Yaesu FT-2800M 2-Meter FM Transceiver
Reviewed by Joe Carcia, NJ1Q W1AW Station Manager
The FT-2800M offers an impressive receiver and 65 W of 2-meter transmit power in a hefty but simple package.
The layout is clean, with just six buttons (five backlit), well labeled for viewing ease. Reading left to right you have the Internet Connection, PWR, MHz(SET), REV(DW), LOW(A/N) and D/MR(MW) buttons. The letters in parentheses indicate those functions displayed through a menu procedure, or an additional function when depressing one of the buttons mentioned.
The Internet Connection (WIRES) and PWR buttons are pretty self-explanatory. The MHz(SET) button is used to allow for 1 MHz tuning, activation of the memory tuning mode and activating the menu system. REV(DW) does the old switcheroo with the transmit and receive frequencies, as well as activating the dual watch feature. The LOW(A/N) button is used to switch between the four power levels: 65, 25, 10 and 5 W. It's also used to toggle the display between an alphanumeric tag and the actual frequency. The D/MR(MW) button toggles between the VFO, memory and home channels. It's also used to activate the memory storage mode.
Three plastic knobs control the VOL, SQL and DIAL functions. The knobs all have a decent feel to them. I did find that using the dial took a bit getting used to. It's detented and is used to control the frequency, memory storage and menu settings, among other things. I found that if I went just a bit too fast, I flew right past a desired menu setting. It's not that the dial is loose; rather it turns very smoothly.
The LCD (measuring about 1 by 3 inches) has clear, easy to read alphanumeric characters against an orange background. The display's brightness level is controlled via a menu setting.
I found the decently sized display could be viewed at many angles. While I was sitting at my desk and looking down at the radio, the display was still quite clear and readable. I actually found myself moving my head about like a bird trying different viewing angles to see when the display would wash out. The display was clearly visible even from across the room. When operating in my truck, I was still able to see the display clearly, even with some sun glare. By the way, if you like the ability to separate the display from the transceiver body, you won't find that here—it's all one unit.
A pigtail from the back of the radio terminates to a 2-pin standard locking power plug. Next to the power line is a 78-inch jack for an external speaker or packet radio use. The antenna connector (a standard SO-239) is chassis-mounted and rounds out the back of the radio.
A word about the antenna connector— the cabinet heat sink extends past the connector, with a portion of the heat sink also curved above the connector. I found I could barely get three fingers in there to thread on the antenna connection. You may find it desirable to connect the antenna prior to installing the radio, especially if the area is cramped.
As mentioned above, this radio looks like one big heat sink, and with a maximum output of 65 W, that kind of sinking is necessary. Unlike many other radios, this unit does not come with a cooling fan. The plus side to this is that you needn't contend with a fan that turns on and off at will. However, the radio's cabinet is used to dissipate heat. This has to be a consideration when mounting the radio, either in a mobile or base station application, and the manual describes some basic installation tips.
One of the features I found most interesting was the 10 NOAA weather channels, with the weather alert option..... read full article