Manager - NA4M
Manager Notes

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

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

eMail Subscription

Registered users are allowed to subscribe to specific review topics and receive eMail notifications when new reviews are posted.
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
More Info: HTTPS://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
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.
K1ACK Rating: 2019-05-25
Initially infuriating! Mil Air Deaf Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This has been the most frustrating radio I've ever purchased. I hope in reading this users have a heads up as to these ergonomic defects and thus have a much less frustrating time than I did. It would have been a lot less frustrating if I had that heads up and didnt have to spend lots of time figuring them out on my own, so I hope this helps some people. Like most things, once you get it set, then you can enjoy the radio, which for most people is probably just fine (for me in the end the Mil Air RX defect is the deal killer). I also hope the MFRs read these so their next radio will be better. Some of these things are little annoyances, but there are a lot of them, they add up (like when you've had a really bad day but nothing major happened, just a lot of little things, thats this radio), and most are completely unnecessary, which...makes them even more annoying.

Ok, lets get going! First FAIL! I have a test when unboxing a new radio. How fast can I get on the air on a local rpt WITHOUT the manual. This is an important gauge of the ergonomics of a radio that sooner or later will show itself when down the line you need to make a change in the field. Its the first impression. This radio is a Big Fat Fail! This is the worst fail in this regard I have ever seen in 35 years as a ham. The FTM-7250 is the same way. You are required to put in a call sign (for that digital stuff that 90% of people probably dont use) before you can do ANYTHING....INCLUDING PROGRAM via software (my callsign is X because I have no use for digital). Its not intuitive, you are forced to hunt in the manual. When you spend 1/2 hour trying to get that to work and get nowhere (I'm just lucky, I guess), so then you then have to hunt for the reset procedure. Finally I could put my X in and get on 52 simplex and call for the nice young men in their clean white coats. Its not a great start, folks!

I didnt bother trying to program it manually because software is so much easier, right? I downloaded the FREE (Yippee! about time!) (but no free software for the 7250??? what gives?) and the software went to install a new dot net framework. I can program 30+ radios from this computer without having to do this, so I dont know whats so different about this. Several HOURS later (I let it go because I didnt want something like that 1/2 installed if I pulled the plug) it finally finished that and then started installing the original radio software which took the usual minute or less. I changed where it saves the radio "personality" to the same folder as the software, otherwise it saves it in the black hole "Documents" folder. Newer computers likey wont require the dot net update (I hope!). You also need to update the driver for the new USB connection. Its included in the folder once you unzip it (72.6mb zipped, 73.7 unzipped (woohoo! saved a whole 1.1mb!). The program itself is only 2.14mb, so the other 70+mb must be the dot net stuff that every other radio program doesnt need, but at least they saved 1.1mb of bandwidth making you do the extra unzip step (just another one of those small unnecessary thing in the pile). Clicking "Determine" on the com port setup was the only way I got it to work. Once set, its set, but it could have been SOOOO much easier! I had my $26 China special installed, programmed and out the door literally hours less than it took for this.

FAIL! This radio has absolutely the most convoluted software setup I've ever seen. Remove the battery, plug in the charger, turn it on, unplug the charger, plug in the USB cord (any "old" style mini usb cord should work, the supplied one isnt special, and I never heard any "click" like you are supposed to after you plug it in), then plug the charger back again while holding the AMS key. Guess whats not going to work if you dont put in a stupid call sign first????

FAIL! The radio has been out for 2 years and NO AA pack? No bigger pack?? Is there a Chinese knock-off? This radio is obviously made there, and they usually have "sort-of-the-same" knockoffs by now. This is especially awful because of the dreaded battery life I have yet to have the chance to experience. I did change the batt save time to longer, so will see, which of course does nothing in scan mode which is what I usually use. Due to the "dies even when off" feature, its not a good candidate to throw in the glove compartment, it will be dead when you go to use it. That may be due to circuitry in the battery itself and not the radio(one reason I dont like LiIon), so taking the batt off might not help. Guess what happens (or rather doesnt happen) when you let it sit for a few months and it drains to zero? Like I said, I dont like LiIon. In that case an AA pack would be a valuable thing, right? This is not an issue with my $26 Chinese radio, let it sit a year and it comes right on.

One of the big reasons I got this is because of its UHF mill Air capability, Analog 2m and vhf Air and UHF air is all I want. Since FM is their default mode in this range, you have to uncheck Auto in the software and change the mode to AM (then of course reprogram...battery off...charger in... Turn...ETC ETC ETC). So far this radio is COMPLETELY DEAF (like sq off hooked to a discone 1.5 miles from the tower DEAF) on the bottom half of Mil Air (363mhz good, 292mhz DEAF). I live across the river from an air base and can disconnect the ant from my old PRO-43 and it still picks it up. 313mhz is coming in too so I suspect its a passband filter selection error in the radio firmware at 300mhz when it should change at 225mhz. Of course most of my local freqs are in the lower dead zone. In all the advertising I've seen it says wide band receive 108-579.995 but in the manual it has a gap from 222-300, or at least it doesnt specify the sensitivity for that range. Yes, thats false advertising! I realize this isnt the primary function of this radio, but dont advertise a freq range it simply does not get! I'm sure I'm in the minority, but this was a major reason I bought the radio.

FAIL! The word SET is not printed on the radio, so if you forget how to get into it, you will have to dig out your manual. (its Press and Hold the F key, P35). Perhaps a blue (just different than orange) printed "SET" next to the F button would have told me this. Like I said, small annoyances, but a lot of them.

FAIL! The manual is not the whole manual. I can't count how many times I see "download the real manual to see..." Like how do you scan just certain banks? (F then Band, P15 of the ADVANCED manual). Once you are in that bank, press F then 2 and it will scan that bank. I saw nothing regarding scanning more than one bank at a time. I guess you can assign a freq to more than one bank if you want to mix it up. Good luck keeping track of all that. The Advanced manual is a staggering THREE PAGES longer than the regular "Owners Manual", which translates to ONE sheet of paper. What in the world is the purpose of the 2 manuals??? And dont be fooled, the 6.6mb PDF is the Advanced manual, and the bigger 11.5mb PDF is the 3 pages smaller "Owners" Manual. Once you click on the wrong one 15 times you will change the file name to something you can actually understand. can probably tell my initial impression wasnt exactly stellar! The complete non-functionality of the lower half of the Mil Air band makes this a deal killer for me (this brought the review from 3 to 2) which I realize is probably not a big deal to most of you. But otherwise, for 2m and 440, it seems good (like the $26 radio) . I like the receive audio, it is a little bassy and warm. My old eyes can see the freq on the display. VHF aircraft reception seems pretty good. The belt clip is a (better) standard metal clip that you screw to the back of the radio, not the "cell phone" kind they used on radios like the VX-7r that inevitably leads to the radio falling off. There is zero Fusion in my area, so I really cant comment as to all that, other than it might be of some use if it were DMR instead.

So once you get past the annoyances (and there are a lot of them!), and if Mil Air is not important, its probably OK. If you are on Fusion it will probably serve you fine. If you dont care about digital, the FT-60 (although it was $20 more than this (on sale Dayton weekend) plus you have to buy the software (although its listed on chirp along with the FT-70D...I should have tried that first!) may be less annoying plus has an AA pack (tons of batteries fit it actually), SET is there above the zero key (woohoo!) and supposedly receives Mil Air.
W8GTX Rating: 2019-05-24
Nice price for a Big 3 digital HT Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Purchased this on sale for $125/free shipping. The radio feels solid, very nice audio output from the speaker. Does what I need an HT to do which is very little. The supplied antenna works well enough. The radio is heavily menu driven (as most are today) and that isn't a negative for me. The Yaesu ADMS-10 programming software is "clunky" as far as setting up for programming and reading of the radio, but not hard to use overall so again no biggie for me. Received audio reports are clean/clear in both analog & digital. The screen is easy on the eyes and easy to see in sunlight. Very easy on the eyes for night use, GLAD they didn't use a monochrome screen! I'm not a big HT user and when using it, its for close up work or on the local repeater, nothing more so battery life for me is again no biggie. Noice job Yaesu, nice price for a digital radio from one of the Big 3, but please improve the programming software...
KB9FMV Rating: 2019-05-06
GREAT HANDIE FOR WIRES X Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Still working great ! Great receive great wires x handie! Cant find any problems with this handie! REALLY DESIGNED FOR WIRES X ! CANT BEAT THE PRICE EITHER!
N4MIT Rating: 2019-05-01
Battery Sucks! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had mine for 24hrs... Plays nicely on 2 & 70cm. I will receive 222mhz but not transmit there. It was cheap for a brand name HT but the battery is really short lived. Even on just RX you'll get maybe 8 hrs on a full charge. The charger barely keeps up if the radio is on. Otherwise its not a bad HT for the right purpose... short term use. You'll need to read the manual and the advanced manual (from Yaesu) to figure out the little details.