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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: 71MSRP: 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
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.

W6CJ Rating: 2021-10-25
Good starter radio for C4FM - Good for outdoor carry. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My first jump into C4FM was with the FT3DR. In spite of the FT3DRs features, Yaesu forgot about receive audio in that model...shrill and tinny! While considering the new FT5DR (said to have slightly better receive audio - on C4FM), I decided instead to spend my FT5DR budget on two FT70DRs and accessories.

There are several side-by-side videos out there; comparing speaker audio from the FT70, FT3, and the new FT5. If you want to hear your radio outdoors or in a moving vehicle, you might consider the FT70, which is louder than the FT3 and has more midrange audio.

If considering an FT70DR, I strongly recommend the RT Systems radio programming software and associated USB cable. Forget about the Yaesu ADMS software and that absurd routine of disconnecting/connecting the cable and pressing buttons. RT Systems has good customer service. Programming by hand is not too difficult with the FT70D, should you find that necessary when travelling.

The manual included with the FT70D is a basic manual. Like most Yaesu manuals, much of the contents appear to be badly translated English, so important concepts are lost in translation. Their idea of what belongs in a basic manual (and what does not) is flawed. You will also have to go to the Yaesu site and download the other manuals for the FT70.... the FT70 is not the only Yaesu radio with multiple manuals.

The FT70 display is easier to read in daylight (as compared to the FT3D display). A few have griped about setting the volume control - you have to hold the VOL key while twisting the VFO/CHANNEL knob. I like that you can program each memory channel with its own power level - High=5w, Mid=2w, Low=0.5w.

Channel memories can be programmed with frequency numerics, or with 6-figure alpha tags (both are not visible at the same time). Memory banks can be enabled, for example, a bank for the repeaters in each region you travel to.

Some have griped about short battery life. I bought extra batteries, the car-charging cable and the 12-v cable - I attached powerpoles to the ends of the 12-V cable, so I'm in good shape for power and batteries.

My FT3DR? I'm keeping it at home. It makes a great Wires-X Access Point.


VE7REN Rating: 2021-10-03
good,but need some options.. like AA PACK Time Owned: more than 12 months.
ok,now ive owned this radio for over a year,and find it to be easy to program manually,like the lcd and its lighting for darker evenings,but the overall build quality is not like the ft170,270,ft60,etc. it is cheaper feeling,less heavy,most likely due to lion batteries,but it is not as well built as the forementioned and has a plasticky feeling. the price is appropriate for a digital dualband!

NOW,what i would have liked to have seen,is the option of having a extra AA pack for emergency purposes. i never purchase a handheld unless it has a external power input,as i use it from the vehicle or atv if need be,but,i hesitantly bought this radio knowing it did not have the AA pack,hoping somewhere somehow ,someone would eventually make one for it! well,that has not happened yet,and i constantly leave my radio plugged in via outside power port adapter to my atv when im in the bush,as i always want a full charge when need be. thats about my only 2 quirks with this radio......kind of cheapy feel,and no AA pack.. cmon yaesu,. ide only buy again on the used market if the price was other radios are the icom t70 dualband,which will eat this radio all day long with battery,loudness,and toughness feel.
VE5EDE Rating: 2021-10-02
Mixed Bag, but Great Radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Since trying out digital modulation, FM is beginning to sound mighty raspy and noisy by comparison. I was shocked at how utterly pristine the audio is...just like having another ham in the room with you. The other surprise is that digital works very well at low power. Either C4FM comes through, or you hear silence, and it manages to pick up some very weak signals and delivers better than broadcast quality audio with no noise.

The radio has a quirk or two, despite it's solid, beefy, modern build. It works for me every time, and is so easy to program that within a few minutes after receiving it, it is ready to transmit on your frequency. But don't get carried away just yet. If you think that such convenience carries over to programming it by computer, you're in for an exasperating surprise. NEVER EVER in my 45+ years as a ham have I ever witnessed any procedure as obscure, dark, arcane, depressing, and yes, downright stupid, as programming this radio through its proprietery software or through Chirp! PROLIFIC comes in a close second, but this is a sick joke and an unspeakable nightmare!

While I did eventually conquer programming (don't forget to throw salt over your left shoulder), it left me with a truly bad taste in my mouth towards Yaesu, who will never again get my business if they ever pull another stunt like this. Baofengs can be programmed with a fraction of the effort. The only redeeming factor is that in actual everyday use, this radio really shines. Battery life is not particularly impressive, but overall, a great radio.

While there are 1 star reviews posted here, please note, they conspicuously and consistently come from hams who are ostensibly so frustrated by new ideas, divergent information and an inability to assimilate the unfamiliar that they'll blame the manufacturer for their own failures. Yes, you CAN in fact turn this radio off without "removing the battery"....dear lord! ....Before posting a hasty review and publicly documenting our own folly, wouldn't it be nice to learn how to use the radio first? Or (dare I say it?) consult the manual?

Indeed a great price point with many excellent features and performance, as long as you stay away from programming it via computer....

ND3Y Rating: 2021-09-18
I sent it back Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I sent this radio back after a day of using it. It packs a number of features for the price tag, and the Fusion was fun to play with (for a few minutes). I got good signal reports. This review might be nitpicky, but for $179, I'm allowed to nitpick.

The thing is that the radio just didn't feel very rugged. Actually, it felt plasticky. When you peel back the protective rubber plug to access the DC socket, you can see it sitting on top of the main circuit board, which is also slightly exposed. The PTT and VFO knob also felt like they could soften up over time.

My one other complaint was the audio. The volume wasn't the problem as much as the acoustics. It just sounds boomy in a small way, such that I had a hard time understanding it. Also, because the chassis is so light, the radio really vibrated with receive audio. I found it annoying to hold.

I guess I had high hopes because the only other Yaesu HT I've had was the VX-170. It weighed a ton, could be used in place of a hammer, and had a loud, clear speaker that could fill a room. I once dropped it on a tile floor; it sustained a crack near the VFO knob, but continued functioning happily for another ten years.

I have a FT-2980, which is another old design that's still in production, and it feels rock solid. So Yaesu is still capable of manufacturing ruggedness, but I suspect the newer transceiver designs are using lighter materials.

If you want something lightweight for backpacking, the FT-70 could be great. Idem. if you want Fusion at a low entry point. For me, I sent it back and ordered an FT-60. Wanted to grab one of Yaesu's tougher radios before they get phased out.
KO4NBB Rating: 2021-05-21
Solid midlevel, terrible battery Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Super easy to program independently,
works with chirp, as well as yaesu's own program(which feels like a cheesy version of chirp with less features)
Feels solid in the hand unlike the uv5r that almost everyone owns.

I like the wide band receive since I live by the coast and by the airport, I can hear the coastguard as well as the airports in my area.

Main thing I dislike is the terrible battery performance, I always feel like I have to charge this thing all the time. People say the battery icon pops up prematurely, but even so, its obnoxious to see it so soon to pulling off the super slow charger. Also, my wallwart charger makes the most god awful high pitched whine while its charging, its gotta be in another room entirely.

I don't live around any WIRES repeaters, nor do I have internet at home, so I cant really say much about the digital side, other than the few times I've heard the digital its nice to see the other callsigns on the screen and the audio does sound nice to me to compared analog.
KN4SKF Rating: 2021-03-20
Very poor design Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Purchased and programmed this radio. Very poor design by Yaesu as others have noted Hard to program using software. Wires-X is a big disappointment. Radio has been returned. Will not ever purchase another Yaesu radio.
KD8DVR Rating: 2020-12-17
Excellent radio Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Yaesu FT-70 Review

I purchased this radio as a beginner in YSF/C4FM. I wanted a low-cost, easy to operate radio. I found it with the FT-70. This radio has functions for a beginner, as well as an advanced user.

Initial setup was fast. When powering up the first time, it asked me for my call sign. I entered it, per the instructions in the manual. Then I needed to program some frequencies. Entry from the front panel was easy and all attributes of the channels, including the alpha tag can be entered from the front panel. All attributes of the radio can be changed via the extensive menu system.

Programming software is available free from Yaesu. A programming cable is included. It requires some rather unusual processes to get the cable connected and into programming mode, though. Nonetheless, all aspects of the radio can be programmed from the software.

Operationally, the radio works great. Received and transmitted audio are fine. Leave the mic gain at the factory setting of 5 for digital. I've found, on analog, you may need to increase it up to 7 for proper transmit audio. This is odd. You might have thought they'd have them equal. Oh well.

The supplied antenna works fine. An aftermarket antenna I have around actually works worse. Your experiences may vary.

Battery life is one complaint. I recommend buying the desk/quick charger. Also a spare battery. I can get over 8 hours of use on one battery charge. This is likely sufficient for most users. But if you get into a ragchew on simplex, where you need high power, you may find your battery life goes down rather fast.

All in all a very good radio. I'd recommend its purchase. It has everything you need for analog and digital communications.

John Wilkerson Jr. KD8DVR
KB6HRT Rating: 2020-12-16
TOPS FOR MY NEEDS! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Great am an older HAM hearing impaired, this radio has a volume I can hear very clearly. Very easy radio to learn tan see readout, good battery life, back using a hand held after 10 years, very happy with this radio!.........kb6hrt
WB9VKM Rating: 2020-11-08
Very Happy Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
One of the reasons I bought this was the price as it was before the increase and was open boxed. Yes ,it takes forever to charge with the wall wart. I'm never in a hurry.
In my area there are 6 Fusion repeaters and wanted c4fm capability . The net on the club repeater now has analog and a digital net . The quality of the signals received are great on digital and I get the same report. One other member has the same HT and he sounds great .Much better then when he is analog. I have two Baofengs that I use when I am out in the dirt and dust-this one is too good to get thrashed.