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Yaesu FTM-350 Review

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  #1  
Old 01-09-2010, 01:05 PM
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Default Yaesu FTM-350 Review


I've been watching the pre-release information about the new FTM-350 mobile VHF/UHF APRS rig from Yaesu since the photos starting showing up on the web. I found out that the local HRO got them in this week, so I decided to go over and look at them and I ended up coming home with one!

As soon as I got home, I opened up the package to see what all was included. Here is a picture of everything laid out:



You can see the main radio chassis, the control head, suction mount for the head, suction base, 10 foot separation cable, power cable, extra fuses, chassis mounting bracket, DTMF mic, mic holder, a couple bags of screws and bolts, allen wrench for the chassis, two manuals, and stereo audio output cable. That's quite a lot of stuff in the box!

This is the main chassis:



You can see that it's not very large, although it is quite heavy. It weighs right at 4 pounds because the whole case acts as a heat sink. This is not a flimsy, thinly packaged radio and I'm quite confident it could take quite a bit of abuse.

Here is a close--up of the control head face. It's fairly large for a VHF/UHF mobile:



The back of the control head has an interesting design:



The screw hole in the center is where the suction mount goes. The removable plate in the center is for the optional GPS unit. The two circular ports on either side are where you can mount the optional CAB-1 charger sleeve that can be used on the Yaesu BH-1A or BH-2A Bluetooth headset or the FPR-1 monitor unit. The control head also has dual speakers that can be seen in this pic on the left and right. These provide stereo audio output for the rig. Lastly, you can see the mic and control head RJ-45 jacks on the bottom left and right.

I also purchased the optional FGPS-1 module to use with the rig. Here's a pic:



The GPS module looks to me like the same one that is used on the VX-8r. To install the GPS module, you remove the two screws on the plate on the back of the control head to expose a little ribbon cable.



The bottom of the cable has the contacts that slide into the slot on the GPS module.



The cable was fairly tough to insert in the slot. You want to be careful that you don't crimp the ribbon cable when you do this, but you want to get it in all the way. After fooling around with it for a while, I found that the easiest way to do it was to turn the control head so that it is facing you, hold the GPS module so the slot is facing you (make sure the print is oriented properly!) and push the cable away from you into the slot. Once it's in correctly, it won't come out very easily. If you already have the GPS module from the Yaesu VX-8r (FGPS-2), you can use that with the FTM-350 by purchasing a bracket and cable adapter. The bracket part number is CT-136 and the cable is CT-133.

Here is the installed FGPS-1 on the back of the control head:



It's very neat, tidy and overall a nice package.

I couldn't just leave well enough alone, so I had to open up the radio to take a look inside. Depending on which accessories you purchase, you will have to do this anyway. Here is a pic of the inside of the control head:



If you purchase the optional BU-1 Bluetooth, it plugs into the white vertical block that is a few inches left of the control head's CPU.

Here is a picture inside the main radio chassis:



To get at this, you remove the four allen screws and accompanying lock washers. If you purchase the optional FVS-2 Voice Guide Unit (used for GPS navigation), you plug it into the white terminal block that is along the left edge, a few inches from the bottom of the radio in this pic.

Finally, here are a few pics of the radio turned on:



The standard display is very bright, easy to see and simple to understand. In this pic, you can see that the GPS is turned on (top right) and the APRS modem has been turned on (the A12 indicator).

Here is one of the GPS screens:



The left side shows you driving direction while the right side shows standard GPS information including coordinates, speed, and altitude. The VFO frequencies are shown above.

There is also a date/time screen. Again, the VFO frequencies are shown at the top:



More to come...


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Old 01-09-2010, 01:24 PM
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Did the mic actually come with yours? Initially....and very oddly, they were saying a built-in mic in the control head was the only one included.

Like to see an example of a full length alpha tag displayed for a frequency too when you get a chance....had my eye on this rig for a bit now.

Had to figure you would get one LOL :-)

Oh yeah...that ribbon cable? What were they thinking...that will be cause for a few "I don't know what happened, it just came out of the box that way." returns.

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Old 01-09-2010, 01:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR385 View Post
Did the mic actually come with yours? Initially....and very oddly, they were saying a built-in mic in the control head was the only one included.
Yes, the mic came with the rig. There is also a built in mic right on the control head. One of the soft buttons on the top right activates the PTT on the control head. I'll post a pic of that in a bit.

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  #4  
Old 01-09-2010, 01:32 PM
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I like the large blue face on it - vurry coool.
Does it have a kitchen sink?
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Old 01-09-2010, 01:32 PM
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After verifying that everything worked properly, it was time to figure out how to modify the rig for extended transmit. Because I sold my other VHF/UHF rig in the house to help pay for this, I needed to figure this out ASAP so I could access our Navy MARS repeater. Unfortunately, Yaesu Tech Support has told me on more than one occasion that they don't get the mod information from Japan for at least two months after the radio is released. Obviously that won't work for me

So, after studying the schematic and radio for a while, I was pretty sure I identified the appropriate circuit. I posted the mod info here:

http://www.worldwidedx.com/radio-rad...tml#post171170

After modification, the transmit range is as follows:

136-174 Mhz
222-225 Mhz (unchanged)
420-470 Mhz.
Se7en likes this.

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  #6  
Old 01-09-2010, 01:38 PM
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Default Neat!

What a great looking rig.

And I know the blue display doesn't make the thing perform any better, but it sure looks good.

Here's a crazy question: Will the GPS help you as an aid to (automobile) navigation? In other words are there maps or directions that appear on the screen? Or is it intended only for APRS?

What's the cost of that thing fully loaded? Will I have to re-fi my house?

Thanks,

Rob
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  #7  
Old 01-09-2010, 02:03 PM
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Hahah modded already that rocks.

Noticed it has adjustable mic gain too OMG what a novel concept that is eh? Cool.

My wallet is trembling....probably another month or so before I do this one.

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  #8  
Old 01-09-2010, 02:26 PM
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I am trying to get rid of radios, you are making me want more radios. your bad.

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LinkBack to this Thread: http://www.worldwidedx.com/product-reviews/40252-yaesu-ftm-350-review.html
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