FT1D

After using the Yaesu FT1D for a few months now, I have discovered some likes and dislikes:

Likes

  • APRS and GPS built in
  • Scans very quickly
  • Loud audio
  • Small size

Dislikes

  • Takes forever to charge
  • Battery indicator is useless
  • Need two hands to operate volume control
  • Cumbersome menu system (very hard to program in the field)
  • Receive is not what I’d call stellar
  • Well under the rated power output (3.5 watts on high)
  • Got caught in my seatbelt and cracked the screen
  • APRS is not easy to use (should be one button/setting that turns on/off modem and GPS)
  • GPS sometimes takes 5+ minutes to get a lock
  • Cannot completely mute your own APRS “squawk”. HIGHLY annoying.
  • Does not keep the correct time
  • Doesn’t always automatically switch from FM to digital and vice versa.
  • “Flashlight” function buried in menu
  • “Bell” does not work (for me anyway – tried everything)
  • Shortwave receive is useless
  • Belt clip attached to battery (Doh!)
  • Supplied antenna is more like a dummy load (even a cheap $7 one from Ebay works FAR better)
  • Locking out channels while scanning is nearly impossible (I can’t figure it out anyway)

In a nutshell, it’s a pretty good radio but has MANY “quirks”. I really think Yaesu designed this radio and pushed it out the door in a rush. I also think it was designed by someone who has never operated a radio (at least a ham radio) before. Would I recommend it? Well, if you’re gung-ho about Fusion digital, you really have limited options. If you don’t care about that, buy something else. In fact, my Baofeng UV5R is far superior in quite a few aspects and it was only $40 CDN.

Kenwood TM-V71 Review

From ve3ugg.com: ****+ (4+ stars)

These are excellent radios. Probably the best cross banding radios available. A local ham and myself sometimes use our V71’s and the local VHF and UHF repeaters (or simplex) to have a completely duplex QSO šŸ™‚

Mine has been in a variety of 24/7 base use or all weather mobile basis for 3 years – no issues. No, sadly they don’t have fancy touch screens or APRS but they are rock stable and built like tanks. And they play well with computers – mostly. Despite what the documentation says, there is nothing special about “EchoLink Mode”. But the “data jack” works very well as do most in this class of radio.

They are very easy to use in a mobile. There’s only a few “buttons” and unlike some competitors, they are laid out with some thought. Dual VOL/SQ knobs, one for each A/B side. Very readable display in most conditions. They are easy to program either by computer (the free software works quite well) or in the field. The menu system is not “nested” (54 items) and it’s easy to find things.

As well, if you can find a TMD710 head unit – that accepts a GPS signal – you can replace the head of the V71 as the radio bodies are identical! Then you will have a complete mobile or base APRS unit.

The biggest issue is the modular microphone jack. It is very easy to break the tab off the modular jack of the mic and then it is ill fitting. I would have preferred an 8 pin mobile mic jack so this is why I gave it a 4+

If you can find a used one in good shape for $200 CDN, buy it.

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From a retailer:

Price: $419.95 CDN (at www.DurhamRadio.com)

 

The following was taken from the official Kenwood documentation… I think. It’s quite accurate at least.

FREQUENCY COVERAGE

RX: 118 – 524 MHz 136 – 524 MHz 800 – 1300 MHz * (*excluding cellular band)

TX: 144 – 148 MHz 430 – 450 MHz

RF Power Output

5/10/50 Watts on Both VHF and UHF

Dual Receive On Same Band (VxV, UxU)

In addition to simultaneous receive on both VHF and UHF bands, this radio can receive two frequencies on the very same band. This means, for example, that you can have both the call channel and local channel, or the repeater channel and local channel, on the same band.

Five-In-One, Programmable Memory

For extra versatility, the TM-V71A has a programmable memory that can store five entire operating profiles, ready for instant recall at the push of a button. Each profile includes such settings as display mode, frequency range, and memory mode. It can equally be used to switch between 5 VFO frequencies.

1000 Multifunction Memory Channels

There are 1000 split memory channels for storing essential data such as transmit and receive frequencies, frequency step, and tone frequency.

Plus an additional 10 for programmable scan. You can identify each channel with up to 6 alphanumeric characters (Memory Name function). Additionally, memory data can be edited and stored on a PC using the optional PG-5G programming interface cable and MCP-2A Memory Control software

Multiple Scan

As well as VFO scan, program scan, MHz scan, memory scan and call scan, the TM-V71A offers memory bank scan: the 1000 channels are grouped into 10 banks for selective scanning. Also featured are scan resume (time-operated, carrier-operated, and seek), memory channel lockout, tone scan, CTCSS scan, and DCS scan.

Invertible Front Panel

For greater installation convenience, the detachable front panel can be inverted so the transceiver can be mounted upside down, thus ensuring that the speaker is not obstructed.

Choice Of 2 Backlight Colours

To maximize visibility, the backlight colour for the large LCD panel can be switched between warm amber and cool green.

104-Code Digital Code Squelch

In addition to CTCSS (42 subtone frequencies), the TM-V71A is equipped for DCS (104 codes). Whatever code is chosen, the squelch will only open for reception if the other party uses the identical code.

Voice Guidance & Storage Option (VGS-1)

The audible announcement function is enabled for blind-key operation using the optional VGS-1 unit, which also provides up to 30 seconds of continuous recording.

Weather Alert/RX (US only)

This transceiver is capable of receiving the NOAA Weather Band and responding to emergency transmissions such as storm warnings by emitting an audible alert tone.

EchoLinkĀ® Sysop Mode For Node Terminal Operation

When the TM-V71A is connected to a PC (with the necessary Windows-compatible software installed) using the PG-5H option, it can operate as a node terminal for EchoLinkĀ®. EchoLinkĀ® connects radio amateurs through the Internet using VoIP technology: any transceiver with access to a node can connect to any other in the world as long as it too has node access. It is also possible to access the EchoLinkĀ® network directly from a PC. To register for EchoLinkĀ® (using your call sign), access the official website at www.echolink.org.

EchoLinkĀ® Memory (Automatic Dialer)

Up to 10 DTMF memory channels dedicated to EchoLinkĀ® can store call signs (or conference names) and Node Numbers.

 

 

Yaesu Fusion

I took the plunge into digital ham radio. Yes sir, got a spanking new FT1DR handy talkie with all the trimmings (well, spkr/cam mic and RT Systems software). First off, the RT Systems software (although recommended) doesn’t work worth a damn – $35US wasted. Oh well live and learn right? So next I tried CHIRP. It *sort of* saw the radio but not well enough to work properly. I decided I’d try the FREE Yaesu software. Worked perfect first try. Go figure right?

After playing with the unit – and finally programming it via software – I find the radio is excellent! Very good TX and RX audio (only tried FM mode so far). The radio has built in GPS/APRS and both of those work perfectly as well.

Scanning memory channels is at least as fast as any scanner I currently own. Now that’s something as I’m used to having ham radios (even the Kenwood V71a) that scan very, very slowly. This radio also includes receive coverage from 500khz to over 900Mhz. I haven’t played with that aspect much yet though.

All in all, so for I find it an excellent radio and I’ll keep you posted as I find out more about it. šŸ™‚


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