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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: 137 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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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.
N6RNK Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2012 09:39 Send this review to a friend
Hey, it's a TINY radio . . .  Time owned: more than 12 months
I hate when people give a product a bad review when they have an unrealistic expectation! This is a great little radio, that you can take anywhere! Sure, it's AM broadcast reception is not great, and it is low power, and the rubber duck supplied is not stellar. Get over it! I purchased this a couple years ago to take along an my train commutes to listen to railroad freq's, and had a blast with it. Ive used this radio many times in public service on simplex for local events, and it works great. If you're new to ham radio, and this will be your only radio, look elsewhere unless you're in a great area and have friends that use this radio in all the places you're going to be with success. If you're like me, and want a go anywhere in your pocket radio, this is great.
Regarding the antenna, most people replace their rubber ducks with a better antenn. I bought a Pryme RD-8 which improved my reception quite a bit, and is inexpensive to boot.
Stay real, use this radio for its intended purpose, and you'll have a lot of fun!
IZ0JGH Rating: 3/5 Apr 7, 2012 04:51 Send this review to a friend
magnificent form factor, poor antenna, absolutelly not user fri  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
It is a very small RTX, it is quite clear you cannot expect full size full power performances from it; however it should be a lot more user friendly and a stronger antenna would be also a nice improvement.
It is meaningless to have a small RTX that can be carried anywhere and can do almost anything, but only if you carry the manual and have time and light to read it.

KD8CGF Rating: 3/5 Apr 1, 2012 12:06 Send this review to a friend
Too small  Time owned: more than 12 months
This was my first HT. I bought this in 2009 to take hiking with me. It is definitely small enough for that purpose, but I have found it too small. My hands have trouble accessing the keys and buttons. The on-off flexible button/switch has disintegrated & gone missing. Deep inside its receptacle there is a metal switch & at times I can switch this HT on with the tip of a ballpoint pen, at other times not. At some point I'll look into having it repaired, but a repair will likely cost more than simply buying a competitor.
I recently bought a Wouxun KG-UV3D 2M/220MHz HT, and like it better (but have only had it a few days).
Received VX3R sound quality was good. Listening to FM music while monitoring a frequency is a plus.
AM reception is very poor. It can just barely receive a local station from 10 miles away.
Power output at its basic level is hardly enough to reach my favorite 2M repeater 10 miles away. I have walked around my neighborhood during a local net on this repeater. I can always hear that repeater, but most of the time it can't hear my HT unless at the exact right spot in my neighborhood. The VX3R plugged into a 12V power point was able to hit that repeater - but this is a much higher TX power than the VX3R alone can make. Plugging it into a dedicated external 2M antenna enables me to consistently hit my favorite repeater, but again, this makes it no longer an HT. The Wouxun's 5 W hits that repeater easily with its built in antenna from 10 miles away, even from inside my house with aluminum siding.
I substituted a flexible whip antenna for the VX3R's rubber ducky. I attached a long lanyard originally meant for a USB flash drive. The VX3R hangs comfortably around my neck and the antenna does not poke me. It is so light I hardly know it's there until it squawks. I don't have to worry about smashing or tearing off an HT fastened to my belt, plus having it hanging on my neck makes it easy to grab. The Wouxun is too big for hanging on my neck.
The VX3R has been a learning experience. Things I now consider important that I didn't at first are:
-- HT form factor to match my personal form factor. Sturdy switches for power and volume that won't break off easily, that can be seen and felt quickly. Buttons & knobs that match my hands and fingers.
-- Power enough to reach where you want. VX3R can't do what I want, but there was no way for me to know that ahead of time.
-- A quick way to charge the HT without needing to plug or unplug anything into it. I really like the Wouxun's original charging cradle, simply drop that HT in and keep it there until the indicator light changes color. Beats fumbling with plugging in charging cables, which will probably become positional when used enough.
-- Black plastic is the stylish & accepted norm for ham gear, but I'm sick of that. I want brightly colored plastic with contrasting colors so I can quickly find the HT and its tiny controls in dim light, in a tent or in my car. My Wouxun is also mostly black, but a couple of its key buttons are brightly colored & easier to see than those of the VX3R. The VX3R's on/off button was brightly colored but very small, and this helped a little while it lasted. The Wouxun's power switch is huge and solid black, but at least it sticks out of the case and can be easily ID'd by touch.
-- Both HT's have menus too complicated for my purposes. This is what I find I do most often: Turn it on, adjust the volume, punch in a frequency, set a CTCSS/PL tone and hit the TX switch. All the HT's I have tried make setting the frequency and adjusting the CTCSS much too difficult. At least current HT's don't make you go through a menu just to transmit!
-- I do admit HTs necessarily have to use menus for all the functions they provide, but menus on both the VX3R and my new Wouxun need refinement. Make the most-often chosen and activities the quickest to access. Perhaps create a couple of programmable buttons to very rapidly access the operator's preferred menu choices. The Wouxun's voice prompts are really helpful -- they audibly confirm the menu choices just activated by button. I anticipate this will become a standard option for HT's of the future.
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