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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Yaesu FT-65R Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-65R
Yaesu FT-65R Reviews: 17 Average rating: 3.2/5 MSRP: $$169
Description: The FT-65R is a very compact, ruggedly constructed
Handheld VHF/UHF with three selectable power settings 5W
/ 2.5W / .5W allowing each user to select the power they
need. The big front speaker provides a full 1 watt of
crisp, clear audio quality. The unit comes supplied with
a 1950mAh Li-ion battery pack capable of over 9 hours of
operation, with an optional higher capacity 2500mAh Li-
ion battery for over 11.5 hours of operating time. A 2.5
hour rapid charger comes standard, making the transceiver
ready to operate at any time. Our newly designed large
white LED displays are vibrant and highly visible. Four
Quick Recall Keys (QRK) are user programmable to
instantly recall favorite channels with just the push of
a button. VOX operation is available with the optional
Earpiece Microphone SSM-512B. Other useful features
included: versatile scanning capabilities such as
Programmable VFO Scan, Memory Scan, Priority Channel
Scan, and Weather Alert Scan, WX Channels with "Severe
Weather" Alert, PC Programming, Transceiver-to-
Transceiver Cloning, FM Broadcast Receiver, Automatic
Range Transponder System (ARTS), CTCSS/ DCS Operation,
Busy Channel Lockout (BLCO), Automatic Power Off feature,
and Transmitter Time Out Timer (TOT).
Product is in production.
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G1WZM Rating: 5/5 May 25, 2017 05:06 Send this review to a friend
Great Handset - Definitely NOT a Baofeng!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First, I can confirm that this is NOT a "baofeng" rebadged as a Yaesu. I have checked this with the UK importer/agent that I bought it from, and they have confirmed it is NOT a badged Baofeng or Wouxun radio.

While it is made in China (as are many other modern radios including some others in Yaesu's portfolio), it's of very high quality and feels robust in the hand. When I checked the RF spectrum and performance on my Agilent speccy and Marconi 2955, the transmit output is nice and clean with any harmonics well suppressed and no nasty surprises- a real contrast with my Baofeng!

I've had mine from day one of availability in the UK, although at the time of writing I'm still waiting for the programming cable / software from Yaesu as per their product page.

I've used it hand held on simplex freqs, and to access and use both 2m and 70cm repeaters near me. Audio reports back to me have been very positive, with the audio described as 'nice and clear' and 'sounds exactly like you' from those I speak to regularly.
(My Baofeng certainly doesn't get such positive reports, quite the opposite in fact).

The radio as it comes is set up with a default squelch level for the noise level, and there are separate menus to set the point at which a signal opens the squelch vs the level at which the FM noise is cut. The squelch and several other menu settings are accessible from "shortcuts".

Note that there are errors in the userguide which refers to using the PTT key to confirm a menu entry/change. That's wrong, a quick press or a press-and-hold of the function button should be used NOT the PTT key.

The receiver is much more sensitive than my Baofengs, and at least as good as my aged Alinco DJ182 on stock antenna.
I have a couple of SMA-F antenna's (Nagoya) already and also adaptors for BNC. When these other antennas are used, the FT-65 shows a slightly higher signal strength and the auto-TX power setting kicks in earlier.

The radio has a proper signal strength meter, which runs the full width of the bottom of the display. Very useful, and works perfectly. The same meter shows TX power when pressing the PTT. The radio has a battery saving setting such that, when the radio is set for 5W and a strong signal is received (nearby repeater for example), the radio automatically drops the power to the next lower setting. This is easily observed on the power meter.

The radio receives wideband FM broadcast, however this is NOT in stereo, feeding only the LEFT headphone. A standard 3.5mm headphone works on the FT-65.
Its easy to program, and the battery seems to last well, I haven't managed to flatten it yet.

There are some other features and functions that I have tried but not used in anger yet, however I'm really pleased with this radio, and I'm in no doubt it will work reliably and sustainably for some of the field work I do with Search and Rescue / RayNet / 4x4 Response.

- programming software as promised on Yaesu webpages
- ability to "wideband" it (it cant cover 146-148 Mhz...)
- a non VOX headset/speaker mic

- pinout details / cct diagram included with the usermanual, for using with APRS / DATA modes

K7XRL Rating: 5/5 Apr 15, 2017 16:28 Send this review to a friend
Nice entry level radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After using this radio for a day or so, and programming it both manually and with the RT Systems software, I have a few thoughts about it.

The flashlight LED on the front face of the radio, and the "alarm" feature seem out of place on this radio. The flashlight might come in handy one day to find something lost in the bottom of a backpack or something, but I expect I won't need to use it very often. I can't imagine needing the alarm feature, but I guess it can't hurt to have it.

The power/volume knob has a nice tactile and audible "click" when turning the radio off and on. The volume pot is smooth to operate, though I usually prefer a little more friction so it can't be easily bumped louder or quieter.

The key beeps can be turned on and off in the menu settings. Strangely, the key beep volume seems to be at a fixed level independent of the overall audio volume level, so even with the volume turned all the way down, the beeps are at their usual volume.

Those are my only gripes so far. The antenna uses an SMA female connector, unlike other SMA-equipped Yaesu radios. This could be a blessing for those upgrading from Baofeng radios, as they can share antennas. Personally, I prefer the male side of the SMA connector on the radio, as I expect the pin to hold up to more connect/disconnect cycles than the springy split contacts in the female connector, so I actually like this antenna arrangement.

Programming manually was relatively easy once I figured out that you had to set the tone frequency AND the squelch type (in order to transmit the CTCSS tone) in separate menu items. Automatic Repeater Shift helped eliminate some steps. Still,as easy as it is, manual programming should be reserved for travel or other one-off situations where you need to enter in a new channel on the fly. For programming in an entire region or state's repeaters, using software is much faster and easier.

The radio has a good, solid feel to it. It comes pre-programmed with a bank of NOAA weather channels that can be accessed with a couple of button presses, saving you from manually programming them. Once in the bank of NOAA channels, a press on the PTT will scan to find the correct channel for your area.

The 4 custom buttons can be programmed with either VFO frequencies and settings, or memory channels to recall. Or alternatively, they can be programmed with menu items you'd like to access faster (like the squelch type and level, for example).

The receiver has enough bandwidth to receive some local public safety frequencies so it can double as a "scanner" in places where they haven't gone to digital trunking systems, etc. It also supports narrow FM which is useful for these frequencies.

A quick check into a repeater was met with a good signal report, the audio described as "crisp".

The radio came with a charging base, which was nice compared to my VX-6R which has one available as a separate purchase. Charging the battery right out of the box took less than an hour, I suspect because these radios are new on the market and the batteries have not had time to discharge much sitting on the shelf.

Overall, my impression is very positive. It isn't the most feature-rich radio in Yaesu's line, but will do well for a basic communications radio. If you need advanced features like integral APRS and GPS, you'll have to look elsewhere (and dig deeper $$$). But for those looking for a basic radio to talk simplex or access repeaters, this could be a good choice.
KA6GEM Rating: 4/5 Mar 23, 2017 09:59 Send this review to a friend
Decent Dual Band Analog HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I purchased a new Yaesu FT-65R/E from Ham Radio Outlet last week. I also own a Baofeng UV-5R. I help teach a “Get on the Air” class for newly license hams so I’ve studied many of the current HTs on the market. I’m often asked for a recommendation by first time buyers. I think the Yaesu FT-65R/E is worthy of consideration for the newly license ham interested in an analog dual band HT but I would place it well below the Yaesu VX-6R or the Kenwood TH-F6A.

The new Yaesu FT-65R/E seems to have the DNA of a Baofeng UV-5R but there’s a big difference in my opinion: the ease of operation, intuitive programming and clear documentation combine to make the new Yaesu what many newly licensed hams expect when buying their first dual band HT. The Baofeng has an exceptionally low price and many other qualities to its credit but programming it by index finger is a nightmare. To me, it is way too complicated for the first time buyer. And it should be a top priority for any ham interested in community service or disaster communications to know how to change or add new frequencies on the fly. If you don’t know how to use your radio, it’s nearly useless.

The Yaesu FT-65R/E by contrast seems to be much easier to operate and program. I managed to program several of my local repeaters without ever once looking at the manual. Depress and hold the function key, (right at thumb level below the PTT) and adjust three menu settings for a repeater: #24 (“Repeater”) #29 (“Squelch Type”) and #8 (“CTCSS”). Press and hold the */V-M key to add it to memory and then add a label if you wish. There are four programmable buttons (P1 - P4) for a quick recall of favorite frequencies or repeaters and also serve as the DTMF A, B, C, D tones and with the function key, quick access to four menu settings.

Unlike most Yaesu HTs, the FT-65R/E key pad has only a few short cuts: holding the “1” key turns on/off the weather radio frequencies, the “6” key is the key-pad lock. The WFM broadcast band covers from 65 MHz to 108 MHz and favorite FM stations can be added to memory. The VHF band covers from 136 MHz to 174 MHz. Transmitting outside the ham bands returns an “ERROR” message. There is no AM broadcast or aircraft band and the top knob is on/off and volume only. There are several scanning options including “Priority Scan" but no dual-receive. One cannot transfer a memory frequency to VFO however touching the #BAND key enables “Memory Tuning.”

The FT-65R/E has several things in common with the Baofeng such as a lithium-ion battery, a LED light, and a reverse SMA antenna but it’s also an ounce heavier and about ½ inch higher. The drop-in chargers seem to be interchangeable but the Yaesu power supply puts out 12 volts, the Baofeng 10 volts. Batteries are not interchangeable. The tiny clip that holds the FT-65R/E battery in place seems a bit fragile. And there’s no way to charge either HT without the drop-in charger so charging while on the road will require a DIY power cord from the cigarette lighter to the back of the charger cup.

By comparison to the FT-60 (now in its 13 year), the FT-65 offers some nice improvements: it’s lighter, smaller and the lithium-ion battery lasts longer and charges in far less time than the nickel-metal hydride battery pack. And there’s no “WIRES” trap to fall into. But the FT-60 is still worthy of consideration.

For the first time buyer, Yaesu now offers an expanded choice of decent analog dual band handi-talkies.
W7DCF Rating: 3/5 Mar 20, 2017 12:27 Send this review to a friend
Depends on Expectations  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I don't own the FT-65r, but I did spend 2 days with a neighbors new 65 and manually programmed about 80 channels into the radio and verified its operation through a number of repeaters. At this writing, I am not aware of any programming software (even RT) for the radio. I own an FT-60 and several flavors of "Chinese" radios such as TYT, Wouxun and BaoFeng which provides the perspective for my observations.

I can't confirm or deny any faults that may be part of the 65, but in my cursory use of the radio I did not note anything that stood out as a problem. It clearly does not have the personality that I associate with the "Chinese" radios. The auto repeater offsets, memory banks, and general programming flow are far more in line with the FT-60. I liked the very clear display with the ability to display 8 character names. The 65 also has a dual display mode not found on the FT-60r. The battery setup on the 65 is an improvement that reduces weight and improves charging utility.

You have access to the FM broadcast band, but no aircraft band on the 65. The 65 scans much faster than any Chinese radios that I have and the audio quality was clear and loud. What I did miss was the rotary selector and I felt that relying so much on menu selections as opposed to functions assigned to buttons made accomplishing some programming steps more lengthy. However, manually dealing with labels is quite straight forward.

Given the current price point of the FT60r and the FT65r, I would favor the FT-60r although I can appreciate someone making the opposite choice. The existing programming options, track record, battery alternatives/12 v operation, separate selector knob and squelch control all push me towards the 60.
That's my 2 cents worth.
KJ4AVH Rating: 1/5 Mar 20, 2017 07:17 Send this review to a friend
extremely buggy, unreliable, returning to store  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
While in scan, it will not stop on some channels with CTCSS/DCS if there is activity. The RX LED blinks on these active channels but will not land. However, if I tap the up or down button and manually land on that channel it passes audio fine. SKIP is not enabled on any of these channels and the correct CTCSS/DCS codes are programmed into memory. This error seems to occur about 60% of the time while scanning.
On the first day of owning, after a full charge and after being turned on for about 2 hours, the voice output from the audio speaker all of a sudden changed from full and accurate (normal) to extremely tinny/treble-like with no mid-range or low-range tone and scratchy sounding. A power off and power on resolved this issue. This has occurred once in the past 3 days of use.
Occasionally, if scanning and I press the up or down key to stop scanning to manually choose a channel, the radio freezes completely and displays the random channel it stopped on. No buttons work until I turn the radio off then on again.
Also, it feels very cheaply made, nothing like the ft-60r, ft-277, etc., which cost LESS! The battery is held in with a tiny, maybe 1/8" tab latch. I do not doubt one bit that it is made in Baofeng's factory.
FORMER_K2OOL Rating: 0/5 Feb 28, 2017 11:51 Send this review to a friend
Yaesu FT-65 Baofeng  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a Baofeng in a Yaesu Case!You want a $25 radio for $179?,buy this.You will love it for sure.
It has nothing a Yaesu has and look at the FM radio 76-108MHZ (from china obviously).USA Fm is 88-108MHZ.The case is exactly matching up to the Baofeng,dont drop this radio,it will break for sure.
A total fail for Yaesu.If I wanted a Baofeng,I would have bought a uv-5R for $25.A reverse SMA?Have you ever heard of a radio from Yaesu with this?
Hey BaoYaesu,start making great radios again like the FT-415 and we will buy one.
KM6HWF Rating: 3/5 Feb 16, 2017 00:08 Send this review to a friend
Underwhelming  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
What step up from the FT-60x should be:

- 144/220/440
- Dual band monitor + single button switching OR dual PTT
- Li-Ion battery compatible with FT-60x
- Stereo earphone/lineout jack

What the FT-65 is:

- Yet another 144/440
- Dual monitor (i think), easy switch (didn't look like it)
- Li-Ion CHECK but FT-65 has a narrower body than FT-60 leaving batteries incompatible
- No stereo out (Rep's word)
- Reverse SMA

Personal observations:

- Body has that hollow clone feeling
- The buttons are mushy on the sides and it's easy to miss a press
- The buttons aren't labeled for menu shortcuts forcing you to look at the screen to make adjustments.
- Reverse SMA?! Diamond has ONE, Comet has three of which two are not the sturdy variety. I'd buy a Diamond SMAJ-SMAJ rather than a whole new set of antennas.
- The 65 cloning cable is three element rather than four element. It looks like an easy to find stereo plug but don't just shove one in without taking measurements first. This also renders the CT-44 mic adapter (and the mics) incompatible.
- There is no digital mode nor WIRES access available on the 65.

Overall, the 65 is a step waaay down from the 60. If I seem biased toward the 60, it's because the 60 is undefeated as a true utilitarian HT. Save your money for Dayton. I hope the 65 is just to keep us on simmer.
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