70 MHz Equipment
Published on 27 May 2011 by Allan GM4ZUK

The 70 MHz band is very different from all other HF and VHF bands in that it is almost exclusive to the UK. This has meant that the band has been all but completely ignored by the big Japanese manufacturers, which has resulted in a far larger proportion of home-built or modified stations on 4 m than on any other VHF band.

There are many ex-PMR AM and FM transceivers which have been converted for the 4 m band, the older ones of which may only have a few crystal-controlled channels. More modern equipment includes the widely-used Ascom SE550, Philips MX290 and FM1000 series, Yaesu VX1000, and various sets from Key, Motorola and Tait. These are synthesized, usually in 12.5 kHz steps. More information on converting ex-PMR gear may be gleaned by browsing some of the links.

There is also one purpose-built FM transceiver for 4 m, the Garex 4001.
This rig, originally manufactured by AKD, came back into production in 2006.

The Icom IC-E90 tri-band handheld transceiver may be modified to operate on 70 MHz. One UK dealer is now supplying the sets ready-modified for four-band operation, and producing up to 5 W output on 4 m.
See G6TGO's review of this set.

The remainder of this page will concentrate on multimode equipment: what follows is a review of some of equipment and designs which are currently available, or likely to be found in the used equipment markets, such as RadCom members' ads, radio dealers, or rallies.

Many of the Yaesu FT847 multiband multimode transceivers imported into the UK have been modified to operate on the 4 m band, but many users report that the transmit output is low and efficiency is lamentable, and the receiver is none too sensitive either. Some owners have found that an external PA/preamp makes a huge improvement, or it may be better to connect an external transverter to the HF antenna port!
Before purchasing or attempting to modify an FT847 for 4 m operation, check out OZ1DJJ's measurements and see also G4FUF's modification details and G7CNF's measurements.