I’ve been a ham radio operator for 30+ years. I earned my initial call back in the 80’s in Muncie, Indiana, and have kept it and kept active ever since.
Recently, I acquired, as a gift, a new Yaesu VX8DR handheld radio. This is a small, yet full power, quad band radio…it covers the 6 meter, 2 meter, 220 and 440mhz hands.
In addition, it’s got a built in TNC (terminal node controller) and is APRS radio, with just a little programming.
APRS is a digital form of ham radio, that sends GPS encoded packets of information out, and then you can plot them on a map. It’s especially handy for storm spotting, search and rescue, or other events where visual position reporting can be helpful. Below is a screen shot of APRS activity across the USA. You can find a current map by going to http://www.aprs.fi
I’m only scratching the surface of the radio so far, but I’m enjoying it. As with any new piece of equipment, there are pros and cons. One of the main ones is a double edged sword. It’s small, so it fits easily in a pocket or vest. But, it’s small, so programming by hand can be a bit challenging with the tiny buttons.
Overall, I’m VERY happy with it, and can’t wait to take some road trips with it this summer and really put it through it’s paces!
Until next time, 73 de N9GSU