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Reviews For: Yaesu VX-8DR -( APRS® / GPS / Bluetooth® Handheld )

Category: Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held

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Review Summary For : Yaesu VX-8DR -( APRS® / GPS / Bluetooth® Handheld )
Reviews: 17MSRP: 499.00
The Yaesu VX-8DR is an APRS® enhanced version of VX8R.
('has same appearance as VX-8R & uses same accessories)

Key additional features of VX-8DR include:
+ Smart Beaconing™ Function.
+ Station List memories increased from 40 to 50.
+ APRS® Message Memories increased from 20 to 30.
+ DIGI-PATH route indication function.
+ Heads up compass display to the GPS screen.
+ Message received LED flashing rate is selectable.
+ DIGI-PATH route settings increased from 1 to 7.

(Yaesu will have a VX-8R upgrade-program soon.)
Product is in production
More Info:
# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
YO3ITD Rating: 2015-09-19
Great ht with a lot of functions and also rugged Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Recently I purchased this radio SH at a very low price (180 EUR), with all accessories you can get (excepting the blue-tooth). This was a real bargain here, first because it worth more than 400 EUR SH. :)

Anyway, I have to give a 5 for this radio.

So, what I like:
- it has more useful functions than TH-D72 has
- much smaller and fit well in pocket/palm
- it has too small Li-Ion 1100mA battery and exceptional (optional) Li-Ion 1800mA battery and also a (optional) AAA battery case, just in case... :)
- external optional GPS Atennna and very precise (not so good design with antenna adapter mounted on it, but it does a very good job after downloading Almanac data)
- nice (optional) external SK/MIC with possibility to mount the GPS antenna on it.
- with (optional) intelligent drop in desktop Charger, charges the battery in 2.5 hours (or 4 hours) depending on capacity
- sensitive and selective (not greater than the old FT-530 or DJ-G5)
- great AM/FM broadcast and airband RX with predefined memory banks for: AM broadcast channels, NOAA freq, marine channels
- memory banks can be defined and named for multiple VHF/UHF/HF stored channels
- stores 50 APRS beacons packets and 30 APRS messages
- the display is nicely designed that you can read multiple lines at once with "reddish" back-light (good for night view)
- optional blue-tooth adapter (only for audio, maybe).

What I don't like:
- ugly design of external GPS antenna (but that's life...) :)
- no access for TNC (but let's not make a drama about this)

This is my opinion.
KM6CQ Rating: 2015-09-04
Nice HT Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this, loaded it up with all options. It worked fine and I enjoyed it. I only got rid of it to upgrade to an ID-51A. That was a good move. Looking back a few years now, I have no regrets on either purchase.

KA1BTK Rating: 2015-04-05
Poor Quality Overall Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I bought this thing about two years ago when I first got my license. I wanted the best and thought Yaesu was the way to go. I've got no problems with my FT-8800R nor the FT-450D, both awesome Yaesu products, but this VX-8DR has me perplexed. I wanted to use it as my hiking / cycling / Public Service tool but honestly, my Baofeng UV-3R does a superior job.

The audio is very weak, even with the external mic/speaker near my ear, and I had to install the bluetooth unit and buy the bluetooth headset to hear it in a crowd, but even then, the quality of the bluetooth connectivity is poor at best. With the VX-8DR hanging on my back-pack, right on my back, the headset audio is scratchy and I get poor quality reports of my audio.

The GPS unit seems to have a lot of trouble finding and locking satellites while my other tablets, cell phones and stand-alone GPS units hook right up!

I've tried a plethora of expensive antennas to make the thing perform better but have only met with limited success. I've swapped antennas so frequently that I've had to put BNC adapters on to everything. The radio does pretty good connected to my Diamond X50A at the shack and the Diamond SG7900 on the bike, but as an HT it's quality pales. Even less then one mile from the iGate antenna, APRS packet exchange is spotty at best.

The manual is nothing short of a two-year college education, difficult to read and understand and the menu system is absolutely frustrating! The ONLY semi-efficient way to program this radio is with programming software and cable.

I would not have bought this radio if I knew then what I do now. I've got over a grand into it so I'm going to live with it, but it truly was money poorly spent.
AD0EY Rating: 2014-05-21
Amazing features, some flaws Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
Starting with the bad - speaker is simply garbage. So quiet it's a constant pain trying to hear it. Stock battery is inadequate. Blue-tooth "capable", but needs a $150 kit to make it work.

Now the good - this unit can scan HF frequencies from 1.8 MHz all the way through to UHF. Menu system is easy to use. APRS/GPS functionality is incredibly simple to set up and use. Blue-tooth is actually worth having - it's a great addition and solves the speaker problem.

For functionality, I took this unit to Australia. It packs down small (but take the tip off the rubber duck to avoid TSA hassles). I had to use (for a USA ham) custom repeater offsets, custom APRS configuration and GPS configuration. It was all easy to set up.

Some of the repeaters here in CO use different tones on TX and RX. The Yaesu handles them just fine.

Memory setup and labeling is easy, though the software makes it much easier.

While I truly loved my VX-7R, and it has a better speaker and feels more rugged, this radio does so much that I am really enjoying it. You will need to spend some time playing with settings - attenuation, squelch etc. to overcome the bad speaker, but it will reward you well.
KD2FIP Rating: 2014-01-11
Tried to love it Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
After the stellar performance of my FT-60, I was excited to upgrade to the VX-8DR. The radio is wonderful in the hand,and the menus were a littel daunting (small screen) but after a week, they were managable. The problem was that the radio flat out stunk. I couldn't hit my neighbor's house across the street. Reset, reconfigure, retry, nothing worked. I have to assume that I got a clunker, but for the money that Yaesu gets, there isn't any excuse. Returned to vendor and traded for an ICOM ID51A. Enough of Yaesu "High End" stuff. Very disappointing.

On the plus side, my FT-60 is like a broadcast station. Great audio, Super signal and it really reaches out and works. I am glad that I kept it.
KC0VOE Rating: 2012-04-25
Its OK Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Speaker is really weak. Worse than an iPhone on speaker phone. and the battery sucks in a big way. Buy the extended life battery. Other than that its a pretty cool HT with 4 bands on it. And it does APRS. if you are into that.
KF7URE Rating: 2012-04-17
Works great, also consider the VX-8GR as a practical option Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I have owned the Yaesu VX-8DR for three weeks. I wondered why I had to have this radio. I told my wife it was waterproof and super for hiking, biking, motorcycling, etc. She said, don't they make waterproof bags and she popped my bubble! She was right. So then I told her it looks cool to me. She agreed that was the real reason I wanted the VX-8DR HT.
Now that all said, this is what I learned. There is a lengthy learning curving on how to make all the functions work. Mastery requires reading & re-reading the manual and watching some demos on Youtube helps too. I had moments in the beginning, I just hated VX-8DR, because it was hard to recall the functions. I now understand why some people rated the 8DR poorly. The amateur tech test was easier to learn. However now at three weeks it is coming together. The APRS functions are easy to do and I really like the tracking and messaging I can do. My out of state family get a kick, watching my live tracking while I am biking on the APRS google map with street view. My area, we have only one 6 meter repeater, so limited use on 6 meters. Shortwave & HF are near impossible without a better antenna. I like the pre-loaded Marine, NOAA, and Shortwave bands. Yes, mods can be done to a resistor, however I am not into that and voids warrant. It does scan a ton of frequencies (New Yorkers, few other states, and countries be cautious, because of some regional laws prohibited scanning in certain bands &/or in vehciles, not just cells). I found that Bluetooth is okay and works with my motorcycle helmet Scala Rider Bluetooth. The GPS works great on a mic and and on CT-136, however the VX-8GR reports state internal GPS does a really good job too! I got the 1800 mAh battery which was wise and needed. To improve my APRS transmissions, I am deciding between the Comet SMA24 or the Diamond SRH77CA antenna for trail running, bicycling, motorcycling, etc.
So for those deciding between a VX-8DR and a VX-8GR, do you really need Bluetooth, 6 meters, and a weak HF / short wave scan capabilities? A Bluetooth alternative for the VX-8GR, there are mics that go with a plug in earphone. Otherwise the VX-8DR is a great choice.
N1ZZZ Rating: 2012-04-10
Great for APRS Time Owned: 6 to 12 months.
I bought this radio for the APRS capabilities and for a main H-t. It works quite well for both tasks plus has a great deal more to offer.

I got all of the options out of the box and will make the following comments:

1) the bluetooth works well but the Yaseu headset makes you look like a real dork. I'd avoid it

2) the speaker mike is the ideal place to give the GPS more view of the sky.

3) trying to enter a APRS message on the radio is really annoying. The input routine is very clumsy.

4) Get a cord to program it for the same reason. It makes life much easier.

5) get the bigger battery and desk charger.

Jeremy N1ZZZ
W1KJL Rating: 2011-08-30
Could be better for the price Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Let me start by saying I'm pretty much a die hard Yaesu fan. All of my equipment is Yaesu, but this radio is a bit disappointing for the price. From an APRS standpoint it works really well, but here are the things that bother me...

1) The low capacity battery. You really couldn't include the 1800 mah as the stock battery? For $400+ dollars, it should be!

2) The speaker flat out stinks. The audio output of my VX-3R puts this one to shame! The VX-3R is much smaller than this radio, yet the audio on it is much more powerful, robust and clear. If I could put the VX-3R speaker in this radio, I would. The audio level of my VX-3R at level 5 blows away the VX-8DR audio at a level of 10-15.

3) The soft rubbery and mushy keypad. What's up with that? Again, the VX-3R keypad is so much better! The VX-3R's keypad has harder plastic buttons and are much easier to to push. Why not use a similar keypad here? I find the buttons on this radio to be almost flush against the plastic and are not easy to push, whereas the VX-3R's keypad is more raised and easier to use.

4) Why is 915-944 MHz blocked? Did Yaesu forget that in the USA we have 902-928 MHz assigned to the ham bands?

5) Noise rejection on this radio is terrible. If I put it in the same room where a computer is, it gets nothing but noise when monitoring a repeater QSO. Turn off the the computer, the QSO is DFQ with no noise at all. Again, really sad for the price of this radio.

Other than the above I really like the radio and it's functionality. Maybe I'm being picky, but for the price and comparing it to my VX-3R which is about a third of the cost of this radio, I'm disappointed.
KJ4RME Rating: 2011-08-01
UPDATE Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Having Put the Radio though it's paces, I have learned a few things.

1. Get the car Charger, EC-5b, this is a real battery saver. Since when in the car it will save the battery.

2. the cd41 charging cradle is not OPTIONAL, its a MUST

3. Some of these radios have boards in them that BLOCK revieve of the 900mhz 915-944, ham band and according to yaesu its random as in some do and some dont. this is a major issue with me as a product should be uniform in delivery and spec!!

4. the stock antenna works!!! i had a 130 mile 2 meter qso with a mobile station from the top of a mountian hiking. I think i will skip the aftermarket ducks..

5. the radio has a lot of features that are not documented fully, that will make you think!! for one if you have aprs on you will not get Tone on the b radio, so if you scan it will not open up on a signal other than APRS, and if your on simplex it will also not open up on a signal. Just FYI!!

Nice radio, much much more expensive than the Kenwood Th-72A. Unless you need 6M and 220..