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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Vertex VXA-700 Spirit Help

Reviews Summary for Vertex VXA-700 Spirit
Vertex VXA-700 Spirit Reviews: 12 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $$419
Description: Aviation AM Band transceiver with VOR navigation and 2m Ham FM operation
Product is in production.
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SWL377 Rating: 4/5 Mar 24, 2011 15:07 Send this review to a friend
not so bad  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I bought mine used. Xmit audio is muddy, but using an external mic solves that problem. I think the culprit is the waterproof memebrane over the internal mic. which I didnt want to remove. Very rugged construction. Decent battery life. FM broadcast reception is poor, rcvr overloads too easily, needs an adjustable attenuator function. Low output power on airband (1.5 watts spec) and 5 watts on 2M FM. Hard to find a radio that will do both bands and has AM mode xmit. I didnt have the squelch problems reported in another review. Rcvr sensitivity on air and 2M bands is good. User interface is daunting, you'll be referring to the manual a lot. Haven't tried the VOR function aloft yet. Works OK on ground, gives the correct radial. All in all its not as bad a radio as some reviewers say. Perhaps mine is a later version. One good thing about the bad reviews is that they keep used prices for VXA 700s down. The go for about $100-$150 and for that price are a decent value.
RICKROTORHEAD Rating: 1/5 Sep 27, 2006 07:32 Send this review to a friend
Cute, but Problems...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Wow...Why didn't I know about this website when I bought this radio a couple of years ago ?

VA2ERY's comments described the problems I had to a 'T' !!! I also fly ultralights and found that even after setting the squelch to 'full closed', it would open at approx 250 feet above ground level & stay open until I had landed. Almost drove me 'nuts' flying around with all the radio noise. Worked fine on the ground, even at 'full throttle'. Did the 'move antenna' trick with the same results as VA2ERY's ! It sounded like a very weak FM broadcast station in the background, but there was none within many miles.

Sent the radio back for exchange. The new ones' squelch would go open at approx. 300 ft., AGL.

Finding it barely useable as an aircraft radio, its' prime responsibility for me, I sent it back for a refund.

For grins, I found several companies still selling this 'discontinued' radio. I even dropped an e-mail on the factory asking why it was discontinued. They told me that too many 'non-ham' pilots were using it on the 2 meter band, something I personally find hard to believe...

Notice that their latest, the VXA 710 does not have 2 meter, but does have Business band monitoring...

I really would have liked to try one of the units that other reviewers had as the radio did have a lot of neat features.

Went back to my old reliable, an ICOM A-22 !

NOWGM Rating: 2/5 Nov 20, 2005 19:43 Send this review to a friend
Poor aviation radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
The VXA-700 worked as well as could be expected when new but soon lost AM receive sensitivity including ability to hold VOR signals and lost all modulation drive with AM transmissions, both 2m and aviation bands leaving the 1.5 watt AM carrier power only, even with full modulation. Sent it in twice to Vertex Standard and the fix was "parameters realigned" with no change. Made complaint to Vertex Standard with no luck. Called HRO where the radio was purchased and no help there either. I now have a $400 2m FM HT. Done with Yaesu and HRO!!
KB1MGF Rating: 5/5 Jul 17, 2005 22:37 Send this review to a friend
No significant problems so far.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm not surprised that this HT has more intermod problems than the AM air band only units on the market, really its apples vs. oranges. And the specs. only call for 1.5W carrier on AM.

So far I've been happy with mine. I have had no intermod problems, but I don't hang out in too many rough RF environments.

As a low time VFR pilot who rents planes, I've had too many experiences with bad radios in the aircraft I rent. After getting stuck at the departure end of a taxiway with 5 angry pilots behind me waiting to take off, and having to shove my C152 into a 2 foot snow bank, it was time for a backup. Brief contacts with ground control at my local airport have reported good transmission quality "especially for a handheld," and hopefully I'll never have to use the COM features again.

The 2m transmitted audio quality has received OK reports, one local ham described it as poor in the high frequencies and sugested I poke a pin hole in the waterproof membrane over the mic, which I am reluctant to do as I plan to take this unit sailing to Nova Scotia next month. On a recent hike to Mt. Katahdin (~4000' AGL) I had no problem making quality simplex contacts 50-70 miles away with the help of my Comet SMA-24. The only complaints from the other hams was the wind noise, probably from the floppy antenna.

I've been very pleased with the battery life and the audio is fine for a HT. The 3 year warrentee is a nice perk, and makes me wonder why Yaesu doesn't offer this on their other products.
AE5X Rating: 1/5 Jun 30, 2005 07:10 Send this review to a friend
Don't waste your money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I'm not a pilot but I work for the FAA and frequently need to talk to the tower while working on the ILS. I thought this rig would accomplish what I needed it to do and let me make an infrequent 2m QSO every now & then. After a week, I sent the rig back for a refund.

Transmit audio gets bad reports on both AM & FM as others have reported but the main reason for my low rating was that transmit power on AM was not as advertised and the receiver is garbage. After several requests from the tower for repeats (and then switching to our old IC-A2 for no-problem communications) I decided to hook the VXA700 up to the Bird wattmeter.

Power out on 2m FM was 5 watts, as advertised. On the airband, output was only 2.2 watts. This may have been true of my particular HT and not indicative of the rest of them but I lost interest in pursuing this because as soon as I went into our transmitter site, the VXA was overloaded by the transmitters on other freqs. We have 14 frequencies we can transmit on, often simultaneously, all in the airband (some within 1 MHz of each other) at 10 watts. Granted, this is a tough RF environment but it doesn't swamp our IC-A2's or IC-A3's. The VXA700 was useless anywhere near this building. For me, that renders this rig totally useless.

I think this radio tries to do too much and, as a result, doesn't do anything well.
VE7MJO Rating: 4/5 Dec 21, 2004 09:25 Send this review to a friend
No complaints...  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
No complaints here. I've used this radio both from the home and car (2m amateur) and from the plane. I haven't experienced the intermod or mic problems that others have described below (I was a little worried at first).

It is a little heavier than expected (well, my other HT is a Yaesu VX-2R) and is somewhat noisier than the aircraft's built-in radio (which is expected, considering I'm not hooked up to an external antenna)... the ANL could be a little more effective.

Battery life if very good, I have yet to recharge it after 1 month of occasionnal use!
WV4I Rating: 5/5 Nov 5, 2004 12:56 Send this review to a friend
Works as expected  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Bought my VXA-700 used. I can't report all the problems others have noted here, in fact I can't report any. Actually was compelled to do a ground tx and rcv audio check on all bands and modes as applicable after reading the comments here, and again, no problems noted. I am yet to hear a handheld aviation band xcvr that has tx audio as good as a regular in panel aircraft xcvr, and the VXA-700 is probably no exception, although I have not listened to the VXA-700 xmt audio with my airplane's engine running. (I have a neighbor that has NEVER solved the problem of noise getting into his handheld's transmit audio, while in flight, despite countless combinations of headsets and different handhelds) The inflight reception of FM broadcast and ATC communications is unremarkable, and as expected. I did notice that the VOR course to/from did not agree with my GPS readings, and was somewhat erratic, and which may indicate a problem with the VXA-700 either internally or from airplane generated interference, or may be just because I was using a vertical whip antenna instead of a horizontal V dipole, or just poor reception. More evaluation of this is required apparently. Most of the common menu functions can be accessed via the hold a button down 2 seconds method or by F+key. I live in an airpark and this the perfect radio for me.
K1MPD Rating: 1/5 Nov 5, 2004 11:10 Send this review to a friend
A Dreadfull Little Radio  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Although concealed in an attractive compact package, the Vertex Standard VXA 700 is plagued with problems. To start, the TX audio on the Ham Bands is extremely muddy. The radio has no feature that allows the operator to control clarity or mic gain. Unless used with an external headset or microphone, the radio’s TX is about useless. Now on to the TX audio on the aircraft band. I have been a pilot for the past 10 years and when Vertex announced their new product I was very excited. “What a great way to communicate with partied on the ground, what a great back-up radio this would be!” I thought, sadly I thought wrong. The TX audio on the air bands is almost non existent despite the Vertex Techs stated the opposite. There is little to no modulation when put on a meter and to get any amount of TX audio you need to project almost to the point of hollering. Even with a headset, the air band TX audio is very muddy and unintelligible – you could never use this radio for reliable communications during aircraft operations.

As far as FM receive, the radio is plagued with severe intermod. To try to use the Broadcast FM receive while airborne is next to impossible. The same with the ham bands. FM 2 meters is near useless. The nav features are nothing impressive but you would never want to navigate using unapproved equipment so this feature amounts to nothing more than a pass time in the plane. Air band receive is not too bad, in fact it’s almost good.

The menu is cumbersome and is a chore to work with. The menu also doesn’t provide a wide variety of options to control the radio beyond squelch control, power output, etc.

The latest problem I have experienced with this radio is the confused volume control knob. Try to adjust the volume for a louder level and the audio disappears. No doubt a dirty pot or bad solder joint. None the less, for the money you spend and the amount of use this radio has actually seen, the radio shouldn’t have so many negatives – the hardware certainly should be falling apart.

Over all, this radio was a good idea that didn’t quite make it.
VA2ERY Rating: 1/5 Sep 21, 2004 09:10 Send this review to a friend
Terrible receive!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought this radio to use in my ultralight airplane - I already had a VX 210 which I love - the VXA 700 was attractive as it has both 2 meters and FM broadcast, which I thought might be nice. From the get-go the 700 had big problems with receiving - it sounds like FM broadcast intermod totally swamping the airband receive. With the rubber duck this was annoying but liveable - attached to the airframe antenna it's a total disaster.

A Yaesu tech told me this was a problem with the early models, and some prodding got them to replace mine with a brand-new unit. Although slightly improved, it's still essentially useless in the air as constant intermod or fundamental overload makes monitoring impossible. It's a nice package, lots of features, a great display, and really, really disappointing in actual use.

I own a number of Yaesu radios and I'm a big fan - they just plain blew it with this one.
WW4FLY Rating: 4/5 Aug 22, 2004 21:48 Send this review to a friend
Good in a pinch  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I have owned my VXA-700 for 1 month. I also purchased the software and cable for uploading/downloading information to the radio.

The software can cause problems if you overwrite any default files. Don't do this! The bad file will be sent to the radio, and will even transfer itself to any other computers used to transfer info. Save your new information files to a new filename and this problem is eliminated.

The transmit audio is okay, not as good as my previous radio, a VX-5R. If you are in flight, use a headset or everyone receiving will complain. The audio on the aviation band sounds like the low frequencies are too dominant. The high frequencies are cut, giving the transmitted audio a "muddy" sound.

Receive audio is the opposite. High frequencies give a very bright sound while the lows are reduced.

If you use this radio for FM reception while in flight, chances are you will receive a lot of interference. Try removing the antenna. This improved my reception tremendously by reducing interference from other FM stations.

So far I have not been able to reliably navigate using the VOR functions. If you are holding the radio, it seems to work. If you place it on the dash or floor, it doesn't. An external antenna would probably solve this problem.

The weather alert feature is a great addition to any aviation or ham radio. The receiver can be set to scan the 10 weather channels and give a visual and audio warning if an alert tone is received.

Overall this is a good radio for emergency communications, and the only one I could find which offers 2 meter ham band as well. Battery life seems to be about 14 hours continuous receiver use. Transmit power can be adjusted on the ham band, but not on the aviation band, and this gives a wide variation on the battery life while transmitting.
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