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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: 142 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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KC7YCL Rating: 3/5 Dec 26, 2008 17:53 Send this review to a friend
Quality control nonexistent, every one is different  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have had the pleasure of having 5 of these VX-3R radios side by side, and I noticed DRAMATIC variation in each receiver's sensitivity. Some of them could receive a distant repeater with full signal strength as indicated by the S meter. The worst performing unit was actually the most recently manufactured, and the same repeater barely moved the S meter 3 bars. Altogether, of the 5 radios, I considered two of them to be defective, and two of them to be good, with the others lying in between. But, unfortunately, one of the two good units had a mushy keypad, and one of the in between units had a knob that was so stiff I was worried I would break it trying to get it to unlock.

Additionally, the last good radio that I decided to keep for myself was the most deaf of the lot on the AM radio band, and it had a wobbly knob and a slightly mushy keypad - but at least it worked decent on the ham bands.

I ignore Yaesu's feature lists though, because they just give you the bare minimum to make it legal to advertise, but that's usually not necessarily enough to make their features useful. Yaesu spends big bucks packing features into their radios, but they don't bother to polish them to make sure they work well.

I have always known that Yaesu is the worst quality of the major amateur radio manufacturers, so I expected such unbelievably poor quality control.

I like the VX-3R because it's the best small radio on the market at the moment - it's a small market, no pun intended. If you can get a good one, you'll be amazed at what it can do, but based on my experienc, you should count on going through at least 5 of them before you find one that works well. Even then, you'll be disappointed if your expectations are high.

I haven't mentioned it because so many other people have, but all the battery covers are very loose on all the radios I tested. It doesn't bother me much, I just put a pad of double sided tape in the cover to firm it up against the battery, while leaving the wax paper on the side that faces the battery (so it won't stick to it).

One more gripe is that if I save an AM aircraft band frequency to memory, it changes all my FM ham band memories to AM also. Typical Yaesu bugs I guess.

So, at the end, you have bugs, quality control problems, and a difficult to use menu system with lots of nonsensical abbr's ("abbreviations"). It's hard to use, and hard to get around the menu system to get things done quickly. It has a lot of features, many of which do not work well, and it has many minor manufacturing defects in even the best units. But, despite all that, if you can get a good one, you'll probably like it.

My favorite thing about it is that it receives FM stereo of pretty good quality if you're using headphones. None of these micro radios have good audio out the speaker. I can't hear this one at all when I'm walking near a busy road with car noise, so I use headphones most of the time. It's compact and discreet, and I don't look like an outdoorsman, a gadget guy, a secret agent, a cop, or a soldier, when I'm in city slicker mode.

The stock antenna is decent for it's size, and I haven't found another antenna that works better that's any smaller on the ham bands. The Maldol MH-209SMA is smaller, and it works better outside the ham bands, but the stock antenna is usually better for most things, and you get it for free with the radio.

I haven't tried Icom's IC-P7A, but as I understand the reviews for that radio, the quality is better all around, and longer battery life, but it lacks programmable DTMF tones, and it has worse speaker audio. I might try one eventually, especially since I usually use headphones anyway.
KJ4EOZ Rating: 4/5 Dec 26, 2008 11:54 Send this review to a friend
Not too bad at all  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Just got this rig today .
Have to say its not a bad little rig .
Love the size of it . same size as my cell phone .
I wish it had just a bit more power .
that is why i give this rig a 4 out of 5 .
WA1KBE Rating: 4/5 Dec 3, 2008 17:53 Send this review to a friend
Nifty little radio!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned the VX-3R for about 2 months now. It works well on 2M and 440 as a pocket sized HT. Sensitivity on 220 band is low. Not very useful on 2 - 30 mHz as a general coverage unit. Works OK on bradcast FM - weak AM band performance. Good transmit audio reports. Battery life better than expected especially in power saver mode. Recommend Diamond SRH519 antenna. Stock antenna is disappointing. Overall a remarkable compact dual bander with extended receive capability. Packed with lots of features. Good operating manual but a short cut card will come in handy! Truly a fun radio to own.
KE3JH Rating: 4/5 Nov 10, 2008 08:28 Send this review to a friend
nice rig  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
realy like this ht . dont like how you have to get the power output changed realy hate the belt loop clip. what ever happened to steal?? had this ht 2 weeks and i need to get a new belt loop clipp!! dont know if i should waste the money on it.
K0HPS Rating: 4/5 Sep 24, 2008 16:56 Send this review to a friend
Good radio/ disappointing AM  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The main thing keeping me from giving the VX-3R a 5-rating is the AM broadcast band performance. When I read about the "new" VX-3R one of the things Yaesu advertised was improved AM reception. Since I like to listen to AM radio on my morning walks I had high hopes for the VX-3R. Alas, its performance is far behind the AM receiver in the old Sony Walkman that I had been using. It's like if the Walkman were receiving 5x7, the VX-3R would be 3x3. This is on a broadcast station that every one of my radios at home receives with no problem. In some locations on my walk I cannot hear the station at all, in others I can only hear it if I carefully turn the radio to align the antenna. I went back to the Walkman.

That being said, it's a nice little HT. The battery life is excellent considering its size, the radio is fairly easy to program and the FM audio sounds good. Speaking of FM, the FM broadcast reception is better than the AM, and it sounds good through stereo ear buds. I have had no reliability issues and so far I've found only one "glitch" in the manual. (Unless my radio is unique: page 49, line 5 under "Changing a Memory Bank's Name" should read "Press the [V/M] key..." instead of "Press the [TXPO] key...").

Would I buy it again, given what I now know about the AM reception? Yes, I would.
G6IYS Rating: 5/5 Aug 31, 2008 04:00 Send this review to a friend
Great little Dual band  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased my VX-3R 4 months ago and find it to be a very good performer. It's a lot of radio for the money, here in the UK it sells for £122.
Easy to use, simple to programme and the battery has a good life.
The stock charger is a little slow.
The Yaesu mobile psu/charger is costly and there are generics that do a fine job at half the cost on eBay.
The receiver is sensitive on it's intended 2m and 70cm bands ,the general receive is adequate on the stock aerial but far better connected to a mobile or base antenna.
Receive audio quality is clear as is the transmit audio and when using the dedicates external speaker mic itís also excellent.
In conclusion,
Good value
Easily read screen
Good performer all round
Very compact
Great battery life
Worth a look against the competition , nothings perfect but for the money it represents a good buy.

VA3PKH Rating: 4/5 Jul 14, 2008 06:49 Send this review to a friend
Good little radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Good radio, I carry mine all day at work as it fits in a shirt pocket. No problems with broadcast reception on FM or AM
Just found out that receive is very wide open, at a hamfest with 146.520 check in station,
the VX3 received it on 146.590 146.520 and 146.550
M0SSO Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2008 07:04 Send this review to a friend
A great little bit of kit, almost, but not quite perfect  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
More than any other type of radio, I prefer, by far handie talkies. I've owned numerous of them, 2 Kenwoods, 1 Alinco & Yaesu VX150, VX7, FT60, VX1, VX2 and now... a VX3.
The VX3 is a great little bit of kit! It's not perfect, but only because of a couple of minor niggles. The main one for me being the single dial set up. Its either volume OR channel/frequency adjustment. To swap from one function to the other, you need to either press two buttons and then dial, or use two hands, (button & dial together).
The other niggle, is that it's not the most user friendly of radios, but only because there's just so much stuff on it, it's quite amazing really. Though, once you get used to the radio, everything becomes much more natural. Its not that the niggles make it bad or dissappointing, just different, and I like that. (Oh and there's no 6.25 tuning step, come on Yaesu, thats an easy fix)!

The performance, for its size and power, is exceptional, even with the supplied antenna. I can hit most of my favorite repeaters, one of them being 30+ miles away.
I have no problems hearing my local broadcast stations either, as some users have reported. I've found the build quality to be very good, no loose battery cover or clicky switches on mine, althought the rubber covers over the accessory sockets feel as though they may part company if used frequently.
If you do have large hands or stubby fingers then you may find it hard to operate because it really is small, but thats another one of its best points. You can take it anywhere and hardly notice you're carrying it.

Remember... this is an ultra compact radio, with low power, (compared to full size handies) and with that taken in to consideration the performance and function of this radio is excellent.
If you want a radio to just slip in your pocket and use for short range TRX and have wide band receive, then I highly recommend the Yaesu VX-3. Currently costing around £120, (July 08, UK sourced, W&Splc), it represents very good value for money.
N2CYY Rating: 5/5 Jun 23, 2008 18:49 Send this review to a friend
It's Wonderful  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I love it. when I'm not at work I always wear shorts and the vx-3r slips comfortably and unobstrusively into the front pocket of my cargo shorts. You never even know it's there. When I go to work ( 1 1/2 hour commute each way via train & subway ) the featherweight vx-3r slips right into my attache case. Hits all the repeaters I need it to hit, plays well on AM, FM, and astonishingly even picks up some SW broadcast stations with the supplied rubber duck antenna. The ADAMS software makes programming a snap. This is an absolutely great niche product. You'll never have an excuse for not having an HT with you....... now if it only had 220 transmit..... Way to go Yaesu, the VX-3R is a real winner!
AB0RE Rating: 4/5 Jun 20, 2008 21:36 Send this review to a friend
Trps/Tricks (Looong Review)  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
WHY THE VX-3R? I swore Iíd never own an HT with less than 4-5W output. Now, I live in a small town with one repeater, an easy shot with 1W anywhere in town. The next closest repeaters are about 40 miles out and canít even be hit with a mobile in town (low elevation). So the VX3ís power output turns out to be more than adequate. It also works great for cross-banding to out of town repeaters. Add the ability to do 900MHz WFM so I can monitor my baby monitor all around the block and the VX3 looks even sweeter. Finally, the VX3ís ability to listen to one of the the three local radio stations in town, flip to scanner/ham frequencies when there is traffic, then revert back to the AM/FM radio station when the traffic ends, makes the VX3 a jack of all trades. Pack it all in the smallest HT package Iíve ever seen, along with a very forgiving LiON battery, and Iím in ham radio heaven!

Hereís a few tips & tricks for the VX-3R:

ANTENNA: Iíll try not to be a broken record with what others have said, but by all means DUMP the stock antenna. Iím using a Diamond SRH-519 and it literally makes my VX-3R seem like a different radio!

BELT CLIP: I used a Samsung cell-phone stick on belt clip, rated for 4.5oz (the VX-3R is 4.6oz and I have not had any trouble). The belt clip comes in a kit, available at the Wal-Mart electronics department (~$5) with cell phone accessories, or from All Electronics (P/N SLP-1 @ $1.50/each). The adhesive on the back of the button is quality 3M Adhesive. Make sure you use the LARGE adhesive-backed button on the VX-3R. Itíd also be a good idea to clean the back surface of your VX-3R before applying the button, then let the adhesive cure overnight before using. Note: I have yet to break one of my belt clips, but a friend in town has gone through two of them already, so this may not be the best solution if you man-handle your radio equipmentÖ itís simply one possible solution to not getting a belt clip with the VX3R.

COMPUTER PROGRAMMING: Programming is very easy with Bob Freethís software, FTBVX3, which can be found at: . Itís an absolute steal at $18.50. I made the home-brew programming cable found at: , with all parts purchased very reasonably from (The All Electronics ECS-4 Perf Board can be cut to make a total of 4 programmers, if desired. The 2N2222A transistors All Electronics carries are an acceptable substitute for the 2N2222 transistors the plans call for, just take note of the pinoutÖ the emitter is the leg closest to the little metal tab.) All Electronics CB-218 is an A/V cable that can be sacrificed to get the 4-pin connector thatís needed for the programming cable (Some trimming of the plastic around the connector may be needed to ensure the connector sits well on the VX-3Rís speaker/mic jack).

POWER SUPPLY: I have yet to purchase the Yaesu EDC-21 DC Adaptor. I happened to have a 3A variable voltage controller on hand that would allow me the 6V 2A max that the VX3R needs. If youíre interested in home-brewing your own power supply, follow the plans at: You can definitely skip the fancy case, knob, power pole outputs, and test jacks, in an effort to keep costs down. Simply follow the schematic on the bottom of page 2, but put a 1Kohm precision trimmer in place of the pot the plans call for (Radio Shack 271-342 or All Electronics MTPS-1K) and dial the voltage in right at 6.00VDC.

SCREEN PROTECTION: Get an inexpensive iPod or PalmPilot screen protector and cut it to the exact dimensions of the VX-3Rís LCD window. Cutting it with a sliding cutter, like the ones found in the hobby/craft aisles of Wal-Mart, seems to work best. Clean the screen and then carefully apply the screen protector. The screen protector will take all the abuse and keep your VX-3R screen looking new. The adhesive on the back of the screen protector is just enough to get the protector to stay on the screen Ė when the protector is peeled off no residue is left behind on the screen.

The VX-3R has a few downfalls: First, the pathetic stock antenna mentioned above. Why make a $180 rig only to severely compromise its performance by putting a dummy load in the box!?!? Next, the VX-3R always stops on 162.5500MHz to check for an alert signal in WX Alert Mode even when that frequency is locked out (a glitch). Finally, it has some quality control issues (I bought my first VX3R used and it had squelch issues even AFTER going to Yaesu/Vertex Service for not powering up, straight out of the box. Yaesu/Vertex shouldíve run the VX-3R through a complete test/calibration before sending it back to the original owner Ė shame on them for being lazy!!!)

Overall, Iíd recommend the VX-3R. Iím shaving off a point for the issues mentioned above (mainly the QC issue). Still, this is the best in class as itís the only in its class. Buy one and you wonít regret it!

Dan / ab0re
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