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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Yaesu VR500 Help

Reviews Summary for Yaesu VR500
Yaesu VR500 Reviews: 34 Average rating: 4.0/5 MSRP: $339
Description: Ultra-Compact Wideband Receiver
Product is in production.
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EXTRABIGBRUCE Rating: 4/5 Jun 13, 2003 10:16 Send this review to a friend
What would somone expect?  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well, after having used my VR500 for about a month now and having read the reviews I would pretty much agree with most of the more positive ones. Sensitivity, I believe, was lowered to lessen intermod problems and this is admirable. It only makes common sense that the little antenna that comes with it wouldn't be very effective for anything over a couple meters wavelength. In my experience once I get out of the Faraday cage of my car or workplace I recieve WWV and shortwave just fine. I made an antenna from a BNC plug and 10 feet of 22gauge wire that goes with this little rig inside the old calculator case I keep mine in and it works great for HF/MF reception. Yet another good Yaesu product. Got mine at a hamfest for 80$.
Beats the Icoms in sensitivity and selectivity and ease of use. Its a keeper!
W2DI Rating: 5/5 Mar 1, 2003 16:33 Send this review to a friend
Outstanding  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've tried several DC to light receivers and 2 of the more popular HTs with that capability. I think the VR-500, all things considered, is the best.
I have used a different antenna and would agree that the stock antenna is not the best. I currently use a 19 in collapsable whip and set its appx. length for the general frequency I'm interested in (fully extended for anything below 144MHz). The sensitivity is fine. I receive 2m, 220, 440 and local VHF/UHF TV signals without difficulty.
This radio will receive HF SSB & CW signals with the supplied antenna and does it even better with my whip. Also I can receive WWV on a regular basis with the whip and that is something that was very difficult, if not impossible on the other radios I've had. Both rather expensive hts I had were virtually useless on HF for anything but strong foreign BC stations. My idea of having a handheld receiver is one that will stand alone to work and not need an external antenna - it's a portable and should function that way.
Scanning is fast and it's easy to set-up for scanning different bands. My only complaint is that you cannot pause on a signal until the carrier dissappears. The maximum pause is 12 sec. To stay there you must stop scanning.
Another nice feature is being able to set memories with both the frequency AND alpha name visible on the screen. I really like that.
Finally, the battery life is outstanding. 2 AA cells will go a very long time even when the radio is used for scanning. I've had this radio for over two weeks, have set up about 300 memories with alpha tags, scanned public service and air bands...and still haven't changed the cells. And they're not even the expensive brand! That is amazing and important to me. Another receiver I used depleted 4 cells in a really short time. I was reluctant to turn it on.
Also, I don't have the chore of charging the batteries, which I do not like to do with a handheld receiver. Just pop in 2 alkalines and use it for a long time.
I'm sure there are other radios that receive better in certain bands, scan better, etc. But for me, this one is the best all around in its class.
K2WU Rating: 4/5 Jan 21, 2003 08:18 Send this review to a friend
Fairly good  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
As earlier reviews have stated, replacing the stock antenna is a must. The radio performed a lot better after accessing the hidden menus and enabling narrowband AM - very little loss in sound quality, but better immunity from overload, particularly in broadcast bands.

Fun to use and I am happy I have one.
DRACO Rating: 5/5 Jan 13, 2003 10:40 Send this review to a friend
Hot Little Receiver  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The Yaesu vr-500 is a very fun radio ,its small, nicely built, and ideal for you to take it any where, the only problem i've had with this great little receiver is the supplied rubber duck
which is quite (I MEEN VERY) deaf on most bands, but you can buy a replacement for quite cheap. this one hot little receiver!!!
WB9GKZ Rating: 4/5 Jan 10, 2003 15:18 Send this review to a friend
Great Little Radio  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Great little set....but...please, know the limitations of the radio and it's antenna before jumping in! I bought mine after reading the reviews. The reviews helped me be in the right frame of mind when tuning through HI-VHF with the Yaesu-supplied duck is deaf on that Band! I now use a 48-inch telescopic whip fashioned with a BNC connector. Beautiful reception! I mainly use mine for HF reception and it works well. I can monitor 75M SSB while sitting on the LazyBoy....lots of fun. This radio should nver be compared to a table-top must remember it's limitations. I am very pleased with it on all Bands and modes. The fact that it uses a pair of readily-available "AA" bateries and the BNC antenna mount is a big plus. Ordered mine from Burghardt with the Nicad pack and Charger, delivered, for $207.
If not for the Yaesu coupon discount, I would have never bought it.....just don't think that it is worth the $300 list price. For $199 (or less, look around)'s a great little toy. If Yaesu supplied a decent antenna with the unit, I would rate it an easy "5". Plan on getting an aftermarket antenna for anything but casual listening.
CB Rating: 3/5 Jan 6, 2003 08:13 Send this review to a friend
good features, bad antenna  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
This receiver is very easy to use, sound quality is acceptable, and it works well if you don't use the stock antenna. That antenna is almost completly deaf. I swappped it for a aftermarket, and WOW what a difference.

KD4UXH Rating: 5/5 Jan 2, 2003 11:19 Send this review to a friend
The Greatest Communications Receiver I've Ever Owned!  Time owned: more than 12 months
If you're reading these reviews trying to get a lead on what to buy and not buy & you're comparing the VR-500 and the IC-R10, then read on & then read my review of the R-10 as well.

This is the Greatest Communication Receiver I've ever owned. I've been using mine for well over a year now & have yet to see any receiver that can beat it. I read all of the other reviews & have come to some conclusions about some of the negative reviews. The ability with which any scanner or comm. receiver works is directly related as to your geographocal location & the RF environment in which it will be employed. I've used both the VR-500 & the IC-R10 receivers in the field, with various antenni, with various communications software & have decided that the VR-500 wins hands down. Now there are some small drawbacks to the VR-500 over the IC-R10, the largest one is that there's not enough communications software out there for the VR-500 that would allow it to do what the R-10 can do. I say this because the R-10 is of no real use for VFO Scanning (read my R10 review to learn more). As for use as communications receiver, the VR-500 excels above my greatest expectations for a receiver & I've had many! To add to my love of this unit is the size. This baby is small, in fact, one of the smallest out there which makes for a covert receiver if you're in hostile environments or just don't have a lots of room to carry a larger unit. Besides, why carry a larger unit when the VR-500 can do as well as the larger & MORE EXPENSIVE units like the AOR's! Granted, the VR-500 is a pain to program manually but with the RT Systems software, it's a breeze! My next favorite thing about the little VR-500 is that it only requires 2 AA cell batteries as opposed to the 4 AA cell batteries needed for the R-10 and the operation time about the same with the power save functions activated. Now to the antenna issue. Granted the antenna supplied with the VR-500 isn't the best in troublesome RF environments like NYC. But this is true with any stock antenna. The manufacturers are not trying to customs tuned stock antenni with their receivers, if they did then you'd have to contact them with your primary search ranges listed from most desirable to least and then expect to pay about $35 to $45 more for the receiver and antenna combo. If you're really wanting to tweak your reception to the max then you'll have to resort to an after market antenna such as the Condor for instance. Beasically what it all comes down to is this: the VR-500 is one hot little communications receiver and can't be beat!
W2VD Rating: 4/5 Oct 11, 2002 11:06 Send this review to a friend
Does well for me  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've used my VR500 for over a year now. I bought it when it was on sale for $199.

I live and work in NYC which is bathed in an ocean of RF. Signals are very strong around here. I don't use the stock antenna (I don't remember what I did with it). I use a flex 2m/440 stubbie antenna for most monitoring here in the city. It is a very discreet setup. If I am away from the city, I use Radio Shack's center loading telescoping whip antenna (20-006). You can adjust the length/resonance of this antenna for maximum signal. For shortwave, I use a Radio Shack reel type antenna which clips onto the telescoping whip (sorry, don't know the p/n). But I mostly use the VR500 for vhf/uhf scanning. Do I experience any intermod with this radio? Yes. But I have never owned a handheld scanner or HT that did not experience some sort of intermod here in NYC.

Given that the VR500 is a minature handheld wideband receiver, I'd say that its performance is more than adequate. My only gripe is that CTCSS is missing, which would have helped quite a bit. If I were in the market for this type of radio in the near future, I'd probably wait and buy an Icom R5 when it becomes available.
KD5JCC Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2002 10:43 Send this review to a friend
Pocket wonder  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've had my VR500 for about three years and have had more fun with this thing than with any other radio I've owned. No, it doesn't have the selectivity of the top-of-the-line receivers, but you can't carry any of those in your shirt pocket. The stock antenna is useless below UHF, so I attached binding posts to the BNC and run wire from that. I carry 26-gauge wire around with me and cut resonant dipoles as needed. If I want to tune around, I make a small loop antenna. (Longwire antennas simply overwhelm this radio.) With its bandscope, attenuator, S-meter, and remarkably accurate frequency display, the little radio does double duty as a general-purpose test instrument.
ALLANJI1952 Rating: 5/5 Oct 11, 2002 03:09 Send this review to a friend
Great Things Come In Small Packages  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Have just received The Yaesu VR-500 and I am delighted with the product. Upon unwrapping the unit I was first impressed by the overall quality of construction. It has the feel of something that is very well made. In light of previous reviews, upon powering up the unit, my expectation was that it would in no way match the performance of any base unit, and nor should anyone expect it too. Being a micro receiver, it is a design and engineering marvel! No one could fully appreciate all this unit has to offer after an initial introduction. It takes some hours of studying the owner's manual to accomplish this, only then one is struck by the fact that this unit offers so much in an incredablly small package. Some of us have base units that do not offer as much! The main criticism I hear is that of it's poor reception. Well this is how I addressed that particular problem. I simply and inexpensively replaced the antenna. We all know the basic principle that any tuner's performence is dependant upon the antenna it is connected to. I went to my local Radio Shack store and picked up an all band telescoping antenna that had the proper BNC connector, part no. 20-006A, for a cost of 5.00 (item is now discontinued) and after itstallation, experienced improved reception of between 300-500%! WOW!!! And the unit still retains it's portability after this modification! I would recomend this micro receiver without reservation, it is capable of providing many hours of enjoyment.
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