Yaesu FT-65R

If you’re newer to the world of ham radios and you’re looking for a basic, affordable, no-frills HT (Handheld Transceiver) that will grow with you as you learn, the Yaesu FT-65R is an excellent choice. Despite its affordable price, it packs in plenty of features, and with up to 5W of power, it provides excellent overall performance on the VHF/UHF bands.

Good

  • Good battery life – Every user is different, but Yaesu advertises this HT as having 9 hours of battery life with the included 1950 mAh Li-ion battery. Upgrade to a 2500 mAh battery for 11.5 hours of battery life.
  • Easy-to-read display – The bright, crisp white LED display offers excellent clarity in all conditions, and makes this HT quite easy to use.
  • Selectable power settings – The Yaesu FT-65R can toggle between 5W, 2.5W, and 0.5W transmission modes depending on your needs, desired battery life, and other such factors.
  • Comes with a rapid charger – Unlike some comparable models, the Yaesu FT-65R comes with a Rapid Charger that provides a full charge in just 3.5 hours, ensuring you’ll always be ready to transmit and receive.
  • Convenient QRK buttons – Four Quick Recall Keys (QRK) allow you to set your favorite frequencies and access them with the touch of a button.

Bad

  • Hard to program without a computer – While it is possible to program the FT-65R without a computer, it’s quite difficult. The menus are unintuitive and a bit clunky, particularly for those who are newer to the hobby.
  • Mediocre antenna – The “rubber ducky” antenna that comes with the FT-65R is just okay. Many users reported better results with the unit once they replaced the antenna. Luckily, swapping the antenna takes only moments.

Bottom line

If you are willing to put up with a bit of menu clunkiness in exchange for an affordable, durable, and robust ham radio, the FT-65R is what you need. Though it has a few drawbacks, its long battery life, rugged design, and surprising power make it an excellent overall choice.

Product Specs

Frequency RangesRX 136 – 174 MHz
400 – 480 MHz
TX 136 – 174 MHz (Asian version) 144 – 146 MHz (European version)
144 – 148 MHz (USA version)
400 – 480 MHz (Asian version)
430 – 440 MHz (European version)
430 – 450 MHz (USA version) FM Broadcast 65-108 MHz
Channel Steps5 / 6.25 / 10 / 12.5 / 15 / 20 / 25 / 50 / 100 kHz
Frequency Stability±5 ppm (–10 °C to +60 °C, +14 °F to +140 °F )
Repeater Shift±600 kHz (144 MHz)
±1.6 / 5.0 / 7.6 MHz (430 MHz)
Emission TypeF2D, F3E, F2A
Antenna Impedance50 Ohms
Supply VoltageNominal: 7.4V DC, Negative Ground
Current Consumption205 mA (Receive) 200 mW Output (Approx. @7.4V) 100 mA (Standby, Saver Off)
18 mA (Standby, Saver On) 4 mA (Auto Power Off)
1.5 A (5 W Tx , 144 MHz) 7.4 V DC
1.7 A (5 W Tx , 430 MHz) 7.4 V DC
Operating Temperature– 4 °F to +140 °F (– 20 °C to + 60 °C)
Case Size2.0” (W) x 4.1” (H) x 1.2” (D) (52 x 104.5 x 30 mm)
(W/O knob and antenna)
Weight9.17 oz (260 g) with SBR-25LI and antenna
RF Power Output5.0 W (High) / 2.5 W (Middle) / 0.5 W (Low)
(@ 7.4 V with SBR-25LI)
Modulation TypeVariable Reactance
Maximum Deviation±5.0 kHz
Spurious EmissionAt least 60 dB down (@ High and Middle power)
At least 40 dB down (@ Low power)
Microphone Impedance2 kOhms
Circuit TypeDirect-Conversion
Sensitivity0.2 µV for 12 dB SINAD (140 – 150 MHz, NFM)
0.2 µV for 12 dB SINAD (420 – 470 MHz, NFM)
Selectivity12 kHz / 35 kHz (–6 dB /–60 dB)
AF Output0.8 W @ 16 ohms for 10% THD (@ 7.4 V) (Internal SP Max Power 1 W)
0.8 W @ 16ohms for 10%THD (@ 7.4 V) (EXT SP Jack Max Power 1 W)

Expert reviews

  • YouTuber Ham Radio 2.0 reviewed the Yaesu FT-65R, calling it a “Baofeng Killer,” and praised its quality over competing HTs in the same price range. He also praised some of the unit’s quirkier features, such as the built-in LED flashlight in the base.
  • Ham Radio Dude also had good things to say about the Yaesu FT-65R. In particular, he praised the multi-line LED display, calling it “crisp and clear.” He also praised the overall quality and “awesome features” of the radio.
  • Design2Survive assessed this HT and said that he “really liked” the radio in general. He called the value “amazing” and said it was a “fantastic radio” overall, despite some difficulties programming the unit. He also praised the clean, sleek design of the radio.

User reviews

  • On DXengineering, this radio has an average score of 4.56 stars across 37 reviews. Several users called it an “excellent starting HT,” and called it a “very good value” for the price. The overall ruggedness and build quality of the FT-65R was also noted by several reviewers.
  • Users from eHam.net also are enthusiastic about this HT from Yaesu. It has collected a rating of 3.9 stars across 36 reviews. Users who liked the unit praised its value, clear and loud sound, and sturdy design. However, several users noted quality control issues, as well as difficulties understanding the manual for the FT-65R.
  • GigaParts reviewers gave the FT-65R an average of 4.5 stars over 6 reviews. User praised the ease of programming the HT using a computer, and called the radio a “great value” thanks to its solid build quality and surprisingly good features.

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