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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: 70MSRP: 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.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
WA4JC Rating: 2023-05-26
Perhaps the best choice Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Just bought my 2nd FT-70D. Perhaps the best dual-bander for under $200 - and maybe the best, period. But not for the faint of heart. There are two instruction books and you need to read both.

I've owned tons of HTs. Upon the recommendation of another Ham, I did buy a BayFung. Horrible. Sold it on Ebay asap. The FT-70 is still made in Japan; battery: China.

Dunno about you, but I buy a radio to communicate. They all will do that. It's just that the FT-70D, adds a lot of features, aside from its digital mode.

Cons: Maybe just make one instruction book.

Antenna: Not planning on buying one of those "cat whisker: after market antennas until I see some polar charts or erp gain metrics. I know some will say, "6 db gain." 6db over what? Worthless metric, IMO.

Programming: The supplied cable *is* the programming cable. The freebie ADMS you can download is buggy. I once had to do one global reset of the HT b/c the software locked up the cpu. No worries, just started all over again from my saved file.

--Banks - how to program using ADMS freeware (if you can get it to work):


1. Create memories listing in software with all memory data but DO NOT check off any bank; do not add memory to a bank.
2. Upload (send) the file to radio.
3. Manually (using the keys on the radio), add the first memory to a bank of choice (cf. advance manual).
4. Download (get) the data to populate in ADMS freeware.
5. The bank you manually added should now show a check mark in software. Add remaining check marks to add other memories to the bank(s) of choice.
6. Upload (send) the file to radio.
Press "band." Should now see memories in your banks.

Battery life: It's 1,800 mah. Your smartphone is probably around 4,000 mah. So there you go. Just don't use 5 watts when you don't need to. 1,800 mah, in theory, at 5 watts, is about a 45 min. rag chew. For the past 30 years, I've done most QSOs using .5 watts when using an HT. 5 watts is nice, b/c it's 10 db gain, but costs battery life. You can get spare batteries pretty cheap..

Volume control: Push button, turn dial. Easy. Yes, might be nice to have a clicky hard off switch and volume control as many of us are used to. I get it.

Conclusion: Yup. could be improved - bigger display, bigger battery, but probably at bigger cost. I'm not hard to please. It works. It communicates. Seems well-made.
AB4KA Rating: 2023-05-14
I've tried to like it...I really have Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I bought this for myself on black Friday because I decided I needed a Fusion radio and our club repeater has Fusion. Turns out I could have lived without it as the only Fusion action on the repeater is a weekly net.

The volume control isn't very well thought out. Having to use two hands to adjust the volume is just stupid. At a minimum they could have done it as other manufacturers have and make it to where you can switch between buttons and the knob.

Battery life isn't very good. Even if you don't transmit much it doesn't seem to last as long as it should.

Overall the radio feels cheap. I can't put my finger on what it is and I know my feeling is very subjective, but it just doesn't "feel" as good as other radios I have.

My final rating is "OK". There's nothing really wrong with the radio, but there's nothing that jumps out at me and makes me say "Wow! This is a great radio!"

The best words I can use to describe it would be "average" and "functional". YMMV.
W4XR Rating: 2023-02-17
Poor design & Awful battery life Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I'm severely disappointed in this radio. First, there is no way the design engineers ever tried to use this HT in any real-life scenario where the volume needs to be adjusted in a hurry (takes two hands)! Stupid! REALLY stupid design! And the battery life is totally unacceptable -- seems I have to recharge after only a few minutes use, even if only on receive. How did this ever pass peer review in the design stage?
N4MJG Rating: 2022-12-29
Great HT so far AND LOVE IT SO FAR Time Owned: more than 12 months.



Just got this HT this month in Aug 2017 yesterday my ripid changer came in still need get others !

Anyway not bad little HT atfer my VX8R died diplay stop working ! So this is my replacement !

Still more test to do and will update later on and come let you know ! how well this this HT do !!!

KC2FYA Rating: 2022-12-28
Good Event HT. Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had the 70DR for about five-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.
F1VJT Rating: 2022-07-02
Yaesu can made better... Time Owned: more than 12 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 (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...
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 10/15 supplementary minutes...(battery will drop alone?)
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...

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 bit 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 hope in a new firmware upgrade to fix all bugs

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!

UPDATE @ july 2022

I have compared seriously FT70 with my 16 years old FT-60 for two days outdoor trek.
(T about 17° and 32°C)

FT-70D settings:
-no light
-save setted to 1 second
-no scanning or DW
-volume setted to 16
-OEM battery, fully charged (about 5/7 cycles life)
-monitor on UHF (local repeater frequency, CW beacon every 15 minutes)
-TOT 2 minutes
-full TX power
-Diamond SRH771 antenna
-voltage on power on 8.2V

FT-60R settings:
-no light
-save setted to 500 mS
-no scan or DW
-volume setted on half position
-FNB67-LI battery (2000mA, purchased in 2010, about 80/100 cycles life)
-monitor on UHF (local repeater frequency, CW beacon every 15 minutes)
-TOT 2 minutes
-full TX power
-Diamond SRH771 antenna
-voltage on power on 8.1V

Transceivers are placed symmetrically on the backpack straps

After two hours of walk:
FT-70: 7.8V
FT-60: 8.0/8.1V

After four hours and a QSO (totally 10 minutes TX each):
FT-70: 7.2V + battery warning
FT-60: 7.7V
At the lasts transmission (on TX mode)
FT-70: 6.6V
FT-60: 7.0V

After two hours:
FT-70: 7.2/7.1V + battery warning
FT-60: 7.8V

After one hour and a QSO (totally 6 minutes each)
FT-70: 6.7V
FT-60: 7.4V
On TX mode:
FT-70: 6.0 to 5.8V
FT-60: 6.9 to 6.5V

(in the night the two FT are stocked in my backpack, about 17°C, for about 7 hours)
Power ON
FT-70: 6.6V
FT-60: 7.4V

After five hours:
FT-70: 6.5 to 6.4V
FT-70: 7.3V

QSO start (on TX mode)
FT-70: 5.8V to OFF after about 1.5 minutes
FT-60: 6.8 to 6.3V

FT-70 power on (6.3V) but OFF after about 1 minute TX
FT-60 continue to work

The evening:

FT-70: 6.2V and power OFF about 10/15 seconds TX
FT-60: 7.2V and I could start transmissions for more than 1 minutes, battery warning ON...

Two hypotheses: the OEM battery of FT-70 are a fake 1800mA or my 12 years old and used FNB-V67Li is magic!

I doesn't done importance to the icon battery of the 70 (it's wrongly setted) but battery life/technology have a very big problem.
Finally I can't count on FT-70 in case of disaster or urgency, I can't leave my QTH for more than 1 day without a lot of spare batteries.
I can't make QSOs because battery life are reduced drastically...then I can receive but not transmit... frustrating and useless in case of emergency or if I need...
I have tested aftermarket batteries and no differences between OEM and chinese one, the original seems to be a little bit more performant but no more (perhaps the same factory??)
Globally It have a very good receiver, sound loud and clear, receiver is a little bit more sensitive than predecessor but, after 18 years of technologic progres, the 70 not really evolved properly (except for C4FM).
Last point: characters on keyboard start to be fade (despite spending more time in a drawer than in my hands...)
I keep this transceiver because is a gift from a friend, that said, if I need reliable handy transceiver, I will take (or purchased) another FT-60 with FNB-V67 battery!!
Finally I take off another star from rating!

SAPPHIRE Rating: 2022-06-03
Good radio Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Good radio great receiver, solid radio with good basic performance
To optimize the battery life, set:
Menu 48 rx save 0,8 second
Menu 14 dimmer level 2
Menu 28 lamp 2 sec
Menu 56 Tot 1.0 M
Menu 10 Bsy Led off
To improve the sensitivity of the microphone, set menu 31 Mic gain level 9
DK2JEQ Rating: 2022-01-17
don't buy it Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
in the past 35 years I always used HT'S in the Kenwood TH79 and Icom ID-xx league; this Yaesu is a joke: it's ugly (tiny display in a big frame), two band but not at the same time, the battery needs to be recharged after a 15 minutes QSO, modulation is low; compared to a cheap Boafeng I can't detect any difference, but the Baofeng's battery is very, very good: when I switched on a Baofeng I forgot in the car for two years, the battery was still full charged;
some people say that you buy reliability, but for the same money I can buy one Baofeng and six other backup HT's;
yes, C4FM, you pay for that, perhaps;

KT8R Rating: 2022-01-13
Needs a little more improvement. Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Needs a better battery. Needs louder receive audio.
Aside from those two complaints, great inexpensive way to start Fusion and use the YSF repeaters.
SQ7SCD Rating: 2022-01-12
Far from ideal Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I'm a Fusion fanboy and I really wanted a Fusion handheld. Bought this because I didn't want the touch screen on a HT. I've owned it for over 6 months and I've used it in different conditions, and in general, it does the job. Allows you to communicate with others and that's the most important thing. Some things however are designed really badly - this is still a flawed model.

- clear audio
- cheapest of the bunch
- splash proof

- speaker is still not loud enough in very noisy conditions
- battery life AND battery charge indicator both could be improved. it takes only a few transmissions to get the battery icon show up with 1/2 charge, and you spend most of your time transmitting with an empty battery icon. What's going on there?
- adjusting volume is very difficult if you are not holding the radio with both hands. For example, when it's attached to your belt or a backpack. Stupid design.
- display shows too little information and only shows capital letters
- only supports basic Wires-x capabilities
- programming is a nightmare! No matter if you use Yaesu's ADMS software or CHIRP, the procedure of connecting the radio with your PC is the worst concept ever
- bulky size makes it difficult to operate with smaller hands, especially with the belt clip attached

Would I buy it again? I don't think so. I also think it should be $30, if not $50 cheaper.

My recipe for a newer model:
1. redesign the chassis. Make it slimmer and taller. It should be so nice to hold that you even want to take it to the restroom with you
2. give it a dot matrix display with a nicer backlight, like FT-65 maybe, but larger (not the touch screen!)
3. implement other wires-x features like messaging and room browsing
4. improve the battery life AND the battery charge indicator
5. give it a normal volume knob. Then allow adjusting the lock function to also lock the volume knob from accidental turns!
6. give it a GPS receiver, even if only for Fusion distance calculations and current position readout
7. think of a better programming solution, because ADMS is a total disaster; also allow setting BCLO for specific channel. It's currently a global ON/OFF option.
8. and finally keep the price at the same level.