Digital Radios (Mid 2018)

Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Messages
39
Location
Auburn Hills, MI
#1
I am looking for a new digital handheld radio for more than a week now. I have decided either to go with Yaesu System Fusion or DMR as off now.

The problem with DMR is that most of the better quality radios available are single band. I know that around 90% of DMR repeaters operates on UHF, but if I get a dual band radio then it also helps me to communicate on analog VHF repeaters in my area. There are a few Chinese manufactured dual band DMR radios, but the overall reviews about these radios is not very good. The single band radio which I found of good quality is CS650. But again, I would be happy to go for a dual bander.

The other option is Yaesu System Fusion. There are 2 radios which I see are currently available, which are FT-70DR and FT-2DR. I see good feedback about FT-70DR, but there are many forums/blogs which complains about its battery. The battery life on FT-70DR is a serious issue it seems. The other Yaesu radio, FT-2DR has antenna complains. The complaint is not as strong as FT-70DR's battery though. I am afraid if I go for FT-2DR and if the antenna is not performing then I will not be able to reach the nearby repeaters clearly. I need my radio to cover 15-20 miles. (My area's terrain info given at the end)

Some of you might ask why not D-Star?

I have no issues with D-Star as such. The problem is that, there is only 1 D-Star repeater in 25 miles radius from where I stay. So it doesn't make any sense to go for D-Star as off now.

Just for information, I do not stay in a city where we have tall buildings. The area where I stay have 2 story houses, some woods and office buildings (3-4 stories).

Whatever I have mentioned above is all based on which I have been reading and watching on internet. I need help from folks who really have experience with digital handhelds and can help me with the ground reality and help me make decision to buy the right device.
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2005
Messages
380
#2
I would say go with the Yaesu , getting an aftermarket duck from diamond or comet will fix the antenna issue in 30+ years I only have two HT'S with factory ducks usually they suck performance wise.

There is also a method to my madness Yaesu fusion uses the same codec as DMR so in the future if you buy a digital hotspot it will transcode DMR, so you will be able to use that FT2DR ON both types of repeaters nationwide Fusion and DMR in one radio is very nice ,i have a hotspot because there are no digital machines in my area but my carry radios are a Yaesu & Kenwood ,gives me all digital modes in 2 radios .with a hotspot at home and 1/2 watt of RF you can talk forever on a single battery . The Yaesu would be a good fit for you ,and leaves open the possibility for adding a hotspot ,another radio & wires X box ,with wires X you become your own digital fusion node at home,so there is lots you can do with it today and add to later to explore even more. Also Yaesu kept batteries and chargers the same for several models & generations of radio thru the FT2 DR so you can buy cheap hi capacity batteries and fast chargers from places like Batteries America and Amazon, in my experience and several hams who have done extensive head to head battery testing on after market batteries for this style of Yaesu the batteries America aftermarket batteries out perform the OEM Yaesu batteries àt a lot less money .
I think you will enjoy it ,and it would be a good durable radio dependable radio for many years (I still have and use my very first Yaesu that i bought when i got my ticket 30+ years ago an FT 530 ,I still love the radio )
So with cheap and plentful after market accessories already available ,and a pretty bullet proof quality ,i dont see you having buyers remorse taking one home .


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Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
2,962
Location
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
#3
You haven’t stated the ratio of DMR to Fusion repeaters where you live. Here, there’s 10 DMR repeaters to 1 Fusion repeater. Also where do your friends hang out? On DMR, or Fusion. Again, here for me DMR wins. But maybe where you live there are more Fusion repeaters, & that’s where your friends are.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Messages
39
Location
Auburn Hills, MI
#4
I would say go with the Yaesu , getting an aftermarket duck from diamond or comet will fix the antenna issue in 30+ years I only have two HT'S with factory ducks usually they suck performance wise.

There is also a method to my madness Yaesu fusion uses the same codec as DMR so in the future if you buy a digital hotspot it will transcode DMR, so you will be able to use that FT2DR ON both types of repeaters nationwide Fusion and DMR in one radio is very nice ,i have a hotspot because there are no digital machines in my area but my carry radios are a Yaesu & Kenwood ,gives me all digital modes in 2 radios .with a hotspot at home and 1/2 watt of RF you can talk forever on a single battery . The Yaesu would be a good fit for you ,and leaves open the possibility for adding a hotspot ,another radio & wires X box ,with wires X you become your own digital fusion node at home,so there is lots you can do with it today and add to later to explore even more. Also Yaesu kept batteries and chargers the same for several models & generations of radio thru the FT2 DR so you can buy cheap hi capacity batteries and fast chargers from places like Batteries America and Amazon, in my experience and several hams who have done extensive head to head battery testing on after market batteries for this style of Yaesu the batteries America aftermarket batteries out perform the OEM Yaesu batteries àt a lot less money .
I think you will enjoy it ,and it would be a good durable radio dependable radio for many years (I still have and use my very first Yaesu that i bought when i got my ticket 30+ years ago an FT 530 ,I still love the radio )
So with cheap and plentful after market accessories already available ,and a pretty bullet proof quality ,i dont see you having buyers remorse taking one home .


Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
Thanks wrath for helping me out.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2015
Messages
39
Location
Auburn Hills, MI
#5
You haven’t stated the ratio of DMR to Fusion repeaters where you live. Here, there’s 10 DMR repeaters to 1 Fusion repeater. Also where do your friends hang out? On DMR, or Fusion. Again, here for me DMR wins. But maybe where you live there are more Fusion repeaters, & that’s where your friends are.
25 miles from my house

1 - D-Star repeater
31 - analog FM repeaters (inclusing 5 echolink enabled)
8 - Yaesu System Fusion repeaters
7 - DMR repeaters
 

uli2000

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
40
Location
Ely, NV
#8
25 miles from my house

1 - D-Star repeater
31 - analog FM repeaters (inclusing 5 echolink enabled)
8 - Yaesu System Fusion repeaters
7 - DMR repeaters
I've found most Fusion repeaters were bought because Yaesu sold 'em cheap, and usually have very little, if any, Fusion traffic. I've never seen a Fusion repeater that wasn't mixed mode, though my Fusion exposure has been limited.
 

W9BU

Lead Wiki Manager
Super Moderator
Joined
Jul 18, 2004
Messages
5,548
Location
Brownsburg, Indiana
#9
So that’s almost 1 to 1 between DMR, & Fusion.
But it's almost 4 to 1 analog vs. Fusion and more than 4 to 1 analog vs. DMR. Based on numbers alone, why buy a digital voice radio?

As you say, the mode that the people you want to talk to are using weighs heavier than anything else.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2016
Messages
288
#11
In the hood.

25 miles from my house

1 - D-Star repeater
31 - analog FM repeaters (inclusing 5 echolink enabled)
8 - Yaesu System Fusion repeaters
7 - DMR repeaters
If the one D-Star machine is in Garden City, it's a backyard machine with very limited coverage. It is going to be moved to a 300' tower in western Wayne somewhere soon. I think northern Westland or somewhere like that. Once that's up, I think it's going to be very active. Lot's of people with D-Star chomping at the bit.

Several good active Fusion machines near you. There is a very active one on top of the Ren Cen with incredible coverage.

Actually different DMR networks. I like the C-MEN the best. A linked system, you can look it up. There is other systems. But the repeater owners have so many talk groups, you tend to have to listen to something you don't want to.
 

chief21

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
803
Location
Summer - western NC mountains; Winter - central
#12
Remember that not all Fusion machines necessarily have access to the internet rooms or nodes. It could be likely that many of the Fusion machines in your area could be free-standing (no internet) or back-yard (very limited coverage) repeaters.

On the other hand, nearly all DMR machines operate via the internet and have the ability to provide "worldwide" communications.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2016
Messages
288
#13
Like the original poster ....

Remember that not all Fusion machines necessarily have access to the internet rooms or nodes. It could be likely that many of the Fusion machines in your area could be free-standing (no internet) or back-yard (very limited coverage) repeaters.

On the other hand, nearly all DMR machines operate via the internet and have the ability to provide "worldwide" communications.
… I'm also in Detroit. Every Fusion machine I know of is linked with rooms and decent coverage. One is over 750' high. Seriously great coverage.

The DMR machines around here also are all linked. Personally, in the Motor City, I like DMR a bit better than Fusion. Main reason is it seems the Fusion owners (and it's their machines so they can do what they want) seem to want to link to everything under the sun.
I'm more of a local rag chew kind of guy. I can get that more on DMR than Fusion around here.
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2005
Messages
380
#14
I would go with a fusion radio they will do analogue, fusion & by getting a hotspot DMR via transcode, there is no effective functional all mode digital radio yet ,a Yaesu fusion is as close youll come ,later on down the logbook you can get dstar.

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Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
56
Location
Redford, Mi
#15
If the one D-Star machine is in Garden City, it's a backyard machine with very limited coverage. It is going to be moved to a 300' tower in western Wayne somewhere soon. I think northern Westland or somewhere like that. Once that's up, I think it's going to be very active. Lot's of people with D-Star chomping at the bit.

Several good active Fusion machines near you. There is a very active one on top of the Ren Cen with incredible coverage.

Actually different DMR networks. I like the C-MEN the best. A linked system, you can look it up. There is other systems. But the repeater owners have so many talk groups, you tend to have to listen to something you don't want to.
This is great news for me. I have a D-star handheld that I have yet to use on anything other than a hotspot (Livonia). If it's the 300ft tower I am thinking of, it isn't far down the road from me. I have been having the same debate with myself as the OP but for mobile use. I just ordered the ID-5100 but would love to get into DMR.
 
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