Chances are, you ended up on this Yaesu FT-60R Review because are looking for two-way handheld radio that is adequate for ham radio operations. It is also likely you have heard great things about Yaesu handheld transceivers.
Yaesu indeed make quite a number of handheld 2-way radios. The Yaesu FT-60R is one of the best in its inventory for many reasons. Though it is not a premium device, it packs enough features you might not notice the difference, especially if (this is also likely) this is your first shot at using a ham radio.
Veteran hams usually recommend devices like this for novices. They are not too expensive and the learning curve is unlikely to frustrate a new user into giving up the idea of becoming an amateur radio operator.
Hopefully, by the end of this Yaesu FT-60R review, you’d have cause to purchase it as your first ham radio device.
Yaesu FT-60R Review
What’s in the box?
Radio – The unit is an unassuming pitch-black color with no highlights to offset this. Only the grey keypad and display offer something of a relief from all that blackness.
On the right side is the PTT button. Below this are two more buttons. The top button is the monitor button. It is used to disable the squelch function of the device. You’d need to press this if you want to listen to weak signals.
Below the monitor button is the lamp button used to illuminate the backlight for 5 seconds. Pressing the button a second time turns off the backlight.
The speaker/mic connectors are found on the left side of the radio. This is covered by a rubber flap to prevent dust and water from getting in easily.
The Keypad is nice and spaced nicely making it unlikely to press two buttons at the same time. The speaker is also located on the front panel between the display at the top and keypad at the bottom part of the panel.
At the top of the gadget is the antenna on the left, the frequency adjuster/squelch knob on the right, and between these two is the power/volume knob.
The transceiver feels hefty and solid. If you have small hands, you could easily get tired of clutching it. But you might not have to do that a lot since there is a belt clip attached to the back. This looks sturdy and would take considerable force to damage it.
Manual – This is detailed and very well illustrated. You shouldn’t have any problem understanding it.
Antenna – Looks sturdy enough. The top part is flexible while the base that attaches to the radio comes with an SMA connector that you simply have to screw to the reverse connector on the radio.
Battery – This is 7.2V 1400 mAh Ni-MH battery. It is fairly heavy and also doubles as the back cover of the radio.
Charger/adaptor – The charger is a cradle or dock with a port at the back to plug in the adaptor which in turn is plugged to the electricity mains.
Inserting the battery and screwing on the antenna is all there is to get it ready for use.
To insert the battery, simply raise the belt clip and slide it in. The battery latch at the bottom needs to be raised too to give way to the base of the battery. Once the battery is safely nestled in the compartment, release the battery latch to secure the battery to the radio.
You can now power it on using the power/volume knob at the top of the radio. Three beeping sounds indicate the device is on. You would see the voltage power of the battery on the display. This remains on the screen for a few seconds before displaying the frequency.
Operating the Yaesu FT-60R
After charging and installing the battery (if the battery is flat, it takes about 4 hours to get it fully charged), simply turn the power knob at the top to get going.
While the easy portability of this device is one of its best selling points especially if you want to try you wants at ham radio operations, you would quickly realize the features align perfectly with what you desire in a portable 2-way handheld radio.
Below are some of the functions that make it a sensible choice for basic amateur radio operations:
Programming and Scanning options – This device is a dual-band UHF/VHF radio with 1000 memory channels programming options. You can choose to program your favorite frequencies in any of the 10 memory banks.
Nine of the frequencies can be saved in the DTMF auto dialer for easy access. The device allows you to scan as many channels as you want and when you discover the ones you love best, simply store them in the DTMF memory bank. It would automatically dial them whenever you need to.
Reception/ Transmission/Coverage – The Tx/Tr coverage is pretty decent. Under normal circumstances, the transmission coverage is between 122 – 148 MHz and 430 – 520 MHz. It would easily receive signals at 108 – 520 MHz and 700 – 900 MHz proving the device is capable of holding its own in terms of signal reception and transmission.
Because it is dual-band UHF/VHF transceiver, it also provides coverage of both bands include VHF TV and VHF AM bands. So. if you live near an airfield, your Yaesu FT-60R transceiver would get you plugged into the RF activities of the airfield.
Audio – The audio quality is pretty decent. Some folks might even consider it excellent. But, you must realize that the audio quality is heavily dependent on the RF activity in the area and the squelch setting.
However, it does a good job of filtering out unwanted noise. By the time you get to use it for a while, adjusting the squelch to improve audio would be easy.
Emergency Automatic ID (EAI) – This is one of the best features in this device. The EAI would automatically send out your call ID when you are about to transmit. This feature also activates the microphone automatically even in instances you are unable to press the PTT button.
This is quite useful in emergencies when you might be too preoccupied and become forgetful.
Enhanced Paging and Code Squelch (EPCS) – This function allows you to page a particular station. When it is fully activated, the transceiver would receive calls from the paged station only. This helps to cut out unimportant incoming transmission interfering with your reception.
NOAA weather channels – You would be regularly updated on the latest weather forecast with the NOAA weather alerts. And if you want quick access to the weather station, the one-touch function gives instant access to the local weather channel.
Summary of specifications and features
- 1000 memory channels
- Locking mode prevents a change of frequency accidentally
- Receives emergency channels
- NOAA weather alerts.
- Tri-power output: O. 5, 2, and 5 watts
- Dual-band UHF/VHF ( 2 meter and 70cm band transmission)
- Alphanumeric keypad with backlight
- CTCSS/DCS Privacy codes
- 1400 mAh battery
- Easy squelch control
- Timeout timer
- Auto-repeater shift
- Auto-range Transponder System (ARTS) indicates when the transceiver is out of communication range
- Compact and durable
- Easy to use
- Long battery life
- Auto-power off
- The display is easy to read
- You might need a better antenna
- It is not waterproof
The Yaesu FT-60R transceiver is a compact, portable and awesome, entry-level ham radio. It is made from tough material making it great to use as a walkie talkie for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, camping, etc.
It has a decent transmission and reception range with adjustable transmission power settings if you want to extend the range by transmitting at high power or conserve the battery with low power settings. And with it repeater-capability, you might even get an unbelievable range if a repeater station is nearby.
As this Yaesu FT-60R review showed, one of the best selling points is its easy operating procedure. You won’t have to navigate unnecessary menu items to execute simple, basic tasks.