Saturday 8 July 2023



I've had a Yaesu FT3-D for a few years now and I've been really happy with it, but I tend to leave it at our holiday home for weekend use, so I needed to get another hand-held for home. I didn't really want to lash out for another high-end radio, so I decided to buy a budget FT-70 from a friend for £100.

The FT-70D is compact and pretty basic, but it’s still a fully function 2M/70cm 5W transceiver with C4FM capability. It also has a wide-ranging receiver built-in, providing good general coverage including the AirBand (Civil & Military), but has no Broadcast radio coverage.

The screen is small but Yaesu opted for a single-line display instead of double line, so the text is pleasingly large compared to some other radios of this size. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the FT-70 screen is much easier to read in sunlight than the FT-3. 

The audio output is pretty good too, with 700mW feeding the speaker. I have seen people complain about low volume levels on this radio, but can’t figure out why - they must be stone deaf! This radio is loud enough! If I wanted it to be any louder because I was in a very noisy environment, I wouldn't want a QSO anyway!

A useful feature is the implementation of AMS which automatically detects the mode of any incoming signal, so the operator never has to change mode (unless he/she wants to). In practise, the AMS works very well indeed and I'm pleased that Yaesu included it.

When you store a frequency into a memory slot (there are 900 available (along with free software)) you can store 12 parameters such as TX Power, DCS, etc, but sadly, you cannot store Mic Gain. This is a shame because the currently set mic gain for FM transmissions can be (and usually is) way too hot for digital transmissions. Needless to say, you can assign a label/tag to the stored frequency such as “OSPOT” or “2Mcall”.

The FT-70 also includes the Group Monitor system, but to be honest, I've never actually needed to use it in any radio. But it's nice to have it there just in case, I guess.

The battery life is pretty pathetic but bear in mind that it's only 1800mAH, so you can't legitimately expect too much from it.  Probably best to buy an extra battery if you're going outdoors for the day. It's not really an issue to me, since I will almost exclusively use the device at 0.5W power output around the house and garden, transmitting into an OpenSpot. One thing to note though, is the supplied charger takes forever to charge and I would strongly recommend investing in the optional Fast Charger.

In the hand, the FT-70 is nice to hold and operate. The tuning dial on top of the radio is also used to make other adjustments and people have complained about having to hold a button while rotating the dial to adjust the volume 🙄 but honestly, it can be done with one hand and is easy. 

I tested the radio in C4FM Voice-Wide mode through NWFG (via OpenSpot2) and received complimentary reports from my friend Ian G0VGS. The mic-gain needed to be turned down one notch, but after that it was all good.

I like this radio. I like what it can do and how it does it. When Yaesu launched it in 2017 it started out at £200 but can now be bought for £170. That's about half of the cost of my FT3D and yet it offers many of its big brother's features, therefore representing excellent value for money - even more so when you buy a second-hand one!

Highly recommended!

73, Tom, M7MCQ

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