Yaesu FT-710: An In-Depth Review of a Powerful SDR Radio for Ham Enthusiasts
The Yaesu FT-710 is a high-performance software-defined radio (SDR) designed for amateur radio enthusiasts. This compact yet powerful transceiver offers exceptional receiver performance, advanced interference-fighting tools, a user-friendly interface, and several innovative features. In this in-depth review, we’ll explore the key aspects of the Yaesu FT-710 and help you determine whether this radio is the right choice for you.
Advanced Receiver Performance
One of the standout features of the Yaesu FT-710 is its unmatched receiver performance. The radio utilizes Yaesu’s advanced SDR technology, which includes a 250MHz High Resolution Direct Digital Synthesizer (HRDDS) that enables phenomenal multi-signal receiving characteristics.
With a quiet audio output and less hearing fatigue compared to other radios, users can enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable listening experience. Moreover, the FT-710 offers more control over receive audio settings, including bass, midrange, treble, and high and low cut.
Cutting-Edge Interference-Fighting Tools
The FT-710 is equipped with an array of advanced interference-fighting tools, including digital noise reduction (DNR), noise blanker (NB), and adjustable width controls. These tools effectively reduce interference and unwanted signals, ensuring clear and stable communication. In addition, the radio features dedicated bandpass filters for amateur bands, which help eliminate out-of-band signals.
The contour control, a unique feature not found in some competing radios, can make a significant difference in reducing noise. The dual-core 32-bit high-speed floating decimal point DSP further enhances the radio’s performance by providing QRM rejection and supporting various functions like SHIFT/WIDTH/NOTCH/CONTOUR/APF (Audio Peak Filter) and 3-Stage Parametric Equalizer.
User-Friendly Touch Panel Display
While some users may prefer the interface of other radios, the FT-710’s high-resolution 4.3-inch TFT color touch panel display provides an intuitive and comprehensive user experience. The display features a 3D spectrum stream (3DSS), waterfall, oscilloscope, bandpass, and AF-FFT, offering a very comprehensive display package.
The VFO Mode Indicator (VMI) LED placed around the VFO dial shows the current operating mode, such as VFO-A, VFO-B, Memory Mode, and Clarifier/Split Operation, making it easy to identify the current mode at a glance.
Connectivity and Integration
The FT-710 includes an external display connection terminal (DVI-D), which allows users to connect an external monitor for a larger and more detailed view of the radio’s display. It also features two USB ports (Type-A and Type-B) for seamless connectivity to external devices.
The SD memory card slot enables users to save communication records, transceiver settings, memory contents, and screen capture images. Additionally, it can be used to update the radio’s firmware, ensuring that the device stays up-to-date with the latest improvements and features.
Built-In Antenna Tuner and Compatibility with External Antenna Tuners
The FT-710 comes with a built-in high-speed automatic antenna tuner with a 100-channel memory, allowing the radio to easily adapt to various antenna configurations. The tuner is capable of handling impedance mismatches up to 5:1, providing a versatile and efficient solution for antenna tuning.
The radio also supports the FC-40 Auto Antenna Tuner for those who prefer to use an external tuner. This compatibility expands the range of antenna options available to users and enables more efficient transmission and reception.
The Yaesu FT-710 offers several additional features that enhance the overall user experience. These include:
- Preset Mode Function: The FT-710 comes with a “PRESET” mode function, which is particularly useful for FT8 operation, a popular digital mode in the amateur radio community. This feature simplifies the process of configuring the radio for FT8 and ensures optimal performance.
- AESS (Acoustic Enhanced Speaker System): The FT-710’s Acoustic Enhanced Speaker System, combined with the SP-40 speaker, delivers high-fidelity audio output, making it easy to understand and enjoy audio transmissions.
- Remote Operation: The FT-710 supports remote operation through the Network Remote Control System, allowing users to control the radio from a distance via a computer or other compatible device. This feature is particularly useful for those with limited space or those who wish to operate their radio remotely.
- CW ZIN and SPOT: The FT-710 includes a CW ZIN (zero beat) button, which effectively zero beats a CW station, ensuring accurate tuning. The SPOT function helps users identify the correct frequency for transmission, further enhancing the radio’s usability.
Pros and Cons
- Quiet and superior receiver performance
- Advanced interference-fighting tools
- User-friendly touch panel display
- Extensive connectivity options
- Built-in antenna tuner and compatibility with external antenna tuners
- Additional features like preset mode, AESS, remote operation, and CW ZIN/SPOT
- Some users may find the interface less elegant compared to other radios
- Limited control over the appearance of the scope
- Certain DSP features are disabled when in AM mode
- Slightly more complex setup process for digital modes
Final Verdict: Who Should Buy the Yaesu FT-710 and Who Shouldn’t?
The Yaesu FT-710 is an excellent choice for amateur radio enthusiasts who value superior receiver performance, advanced interference-fighting tools, and a comprehensive, user-friendly interface. It is particularly well-suited for those who frequently operate in challenging radio environments and require a reliable and powerful SDR radio.
However, if you prefer a more elegant interface and have less need for advanced interference-fighting tools, you might be more satisfied with a different radio, such as the ICOM IC-7300. The FT-710 may not be the best choice for users who primarily use their radio as a general coverage receiver, as some DSP features are disabled in AM mode.
Overall, the Yaesu FT-710 offers an impressive array of features, making it a strong contender in the SDR radio market. While it has a few minor drawbacks, its outstanding receiver performance, advanced interference-fighting tools, and user-friendly touch panel display make it a solid choice for many amateur radio enthusiasts.