, it appears that there is adequate cooling fans, airflow, etc. This simply is NOT the case. Originally advertised as a "full-duty cycle" repeater at 50W (VHF) 40W (UHF), due to many PA failures, YAESU backtracked on that specification and now the repeater is rated for "full-duty cycle" 20W (VHF/UHF); this assuming a climate controlled environment (meaning airconditioning and/or heating in the winter). I think we all assumed this would be the case, but we are noting that YAESU essentially false advertised this repeater as being "full-duty cycle" in all original literature; guess they should have beta tested the hardware in the field properly! Anyway, enough on that issue, fact remains, this is your standard Japanese mid-power repeater; or is it? I already mentioned that this is basically two (2) FTM-400DR mobile radios inside the 19" rackmount chassis. I will note that while many of these radio haven't had any issues, there are countless ones that have encountered an issue with a relay in the PA assembly, so longevity should certainly be a concern, even at 5W out running an external PA. I say this because many users are already burning up repeaters and FTM-400DR mobiles when connected to WiRES-X and under continuous load; there just isn't enough cooling/heatsink for repeater operation on a busy system. I'm really not trying to beat up on YAESU, but the fact remains, it's two YAESU amateur grade mobiles inside this repeater; this isn't two Motorola or Harris commercial radios inside; again, for a busy repeater system such as the WIN System in California, this might be a major drawback; however, for a small backyard repeater site, it may not be an issue.

Now, onto the MAJOR shortcomings on the DR-1X that have yet to be corrected in several firmware releases. First and foremost is the CTCSS/DCS DET pin on the repeaters 15-pin external I/O connector. It cannot, in it's current state, be used to detect an analog call vs a digital call, as is the case with almost ALL mixed-mode repeaters on the market. YAESU engineers though it best to have both analog and digital calls pull this pin, so thus the need for a device like the Arcom ARD1 interface of the TS-64 tone encoder/decoder. If it wasn't for this flaw, an external controller would almost work right out of the box. Now, I said almost... Issue# 2, with the repeater in "REMOTE" mode, the EXT PTT does not allow the DR-1X to transmit its programmed CTCSS/DCS, you must use an external tone encoder! Using the front panel microphone works, but not when the EXT PTT from the 15-pin external I/O connector is pulled in fixed FM/FM mode. Simply dumb, especially since they have been working with S-COM and Arcom with this project. At least if you have an S-COM 7330, the repeater controller has the built-in CTCSS encoder, whereas other controllers may not. Which now leads me to another issue, extremely low audio output/input from the DR-1X. This isn't an issue when connecting to the S-COM 7330 we have; however, we adapting this repeater to a URIx USB Fob and Asterisk repeater controller (AllStar Link Node), both RXGAIN and TXGAIN are REQUIRED as is the 6dB audio amplification gain mod to the URIx 25-pin connector in order for the repeater to output enough audio to work. Now, I will say, once it's working, the audio sounds excellent. But I find it strange how all that amplification is required to make it work. We've spent countless nights working on this and this was the outcome. Another MAJOR shortcoming of the DR-1X is the lack of built in networking (i.e. WiRES-X) connectivity. While you can make it work, I do not think it was YAESU's original plan to have the HRI-200 and WiRES-X connected to the local repeaters. Rather, they are really pushing their dual monitor feature, which is basically a simplex calling frequency that all WiRES-X nodes could be programmed to listen to and then users wold access that frequency and then their radios would automatically change to whatever the WiRES-X node frequency actually was. No need for database to reference when you travel, etc. Great idea on paper, but not practical as it would be VERY difficult for all areas of the country to settle on a specific simplex frequency. We've all seen that battle in the Yahoo Groups already. Point is, without internet connectivity to these repeaters, they are just local repeaters, sitting out there in the wild and likely not being used, especially NOT being used in digital, which seems to be the direction of radio these days. As of this writing, there are currently around 400 System Fusion repeater out in the world; likely most of these are analog only, because of the complexity of connecting to existing analog infrastructure. Sadly, the lack of the networking technology will likely kill System Fusions WiRES-X before it even gets off the ground. As per YAESU's most recent Webinar, any firmware changes to correct this issue are not likely until at least August 2015, more likely next year though; I sense new hardware will be required...

With that said. WiRES-X is interesting, it has positives and flaws, of which I will not get into in this review. However, I will say, it's a shame that, as of this writing, there are over 375 registered WiRES-X nodes just here in the U.S. but when you look at the REAL WORLD activity, it's the same 25-50 nodes of activity at the most. Hardly worth the investment given D-Star and DMR's traction on the hobby...

One last shortcoming and then onto the positives. Bandwidth! What were you thinking YAESU? Repeater coordination will require a 25kHz pair if using analog or mixed-mode. If you've already got one, that's great; however, where is the spectrum efficiency? Channel spacing for these System Fusion repeaters does nothing to help with spectrum efficiency. See this article for details: With DMR, a 12.5 kHz channel is all that is required for two simultaneous talkpaths, with D-Star, 6.25 kHz for a single talkpath; sure, this doesn't account for overheard, but space the repeaters appart just s few miles and you can have some many more systems in the same spectrum. The DR-1X breakdown is as follows: Analog 25.0kHz. - Digital Wide 12.5 kHz. - Digital Narrow 6.25 kHz. Okay, so you can simply lock it into digital narrow, but what about the analog guys? In some areas of the county, they are limited to 20kHz. of bandwidth, which is what's basically required for the digital wide mode. Why in the world did you not allow for the ability to narrowband the analog side as well? That's just stupid in the post commercial narrowband market; eventually we're all going to end up there, it's just a matter of time. But to remove the ability for a user to decide, just plain stupid! Moving on...

Now, to the positives on the YAESU System Fusion product line in general... The analog audio on the local repeater is excellent, as if the digital audio with the implementation of the C4FM platform. In-fact, having played with almost all forms of digital audio (Project-25, D-Star, NXDN, DMR, etc.) I think YAESU has a home run with their C4FM digital. Their digital audio, even in Digital Narrow (DN) mode sounds the most natural of all the digital platforms out there, with NXDN being a close second, followed by a properly aligned DMR radio (Not a CS-700 HT).

So in closing, your $500 will get you just what you'd might expect from a amateur grade repeater system. It's NOT full-duty cycle at the high power setting, it doesn't always interface well with repeater controllers; although it can and has been done, and it severely lacks in the linking arena, which in today's day digital world is just silly. At $500, it's an okay analog repeater system for a small ham radio club looking to put something on the air. Analog and Digital audio are excellent, but in typical YAESU fashion, they just do not understand hardware and linking, hence the lack of growth in WiRES and WiRES-II from the analog days. For $500, it's a good buy, at full retail price ($1700), but a Motorola XPR8400, whether you chose DMR or not, it's a great, "full-duty cycle" repeater at 40W for both analog, digital, or mixed-mode, though the mixed-mode option will cost an additional $250 or so. Another great choice is the Hytera repeater for DMR. Also "full-duty" cycle at 50W, supports analog, digital, and mixed-mode with networking to the Worldwide DMR network; unfortunately in mixed-mode, the Motorola XPR8400 does not. There is no way, I would suggest ever spending more than $500 for this repeater!
K4UZM Rating: 2/5 Mar 24, 2015 12:29 Send this review to a friend
Put out before it was ready  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I personally believe that this repeater could've had some used better beta testing and was rushed to market, it appears that they wanted to get it out before Christmas so they can sell more handhelds and mobile radios.

We were one of the first to receive the repeater under the installation program offering at the clubs for $500 apiece. The normal price on this repeater is about $1700. The repeater was offered for sale as a 50 W repeater, and after they've had several failures, they have change their ad on their webpage. The webpage now states that it is a 50 W unit at a 50% duty cycle. for a hundred percent, you need to run it 20 W. (In a climate controlled room) When I ordered this repeater I spoke to their representative on the phone who stated that it was a 50 W repeater at 100% duty cycle. Our repeater had a failure about a month after it was online. Yaesu did repair the PA under warranty, but now they are telling us that it's only a 20 W repeater. They suggested you need more power to go out and buy an external amplifier.

The documentation for this repeater is terrible, if you try to hook up an external controller be aware that the documentation does not give you the right pin out, although they may of change that by now.

The repeater uses its own internal controller, but has provisions to use an external controller. Very interesting things happen when you try to hook up an external controller. First the PL tone will decode fine but it will not allow it to transmit PL. Yaesu's comments, we are looking into that. The next thing happen is even crazier, if you have the external controller connected and the repeater is in mixed mode and the digital signal comes in it will lock the repeater up forcing you to do a hard reset, requiring you to go to the site and power it down. Yaesu's comment on that, quote we are looking into that. One of the controller manufacturers are Arcom has found a solution for that. They've developed a board that will correct that situation and others and that looks very hopeful. Unfortunately Yeasu says that if you hook up the wire for the push to talk connection on your cable, it will void your warranty. The connectors on your cable are a proprietary connector, they are selling those connectors to Arcom but the cable you need will wind up costing you about $100 more. I would think that Yaesu would want to fix these problems.

There are many other issues with this repeater, most of them I believe could be sorted out. But to tell you the truth after five months I'm getting tired of hearing We are looking into this.

To tell you the truth I'm being very generous by giving this a number two rating, the only reason they are getting that is because you can get the repeater for $500

I still haven't heard their C4FM fusion signal. I hope it's better than the repeater, Moto-turbo is looking better and better.
WC3O Rating: 3/5 Mar 1, 2015 16:18 Send this review to a friend
Depends  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
We bought this repeater to run on 440. I will tell you the things I liked, didn't like and would like to see improved.

- It really is a great user interface. VERY easy to set up and change.
- Nice size box with built-in back-up power switching
- Great audio in FM mode (I haven't heard it in C4FM yet)

Things I don't like:
- Receiver front end is as wide as a barn door. It needs good duplexers/filtering.
- I have read that it is not 100% duty cycle TX at 50 watts.
- Carrier hang time is short and non-adjustable.

Things I would like to see improved:
- Accurate documentation that discusses important aspects of use.
- I'd like to see the repeater drop the CTCSS tone slightly before carrier drop to eliminate squelch noise.
- Better squelch handling to eliminate squelch noise when the repeater user un-keys.
- A courtesy tone and adjustable hang time.
- An optional pre-selector
- An optional cooling kit

So, we tried it first using a set of small dups, but it suffered BADLY from de-sense. This is despite the Moto RKR-1225 repeater we had on before worked perfectly fine with the same small dups. We now have a set of old Motorola cans on it and it works fine. We do plan on adding the WIRES box, but again, VERY little info out there about how it works or other details. Same with the voice module, what all does it do??? Is it just for ID? Does it do anything else? It would be nice to know! Like I said, it is working fine right now. The repeater lives in a hut with no heat or cooling. So far it has been fine with the very cold temps we have been having. It will be interesting to see how it does in the heat. I do not dislike this repeater, but I think improvements are in order for sure. Time will tell.
K3MJW/R 444.525+ 131.8pl in New Kensington PA

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