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Yaesu FT3DR review

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KM6LYW, Sep 9, 2019.

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  1. KM6LYW

    KM6LYW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great radio overall. I have an FT1XDR and an FTM400 also. The FT3DR is more
    like a downsized version of the FTM-400 rather than an upgraded version of
    the FT1DR. I skipped the FT2DR as the no-contrast screen was a show-stopper.

    The Pro's are too many to list, so I'll just hit the obvious highlights:

    Color screen I can read in the dark without glasses.
    It's about 25% more energy efficient as the FT1DR.
    The backlight burns 10mA per level (level 1 burns 10mA, level 6 burns 60mA).
    I can actually leave the backlight on level 1 full time, and still get
    better battery life than the FT1XDR. Dual receive with APRS active, Rx save
    set to 200ms, GPS on, and backlight set to 1 when inactive, it burns 142mA.
    Compare this to the FT1DR which burns 170mA with no backlight, and a whopping
    270mA when the orange backlight comes on.
    Incoming messages addressed to YOU ring the ringer, whereas on the FTM400, all
    APRS messages ring (FT1 and FT3 both get this right).
    LED: Green for analog, blue for digital, white for message! love it!
    It has a volume knob, in addition to the concentric VFO knob!
    If you know how to use an FT1XDR and/or and FTM400, you know how to use
    the FT3DR.
    5W/2.5/0.3W power levels. The FT1DR lowest/usless level was 0.1W iirc.

    The FM broadcast wide band (90Mhz) receiver is dismal compared to the FT1XDR. It gets a
    scratchy S1 where the FT1XDR gets an S5, in the same spot.

    AM broadcast wide band (1Mhz) is arguably better or equal then FT1XDR.

    Text entry is more like the FTM400, the biggest downside is no "clear" button,
    so if you reply to a message, you have to hit backspace dozens of times
    to erase, then add your reply text. This looks pretty weird in the grocery
    store, pressing the backspace key as fast as you can, beeping the entire

    Which brings me to the beeping. It's high or low, and the volume dial has
    nothing to do with the beeping volume, unlike the FT1DR, and exactly like the

    You can scan all your memories *very* fast, so long as all your stations are
    FM analog. I cannot scan a mix of DN and FM memories.

    The screen is harder to see outside, especially in shadows, compared
    to the FT1XDR. It's not horrible, but given the fact that the FT1DR was
    impossible to see in the dark (orange light made it worse), it's all together
    a better screen.

    The marsmod access hole is smaller, harder to remove the 000ohm resistor
    to extend transmit frequency range (this does, in fact work, despite no
    instructions from yaesu on this yet).

    After marsmod, all your saved-to-SD card info is useless. You have to start
    over on your programming (use rt-systems to read the factory-reset radio, then
    cut and paste your old spreadsheet into that).

    GM and BAND hardware buttons are largely a waste of space.

    The speaker is possibly the worst in the HT industry. I unscrewed and removed
    the lower side flap, and the audio is noticeably better, almost as good as
    the FT1XDR. You lose water proofing obviously. I'm not ranting, this is just
    the small form factor. It's on par with an average cell phone speaker.

    I tried bluetooth on five aftermarket devices. All failed. The radio thinks
    it connects, but the devices stay in pairing mode, or do nothing at all.

    It burns 50mA plugged in and turned off with no battery. The backlight comes
    on to tell you it's plugged in, this is on top of any charge to the battery.
    Once the battery is charged, it eventually completely goes dark and shuts down.
    This is only an issue if you're operating a solar battery while backpacking.

    Not a real TNC on the usb port, but "ygate" can at least read the NMEA output
    and send real aprs packets on to the internet/aprsis. So you can make
    a read-only igate if you like. This is exactly the same as the FTM400 and
    the FT1XDR.

    The Tx power level isn't displayed anywhere. Either dig into the menus
    or hit transmit and watch the S meter.

    The power plug is wiggly in the socket, compared to the FT1XDR.

    The FT1XDR power plug works, just as wiggly.

    I operate the radio with an after market supply set to 10.5V. It gets hot.
    it gets molten hot if you operate it at 13.8V, just like the FT1XDR.

    The supplied USB cable doesn't work with RT Systems software.

    I know this sounds like a negative review, but that's really all the dirt
    I could dig up on this radio! Great job Yaesu! Please fix the above
    and consider it absolute perfection!
    AG5DB likes this.

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