If you have a passion for ham operations and want to be part of that community, it is generally recommended, as a newbie, that you get a handheld transceiver. Later, you can invest in the more sophisticated devices.
Yaesu’s product line comprises several handhelds that meet the basic standards needed for ham radio operations. However, you might want to settle for one of the best Yaesu handhelds to make the experience worthwhile. You wouldn’t want your first experience with handheld transceivers marred by malfunctioning equipment.
In this guide, we have carefully selected 5 Yaesu ham radios that would hold up to any sort of scrutiny. Though they are different in terms of price tag and functionalities, each one performs the basic tasks expected of it excellently.
How to Choose the Best Yaesu Handhelds: Buyer’s Guide
Before getting a ham radio, it is assumed you already have a license. For beginners, the entry-level or technician license is required to get a call sign.
The general license is granted to those who want to go beyond the technician level. This license gives access to all amateur radio bands, unlike the entry-level license that is limited to frequencies over 30 MHz and few HF bands.
The third and final licensing level grants access to all frequencies and bands and is given to individuals who must have held the general license and practiced for a while.
Though Yaesu products are famous for their quality, the best value for money goes beyond choosing the first device you see. Getting the best Yaesu handhelds from several others must necessarily take into account the following factors:
Frequency – Ham radio regulations require that your mode of operations depends on the license you have.
You must be legally permitted to use the bands the device can access before buying it. If you are a newbie, dual-band VHF/UHF devices would be all that you need.
Besides, these two frequencies require less power than HF devices so it might be more convenient to operate them.
Power – Due to battery consumption, it is recommended that you restrict your choice of device to a maximum of 5 watts of transmission power.
The best devices feature different power settings. These are preferable as they allow users to choose the optimal power setting for different situations. This is linked to maximizing battery life.
The backlight on Display and keypad – This is an important feature to consider as they help you utilize the gadget in poor lighting.
The display must have a backlight that comes on when you press a button and goes off after a few seconds when you stop using it to conserve battery power.
Backlights on the keypad also serve the same crucial function.
Antenna – The quality of the antenna on the device is directly related to the effectiveness of the device as a transceiver.
All the products in this review feature quality antenna. In some of them, you can detach the antenna and replace it easily if you want to use a more sophisticated one with better range.
Memory – The size of the memory is an important feature especially if you have hundreds of frequencies you like monitoring. For local use only, a couple of dozen memory slots would be enough, but for worldwide ham radio operation, you would need at least 100.
Basically, if given the choice, choose a device with as many memory slots as possible.
Top 5 Best Yaesu handhelds: Review
#1. Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld Amateur Radio Transceiver
The Yaesu FT-60R is a strong and durable transceiver that features a sturdy aluminum case enhancing its resistance to light rain. It is a well-made device that is suitable for backpacks during camping trips, hunting, and other outdoor activities.
The dual-band radio has 1000 memory channels which is almost ten times the usual number found in similar devices. It comes with a lighted keypad making it easy to input numbers and letters on the backlit alphanumeric display in poor lighting conditions.
The signal transmission is top-notch with audio clarity to match. It comes with a quality antenna that can easily receive weak signals. Users find it easy to also receive aircraft, emergency, and marine bands.
#2. Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R Submersible Transceiver
The Yaesu VX-6R is a compact, heavy-duty, and rugged multi-band transceiver with premium military specifications. As the name implies, it is fully waterproof and would continue to function optimally after submersion in water.
Along with a reliable monitoring capability, it can transmit at 1.5 watts of power (222 MHz) and up to 5 watts of power on the 144 MHz and 430 MHz bands. It is also capable of receiving AM and FM signals, HF shortwave bands, TV band, VHF/UHF aircraft band, and other commercial and emergency frequencies.
Other awesome features of this transceiver include the Emergency Automatic ID (EAI) function that automatically transmits your call sign and engages the microphone even if you can’t use the PTT button; Enhanced Paging and Code Squelch (EPCS) that allows you to page your preferred station and restrict calls to only that station; and the security feature that ensures the device can be locked with a unique password.
#3. Yaesu FT-70DR Handheld Transceiver
Like all the best Yaesu handhelds transceivers, the FT-70DR is a well-made, compact device that comes with all the features you’d expect from a good mobile transceiver.
The device provides up to 5 watts of transmission power. And while receiving incoming transmissions, the 700mW front speakers deliver crystal clear audio so that you don’t miss a word even when RF reception is hampered by static and other interference.
With an IP54 rating making it dust and waterproof, the device features versatile scanning capabilities such as the programmable VFO scan. Other interesting features include the busy channel lockout, memory scan, priority scan, and wideband coverage.
It comes with a sensitive antenna; 1800 mAh Li-ion battery; battery charger; belt clip; and operating manual.
#4. Yaesu Original FT-65 Handheld Transceiver
The FT-65 is a rugged, lightweight and compact transceiver with three selectable power settings of 0.5, 2.5, and 5 watts. This gives users the option to choose their preferred transmission power if there is a need to conserve battery life.
It comes with a robust front speaker that delivers 1 Watt of strong, clear audio in whatever situation. With the installed 1950 mAh battery, you are guaranteed up to 9 hours of non-stop battery life. And when the battery is flat, the included Rapid Charger ensures you are ready to use the device in quick time.
Other features include the large backlighted LED; 4 Quick Recall keys to program and recall favorite stored frequencies; VOX function for hands-free operations; versatile scanning capabilities; weather scanning and alert; and much more.
#5. Yaesu FTA750L Handheld VHF Transceiver
The FTA750L is a very impressive VHF transceiver from Yaesu. A lot of care and dedication must have gone into the design and production of this communication and navigation gadget: this is a premium product with premium features.
The compact unit thrusts into your hands the full spectrum aviation/marine radio together with other features such as NOAA channels, weather alerts, VOR navigation, ILS/glideslope navigation, and an equally impressive 66-channel GPS WAAS receiver.
It comes with a backlit keypad making it easy to use in poor light conditions. And when using the keypad, the characters are displayed on the awesome 1.7” x 1.7″ full-dot matrix display. It has 200 memory channels with 15 alphanumeric channels so you can customize your frequencies the way you want them.
The unit is IPX5 rated, making it fully waterproof.
For new and veteran ham radio operators, a handheld transceiver is an important part of their gear. There are several of these devices on online stores and malls with Yaesu handhelds transceivers featuring prominently with several products in their inventory.
However, the smart move into select only the best Yaesu handhelds to get the best from your investment. That said, you won’t go wrong with any of the five products in this guide.