Yaesu FT-70DR Fusion Dual Band Radio Review

Yaesu FT-70DR

The Yaesu FT-70DR is currently the cheapest way to get into Yaesu’s Fusion digital radio technology and a remarkably capable analog radio as well. Read on to get the details!

Yaesu has entered into the Chinese radio market with some of its newer radios such as the FT-65 and FT-4XR, but the Yaesu FT-70DR is made in Japan, and it shows.

Now that isn’t meant to knock Yaesu’s Chinese made radios, they are still some of the best radios around in their price range, but rather to say that the Yaesu FT-70DR is a step above.

The Yaesu FT-70DR is virtually all plastic unlike some of their other radios like the FT-270 I love, but the plastic is extremely well made and put together. In fact, everything on this radio feels fantastic. The rubber antenna feels like softer rubber and is more flexible so it doesn’t stab you when you bend over or sit down.

The belt clip on the Yaesu FT-70DR is very sturdy and has no slack in it. It opens very wide and has a great little hook at the bottom to keep it from falling off your belt.

The knob on the top of the radio is larger than most, feels great to turn, and has very definitive bumps as it goes around. In addition, the Yaesu FT-70DR designers put a nice curved shield to the right of the knob to keep you from accidentally changing settings by bumping into things.

All of the buttons and keys on the Yaesu FT-70DR feel very nice and work as expected.

The screen on the Yaesu FT-70DR is amazing. No, it is not a fancy color screen like some, it is just a basic back on grey, orange backlit screen. So why am I saying it is amazing? Because it, like a lot of the pieces in this radio, is top quality. The characters and icons on the screen are clear, sharp, and very black. Unlike other screens which you clearly see the dots in the numbers, this one is nice and smooth with no visible dots or segments. You really need to see it, you too will love it.

Turning the radio around and looking at the Yaesu FT-70DR battery is no less impressive. The radio uses a 1800mAh Li-ion battery which I am sure is more powerful than many of the Chinese 2800mAh marked batteries. Aside from that though, the battery fits in smooth and clicks into place really nicely. In addition, right below the release for the battery is a small slide that locks the button so you can’t accidentally release the battery.

Using the Yaesu FT-70DR is really nice with excellent transmit audio as well as a good speaker for its size. In fact, it has one of the clearest transmitted audio in analog mode of any of the radios I have used. Looking at the charts below bear this out with a nice clear spectrum.

While I don’t use the 70cm band much for anything other than my hotspot, I might be a little concerned if I needed serious range as the included antenna is fairly lackluster on that band. Of course, antennas are easy to replace but it is a little sad considering I really like the antenna included with the Yaesu FT-70DR so I would hate to replace it.

One thing I really like is that you can program this radio in CHIRP and the Yaesu FT-70DR programming cable is included in the box.

 

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Photos

Yaesu FT-70DR Test Results:

Screen readability Excellent
In-hand feel Good
Included antenna Very Good
Construction quality Very Good
Belt clip Very Good
Programmability Good
Transmit audio CLICK TO LISTEN
Maximum power output (2m/70cm) 3.9 watts / 1.2 watts
Size 273 * 68 * 47 mm
Actual weight 10 oz
Yaesu FT-70DR manual CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Programming software CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Yaesu FT-70DR Overall score
Yaesu FT-70DR VNA Antenna Test
Yaesu FT-70DR VNA Antenna Test
Yaesu FT-70DR SRD spectrum analysis
Yaesu FT-70DR SRD spectrum analysis
If you are interested, click here for an article on how I test radios.

 

FEATURES:
  • IP54 Rating for Dust and Water protection
  • Wideband receive coverage
  • 108 MHz – 580 MHz
  • Continuous reception for aircraft bands, public service channels, etc.
  • Versatile Scanning Capabilities
  • Programmable VFO Scan scans all channels in the desired frequency range
  • Memory scan allows scanning of user-selectable frequencies
  • Priority Channel Scan can be used to scan memory channels while making one channel a priority
  • Weather Alert scan alerts the user when severe weather is approaching
  • Automatic Mode Select (AMS)
  • External DC Jack for DC Supply Operation and to Charge the Battery
  • Mini USB port for convenient programming and software updates
  • CTCSS/ DCS Operation
  • Automatic Power Off (APO) feature
  • RF Squelch
  • Transmitter Time Out Timer (TOT)
  • Busy Channel Lock-Out (BCLO)
PROS:
CONS:
  • Remarkably good transmit audio
  • Good overall signal quality
  • Really nice antenna
  • Excellent build quality
  • Includes programming cable
  • Works with CHIRP
  • Does not include drop-in charger

Conclusions

I don’t personally like Yaesu’s Fusion that much, but that is a discussion for another time, the Yaesu FT-70DR is an excellent radio even if, like me, you do not tend to use Fusion. My only real complaint is the lack of a drop-in charger, and that does miff me. Of course, they added a really nice programming cable so there is that.
Overall I would say if you want a really nice radio with great attention to detail which works as good as it looks, pick up a Yaesu FT-70DR and enjoy it!

 

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I hope you enjoyed my Yaesu FT-70DR review!

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