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Reviews For: Yaesu VR-5000

Category: Receivers: General Coverage

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Review Summary For : Yaesu VR-5000
Reviews: 22MSRP: 995
Yaesu VR-5000 all mode, wideband (general coverage) receiver. 0.1 to 2599.99 MHz
Product is in production
More Info: http://
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
KB1THH Rating: 2006-12-15
Good bang for the buck Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
First off, I’ve been a scanner enthusiast in the UHF/VHF bands for many years. The past several years I’ve been more interested in amateur radio (mostly HF).
I did some research on receivers before I purchased the VR in mid 2006 at HRO.
What I wanted was an ‘all mode/all band’ receiver that could also scan but not rape my bank account, something that I could grow into and use for many years.
The VR seemed to fit the bill then and still does now.
This unit does have its shortcomings without a doubt and as another reviewer mentioned, can be attributed to design/cost trade offs.
On a whole, I’m very pleased with my $500($600 W/DSP) investment and would recommend this unit to others interested in going beyond scanners and entering amateur radio.
After owning this VR for 6 months I’ll offer up my thoughts, insights, pros and cons;

Great price for the features / band coverage and modes,
Small footprint,
Great display,
Dual VFO’s
PC programmable and control (FTBCAT and FTBR5K software)
Interfaces nicely with SAT tracking, Weather FAX and packet (WISP DDE)

Front end sensitivity / overload (Known, so use filters or ATT),
Imaging (same fix as above)
Manual (agree with all others on this),
Antenna selector switch!!!!(Biggest legitimate gripe)
Slow scan rate, (trade off for the coverage and mode switching?)
Too small and hard to read buttons (tradeoff for the small footprint)
As others have said, this is NOT a plug and play unit. You need to read and practice patience, get out of the typical scanner mindset and digest how this receiver is really designed to work, as a receiver, not as a scanner.
Do not scan 440 to 800 as you may over work the relay

Buyers be warned… there is a very steep learning curve to actually realizing the full potential of this radio and how to overcome it’s inherent short falls (easy fixes, save for that rear antenna switch!!!)

Over all, I give this unit a 4.5 out of a 5
W5DXE Rating: 2006-11-07
Don't Waste Your $$$$$ Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Worse WBGCR I have ever owned. Besides being user hostile. It is deaf as a post. Sold mine 2 days after I got it. It is a pity too. Good idea but sorry execution.
KK8ZZ Rating: 2005-10-19
It's a Winner Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Only had this a short time, but with a CAREFUL reading of the manual, programming becomes pretty intuitive. The display, search and bandscope are impressive. When I first plugged it into a Dayton 2004 "Walking Stick Vertical" I could easily copy the 14.336 County Hunter's Net, which ain't bad for a VHF/UHF antenna! And compared to the handleld Icom R-20, well, it's a HECK of a lot more receiver for the same price... highly recommended by this OT of 35 years on HF/VHF...
W2USB Rating: 2005-09-26
It's a Keeper Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.

No PL/DPL (Come on Yaesu)
Antenna Switch is on the rear of radio (Insane)
Manual is horrible. (No mention of many menu items.)
USB/LSB is off 20hz after radio gets warm.
Sub VFO AM or FM only
No CAT control support (Total B.S.)


Price ($599.00 vs $899 for AOR 8600)
Band scope (you will add new frequencies to your log)
Dual VFO's (Great for monitoring input frequencies at the same time as the repeater)
DSP Option (a must have)
Display (will impress the heck out of your family friends...LOL)

The radio is not perfect, but I am glad I purchased one.



MW1ROS Rating: 2005-03-28
Brilliant Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Can't fault this radio, works excellent on all bands, best buy I ever made
CLEBOT Rating: 2004-12-13
I love it! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I must be one of the lucky ones…I picked up my VR-5000 about 3 years ago and have loved using it every minute I have owned it.
I really have no complaints, other than the occasional microprocessor lock up (only happened twice). Sent it back to Yaesu for a firmware upgrade and have had no problems with it since then. The customer service was outstanding! Very polite, thorough and helpful. Their technicians actually called me back to make sure they understood why I had sent it to be repaired!
Of course it doesn’t scan as fast as a dedicated scanner or receive shortwave/HF as well as a dedicated SW radio, but it does both well enough to suit my needs.
I am actually amazed by what I pick up on it. I am only using a small Radio Shack VHF Hi/UHF discone antenna and have received signals as far down as 1.5 MHz, and well into the 900 MHz range and above. I would like to use a more appropriate antenna(s), but am limited to the tiny discone due to available space and restrictions.
So, while I expected to get pretty good reception within my antenna’s advertised range (which I do), anything outside of that range is gravy! And there’s a lot!
That being said, I will supplement my VR-5000 with a dedicated scanner and SW receiver. The bandscope is a huge part of the radio. I love it and find it indispensable. It works fabulously. I have read many complaints about overload, particularly on the SW bands. I fixed this problem right up with an MFJ passive preselector. Problem solved.
I would love to see what this baby could do with a ‘real’ HF antenna!
As for the manual…yeah, it isn’t the greatest, but if you have any prior knowledge of radios and the different functions inherent to them, then it is possible to figure it out.
The biggest help has been getting the FTBVR5K and FTBasic software programs. WOW! It makes programming and controlling the radio easy and quick. The computer control of the radio was a big selling point for me and I have not been disappointed. Just wish I had gotten the software earlier on.
Bottom line (based on my experience with this radio): I would buy another one hands down. I have had nothing but good experiences with it, and with Yaesu.
K9XK Rating: 2004-09-22
K9XK Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
A couple other things to ponder -

The display does not get anywhere dim enogh to use this as a "bedside" receiver. It would make a good reading light, though.

Also, it is very easily overloaded by strong signals, especially at lower freqs. If you live in a metropolitan area, you may hear one or two of the same strong stations in the area on about 20 different freqs from 540 to 1620.

I also will submit that Yeasu's FRG-100B was a much better receiver for HF and below, although frankly, the Icom R-75 beat that one by a mile.

The VR-5000 is still "cute", though! And it does okay up in the VHF/UHF range, an area not visited by those others.

Earlier 3-star review posted by K9XK on 2004-09-20

The only thing I can say about the manual that hasn't already been said is that it indicates, at best, laziness and indifference to the needs of the customer on the part of Yaesu. At worst, it means both utter laziness and contempt for their customers.

There is a certain weirdness to this thing everywhere you look. The big mode and step indicator at the bottom of the screen applies to the sub VFO (which only works on AM and FM-Narrow). If you want to know the mode and step selection for the main VFO, it's those little indicators on the top.

They are missing features that they should have easily been able to implement:

There are no AGC settings.

You can't put the main freq in the sub VFO as a "scratchpad". You can only go the other way around.

You cannot scan a user selected group of banks - it is one or everything.

They have a Bank button, and you'd think you could push it and then select the bank with a keypad. Nope, it is a menu item.

They have a lot of buttons, but all the stuff you normally do is "F" and then another button, while lesser used features have dedicated buttons for them ie. almost every button below the display.

Everything you do with this radio requires one or two extra button pushes that are unnecessary in other receivers.

You cannot easily tune fast across a band. You only have two options. Spin the knob faster or change the "step" size and then tune and change it back. That would be a strange thing to do even for a ham. They do have a "fast" mode but it is at LEAST 1Mhz steps. Really a dumb choice because you may as well punch in another freq at that point. What if you just want to swing up or down the band?

There are icons that appear on the display that are not referenced anywhere in the manual. But I guess that means we don't really need to know what they are for.

If you are loading up memories, unless you want to put everything in Bank 0, you will have to go through several button pushes to select the bank each time. This radio cries out for programming software, and it doesn't appear that you can roll your own because their "CAT" commands seem to only deal with getting display information. Although for all we know you can program memories too, but they just didn't put it in the manual.

So why don't I just throw this thing in the river? Hmmmm. Now that you mention....

The radio performs quite well with a reasonable antenna, and it is small. I have an Icom R-8500 and I am not going to lug THAT with me on a trip. This little baby is about as small as a tabletop RX gets and still have a good display and user interface.

And who knows, maybe one of these days I will use the "waveform" monitor of the "RC frequency board" for the UK or the cute little "world clock". Thsee are the things the manual people were working on instead of writing.
AF4KK Rating: 2003-09-24
Wonderful radio! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Whew! The VR-5000 really -IS- a wonderful radio. It exhibits great sensitivity on all frequencies I've received, it scans rather quickly and is very flexible in its scanning options. And that display is GREAT! The -ONLY- reason I didn't give the radio a score of "5" is that #@&*&% manual! It leaves alot to the imagination. The best way to learn the radio is trial and error!

Scott (AF4KK)
LC2AAT Rating: 2003-03-11
Great little receiver! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is actually a good receiver, much better than the rumours!!

Dersom du forstår norsk, vil du snart kunne se en mere utførlig test av denne mottakeren på min hjemmeside.

Selectivity OK, sensitivity good, gets overloaded with large antennas on HF. Excellent sensitivity above 1 GHz compared to the AR-8600 (Mk I & Mk II)
DONALDQUACK Rating: 2003-01-23
Confused Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Like buying a great looking car with no engine!
Total lack of support and documentation and they have had more than enough time to do something about it! Suckcity and back again.