Yaesu FT-70DR

Looking to get a new portable ham radio that combines great features with an attractive price? If so, the Yaesu FT-70DR is probably an excellent choice. It’s compact and provides both FM and C4FM Digital operation, with a unique Automatic Mode Select (AMS) function that switches between these modes automatically. It’s also durable and is built to commercial-grade standards, with IP54 dust and water protection, and its large front speaker delivers up to 700mW of audio output.

Good

  • The price is right – This transceiver is priced reasonably for its features, and is an excellent way for new hobbyists to get into ham radio.
  • Easy to program – Using an included mini-USB cable, the unit can easily be programmed and updated from any PC.
  • Compatible with Wires-X – The Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System (Wires-X) lets this unit hook up to internet-based repeaters for enormous range enhancements.
  • Excellent audio quality – The Yaesu FT-70DR has low Bit Error Rate (BER) characteristics for great overall audio quality.
  • Powerful speaker – The 700mW speaker is loud enough to use on its own, though this transceiver can be used with a speaker mic and external speakers, too.
  • Automatic C4FM and FM switching – AMS (Automatic Mode Select) lets you switch between standard FM and C4FM Digital modes automatically.

Bad

  • Subpar water resistance – The IP54 rating means the Yaesu FT-70DR is resistant to dust and solid objects as well as splashing, but it’s not waterproof. This isn’t unexpected given its low price, but it’s something to keep in mind.
  • Low battery life – The battery life is usually 8 hours max, so you may want to invest in a spare battery if you need a longer battery life.

Bottom line

It’s not exactly a premium model, so you won’t get all the same features like waterproofing that you’d find in higher-end units. But with 5 watts of transmission power, robust build quality, and a smart design with a surprising amount of features, the Yaesu FT-70DR is definitely worth the price of entry for new hobbyists or those who want an inexpensive “knockaround” transceiver.

Expert reviews

  • YouTuber Laboenligne.ca was a big fan of the Yaesu FT-70DR, praising its price, saying it was an incredible deal for a dual-band Yaesu radio.
  • Ham Radio Dude also had good things to say about this transceiver, calling it a great “next step radio” for beginners to the hobby who want a feature-rich but reasonably priced unit, and noting its high overall build quality.
  • Finally, Knoxieman called it a “great value for your money,” especially compared to cheaper radios that often lack digital features, and noting its compatibility with the Yaesu SystemFusion system.

User reviews

  • The Yaesu FT-70DR has an average rating of 4.3 stars on eHam.net with 58 total reviews, which is quite good. Users noted its extensive features and good audio quality and its low price, though some did note sub-par battery life.
  • On GigaParts, the radio has 16 reviews with an average of 4.2. Its overall performance and the simple programming steps were praised by multiple reviewers. More negative reviews mention short battery life again, as well as a tendency for the speaker to provide bass-heavy audio.
  • DXEngineering customers have given the Yaesu FT-70DR a rating of 4.7 over 43 reviews, which is also an excellent score. Reviewers noted the ease-of-setup and overall ease-of-use of the unit, as well as its sturdy construction and affordable price.

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