My thoughts and experiences of the FT1XDE hand held radio by Yaesu. I was licensed when at university of Birmingham (UK) in the late 70s, I have always been more into VHF/UHF and data type modes (packet, APRS) but latterly digital amateur radio. I own/have owned Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu, Mizuho, Standard, FDK, Alinco, SGC, Elecraft, Cambridge Kits, Storno, Pye, Baofeng and some QRP kits gear. I recently bought a pixie - a really well made single frequency 40m cw tx/rx in a nice case ready to go, from China, for five pounds. Makes you think....
I like the radio, and I'd buy it again. It has a number of quirks, but over all, I use it a good deal. Half the time listening to FCS004-20 which carries the Fusion repeater CQ-UK HUB chatroom (also linked to DMR+ 4409 ) via a hotspot - which I take with me when travelling- and the rest of the time at home monitoring 145.2375 MB7IDC near Mold which also carries allstar UK-NET-HUB (and is linked to 4426 on BrandMeister and TG 2351 on the UK Northern Cluster DMR repeaters).
The views expressed are my own. I declare no additional interests.
As a basic handy it does 2m and 70cm well in VFO mode (direct keyboard frequency entry), memories not too fiddly to reprogram, memory scan works quickly.
There are lots of memories with alphanumeric labels available and the memory stores frequency split, CTCSS and power setting.
C4FM is the easiest to use of the digital modes and I like the auto mode whereby it switches to FM or digital depending what it receives. When used it is easy to get distance and direction data from the station you are receiving. Once you find a Fusion node or repeater, the repeater will give you the information you need to proceed. An advantage over DSTAR which has a more command-line interface (but who remembers them?) that requires you to know where you want your signal to go to. Digital audio quality is good and most people that do a direct FM/C4FM comparison are impressed.
DTMF keypad is implemented for controlling dongles like the DV4MINI.
Low power is also available for dongle use.
The communications AM HF receiver is a curiosity, but it works, and passes the time when needed when travelling. The radio comes preprogrammed additionally with commonly used shortwave commercial frequencies. It receives on 4m and 6m too. It actually is useful to be carrying a full HF, VHF and 'AM' medium wave broadcast receiver within your handy.
Marine band is covered and additionally pre programmed marine band channels are supplied.
The sma antenna connector is easily accessible for other whip or antenna connections.
The APRS implementation works well and although a bit more fiddly than the early Kenwood installations does a fine job (on VFO B only).
It charges well from the power plug with an onscreen indication of charge capacity.
I find it a bit wide for a handy, and requires overly much pressure on the PTT (minor issue, I'm just comparing it to others).
I had a battery fail after six months or so, was labelled Yaesu - I suspect that the plug in charger isn't the way the radio prefers to be charged. Using the plug in, you get no indication of charge capacity and often it decides it will not charge at all for the first couple of insertions.
C4FM Wires-X is a menu driven system that is slow, seems to require a very strong signal, and becomes unresponsive when the radio squelch is open. The ability to store and download sound, text and image files, is a solution looking for a problem. Nobody appears to be using this feature.
I really don't like having to press and hold [VOL] to change the volume with the tuning knob. Volume should be it's primary function and press and hold a button to tune, if you must. The radio bursts into life in unexpected places and isn't simple to turn down. However a one touch MUTE is available.
Comme si, comme ca
The LED (torch) can be illuminated from the menus. Really fiddly. Really poor illumination. But it's presence can hardly be called a negative and one day it might come in handy.
Both the HF and marine band supplied frequencies will go out of date and are not editable (e.g. no UK coastguard frequency). This is no deal breaker as all you do is put the frequencies you still want into a discrete memory bank, add whichever extra you need and usue the memory bank instead.
You cannot set a CTCSS frequency on an APRS channel - so you cannot use the APRS channel as a calling frequency for other APRS users. Obviously you can put the aprs channel into a memory, with a CTCSS set and then scan it in the other VFO/receive set up.
The rest of the review is now split into three sections. General use +, APRS+GPS+GM and Fusion+WIRES-X. It continues to be a work in progress and I shall keep it up to date.
A useful mapping display of APRS activity and means of posting/messaging without RF. Indicates local repeaters and ham activity. Works well in conjunction with APRS systems or MicE enabled devices like DSTAR.
A collection of ham radio related information and live links on the web.