Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band 2m/70cm Radio Review

The Yaesu FT-60R is probably the best selling higher-end dual-band handheld radio ever and with excellent reasons. Read on to find out why!

I honestly do not personally know an amateur radio operator who has not at least used one of these Yaesu FT-60R radios. Even if they make the move to a handheld that does a digital mode like DMR, Fusion, or D-STAR, they tend to keep this radio.

In fact, according to Yeasu’s website, the Yeasu FT-60R was introduced in 2004 and is still a current production unit that you can buy brand-new from just about anywhere that carried amateur radio equipment. There are reasons for this longevity.

Let’s start with what you notice first when you pick the Yaesu FT-60R up, it is heavy and sturdy. If anyone ever tries to mug you in a dark alley, it would make an amazing weapon and probably not get a scratch on it. The only radio that I think is more solid than this one is my Yaesu FT-270 which is just a tank you could hammer nails with.

Grab another radio and wiggle the belt clip, wobble the battery even when it is latched in, tilt the knobs back and forth, then try that with the Yaesu FT-60R and fail miserably. Everything is tight and secure.

Many other radios have switches that all feel about the same, from the PTT button on the side, to the MODE buttons, to the keys on the front, they all have about the same resistance, travel, and the same little click when they are engaged. Not the Yaesu FT-60R. The keys on the front have no click and are smooth as butter, the PTT has a little more resistance and a nice heavy click like a good mechanical keyboard, the MONI and light buttons below the PTT have a little more resistance and tighter clicks, and finally, the knobs on top are just a joy to use.

All of the controls on the Yaesu FT-60R are top quality, and that includes the LCD screen. Sure, many dual-banders have color screens but they tend to be cheap and pretty junky. This screen is really nice and can be clearly seen sitting on your desk without the backlight on, even at a pretty serious angle. Comparing the Yaesu FT-60R vs Baofeng radios, the display has a lot more contrast with bolder, blacker numbers and symbols and is readable at much more acute angles.

When using the Yaesu FT-60R you are sure to get a lot of compliments on your audio because it puts out amazing audio which is clear, crisp, and well regulated. You can be understood right at the edge of range where other radios will fail.

Speaking of audio, the speaker on the Yaesu FT-60R is just amazing for its size. I am not sure how they did it but it is wonderful. Sure, there are handhelds that have much larger speakers that sound as good or better, but I am really impressed with the speaker given its size.

Yaesu FT-60R programming can be done from the keypad or by using the freely available CHIRP software but you will need to buy the programming cable for connecting it to your computer. It is also very simple to program right from the radio which is unusual for most dual-band radios. You often hear people talking about how difficult it is to program the Baofeng UV-5R is in the field, you won’t hear that complaint from users of the Yaesu FT-60R.

Comparing the Yaesu FT-60R vs FT-65R I find the Yaesu FT-65R to be a good radio, but no comparison to the 60R, it just isn’t made as well and doesn’t seem to operate as well either. Yes, I own both, and yes, I much prefer the 60 to the 65.

 

 

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Photos

Yaesu FT-60R Test Results:

Screen readability Very Good
In-hand feel Very Good
Included antenna Very Good
Construction quality Excellent +
Belt clip Very Good
Programmability Very Good
Transmit audio CLICK TO LISTEN
Maximum power output (2m/70cm) 2.5 watts / 1.1 watts
Size 286 * 62 * 49 mm
Actual weight 13 oz
Yaesu FT-60R manual CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Programming software CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Yaesu FT-60R Overall score
Yaesu FT-60R VNA Antenna Test
Yaesu FT-60R VNA Antenna Test
Yaesu FT-60R SRD spectrum analysis
Yaesu FT-60R SRD spectrum analysis
If you are interested, click here for an article on how I test radios.

 

FEATURES:
  • Dual Band VHF/UHF 2 Meter & 70cm Amateur Radio
  • CTCSS/DCS (PL & DPL)
  • DTMF
  • AlphaNumeric Display
  • Lighted Keypad
  • Multiple scan modes
  • Receives 108-520Mhz and 700-999.99Mhz (less cell),
  • Transmits 144-148Mhz & 430-470Mhz
  • Locking mode prevents accidental changes of frequency
  • One Thousand memory Channels
  • NOAA Weather Alert
  • Receives Emergency channels in 800-900Mhz
  • RF Power Output: 5W (High) / 2W (Middle) / .5W (Low)
  • Includes 1400mA Battery, Charger, antenna & belt clip
PROS:
CONS:
  • Great screen for single color LCD
  • Excellent feel
  • Excellent battery life
  • Excellent transmit audio
  • Excellent speaker
  • Separate knobs for power/volume, adjustments, and squelch
  • Expensive

Conclusions

Without a doubt, the Yaesu FT-60R is one of the best built, best performing, most fun to use radios ever made. Unless you need a handheld radio with a digital mode, there is no better choice than this radio. Yes, it is expensive compared to pretty much everything out there, but once you have used one, that won’t matter anymore.
I really enjoy using my Zastone m7 as a dual-band analog radio, but there is no doubt that other than the screen and menu system on the Zastone, this Yaesu FT-60R outperforms the Zastone in every possible way. If you can afford a $200 dual-band analog radio, then you will love this one. The only people who don’t like the Yaesu FT-60R are the people who dropped one on their foot.
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I hope you enjoyed my Yaesu FT-60R review!

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