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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Yaesu FT-51R Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu FT-51R
Yaesu FT-51R Reviews: 43 Average rating: 4.7/5 MSRP: $Used $200-300
Description: Twin Band HT
Product is in production.
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W5HLP Rating: 5/5 May 4, 2009 04:05 Send this review to a friend
Ditto - Best Handheld Ever  Time owned: more than 12 months
Its been a while since anyone posted a review of this little jewel - so let me fix that.

This is a great, intuitive handheld. It WORKS - always. Turn it on and it does the job.

I am always on the lookout for a second or a third. The FT-60 replacement is decent, but if you have a chance get the -51R, more solid, more 'real world' useful features. Battery packs are still very available, as are accessories.

It is solid - dependable and intuitive. Example - at a hamfest not long ago a buddy's ICOM decided it was tired and shut down (not a knock on ICOM - just that he is an 'ICOM' guy and NOT used to Yaesu type controls). He was working parking and crowd control and asked to borrow my -51r. He returned it a couple of hours later praising how easy it was to program and use. Now that was a compliment in my mind.

Get one - right after I get my next one (hi hi).

W4HH Rating: 5/5 Sep 30, 2008 19:07 Send this review to a friend
Best HT around  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my first FT-51R about a year after Yaesu came out with it. A couple of years ago I purchased another one on eBay and probably will get a third one.

In my opinion, this is the best handheld available.

The keypad is intuitive -- you can look at it for a minute and figure out how to use it.

Lots of useful features. Other reviewers pretty much said it all.
W9WY Rating: 5/5 May 19, 2008 08:20 Send this review to a friend
Greatest HT ever!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased my first FT-51R a year after it first came out. I was upgrading from the FT-530 and the display mike (greatest idea any manufacture has had) was still usable on the 51.

For some unbelievable reason I sold the thing about 5 yearas later. I have seen the error of my ways. I ended up with two(1) of they from eBay (I don't need 2 but may end up keeping both).

I have owned a lot of HTs from each manufacture and even when factoring in the current crop of radios, this one is the BEST.
K9HDT Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2006 14:06 Send this review to a friend
Get The Best First!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I purchased the ft-51r 2 months after I got my tech ticket ata hamfest where I won first prize. So I purchased all the goodies to go with it.The radio was BNIB, never used from a silent key yaesu collector. It's fantastic, I used it in the car until I put my 7800 in it and got glowing reports on it. Couldn't believe it was a ht. Could hit reapeaters 30 miles away with my antenna with 5 watts. Its a good size which I like for my big hands. I will keep it til it passes into the sunset. May not have a 1000 memories, but I didn't need them til I put the 7800 in the van. If you can find one buy it. Paid 225 for mine and I don't regret it.
KC4GMY Rating: 5/5 Mar 20, 2006 17:32 Send this review to a friend
Wonderful Radio!  Time owned: more than 12 months
Possibly the best dual-band HT ever made! Loaded with features and reliable too.
N8QID Rating: 5/5 Nov 21, 2005 13:53 Send this review to a friend
Very good dual bander  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought one of the first Yaesu FT-51r handhelds in December of 1994. It was from the first shipment of FT-51s that R&L Electronics got in stock.

I still own the radio today, and I wouldn't get rid of it. I've taken it camping and dropped it (submerged) in mud puddles, and it keeps working. I've banged it around, and it still works. It is quite a rugged radio even though it may not appear like it is!

If Yaesu would have designed a general coverage receiver into it, it would have been an even better radio, but that was unheard of in 1994, so I'm very happy with it.

It is a true dual bander so you can listen to VHF - UHF at the same time, or VHF VHF or UHF UHF. The battery life is good, although my 10 year old batteries are starting to get a little tired.

If you see one of these for a good price, don't hesitate to buy it. It is a great radio.
KN7T Rating: 4/5 Aug 11, 2005 09:53 Send this review to a friend
Full Featured!!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought my FT-51RH new a number of years ago. I also purchased all of the various accessories that go with it along with the programming software that was available at that time. I really like this radio, it has a very solid feel and is easy to hold on to - unlike some of the newer and smaller HTs. The only real gripe I have about the radio is that when changing the battery packs, the radio often will not power up. My experience has been that rubbing the battery contacts and the mating pins on the radio with a pencil eraser and then re-mating the two usually restores proper operation but that can be a hassle when you need to do a quick pack change. The contacts on the pack and radio do not appear to be oxidized so I'm not entirely certain why this problem recurs as frequently as it does. I'm still using the original factory battery packs and they continue to hold a full charge.

All in all, I really do like this radio and the slight problem I've had with the battery packs would not be enough to keep me from buying another one (used) if I needed to replace mine for some reason. I would recommend purchasing a better antenna for it - I bought a longer length "ducky" and the performance is greatly enhanced - it allows me to use a lower power setting and I can still access nearly every repeater I need to while saving drain on the battery.
KG0WX Rating: 5/5 Aug 11, 2005 06:12 Send this review to a friend
What an HT Should be!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
First, let me dispute what KB7UIX wrote below, re the rigs ability to do VHF/VHF or UHF/UHF. It DOES do that! The quirk is that it only does it in VFO mode and if you transmit, the reciever mutes the other VFO.

Now, on to the radio. I've owned my fair share of ht's in my life and this is the first one that had performance equal to a mobile even when hooked to a big antenna (GP-6 @40'). Not one hint of the intermod that blows away my scanners and my other rigs (VX-1, VX-2, VX-5 & VX7).

The rig has a hefty feel to it - it's quite solid and feels heavy for it's size. The keypad is small but easy to use. Speaker audio is plentifull and hooking up a speaker, thanks to the classic mic connection, is easy.

There are a few nits, to pick, of course. This radio has a protective thermal switch which cuts
back on power if the rig gets too hot. The manual says that when this happens, "low" is displayed. I tried and tried but I couldn't get it to go into that mode although the rig did get almost coffee cup hot. I noticed that the rig's heating was rapid at first then tapered off. I gave up after a while. has of course the mod for this rig but I feel I must add a cavet here. If you try to remove the battery tray without unscrewing the battery latch, you risk damaging or loosing the micro spring on the latch.

On the manual - if your used to Yaesu rigs and read the scrolling help texts on the screen, you won't really need the manual. I only read mine to find out what the radio is capable of. No, a VX-7R it aint but like my Elecraft K2, what it does do it does better than any HT I've ever owned. The features I had on my VX radios like HF rx, 220, 6m are NOT missed. I guess it's because those features on the VX-7 are so poorly implemented that they were practically useless.

I have the remote display speaker mic - that's the main reason I bought this particular radio. I ride a road race bike and I wanted to put the rig in my backpack and use the mic to operate the radio. The mic is pure gold in this respect.

One thing I did NOT like is the lack of stability when standing on it's bottom. The battery has 2 runners on either side to keep the rig upside up but they are not very effective. Another minor complaint is the spacing between the knob and antenna - it's tight going to lift the rubber mic cover off and plug in a mic. Thank god this rig uses a BNC for the antenna and a classic twin plug mic connector!

Alpha tags - with 40 memories per band and 8 characters per tag, tagging took most of my programming time. Here is one feature I HATE about "Modern" HT's - you only get to choose either alpha tag OR freq display. The FT-51R does both!

One last feature I should mention - not only does this rig do cross band repeat but you can select either 1 way or 2 way repeat. Nice!

If you get one of these and go looking for batteries, PLEASE read the reviews on Batteries America before buying! I have 2 batteries from W&W and they appear to be better in quality.

One last comment - Yaesu - PLEASE bring this kind of radio BACK!!!! If I had a choice in buying a near mint FT-51R or a VX-7R for twice the price (I did), I'd buy the FT-51R in a hot minute (I did!).

KB4NOT Rating: 5/5 Oct 3, 2004 06:05 Send this review to a friend
Great dual-band  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I just bought this radio used. So far I have been very impressed with the radio. I have a couple of after market batteries (MaHa MH-FNB-38), the MH-29 display mic -- so neat, dual drop in charger, MH-12 speaker mic etc.

I have had no intermod problems at all. I did try some other antennas at a local hamfest yesterday and much to my surprise, they were actually worse than the stock antenna. MFJ, Opek, and others would not even bring up the repeater I was trying to hit. The only antenna that was as good if not better than the stock was the Diamond RH-519 which is much more flexible than the stock.

Now the batteries. Yes there is a "fit" problem with some of the batteries. I have found that you will need to "shim" some of them up to make them fit properly. I know that is not the best thing to have to do but it does work. The battery life is so-so at best. Nowhere near as good as my 50R that I traded for this radio. A larger lithium battery would do much better.

The menu system is in my opinion is very easy to navigate. I had no problems setting up memories and alpha tags. The performance of the radio has been great and the audio from the internal speaker and the speaker mic is very good compared to some that I have had. If you want a good solid dual band HT with a good visible display and one that is not "micro" in size, than this one is for you. I would buy another one should that occasion arise.
KB2TES Rating: 2/5 Mar 7, 2004 20:36 Send this review to a friend
Fragile  Time owned: more than 12 months
Small radio with lots of excellent features. Comfortable to use. Gets quite warm on extended transmissions.

Did not have the durability that I need. Radio was never dropped or abused.

Purchased the radio used (in new condition) with FNB 31 & 38 batteries, speaker mike, VOX headset, and charger.

After less than a year and a half of use, no longer transmits on 2-meters, speaker is blown and I listen to the radio through the speaker mike, batteries do not seem to make consistent contact with the radio upon installation, labeling on keys seems to be wearing off. I have not used the radio in at least 2 years.

I will now establish repair cost estimates and determine the viability of resurrection.

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