When talking about the Yaesu FT 270R it is impossible not to also mention the FT 65R and the FT60R. If you often use portable ham radios be it for work or pleasure, you will point out that many radios look identical from generation to generation. Specifically, those from the same brand.
The 270R,65R, and 60R are no different in this case. The 270R is larger and has more bulk than the 60R. As for the 65R strikes you as the baby of the family, smaller and perhaps simpler.
Every one of the transceivers is strong, well built and tough base level ham radios, and will suit you well for most radio operations you could need them for. However, we are not here to compare these three radios, we are here to review the Yaesu FT 270R.
We will try to find what makes the Yaesu FT 270R stand above the rest. In this review, we shall attempt to discover what makes the 270R that bit more expensive.
So, let’s see if a higher price tag means higher quality, and more importantly, if it is worth it.
Yaesu FT270R Review
1. Unboxing and description
When you first hold the device, your first thought is that it is massive and really rather heavy. The radio is 14 ounces and nearly 5 inches long. The 270R looks serious, and professional, making a strong statement in itself.
The sheer weight of the product most likely has a lot to do with the rock-solid aluminum frame construction.
Regardless of why it is so heavy, this doesn’t help the fact that it is heavy. The only real customer base for this radio are those with large hands. As otherwise it simply is not comfortable to carry for a prolonged period.
The PTT can be found on the left side of the radio, and the monitor switch will be found next to it also on the left side.
This can be used to monitor particularly weak signals by disabling the squelch function. Over on the right-hand side we can find the external DC jack/port. The jack is protected by a rubber cap for when you are not using it.
When we look at the top of the radio, we find the antenna SMA connector and the power dial.
The dial doubles up as a volume control, this is a standard feature across Yaesu devices. The power/ volume dial sits inside the knob for dialing and selecting frequencies. If you did not know this it can appear to be just one knob and not the two it actually is.
The base of the knob is the frequency dial and the top dial is the power/volume control.
Between the power, volume and frequency dials is the speaker jack and the microphone. The 4-connector jack is for mic and earphone accessories.
As with the DC input jack, this jack also has a rubber stopper to protect the device when not in use.
Stopping water, dust and other external dangers from entering and damaging the device. Although this feature is now fairly standard it should still be appreciated.
The front face of the radio is primarily taken up by the speaker at the top and the alphanumeric keypad taking up the bottom half of the device.
The middle section is where you will find the LCD (backlighted) that shows the current operating conditions of the transceiver.
In the pack we also find the stock antenna that is provided with the device.
The battery pack which is not internal, meaning it covers the back panel and seals the device. Finally, an extremely detailed manual comes with the 270R, for those who wish to learn about the advanced functions.
2. Setting it up
Before you start to use the radio, we need to plug in the 1400mAh battery in to the battery holder and charge it.
This again is very common with these types of devices. The charging of the battery is in and around 10 hours if the device is totally flat. So just fire it on overnight and by morning you should be sorted.
Once you are all charged and ready to go, the battery is super easy to insert.
Move the belt clip out to allow room for the battery and press in unstill the battery is totally flush.
Lastly, use the latch at the bottom of the radio to secure the battery in place, so it doesn’t fall out.
When the battery is in and ready, turn the radio on using the power dial at the top.
The frequencies you wish to use must be entered into the device before you can begin to use the 270R.
This is done manually by entering the Memory Mode selection of the menu. To find the Memory Mode, press the skip button on the keypad (MR/MW).
The 270R has 200 memory channels which are sectioned into banks of 10.
The banks of frequencies are there to group the frequencies so that they are easier to find when you need specific ones.
The manual of the 270R will be your new best friend for the first month of using the radio.
Radios can be complicated devices if you are not used to them and using the manual is a must to avoid confusion.
Thankfully the 270R’s manual is wonderfully detailed and well laid out.
This allows for relatively easy navigation of the radio for your first time using it.
The menu’s and sub-menus are needed to be able to use many of the functions and the manual shows you how to do this.
If you are struggling with programming, read the manual it has all you could possibly need.
Using the Yaesu FT 270R
1 – Display
Due to the fact that the keyboard is illuminated with the orange backlight, the radio is very easy to read when in dark conditions.
Which if you are camping or out in the wilderness at night is essential.
If you feel the need you are able to increase the intensity of the screen’s backlight, even leaving it on all the time.
However, we would advice you do not leave it on all the time as this will pointlessly reduce the battery life.
The one less obvious downfall of the backlight would be the texts above the keypad. In darker conditions you simply cannot see them without another light source.
2 – Range
Considering the 270R is a base level ham radio, the range of the device is actually pretty decent.
The repeater capacities mean the radio can have a range of nearly 10 miles.
Which is not to be frowned upon at all.
When you are looking for a stronger transmitting signal or attempting to get a better reception you have the option of not using the stock antenna.
Shop around for a stronger antenna with a SMA connection and you can use it on the 270R, providing a boost to your experience.
3 – Battery life
When the battery is fully charged you can expect around 8 hours of usage. This considers how you are using it, including extreme temperatures etc. This is really pretty good if you take into account the radio has a transmitting power output of 5 watts.
The 270R does however lack a variable power setting unfortunately. The lack of being able to set the device on a low power setting when not in use is really a missed step for Yaesu. To counter this you can always turn the radio off when not using it, however, this means you can miss transmissions.
4 – Advanced Features
Radio Frequency Squelch
The Frequency Squelch feature is useful in places with high RF activity. When used this feature filters signals so that on those that have a particular S-meter point will open the squelch.
Priority Channel Scanning
Dual watch as you may know it or Priority channel scanning.
This feature lets the radio scan two channels at the same time on the VFO or memory channel for activity.
The squelch will automatically open if the station is powerful enough is hooked as the scanner pauses on that specific channel.
Band Edge Beeper
Hidden in the menu band edge beeper lets the device beep wheH3n scanning when a band edge is encountered. Be this in the VFO scanning mode or the PMS activities.
Here we can store channels as they are found. It searches above and below the frequency you are using to look for others.
It saves the new frequencies in the smart search memory bank, which can hold 31 of these frequencies.
Automatic Range Transponder system
ARTS works when there is another device with the same feature is close enough. Both users are notified.
ARTS can be really useful when you are trying to find somebody, be this on a camping trip or in more serious search and rescue situations.
Summary of features and specifications
• IP67 rating making it fully waterproof
• 5 watts transmission output
• 80 mW audio output
• 200 memory channels
• CTCSS/DCS privacy codes
• Automatic Repeater shift
• Busy Channel Lockout
• VOIP Internet linking system
• 2 programming buttons on the front panel
• Scanning mode; VFO, Dual Watch, PMS, and Memory
• Weather channels Scan and Alert
• 9 DTMF auto-dialer memory
• 1400 mAh battery pack
If we forget about the 60R and the 65R what we find from this review is that the radio is well built and strong.
The Yaesu designers really have given the market a fantastic budget device.
The 200 strong memory storage facilities with the 10-bank sectioning, alongside other advanced options, means this radio is great for all usage levels.
The price is also very attractive too.
We compared our review to others found online like thewalkietalkieguide and the general consensus is this rugged radio is tough and nails and offers you exactly what you would expect.
From beginners to advanced users the 270R covers everything.
Admittedly for newer users the manual is a must, as many of the functions are not the simplest to use.
This really is the same for almost all devices of a similar level, however.
Once mastered this device is a fantastic piece of equipment when used at its full capabilities.