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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Yaesu VX-3R Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu VX-3R
Yaesu VX-3R Reviews: 140 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $199
Description: A micro-sized dual band entry from vertex/standard...With 1.5 watts output on 2 meters, and 1 watt on 440... With 13.8 vdc power jumps to 3 watts on 144, and 2 on 440...Has wide band rx, and NEW ferrite bar antenna for AM broadcasts... 1000 ma/1 amp lithium -ion battery
Product is in production.
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K9XXX Rating: 5/5 Sep 12, 2013 12:54 Send this review to a friend
Looks like a single-digit-age kids toy.I love it!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Whether mistakenly or not, I tend to review items
according to how they serve my personal uses,and this is not my only ham radio nor even my only HT.
I was interested in this item,but held off because
dealer ads completely ignored the 100mW power split which I require because I'm FQ thru both the local club's RPT's with 100mW and the stock antenna. It was only when I got the manual that I learned of the 100mW setting.I can talk a lot taking little out of the battery, and I'm dedicated to energy conservation everywhere.
With 1.5W and my Diamond SHRF40A antenna I carry bent over in the same t-shirt pocket I can talk to anyone in RPT range from anywhere in town.

EB1CYY Rating: 5/5 Sep 8, 2013 11:33 Send this review to a friend
Small and wide coverage!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Hello everyone :
I recently purchased a VX -3E and would like to make a mini-review of it in case someone is thinking to buy it, maybe you can clarify something.
First I decided to catch it for the the size (slightly larger than a cigarette lighter ZIPPO ) and RX coverage ( 500kHz - 1000mhz ) .
If this will be your only device for HAM, really, it falls a bit short in the low power (1W ) and the damn keyboard that brings. Instead if you want it as a scanner , an option is quite nice.
It is quite fast scanning and supplied antenna is quite well for listen all public services in your city without problems. For air band antenna have to put a little more elegant (telescopic) . Very good thing too is that thong memories with alphanumeric characters tiing not as often. Another thing is how to enter a name in the memories , almost impossible task unless you buy a program and a cable (I use FTBVX3 , which costs 20 eur and is better than the original Yaesu ). The frequencies are introduced fairly easy , first because they are divided into band (VHF , UHF ... ) and second, because pressing different buttons you can move 10mhz , 1 mhz , 1khz ...
The range is pretty good , you can leave it overnight and the next day scanning even battery fits midmorning. We also bought a pair of Chinese batteries for 5 euros each ( must be compatible with any digital camera or with a mobile )
As for the memory scanning has an option that I think is very good and is that groups the memory you you do. In other radios I've had memories are groups of 10 or 20 channels in your city and if you have 21 reports recorded , you screw up and only hear 10 or 20 . However in the VX -E do the memory banks as hell you want ( 21 reports , 22 , 23 ... ) and depending on where you are or you want to hear put to scan a bank or another. You can also group several memory banks , for example if you have a bank on another flight frequencies and repeaters have HAM, can make you want to hear these two banks together. All this I am commenting is very easy to do with the computer program , but I do not want to imagine what it would take to do only with the buttons on the radio.
For opening freaks frequency , I have it with the " *** Export" which gives you a transmission range of 40 - 225MHz and 300 - 580MHz ( not bad for such a small device ... ) the issue is more difficult to open than the other models (VX - 5, VX -7 ... ) as being small looooong welds are smaller and are all much more together . I did a welder very little power and super - fine tip . As always , I must say I do not think a recommended walking all day broadcasting in these bands out if you want to shorten the life of the radio miserably.
Well needless to say anything, that performance below 30 MHz is pretty painful , apart from not having SSB. In HF emissions are mixed all and only get to hear any station which emit stronger ( or BBC type " Radio China International " )
It has a lot of other options , as often happens in the Yaesu , but I have not found much use (ARTS , password power , Internet access with repeated Yaesu, Wheather Channels USA ... ) so I will not mention them here mostly.
K6POW Rating: 4/5 Jun 26, 2013 20:38 Send this review to a friend
Great EDC HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
New (30 day) Ticket here.

My only experence with Amateur rigs is a pair of Kenwood TM-281 Mobiles (easy) and a pair of ICOM V80s (not as easy).

I picked this VX-3R up last week from HRO and have been learning the menus and functions slowly but surely. With 100 Menu items at only one layer deep, most of names of which are not all that easy to guess their function, it takes some patiance and diligence to navigate the menu for initial settings and programing repeaters (with the manual close at hand!).

Without the benifit of a keypad full of FUNC/key short cuts, using the remaining 7 keys, which have been tripled-up for functions (Press, Press & Hold & FUNC-Press), it takes some painful brain use to learn to navigate the shortcuts. Oh, one gripe: three of those precious key functions have been all but wasted on little used Yaesu WIRES/ARTS/Emergency options, though you can re-purpose the WIRES key (Press) to your choice of a menu function (I chose keypad lock).

The other negitive is regarding the menu layout and use; Out of 100 flat menu items, it feels like 1/3 are dedicated to the configuration of those three Yaesu-specific little-used features mentioned above, and they are strewn all thoughout the menu in no logical order. The critical setup menu functions are also strewn all thoughout the menu numbering system (e.g.: Channel Name is #52, Menu Bank Name is #11, Tone/SQL Type is #79, PL Tone is #86... ARG! It's almost like they just chose the menu item locations by random assignment!) It would have taken Yaesu product managers only a few hours with a group of HAMS to come up with a far better menu layout; with all the important settings in the first 20 menu items~! /rant off

So, all that said, I still rate the VX-3R a solid 4 points; It's Ultra light/compact, broad scanning capability in useful preset bands, great Memory/Bank configuration (with learning curve, of course) and scan features, Great FM Stereo, passable AM Radio, Cheap third party accessoriies including batteries, a decent enough stock antenna and good RX/TX: I can hit 5 repeaters from my backyard, with the furthest being 8 miles away... not bad with 1.5 watts on the stock antenna! When I add a cheap NA771 antenna, I get full queiting on those repeaters and can hit a couple more out to 10 miles. With a little rollup Slim Jim antenna 10ft up in a tree, I can hit repeaters 30 miles away, full quieting. When plugged into my 2-meter 7/8 wave base antenna (Diamond F-22A), I can hit repeaters 90+ miles away with survivable audio quality. My first practical lesson as a new HAM is: it's all about the antenna!

This is a GREAT feature rich EDC radio. While perhaps not a great choice for a new/non-techy type HAM due to the learning curve for both settings and memory bank functions/scanning, I think anyone who has enough patiance to spend maybe 16 hours learning all the setting, will be rewarded with a great 5oz HT.

Alternatives? Chinese UV3X? no thanks; from what I've read, their setup/use is even tougher, and their durablity is no where near the Yaesu. It seems like the only other dual-band HT that comes close to this price-point/feature-set is the VX6R, which will cost you and extra 3oz of carry weight (and an extra $50), but will likely reward you with a better all-arounder HT... but for me, I need the smaller and lighter features of the 3R, over the easier use and durability of the 6R... you use model may be different, and hey, it's legal to own more than one HT!

73's to all, and 88's to the single ladies out there!
N7WR Rating: 5/5 Mar 19, 2013 15:33 Send this review to a friend
Indestructable  Time owned: more than 12 months
I rated this radio highly in a prior review, but after I tell this story you'll understand why I say it is indestructable. I carry this radio in a pocket in my ranch jacket as I work around our ranch. It allows me, through the cross band repeater in my house, to access the local repeater. Over the few years I've owned the radio it has fallen from a saddlebag while I've been riding a horse and bounced off a rock or two. No damage other than a scuff mark. It's fallen in the snow numerous times and once took a tumble into the creek.

About 3 weeks ago I came into the house after a couple hours of working in the barn and pasture. The radio was missing from my pocket. I looked and looked but with nearly 10 acres to search I could not find it. This morning I went out to the pile of old hay that I had lit on fire yesterday and using a pitch fork moved some of the partially burnt hay onto the pile that was still burning well. The pitchfork dug up a very very dirty VX3R handheld. It must have fallen into the "poop pile" 3 weeks ago. Naturally the battery was discharged when I found it, it was hot from having been in the midst of some smoldering hay, was wet from overnight rain, and was just filty with mud and dirt.

Brought it into the house, cleaned it up as best I could and put it on the charger. After 1.5 hours the red charge light turned to green, I unplugged the charger, turned the radio on and it still works. Now that is pretty indestructable if you ask me.
KA3RCS Rating: 5/5 Dec 3, 2012 00:02 Send this review to a friend
Excellent ultra-compact HT  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I would actually give this radio a 4.5 rating, but that is not an option.

It's been said that the recent wave of cheap Chinese radios will hurt the Japanese manufacturers. Perhaps I'm unusual, but I actually bought this radio because of a Chinese HT! I picked up a Baofeng UV-3R recently, and really liked the form factor. In the process of learning everything I could about it, I found a few comparisons to the superficially similar VX-3. It's OK for what it is, but I found myself missing a few essential features (most notably the ability to lock out memories from scan).

So, I did more research on the VX-3. 9 times as many memories, lockout, preferential scan, 24 scan banks with arbitrary assignment and bank linking (yay!), vastly wider receive coverage, AM mode, and it can use the same ridiculously cheap I got one. I have not regretted it for a second!

The VX-3 is a truly awesome piece of gear for what it is. It doesn't put out as much power as a larger HT, but it is vastly smaller and easier to EDC. Those who complain about it 'only' putting out 1.5 watts apparently don't take into account the fact that the difference between 1.5 watts and 5 watts on the receive end is less than 1 S unit. I suspect that they're the same people who claim that the FT-817 is useless because it 'only' puts out 5 watts. Actually, that is a rather good analogy; the VX-3 compares to the VX-7 much as the FT-817 compares to the FT-857. They are all excellent radios, but optimized for different use cases. I have all of the above models, and choose the appropriate radio for the circumstances.

The stock antenna is not exactly stellar, but that is almost universally the case with any HT. If it were an FRS radio with a permanent antenna, that would be a legitimate gripe...but it isn't! Like all of my HTs, I typically use a Maldol Active Hunter (currently known as the MH-209SMA) on this radio, which makes it even more convenient to carry and works surprisingly well for its tiny size. For longer range, it's trivial to carry something like a Comet SMA-24/Pryme RD-98 slim 1/4 wave antenna (which also vastly improves the reception on HF through VHF-low).

The back cover on my radio fits fine, though it does have two thin strips of flexible material which appear to have been added by the factory in response to that issue. I would probably not have even noticed the slight gaps between the radio and cover had I not read about it previously.

It's great that this radio uses the same programming cables which I already have for various other radios, and that the free CHIRP software supports it. It would be nice if more of the radio's features were accessible through CHIRP (I may get involved in the development thereof and try to implement them if nobody else does). The current version (0.2.3) does not support bank assignments, and does not save or load power levels via CSV files. It is rather frustrating and tedious to have to manually change every memory to low power after doing editing in LibreOffice Calc (as I always save virtually every memory on every radio in low power, and only increase it on the fly if needed...I think that's proper amateur practice, as well as being much safer for a handheld which might not have an antenna on it, etc.).

This radio does have some very cool features which set it apart from others, such as the adjustable mic gain. Another extremely useful one is the ability to increase the scan pause time on an active channel to something greater than the usual fixed 5's amazing how much it helps to bump it up to 10 seconds!

I don't find the menu system to be particularly difficult to use at's vastly easier to program than my IC-2720H, for example. A few items are a bit tricky, but that's to be expected on such a small radio with room for so few controls. The flagship VX-7 blows it away, but at twice the size and weight (and price), that's to be expected.

There are a few things which could make it even better, such as more than 6 character alpha tags, higher receive sensitivity on some frequency ranges outside of its primary VHF/UHF coverage, and faster scan speed. This is why I would give it a rating of 4.5 if I could. Overall, it's unbeatable for what it is.

In summary, the VX-3 is a total winner. If one wants more power, easier access to some functions, more ruggedness, a waterproof case, a DTMF keypad, direct frequency entry, and so on, these are available in the form of the VX-7. There is, however, nothing else out these with this much capability in this small a package.
WV4I Rating: 5/5 Oct 31, 2012 05:07 Send this review to a friend
keeper HT  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been thru a lot of HT's but this one really shines. I've used it to listen to broadcast AM/FM while monitoring my favorite aviation freq, on the ground. I've also used it in the air, in a noisy light airplane, talking on 2M, whilst monitoring guard 121.5, etc.. Earbuds under headset, and get good tx audio reports, despite noisy airplane interior, using internal mike. Re listening to BC AM/FM on ground, surprised at fullness of internal speaker sound in a hangar.

Won't reiterate all the nice features already covered, but did not see my applications discussed.
KF6VTA Rating: 5/5 Oct 30, 2012 14:37 Send this review to a friend
AMAZING RADIO!!!!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been a Ham for years and had a chance to come across many many radios. This little VX-3R is one of the best small HT's I've ever encounter.Reception is not too good with the provided rubber duck ( Understand it!!! it is an small radio with an specific purpose) If your not satisfied with the included ant, simply switch to any other and you will see big reference and and the same time you will be happy. There's nothing this radio cannot do, mi IC-92 does, other than working D-star, of course. As a matter of fact, this radio has few features, some other don't. Cool things like MIC Gain sre just great!.
Mechanically speaking it is well built. I don't have problems with the back cover. I hear that complain before, and the person was throwing the rig in his pants and sitting on top of it...things like that... This is god radio, you have to be good to it. It is not waterproof,...o well, don't go under the rain with it or in the shower. Give your opinions about the radio but not complaining of what it doesn't have...( you already know that )...explain and give your opinion about what it has..and how it does it. Sound is clear and has great quality and the 1.5W output is plenty for a general purpose. Don't tell me your trying to hit a repeater 100Kms away, because for that you have your mobile or your base station. I didn't notice any problems with WFM reception in the commercial radio band. It receives very well. AM Stations also received very well...Please! look at the size of the radio! it is almost a miracle to see it working.
Super pleased and very very very happy. Would buy it again and again and again.....If you want it, get it! you won't be dissapointed. 73 to all.
KC8SGA Rating: 5/5 Oct 28, 2012 12:32 Send this review to a friend
FANTASTIC RADIO  Time owned: more than 12 months
I bought this radio in 2009, right after President Obama took office, and noticed how great this tiny radio worked. It does everything that I want it to do. The only thing, I had to do, was replace the antenna. I replaced it with a DIAMOND SRH77CA, which improved the reception te-fold! If you are looking for a good pocket duel band handheld, then this is the radio for you!
VE7KNQ Rating: 5/5 Jul 19, 2012 03:48 Send this review to a friend
Excellent radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This is a totally great radio! I wanted something small I could carry with me at work and this fit my needs. I carry it in my shirt pocket or in a cell phone case on my belt. The radio is very easy to program and the lack of a numeric keypad is not a problem. The supplied antenna does an excellent job and I can get into all the VHF and UHF repeaters in my area with no trouble. Don't let the low power of this radio concern you. It gets out! The AM broadcast band receive is ok and the FM broadcast band receive is very good. Full stereo using headphones. All the buttons are very easy to use and the mechanical dial lock works very well. The display is clear and easy to see. There are also lots of additional features built into this radio. I own an ICOM T2A, a Yaesu VX-7R and the VX-3R and it has become my main handheld radio. In my opinion Yaesu has a real winner with the VX-3R!
AE8P Rating: 4/5 Jun 29, 2012 12:40 Send this review to a friend
button problems  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've owned two VX-2R's and two VX-3R's (one each for me, one for my wife). All of them have an on / off problem. I can't turn 3 of them on unless I try more than a dozen times. Sometimes they simply WILL NOT turn on. I assume the button to turn it on and off has either slipped or is simply worn out. Otherwise they are a great little radio and very convenient. The lesson I learned is never to buy a radio with a push button on/off switch.
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