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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.
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
VK2NN Rating: 2020-03-02
Little Gem from Yaesu Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have had this little gem for about 3 weeks ,easy to program easy to browse through its menus crisp microphone , loud clear speaker and good price.
Good job Yaesu.
Peter de VK2NN
W8RMV Rating: 2020-02-03
Solid radio ruined by no off switch & battery Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
This is my very first HT & I made a mistake. I couldn't imagine any OEM making a radio you can't fully turn off without removing the battery. To charge the battery from 0 to 100% takes 9 hours!! with the standard included charger. The "quick" expensive & optional charger take 3 hours!! The way Yaesu has chosen to configure this HT ruins an otherwise very nice radio. I'd recommend you look elsewhere for an HT.
KA3ZAI Rating: 2020-02-02
Battery life is terrible Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Battery does not hold a charge. Otherwise, a nice HT
M0KED Rating: 2020-02-01
Nice, robust little H/T Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Bought the FT70 as our local 2m repeater is C4FM, and hadn't got anything to play Fusion with. I really like the radio, it feels nice in the hand, and far better quality than my other Chinese H/Ts, mind you, the Yaesu was a bit more costly. Antenna is tuned spot on for 145.5MHz, so no need to replace it. Easy to programme from the radio's keypad. OK, battery life isn't the greatest, but I get a couple of days out of it, drain when switched off seems the same as any of my other H/T's that lack a proper rotary on/off switch........ my Baofeng UVr5 lasts months, the UV3r a matter of a couple of days! Overall I like the FT70, it's introduction to C4FM led me to buy an FT991a! Only the battery life prevents me awarding 5 stars!
N9MRA Rating: 2020-02-01
Very disappointed Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had this radio for over a year. When It works, it works fine. I always get weak audio reports, I have made all of the adjustments that I can. The battery is terrible. I just charged it up for 24 hrs 2 days ago. It has been off since. Today it is dead again. I can’t depend on it in any emergency situation. Worthless to me. Seems to be a history of battery problems with this radio. Would trade it for a can of tuna!
W0DT Rating: 2020-01-25
very nice handie Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Very nice handie with good receive and transmit.
Only problem is if the radio sits for extended time, like
several weeks the battery goes dead. My other yaesu handies do not do this.
Don w0dt
NJ2VT Rating: 2020-01-24
Excellent HT Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I am very pleased with the performance of this little dual-band HT. Operation on both VHF and UHF is flawless, both on analog and System Fusion. I did purchase the drop-in charger and RTS programming software, which make updating and operating the rig even more enjoyable. In short, the receiver is outstanding, with great selectivity, crystal-clear audio and plenty of volume. I am getting fantastic reports on my transmit audio, as well. Yes, battery life is nowhere near the 'life' you'll find on DMR, but that's to be expected from a rig that's using 100% duty cycle modes. Some of the basic functions (volume, squelch) take a little getting used to, but are certainly doable. The HT makes a nice portable addition to the shack, and with the Yaesu rebate going on through the end of the month, it won't break the bank.
N2MDV Rating: 2019-11-14
Great C4FM gateway HT! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
At the time of this writing, C4FM has thus far won the digital voice format in my area. I have yet to try DMR, D-STAR, or P-23, formats, but I'd have to say that C4FM is pretty much plug & play, with a nice analog fall-back. For $200.00, it's a good basic dual band HT for basic analog and C4FM operations. Like most HT's, it does overheat on 5W setting, especially on 440MHz. Any 2M and 440 linear amps work well with this HT if you want more oomph out of it. A few things that could have been thought out better, like a double operation just to adjust speaker volume. The Mic Gain also has to be adjusted when going from analog FM and C4FM. And, a better audio limiter and AGC could be added to keep from overmodulating, or under modulating, the C4FM side on transmit. Still, you can't really go wrong getting your feet wet in C4FM with this HT.
KJ7UKA 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.