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: 74MSRP: 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:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
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.
N2DRB Rating: 2019-04-29
Don't tell my FT-60 Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I've had this radio about 8 months now and I am still very impressed. The radio fits well in the hands, is easy to program via the keypad (although I still bought the kit as I travel often for work). There's a couple of good videos online on how to do it. The audio is solid, both TX and RX and having Fusion is a bonus. I have a few HTs and have always said my favorite was the FT-60 but I think the FT-70DR edges it out and is now the one I reach for most. Don't worry, I'll keep the other as I think everyone should have one but the FT-70DR is now the one I recommend when people ask for suggestions on either their first or one that it fits within their budget. I even bought mine when it was closer to $200 and still think I got a great deal. Also, I have not had any issues with the speaker that others have noted and the battery is fine given the capacity and usage (I did get a spare and the desktop fast charger).
KJ7BRE Rating: 2019-03-28
Great Radio! Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
Ok, so here we are reviewing the RADIO. Not the BATTERY.

The radio is great! Im a 14yo ham radio operator and got this for my b-day. Its my first digital radio and was my friends first ever radio. This radio has lots of good features including:

Banks, SUPER easy programming, flashlight, adjustible beep level, AM reciving, 1 knob operation, 12v charging and input and much more.

As a starter radio for anyone I would HIGHILY recommend. The only other feature I would want would be APRS but that is just me.

Now im not here to talk about the battery but, yes the battery does not last long. They (yaesu) NEEDs to make a larger battery.

This radio has been know with some of my friends to have problems and have had to be sent back. I have not had any problems yet.

This is my best HT at the moment! Thanks Yaesu for making a great product!
G8FXC Rating: 2019-02-13
Initial impressions positive Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I was looking for a replacement for my elderly ICOM HT and fancied trying Fusion. I fancied the FT-2DE, but the asking price was a bit high, so I opted for the FT-70DE instead - and I am not too disappointed.

The radio is solidly built and feels like it will last. Most of the ergonomics are good too, though there are a few niggles. I'm just on the edge of range of a couple of Fusion repeaters - can hear them, but not open communications through them. I drove closer to one in order to test and the FT-70 works fine on WiresX - quite fun! It also works fine on FM through other local repeaters and direct to other local stations.

Battery life could be better, but is not a problem for my pattern of usage. I bought the fast charger and drop the radio in whenever I'm near it - have not run it flat yet.

All in all, I'm enjoying it. Easy to operate and it does most that I could ask of an HT for around £170. I still fancy the FT-2DE and may well buy one in the future, keeping the FT-70 as well. The new firmware for the FT-2 allows it to be configured as a hotspot to the FT-70 as a client.
N8OFP Rating: 2019-01-27
Nice little dual band radio Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I've had the FT70DR for a few weeks and thus far I like the radio a lot. It is well made and the I have gotten good reports on the audio quality on both analog and digital.

Pros: The radio seems well made as with the other Yaesu handhelds I own. Fit my hand well. 900 Channels, that allows my to program in all VHF / UHF and simplex frequencies in Ohio and still have room for expansion. Good reports on the audio quality on analog and digital. Receiver has plenty of output and has good audio quality.

Cons: The Yaesu programming software isn't very good. I would recommend the RT Systems software if you plan on using a lot of channels and the Memory Banks. As others have stated the process you have to go through to program the radio with the Yaesu software is crazy.

Other Notes: The original FT70DR I purchased had a defective speaker / mic jack, when I plugged in my Yaesu speaker mic I got no audio out of the speaker mic, and when I unplugged the speaker mic there was no longer any audio coming from the internal speaker. I contacted the place I purchased the radio from as well as Yaesu, they had me return the radio and replaced it with a brans new one.

I have read some complaints about battery life but so far I haven't run into any issues with the battery. I would say I get a good 10 or so hours out of the battery with normal use (receiving and transmitting and close to 18 or 20 hours if just receiving. I plan on purchasing a second battery for this radio because one is never enough when you need the radio the most.
M3SXA Rating: 2019-01-20
To early to say Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Only just got this little radio and thought lets program it up, oh dear what a disastrous way to have to program, take out the battery, plug into charger switch on, remove plug, plug in programming lead plug charger lead back in hold down 'band' key... nearly there.... JEEZ!! more to follow if I get any further...
KA7EII Rating: 2018-10-09
Fantastic entry level Fusion HT! Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I have had my Yaesu FT-70DR for over six months now and it is a very capable analog/digital HT. Very nice upgrade from my 20+ year-old Yaesu VX-5R HT.
As others have noted, the battery life may be a little short but I knew what to expect before purchasing the FT-70DR after reading the owners manual online. Battery life is as good if not slightly better than the VX-5R. I can get a days use out of the FT-70DR if I'm just listening to one frequency and use low power on the local repeaters. Longer QSOs and scanning will run the battery down faster. Easy solution – just purchase an extra battery and call it a day. I also purchased the drop in desktop charger and soft case. I already have a DC cable and speaker-mic that was used with the VX-5R. Using the stock antenna, I find the FT-70DR to be a bit more sensitive than the VX-5R and the receive audio is louder. It took a few days to get used to the single knob on top – having to push a button then twist the knob to adjust the volume was crazy at first but now I like that arrangement. I no longer bump the volume knob and either miss calls or have the radio blast when a call comes in. The FT-70DR does not cover as much receive spectrum that the VX-5R has but I rarely listened to AM or FM broadcast stations or shortwave stations on the VX-5R. Never did any public safety monitoring with the VX-5R so the extended receive is not really missed on the FT-70DR. I do listen to the aircraft band a lot and the FT-70DR does a better job than the VX-5R of receiving the VHF aircraft frequencies.
C4FM is a lot of fun. The FT-70DR does not have a dedicated “WIRES-X” button but you still can access WIRES-X by pressing the “F” key followed by the “AMS” key. The FT-70DR does not have GPS so you only see the callsign of the station you are working on digital. The FT-70DR does not have true dual receive but again, this is something I would rarely use. GPS would be nice but it was not a deal breaker for me when deciding to get an FM/digital HT. Those that want or need dual receive and GPS may want to consider the Yaesu FT-2DR.
For my needs, the FT-70DR is a winner and I look forward to enjoying many years of use out of my HT.