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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Yaesu VX-8GR Help


Reviews Summary for Yaesu VX-8GR
Yaesu VX-8GR Reviews: 22 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $540.00
Description: The VX-8GR dual-bander only covers 2m & 70cm and receive coverage is 108-999 MHz (less cellular frequencies). This version has a built-in GPS unit right out of the box! It is not Bluetooth capable. It is however APRS capable (B band only) with Smart Beaconing™. DCS/CTCSS encode/decode is included. Supplied with 7.4V 1100 mAh Lithium ion battery. 2.4 x 3.7 x 1.1 inches (without knobs or antenna).
Product is not in production.
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N6DXX Rating: 5/5 Jun 2, 2014 17:38 Send this review to a friend
just my size  Time owned: more than 12 months
Imagine holding a deck of playing cards in your hand. That is what it feels like to hold this HT - just a perfect size. There is a learning curve involved but it's not difficult. I like the single tilted tuning knob. The GPS latches on quickly, the volume is adequate & with an after market antenna (Diamond SRH 519), hitting my local repeaters is a snap. I alternate between the stock 1100 mAh batt. & the optional 1800 mAh batt. Both deliver hours of service. As was mentioned earlier, when not using the radio for a long period, the battery will run down because the set monitors the ON/OFF button. This is common to all HT's with a push button ON/OFF switch.

All in all a solid feeling & good performing HT. I'm glad I own one.

Tony, N6DXX
 
KE3GG Rating: 4/5 Jul 9, 2013 06:21 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio, poor battery contact design.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my radio for a couple years now. It works great with one exception. The connection between the radio and battery pack briefly fails quite often causing the radio to "reboot". Two other people I know have this same radio and suffer the same issue. Squeeze it the wrong way and it quits. Clip it to your belt or pocket and it constantly reboots as you walk. Pick it up from a table to answer a call and it reboots. The problem seems to be worst when the weather turns cold and dry.

If you run it via the external power connection everything is fine.
 
W3RKN Rating: 5/5 Jun 20, 2013 14:26 Send this review to a friend
Great HT with GPS/APRS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought this radio mainly to take with me hiking solo in Southern CA. Like that it has GPS built in vs a module with bracket on 8DR. Easy to program and also use it in car with antenna. With so many repeaters in SoCal it is a breeze! GPS/APRS work great and always have it with me when in the woods.
 
WD0FIA Rating: 5/5 Mar 24, 2013 06:46 Send this review to a friend
VX8-GR vs TH-D72A  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I lucked out and got a used one for about $250, in new condition, with six batteries, speaker mike, and a desktop charger from N0IWT. The only thing I bought additionally was the ADMS VX8G software and cable for $38.95 from HRO.

The unit was easy to setup, easy to operate. I wanted it for use with a new motorcycle, and the Yaesu appears to be much more weather resistant than my Kenwood TH-D72A. Don't get me wrong, around home I carry the D72, not the VX8. The D72 has more features, and a better display, but the VX8 is about 1/2 the size and appears to be more durable.
 
N0RRS Rating: 5/5 Jan 25, 2013 13:38 Send this review to a friend
Great HT with GPS/APRS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have had my Yaesu VX-8GR for only two weeks now, but in that time I have been AMAZED at all the features packed into this small dual band HT. Is there a learning curve? Yes, but what radio today doesn't have a learning curve. Being only 2m/440 this rig covers two of the most commonly used bands. It does no include the 50 MHZ band, which was included on the VX-7R. BUT, included in this rig instead of 50 MHZ is a BUILT IN GPS receiver and a BUILT IN APRS modem. These two features alone are what helped me decide to purchase this radio over the ICOM IC-92AD with D-Star, or the TH-72 Kenwood. The IC-92AD was way too overpriced with GPS, and I wasn't that impressed by the D-Star. The Kenwood was built more sturdy, but was also priced higher than the VX-8GR. I found that when using the GPS with APRS even with the rubber duck antenna it was EASY to acquire the satellites and work the digipeaters in my area. With only 5w and a good beam working the ISS should be no problem. I am pleased with my purchase and quite impressed with the features. And contrary to the bad reviews, I found that the audio was more than adequate on volume setting 22. I turned the mic gain tom8 and it sounds great. Only downside I found was the 1400mah battery only lasted about 5 hours , so I would recommend the 1800mah battery upgrade for heavy use on high power. Overall I am giving this rig an overall rating of 5 because of its price range and features.
 
KD8MRU Rating: 5/5 Oct 24, 2012 14:35 Send this review to a friend
2 VFOs + 2 Bands + TNC + GPS = APRS   Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Ok so I have been on the fence about this radio for awhile. I keep looking at the Kenwood TH-D72, Yaesu VX-8D as well as the VX-8G.

I do a good bit with TNCs & GPS made specifically for high powered rocketry and I've been at the candy store several times looking at each of the options along with reading all of their reviews here on eham.net as well as on their respective yahoo groups.

Initially I wanted the Kenwood TH-D72 ever since they announced it, however once I got it in my hands, I just did't like the feel of the TH-D72 and there are some features like SkyCommand II, I just will not ever use... so it was just not worth the price to me. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine radio, just not for me at the price point I want to be at.

Then Yaesu announced VX-8D and I thought the VX-8D was going to be the one... but by the time I added the cost of the GPS antenna, or bolted on the GPS-Mic, the cost was way above what I wanted pay not to mention, it looks like Rube Goldberg designed it. To me, it's just not a neat & clean package. Expensive & cluttered.

Then I kept and eye on the VX-8G, liked the packaged format of the radio, which is nice & clean. However before I could pick one up, I saw the announcement of the FT-1D... so there I set for the past year in limbo, and the more info Yaesu released, I realized that the FT-1D wasn't going to be my APRS solution.

Then Yaesu announced their fall rebates and I saw the $50.00 rebate on the 8G, that pushed me over the fence. So at $329.00 thats was enough to get me to bite.

I've had the radio a couple of weeks now and have enjoyed it immensely. APRS is working nicely, haven't encountered any of the issues that some folks have mentioned here.

Programming was a snap, I found the menu system, while lengthy, easily workable. Buttons are a little small, and still find my self wanting to drop below the 8 button for the 0 zero, instead of over to the right side.

I find the feel of the radio in my hand nice & light weight.

I typically set the APRS to a 5 min beacon when just around the area. Smart beacon in the vehicle.

From my location, I can work all of the local repeaters easily. Reception is good. I do have to remember the RX & TX Save feature... since I typically run the radio in L1 Power setting (.01 W)

Inside of the house with 2 floors above me, I typically have 6 or 7 satellites shown.

I find the GPS extremely accurate, as youd expect. GPS acquisition is impressively fast. Entering APRS messages is as easy as can be expected without a full keyboard.

Battery life with the standard 1100 mAh has been respectable 7hrs or so. It drops to about 6hrs if APRS VFOb is at 5Ws @ 5min interval

For the features bang for the buck, especially @ the rebated price of $329.00, I think this radio is rather hard to beat and have no regrets to date.

To me, it would be perfect if it had internal bluetooth 3 or 4 capability and USB interface. I knew that before purchasing, so I would have to say it rates 5 for what it suppose to do. As I said before incredible bang for the buck.
 
AF2Q Rating: 5/5 May 22, 2012 13:09 Send this review to a friend
Confused about the battery  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I paid a lot for the HT and one thing I find is that when not in use for a week or more the fully charged battery pack takes 9 hours for that bar on the screen to show full.
I was told that the HT draws just to monitor the power button.
Below is what was sent to me.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Even if the radio is off the radio still requires some juice to monitor
the power button. This is common for radios that use a button instead of a
switch. Your best bet is to take the battery off when you're not using the
radio for a long period of time
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I still give the HT a solid 5 because it is rugged and it takes 15 seconds or less to have the GPS lock on and show my position.
BOB
AF2Q
 
KR0L Rating: 3/5 Apr 30, 2012 18:20 Send this review to a friend
Good budget APRS HT, but no match for TH-D72A on APRS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I wrote about three HTs on my blog today at http://changelog.complete.org/archives/7501-review-amateur-radio-handhelds-hts-aprs-and-battery-tuning-tips - but since this is already large enough, I'll focus on my comments about the VX-8GR.

Here's what I wrote about it....

One could probably call this Yaesu’s closest competitor to the D72A. At about $100 cheaper, it doesn’t have a featureset that matches Kenwood’s, but it does have a few innovations that the D72A lacks.

Starting with the basics, it lacks the VX-7R’s broadband receive, with the receive roughly matching the TH-D72A’s. The 8GR is a dual-transceiver HT, and it works this effectively (moreso than the VX-7R). Yaesu has a bad habit of changing connectors on radios with regularity, and charging an arm and a leg for accessories to boot. Even within the VX-8 line, the 8GR uses different accessories than the 8DR, and of course has different plugs than the 7R (though it appears that the DC power plug is the same, and with some luck you might be able to use a VX-7R speaker/mic on the 8GR, though not the reverse).

The menu system on the 8GR is still similar to the 7R, though Yaesu has done several things to improve it. For one, scrolling through the menu now shows several lines of context on the screen at once, making it faster to scan. Also, there are more ways to jump into the menu at a certain location than before – and even a small bit of clumsily-implemented hierarchy (there are several settings on the SmartBeaconing page, for instance).

The menu key now toggles between various displays: the default frequency/status display, a GPS display, an APRS staion list, and an APRS message list. Just about everything operationally takes more keypresses than the D72A. On the D72A, it’s one or two keys (a physical button or F+button) to do almost everything: toggle GPS state, change TNC/APRS state (turn on or off), etc. All of that is in the scrolling menus on the 8GR. The quickest way there, which is documented in the manual, is to press MENU until a certain screen comes up, then press and hold MENU to bring up the settings (defaulting to a certain APRS-related category), then scroll and change settings. It’s a pain to turn APRS on and off, because you have to do this process for both the GPS and the APRS modem. Inexplicably, there is a hotkey to change the APRS beacon method (manual, auto, or SmartBeaconing) but not to turn APRS itself on or off. (The D72A has a hotkey to toggle the beaconing, though not to change its method; though in truth, if you do it frequently, the menu shortcuts will get you there rapidly.)

Physically, the VX-8GR is closer to the size of the 7R than the size of the D72A, and notably is significantly smaller than the D72A (at least with the standard battery). As noted in my D72A review, the VX-8GR feels more rugged than the D72A, though whether that is actually true or not is hard to pin down. It is definitely less rugged than the VX-7R. The keys require more pressure than the D72A, and in this they are similar to the 7R, but feel satisfyingly solid.

Unlike the other radios here, the 8GR does not have a dedicated volume knob, having only one dial on the top. To adjust volume, you hold the volume button on the left while twisting the knob. In practice, this is probably not usually very annoying, but if the radio is on your belt or otherwise not in your hand, this would be a frustration. (I think it would be particularly annoying if using it with a speaker/mic). Setting 99 will let you change the key so you don’t have to hold it in, which could probably go a long way to making the situation more tolerable.

One unique feature of the VX-8GR, as far as I know completely unique to it, is a vibrating alert. This would most frequently be used with APRS to provide a nearly-silent alert of incoming messages and the like.

The screen of the 8G, while similar in size to both the D72A and the 7R, appears to be higher-resolution (or if not, they make better use of it). More information is packed onto the screen at once, and although the D72A does have a small font, it uses it so rarely that lots of scrolling is needed. The 8GR uses a smaller font than the D72A to show content of messages and the like, which makes a much faster experience since there is a lot less scrolling. Neither radio has a setting to change this behavior, so if your eyesight isn’t good, you may prefer the D72A anyhow.

The VX-8GR supports a heading-up or a north-up view of the received GPS data, but strangely it does not support this when navigating to a received beacon (north-up is the only option). Unlike the TH-D72A, you can engage keylock on the 8GR while someone’s beacon is on the display. Also unlike the TH-D72A, you can lock out the PTT key on the 8GR. However, the keylock feature is just a quick press of the power button, which makes me a bit nervous.

There are a lot of things the D72A supports in the APRS area that the 8GR doesn’t. Here’s a summary of features missing in the 8GR compared to the D72A: voice alert (can’t even do it manually since tone/CTCSS are locked out in APRS mode), quick replying to messages, TNC mode, full AX.25 packet mode, full PC linking, weather station inputs, built-in digipeater mode, heading-up display, GPS track logs, QSY in beacons, quick tuning to others’ QSY info, responding to position queries, proportional pathing, automatic decay, beaconing on PTT release, sorting of beacon list, hotkey access to many features, and I’m sure the list goes on. On the flipside, the only thing feature-wise that you get on the 8GR’s APRS implementation that the D72A lacks is ability to inspect raw APRS packets.

The VX-8GR has the lowest-capacity battery of the three radios covered in this post, [the other two were the VX-7R and TH-D72A] and this is an oft-cited problem for users of the unit. Yeasu does seem to do a much better job of power management than Kenwood, though, so in full APRS and GPS mode, the battery life is roughly the same, amazingly enough. It is unlikely that the talk time on the 8GR would match either the 7R or the D72A, however.

Kenwood and Yaesu both have a battery saver feature which cuts power to the RX circuit except for brief checks for signals. Yaesu completely disables this while the APRS modem is on (and STILL matches Kenwood’s battery life, despite the smaller battery!) Kenwood doesn’t, though recommends changing the signal-check interval from 0.2s to 0.03s in order to avoid truncating APRS packets. Yaesu offers an 1800 mAh extended-life battery which should significantly exceed Kenwood’s battery life. Aftermarket vendors have 2000 mAh batteries as well.

Either way, expect APRS to be a drain on batteries. [More on that on the full review on the blog.]

Although Yaesu includes 168 pages of documentation with the 8GR, don’t expect it to match the quality and detail of Kenwood’s 218 pages. There are a lot of gimmicky/useless features on the 8GR (WIRES, for one) that get extensive treatment, and there is a fair bit of repetition. I particularly single out the SmartBeaconing documentation on the 8GR as being, at best, woefully incomplete — and probably also inaccurate to boot. Read the D72A manuals to figure out how that feature works on your 8GR.

I bought the VX-8GR intending it to be something akin to a more versatile TinyTrak. On that score, it mostly succeeds. It may be my go-to rig for use at bicycle rides, marathons, emergencies, etc., while the D72A will probably be the one that goes with me on trips.
 
KF7TJI Rating: 4/5 Jan 22, 2012 17:22 Send this review to a friend
APRS Works Great  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After reading some reviews, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse...But... The GR is fantastic except the audio volume and audio quality. The audio quality is slightly better and louder than my cell phone set to speaker phone.

However the rest of the features are great and the radio works: GPS, Beacon, and the rest of the APRS features.

Battery life is quite short, but its to be expected with so many features running at once.

I have also discovered that the Garmin Forerunner 201's serial cable will work as a programming cable for the GR.

I'm brand new with Amateur Radio, so take my comments lightly.

I would buy another GR if destroyed this one.

Have a great day,
Mike
 
KA5IQX Rating: 4/5 Jan 8, 2012 15:43 Send this review to a friend
Good radio thus far  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been interested in APRS for some time, and had talked to some of the "hams" here locally who have been using APRS on a regular basis. It can be said that, to some degree, it's simply another "ham" gadget to have fun with. But APRS can also be quite useful in Emergency Communication situations and for community events where "hams" provide important information in both voice radio transmissions and APRS screen displays. When a safety issue or an injury occurs, it can make a big difference in having not only a radio report, but also a screen visual of the location, so that responders might possibly get there more quickly. And of course APRS tracking is very important for all of those "ham" balloon launches taking place these days. It's amazing to be able to track a balloon and to know it's location, altitude, speed and a host of other data as it makes it's way into the heavens.

Anyway....all of the expensive mobile APRS radios were very nice...but to me, one advantage of the Yaesu VX-8GR was the ability to easily move the radio from one vehicle to another, or to even use the APRS feature while holding the handheld out in the field, using a rubber duckie antenna if necessary. The VX-8GR is perfect for that. The GPS is built in, so there are no other boxes or wires to hook up to the radio, and it seems to have no problem locking onto satellites pretty quickly. If you want to see the tracking as it takes place, and you have a smartphone, you can access the APRS website and you'll have a great visual map of what's going on.

For mobile useage, you can use a non-permanent, weighted mount on the dash....and a quick connect to a roof mounted antenna...and there ya are. The little rascal does just fine with respect to hitting the local digipeaters. It's only a 5 watt handheld, but I'm quite pleased with it so far, and it seems to do the job nicely. It's a compromise radio, but the portability of it is a big plus. Of course it is also a regular dual band handheld, and performs that duty quite well too.

Another nice thing I noticed, the bottom of the radio and battery are quite flat, so the radio when placed on a table will stand firmly, with no wobble-effect. That might sound like no big deal, but it seems that most handhelds these days don't stand firmly, and can tip over more easily than they should. Perhaps I'm a bit weird, and perhaps this information most likely won't mean that much to most "hams", but in my view, it's another plus.

One thing I was not impressed with was the flimsy belt clip. I don't understand why many of the handhelds on the market these days don't have a simple belt clip that is strong enough to withstand normal, daily wear and useage without becoming loose or breaking off.

The instruction manual is a bit difficult and complicated, especially to an APRS novice, but after several readings and some experimentations and some "oh gosh, what did I do to it this time?" moments....I stumbled through it and got it to work. ( only 4 aspirins required )

My actual rating would have been 4.5, but that was not an option. I've only had the radio for a couple of months, and there are a few other quirks and dislikes, but overall it seems to be a really good radio, and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to have a good dual band handheld and APRS too. It's a great combination.
 
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