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Yaesu System Fusion radios are often dual band VHF and UHF.  They are also dual mode, i.e. standard analogue FM and also one or more Fusion digital modes.  Having a radio transceiver which operates only in a digital mode is not very useful as the national RAYNET standard for VHF and UHF is FM.  Although expensive, the fact that Fusion radios also work in FM and AM modes makes them useful.

Fusion radios in digital mode work with others on the same frequency if they are in range.  Like other digital standards, the Fusion digital voice range is slightly less than FM mode with other things being equal such as aerials and RF powers.  As the distance increases, FM voice gets noisier then vanishes.  With Fusion digital voice, the speech sounds quite clear, then seems to fall off a cliff.

Radio to Radio

Considering the digital aspect only, without using a Fusion repeater or internet gateway, the following are some facilities built into Yaesu Fusion radios.  The Yaesu FTM-400 series dual band 2m and 70cm 5W, 20W or 50W radio is assumed, but others are mostly similar:-

Your UK Ofcom radio callsign is inside:    The radio won't power up fully when first used until you have entered your callsign.  It then remembers it.  You could enter callsign and name.  For digital communications, the radio uses its built in unique ID number, but instead displays the callsign.  When a Fusion radio in your range transmits, you see the callsign and when you transmit, others see yours.
Good quality voice communications:    Typically with a 12.5 kHz bandwidth.
GPS (Global Positioning System):    Each radio has a GPS receiver and aerial inside it.  Being of a modern design with modern sensitive hardware, satellite lock can often be achieved inside a building or in a dense forest where older hand held GPS receivers would struggle.
Distance and bearing display:    If radios are locked onto three or more GPS satellites, when others transmit, you see their callsign and distance in miles or kilometres (configurable) from you.  If you switch the radio's display, you can see a compass bearing of the other station.  You can also see their location and your own as latitude and longitude.
Bread crumb trail:    The radio can be configured to make a note of your GPS location every specified interval (configurable from 1 second to 60 seconds) for later use.  For this, you must have a memory card plugged into the radio.
Poor man's Sat Nav:    Using the GPS receiver, compass display and distance readout, you can use straight line GPS navigation to get to another location.  You select which roads to take and the compass display shows the straight line direction.
Transfer a short text message:    Up to 80 characters.  Type as required using a touch screen keyboard or have several pre-made message templates.
Transfer a photograph:    These are low resolution 320 x 240 pixels or 160 x 120 pixels with a resolution of low, medium or high.  The photograph files are in jpg format and are stored on the rig's memory card.  The card can be removed and plugged into a PC to view the photographs on a large screen or to print them.  Note that a camera mike is assumed.  The special mike has a camera in it.  Received pictures can be forwarded on (transmitted) to others.  It is possible to use pictures from your PC and put them onto the radio's memory card.  A very special process is required or the radio won't know the picture files are present.
APRS (Amateur Position Reporting System):    This is not a digital mode.  It is digital information sent using analogue FM.  Employing the GPS information, data bursts can be transmitted at regular intervals which give information on location, speed, heading and height above sea level.  In addition, APRS has a short text message capability.

Note the use of the word "data" in Yaesu System Fusion specifications.  Data means jpg picture files or text message files.  Only such files can be handled.  Never assume that "data" means other formats of data files can be transferred.  It may be possible in the distant future.  It may not.

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Page updated on 09 January 2017

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