Well designed and built as you would expect, the FTA-550L is a quality product that promises a good service life
Manufactured in Japan, Yaesu handhelds (the FTA-550L also being available is essentially the same unit minus the GPS) are as well designed and built as you would expect electronic kit from that country to be. The Lithium-ion battery pack is good for a claimed 12 hours or operation and charges in four. The radio is weather-sealed, a rubber gasket protecting the battery compartment, which takes up almost the whole depth of the rear of the palm-sized unit. With the battery aerial, clip and headset adapter in place, total weight is a commendably low 456g.
Operation in basic comms mode is very simple, frequency being entered on the number keys and instantly adjustable in 25 or 8.33kHz steps (depending on the selected channel spacing) by twiddling the outer collar of the knob, the upper section of which controls volume. Current frequency is shown at the top of the display, above a list of the last eight frequencies set. Pressing enter once takes you to the top of the list and you can then scroll down using the arrow key to select one of the eight. Alternatively – and very usefully – tapping “ENT” twice allows you to cycle between two frequencies. Dual watch operation can be set up through the menu system. Reception and audio quality are excellent, and even in the ground we were able to pick up both air an ground transmissions from circuit traffic/airfields twenty or so miles away.
The GPS information – latitude and longitude, heading, ground speed and altitude – navigation and ILS aids are all comforting to have as back-ups, but the presentation is necessarily cramped on the 750’s 1.7” x 1.7” LCD screen. These are quality products that promise a good service life.
Many Permit aircraft operators use a handheld as their main comms unit. The jacks fitted and passive audio was excellent with both of themodern Lightspeed headsets we tried – Zulu and ne PFX model.
ML & Sons price just: £249 (inc. VAT)
Tel: 0345 2300 599