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Reviews For: Yaesu VR-120

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Review Summary For : Yaesu VR-120
Reviews: 15MSRP: 219.95
Communications Receiver
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
ROBWIN12000 Rating: 2008-11-27
Good Receiver Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Bought this little receiver for my birthday . When it first came in , I tryed to receive some A,M and S,W broadcasts . I could hardly pick-up any A,M at all . I then tryed to receive shortwave and because of all the local F,M radio stations , I was only able to hear multiply stations at one time . I did receive Police Band and also other emerency frequencys fine . F,M was also good . I bought a telescopic scanner antenna from Radioshack which made matters worse . I also tried to use a long wire outside antenna and this made receiving impossible . I happened on a older Radioshack portable C,B set with a loaded antenna that I had around the house , I removed the antenna which I put this on my scanner and it corrected the problem . It receives Shortwave great now , and also the A,M band . I will change and use different antennas to receive different frequencys on this scanner . If anyone has this same problem this might help . This scanner is a ease to use and has no need for a keypad . I am very happy with my choice .
AF4KK Rating: 2008-04-15
This thing is CUTE (and works well)!! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
For a handheld radio, this thing is a DREAM! I own an Icom R-20 among many other radios so it's hard to be objective. Just stand back and see the radio for what it is: A capable receiver with flexable scanning options! The stock antenna works "ok" for HF but what can you expect from a rubber duick? Hook up a more substantial areial and the signals will come pouring in. No intermad, either! Good job, Yaesu!!
WOODY123 Rating: 2006-11-24
Great for it's small size Time Owned: N.A.
I've had mine for about a year now. Had some problems the first day, but it was because of the cheap non alkaline batteries that came with it. With a fresh set of alkaline batteries it works great.

I got it primarily for listening to Airband. The factory antenna isn't great. I made a homemade 'duck' antenna with a 23 inch wire wrapped around a wooden stick that worked alot better. I wanted a small antenna, so I tried the Maldol MH-209 and Radio Shack 1.7 inch stubby Race scanner antennas. The MH-209 works ok for Airband, but not quite as good as the factory antenna. Much more convenient though, because of it's small size. The Race antenna is marginal for airband, but works at short range. I guess size does matter, so I tried an 8 inch Comtelco PEXB118 airband duck antenna. Wow, what a difference. This antenna works much better for Airband and lower frequencies like HF. The stock antenna can barely pickup anything in the HF band.

This radio has alot of great features, but only 4 buttons to use them. I find it difficult to go through the menus without using the manual every time.

The case feels very solid and durable. No damage after using it for a year. This is my only radio and I'm pretty happy with it. My 2 biggest complaints are the stock antenna and difficulty programming the setup.
G1HBE Rating: 2005-06-01
A mixed bag Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought the vr120d a couple of weeks ago and was impressed by its chunky styling and solid feel. It's only an 'entry level scanner', and my main use for it was to keep an ear on a few of my favourite frequencies while away from my main radio equipment at home.
I liked the proper BNC antenna socket and the 'real knobs' for volume and squelch, and programming was straightforward.
What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of breakthrough from digital cellphone signals when monitoring channels in the 453 to 457 MHz range, a very busy part of the spectrum. It was awful, and frequently spoiled my listening with loud whining sounds and pulsing noises. With the aid of a signal generator and a calculator, I discovered that the spurious response was up in the 1850 to 1870MHz range - and it was still audible without any antenna fitted! Sorry Yaesu, but it the little vr120d went back to the store within a week! Its a real pity, as I thought it was a great little radio for the price, and its performance in other respects was pretty good. I now have an Icom IC-r5 and it doesn't suffer from any breakthrough at all.
KB0XR Rating: 2004-08-05
A lot of radio Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this little "communications receiver" when it first came out. Programmed a few frequencies in it(mostly airband) and used it a few times.

Then I got a new office in a new building my company bought. 25 feet away from a busy rail line. So, had to punch in the railroad frequencies to listen to the trains.

The scanner amazes me with it's HF sensitivity. With a telescopic whip, I can go anywhere in my building and reset clocks to WWV. That drives the non tech people nuts...

I started in the hobby in 1959 with tube receivers, some bad, some state of the art.

Now for a little over $100, I have a great little radio that fits in my pocket and runs on AA bateries. What's not to like?

For serious dx'ing I'll use my Icom r75. But it doesn't fit in my pocket.
LNXAUTHOR Rating: 2003-03-20
Great little Linux-compatible wideband receiver Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
- the vr120d is a great little wideband receiver that also, thanks to bob parnass' tk120 client, may be programmed using Linux (and nearly a half-dozen other operating systems)...

- here's a tip for those of you who want to use the ICOM IC-R2 programming cable to program/edit freqs for this unit... i first tried using the ICOM cable with freshly charged 1800ma NiMH AAs, but while i was able to read from the vr-120d, any write operation of the new freqs would halt at 86 percent and then fail with an "Err 14" on the vr-120d - boy, was i perplexed!

- here's the answer: USE A FRESH SET OF AA ALKALINES! after inserting the fresh batteries, i was able to easily transfer a new set of freqs...

- i like the vr-120d's 8-character alpha tags, its generous 640 memory channels, BNC antenna connector, and 'real' volume knob, mounted between the BNC and the VFO/Dial knob... (this makes using the unit a lot easier when hidden in your pocket, unlike the Icom IC-R2, which requires you to change the vol using buttons on the front of the unit, and which are inaccessible when it is in your pocket)

- another great feature is that the vr-120d has an internal AM antenna, and its use may be quickly toggled from internal/external by using the vr-120d's 'Set' menus, accessed by pressing Func->Scan while in VFO mode...

- considering you can find the vr-120d right now for less than $125, i think you'll find that spending the $25 over the sale price of the Icom IC-R2 (currently $99) it worth every penny!

- some folks say the IC-R2 has better sound, but to be honest, i think both units have great sound considering their size (yes, i own an IC-R2 and a vr-120d)

- you should know however, that there are indeed, gaps in the vr-120d's frequency coverage, despite that it is advertised as covering everything from 100 kHz ~ 1299.995 MHz... have i found this inconvenient? not really...

- don't be intimidated by the lack of number keys... you can quickly get to a freq using the VFO knob... and, while i find the bank-scanning setup a tad tedious, once you get the hang of it, you'll quickly be able to scan one or banks quite easily...

- btw, it took me about 4 minutes to set up the vr-120d from scratch with more than 350 freqs exported from my Icom IC-R2 (which, in turn, got its freqs from my Pro-92) - that's the power of open source software and hardware!

- i don't think you'll be disappointed with a vr-120d...

things i like:

orange backlit LCD
backlit keys
large Func button
long battery life
adequate range of freqs (for my needs)
internal AM antenna
multi-function Set menu
easily remembered functions

things that could be better:

a finger-contorting reset sequence (maybe a good feature?)
multi-key sequence required to put unit in programing mode (should be automatic, yaesu!)
SWL3 Rating: 2003-03-08
Would be great if it it were programmed to tune correctly.. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I bought a VR-120D last week, mostly so I could listen to TV sound when I'm out. I programmed in some VHF and UHF TV channels, but when I got to channel 29 on the UHF band, 565.75 MHz, the radio would not let me go to that frequency. In fact, it jumps directly from 557.995 to 572.000 (UHF-TV 28-30). Further checking revealed it would not tune between 619.995 and 630.000 (UHF-TV 39 ) nor 783.995 and 798.000 (UHF-TV 67). I ordered another one, thinking this was a fluke, but it does the exact same thing. Something is definitely wrong with this radio. I'll bet they all do the same thing because of some error in the radio's programming. Considering its wide frequency range, I wonder what other frequencies it won't receive that it should.
WT3844 Rating: 2003-03-01
OK RADIO FOR THE NOVICE Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
KC8GAT Rating: 2003-02-24
Impressive Time Owned: 3 to 6 months.
I upgraded to the VR-120D from an old Bearcat SC 150 portable, and the Yaesu, at half the size and a fraction of the price, blows it out of the water. The Bearcat is still selling for over $150, but I got my Yaesu from AES for $127 after the rebate.

The radio has so many features that it is a bit overwhelming to think of controlling everything with only seven buttons, but Yaesu did its homework and made everything as intuitive as possible. Once you practice a bit, it is really not hard to operate the radio efficiently.

The best part about it is that it will pick up so much more than the pricier Bearcat, yet I can tuck it into the pocket of my Dockers and listen to the UHF portables that we use at work. No one knows I have it until my pants start talking!

Not only that, with my external mag-mount Ham antenna and a CD cassette adapter, I can listen to police, emergency, TV audio or shortwave in my vehicle, something that I haven't been able to do easily before.

Complaints are minor. First, I would recommend taking off the rubber duck antenna and throwing it away, replacing it with a $12 Radio Shack collapsable scanner antenna. Closed, it is slightly smaller than the rubber duck, and opened, it picks up all transmissions better, especially shortwave and AM broadcast (this antenna works better than the internal bar antenna for AM). Also, the audio output jack plays in only one channel of a set of stereo speakers, whereas my Bearcat split the mono signal into two channels so you had sound in both speakers. The fit of the AA's in the battery compartment is a bit tight. Also, there is no SSB for shortwave bands. Finally, the output from the speaker, while clear, lacks punch when turned to a high volume.

Advantages include the incredibly small size (a little larger than a pager), alphanumeric station labeling, long battery life, sleep timer (30,60 or 90 minutes), customizable search limits (you can program two frequencies and scan every frequency in between), wide frequency range (100 kHz - 1300 mHz continuous coverage, cellular blocked), the option of using the headphone cord as an antenna, built in frequency counter, rugged construction, decent audio quality, albeit lacking somewhat in volume, the ability to charge NiCd batteries with the optional power cord, large, easy-to-read display, and overall quality built into the unit.

No, it is not comparable to a $1000 console style communications receiver, but it doesn't have to be. If you want a truly versatile radio that you can take with you anywhere, you can't beat the VR-120D for the price.
W8ROB Rating: 2003-01-04
Excellent value. Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Just received my VR-120D for Christmas. Alot of features packed in such a small size! I wanted it to replace an older Bearcat scanner and to have some shortwave bands also. The audio is great and receive with the rubber duck antenna is very good, even on shortwave (I've picked up about 20 stations so far). While it's not a desktop receiver with all of its filters and intermod rejection, it performs very well. Battery life is very good also. Nice way to monitor the bands on the go in a pocket sized receiver.