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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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KB8ZXE Rating: 4/5 Jan 4, 2012 10:50 Send this review to a friend
Good radio so far  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you are into aprs or want to get into aprs this radio is a great choice. It really makes aprs fun, and useful. The VX8GR really makes a tracker and a standard radio outdated.

APRS is a two way communications mode and should be used as such. Being able to see how close your friends are, receive weather date, verify your beacons are being digipeated is very nice.

In the month or so that I have owned it I've used it a lot. One time I was on the roof of my friends 3 story apartment building looking at his antenna install and I was digipeated directly by a digi more than 90 miles away (with factory rubber duck antenna). Receive also seems to be great, it decodes beacons that are only S3 or so. This is also a great tool for people who maintain aprs infrastructure. You can verify a digi is working or whatever simply by looking at raw-data..etc..

Using aprs at the same time as a voice conversation works okay, it just sends the beacon when the other person unkeys if it has been the time designated by your beacon interval. You might miss a little voice. It works better if you are on simplex only talking to one person.

It would be cool if the radio was upgradable but that is a different issue. That is why I gave it a 4 not 5.

KB0VXN Rating: 4/5 Aug 1, 2011 14:28 Send this review to a friend
Nice little radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Had this radio for over six months now and its been a good little unit. What keeps me from giving it a five is a couple little issues. Mainly, the erratic amount of time that it takes to get a gps lock....anywhere from almost instant to close to ten minutes...and this is standing outside. It will always lock eventually, but you never know how long it will take. There are a few little quirks as far as menus and operating functions that aren't covered in the manual, but I figured them out eventually. Lack of a squelch knob is an annoyance, but I'm getting used to it. The audio output is a little low, but I find it adequate most of the time. I use this radio mostly for fm satellites and as aprs unit in my pickup. Overall, I am happy with it and would buy another. It packs a lot of features in a small package.
KB1PGH Rating: 5/5 Mar 27, 2011 18:50 Send this review to a friend
Works as advertised!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Actually I will give this radio a 4.5 rating and I`ll get to that in a second.So far,so good with the Yaesu VX-8GR.It`s smaller and lighter than my FT 60.It`s those Lithium Ion batteries that the VX-8GR has.The build quality is good and the buttons feel solid.The audio is fine and sensitivity is fine as well.Works good as a scanner as well.I love the dual band but too bad the alpha name tags only show up on mono-band but oh well.I finally got a chance to try the GPS and APRS and lo and behold it all works!Of course it takes a couple of minutes to get the satellite lock but I got 5 GPS satellites outisde.Of course in the house I have to keep it by a window but it still works.The APRS works great! It`s not too hard to set up,just read the manual a few time before you get deep into this HT.The APRS on band B received and sent beacons like a champ thru the local digipeater.It was fun to see my beacon on APRS.FI. I Haven`t had the chance to send a text message yet though.I`ll take a half point off the rating for the menu driven system.It is sort of a pain in the behind but then agin it`s a HT.It would be so much easier if Yaesu just added a On/Off button for GPS and APRS-You just have to go a few steps into the menu and then twist the top knob to shut it them on and off.I also can see how a newbie to ham radio who buys the VX-8GR as their first HT will lose their mind with the menu tree.By the way-If you do only just one thing-BUY THE BIGGER BATTERY WHEN YOU BUY THIS HT !!! The GPS sucks the life out the smaller battery-and if you not using the GPS remember to shut it off.So far I say it`s worth the money and a good job by Yaesu. I also purchsed the Diamond SRH 77CA HT antenna and am getting better reception,especially for the scanner side of things.
HP1COO Rating: 5/5 Feb 5, 2011 20:10 Send this review to a friend
Goodenough for APRS!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you enjoy APRS, this radio is for you. I use it on the beach or more recently on an air show (by the way, during the show I received the tower frequency on one band while tx my position on the other band). The menus are clear, the configuration of the APRS is straightforward. Smart beaconing works ok, I had to read the manual twice to clarify some concepts.
Probably on the future I will get the long capacity battery. Power consumption increases with dual receive and GPS on. Regarding the GPS, it tooks longer than my Garmin to lock the position, but once locked, I could wear the radio on one of the open pockets of my cargo pants without loosing satellite reception.

Overall, I recommend this radio. Good job Yaesu!
VE3FYN Rating: 4/5 Dec 29, 2010 20:18 Send this review to a friend
Good APRS, poor interface  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought my VX8GR after my Kenwood D7 suffered its fourth major faitlure. It is my first Yaesu radio, which may explain some of my concerns.

On the plus side, the unit is small and very rugged. Contrary to some reports, I find the GPS locks in faster than my Garmin eTrex, and does so even inside buildings. The APRS functions on the radio are solid and easy to setup. Multiple digi paath settings is good. Smart beaconing works well, and has default settings for walking, biking and driving. The smart beaconing can go a little awry when you are not moving (random direction changes reported by the GPS will generate frequent beacons). And it has a clock, something all radios should have. The serial interface works well and doesn't require a level-changing cable. The stock antenna works better than most. There is a lot of information on the screen, and it is easy to read, even for my old eyes. Programming odd splits is easy, even cross-band splits.

On the minus side, I find the interface very challenging compared to my Kenwood radios. There is no function to have it beep at ones own beacon but not at others. The red text is hard to read. The Kenwood D7 would store and continue to beacon your position when the GPS was turned off. The Yaesu doesn't; switching from GPS to manual mode takes several steps.

When in dual band mode (which you will always be in) you cannot display the memory names -- what's up with that? Even in single band mode, it's hard to read memory names. You can't name a DTMF shortcut, and it takes more button presses to access a DTMF shortcut than to dial it longhand. Yaesu focuses its main buttons too much on its own toys (ARTS, etc.) and not enough on the common functions we want.

In short, it's a good radio once you get around the pathetic interface.
KV4AN Rating: 5/5 Dec 27, 2010 17:00 Send this review to a friend
CONVENIENT HANDHELD APRS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
If you are looking for a convenient handheld APRS transceiver, this one's for you. This is a nice small and rugged dual-bander with a built-in GPS and APRS TNC. Same kind of bells-and-whistles as the VX-6 and VX-8 and other high end dual-band HT's. Has an "A" and "B" band and it receives on both simultaneously (you can automatically mute the "B" side when there is a signal on "A"). You have to select which one to use for transmit. If you bought this radio, you wanted to do ARPS, so you use the "B" band for APRS and "A" for FM voice/repeaters on either 2 meters or 440 MHz There are many menu setup options in two different menus, one for the regular HT and the other for APRS/GPS. The GPS acquires a signal slowly inside a building, but much quicker outside with a clear view. The only things I don't like is that the audio output is not very high and battery life with standard battery is low. I also can't seem to set the internal clock, but I'm still fiddling with it. The APRS works flawlessly and there was not much of a learning curve from my Kenwood D700. I've sent/received position packets and Winklink messages. APRS is a lot of fun and the VX-8GR, with its all-in-one convenience is going to add a new man-portable dimension to the fun.
N0OQA Rating: 4/5 Sep 16, 2010 17:28 Send this review to a friend
Good APRS Ecomm Device  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Got this radio specifically for emergency preparedness APRS work. I was originally looking into one of the Byonics devices, but this seems like a good compromise for the price. If things work out with this test unit may get a few more.

I will update after some more testing. Looks very promising so far, I like it...
VK4JRC Rating: 4/5 Aug 5, 2010 16:04 Send this review to a friend
Works well, for the price!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned this radio for 3 weeks now. It's compact and does all I need for a voice HT. The menu system works well after studying the manual, has many adjustable features, even mic gain! Battery life is very average on the standard pack, belt clip is very basic, SHOULD have been the same as the VX-7R one. I would have liked choice of display background colours, and a larger display as well.
APRS works well for a HT, GPS lock is a little slow and not as sensitive as standalone units. I have tested APRS messaging to and from my iPad over the network, works
great! Given you can use voice simultaneous with APRS is a good feature. I purchased a Nifty manual to use with this radio, means a quick ready reference should I forget anything in the very comprehensive setup menus.
All in all the radio offers good performance for the price and
the purpose I bought it for.
Why did I not buy the DR model?
Mainly because of the GPS "appendage" it has, and the cost.

Jack. VK4JRC
G4ILO Rating: 3/5 Jun 27, 2010 02:01 Send this review to a friend
Nice radio but disappointing GPS  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I owned one of the original VX-8Rs but sold it due to the lack of local digipeaters and igates. Recently there has been an increase in APRS activity locally so I decided to get a VX-8GR. It lacks a lot of features of the '8R that I never used like 50MHz, short wave RX, barometer, submersible, plus the GPS is integrated into the radio which looks much better than the '8R's clunky bracket. The firmware improvements are worthwhile, especially the smart beaconing.

I agree completely with the criticism made by N9QGS that there should be a quick way to disable the GPS. I also find the GPS receiver really weak. I can put the radio where my GPS equipped smartphone picks up a fix within about a minute and I have given up waiting. Perhaps it would do better out of doors but who wants to stand around like an idiot outside the house for several minutes before setting off? The VX-8R GPS performed better than this.

I don't expect to be keeping the VX-8GR for longer than it takes Kenwood to bring the TH-D72 out.
WX4GPS Rating: 3/5 May 18, 2010 20:15 Send this review to a friend
Lacks APRS shortcuts to activate and deactivate modes  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Let me first say I have not read the manual yet but in speaking with someone else, I have some initial complaints using it for APRS. The radio receives and transmit very good audio, and works great as a radio, but the APRS side, I have major complaints which immediately lowered my impressions of this radio, and if I had known it I would not have bought. I wanted to be able to turn on and off the GPS/APRS feature when I go inside and return it back on when I come out of a building, knowing the GPS would not keep a lock inside most buildings. Well to do this you have to change APRS modem and GPS Power settings in the menu, more complicated then it needs to be, where is a front dedicated button to do this...? The GPS impressed me as it works well on the side of your body maintaining easily 5 to 7 sats. When you put the display into the larger screen you then get the 16 character alpha numerics only, which I highly prefer and reason I bought the radio, but then it will not function for APRS. I wish the APRS would work in the background and allow your voice frequency to be large and show the 16 alpha numeric. Oh well.. it works good for APRS when its in that mode, and it works for voice when in that mode, but if you need to or want to change go between, you have to deal with a menu nightmare. Depends how you plan to use it.. I'm very mixed how I feel right now with my purchase :-(
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