N9EWO Review :
YAESU
FT1D / FT1DR  - FT1XD / FT1XDR
FTM-100D (at bottom of this page)
144 / 430-440 Mhz Digital / Analog Transceivers

The discontinued Yaesu FT1XD (FT1XDR) "System Fusion" Digital-Analog Handheld Transceiver.
Shown above in it's single band mode, here one can see the alpha tags full time.
Very nice, but as with ANY radio it has a few bugs including with the accessories.
We tested it side by side with it's elder FT1D model (not shown).
Right photo shown with after market Chinese Dual Band Antenna (see text)
(N9EWO Photo)

TEST SAMPLE DATA

FT1D
Country of Origin
FT1DTransceiver : Japan
Included FNB-102Li 1800 mah 7.4V Lithium-ion Battery : Japan
SAD-11B Charger : China
YHA-72 Antenna : Japan
SCU-19 USB Serial Cable (older production included the SCU-18, uses different driver)  : China
Approximate "Test Sample" Serial Number : 5I2208xx
Software (Firmware) Versions Used In Test Sample : DSP 1.07 , CPU Control 2.04

FT1XD
Country of Origin
FT1XD Transceiver : Japan
Included SBR-14Li 2200 mah 7.2V Lithium-ion Battery : China (TWS Japan marked on battery, pack made with Japanese cells ??)
SAD-14B Charger : Taiwan
YHA 72 Antenna : Japan
SCU-19 USB Serial Cable : China
Approximate "Test Sample" Serial Number : 5K2404xx
Software (Firmware) Versions Used In Test Sample : DSP 4.10 , CPU Control 12.05


Tested Optional Accessories
MH-34 Speaker-Microphone : China
CD-41 Desktop "Fast" Charger : China
CSC-97 Vinyl Soft Case : Japan

N9EWO's Review on the Yaesu FT1DR and FT1XDR Handheld Transceivers

Discontinued Models

We are not going to get into what the Yaesu Fusion Digital Format is, nor the basic features of the system. There are many places around the Internet where one can find this information. We also will not be discussing APRS, WIRES or GM operation. Nor any details with GPS operation (aside from sensitivity). I have no interest in these and so it goes (look elsewhere on the web).  

 
To us the digital audio quality (my main interest in owning one of these) with Yaesu Fusion is a step above the P25 system. This is in the wide band VW mode for our ears, the standard DN mode is very similar to P25 audio that one hears in the public service bands (only so-so) to me. In any event it’s clean and from what I have heard of Icom’s outdated D-Star’s audio, is a step well above that. The AMS (auto mode select) was stellar in our tests and makes for use on frequencies that tout both.
 
If you are pondering for a digital voice format to play with on the AMATEUR bands, I feel that the Yaesu one is the most user friendly without any major confusion to have to deal with (say like with DMR) and still at a more reasonable price. Yes there are cheaper deals with Chinese DMR digital HANDHELDS that can be found around the Internet. But what about if you want a nice mobile or base rig (with or without dual band) go with it !! See my mini review on the Yaesu FTM-100D at the bottom of this page for a very nice and affordable Fusion Mobile/Base transceiver.         
 
Tested here “side by side” are the FT1D (FT1DR) and the newer FT1XD (FT1XDR) handheld fusion digital-analog models. For the most part it appears that these 2 are the same identical beast except for these differences with the newer FT-XD model (as with the tested USA market sample):
 
-      Improved GPS Performance (new GPS PC Board, increased sensitivity)
-      Larger included Lithium Ion Battery (SBR-14LI 7.2 V 2200 mAh)
-      Spring Type Belt Clip
-      SAD-14B AC Adapter/Charger (about double the size of the SAD-11B, both are same rating 12 volts at 1 amp)
-     * White markings on keypad are much easier to see (not so gray)
                     -  * (unknown if this might be a product variable ??)

Mic Level Adjustment / Electronic Volume Control   
 
LCD display is easy to read with adjustable contrast and has a light color background to it. So if you have enough external light or outdoors it can be viewed without the backlight or other nonsense. Yes the keys are also backlit.
 
We did notice at the default 7 contrast setting our FT1XD was slightly darker (product variable?) over the older model.
 
A microphone level gain adjustment can be found in the menus and is most welcomed and needed. Setting 5 is default and we moved it up to the maximum 9 for our voice with the internal mic (with your voice may vary), otherwise it was too weak for our ears. However with the optional external MH-34 speaker mic, but here at the 9 setting was a bit too much (but again was perfect for use with the internal mic). A passing note with the MH-34, with our test sample the plug inserted quite HARD into the transceivers external mic jack (perhaps this will improve with use ??). Be sure it’s fully inserted as it can fool you. If the transceiver is stuck in transmit after you plug it in, then it’s not fully seated (inserted).
 
Receive audio is punchy and proper frequency “high end” response. Yaesu does this right in my view as ANY bass audio frequencies being attempted into a HT speaker soon finds out that just does NOT work (like with Icom’s old IC-P7A disaster we tested a few years ago) !! It works in outdoor environments with no wimpy output or bass distortion.
 
The electronic volume control system takes getting used to but works well. Operation is press and HOLD the VOL button on the left side and rotate the top encoder. Watch out as if you just tap it (or don’t rotate the top encoder knob once pressed), activates the MUTE and you will hear zero from the speaker. I actually prefer this feature. At one time I was against this type of arrangement, but after many times with my old VX-2R’s analog volume control being bumped down to nothing in my pocket and not knowing it, this cures that issue completely.      
 
There is a small removable rubber plug at the lower end of the heatsink. This is for access to a very tiny slide switch for firmware updates. Yaesu for some reason still prefers using these super tiny switches for dealing with firmware updates.
 
Important information about viewing the DSP version (and as indicated in the manual). It will only display this information only if the transceiver is toggled into DN or VW mode “before” accessing the DSP firmware version menu selection. Otherwise it will show no numbers in that spot (will be blank).
 
DSP firmware with our early made X sample was 4.10 and control firmware 12.05. Numbers are nowhere near the non-X model. So it appears the firmware is NOT interchangeable (and don’t even think of trying it !!).

Programming Software Blues / USB Serial Cables
 
The FREE Yaesu ADMS-6 programming software (version 1.0.2.15 tested) was not so great for ME. There are no documents or instructions to make it even worse. The help file in the program is blank. The first bug in the program for us was, we were unable to upload back to the radio, and yes we did proper download of a blank template FROM the host transceiver BEFORE entry of any frequencies or change the set up data.
 
But as we found out later and a tip (but not tested): Just remember do NOT exit from the program after you have “Read the Radio” or will have to start over and “Read from the Radio” again to enable the “Send to Radio” button. You can close whatever radio load you have and open another file or import a file (as a csv file ?) and send that load to the radio.
 
However and more importantly as the second bug, it was generally unstable for me as when we were entering frequencies as it crashed a number of times and had to start over (Windows 7 64 bit). It appears could be usable if one wishes to deal with the quirky side of it ??  But we had no luck with it.
 
OK, well the FREE Yaesu software was a total dud (for me anyway)....STRIKE ONE. So next we then tried the FREE Chirp program and that one was…..STRIKE TWO. Appeared to work after the upload to the radio. But made the receiver totally deaf, no reception. Came back to life after a Microprocessor reset (whew !!!). Also with the version tested, it missed many of the menu settings and some were invalid or wrong (like the RX LED on/off toggle). WARNING : After seeing reports of the Chirp Software (after the fact) damaging a Yaesu FT-857D transceiver , I will no longer use nor attempt the use of Chirp anymore !!
 
On the 3rd attempt with programming software was done with the RT Systems ADMS-FT1D and of course this one is not FREE. Good news is it worked perfect and very easy to use (Note : It works with the XDR model just fine as well). As usual the owner MUST download a blank template from the radio BEFORE any entry in the program is made. Also as pointed out by RT Systems to me, the SCU-19 included USB cable will NOW work with the program provided updates are made once installed. This is near automatic anyway during installation, or can be done later within the program.
 
What looks like to be a USB port on the FT1 series transceivers is not (actually using standard old school serial port commands). Sort of like Uniden’s old BCD-396 and 996 series scanners. It’s a custom made plug and slightly larger than a standard 5 pin mini USB (and 11 pins). Yes, it’s a good “old school” serial to USB converter being used with the included SCU-19 computer interface cable (or older SCU-18). Installation of the proper USB driver BEFORE you plug this into the host computer is required.
 
Of course one can use the optional MH-85 Camera-Microphone (not tested) and it plugs into this same weird “almost” USB connector.
 
The later production tested FT1DR included a model FNB-102Li, 7.4 volt 1800 mah lithium-ion battery (made in Japan). With the FT1XDR it included an SBR-14Li battery. This pack was made in China. However we seen a marking on it’s ID sticker as “TWS Japan”. So it has to make me wonder if Japanese cells were used to make the pack ??

The CD-41 "Problem Child" Fast Charger
 

We also tested the optional accessory CD-41 rapid charging stand with the FT-1's. This will charge the batteries off the transceiver and cut the time to near half. The 2015 made test sample worked just fine in our testing. However a strong WARNING here !! As has been covered around the Internet, the CD-41 is extremely sensitive to ESD (electro static discharge damage) and even excessive RF around it can mess it up (or some other unknown reason why it fails ??). So if you have one that never leaves the “Charged” Green LED once you place a dead battery in it, more than likely you have damaged an internal P Channel MOSFET device (do a search on You Tube).  If you have one and it’s working OK, NEVER touch the gold contacts on the charger and do not use it around areas subject to static / dust and or excessive heat (say in or near the laundry room). Perhaps an important side note here, I NEVER use the charger with the radio attached (I charge the battery alone in the CD-41).

I will NOT be held responsible for any info that is listed here
ALL DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK !


Yaesu's CD-41 Accessory Fast Lithium-ion Charger that also works with the FT1D and FT1XD batteries.
As it has been covered around the internet it's very unreliable (see text above).
Appears that Yaesu has done NOTHING to correct its Ill's over the years ?? Made in China.
(N9EWO Photo)

Different  AC Chargers / Also Used With CD-41

 
There has been three different switching type AC Adapter / chargers included with the set for the USA market. Number one was the PA-48B (12 volts at 500 ma), number 2 was the SAD-11B (10.5 volts at 1 amp) and the latest is the SAD-14B included with the FT1XDR model. The SAD-14B (10.5 volts at 1 amp) has a larger case style but we do not know why Yaesu changed these over the years ?? Has to be a good reason why the switch down to 10.5 volts from 12.0 ? Even with the minimum voltage of the CD-41 marked at 12 volts , the manual states that it works properly with the SAD-11B or SAD-14B adapters.  I would say if you have a larger SBR-14Li battery you need to charge it (on the radio or in the CD-41) using the SAD-14B ONLY !!

Sensitivity / Included Antenna and Alternative

 
We found overall VHF/UHF Ham band sensitivity to be slightly above average as compared to our older Icom IC-Q7A “triple conversion” HT (using the same identical antenna’s). Also unlike the completely deaf reception in the 850 Mhz areas with the Yaesu VX-2R micro HT, the FT-1 works admirably here and was a pleasant surprise.   
 
The included Yaesu YHA-72 rubber-plastic antenna while not a total disappointment is not barn burner either. I tested its SWR using an antenna analyzer and was surprising low (below 2.0 on 146 Mhz).
  

But if you wish to change the rubber duck that is included with the FT-1 (like I did), there is a good dirt CHEAP Chinese alternative I have found to be very good. It gives slightly improved performance on 2 meters and elsewhere is can be much improved (like receiving the weather 162 Mhz area) . The main feature to me : It just looks better on the radio, see photo on top of this page and is still at a shorter length and only slightly longer than the supplied antenna.
 
I do not desire anything that is too long either (say like those 11 to 15 inch antenna's). I was lucky I found the little baggie this antenna came in and it had a model number on it "5-003SM-UV", so I searched it and “bingo” I found it over on eBay (do your own search) in a 5 pack and also single at the 409shop as I typed this report.
 
Only downside is the plastic bottom of the antenna does scrape the base of the radio’s plastic cabinet a bit (nothing serious) and it’s not that you will be taking it off that much (if at all). There was a skirt (gap) on the SMA bottom of this antenna and I very carefully filed this flush (flat) for a closer fit . Also the good old high variability of Chinese products, plus the “knock off of knock off effect” so hard to say what you REALLY end up with (as usual a roll of the dice) !  Our thanks to Fred N9SLR for the suggestion on this antenna.

MW Intrusion Into the SW Bands / Good FMBC


SW reception (AM mode, does not offer SSB like the Kenwood TH-F6) is somewhat useful with the right antenna, but don’t look for any real performance either. This was NOT a surprise, as in our testing over the years with HT’s that have SW receive coverage, we have not found one that shines to date. Also when we connected to any high performance antenna it launched into nasty heavy overload. But even worse a local MW station was BADLY splattered over the entire SW spectrum. There is a lone 10db attenuator setting located in the menu (indicated on the LCD as RT in the lower right hand corner when activated), but that only helps slightly being only 10 db and the MW intrusion nastiness continues with it on.

 
We use a short thin coax cable (using thin UG-174 cable that has a SMA male at one end) with a thin wire attached to the center conductor at the end of that (say 20 to 30 foot length) near a window and that will gave us decent stronger SW signal reception. Otherwise don’t get too excited here (as usual). During nighttime reception conditions, one MIGHT just be able to snag the super stronger stations just using the sets included whip antenna, so usable depending.
 
To be fair we tried a short 16 inch Watson WSMA-889 telescopic sma antenna (for receive uses only) and at night found it was most useful on SW. Of course it was excellent for much improved FM broadcast reception. However one has to be careful of the added stress this places onto HT’s SMA connector with the WSMA-889. I would stay away from those super long telescopic sma antennas and again because of the added SMA connector stress ! 
 
There is a built in loopstick antenna, which helps greatly with reception of the MW broadcast band for LOCAL stations (sorry , it's not useful for any serious night time listening) . For some reason our test samples lacked sensitivity SHARPLY above 1100 KHz. We are guessing this is where the loopstick shuts off ??
 
With FM broadcast it faired much better (88 to 108 MHz). In fact the overall sensitivity was above average for a HT with this coverage. Alas FM broadcast selectivity is lacking as we had issues with close station bleeding into weaker adjacent ones. But overall it was most usable. Adding the Watson WSMA-889 again made very noticeable improvements on the FM broadcast band (as well as elsewhere). There was a more noticeable background hiss on received station on FMBC with the elder FT1DR model (hardly detected with the FT1XDR).
 
Yes these hand held transceivers feature true dual band “simultaneous” receiver. So you can receive VHF + UHF, VHF + VHF or UHF + UHF at the same time. Remember only the top receiver for wide band receiver , SW reception and also for Digital System Fusion. Also one can receive MW or FM broadcast separate. So all 3 can happen at once and can be set up as when a signal comes in on VHF or UHF , the broadcast signal is muted automatically. Downside to this is it’s not very easy to make happen and decreases battery life.

Improved GPS on FT1XD Model (Verified)  

 
One of the main improvements advertised for the newer X model (FT1XD) is improved GPS. Yes, this is indeed true as in our side-by-side testing the updated model was MUCH more sensitive. See photo below that shows the difference in an indoor situation with side-by-side testing.


As you can see the GPS Sensitivity with the newer FT1XD model has been much improved. (N9EWO Photo)
 
The center heatsink can run on the warm side just in RECEIVE after awhile (no transmitting at all). Just a nature of the beast I guess ?? Turning OFF the GPS greatly helped with this heat and decreased the over battery consumption by at least 20%. So if you wish to add to the battery life greatly, power off the GPS (accomplished in the menus), no APRS, use single band reception when possible and even turn off the receive LED(s) and limit backlight use.
 
In regards to the Micro SD card slot, we tested this using a SanDisk class 4 card and worked just fine. ALWAYS format a new card IN THE TRANSCEIVER before use. One can backup the memory data, set up data or both. Be sure and do not loose the TINY clear plastic grabber MicroSDCard removal tool. It’s hard to remove without it. The socket used is what I like to call a clicker type (the FTM-100D mobile also uses this same type of socket). That is you must push it in and click it to install it and also press it in slightly and click again to remove it from the recessed port. It’s not difficult once you do it a few times, but one has to be careful and again is tiny stuff for old eyes (card contacts face the rear of the HT). Be sure the transceiver is OFF before any SDCard work.

FT-1XDR Discontinued Model (March 2017)

The FT1DR and FT1XDR are very agreeable Yaesu handie talkies that work excellent with System Fusion. The case size is a bit on the chubby side but was not a drawback to us. It can still be placed in ones pocket (barely and depending on the pocket). It has unbelievable amounts of technology packed it its case. We were disappointed with the feel of the rotary encoder being so stiff, but is not a deal breaker and can be fixed (as covered above). Any new owner should expect to spend a fair amount of time with the generally decent included (PRINTED) owners manual to learn the transceiver. It's not plug and play. The FT-1XDR was discontinued in late March of 2017.


Dave N9EWO
c N9EWO
Ver 4.0

Discontinued Models

N9EWO Review :
YAESU FTM-100D
144 / 430-440 Mhz Digital / Analog Transceiver


Yaesu's FTM-100D System Fusion Analog-Digital Transceiver.
We were generally pleased with the set and at an affordable price.
For Base Station use the SMB-201 Fan / Base is a excellent accessory (as shown above).
(N9EWO Photo)


TEST SAMPLE DATA

FTM-100DR

County of Origin
FTM-100D Transceiver : Japan
SCU-20 USB Serial Cable : China
MH-48 Hand Microphone : Taiwan
MEK-2 Microphone Extension Cable / Interface Box (optional accessory) : Japan
SMB-201 Mounting Base / Fan (optional accessory) : Japan
                                              (it's included AC Adaptor SAD-11B 10.5 volts at 1 Amp : China)
Approximate "Test Sample" Serial Number : 5I0302xx
Software (Firmware) Versions Used in Test Sample : DSP CPU : 4.10 , MAIN CPU : 1.1  ,  PANEL CPU : 1.2 (all updated from out of the box)

N9EWO's Review on the Yaesu FTM-100D Transceiver

Tested along with the FT1D and FT1XD was the Yaesu Model FTM-100D Analog-Digital mobile transceiver. RF output power is 5, 20 and 50 watts. We would have like to seen 1 more power setting, so perhaps like 5, 10, 20 and 50 watts (so adding a 10 watt setting).

 
Transmit audio quality using it’s included microphone was excellent. There is a MIC Gain setting in the menus as with the FT1D HT and was excellent to see. The default “NORMAL” setting we found to be a bit anemic and changed this to "HIGH" and was perfect here in our testing (digital or analog) . Receive speaker audio was also very good even through it’s fairly large “TOP MOUNTED” internal speaker. Yes, it’s on the shrill “high” side for frequency response, but not a drawback to our ears. There is a stereo-mono adapter plug included in the box. This is for connection for external speakers other than the “Super High Output” MLS-200 (that requires a stereo socket and only for certain Yaesu transceivers). WARNING : If you connect a old school speaker without this plug, the transceivers output audio amplifier could be damaged !!
 
Receive was excellent for sensitivity and selectivity to our ears. Main encoder has a great feel and no slop (and no use of those undesirable types that push in). The pushbuttons while having great tactile response have a pretty deep travel. That is it takes and good push to make them work. All buttons are lit up.
 
Front panel /display attaches to the body of the radio (unlike the FTM-400D). It includes a remote control cable and a small mounting bracket in the box. However unlike the FT-8800 and FT-8900 models, the microphone is connected to the body of the radio, not the control head. So the MEK-2 accessory is needed which and for what it is rather expensive. However it does allow for a round Foster type 8 pin Yaesu microphone to be connected as well (please note: Not all Yaesu mics will work here).  Yeah, it uses the not so great 6 pin modular mic connection.    
 
A rear-mounted fan runs nice and QUIET with thermostat control. It NEVER runs in just receive only mode !! This was great to see (hear) and something I’m very sensitive to.
 
We also tested the very desirable accessory SMB-201 Base Mount and Fan (see photo above). Serves 2 purposes and if you are going to use the transceiver at home, just get it even if a bit pricey. The fan is a bit noisy especially at 10.5 volts using the included SWITCHING AC Adapter, so we used a linear-transformer REGULATED 9 volt 300 ma power supply and that reduces the noise a bit while not decreasing the air flow too much. Of course this fan is used only when in heavy transmit usage and in this case the added noise was not objectionable to me.        
 
Be sure the “front PANEL” firmware is at least at version 1.1. If it’s still at 1.0 out of the box, be sure and (carefully) update that. The original 1.0 was buggy and did strange things. Version 1.1 clears those issues  up 100%. The firmware update requires one to read and follow the instructions very carefully (more so than usual). It also takes some good eyes to see the extremely TINY slide switch and pushbutton required to work with in the procedure. So you have been warned.
 
One minor bug with the AMS mode we need to cover here with our test sample using the "out of the box" firmware (in MY case it was , MAIN : Ver 1.0 and DSP : 2.10). But this one has been reported elsewhere as well on the internet. When receiving a FM signal and in the AMS mode, there was an intermittent short dropout in the audio. No the priority, dual watch or the weather alert modes were NOT activated. If I switch to the dedicated FM mode setting this problem totally disappears. UPDATE : Good news here is with the later firmware (tested , DSP: 4.10, MAIN: 1.1,  PANEL: 1.2), this issue has been totally cleared up.
 
Also when in AMS mode, the Squelch “open” button (P1 on the mike default), does not function (with FM signals of course). The green LED's both come on and it's toggled but no squelch “off” from speaker. But again when NOT in AMS mode (FM Signal) this works fine.

Yaesu FTM-100D Programming Software : For those who are computer savvy enough....Yaesu has FREE computer programming software for the FTM-100D transceiver (ADMS-9).  It's listed to work with Microsoft Windows : Vista, 7 , 8 and 8.1 (sorry not for Windows 10 , but will it work anyway....don’t know ??). Requires Microsoft NET Framework 4.5.2 ,but most computers should already have this installed . If not, it’s contained in the download package (delete it after if not needed). Try running the programming first and will it let you know if you need it. The ADMS-9 software is NOT installed, just run the .exe after being unzipped (to the "Programs x86" directory). One will find PDF instructions in that directory after being unzipped. COM Port selection is a bit confusing. A drop down to the proper COM port is selected at that prompt Click on "Determined" after selection of used COM port with SCU-20 cable. Of course one MUST have the proper SCU-20 driver installed before hand !!

IMPORTANT : In order to UPLOAD to the radio , a download FROM the radio MUST be done EVERY time the program is accessed (used). THEN (and only then) are you able to UPLOAD data back to the radio. Once the download from the radio is done, THEN one can access a previous saved data file , change it and upload back to the radio (keeping the fresh download one in another window). It will not work any other way. (The Free Yaesu software for the FT-1DR/XDR works the same way) . We tested this ADMS-9 software and CAN be useful IF you follow instructions plus my notes as above.

Even if only a single band at a time "dual band" transceiver (not a drawback for OUR desires and needs) , we found the Yaesu FTM-100D to be a very pleasant experience. Not to say it does not have a few bugs and what doesn’t with most electronic products. It has a higher standing over any Chinese low cost disaster cheapie mobile. 

Dave N9EWO
c N9EWO
Ver 4.0

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