Yaesu makes some of the best and most popular transceivers for amateur radio use. In some locations, Yaesus are the majority of radios working local VHF/UHF repeaters.
One of the few criticisms of Yaesu is the WIRES™ feature. WIRES is an acronym for Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System and is unique to this brand of transceiver. The system can link compatible repeaters together via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). WIRES-equipped radios using these linked repeaters can communicate over great distances since they use the internet as a pathway. It’s a hybrid communication scheme combining short-distance radio and long-distance internet.
This sounds like a good idea but is popular only on Yaesu’s home turf in Japan. While some can be found outside of Japan, WIRES™-compatible repeaters are not common in the rest of the world. The Internet Repeater Linking Project (IRLP) and Echolink are similar systems more widely adopted and prolific.
So what’s the problem with WIRES™? It uses a dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) signal to identify a Yaesu transceiver to a WIRES-compatible repeater. Unfortunately, when a non-compatible repeater see DTMF signals it mutes the received signal for a short period of time. That cuts off the first few seconds of the transmitting radio’s audio, meaning the first part of what was spoken is lost. This is frustrating to listen to, especially if the transmitting ham is giving important info or even just their call sign.
WIRES™ is particularly disruptive in an emergency communications (EmComm) net where valuable time is wasted trying to check people in and copy everything said. This is not a trivial problem in such cases so take this topic seriously.
OK, so how to solve this problem that exists with popular Yaesu radios and incompatible repeaters? There are two levels of control.
First you can simply disable WIRES™ on your radio. WIRES is toggled on and off using a simple pushbutton command that varies with model. On handheld radios (HTs) it is often by touching the number 0. When you hit 0 you should see the WIRES symbol toggle on and off. This symbol looks like a loopy X or a simple atom graphic as shown below. You want the WIRES symbol to be off (unless you’re actually using it).
On the FT-60 the WIRES symbol is in the upper right-hand corner of the display:
On mobile rigs there may be a specific WIRES button with the same symbol:
Consult your specific Yaesu radio manual for toggling WIRES™ feature on/off if you’re not sure how to do it. The bottom line is that you don’t want to see the WIRES symbol on the display.
This first level is the easiest solution and works for most hams who keep an eye on the display to make sure that WIRES™ did not get turned on. However, it’s easy to inadvertently hit the WIRES button and toggle the feature on. If this happens to you a lot and you don’t regularly check the display, you need to go to the next level.
The second level is set the radio to transmit no DTMF tones via the setup/configuration menu. The transceivers typically come from the factory set to send a certain tone when WIRES™ is active. By changing this configuration to no tone, the muting problem is averted even with WIRES is turned on. This works well but the procedure varies by Yaesu model and involves a lot of button pushing. You need to consult your model-specific manual or refer to the quick guide below.
Two recommended references for more information (including radio-specific detail) can be found here: