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


Reviews Summary for Yaesu VX-8DR
Yaesu VX-8DR Reviews: 19 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $540.00
Description: VX-8DR – A Devoted APRS Users Version of the VX-8R Series

The VX-8DR APRS®/GPS/Bluetooth® Handheld Transceiver is an additional version of the VX-8R that includes not only its solid features and specifications but also new expanded APRS® capabilities to meet the needs of even the most active APRS® user. The VX-8DR has the same appearance as the VX-8R and uses the very same accessories

The Yaesu VX-8R HT provides a full 5 watts FM on 50/144/430 MHz plus 1.5 watts on 222 MHz. It supports Bluetooth® hands-free operation with the optional BU-1 and BH-1 or BH-2 accessories. There is also an optional GPS unit and antenna with loads of features. This radio supports APRS 1200/9600 bps data communication (B band only). Like the VX7R, the VX8R is submersible and meets IPX57 specifications (3 feet for minimum of 30 minutes).
Product is in production.
More info: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Yaesu_VX-8R/
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VE3XQT Rating: 5/5 Jul 13, 2014 19:07 Send this review to a friend
One year later and still outstanding!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought the radio and added the GPS on top of the Mic. I use this radio in extreme conditions at outdoor events from Rally events, car races, running events and camping, kayaking and hiking year round.
I admit, it takes a bit to get use to the programming but worth the effort.
I have had the "other" brands and keep coming back to Yaesu, if fact brought home a FT1DR yesterday to play on Digital!
 
KK4KKF Rating: 5/5 Jun 4, 2013 21:53 Send this review to a friend
Never leave home w/o it  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I use this radio almost daily - and in environments from intermod jammed to wide open stretches- "It's All Good."
Radio sits in hot truck all day - with APRS/GPS working - I still have battery (1800) at the end of the day and the radio never misses a beat.
I enjoy listening to SWL at night and can string a temp wire antenna and pick up almost all of the (unfortunately pre-programmed) stations; I can practice CW (I need practice too); I make/have made QSO's on every band - admittedly I sometimes change out the antenna for better performance. I like the fact that the case is "virtually bulletproof" - sure the audio and the keypad will suffer if you have to hide them behind a membrane to protect them - but that's one reason I bought this radio - I didn't want a radio that couldn't be rained on or knocked around. This radio ain't no "Shack Queen" - HT's in my life lead a rugged existence.
Menus and features - set 'em once and done; There are shortcut buttons all over the radio and most people, it seems, just won't read the owner's manual to know how to operate the radio up to its potential - from turning on the volume knob to adding repeaters on the fly.
Probably not a radio for everyone, as this radio is really in a class by itself.
 
K6QT Rating: 3/5 May 31, 2013 15:00 Send this review to a friend
Pretty good radio, but not exceptional -- especially for the $  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
First, let me begin by saying I own over 20 handhelds of all brands, so I have had experience in many radios. I had been looking forward to getting this radio for a long long time. I must admit I was slightly disappointed. Some of the first things that stood out to me: a) the volume can't simply be turned up; you have to hold a button down and turn a dial. Not too bad, but a bit of a pain. b) I couldn't hit many close repeaters with it. My friends said I was coming in and out of the repeater. I was only able to hit a repeater on a mountain about 20 miles away and another 25 miles away successfully. Other than that, not too much luck. $700 is a lot to expend on a radio you can only hit a few repeaters on. c) There was a bit of assembly to do. Not too bad, but the diagrams were awful and it took me a couple hours to put everything together. d) the battery didn't last very long at all when using the GPS; you'll need a bigger battery, maybe even two of them. e) I couldn't add an external antenna; there was too much interference from the GPS. Somehow the duck is shielded and needs to be used; otherwise, forget it. f) it's definitely a Yaesu radio, which means thousands of menus (or I suppose, more accurately, in this case, perhaps 150 with the APRS ones); g) just low power in general. As with the Yaesu VX-7R, which I also own, it seems like these quad-band radios just can't quite reach out there and be heard (I also have a friend who owns a 7R and says the same thing. She lives 5 miles further from a repeater than I do and she can't hit it. In Utah, where repeaters are on 12,000-foot-high mountains, and I've hit repeaters 200 miles away (yes, it's true), that's not saying a lot. That being said, I loved the size. I have a small credit card wallet with about 5 cards in it. It is the thickness of 3 of those with the standard battery. Fits in the hand nicely. Not like the VX-7R, which is more metal than plastic and burns your hand off after about 3 transmissions. Very nice in the hand. There is definitely some kind of dithering device in the elevation. Often it's 100 meters above where I'm at, then 100 meters down. The latitude, longitude, speed, and direction are spot on. One nice thing about having 6 M (we have no repeaters in our area) is the simplex. The waves travel much further than 2 M or 70 CM and I can hear my son quite clearly a mile away when we are using the 7R and 8DR together on 6 M. I am disappointed that Yaesu doesn't program the 1.25 M band (I'll use 1M and 1.25M synonymously -- I'm not a big fan of using the 12-syllable: "the two-hundred-and-twenty-two megahertz band") to use 5 W. Come on, how hard can it be -- really? Everyone acts like it's this poisonous band that they hardly dare touch. We have a few repeaters in our area and our neighborhood emcomm (for obvious reasons) uses 1.25 M for emergency communications. So I love this band, but Alinco is the big brand that brings us equipment for use with this band. I applaud them on their fearlessness. One of their latest radios, the DJ-G29T, is for use on 33 CM/1.25 M, hardly your "popular" bands. But they're selling like hotcakes. When I tried to get mine they were on back-order for 3 weeks. I know I digress a bit, but the 33 CM band is hopping in Utah -- and on one repeater. We have several 1 M repeaters. If we had more equipment compatible with that band, I wager we'd have more use of it, I think. So Yaesu needs to jump on the bandwagon. One wonderful exception that uses the 1M band is the Kenwood TH-F6A. This tri-band is so beautiful. Another one of my favorites (some say they have problems; I've owned 6 for 2 years with not a single problem) is the Wouxun KG-UVD1P (the 1M/2M model and 2M/70CM model both use the same model number. I have the 1M/2M one) radio. As has been mentioned, the screen is difficult to read without some back-lighting. You can program the radio to keep the light on all the time, but your battery will be dead in no time at all. The best battery I've found is at www.batteriesamerica.com, the Li-Ion FNB-102Li, a 2000 mAh 7.4V battery. Programming software, as mentioned in other reviews, is definitely a necessity. I will never buy another radio again without it. The manual can be quite cumbersome at times, so "The Nifty! Mini-Manual" by N6FN is great! Especially for APRS operation. One thing I didn't know about APRS tracking on the Internet. Google your call sign plus APRS and it will give you a map showing where you have been. Sometimes you don't hit an "i-gate" for days at a time, however, as the guy at Yaesu told me, and it won't show up on this site. So he told me to go to www.aprsfi.com to get a more accurate reading or something. I went there and found it simply a place where advertising took place. Maybe I'm just slow. If you want GPS, you will need both the unit itself and the bracket to hold it down with. Oh, hold on to the tiny weensy PC board in the box; don't lose it; it's used for Bluetooth, if you're into that kind of thing. Well, that's about it. Again, I can't overstress how much you NEED the programming software, that is unless you want to read the first 59 pages of the manual just trying to figure out how to change the volume, squelch, select a frequency to transmit on, put in a PL tone, change a repeater offset, program in power, program to a memory, and assigning text names, etc. etc. So in summary, I do like many features of the radio, especially the GPS and APRS when functioning, etc. But I am also disappointed by others, such as the low power on the 1.25 band (at least I can do simplex in the neighborhood and reach as far as I need to with the radio). I love 6 M. So it's a mixed bag. A lot of radio, but could pack a little bit more of a wallop. I would think that a radio which costs me $700 or more with all the accessories I bought for it, should perform better than this. It performs exactly as the VX-7R, only with some extra bells and whistles, like GPS. Good luck in your radio search. 73 de K6QT.
 
AC0SV Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2012 13:59 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding!  Time owned: more than 12 months
I wanted a handheld that had 4 bands on it and this one fit the bill. I also purchased every accessory sold for it. After a year of use and comparing it to other units I am very glad I bought it. Buy the larger battery, especially if you use the GPS option. The factory battery lasts fine for short trips but the large one is a nice addition. The GPS unit works well. The features are extensive. All I can say is at least Yeasu gives you the option of setting just about everything! If you don't want to spend time learning the manual, purchase the cable and software and it will help you program the radio quickly. I learned the book first, then bought the software and cable so that I can save different settings depending on what I am doing and where I am traveling. The Bluetooth is great! Be careful not to set the mic. volume too high as I did, the radio is sensitive both with the internal and external mics. People tell me the quality of my audio is really nice. I find that the radio is very sensitive on all 4 bands. The receiver is much better than the Kenwood handhelds I have used. It does a better job than my Kenwood mobile as well. The features are so extensive that I couldn't possibly comment on them all in this short report. I'll just say that I have used everything it comes with and all the options available for it in the past year and I am very happy. Nothing about this radio disappoints me.
 
KB0C Rating: 5/5 Jun 2, 2011 14:28 Send this review to a friend
EXCELLENT - MORE radio that I can handle  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The first review on this radio demonstrates someone who wants a simple radio. This is not a simple radio. It is a menu driven HT, with 111 menu items and many sub-menus under many of these. And that does not include the APRS menu items! It is complex. And not all the controls are documented. So some experimentation is needed occasionally. For example, to light up the screen, the LED key, when assigned to the bottom left key, needs to be held down for one second. When using bluetooth, pairing is accomplished in the bluetooth code menu by pressing the V/M key. These are not documented. There are probably a few more that I will discover as I get to know this radio. The learning curve is long and steep, as with any menu driven radio. But once you have mastered the controls you will normally use, you will love this one! As with any HT, you can't reach 20 miles out to a repeater in a congested city. But I can hit all the repeaters within a few miles of my house. And for ARES work, the GPS unit accessory that attaches is invaluable. I can be instantly spotted on the map by the control operator with the APRS software in the radio. I don't have to explain to anyone where I am. They can see me on their map! It has a ton of features, such as emergency beacon, repeater operation, that I have yet to learn. There is something about an internet connection I have not yet learned how to run. I have the AA battery pack for the radio as well - handy for emergency work with a pocket full of charged NM Hydride batteries in my pocket. I can't think of anything not to love here! This is my 4th HT and the best of the lot. Only one problem so far. One day the LCD screen suddenly failed. I sent it in for repair, figuring I would not see it for 6 months. It came back in three weeks! Very good turn-around.
 
WA4FOM Rating: 0/5 Apr 5, 2011 05:04 Send this review to a friend
The last Yaesu handheld I will ever need to buy!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months

And I don't mean to say that as if it were a
good thing. I normally give rave reviews
when the product deserves it, but I just can't
this time. You would think for that kind of
money this radio would beat the pants off a
Kenwood TH-F6A. Well, it doesn't, at least
not where it counts.

PROS:

- Looks and feels good in the hand (nicer
than the Kenwood)

- Tons of features. Most are handy, some
frivolous, a few are just plainly a waste
of firmware space

- Even the keys are backlit -- very nice

- You can submerge it as I have been tempted
to do (permanently in the Hudson River, but
have not in hopes of selling it)

CONS:

- The aforementioned "tons of features" are
*VERY* cumbersome to access. Fully
explaining this would take years and cost
countless lives. This seems to be common
to most all Yaesu handhelds. Fortunately,
their mobiles and base stations are better,
otherwise these guys would have gone out of
business years ago

- Receiver vastly inferior to the Kenwood in
terms of sensitivity, intermod rejection,
and audio quality

- Low quality flex antenna; mine has a slight
but permanent bend in it right out of the
box

- LCD display is very hard to read without
the backlight on

- No software from Yaesu to backup and manage
the 1000+ memories in the thing.
Page 47 of the manual even advises
you to write down the contents of
each memory. Right. Thankfully
someone markets a solution, software plus
cable. (www.rtsystemsinc.com)

I bought the handheld and the CSC-93 soft case a
few weeks ago and haven't even sent in the
warranty card. If anyone wants this thing, send
me a check for $400.00 (not negotiable) and
they're yours! My address in the "Call Search"
is good. Check the feedback record for
the eBay user "wa4fom" if you have any doubts
as to my integrity. Otherwise, this thing goes
back in the box until it again becomes worth $400
on eBay, probably in about 25 years when I'm
retired and can use the cash.

 
KE6GII Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2010 08:06 Send this review to a friend
Enjoyable and Effective  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased the radio as I recently renewed my interest in ham radio. I have been a ham nearly 20 years and was active in the SoCal uhf/vhf repeater community. Prior HT favorite was KW TH78a (still great). I was interested in exploring the GPS-APRS features after viewing a demonstration at a ham gathering. Access to 220 and 6m bands also a great addition.
My experience has been enjoyable.
GPS APRS is very useful and I can be copied and rebroadcasted by the repeater reliably.
UHF/VHF works very well. 220 into the California linked repeater system is excellent (Condor). 6m contacts on repeaters have been possible.
Build quality is excellent - no issues after 3 months of frequent use.
Lots of memory storage. I purchased the after market programming software and cable for the radio. This been such a wonderful convenience. It is so much easier to manage the database and tailor the memories and banks for different occasions. I would strongly recommend this RT Systems product.
Features I would enjoy having. 1) when in dual band receive mode use the speaker mic and ht speaker simultaneously one for each band. 2) Cross band repeat.
I intend to add the bluetooth mic and will report on this next time.
Thats all for now. More as new experiences and time permit. I would be happy to respond to your questions. I will monitor this thread for same.

73
 
KE6GII Rating: 5/5 Jul 25, 2010 07:37 Send this review to a friend
Enjoyable and Effective  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I purchased the radio as I recently renewed my interest in ham radio. I have been a ham nearly 20 years and was active in the SoCal uhf/vhf repeater community. Prior HT favorite was KW TH78a (still great). I was interested in exploring the GPS-APRS features after viewing a demonstration at a ham gathering. Access to 220 and 6m bands also a great addition.
My experience has been enjoyable.
GPS ASPRS is very useful and I can be copied and rebroadcasted by the repeater reliably.
UHF/VHF works very well. 220 into the California linked repeater system is excellent (Condor). 6m contacts on repeaters have been possible.
Build quality is excellent - no issues after 3 months of frequent use.
Lots of memory storage. I purchased the after market programming software and cable for the radio. This been such a wonderful convenience. It is so much easier to manage the database and tailor the memories and banks for different occasions. I would strongly recommend this RT Systems product.
Features I would enjoy having. 1) when in dual band receive mode use the speaker mic and ht speaker simultaneously one for each band. 2) Cross band repeat.
I intend to add the bluetooth mic and will report on this next time.
Thats all for now. More as new experiences and time permit. I would be happy to respond to your questions. I will monitor this thread for same.

73
 
JA1ML Rating: 5/5 Jun 5, 2010 14:21 Send this review to a friend
Very Nice  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Excellent hand held radio. Does everything but walk the dog. AM / FM broadcast, 2m, 440, 220 with 1.5w, SWL broadcast and more, unbelievable.
Yoshi
 
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