ORARC has embraced Yaesu’s System Fusion (aka C4FM) digital mode in a big way thanks to Yaesu’s generous rebates on their C4FM enabled DR-1X repeaters for radio clubs. Like all digital modes (with the possible exclusion of DMR), however, the entry price for C4FM enabled transceivers remains high compared traditional FM-only rigs, for obvious reasons.
Thankfully, as time goes on, more and more C4FM enabled radios are popping up in Yaesu’s transceiver offerings. The traditional C4FM line-up has been the (well represented at ORARC) FT-991 All-Band, Multi-Mode rig along with the high end FTM-400 Dual-Band Dual-Receiver mobile – both fantastic, touch-screen enabled radios. Both of these radios represent quite the investment at $1400ish and $700ish respectively at the time of writing, despite being fantastic value for what you get.
More recently the FTM-100 C4FM enabled Dual-Band Single-Receiver mobile has popped onto the scene. These are also well represented amongst ORARC members from a time when they were a mere $399 – a relative bargain to the current (less compelling) asking price of $550ish. Reports from members indicate that this too is a solid performer.
At the low end of the mobile line, and of little interest to ORARC members, is the 2m only FTM-3200. With our C4FM enabled repeaters being on 70cms, I can’t see too many of these being sold on the Mid North Coast – even if it represents good value with 65W output for $300ish. Yaesu, make a Dual-Band version and we’ll talk….
The mobile situation is largely echoed in the handheld line-up with the FT2D Dual-Band Dual-Receiver touch-screen handheld (left) at $670ish and the more traditional FT1D (with lacks the touch-screen but is otherwise remarkably similar to its bigger brother) at $500ish.
Like the FTM-100 mobile above, the FT1D (right) got as cheap at $399 at one point, so there’s a few of them floating around amongst ORARC members. They’re still on Yaesu’s webpage, but they seem to have disappeared from local suppliers.
Irrespective, $400+ on a handheld is a serious investment (as Yaesu are no doubt aware), so now there’s the new $250ish FT-70DR Dual-Band Single-Receiver handheld to fill the void:
- C4FM and FM TX and RX with Automatic Mode Selection (AMS)
- 5 Watts of reliable RF power inside a compact body
- 700 mW loud audio output
- Rugged construction meets IP54 (dust / water protection)
- Huge 1,105 channel memory
- Wide-Band receive coverage 108 – 579.995 MHz
- 7.4 V 1,800mAh Lithium Ion battery pack
- Equipped with external DC jack for DC supply and battery charge
- Equipped with Mini USB port for convenient memory management and software updates
Whilst not Baofeng money, $250 for a quality brand-name transceiver with C4FM capability undeniably represents good value, so if you’re in the market for a quality affordable hand-held this should definitely be on your shortlist. It’s worth remembering too that C4FM will get you into one of our repeaters in situations where a conventional FM radio isn’t cutting the mustard thanks to the digital cliff.