The Yaesu FT-1500M was my first radio I bought. I bought a new one and I love(d) it. Since it's "only" VHF I bought a Yaesu FT-897 and due to other reasons I sold my FT-1500M. Since it's out of production, it's quite rare to find. After ten years (anno 2016) I managed to buy a second hand one and I very happy with it!
The FT-1500M is a VHF (2 m) radio built like a tank. It's introduced in the second of februay 2002, well that's the FCC approval date... It's made of two die cast aluminium pieces and the electronics is sandwiched between them. It has the basic "modem" functionality you "need" these days like CTCSS en-/decoding, DTMF e-/decoding, 130 alphanumeric memories, backlit display and a packet connector at the back of the radio. Altough it has the modern functionality, it's very easy to operate and "simple". The FT-1500M should be seen as a basic simple radio.
passively cooled and power handling
I like that it's passively cooled. No annoying fan noise and gathering of dust. The radio can out 50 Watts. Although it can handle 50 Watts, this doesn't mean it's built to handle this much of power (heat dissipation) for a long time. If you you need a radio for (nearly) continuous operation or long high power transmissions, this is not the radio for you. A fan cooled radio would be wise in this case. The FT-1500M performs well for mobile/repeater operation in the mid power range. It can handle 50 Watts of high power operation, but remind that transmission time should be reduced to precent access heat generation.
5, 10 ,25 or 50 Watts selectable rf power output
137...174 MHz receiver operation
50 tone CTCSS en-/decoding (settings can be stored per chanel)
CTCSS tone scan feature for determining the received CTCSS code
mini din (DB9) port for (1200/9600 baud) modem operation (APRS/D-STAR/...)
external 3,5mm audio out/speaker connection
standard DTMF microphone
130 "regular" alphanumeric programmable memory channels (including settings like power)
9 pairs of band edge memory channels (for scanning between two set frequencies)
"home" channel button for direct access to the programmed favourite chanel
10-channel NOAA Weather Band Memory Bank (no weather broadcasts available in Europe)
Supply voltage display at startup
TOT; Transmission Time Out Timer (time selectable in menu)
APO: Automatic Power Off (time selectable in menu)
Automatic repeater shift (depends on region version)
S-meter RF squelch
Bell alert CTCSS paging
Priority channel revert during scan
specifications (by Yaesu)
TX frequency: 144...148 MHz / 144...146 MHz (depending on country)
RX frequency: 137...174 MHz
Channel Step: 5/10/12,5/15/20/25/50/100 kHz
Frequency Stability: Better than 10 ppm (20 to +60 'C)
Mode of Emission: F2 (FM data with subcarrier), F3/G3E (analog FM/PM)
Antenna Impedance: 50 Ohms unbalanced
Supply Voltage: 13,8 VDC (+/-10%) negative ground (12,42...15,18 VDC)
RX current: < 600 mA (signal)
RX current: <300 mA (squelched)
TX current: 8 A @ 50 W / 6 A @ 25 W / 3 A @ 10 W / 2 A @ 5 W
Operating Temperature Range: 20 to +60 'C
Case Size: 127 mm wide, 35 mm high and 126 mm deep
Weight: 990 grams
Output Power: 5, 10, 25 or 50 Watts (selectable)
Maximum Deviation: 5 kHz (wide) or 2.5 kHz (narrow)
Spurious Radiation: Better than 60 dB
Microphone Impedance: 2 k Ohms
Receiver circuit type: Double-Conversion Superheterodyne
Intermediate Frequencies: 21,7 MHz and 450 kHz
Sensitivity: Better than 0,2 V (for 12 dB SINAD)
Selectivity: 6 dB @ 12 kHz and 60 dB @ 28 kHz
IF Rejection: Better than 70 dB
Image Rejection: Better than 70 dB
Maximum AF Output: 3,5 W into 4 Ohms @10% THD
Advice: Don't try to read/edit the service menu without the service manual! The service alignment menu is rather complex since it's operated 'blind'. Without proper instructions alignment is a lost cause. (I've been there...)
This rig is perfect for APRS! Luxury options like DCS, digital modes and so on are not available, but also not needed. There's no noisy fan and since APRS packets are small, the TX time (and head generation) is rather low. Therefore no fan is needed and the rig stays cool. There's also a packet connection woth all the desires TNC connections! Therefore the rig can me used for APRS (packet) without a microphone which could disturb the packet data. Im my case I programmed only one local APRS frequency of 144,800 MHz. Then I locked the key and dial but not the PTT, otherwise the rig can't transmit. After that the rig is set to 'memory only' mode and removed the microphone. The result is that the rig can't be 'disturbed' by human interaction otherwise than turning it off of entering the menu. All the other buttons don't affect the packet operation. (Not intended) frequency changes are therefore avoided.
It's possible tot perform an automatic display test. During the test all the display segments, backlight and RX/TX led are tested. The test steps are shown below:
1. Turn the FT-1500M off.
2. Press and hold both [D/MR] and [REV] keys.
3. Press the [PWR] button.
4. Release all three keys when the display turns on.
5. The display test is now active.
6. Press the [MHz] key momentarily to stop the display test.
7. The rig is now ready for normal operation.
Source: Gilles, VE2GIQ
It's possible to perform a wideband modification. But it has no use and you will lose some features like the auto repeater shift and default channel steps. And transmitting out of band is illegal. For 70 cm transceivers this could be convenient for testing 446 MHz (PMR band) equipment, but a wideband modification for a VHF rig is only interesting for illegal purposes. Therefore the wideband modification is not explained here...
I bought a rig with the wideband modification. After 'resetting' the wideband modification, the original settings became active! The original settings of the frequency span, auto repeater shift, repeater offset and channel steps came back. Now the rig is in it's original state. Some rigs lose the settings after the wideband mod and after restoring the original region settings, some settings don't come back... The FT-1500M can be restored completely.
If the ARS (Auto Repeater Shift) can't be changed and the frequency span is wider than the regional transmit limits, the rig is modified.