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Reviews Categories | Receivers: Scanners | yaesu VR-5000 Help

Reviews Summary for yaesu VR-5000
yaesu VR-5000 Reviews: 31 Average rating: 2.8/5 MSRP: $800
Description: Multimode HF/VHF/UHF Receiver
Product is in production.
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MW1ROS Rating: 5/5 Feb 28, 2005 07:32 Send this review to a friend
Excellent Radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
Bought mine a while back, has firmware 1.7.
I do not get ANY of the problems others experience.
Everything on my radio works fine, even the smart-search.
Although I agree that you have to read the manual over and over again to get it right.
certainly give this one a 5star rating.
have a aor 8600MKII also, VR5000 kicks its ass big time
N9KIM Rating: 5/5 Feb 3, 2005 03:47 Send this review to a friend
How I Learned to Love the BOMB!  Time owned: more than 12 months
O.K., lets start with hard love.

So I read the "reviews" and bought the radio anyway. After scanning the manual I plugged it in, turned it on, and played. Very unhappy. Step size didn't work (my problem, not the radio's.) Nothing seemed right about it. Scanning the manual a bit further, I found a couple of obvious and even silly errors. Well, I'm a radio nut or maniac, and I've got lots of other radios to play with (would you believe 100+?) I put it on a shelf and forgot about it.

None of the glarring malfunctions that others have reported occurred with my radio. Oh, a side comment here, if your power supply hasn't got the "guts" to do the job, or you set the voltage too low or too high, maybe you deserve what you get!

As long as I'm in a really bad mood, lets continue. This radio is definitely not for someone who can't or won't read, or has a major brain defect, or is just plain lazzy.
(O.K., sometimes I fall into some of these classes too!) If you expect to plug it in and just use it, don't buy this one. It will burn you.

So why should you listen to me? I built my first radio about 1951, when I was five years old, from a magazine article. It was a two tube regenerative reciever with plug in coils to change bands. I rolled my coils, bended and cut the alluminum and all that stuff. I've got about 20 QRP transievers, most of which I built and some of which I designed. My background is very technical - electronics, computer science, physics, aerospace engineering, some molecular biology. I'm a professor by trade.

Some time ago I hurt my back and got "laid up." The radio came off the shelf, and the manual was opend and read, with the radio on. What a difference! Could there be two completely different radios on the shelf, or are there two different me's? It was wonderfull.

Some radios, short list, that I've owned and used: Scott Phillharmonic, AR88, GRC88/AT77, Yaesu FT-1000, Icom 755DSP, Icom 970, Icom 910, Elecraft K2, K1, K1X, numerous Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, Tentec portable/mobiles, most Sony's (including two CRF1's,) Russian, Chinese, Italian, American, British military radios, etc. etc. etc. I've also owned a pretty good set of electronic tools, and I teach both digital and analouge electronics. I have commercial radio licenses. I'm capable of acting as a LID sometimes. Enough?

Every decent radio or airplane or firearm or whatever is designed with "engineering trade-off's." The comfort of a Rolls-Royce and the off-road capability of a Unimog simply can't be combined in one vehicle. This radio is a very focused design. It has a great bandwidth, it's close to all-mode, and it is designed to appeal to SWL'ers. If you connect it to a Yaggi or even a big verticle ham antenna your going to overload it on HF. Obvious. Period. Use your attenuator, thats what its for, or make a high pass filter if you like. This isn't rocket science.

The radio has a logical, understandable design and operational phillosophy. It's just different, and different can be a good thing.

Oh, and software to back up your stored frequencies is availabe. Just look it up with GOOGLE.

If ever I meet the engineer(s) that designed this little gem - well, I'll buy them a great dinner out.

Get the DSP option.

I love my little BOMB now.

- Jim (N9KIM) -
AC5DF Rating: 4/5 Jan 1, 2005 09:00 Send this review to a friend
"I had to try one"  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have been on the outside looking in at this radio for a long time. 2 weeks ago I drove 700 miles round trip to pick up a used one for $400. It is as new. It is the US Version, purchased from Radio World Canada. Firmware 1.7 Manufactured June 2003 lot 40 unit #90. Ok.......I have spent 2 weeks with the radio and here it is in brief. The radio will not run off the supplied PA-28B supply. Forget it. Put it on some other regulated 12 volt supply and you have solved most all of your problems. I have been able to run all over the operation of this radio by using the supplied owners manual and information gathered off the internet. Only a few things are missing from the manual and at first the manual makes little sense because of how things are worded, but after you play with the radio for some time and look back at the manual, There it is! Makes sense now. Recieve sensitivity is excellent, audio excellent in all modes. Build quality is superb. Display is overwhelming just as you might think. Band scope is fantastic. I have used the aor 3000 and 8600 and can clearly say this thing out performs them hands down. Large alfa tags for bank and freq. I am using a discone at 30 feet. This radio is just not doing all the bad things that others have noted about it. Just bring your own powersupply and bury the one that came with it. It is really funny that untill you have one of these in YOUR hands, I have'nt known what to think about this radio. I figured at the worst I would just put it on my favorite frequency and let it stay there. Make a pretty paper weight out of it. That is not the case though. The radio is about 45% display and 55% knobs and buttons. you got plenty of display but you got to "think kind of thin" when you are using the buttons to program it.. I am having fun with it. It works great but its only a 4 (Good) because of the powersupply and manual. If an AOR is worth $900 , then this is worth $600 for sure. I put out a want ad a few days ago for a VR-5000. I only had one email from someone who was trying to help me by telling me I better read the reviews on before I buy a VR-5000. The story behind the VR-5000 and posessing one that works great, has put a smile on my face every time I sit in front of it..... If this radio wouldnt have took the bad wrap, I am afraid we would have to give $900 to try it. I'm thankful!!73. AC5DF in SW Arkansas
JANK Rating: 0/5 Nov 27, 2004 08:18 Send this review to a friend
A poor Scanner masquerading as a Communications Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I lusted after this radio ever since it was launched, saved my hard earned pennies, and when I finally bought one, I discovered within the first five minutes what an awful mistake I had made. Being near useless on the HF bands, this is no more than a repackaged VHF/UHF Scanner (and a poor one at that) masquerading as a 'Communications' Receiver. This is a perfect example of how big-company advertising 'hype' can sucker folks into buying what otherwise should be consigned into land-fill. Yaesu of course were not interested, and neither was the dealer. They've got my money and they're more concerned with the next sucker/customer. The overall experience (from product, company and dealer) was so bad that I cleared all Yaesu out of my life in total - permanently! Think long and hard before you consider one of these, and if you do buy one after reading my comments, just remember "I told you so". Buyer Beware.
ORION883 Rating: 4/5 Jun 17, 2003 12:57 Send this review to a friend
Not so bad as noted by others  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have one of these much maligned radios and the first thing I see is that folks who are accustomed to the workings of a RS or Uniden scanner are going to have a very hard time with this radio. Mine has the latest version 1.7. I am finding hardly any of the problems that have been detailed here. Yes the manual is poor, but the performance of my radio is very good. I listen to mostly VHF & UHF aero and have found the sensitivity to be very good. There was a problem with some FM broadcast overload in the VHF portion, but a $3.00 FM trap totally solved that issue. Actually, I have found this radio to be very good and relatively easy to use (I own 2 AR-5000's that have multi function keys also). I do not have the DSP option yet but even found HF reception on a 100' wire to be good. I think the problems most often mentioned here are probably found in earlier CPU versions. My radio (purchased used) was sent back to Yeasu for the CPU up-grade and an alignment by the original owner and all the problems seen in earlier versions seem to be fixed.
With all that said, I think you should not spend more than $500 on this radio, the asking price now that the special offer has expired is too high and there is a lot of other equipment out there to choose from, but I am having a great time with this radio.
VE7MM Rating: 3/5 May 23, 2003 01:07 Send this review to a friend
Its just a scanner!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Manual is terrible
First Yaesu product ever bought....been an ICOM customer since 1972...this will probably be the last Yaesu product! Got suckered by the 'special price' at HRO and got what I paid for.
JOHN9999 Rating: 3/5 May 12, 2003 14:22 Send this review to a friend
Good beginners radio for a child  Time owned: more than 12 months

CAVEAT EMPTOR ( Buyer Beware )

The VR-5000 has many features to keep any radio enthusiast busy and is a lot of fun to play with, BUT the radio has MANY shortcomings and unfixable problems.

Mine was purchased new version 1.3, after countless freeze-ups I shipped to Yaesu in California and they replaced CPU and a few other components, new CPU now version 1.7

The lockups are gone and the SSB reception is cleaner.

High Frequency( shortwave, HAM and utilities ):
The DSP option works very well on HF frequencies, in fact it works better than the DSP that's built into my Kenwood TS-570DG.

Sensitivity on HF is good, selectivity on HF is good, image rejection on HF is a joke when radio is connected to outdoor antenna.

Images show up throughout the shortwave spectrum!
(A filter can reduce many of the mediumwave(AM broadcast band) images)

Sensitivity good 144-170 MHz
Sensitivity is average 430-450 MHz
Sensitivity is below average for VHF aircraft band

Front end overloads when scanning/searching aircraft band when using an outdoor antenna.
(A filter might help here)

Scanning memory banks is s l o w memory channels per second.
Searching frequency ranges(PMS) is also slow.

Good Audio when using outboard speaker, MUCH better audio than Radio Shack and Uniden scanners which have hissy audio.(I own 4 Bearcats,BC9000, BC200, 210, BC785D)

Yaesu advertising is misleading claiming VR-5000 as having PC control, it has only 3 commands available to use if you want to write software, 1.frequency set, 2.mode set, 3.squelch status.
a much needed command: memory write/read is not available.

The VR-5000 is Not a high performance scanner nor a serious dedicated shortwave radio.

WHAT THIS RADIO IS GOOD FOR ( the 1.7 version )
The VR-5000 is an excellent christmas/birthday gift for a 12 year old in need of a new hobby.
(seriously, not sarcasm)

My Yaesu VR-5000 connected to a discone at 30 feet sits in my computer room scanning memory channels mostly, it is not a radio worthy of a spot in my HAM shack or monitoring room.

I paid $599.00 for this radio new, I believe it should sell for $450.00 new.


Look at(research) the AOR 8600 MK II B radio if you want to spend $900.00

As for Yaesu customer relations: could be and should be better.

I have owned the VR-5000 for about one year and despite owner's complaints about the
incomplete Operator's manual, Yaesu refuses to update the manual or post any information on
their web site about the MANY undocumented features found in the radio's menus.

Rating 3/5

My other Yaesu radios:
I also own a Yaesu FT-817 QRP transceiver which performs superbly for its class.

NOLICENSE Rating: 4/5 May 5, 2003 10:42 Send this review to a friend
Patience Required  Time owned: months
I have just spent the weekend with my Yaesu VR5000. Bought it used for an excellent price. Is it worth the $899 price, Yes if you are willing to take 8-10 hours to really learn how to use the thing. If you have moderate experience with various firmwares then you CAN figure this radio out. Yes the manual is terrible. It seems as though Yaesu/Standard built this radio and then decided it was to much work to write a manual for. This is NOT a radio for new users. The thing has way to many complex features on it for the average user. That said it's a great radio for the more experienced user. The selectivity and sensitivity of mine is good.
Likes; the DSP and notch are outstanding. The display is also very good. The adjustable noise blanker is nice. Audio quality is good with a decent external speaker attached. Uhf/Vhf reception is excellent. Lot and lots of useful features for the price. The clock is always displayed on the screen. The bandscope beats anything Icom offers and is very useful for sw listening. The bandscope offers a host of width selections and unlike my R-10 actually works.
Dislikes; Rear antenna switch, dumb really dumb.
The buttons are very small and require good lighting in order to read the labels. Complex operating procedures, with minimum owners manual support. All things considered I am very impressed with this radio. It's size alone is amazing. If you want a full featured radio which will do just about anything you need this might be the one for you. Be willing to spend time learning to use the thing and get the DSP option.
You will be very satisfied with it. This is NOT a radio for the faint of heart.
BWHITE01852 Rating: 0/5 Apr 27, 2003 22:21 Send this review to a friend
What a POS!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
There is nothing good I can say regarding this receiver, or my experiences with Yaesu tech support, or Yaesu in general. I'm sure Yaesu would like this unit to just "go away", but lots of us are stuck with a rather large, ugly paperweight. Yaesu claims this unit can be "computer controlled", which is totally misleading. Buy any receiver or scanner with "computer control", and that's what you get, except the VR-5000. The manual sucks, as does the user interface, sensitivity, and image rejection. Add "Hope and Pray" to the manual's instructions for powering up the VR-5000. Hope and pray that you don't get a low voltage error, after which it locks up, requiring DC power be removed until it finally resets itself. Hope and pray that when it does finally reset and you apply power, that it hasn't dumped the channel information that you so carefully input by hand. Get used to writing, as there's no "official" way to backup programmed channel information, once it's gone, it's gone. I swear, I'll never spend another cent on a Yaesu product. I hate the unit and I hate Yaesu tech support. I hate Yaesu, enough that I just registered ******, for all to voice their opinion of this POS receiver, of this POS company. It will take a day or so to resolve globally, but stop by and add your VR-5000 or Yaesu horror story.
W1BKZ Rating: 5/5 Apr 6, 2003 19:03 Send this review to a friend
I really like it!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
When I finally was given a unit that didn't exhibit the "low supply" fault every other time I turned it on.....(yes, I had it hooked up to a regulated supply) I really got into it. No, it isn't a $5000. commercial short-wave receiver. No, it isn't a trunk-tracking digital scanner. It is a really fun radio, that, after you get used to its eccentricities, is a really nice rig. I recommend the purchase of the DSP board if you want to get serious about SSB or CW listening.
In general, though, as long as I don't have to deal with the support group at Vertex, I am not sorry I bought it
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