Yaesu FT-70D First Impressions

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KM6CND, Jul 25, 2017.

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  1. KM6CND

    KM6CND Ham Member QRZ Page

    No "unboxing video" here, just what I have personally experienced in 48 hours of ownership.

    I picked up this radio at HRO on Sat.

    First order of business was to get a list of Southern Cal C4FM repeaters. I have 4 Fusion repeaters on 70cm and three, 2 meter repeaters within reach. I am a couple miles from Disneyland.

    This is not my first C4FM radio, but at the same time, I am far from an experienced operator and that leads to the "book", you know, when all else fails, READ THE BOOK THAT CAME WITH THE RADIO. Someone with no experience with digital will find the user guide to be seriously lacking

    The automatic repeater shift works like a champ, the PL needs to be set manually unless you wait for an incoming TX and let the radio set it up automatically.

    Yes, it's maybe premature to say this, but the BATTERY SUCKS! It was close to dead when I took it out of the box. With the radio turned on, I can't tell if it's charging, when turned off, "Charging" is on the LCD and will go blank when the charge cycle is complete. I took the radio with me this morning with a full charge. I keyed up a few times to see if I could hit the Irvine repeater and could not from my office. As I drove home keyed up a few more times (short transmissions) and got that repeater to chirp, so I know it works. I drove home and added 3 more frequencies (manually programming) and before I could finish the battery icon showed 50% battery life and then a short time later, completely died.

    I bought the Rapid Charger. It uses the same wall wart that comes with the radio. The book says 6 hours with the supplied charger and less than 1 hour with the Rapid Charger. With the radio turned on and the radio in the drop charger, no charging will happen, or so it appears anyway. I had the radio turned on in my car with a charging cable attached, with the expectation the battery would remain fully charged in this state, again it looks like it will not charge when the radio is on and I really don't like that. I can turn on my FT-60 and place it in the drop charger and it will run 24/7 and if I did need to pull the radio, it would have a full charge as go out to "save the world", not so with the FT-70. HRO reports at the present time, no extra batteries are available.

    The speaker delivers a clear, strong signal with plenty of volume on tap. Speaking of volume, I am already not liking the need for two hands to adjust the volume, left hand to hold down the volume button and the right hand to turn the knob.

    Will I keep the radio? Yes.

    Most of the C4FM repeaters in So California are quiet, not dead, just very quiet.
    JSL262 and KE0MUY like this.
  2. W2MPR

    W2MPR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just got the Radio Friday. And yes, the battery does suck. In actuality this is the shortest battery life ive seen on any HT I ever owned. Does the rapid charger really charge the radio in about an hour? This radio takes 7 hours to charge from a fully dead battery. I hope they do something about this. Other than that, I do like radio.
  3. N1ZFS

    N1ZFS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I bought an FT-70DR, got it out and charged, but I can't figure out where to put the DSQ code to access my local System Fusion repeater (the W1FSM system in New Canaan, CT). Has anyone else had the issue?
  4. KM6CND

    KM6CND Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Martin. The drop charger does work faster.

    I don't think I will ever like the two hand operation needed to adjust the volume.

    The firmware upgrade was flawless only when you follow the exact steps. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS before you begin.

    The receiver seems to be better than my FT-2900. With both radios in the car, the FT-70 will pick up stations that the 2900 will not when they are both on the same frequency.

    On the Fusion side of things, all is as expected, nice quiet, clean audio. More thoughts to come.
  5. KE0MUY

    KE0MUY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just upgraded to the FT-70D from a Baofeng UV-5R.
    The battery definitely has issues. I never powered it on out of box. I plugged it in and let it charge for some hours and I noticed that it wasn't indicating that it was charging I pulled the charger out put it back in said it was full. I Battery literally lasted about five hours. I was only monitoring I hadn't even transmitted during that time. I've never had an issue like that with my old radio, I would literally monitor the local repeaters for hours without charging it for days. It feels unreliable I'm not sure that I will keep it. It's not very user-friendly especially for a new ham.
    Anyway thanks for this thread. I was looking around the internet just trying to figure out if (I) was the problem or something was actually a known issue with the radio itself. Thanks for answering my question.
    N6QIC likes this.
  6. VE7SGN

    VE7SGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Got mine the other day and programmed it with the supplied USB cable. Once you figure that out, its a breeze to set up.

    Ive used it so far to tap into various local repeaters, listened to the local airport tower, and replaced my deaf chinese HT for satellite work.

    So far I can say I'm happy with this radio. For the price and the amount of features included in this thing, I'm more than happy to get used to the odd volume control (its not that bad). Audio reports are clear, and Thus far, I havent had serious battery issues. I had it scanning for four or five hours today, and it still shows that its packing a decent charge. Fusion isnt big here, so I cant speak to that.

    I like this radio so far. My .02 for what its worth.
  7. KJ7WT

    KJ7WT Subscriber QRZ Page

    I won an FT-70D as a door prize at our local club Christmas dinner. For the most part, I like the radio, as it has a good feature set and seems to work well overall. Fusion quality/operation seems (to my ears) to be about the same as my DMR handhelds.
    Programming with the factory software is kludgy, but doable. Having to use two hands for volume is a real pain, especially when driving and you need to adjust it.
    HOWEVER - the battery issue concerns me. Several times now, I have tried to turn the rig on, after sitting unused for a week or so, and the battery is dead, dead, dead! Not just low, but dead. Attaching the charger brings up the charging indication, but it took most of yesterday to fully charge the radio (11 hours, approximately). Looking at the voltage, with the charger connected, it showed 10.3 volts. Removing the charger drops the voltage to 8.4. This morning, I checked, and the voltage was 8.3. I'm going to monitor throughout the day and see what it does, as it really concerns me that the radio would not have power when needed. It may be that I have a defective battery; we'll see.
  8. AI6AK

    AI6AK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting with the battery issues. I recently got a 70 and so far my battery has been more that sufficient. My FT2DR has much less battery life than the 70 but using it with the GPS activated has a lot to do with it. I like the size of the 70 a tab better than the FT2 as it fits better in my hand. Both great radios though.
  9. KJ7WT

    KJ7WT Subscriber QRZ Page

    I put a meter between the battery and radio, and found that just connecting the battery, not turning on the radio, there is a constant 500 uA drain. That seems high to me. With the radio on, and the backlight on, it draws about 150 mA, and the current "pulses" at about a 2 Hz rate. Once the backlight goes off, the current drops to around 75 mA in RX standby. With an 1800 mA/hr battery, I'd expect to be able to have the radio in RX standby for quite a while. It makes me wonder again if some batteries are defective. However - I also tried the same test with my MD-380, and power-off drain is about 50 uA. Some of this difference cna be explained by the fact that the FT-70 has a "soft" power switch, so it has to have some active circuitry powered up when the battery is connected, but 500 uA seems excessive. Now I'm wondering if the radio itself has an internal problem.
  10. KK4YWN

    KK4YWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hows that CB4FM stuff? Still kinda like a cellphone without the convenience or fidelity 73 qsl hihi?
    G3ZPF likes this.

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