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Digital Voice for Amateur Use - Discuss use of digital voice technologies on the amateur radio bands. This is to include technologies such as VoIP, P25, DMR/TRBO, NXDN, D-STAR, etc.

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Old 05-23-2018, 6:37 PM
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Arrow Which C4FM HT?

I am in a puzzlement on buying a new HT as what to replace my current, dying, very old Yaesu VX6-R.

Looking at repeater lists such as repeaterbook.com and here suggests that Yaesu C4FM repreaters carry the torch for digital repeaters. D-Star repeaters are few in and far between in my area, and I am thinking that one of the inexpensive Chinese DMR HTs and a standalone hotspot may be only way to access DMR networks. (That would be a discussion for another time.)

Options seem to be the Yaesu FT2DR or the FT-70DR. (It is a shame 220 has been dropped from the current lineup.) Whereas the latter seems to have the form factor of the VX-6R, the FT2DR touch screen screen with its readability seems attractive.

Obviously there is a price difference. I am reading both manuals (downloaded from the Yaesu website), but trying to determine the features set differences of the two still escapes me. I tend to nod off reading such exciting prose.

I note the programming software is sold by dealers but is also available on the Yaesu website; is the download free? All I have is a small Asus netbook with Win7 and 3 USB ports; is this enough to run the software? (I gave up on the old desktops when I retired years ago; a Samsung tablet suffices for my daily use now.)

I would be interested in feedback from owners of both. All help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-23-2018, 7:49 PM
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Good evening! With the Yaesu software I would recommend spending a few dollars and purchasing the RT Systems software for the particular radio you choose. The free Yaesu software can be a bit buggy. I became tired of it failing to work properly, bought the RT Systems software, and Iíve never looked back! In my opinion, itís well worth the small amount of money!

As for the hotspot, I have an OpenSPOT SharkRF. With this hotspot it is possible to run DMR via the C4FM. While I have not experimented with it, I do know itís possible. Perhaps someone can expound upon how this functions.
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Old 05-23-2018, 9:46 PM
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Thanks Andrew! I had the RT Systems software for the VX6R, and preferred Commander. But if RT has improved since when I bought the VX6R when it first cane out, good to know. Still have to ask about running on the netbook. The openSPOT info is really interesting. I had read some info on some other standalone hotspots, but missed this one.
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Old 05-24-2018, 3:04 AM
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As an owner of the FT2DR as well as the FTM400, I would recommend the FT2DR, if you want to spend the money. It is a true dual band radio and has built in GPS. If you just want to use C4FM and don't need dual receive, then I think the FT70 would be a good choice.

Yaesu has made a push to promote Fusion with attractive pricing and features. Fusion repeaters can operate both analog and digital automatically which is not an option with D-Star. We operate a DR2 repeater. Analog users are not shut out (although they don't like heating the digital signals). However, setting up CTCSS decode will eliminate that problem.

Interestingly, Yaesu seems to have no plans to offer Fusion on commercial radios. It will remain a ham only digital mode.

RT systems software is better than the free Yaesu offering. My radios have micro SD cards that can be programmed separately and then restored on the radios. No cables to buy from RT.

I wish then would offer 220, but due to the limited market worldwide it may never be available.

I also have a VX-6R. Mine is still going strong. I think the Commander is the better software.
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Old 05-24-2018, 6:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w2xq View Post
Looking at repeater lists such as repeaterbook.com and here suggests that Yaesu C4FM repreaters carry the torch for digital repeaters.
Don't be misled by the various crowd-sourced repeater listings. Many of those Yaesu digital voice repeaters are operating in analog-only mode or they have no connection to the Internet (Yaesu's WIRES-X) thus making them standalone islands.
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Old 05-24-2018, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ko6jw_2 View Post
Yaesu has made a push to promote Fusion with attractive pricing and features. Fusion repeaters can operate both analog and digital automatically which is not an option with D-Star. We operate a DR2 repeater. Analog users are not shut out (although they don't like heating the digital signals). However, setting up CTCSS decode will eliminate that problem.
When compared to DStar, it is a great new feature. When compared to other digital modes...not really that new of a feature (just isn't as common on amateur radio).

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Originally Posted by ko6jw_2

Interestingly, Yaesu seems to have no plans to offer Fusion on commercial radios. It will remain a ham only digital mode.
They really don't have a leg to stand on in the commercial market right now. Motorola completely absorbed Vertex at the first of the year and canceled nearly their entire lineup except for a select few DMR radios which are being offered as low tier alternatives to the XPR and SL lines.
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Old 05-24-2018, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
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Interestingly, Yaesu seems to have no plans to offer Fusion on commercial radios...
Why would they? Only their StandardHorizon brand Marine radios have Part 90 capability, and its limited to analogue with only 40 channels.
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Old 05-24-2018, 1:52 PM
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Don't be misled by the various crowd-sourced repeater listings. Many of those Yaesu digital voice repeaters are operating in analog-only mode or they have no connection to the Internet (Yaesu's WIRES-X) thus making them standalone islands.
The repeater does not need to be connected directly to the internet. I use a WiresX box at my QTH to provide connectivity to the repeater via an FTM400. In fact, it is not recommended to connect directly to the repeater. Who wants to drive and hour and a half to the mountain top to reboot a computer if something goes wrong.

As for using the analog mode only, I can only say that this is a mistake. Using the auto mode doesn't change anything except that you can only use analog. Pointless. However, I know many hams who say they will never use digital. Sixty plus years ago people said they would never use sideband. And, we're supposed to be innovators.
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Old 05-24-2018, 4:07 PM
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The repeater does not need to be connected directly to the internet. I use a WiresX box at my QTH to provide connectivity to the repeater via an FTM400.
Ergo, the repeater is connected to the Internet. Maybe not directly, but it is connected, via RF, and can provide the linking features that System Fusion offers.
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Old 05-24-2018, 4:39 PM
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Obviously I have a lot of catchup learning to do on the digital modes. I really haven't been paying attention these past years as almost all of the area repeaters are analog. But there is little point in buying another only-analog HT.

So that comes back to my original post asking for comments from owners or testers of the two Yaesu HTs. Thanks.
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w2xq View Post
Obviously I have a lot of catchup learning to do on the digital modes. I really haven't been paying attention these past years as almost all of the area repeaters are analog. But there is little point in buying another only-analog HT.

So that comes back to my original post asking for comments from owners or testers of the two Yaesu HTs. Thanks.
I have the Yaesu FT-2DR, FTM-100DR, FTM-400XDR and HRI-200, and have been doing the Fusion thing for a few years now. I did my research and decided on the better digital mode for me; audio quality was better of the other amateur digital modes. Although I don't have the FT-70DR, I'd recommend the FT-2DR if you have the means to purchase it.

FT-2DR Pluses
Only Fusion radio with dual digital VFOs
Touch screen
Screen real estate for larger characters and additional information
Screen color is pleasing to the eyes and not stuck in the 90s amber color scheme
Larger 2200 mAh battery capacity (three battery capacities available)
AA battery case that can be used empty when running DC
MicroSD card (especially useful when used with RT Systems software for programming)
APRS (if you're into that)
Full Wires-X functionality
IPX5 rating
Built-in GPS

Yaesu Fusion repeater operators can lock operation mode but most of the ones I've encountered have been set to AMS for analog or digital operation. Just because it's a C4FM repeater doesn't mean it's connected to Wires-X (read: Internet.) Fusion repeaters are RF only until configured to be a node on Wires-X with an HRI-200. You can have a Wires-X node in digital or analog mode and still communicate with others using either.

I'm not sure how much traveling you do but there are plenty of Fusion repeaters in NJ. I have first hand experience while traveling through NJ. Since you're in southern NJ, you can probably hit the 442.65MHz repeater that is Wires-X connected and has great coverage into NYC.
https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...id=34&type=YSF

Repeaters come and go and personally know of people running them in their backyard and then go silent after going through the hassle of registration with repeater coordinators. Unfortunately, even the data on their sites are outdated because of situation I just mentioned.

I wish I could say that you can use coordinator sites as the "go to" reference, but you can't since there are inconsistencies.
ARCC - Repeater Frequency Coordination for Amateur Radio

If you want to date yourself then you could go for the ARRL Repeater Directory, but that was outdated before it went to press.
https://www.arrl.org/shop/The-ARRL-R...irectory-2018/

RepeaterBook is just one of several other sources out there and find it's a good baseline to start with and can supplement other sources.
https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...hp?state_id=34

When others claim that the previous source is inaccurate because it's "crowd-sourced", I shake my head because what is this site? How often do you find inaccurate or incomplete information on here? Or worse, wikis like this: https://wiki.radioreference.com/inde...tal_distortion
They can't even keep amateur repeater listings up to date.

Bottom line: Use multiple credible sources. You wan't Ham info, go to Ham sites. You wan't love info, go to love sites. Want scanner info, you should be okay here.
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Last edited by CQ; 05-25-2018 at 10:59 PM..
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:13 AM
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CQ, thanks for the input. I spoke tonight with a old friend who put the Yaesu C4FM repeater on the air for K2AA a few years ago; a second one will soon be coming to the K2UK 2m outlet. He uses the FT2DR too; like you, he likes the readability and the on-screen keypad is easier to enter repeater control codes. I am reading manuals at the moment, and looking at YouTube videos. Re repeater listings and my involvement, that goes back to the pre-ARCC days when a group based in and around Trenton had coordination responsibilities and I maintained its database on my new Apple II computer with just 5.25" floppies. Every so often I had to change around the 12 crystal pairs in my new Regency HR-2B until I had the money to buy a new Clegg FM-27B. I used to include Burlington, Camden and Mercer repeater listings on my website going back to the mid 1990s, but I now I just link to ARCC, RadioReference and RepeaterBook. There is no sense in duplicating what the latter has; N2ICV and I have been friends for years.
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Old 05-27-2018, 1:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ko6jw_2 View Post
As an owner of the FT2DR as well as the FTM400, I would recommend the FT2DR, if you want to spend the money. It is a true dual band radio and has built in GPS. If you just want to use C4FM and don't need dual receive, then I think the FT70 would be a good choice.

Yaesu has made a push to promote Fusion with attractive pricing and features. Fusion repeaters can operate both analog and digital automatically which is not an option with D-Star. We operate a DR2 repeater. Analog users are not shut out (although they don't like heating the digital signals). However, setting up CTCSS decode will eliminate that problem.

Interestingly, Yaesu seems to have no plans to offer Fusion on commercial radios. It will remain a ham only digital mode.

RT systems software is better than the free Yaesu offering. My radios have micro SD cards that can be programmed separately and then restored on the radios. No cables to buy from RT.

I wish then would offer 220, but due to the limited market worldwide it may never be available.

I also have a VX-6R. Mine is still going strong. I think the Commander is the better software.
They are very hard to find ,HRO had them at one time but there are 220 Dstar hotspots , i have been trying to find one for my 74A .

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