Yaesu FT-60R vs. the Baofeng...

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by N3KGD, Mar 1, 2019.

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  1. N3KGD

    N3KGD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello all,

    Normally I never feel compelled to write a review about radio equipment, but after an incident I had today with my newly purchased Yaesu FT-60R (six days old), I felt I had to share my experience with others. Now, let me preface this review by stating I'm not knocking on any radios by Baofeng or the like (or as some affectionately like to call CCR: Cheap Chinese Radios). I actually own two Baofeng/SainSonic GT-3TP handhelds, and I swear by them in performance and reliability; they're the only Baofeng I would ever recommend, but I'll save that discussion for another thread.

    Anyway, having to estimate in the eleven years I've been licensed as an amateur radio operator, I've probably had over 200 radios come and go from my hands in that time span. Mind you, I've owned the FT-60R before, shortly after I first became a licensed ham radio operator. However, one hasn't been in my hands for well over eight years. So, last week I decided to purchase the radio just for nostalgia sake. Let me say to anyone who recently became licensed (or will be), and is looking for their first HT, the few extra bucks to purchase a reputable, name brand radio is well worth the cost in the long run.

    To my surprise, Yaesu is continuing to manufacture (knock on wood) the FT-60R fifteen years after it was originally introduced in 2004. That is a long run for a radio, which speaks volumes about this radio alone, and I fear that Yaesu may soon discontinue the product.

    I had my FT-60R clipped to the visor in my vehicle, having set it there temporarily while stepping out of the vehicle for a moment. When I returned, I completely forgot I had it placed there, that was until I pulled out onto a busy five lane road. Travelling down this road at about forty miles per hour, a car had pulled out in front of me at a "t" intersection, only protected by a one-way stop sign on the two lane street. I had swerved to avoid missing this vehicle, and in the process, I was bonked on the head by my FT-60R and then out the driver side window it went. Naturally, a string of expletives flew out of my mouth as I watched the radio in my side mirror tumble down the emergency lane in the middle of the road. Obviously, I feared the worst. So, I turned around and pulled up in front of the radio, got out and picked it up and got back into my car. When I got home, I inspected the damage. To my amazement, there really wasn't much of any. Sure, a few scuff marks here and there on the housing, chassis, belt clip and antenna, but nothing a scouring pad and some glossy hairspray (to restore the shine and smoothness after buffing things out) couldn't fix.

    After buffing out the scuff marks on the radio and antenna with the scouring pad, and restoring the shine and smoothness with the hairspray, the radio pretty much looks good as new. I've attached pictures of the aftermath. Needless to say, this is now going to be my "beater" radio, as my spare FT-60R sits in the closet. At this rate, I'll need to purchase another one to have as a spare.

    Moral of the story is, a $45 radio vs $150 radio may perform very similar, but can that $45 radio take such abuse without breaking into pieces? I'm not sure. I had a Baofeng GT-3 fall down a flight of stairs and it was pretty much toast. Although, I will give credit, some of the CCR products seem to be getting better in build quality. I used to carry a Kenwood TH-K20A and never liked how smooth the housing was and always felt that the radio taking a drop like my Yaesu did today would really turn it into something ugly.

    Although, a friend of mine had a saying when it came to radio equipment: "the uglier they are, the better they perform". So, if you're on the fence debating whether to shell out the few extra bucks for a dual band HT, such as the FT-60R, just do it, you won't regret it, especially if you are hard on your equipment like I am. Vertex Standard (the head company of Yaesu at the time this radio was manufactured) really had a winner going on when they had this series of radios being manufactured (the VX-150, VX-800, FT-60). I wish radios would still be manufactured the way this line was. The FT-270 also has something going on when it comes to rugedness as well. Grab 'em up while you still can, I fear the ax may be coming soon.

    Thanks and 73,

    Attached Files:

    WD4IGX likes this.
  2. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You get what you pay for (most of the time.)
  3. K4AGO

    K4AGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's hard to beat a good brillo pad and a can of hair spray. Your hair looks great.
    W8GRI likes this.
  4. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your flying radio reminded me of mobiling in the villager van.
    I had to stop putting my HTX202 handheld on the visor (which made for easy operating) after it kept falling into a very sensititive area in my lap.
    Every time I accelerated hard from a stop.... whamo. Painfully, it only took several of these to relocate the radio and lighten my foot on the pedal.
    Talk about distracted driving ha ha

    I still enjoy my FT60R
    K9ASE likes this.
  5. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm a big fan of the FT-60, for all the reasons.

    But I find myself thinking why not buy 3 on 4 Chinese radios and just consider them consumables...

    By the way, I had my new Kenwood TH-D72 for less than an hour before I dropped it. D'oh!
  6. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    No radio protects very well from operator error.

    You are lucky you did not get your eye poked out.

    A Motorola can survive a drop from the top of a tower.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  7. W5GM

    W5GM Ham Member QRZ Page

    So can an FT-60. I had mine clipped to my climbing harness and it fell off wen I was up around 270' on the 300' tower at my repeater site. The only damage was a damaged LCD (2$ from yaesu parts ). I carry one as an emergency radio with the AA holder in the truck too.
  8. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Because when a radio quits, you're not just out the money you paid for it. You've also lost the use of the radio until you can replace it, either by buying a new one or by fetching one of your spares from wherever you keep them.

    Granted, that may not matter so much. If you can always carry several radios and keep them charged, swapping radios may be no big deal. Or if you are carrying the radio as an entertainment device and you don't mind doing without it in case of failure, it doesn't matter.

    But sometimes, it does matter.
  9. K4AGO

    K4AGO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I dropped a Motorola from atop the smoke Stack At Belews Creek Steam Station. It was a 500 foot fall onto loamy soil. It survived with only the battery detaching. I clipped it right back into place and it fired right up. Had it landed on concrete, the outcome would have been different.

    Too bad Motorola doesn't make ham equipment. Yes, they are programmable, but that is not as convenient as having the whole band at your disposal. There isn't much to be said for four channels programmed in by a proprietary cable and software that costs about as much as the radio.

    I have always liked Motorola products. They are tough and work well. Just my opinion and not worth much.
  10. KC2MPG

    KC2MPG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I own the FT-60R
    Its probably the best dual band on the market, imo.
    Many people don't understand that when it comes to cheap Chinese radios, its not just about the watts the radio puts out. Its the "quality of the signal"
    When the zombie apocalypse hits I would rather have one FT-60 then 30 BooFings

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