The new Yaesu FTM-500DR is all the rage among Yaesu fans. You have people buying them and posting pictures of the box when it arrives. Of course, for ham radio operators… any new gear put out by their favorite company is tempting. To be honest, getting new gear is half the fun of ham radio. But think I will be passing this time around. This is highly unusual for me.
After recently switching from ICOM over to Yaesu I realize (and already knew of course) that Yaesu has its own problems. The new FTM-500DR carries on a trend of new Yaesu radios that lack the features that are present in their competitor’s products… or even their own previous products for that matter.
Currently available Yaesu C4FM mobile radios are missing the following features:
The memory bank issue is self-explanatory and has been beat to death on social media. Without memory banks you literally cannot scan more than one set of memories on the radio. As a dual-receive radio… my first move would be to set a bank of memories to scan on receiver A and a different bank of memories to scan on receiver B. No can do with Yaesu mobile radios.
Scan restart time
The scan restart time feature is not as well-known. Say you’re scanning a set of memories. And the scan stops on a frequency… you’re listening to a conversation… and the signal drops. Well… if you are able to set the scan restart time, you can have the radio wait for up to 10 seconds after the signal drops before it restarts scanning. This way… you’re way less likely to get jerked out of a conversation that you wanted to listen to. Without that feature… as soon as someone unkeys… boom… you are gone… back to scanning… completely missing the reply someone may have had to what was said.
Temporary skip / nuisance delete
I’ve actually never seen this feature on a Yaesu radio. But it immediately became one of my favorite features after I bought my first ICOM radio. And my Anytone radios also have it. What do you do if you’re scanning your memories… and there is some annoying net on one of them that you don’t want to listen to? Without this feature you would either have to manually set the memory to skip (and remember to unset it later)… or simply stop scanning. With the temporary skip feature, the radio will temporarily skip that memory while scanning. This is great because you don’t have to remember to “unskip” the memory later. It will automatically be included back into future scans.
Yaesu radios are “OK”. But they could be way better if they would listen to their customers. Due to the aforementioned missing features… instead of buying an FTM-500DR… I simply bought another FTM-200DR.
So now I have two FTM-200DRs on my desk and a third one I use for my WiRES-X node. Of the two on my desk, one is hooked to my attic antenna. The other is connected to a dummy load for use with my hotspots and nodes. Two FTM-200DRs on my desk actually give me more functionality than an FTM-500DR and at a lower price.
With two FTM-200DRs… I can scan two different sets of memories. Something you can’t do on an FTM-500DR. And in my case, having two FTM-200DRs gives me the distinct advantage of being able to run one of them on a dummy load for use with my local nodes/hotspots.