FTM-10R initial review
Ok, I have had this radio in service about a week, so here is my initial review.
First impression: This unit is HEAVY! It weighs twice what most dual band ham rigs do, and as much as an Astro Spectra. No plastic case, this radio is encased in one giant hunk of aluminum.
Included in the box are several different mounting options for remote or single unit mount, and unlike most ham rigs the separation cable and all mounts for remote mounting are included. I currently have the unit remote mounted with the magnet mount for the head to attach to the dash of my CJ-7, so I can unhook it and take it with me for security.
A hand mic is not included, rather there is a PTT button and mic on the control head. I opted for the $30 DTMF mic, but even so for quick messages I have found myself just push the PTT on the control head instead of grabbing for the mic.
Audio quality is great for a ham rig. 8 watts of audio output mean that even my my loud CJ-7 with no top at 70mph I can hear fine. I am using it for my FM/AM broadcast RX right now also, and it is no $500 stereo but it does all I need. Transmit audio reports have all been good, and the noise canceling mic seems to work very well to reduce background noise.
The display is large and easy to read in all light, a huge plus. The buttons and controls are all large and separated enough that you can use this radio with a light pair of gloves on with no problems, a huge plus for me.
The audio dual watch is great. I can be listening to my favorite AM/FM broadcast station, and have any VHF or UHF station set to listen and break in, be it a ham repeater or public safety. It has a separate WX RX section so no retuning your 2m side for a weather update.
Here is the mod info, I have not done it yet:
Four possible links exist in both radios and are identified as follows: R1805 (can be traced directly to pin 96 of the CPU) R1806 (can be traced directly to pin 95 of the CPU) R1807 (can be traced directly to pin 94 of the CPU) R1808 (can be traced directly to pin 93 of the CPU) Originally the E version has links R1805 and R1807 in place and the mod is made by the removal of R1807 as shown in the G8NKV picture (wich actually shows all the links).
However, the R version has links R1805, R1806 and R1808 in place and the mod is made by the removal of R1806. I tried first to set up exactly the E version combination of the links and the radio only returned with a finger.
Then I re-installed the R combination and that made the radio happy again so the E compination does certenly not work with the R version. After this the radio became completely open in the frequency ranges of 140-174 and 430-470 MHz.
I do not have the bluetooth set yet, maybe is Grog buys an EFJ 5100 from me I will get one at Shelby.
This unit would be ideal for conversion to a manpack unit if you so desired
Downsides: It costs more, but in the case you get more than you pay for. One one VHF/UHF freq can be received at a time, but you can scan through a memory of both no problems. It does get warm when you are long winded on high power, but given the size and mass of the case this should not be a big problem. No included hand mic. Damm SO-239/PL-259 where it should be an N or mini-UHF.
Pros: Aside from the mic, everything you could want is included. Easy/simple to use. Motorola commercial quality rugged. AM/FM broadcast RX. Bluetooth compatibility. Rugged. Loud, clear audio. Did I mention rugged yet? Waterproof control head.
All told, at this point I would recommend this unit, above any other, to anyone who wants a dual band mobile radio for emergency communications use.