Yaesu FT-5DR Review

The Yaesu FT-5DR is a follow-up to the widely successful FT-3DR, and it offers similar specs. It’s less of an “upgrade” and more of a “sidegrade.” Due to the worldwide chip shortage, Yaesu was forced to develop the FT-5DR because they lacked the proper components to build more FT-3DRs. It’s not a must-have for someone who already has an FT-3DR or a similar C4FM handheld transceiver – but if you don’t have a comparable 2-meter and 70-centimeter HT, the Yaesu FT-5DR is still a pretty excellent option.

Good

  • Simultaneous dual-band operation – The FT-5DR can operate in dual bands, and can operate in the 2-meter or 70-centimeter bands in either analog or digital modes. This makes it excellent for hams who frequently monitor or transmit on multiple bands simultaneously.
  • IPX7 water resistance – Since it’s rated as IPX7 water-resistant, the Yaesu FT-5DR is a good choice for lots of outdoor activities. You can submerge it in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes, so a few splashes or a little bit of mud shouldn’t be a problem.
  • 5W power output – Despite its pint-sized package, The Yaesu FT-5DR peaks at 5 watts of power transmission, which is more than enough for most daily uses. Since it supports WIRES-X in C4FM mode, this means you can make QSOs worldwide if you have a nearby WIRES-equipped station.
  • High-quality receiver – Some users had audio complaints about the Yaesu FT-3DR, which mostly seem to be resolved with the FT-5DR. Audio generally sounds clear and crisp, though it’s a bit more spotty in digital mode than it is in analog mode.
  • Loud, clear, 1W speaker – Combined with its high-quality receiver, the 1-watt speaker packed into the FT-5DR is plenty loud. The FT-5DR also supports Bluetooth, so that’s an option if you’d prefer to wear headphones.
  • Out-of-the-box WIRES-X support – WIRES-X lets you make contacts throughout the globe through the power of the internet. If you’ve ever wanted to experiment with WIRES-X and C4FM, the Yaesu FT-5DR is a great choice, since it’s easy to set up your own digital node with the FT-5DR, an internet-connected computer, and the optional SCU-39 cable kit.

Bad

  • Not a great upgrade from the FT-3DR – While there have been some improvements, the FT-5DR is not exactly a huge improvement on the FT-3DR. If you already have that HT or a similar 2-meter and 70-centimeter HT, it’s hard to recommend the FT-5DR as an upgrade. However, it’s still a solid choice if you don’t already own a comparable handset.
  • No visual scanning – When scanning frequencies, the FT-5DR simply shows a “MEM SCAN” or “VFO SCAN” message, unlike some other radios that actually show the frequencies the radio is cycling through. Users who prefer to visually stop at a particular memory number or frequency may not like this feature. However, it is possible that Yaesu may release a firmware fix to resolve this issue.

Bottom line

The Yaesu FT-5DR isn’t going to blow your mind if you’ve already got a similar 2-meter and 70-centimeter handset. But it’s a worthwhile successor to the FT-3DR, and if you don’t have a similar HT, you’re going to love this one – particularly if you want to experiment with WIRES-X and C4FM.

Product Specification

Frequency coverage
Receive (Main)0.5200 ~ 999.9950 MHz [1]
Receive (Sub)108.0000 ~ 579.9950 MHz
Transmit144.0000 ~ 148.0000 MHz [2]
144.0000 ~ 146.0000 MHz [3]
430.0000 ~ 450.0000 MHz [2]
430.0000 ~ 440.0000 MHz [3]
ModeAM [4]
 / FM / WFM [4]
 / C4FM
Tuning step5 / 6.25 / 8.333 [5]
 / 9 [6]
 / 10 / 12.5 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 50 / 100 KHz
Output power
VHF5 / 2.5 / 1 / 0.3W [8]
0.9 / 0.3W [9]
UHF5 / 2.5 / 1 / 0.3W [8]
0.9 / 0.3W [9]
Spurious emission
at 0.9 / 2.5 / 5W<-60dBc
at 0.3 / 1W<-50dBc
Sensitivity
AM3.0 uV typ (0.5~30 MHz, 10dB S/N)
1.5 uV typ (108~137 MHz, 10dB S/N)
FM0.35 uV typ (30~54 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
1.0 uV typ (54~76 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.2 uV (137~140 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.16 uV (140~150 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.2 uV (150~174 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
1.0 uV (174~222 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.5 uV (222~350 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.2 uV (350~400 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
0.18 uV (400~470 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
1.5 uV (470~580 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
3.0 uV (580~800 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
1.5 uV (800~1000 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
WFM1.5 uV typ (76~108 MHz, 12dB SINAD)
C4FM0.19 uV typ (144~148 MHz, 1% BER)
0.19 uV typ (430~450 MHz, 1% BER)
Selectivity
AM / FM12 kHz (-6dB)
35 kHz (-60dB)
RF attenuatorYes
Frequency stability± 2.5ppm with temperature from -20°C to +60°C
IF (Intermediate Frequency)
58.05 MHz (Main)
57.15 MHz (Main)
450 kHz (Main and Sub)

Expert reviews

  • In his unboxing of the FT-5DR, Jason from Ham Radio 2.0 took a look at this HT, and had a positive overall impression. He liked the IPX7 waterproofing, and the fact that the FT-5DR uses the same batteries as the other Yaesu FT radios. Jason also liked the included belt clip, the slightly sleeker design compared to the FT-3DR, and the ability to change the text color and other menu colors on the FT-5DR’s touchscreen. He concluded the review by saying that he would “likely pick one up” for himself as an upgrade from his FT-3DR.
  • In a comparison video, Josh from Ham Radio Crash Course took a look at the FT-5DR. He liked a lot of what the radio had to offer compared to the FT-5DR, such as the backlit menu buttons on the front of the HT, as well as its improved IPX7 waterproofing and louder 1-watt speaker. He also liked the slightly brighter touchscreen, as well as the ability to change the colors in the display. He said that overall, the audio quality of the FT-5DR was better than the FT-3DR. Overall, he concluded that it’s a “pretty good” top-of-the-line HT, but that it’s not worth upgrading from the FT-3DR for most hams.

User reviews

  • On DXEngineering, the Yaesu FT-5DR has a rating of 5 out of 5 stars across 6 total reviews. Among other praise, users said that the audio is “loud and crisp,” that the “radio is well built and appears rugged,” and “performs very nicely with clear audio and using the stock antenna.” Other users had good things to say about the quality of the display, the ease of programming this HT, and the fact that it’s compatible with all the same accessories as the FT-3DR, its predecessor.
  • On eHam.net, users have given the Yaesu FT-5DR a much more mixed review. This HT has a rating of 2.7 out of 5 stars. Users who reviewed it positively said that “it’s a well-built, solid HT that has tremendous capability,” that it’s a “great little handheld,” and that “the display is beautiful [and] it’s very easy to use.” On the other hand, those who criticized the radio said that it had “poor audio,” and is “buggy with lots of quirks,” as well as “crippled scan functions.”

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