Hello everybody and welcome back to Everything Hamradio! Today we are going to continue talking about the Yaesu System Fusion system. In my last post, we talked about the system itself as well as the repeater, DR-1X. In this post we are going to be talking about the radios and other accessories that can be used with the System Fusion System. So let’s getting started…
Let’s move on to the end user radios now. There are two handhelds, two mobile and one HF base radio that is available at the time of this article.
FT2DR Dual Band Handheld Transceiver
The first radio that I want to talk about is this little radio. Much like one of the DStar radios we talked about in the last post, this one has a very large 1.7″ screen but doesn’t have the normal DTMF keypad on it. The screen on this radio is not only large, but it is also touch screen. As I was reading about this radio, I began to want it more and more. The features that are built into are just awe inspiring.
Much like the System Fusion repeater, this little radio also has a built in automatic mode selection. It will automatically or manually switch between V/D(Voice/Data), VR(Digital Voice), FR(Full Data) and analog modes. In the V/D mode, voice is sent over half the 12.5 kHz bandwidth, with data sent over the other half. Things like you position or other information can be transmitted automatically with every press of the PTT. In the VR mode, your voice traffic is sent over the entire 12.5 kHz bandwidth giving you a nice rich and clear sounding audio. In the FR mode, You can use your radio to send pictures or files right from your radio. In the analog mode, you can hear those weak signal stations that are a little to far out to hear on digital mode.
This radio also has a built in TNC that is compliant with the standard APRS protocols allowing you to use this radio by itself on APRS. Not only can you use it with APRS, but it also has a feature in it where you can have a group of people set up in the radio. If they are using a System Fusion radio as well, it will automatically tell you if they are in range of you and if so, how far and in what direction they are from you. This would be great to have when you and a group of friends are out camping or hiking. This radio also has a built in navigation type system built into it. If you were to using it while camping, you could set a start point, like where your tent is, and your radio would always tell you in which direction and how far away you are from it. It has a built in GPS receiver to make all this work without having to have any additional equipment.
Earlier I mentioned that you can send pictures with this radio. So how do you get the pictures in the radio to send them. There are actually two ways to do it. One, it has a built in SD card slot that if I am reading correctly comes with a card in the radio. You can retrieve and send any pictures fro the SD card at any time. The other way to get pictures is to buy the speaker microphone camera(MH-85A11U) and you can take pictures with it. The quality isn’t that great though, with a resolution of 320 x 240 or 160 x 120, but it will get the job done.
It’s even water resistant!
So what does this radio cost? Well, kind of like Peter Parker’s uncle said from Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility”, with this list of features, it has a pretty hefty price tag of about $550. Out of my price range at the moment, but if it’s not out of yours, Click Here to buy it from Amazon. For more information about this radio, check out the Yaesu website.
FT1DR Dual Band Handheld Transceiver
Let’s talk now about the other System Fusion Handheld Transceiver, the FT1DR. This little radio has a bunch of really nice features built into it just like its older brother above. In fact, I think it has even more features than its older brother for a smaller price tag. It doesn’t have the large 1.7″ screen though, but it does have the conventional DTMF keypad. All the features that are in the FT2DR are in this one as well so I won’t go over them again.
So what else does this one have?
One of the things that it has, is a separate AM/FM/Weather/Shortwave/Marine receiver. You can actually listen to your favorite radio station or weather alert radio and still here anything that comes across on the two amateur band frequencies that you have selected. It also has a true dual band receive that I didn’t mention on the FT2DR, meaning that you can listen to both bands at the same time(V/U, V/V, and U/U).
In the FT2DR, we talked about being able to take pictures and send files. This radio has that feature as well, but I think it takes it one step further. I may be wrong, but I didn’t see anything listed. This little radio has a data port on the side that you can plug the camera in, but you can also plug your computer into to send file through your radio and over the airwaves at a whopping 9.6 kbps.
One the features that are listed on this radio is actually kind of funny. They have it listed as a new feature, but I use to use it all the time right after I got my license 20 years ago. The feature list says, “Built-in CTCSS/DCS and all new PAGER function encode/decode enables multiple-use selective calling features.” Me and another group new hams, use to use this feature at night. We left our radios on all the time, but we didn’t want to hear everything that was going on when we were asleep. When you wanted to talk to one of us, you would type in a four digit DTMF code and it would open the receiver of whoever you were trying to call.
So if the big brother is about $550, how much is this radio? This radio comes in cheaper at about $330. Seeing how pretty much all of the repeaters that are in my county are now System Fusion repeaters, this will probably be the next radio that I get. Currently I just have a cheap Beaufang HT and would really like something better, but I’m going to have to do some saving first. Would you like to buy one of these? Click here to buy it from Amazon.
To get more information about this radio or to see a full list of features and specifications, Check out the Yaesu Website.
FTM-100DR Dual Band Mobile Radio
The first radio that we are going to be talking about is the FTM-100DR. After reading about the features and descriptions of this radio, there is only one thing about it that turns it off for me. It says in the description, “The FTM-100DR’s single receiver design provides 50 solid watts of RF power on both the 144 and 430 MHz amateur radio bands.” This tells me that this radio can only receive on one band at a time. Some people this might not bother, but me, I like to be able to hear what is going on on both bands. If I’m using one and someone starts talking on the other, I just turn it down. That is really the only drawback I see to this radio.
Like it’s handheld brothers, it also has the automatic mode change from digital to analog, so you never have to worry about not being able to talk to someone that doesn’t have a System Fusion radio. It also has a built in TNC and GPS so you can use it on APRS as well. It has the navigation type system and the near-by friends feature that we talked about in the handhelds.
So what about the differences? This radio has a built in Bluetooth feature to help keep you legal if you live in an area where you can not talk on the radio while you are driving, however, it does not come with the Bluetooth module(BU-2), so you have to buy it separately if you want to use Bluetooth.
It also has a module that you can buy that will allow the radio to say what frequency you are on, band changes and APRS messages. It is the Voice Guide Unit(FVS-2). This module with record up to five minutes of received signals or continuously record the last 30 seconds of received audio. Not really sure that I would use something like this, personally, but I can see its uses, at least the frequency and band change announcements for those that are visually impaired.
This radio was the first mobile radio introduced to be fully comparable with the System Fusion Dual Mode System. There are only a few differences between this radio and the FTM-100DR so I not going to go into great depth with what this radio can do. Instead, let’s talk about what is different about them.
First off, as you can tell by the picture, this radio has a large 3.5″ full color touch screen. It also appears to be full dual receive as it says in the specifications that you can do cross band repeating on analog mode. With this screen, you can view any pictures that are sent to you right on the screen in full color. The other major thing that is different with this radio is that it can use the optional camera microphone(MH-85A11U) to take pictures. I’m sure the handheld radios have this feature as well, but this radio says that if a picture is received from a group member that you have programmed, you can use the trackback(navigation) feature to guide you to where that picture was taken from. This might be pretty good as an initial damage assessment tool. When someone sees damage, they can take a picture of it and transmit it back to net control. The damage assessment team can then get these pictures and their radio will guide them right to where the damage is and they can take higher quality pictures of it.
There are a couple other little minor features that this radio has as well, but they are just minor things. If you would like to check this radio out and look at the full description and specifications, check out the Yaesu website. This radio is a little higher than the FTM-100DR but I think it is worth the price. If you would like to buy one of these radio, click here to buy it from Amazon.
So what about radios that you can use at home? That is where the FT-991 MF/HF/VHF/UHF Radio comes into play. This radio has all the bells and whistles of a finely tunes high dollar radio plus it can be used on the System Fusion system on VHF and UHF.
From what I can tell from the description and specificiations of this radio, it doesn’t have all the extra features that the mobile and handheld units have as far as the System Fusion goes, but I believe that it has the automatic mode selection for Digital vs Analog at the very least. It has a full color 3.5″ touch screen, can be remotely controlled via a USB cable and has a built in antenna tuner.
To learn more about this radio, check out the Yaesu website. If you are looking to buy a new HF radio, this radio could surely fit the bill as long as you could pay the bill. This radio comes in at around $1500! If you got the $1500 and you want to buy this radio, head on over to Amazon and you can pick on up.
So what about accessories for Yaesu System Fusion? One of the first things that I want to talk about is a system called WIRES-X. It is not a Yaesu product, and from my understanding of it, it will work with non-digital repeaters as well. It is a piece of hardware that you use to connect your amateur radio repeater with the internet, and with the current version of it, WIRES-X, it is compatible with the DR-1 System Fusion Repeater.
Basically this system works as an interconnect between a repeater or end user and an internet server where you can setup chat rooms(like reflectors for the DStar system), or channels for a group of people to talk on. It also has like a bulletin board system where you can upload pictures or messages and when someone connects to the channel or room, it will automatically be sent to the user.
One of the things that I mentioned several times in the post is the option for a speaker mic with camera. This is the microphone in question. It is a standard speaker mic like many of us have used many times before, but a twist has been thrown in. It has a small fixed focus camera on the top with a dedicated buttons to control the camera. One button takes the picture which will show on your screen, then a second button that you can press to send the picture to whoever you want to.
The camera resolution isn’t anywhere near what we are used to since pretty much any cell phone has a built in camera now-a-days. The camera on this mic has two resolutions, 320 x 240 and 160 x 120. The one thing that this low resolution is good for though, is it keeps the file size down to a minimum. With the high resolution camera that we have on our phones take pictures that are several megabytes in size.
The one major drawback to this microphone is the price! This mic costs more than some radios. It runs about $140! With all that being said, if you would like to purchase this speaker mic for your radio, head on over to Amazon and pick one up.
The radios and accessories in this post have some really awesome features and the radios are not that badly priced. One day, I plan on getting the FT1DR HT and eventually the FTM-400DR mobile radio for my car, but that is going to be a little while down the road. I hope that you found this list of radios and accessories to your liking. On Sunday will be part three of the Yaesu System Fusion series ending off with a post about how to program a System Fusion repeater and how easy it is. In this post, I will be including videos or maybe just one long video of myself and my father, KC5PWQ, as we programmed our two new repeaters.
Thank you for stopping by today and reading this post. I want to remind everybody to stay on the lookout for my podcast launch coming next Tuesday, January 19th. Also, if you have not subscribe to my site, please do so you can get emails on when I publish a new post. Please like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, links to these and all my other social media pages can be found on the menu at the top of the page under Social.
Until next time…
73 de Curtis, K5CLM