Yaesu: FT3DR Maybe Buying

TexScan780D

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I am in the market of buying a new Amateur Radio radio and looking at the Yaesu FT3DR. I liked the radio frequency range to recive .5-999.9 MHz, listen to Air and Public Safety analog transmissions and the APRS with the radio GPS reciver. Please post your thoughts on the radio or any other radio. 73's.
 

vagrant

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You should compare the FT3DR with the Kenwood D74A. I have both and like them both. The Yaesu is smaller in size and has a touch screen. The Kenwood comes with the cable needed to update firmware as well as program the radio. The Yaesu cable is for firmware updates. I don't believe the Kenwood will receive over 500 MHz, but the Kenwood does receive CW, USB and LSB, as well as AM & FM.

Whichever one you decide on, purchase an aftermarket antenna. Either a Diamond SRH77CA, or with the D74A the SRH320A not only works with the 220 band that radio has, but is the best handheld antenna I have ever used, other than a very large telescoping mono band antenna. For dual band, the handheld antennas from Signal Stuff aren't bad either.
 
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K9DWB

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I have the Yaesu FT3D. Yes, it's a very nice radio, but I think whether or not it's a good radio for you will depend on what you want out of it and what the repeater and other radio activity are like in your area of use. Just listening in an out of the box setup, it may be OK to good but it does depend on how strong signals are in your area. I happen to be in a relatively rural area and all repeaters are over 10 miles away. There are several in each direction N, S, E, W, however I need to use my external antenna on a tripod to receive. Transmit is limited if I'm inside as would be expected.

According to user feedback I think the APRS is much better on the Kenwood THD74. I do not have this one to compare, but if I decide to buy another HT, the Kenwood D74 is the one I will buy and will sell the Yaesu FT3D.

Battery life is pretty good, so there's the one positive I can think of.
Programming the FT3D is pretty easy both on the radio and via the program RT Systems.
APRS even on my external antenna is more miss than hit.
GPS seems to work OK, but with poor APRS functionality, what's the point of it? I can't think of other reasons for the GPS if not to pair with APRS.

Bottom line for my take is the FT3D is pretty limited in what it does well. Granted, I've no other HT to compare it to, but the touch screen menus are quirky, pushing the right button is hit or miss at 50/50 you'll get the button press right. And if given the ability to redo the purchase, I'd get the Kenwood D74. Not so much due to the tri band, but it seems to do more right in the right way. Considering the small difference in price when you're paying $400-500-ish for a HT, I should have paid a few more dollars for the Kenwood if it had to be an HT.

Do get more feedback about this radio, as I'm almost all negative regarding the FT3D, but the owner experience leaves me feeling there's lots I'm missing out on with this purchase. I feel this radio enhances buyer remorse. I think I'd have done a lot better with a different radio, be it the Kenwood D74 or a mobile radio.
 

ko6jw_2

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A few thoughts on APRS. I have an FT2 and the APRS seems to work well. However, from Yaesu's point of view, you don't need APRS because the GPS information is transmitted with C4FM. Not using digital? It is easy to set up APRS on Band B. Our local APRS digipeater is located at a high altitude and has a 120mi range under good conditions. Never any problem when we run events like 100mi bike rides.

Pluses for the Kenwood are definitely the 220 coverage. We have five 220 repeaters in the area which get almost no use probably because of the diminishing number of 220 radios in use. Too bad.

The broad band receive is nice, but I've never had an HT that could receive much on HF. It looks attractive, but you may be disappointed.

We run a Fusion repeater locally with a WIRES-X node. It does not get a lot of use. D-Star is also available in this area. However, most of the digital traffic seems to be on DMR which neither Kenwood nor Yaesu will do.

I think you just have to prioritize your needs. Tri-band coverage would be my biggest interest. Dual receive is very useful to me. I can monitor a local 440 repeater and listen to fire dispatches on Band B.

The programming cable is moot. Both the FT2 and FT3's program via the micro USB cards. No need for the cable.

The FT2 and the FT3 can, with a PC running Wires-X become Fusion nodes. Very nice when traveling. If you don't care about digital then that isn't a selling point.

The Kenwood and the Yaesu are both good radios. You just have to balance features and priorities.
 

Hit_Factor

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I am in the market of buying a new Amateur Radio radio and looking at the Yaesu FT3DR. I liked the radio frequency range to recive .5-999.9 MHz, listen to Air and Public Safety analog transmissions and the APRS with the radio GPS reciver. Please post your thoughts on the radio or any other radio. 73's.
Kenwood TH-D74 is far superior in every way. I have owned both.

Yaesu APRS is very limited sub-set of functions. Sounds awful. Really outdated and kludgy menu system. Limited naming. Sounds horrible. Search for reviews, I'm not the only one.

There is very little public safety on analog these days. Airband scanners will do a better job and can be found pretty cheap.
 

Hit_Factor

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I feel this radio enhances buyer remorse. I think I'd have done a lot better with a different radio, be it the Kenwood D74 or a mobile radio.
Please sell this HT and pickup a TH-D74 if APRS is important to you, or wait for the Icom ID-52 if it's not. So you might lose a little $$ in the transaction, life's too short to keep an HT you are not thrilled with. FT3DR sells for about $325 over on QRZ forums, they are frequently for sale on QRZ. You will find the occasional TH-D74 for sale on QRZ.
 

vagrant

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@K9DWB, Hit_Factor makes a good point if you are totally bummed about the FT3, but before you sell it, have you given Wires-X a chance? I see you have an account and the RTSystems cable alone would allow you to at least connect to digital nodes, rooms and repeaters using the Wires-X Windows program. Some rooms/repeaters are quite busy and you already have the equipment needed.
 

K9DWB

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I think for me it's gotta be sold and replaced with the D74. I am the type that the first one I lock onto is the one I'll be happiest with and that was the D74. The FT3D is a very good HT in its own right, but it's not doing it for me. I've got the WIRES-X kit but my laptop only has the one 3.5mm connection. It's an auto-switching mic/headphone port. So it doesn't work for me.

Sorry for topic drift.
 

KE5MC

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Not sure if it applies to the FT3DR, but for my FT2DR it seems like every time I pick up the radio I unintentionally touch the screen and it switches to something different. Annoying to have to be using the 'back' button all the time.
 

Hit_Factor

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Not sure if it applies to the FT3DR, but for my FT2DR it seems like every time I pick up the radio I unintentionally touch the screen and it switches to something different. Annoying to have to be using the 'back' button all the time.
Touch screen function is pretty close to the same between those 2 models. They are nothing like a modern cellphone touch screen.
 

N4DJC

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I had a 3DR and never liked the touch screen, it made it clumsy for ISS APRS. But I worked quite a few stations on S0-50 with ease, the in radio recording was great. There are no fusion or d-star repeaters in the area, so that never entered the equation. The firmware upgrades are a hassle but that's typical Yaesu.

The D74 is a really nice radio. I was never sold on the way the battery fitted to the body it was a little loose and would occasionally cause a power off reset. Bad in the middle of a satellite pass. I had some difficulty with the wall charger fully charging the radio, get the drop in charger you'll thank yourself later. Otherwise it's really difficult to beat a D74 as an HT with all of the bells and whistles.

Or wait for the Icom ID-52A, it does look pretty spiffy..
 
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N4DJC

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Just saw where the D74 has been discontinued as of 12/24/2020, when available stock is gone there will be no more. If true, that puts Kenwood out of the dual band HT business with the D72 gone as well.
 

Hit_Factor

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Just saw where the D74 has been discontinued as of 12/24/2020, when available stock is gone there will be no more. If true, that puts Kenwood out of the dual band HT business with the D72 gone as well.
Or they will be announcing a new HT! One could only hope.
 
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