APRS RX Comparison

Anytone 878 vs Yaesu FT-5DR

Years ago, I did an analog APRS receive/decode comparison between the Yaesu FT-2DR and the Kenwood TH-D74a. It wasn’t even close – the Kenwood received and decoded far more packets than the Yaesu.

I now have an FT-5DR and while I generally like the radio, I still don’t think it has a great receiver nor does it seem to have great APRS decode capabilities. My Anytone 878 UV II Plus can also receive and decode analog APRS packets, so that led me to ask this question about comparing the two radios.

The Setup

Both radios were fitted with the Nagoya NA-701 antenna, which should control for the antenna variable. I cleared the analog received stations list from the 878, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to delete all stations from the FT-5DR and I did not want to delete all 60 of them one at a time. I placed both radios outside on a patio table in my backyard, and let them receive APRS for 30 minutes. APRS TX was disabled on both radios, and the sub-band was of on both. I set the squelch on each radio to its lowest non-zero value. I repeated this procedure two separate times, with each receive test lasting 30 minutes. I then counted the number of unique stations received and decoded by each radio. I also counted the number of packets received and decoded by the 878, but I cannot do that on the FT-5DR as it appears to overwrite the last received packet from a station when a new packet is received and decoded from that station.

Anytone 878 and Yaesu FT-5DR handheld radios sitting on a patio table, both set to receive APRS data


In the first 30 minute test, the 878 received and decoded 12 APRS packets from 5 distinct stations and the FT-5 received and decoded 3 distinct stations. In the second 30 minute test, the 878 received and decoded 13 packets from 5 distinct stations, and the FT-5 received and decoded 2 distinct stations. So it would seem that the 878 does a better job of receiving and decoding analog APRS packets than the FT-5DR.


I’m not sure why the Yaesu HTs seem to underperform relative to others when it comes to receiving and decoding APRS packets, but it is a little troubling. Especially since so many amateur operators use these Yaesu HT’s for APRS. To be fair, the APRS user interface (UI) is much better on the FT-5DR than it is on the 878, but if it can’t receive and decode some data, that’s a problem. I wonder if the Yaesu mobile radios suffer from this same problem. I have an FTM-500DR but do not have an Anytone 578, otherwise I would compare APRS receive and decode on those two.

What are your thoughts and experiences with APRS reception and decoding on handheld radios?






2 responses to “APRS RX Comparison”

  1. Harold pe1rjp Avatar
    Harold pe1rjp

    I would like to see the comparison between the ftm500dr and the 878 using the Nagoya antennas.
    Would expect a better receiver in the ftm500dr, but who knows.

    1. Bud Talbot Avatar
      Bud Talbot

      I’d like to see that comparison as well. I don’t have a 578, but I do have the FTM-500DR. Hopefully someone who has both can compare the two for us.

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