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Reviews For: Yaesu FT-60R

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

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Review Summary For : Yaesu FT-60R
Reviews: 324MSRP: TBA
A dual-bander io the same case format as the VX150!
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KF6IIU Rating: 2023-05-25
Basic standard HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Not a bad radio, but I would shop around before getting another. My chief complaint is the audio is slightly muffled, whether on speaker or headset. I compare to my Icom T2H which has much clearer audio. I dropped the radio once from waist height to concrete street and it landed wrong and had to be sent in for repairs. It has since survived a couple more drops to non-concrete surfaces OK. This is my take-everywhere HT. It will run all day on a charge (with receive saver, squelched, not scanning or transmitting too much); I have never had it lose power at a special event. I think the radio is *light and small* for a 5W HT with a decent amount of battery power.

I also would prefer the mic and speaker cables come out of the top, rather than the side of the radio.

That being said, I'm happy with it - our local RACES community has more FT-60's than any other type of radio, and that's useful since you can clone and give configuration advice to other hams at the event. Having AA power as a backup is essential for me too.

Some of the features are just plain silly, like ARTS and the "emergency beacon" stuff, and the scanning bank features are hard to program in the field, but basic operation - programming repeater tones, storing memories, etc - is extremely simple.

It is a good beginner HT, popular, and a good value for the money, but I wish it had clearer audio.
VE6BGM Rating: 2022-12-20
Great even after 15 years Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Update 2022 Dec. 19. Have had this radio close to 20 years and still going strong. All batteries have a limited amount of use and these batteries no different. But have only bought 2 new batteries in these years. And radio is in use 12/24 365. As stated while back still use original antenna as have never noticed an improvement with other antennas same length. A 2 ft+ antenna has slight imporvement but not what I want when using portable. The plug adapter is one area that could have been improved on, but I wrap and piece of velcro around it when attaching external mic.. This is still the best portable I have used [and yes have used many CCR] as well as Kenwood and Icom. Have never had problem with changing frequencies on its own, but there is a lock function that I will use in Public Service event. Receives 108 to 900+ which I use Air Band scanning as well. 1000 memories not 200 which helps scanning. Scan rate not scanner fast but is faster than a lot of amateur radios. My daily use HH.

Update 2021 Feb. of 2005 review. This radio is stilll in use today, on for at least 12 hours each and every day. In warm and extreme cold weather. Has been dropped numerous times. Still with stock antenna. Display has dimmed about 10% if that. Markings have worn off some buttons but after this amout of time I know functions of these buttons. I always use Yaesu mics as they do stay plugged in, AME mics do tend to pull out but I blame them not Yaesu. Have replaced 2 batteries in 16 years. Receiving is still good even on AM and transmit power tested is till 5 and 4 watts with fully scharged battery. Still gets into repeaters even when battery power drops to 7.0 Volts. This is the only radio I trust to work each and every time. The only thing I wish was improved was a little louder audio. And I now have 3 in total that are used for Public Service events and cross band. Since this radio has performed so well over 16 years and still works as good as day one I have upgraded my initial 4/5 good, to 5/5 Great rating.

I have had this radio for over six months, and do not have many complaints. Use it daily. I knew the size and weight before I bought it so knew how it fit the hand and how much it weighed - no complaints at all in that department. Have not had any display wash outs, even during the past winter on those few cold days we had, although the display does occasionally have some off colours, but doesn't interfere with the readability of the display. Will say that the sensitivity does not seem as good as the VX-150, thus the 4 out of 5 rating. However, it is not a very big problem. Loads of memory frequencies. No problem with lock up using PC programming. Lots of flexability using memory banks. Nice to have manual squelch. Can program some "hot keys" to most used menu items. Can't really say I notice much difference between the stock antenna and after market antennas. I do use an after market antenna, largely because the stock antenna tends to "poke" me in the ribs, and using a slim line antenna doesn't. All in all a very good "work horse".
73 from Calgary, Alberta
W5TXP Rating: 2022-12-19
mediocre Time Owned: more than 12 months.
First of all, where do I direct these problems at Yaesu?

FT-60 frustrations: (I have two of them for NWS Skywarn use)

The furnished short antenna has what local Hams call "negative gain". It is sad that we need to spend even more money on aftermarket antennas to reach local repeaters or simplex. As I can physically see my local repeater antenna, not being able to hit it is frustrating.

Batteries need to be upgraded to LiFePo if possible. The charge levels are dying with the NiMH and the price is higher than other radio models and brands.

I have tried three different Yaesu brand headsets and the plugs do not stay in place or maintain connection.
Some of the events where I volunteer required some kind of headset or earpiece, and the radio connection does not stay in place.
I have seen several comments to that effect from other reviewers.

The channel selection shifts on its own.

A great case, a very heavy radio, and mediocre electronics.

Active volunteer ever since getting license with Skywarn, and local EOC units.
I now own two FT-65 and like them very much.
Even the Baofeng that I started with worked better than the FT-60 and was easier to program.
I was a military radio operator (HF - VHF - UHF) in the Army.

UK1 Rating: 2022-12-03
Good old radio overall Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I recently sold my FT-60R after updating to the FT-70DR. I'd owned it for around 8 years. This old handheld is a still a good Japanese made radio which in many respects holds its own today but I prefer the newer FT-70DR (also made in Japan) for my usage.

Performance is fine overall, but there is no 6.25 khz step on FM or 8.33 khz for airband, both of which I consider essential these days. VHF airband AM RX is reasonable except for the AGC which causes weak signals to sound very quiet. Also I never liked the easily caught squelch dial on top.

Note that while technically it does receive UHF airband it's deaf on this band, something in common with all Yaesu transceivers which have 200/300 Mhz AM coverage. You'll only hear strong signals on there.

I find the FT-70DR has much nicer audio. It's also smaller / lighter and offers some water resistance. Its LCD display is also clearer as it isn't set back as deep and hidden by shadows from the case like on this radio. These are definite improvements.

Some knock the FT-70DR and I am not always a fan of modern radios, but I do find it excellent overall and a step up from this. Regardless, it's still far superior to the CCR junk!
K7TCE Rating: 2021-02-24
Great Radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Great radio, wide array of features, low intermod, and rugged. It's dual band, and I have mine programmed with banks for receiving 220 MHz, CG, MURS/FRS, and Aircraft.

I also have a Yaesu FT-7900R and have purchased G4HFQ's software for both (Bob is now making all of his superb products free to use). Both radios have 1,000 memories. Using only memory banks 1-10 in the '7900R (it supports 20 to the '60R's 10) I can export/import CSVs between both radios to keep their memory maps synchronized - a major plus for me in the field.

For me, the FT-60R is easier to program by hand than just about any other VHF or VHF/UHF radio.

I can confirm the speaker mic connection is problematic. It's hard to seat properly, and If inserted while radio is powered on, it will activate transmit every time, not a good thing if you're dialed into a repeater.

I highly recommend this radio.

73, Joe K7TCE
SWMAN Rating: 2021-02-24
Perfect for me Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had my little FT 60 for 16 years now. It has been a great and very reliable radio for me. Nothing ever went wrong or any complaints from me. Not sure how the previous person writing here had problems with all 3 that he owns. Maybe just bad luck. Not sure. But anyway, just a great radio for me, almost perfect.
73. Jim W5JJG
K6LCS Rating: 2021-02-23
Solid Performer, Value Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have owned several FT-60R radios since the moment they were available in 2004. They were a great bargain then - and remain so today. Among the '60R's features ...

-1,000 memories - 6-character alphanumerics
-receives (essentially) 108mHz to a gig
-large, legible display
-easy to manually program (one-page cheat sheet at
-bulletproof case design*
-strongest belt clip of any ham HT chassis on the market
-great receive audio

... as well as a unique battery setup: You can populate the optional FBA-25 AA case with either NiMH cells or alkalines, and have full TX power available (if you really need it).

I use this rig for all my ham satellite demos and presentations. It is a great HT for anyone desiring solid performance on the 2M and 440 ham bands.

I am amused at the stories of "accidental" activation of the WIRES feature. Honest to gawd, in almost sixteen years of use, I have NEVER accidentally activated WIRES and keyed the mic.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
951-533-4984 - cell

* - OK, so it's not "bulletproof." But MANY audiences have seen me literally toss one across the room during a presentation - to show off its ruggedness.
KV4BL Rating: 2021-02-22
Not Great Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I have had three FT-60R's. When brand new, they perform well. The problem is that they do not age well. We will start with my first one. I bought it around 2009 or so. I was intrigued by the tough aluminum case that the radio had. General on-air performance was decent with xmit and receive. Trying to use an external speaker/mic is a no-go due to the poorly designed single plug for the speaker/mic, which allows sor frequent pulling out of the plug from the radio with little or no effort necessary. Most dual speaker/mic plugs I have encountered stayed in the radio well and were useful. Yes, I have seen helpful remedies on here such as using the belt clip or a rubber band as a strain relief but honestly, this should not be necessary.

As I noted earlier, this radio did well for about a year or two of occasional, light use. As time passed, I noted what for lack of a better term, I will call "weakening" of the circuitry of this radio.
As it aged, I noted the backlights for display and keypad grew dimmer with time. This was not due to old batteries as I had new batteries but still this occurrence persisted. On that particular radio, the circuitry seemed to provide less receive audio and xmit power over time. It eventually stopped transmitting altogether. No, I did not seek repair as it just did not seem worth it.

My mother and step-father (both SK) were both hams and each had an FT-60R. I noted similar aging and "weakening" of their radios' circuits to that of my own radio. Their radios likewise did not age well.

Yaesu had a great design with the case for the FT-60. It feels bullet proof. The circuitry and durability of the innards, not so much.
F4GFT Rating: 2020-10-01
Farewell my friend! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
The FT-60 was first introduced in Dayton in 2004, and became an instant hit for Yaesu. It replaced the FT-50, which also had a loyal following, and brought two significant improvements, namely 1000 memories and NiMH batteries. It lost the mil810 standard compliance in the process, though.

After 14 years, Yaesu eventually retired the FT-60 in 2018, to replace it with the FT-65. 14 years are a long time, and the handheld market changed significantly during these years. While the FT-60 could be considered feature-rich when it was released, competitors who added APRS, GPS, BlueTooth and digital modes gradually turned it into a basic no frills radio. What they could not take away from it was its robustness, which earned it an excellent reputation among outdoor operators, preppers and everyone who values sturdiness and reliability over features.

The unit is not without its faults, though: By default, Yaesu's WIRES internet link can be activated pressing the 0 button, resulting in a tone sequence sent before each transmission. It can easily be turned off in the menu, but obviously Yaesu should have chosen to use OFF as a default, and require a modification in the menu for those few who actually use WIRES. This alone got the FT-60 some bad press in the beginning. And then there is the nasty habit of activating the PTT once the plug of the speakerphone gets pulled out slightly. I learned this lesson the hard way, when this happened to me during a bike trip, at the end of which I found the battery completely empty. I learned how to work around these two issues, and never thought of them as serious.

Now in late 2018, it is fairly safe to say that we will never see something like the FT-60 again. Chinese HTs from Baofeng have taken over the entry level market almost entirely, substituting robustness with disposability, at prices that make it very difficult to justify spending 5 times as much for a transceiver like the FT-60. On the high end range, we see radios like the Kenwood TH-74, which has every imaginable feature including D-Star and Shortwave reception, while at the same time, DMR radios have attracted a new bunch of operators. It has become a world of extremes - $25 chinese HTs vs. $400+ professional radios. In this new world, I like to take a look back at almost 10 years of reliable service provided by my FT-60, which I bought used from an estate back in 2009. It accompanied me on numerous ski trips and bike rides, surviving harsh weather and rough treatment, always being up to the task. I remember my first 2m DX while standing on top of a mountain in the french alps, echolink contacts with my pals at home from locations around the world, monitoring air traffic control at airports, and extended use on an external antenna and power supply, during which the FT-60 got hot at 5W output but never folded. I went through 4 antennas and 5 battery packs, lost one charger, had to repair the speaker microphone twice, and banged up the paint on the metal frame at the edges. I remember that after buying it, I could not understand why Yaesu did not offer a protective case for the FT-60. Now I realize why: It does not need one, it just ages in dignity and with style.

When I learned that the FT-60 would be discontinued, I did two things: I bought a battery case, which I will use with AA NiMH cells long after the Yaesu FB-35 battery pack will have become unavailable, and I got a spare FT-60. It may never see active duty, as I believe that my trusty ten year old FT-60 will easily outlive me. But just in case it does not, it is good to know that I have a second unit.

Earlier 5-star review posted by F4GFT on 2011-07-12

After 18 months of heavy usage, I feel the urge to share my experience with the FT-60, which accompanies me on my trips abroad and has never let me down. I have two batteries, an SRH771 antenna from Diamond for operation in rural areas, a speaker-mike for bicycle mobile operation, and a BNC adapter and DC cable for stationary use on an X30.
Since all the good things have already been mentioned so often here, I just talk about the few quirks:

- the speaker-mike's cord occasionally gets pulled out partially, triggering the PTT. I learned to avoid it with a rubber band.

- the modulation level (wide/narrow) is stored globally, and not with the memory slot. This is getting less of a problem, though, as most repeaters become narrow band.

- i wish i could add a text label to DTMF memory sequences (very handy for Echolink)

- Yaesu sells no protective bag for the ft-60. Some workarounds exist, though.

- for my trips to the States, I wish I could configure the rig to the extended 20 and 70cm ranges over there. I know the MARS/CAP mod does that, but I don't want to transmit on unauthorized bands. None of the manufacturers apparently thought about a region 1/2/3 switch in the menu.

Note that none of these complaints is a serious issue. If my FT-60 got lost, I'd immediately replace it - with another FT-60. I have no use for APRS or D-Star, and find all I need in this reliable and rugged handheld.

Update Oct 2020: I recently learned that for reasons only marketing people can understand, Yaesu did actually discontinue the european model, but not the US model. This is good news even for us EU guys, as it should be sufficient to completely open the FT-60R to have the european frequency range as well.
F1VJT Rating: 2020-04-06
Simply GREAT! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Yes, I would to add review after 14 years!
I have purchased new in 2006 on a HK eBay store for about 120€ with a desktop charger.
A simply great duo band transceiver, the NiMh battery is not very good, the original supplied was lost 50/60% of capacity after 10 cycles of charge (6/8 months), a second battery (identical) was the same life... Then I have upgraded by two FNB-V67 (Li-Ion 2000mAh) and a CD16 desktop charger. The olders batteries are upgraded with chineses Li-Ion elements (1100 mAh) and modified to charge it with the CD16.
Is sensitive, excellent mechanical on/off switch and an analogic squelch.
The menu is complete and very simple to set withouth the manual.
I have use it in any condition (trekking, hiking, at job, as a scanner, on my car, summer, winter, on the rain...) and I'm never disappointed.
The audio reports are very good and the HT sound well compared to the same products of the last generation.
Out of band is less sensitive (and no much power) but normal, it is maded to work in amateur bands.
The original antenna work properly but I have replaced by a more performant Diamond.
I have compared the FT-60 v/s FT-70D...sincerely I prefere the older model!
With the battery FNB-V67 the autonomy is just enourmus, you can stock it for fews months and it is always ready to work.
After 14 years of utilisation, the keyboard are always readable (only the V/M key it's a little erased) and full work, the same for the side and PTT swichtes and the rotary knob.
No problems to report.
The rubber on the right side is start to dry out.
The case are "used" but still perfectly.
The cons? No more of 6 alphanumeric characters... perhaps a dot matrix display it would have been better? No dual simultaneous RX...but, for the price, there is always a little jewel..
...and I'll never sell it !