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Reviews For: Yaesu FT-70DR dual band digital HT

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : Yaesu FT-70DR dual band digital HT
Reviews: 36MSRP: 199.95

FT-70DR C4FM FDMA / FM 144/430 MHz Dual Band 5W Handheld Transceiver

The new FT-70DR is a compact and very attractively priced YAESU System Fusion transceiver providing both conventional analog FM operation and the advanced C4FM Digital mode. The FT-70DR provides up to 5W of reliable RF power, and its large Front Speaker delivers 700mW of Loud Audio Output. Because C4FM has better BER (Bit Error Rate) characteristics than other digital modulations, the user can expect exceptional audio quality. The new digital FT-70DR includes our unique Automatic Mode Select (AMS) function. AMS detects the operating mode of the received signal as C4FM digital or analog FM, and then automatically and instantly switches the receiver to the appropriate mode. Users do not need to manually change between modes. The multi-colored LED Mode-Indicator displayed on the front allows the operator to easily see what mode the FT-70DR is in at any given moment. LED Mode-Indicator clearly and visibly shows the transmit/ receive mode by changing its color so that the operating mode of the transceiver is easily recognized at a glance. One of the other distinguishing features of the FT-70DR is Digital Group Monitor (GM) with DG-ID (Digital Group Identification) and DP-ID (Digital Personal Identification) now included in the FT-70DR, to simplify the GM operation. Simply put, the transceivers selecting the same DG-ID or DP-ID can communicate with each other. Between 00 and 99 DG-ID and DP-ID are selectable which provides loads of flexibility so that users can enjoy group communication with friends in GM mode in accordance to their individual operational needs.
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
F1VJT Rating: 2019-11-06
Perhaps the worst HT of Yaesu Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
A friend offer me a FT70 (thank you F6GLS!).
After some months I observe many fundamentals problems:
-battery life (yes, problem know..)
-squelch level and hysteresis
-big difference of mic level between C4FM and FM
-charging speed
-charging voltage
-desk charger
-RF power
-scan speed
-programming process

The pros:
-good receiver
-frequency steps (and 8.33 kHz in AM band)
-good modulation (when tuned correctly)
-loud sound (powerful) out of speaker

The battery icon flash when the battery voltage drop @ 7.4V (is the nominal voltage of a LiIon battery... Yaesu, do you know??).
The squelch: set to 1 is too hard, I try to set RF squelch but the problem are still present...The hysteresis is not correct, squelch close rapidly and not re-open...(I'm forced to push the moni key...)
Mic gain: a good level for C4FM is not enough for FM mode and vice-versa, a good level for FM is too high for C4FM...
Accessories: Yaesu do not propose any solution like a bigger battery or a battery case.
Charging speed: the original power supply apply a very slow charge...more quickly with the SHB-28... a scam to sell us the desk charger? Yaesu wants us to believe that it is not possible apply a power chip internally in to transceiver? And SHB-28 is proportionally expensive and not very good because is sold WITHOUT PS and not possible to supply with a standard voltage of 12/14 V (to put it in the car for example). Impossible to see the name of the µchip on the charger unit... I don't know if is possible to apply others voltages...
Charging voltage: I purchased an aftermarket battery (chinese) and I verify the voltage final charge: 8.2/8.3V instead of 8.4V (tested on a slow and fast chargers and with original and chinese battery).
I checked fews times with a data logger and the voltage never reach 8.4/8.45V... is difficult to change values of resistor to attempt good voltage without the charger schematic...
The desk charger is alsoo a little strange: when I put a battery on (only the battery, without HT), the LED come red (normal), green when finished (normal). After fews hours of green light and with the battery still on, the LED come back red and battery is charged for 15/30 supplementary minutes...
When I put a 30% discharged battery (about) the led stay green...if I put it fews times the led go to red and a new charge cycle start... Hey! Is there a ghost into my charger?
RF power: 3.7/4W instead of 5...not a problem, only fews dB...
Scan speed: hey! FT-70 has a poor µP?? Or a surplus from a FRG-9600??? Scan is relatively slow, a little more quicly than a Baofeng UV-5R...
Programming: nearly in 2020 Yaesu is unable to make a "plug and play" hardware/software able to recognize a simple USB activity??
No comment...

I have contacted Yaesu for explain the squelch and battery problems (most unsettlings), they reply to me to buy a Service Manual to tune it! Yeah, congratulation Yaesu, the customer service are simply disappointing!
They knows theses problems and any free documentation or upgrade available to fix bugs?? GREAT!

My questions are:
Why Yaesu doesn't put a mechanical switch like the previous model? They have upgraded the older FT-50 (with the SAME problem, idle current drop down battery) to FT-60 with an ON/OFF switch... The experience was inconclusive?Or too expensive???
Why Yaesu doesn't offer a real upgrade in the last firmware?
Why Yaesu doesn't publish an extended note to fix bugs?
Very disappeared from Yaesu and FT-70, my old FT-60 is more convenient and the battery life (specially with a FNB-V76LI) is simply great!
Finally, the FT-70 will not replace the glorious FT-60... except for C4FM...
...and, when I don't use it, I'm forced to put out battery from transceiver otherwise I’ll find her partially empty when I would to use it...

If users founded sames problems and aren't satisfied, please send a mail to Yaesu directly to explain your dissatisfaction!
To solve theses problems it necessary a new upgrade or a free service manual.

K9TNR Rating: 2019-10-17
Happy now but not at first. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This radio was purchased on a Friday and I spent several hours over the ensuing weekend trying to program it and trying to like it. I failed at both. I boxed it up Sunday night in preparation for its return to HRO the following day. But read on...I still have it and I like it.

The beginning of our relationship:
First off, I'm a techie tinkerer that can figure stuff out but...I could not get this radio programmed and working properly. The free Yaesu software gets you exactly what you paid for…nothing. I was able to read data from the radio but never succeeded in writing to the radio, it wouldn't even recognize it. Even if it did work, the process is needlessly cumbersome and the software is not what one would call “feature rich.” A lot of time was spent researching on the Internet and I found “work-arounds" for various FT-70DR issues, none of which worked. I'm leaving out a lot of details but it was one frustrating obstacle after another. I tried Chirp, that didn’t work either.

So, then I tried programming it manually. More obstacles. Was able to work around all of them except group scan. No matter what I did, it would scan all programmed channels and banks. At that point I was fed up.

Online, the most common solution is to buy the RT Systems software. While I'm a big fan of upgrades, tweaks, and after-market accessories to make something work better, I had a real problem wrapping my head around the fact that you have to pay $50 for 3rd party software and a cable just to get this $155 radio to perform its basic functions. Sunday night after several hours of frustration, I did a factory reset and boxed it all back up to return it.

I vented my frustrations to a couple of the guys at HRO on Monday, one of whom owned an FT-70DR. He showed me how to use Wires-X and over the course of that discussion, I decided to give the RT Systems software a shot and left with the FT-70DR and software. To be fair, the sales rep at HRO asked if I wanted the software when I bought the radio and I declined.

Well, aftermarket software made all the difference in the world. Ninety minutes after getting home, my FT-70DR was programmed and running like it should. There were still several things to figure out but it was just about learning the radio, not troubleshooting problems. So, after our initial rocky start, I like it and have been using it a lot.

Wires-X is great, amazing audio quality. From my chair in the family room, I can connect to the Fusion repeater 13 miles away with perfect clarity. Not with the supplied antenna of course; I'm using a Diamond SRH77CA. The stock antenna hasn't even been on it.

The multi-function knob takes a little getting used to but works well. The raised lines on top of the knob allow you to turn it with your thumb for one-handed operation. Volume is loud enough for all but the noisiest of conditions. With my headset, having the volume at 5 is plenty of volume.

It doesn’t have the heavy-duty heft and feel like that of the FT-60 but it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy either. The bracket of the belt clip is metal and it holds securely to a belt. The battery clip has a locking tab which is a nice touch.

Bottom line, it’s a great little radio but there are some other minor annoyances:
- It’s a Yaesu so the operator manual leaves a lot to be desired.

- If you plan to use this regularly, the rapid charger and an extra battery are must have accessories. The charging is very slow with the supplied charger plugged into the side of the unit. The rapid charger probably costs Yaesu $2 to make so they should just include it with the radio. I’d rather see them sell it without the 75 cent rubber duck antenna/dummy load and include the rapid charger. Who uses a stock HT antenna anyway? With the rapid charger, extra battery, Diamond antenna, and RT Systems software, I have $140 (before tax) into this $155 radio.

- The rapid charger will not charge the battery if the radio is on.

- Not a downgrade but something to be aware of: This is an entry level Wires-X radio. As such, operation in Wires-X mode is a manual affair. There is no GPS so it will not show nor search for available Wires-X nodes or repeaters; you must refer to RepeaterBook or other resources. Nor will it show you active rooms. You need to use the Yaesu website or other online resources to find active rooms and they only update every 30 to 60 minutes. Once you choose a room, you need to enter the 5 digit ID.

Overall, I’m a little conflicted on the rating for this radio. If Yaesu offered software that worked, I’d give it a 4. If they included the rapid charger, I may even give it a 5. However, based on what it is rather than what I wish it were, I have to go with a 3. Like I said, having to spend $50 to get a $155 radio to work isn’t exactly a feather in Yaesu’s cap. But, I'm used to it now and use it a lot. And...I like it.
G0LGB Rating: 2019-10-01
Very good....but....has flaws Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Very pleased overall with this radio, good battery life in my case (so far).
Not so impressed with the display, in this day & age a single line LCD display with just 6 character names is pretty poor.

Yaesu really need to start paying attention to cheap Chinese sets that offer simple pc connectivity, included drop in chargers & accessories, & I wish this had a similar, full colour, multi line, long character names display to my £50 Baofeng.

The transmitted audio sounds good in both analogue and digital. I guess digital is going to sound better to my usual DMR as it uses 12.5k instead of just 6.25k bandwidth as Fusion doesn't divide the channels into two slots.
I like the AMS (Auto Mode Select)it saves having to set a memory up for analogue and digital modes for my local multi mode repeaters, although you can simply tap the mode button to change manually.
In fact many of the common functions can be easily selected from the key pad, even programming in a repeater takes just a couple of minutes, so thankfully you shouldn't have to connect to your pc very often.

Again, I like this FT70DE but the procedure of connection, a mini usb lead (who uses mini these days?) whilst plugging and unplugging the power lead, after removing the battery, and holding in the AMS key, whilst facing south, tapping your left foot (not Right!) and humming the Japanese national anthem...well its a chore..
Also watch out as not all mini-usb leads are created equal, it took me a couple of hours of frustration trying to use a cable i had, before giving up, plugging in a different cable and finding it connected immediately! I guess the data pins in the first one were not connected or something.

At least the programming software is free which is a big step up from Icom!

I wonder if there's a manufacturing fault with those users who suffer lousy battery life?

The book quotes a standby current of 180mA, & mine draws exactly that, so should give you all day on a 1800mA battery, & just the other day I was rag-chewing for over an hour and a half & monitored all day on one charge which is as good or better than any other handie i've owned. Incidentally, you can adjust the battery saver mode & drop the standby current to just 120mA.
One other thought was the use of the fast charger, I'm always wary of over cooking batteries and shortening their life, I wonder if users with poor battery performance are using fast chargers?
Many of my gripes have been addressed in newer models, such as the display, but that comes at a very hefty price, two or even three times the price of the FT-70, and I really doubt I could ever bring myself to spend almost £500 on a hand held, so for around £170 I'd recommend this, better yet, as the hobby continues to shrink, buy an even cheaper lightly used one.
WX2WMU Rating: 2019-09-13
Good Event HT. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had the 70DR for about two-years now. I like everything about the radio except, the Battery Life. I elected to get two spare batteries which I rotate in charging. I use for race communications and hamfests. It is very easy to program and is solid in feel.

This would be a great starter radio for new hams, and it can access Fusion C4FM Repeaters plus is 144/440 Mhz. I also have the FT-2DR and this sounds almost as good on RX audio.

Earlier 3-star review posted by WX2WMU on 2019-03-14

I have the FT-70 for over a year now and a spare battery is a must if one uses as a race communication radio, even on the half-watt setting. The battery drains quickly and even with the power off, the battery loses voltage each day that passes.

The audio on the front speaker is fair, could be a bit louder for outdoor settings. I do like that you can not accidentally lower or raise the volume and squelch. The radio is simple to program in the field, even complex repeaters with odd splits is not a problem.

I elected to get a rapid charger set (2-piece) which is fast in charging a depleted battery. The C4FM Digital Fusion sounds amazing, especially if both parties are utilizing the "VW" setting. The analog audio is good, a little more bass than the average radio.
W3ALG Rating: 2019-07-31
Battery Life Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Purchased this radio new. In 3 weeks I had to charge this battery 11 times. After research and asking suppliers, they told me the battery life on this radio is terrible. They have had numerous complaints about the same problem as well. I own 7 Yaesu's and am happy with all of them except this one. I called Yaesu and was instructed to send it back. I did and after 7 weeks of hearing nothing, I received it back with no note of explanation on what was found to be the problem. I contacted them again and they didn't know what was found. Really?

I would not recommend this particular radio until the problem is corrected with the battery life.
W9MT Rating: 2019-07-25
Radio is 5/5, drop-in charger is 2/5 Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Simply put, I am extremely happy with the radio and agree with all of the plusses noted in the other reviews.

220 transmit would have been nice, but I have other radios that can do this, and my FT-70DR was purchased to be able to directly access YSF/FUSION without needing a hotspot's connecting thru a conversion reflector.

My only complaint is with the SBH-28 drop-in charger base. If Baofeng can include this with their low end $24 UV-5R radios, why does Yaesu need to get another $30-$40 for a drop in charger base?

Secondly, one needs two hands to use this accessory. It's hard to line up the battery's side slots with the guides to push-in (not simply drop down) the radio. After the red LED changes color indicating a full charge, you cannot simply pull out the radio, as the light weight of the charger base won't let it go because of the charger contacts' spring tension. The pair lift up off of the table top and you need two hands to separate the radio and base from their "intimate embrace".

...and just like all other charger bases (including Baofeng, et al), it would be very nice if I didn't need to buy and install my own adhesive bumper feet from Home Depot to keep the base from sliding around on the table top if accidentally brushed or bumped.

Did I say the radio was great? It IS !!!
N2HAM Rating: 2019-07-09
Awesome Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Awesome radio! Well built, super receive, great audio, fits great in the hand. I would by another one and soon!
KV1P Rating: 2019-06-28
Works Very Good Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just a Fantastic HT very simple to get it up and running! Read the Manual it will make your day a piece of cake
KD0DUJ Rating: 2019-06-15
Awesome HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought my FT-70DR last year and I will say that the radio is great in all aspects and I like that you can monitor air traffic controland the digital voice mode is crystal clear and very easy to program.
WW8X Rating: 2019-05-26
AWESOME Little Radio!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
First off, a child could program this gem of a radio. I had all the local repeaters talking within about an hour... that's 20+ machines! The audio output is solid and full. Yeah, the audio adjust is slightly awkward, but not a deal breaker and you do get used to it in short time. The battery lasts a whole day with casual usage (8 hours listening/20 minutes of transmit). If needed, aftermarket batteries are available (2200 mAh). It's also System Fusion/WIRES-X compatible which is totally awesome if you haven't experienced that digital mode, your missing out big time. I'm amazed how Yaesu is able to pack so many high-end advanced features into such a small, well-built rugged HT for the money. The FT-70DR is a classic and a real keeper. Take it for someone who seems to never be able to program HTs, this one is a piece of cake.