Yaesu FT3DR review

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' 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!
    WS4K, K4HPD, K1ZBT and 2 others like this.
  2. EA2EKH

    EA2EKH Ham Member QRZ Page

    APRS reception is appalling. Compared side by side to, for example, a VX8DE, the FT3DE decodes about 50 % of the APRS messages (or less( than the VX8.
    N4DJC, KD6KPC and K1ZBT like this.
  3. K8HIT

    K8HIT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Color display is just colored lipstick on the ft2dr pig.

    Red and gray, really, men over 40 have red green vision deficiencies, it's common. Red looks gray to us!

    Same bugs in menu system that were in ft2dr.

    Screen touch sensitivity is better than ft2dr.

    No innovation, CAM is a joke. Why not scan just 5 freqs, CAM requires you to watch display.

    Bluetooth is noisy and weak, even when using yaesu headset. Not compatible with most headsets.

    If APRS is important to you the Kenwood TH-D74 is the HT you need.

    Only reason I keep it is C4FM, something drives me to have ability to receive all digital modes.
    K1ZBT likes this.
  4. KF5GCL

    KF5GCL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recently picked one up myself. My previous HT was an Icom 02-AT. It's a dinosaur, but it still works. Here's the thing I'm running into. As I am getting into digital comms for the first time, I've got a massive learning curve with this thing. That's all on me.

    One thing I don't like is how the owner's manual doesn't cover everything. There are places where the manual says to download another owner's manual for that specific subject. Otherwise, I'm still fumbling my way through this thing. Eventually I'll figure it out.
  5. W2TXB

    W2TXB Ham Member QRZ Page

    As HT's go, it is not a bad radio, but still no match for my ID-51A+ (or even my wife's slightly older ID-51A). As a side note referring to digital voice modes, I rank YSF as somewhere between DMR and D-STAR.

    Comparing on the common points using analog FM, the Yaesu receives and transmits well, but (although close) the receiver does not appear to be as sensitive as the ICOM. In normal use, this is more of an issue than a problem. Physical construction of the Yaesu seems OK as well, and the layout of controls is pretty good. The color display is, for me, one of those "take it or leave it" things... I am not into bling, but rather want and need a display that is clearly readable in all sorts of ambient lighting.

    APRS is a novelty for me, rather than a requirement. On the FT-3DR, it works fairly well, although I have only used it in more remote areas where there is little available for it to connect. Just yesterday, the radio became stuck on transmit on the "B" band where 144.39 is programmed. The radio became a tad warm, but is OK (thank G-d for the time-out timer setting)… the radio was out of my sight (I was out of the vehicle and the radio was in the vehicle) when this happened. I need to contact Yaesu about this, as I have read of one other user experiencing the same problem.
  6. W4EAE

    W4EAE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The FT3D is good for what it is; but if I am specifically on FM, I use either my ID-51A+2 or my D72 (despite the displays from three decades ago).

    I can honestly say that I never use the wideband receiver. I might be more interested in it working well if it could receive ssb.

    I already had the charging cradle for the FT2D, so I have never connected DC directly to the radio. An 8+ hour charge time is no-go for me.

    The speaker is really bad, but not the worst ever. That award goes to the FT2D.

    The cable not working with RT Systems software wasn't a big deal for two reasons: 1) Using an SD card negates the need to connect the radio to a computer 2) Yaesu did a bag up job with their FREE programming software.
  7. KB1ILJ

    KB1ILJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think it's a good radio, and I have had no issues. APRS works fine for me. I use a better antenna then the one it came with. Both FM and Digital work fine. REpeater work, simplex to an FT70, a hotspot and wires all function fine.
  8. KJ7BKH

    KJ7BKH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the review - I'm curious what you think of the extra frequencies this has - most dual bands have maybe FM broadcast receive in addition to uhf,vhf, but according to Yaesu page it has

    A(Main) Band RX: 0.5 - 1.8MHz (AM Broadcast)
    1.8 - 30MHz (SW Band)
    30 - 76MHz (50MHz HAM)
    76 - 108MHz (FM Broadcast)
    108 - 137MHz (Air Band)
    137 - 174MHz (144MHz HAM)
    174 - 222MHz (VHF TV)
    222 - 420MHz (GEN1)
    420 - 470MHz (430MHz HAM)
    470 - 800MHz (UHF Band)

    So this really receives (not transmits) shortwave and all those ham radio hf frequencies? If you have a specially long antenna, I would imagine, not the usual dual band antenna..?
    Considering the price of shortwave portable radios this seems like a deal, just curious what the performance at reading those frequencies is??
  9. N3VEZ

    N3VEZ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I get NWS on mine also. I use that feature a lot.
  10. VE3TSV

    VE3TSV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think you would disappointed using this radio as a dedicated shortwave radio. I have owned one since July, and other than using it for fushion/wires x this radio has been a uninspiring purchase.

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