Yaesu FT-270R 2m Submersible Radio Review

Yaesu FT-270R

The Yaesu FT-270R is the radio I recommend if you need a radio that is weatherproof, virtually indestructible and works as it should every time you grab it. It is my all-time favorite 2m radio. Read on to find out why!

Like a lot of hams, I got really into the hobby, then left it for a while, and then came back. Originally I started with a Realistic HTX-202, then a HTX-404, then my favorite of the time a Kenwood TH-79a. This was before there was a Yaesu FT-270R to my knowledge. Then I took a break and sold most of my stuff including my handhelds.

When I came back into the hobby I wanted a radio that was bulletproof. The kind where you are in a hurry and throw it into your trunk, hear a horrible clank, look into your trunk, and wonder where you can get a new tire iron because your radio just dented the one you had. Enter the Yaesu FT-270R.

No, the Yaesu FT-270R won’t really dent your tire iron, but I have yet to find a radio that felt like it could more than this one. Not only that, but it will do it underwater while transmitting a clean signal.

So by now, you get the picture that the Yaesu FT-270R is built like a tank, but that isn’t all, it fits in my hand amazingly well. The combination of metal, durable plastic and no belt clip (we get to that in a second) just feels great in your hand. It feels “serious”, and it is.

Right above I said no belt clip on the Yaesu FT-270R, and technically that is correct. What they did was mount a round piece to the back of the radio which does not get the in the way of your hand at all. That round piece clicks into a separate piece that goes on your belt that has a receiver for the round piece. Think of it as the ball on the bumper of your truck and the receiver on your trailer.

What makes this setup on the Yaesu FT-270R work so well is that you just slide the radio piece into the piece on your belt and it clicks and locks in. No amount of pulling will make it let go again. To release the radio, turn it to where the antenna faces down and it will just slide right out. It sounds like a pain, and initially, I thought it was, but about the third time I used it I was smitten. Now I think this is the greatest idea in belt clips, like ever.

The Yaesu FT-270R uses the standard old Yaesu front panel programming that makes it fast and easy to enter simplex or repeater frequencies without having to enter a menu system at all. Press the VFO key to enter VFO mode, enter the frequency, press F and SQ TYP to tell it if you want a tone, press F and CODE to give your tone a frequency, press F and RPT to set your repeater shift, done in ten seconds.

Yaesu FT-270R programming on a computer is easy as well using the freely available CHIRP software. Personally I do everything from the keypad but have been told that the radio works well with CHIRP using the VX-170 template.

One complaint I have seen with the Yaesu FT-270D is that the audio coming out of the speaker sounds a little muffled. They solve this problem by punching a hole in the membrane covering the speaker or removing the membrane completely. Really? Why did you buy a waterproof radio if you are just going to destroy the waterproofness of the radio? Please don’t do this. I have never had a problem with the speaker output and if I did I would just use the Standard Horizon MH-73A4B Speaker/Microphone and attach it to my collar leaving the Yaesu FT-270R on my belt.

The screen on the Yaesu FT-270R is not as nice as the newer FT-65, it is more like the one on the Yaesu FT-60R, except much larger. This means what it lacks in resolution, it more than makes up for in size. This is extremely important when storm chasing or generally working in poor weather conditions as the bigger the numbers are on the front, the faster you can be using the Yaesu FT-270R when it counts.

If you are one of those hams that wants a radio to ragchew while sitting in your barcalounger, the Yaesu FT-270R is not the radio for you. If on the other hand you need a radio that won’t let you down when things head south, and I mean way south, then the Yaesu FT-270R might be the perfect companion.

To make it even better, the Yaesu FT-270R manual is fantastic, like most Yaesu manuals.

 

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Photos

Yaesu FT-270R Test Results:

Screen readability Excellent
In-hand feel Excellent
Included antenna Very Good
Construction quality Excellent ++
Belt clip Excellent ++
Programmability Excellent
Transmit audio CLICK TO LISTEN
Maximum power output (2m/70cm) 4.5 watts/ N/A
Size 263 * 67 * 47 mm
Actual weight 14.6 oz
Yaesu FT-270R manual CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Programming software CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Yaesu FT-270R Overall score
Yaesu FT-270R
Yaesu FT-270R VNA Antenna Test
Yaesu FT-270R SRD spectrum analysis
Yaesu FT-270R SRD spectrum analysis
If you are interested, click here for an article on how I test radios.

 

FEATURES:
  • Heavy Duty Amateur Ham Radio
  • Submersible & Waterproof
  • Transmits 144-148Mhz VHF Amateur band
  • Receives 136-174Mhz
  • 200ch AlphaNumeric memories
  • CTCSS/DCS (PL & DPL)
  • Multiple scanning modes
  • Backlit Keypad
  • Split tone capability
  • 5 Watt selectable output
  • W.I.R.E.S system
  • Includes 1400mA battery, Charger, Belt Clip & SMA Antenna
PROS:
CONS:
  • Waterproof
  • Built like a tank
  • Best belt clip, ever
  • Fantastic Yaesu FT-270R accessories
  • None

Conclusions

My Yaesu FT-270R is the radio that goes in my backpack when I head down a trail, it is the radio that goes in my car when I decide to take the roads less traveled, and it is the radio that is on my side in the pouring down rain when weather spotting.
Does it have the features of most of my other radios? No. Can it do digital modes? No. Does it have a built-in flashlight? No. But it will take a twenty-foot tumble down a rock face into the river and keep right on working when I need it to. That is why I love my Yaesu FT-270R.
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I hope you enjoyed my Yaesu FT-270R review!

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