After a couple of weeks with the VX8DR, I’ve had some time to play with it, get used to it, and post more complete thoughts on it.
Make no mistake about it, this little radio does a LOT. 2 meters, 440, 220, and 6 meters. It’s also got basically a general coverage receiver built in, plus it does APRS. Like any piece of equipment, there are pros and cons to it.
One of the pros, I found it surprisingly easy to program. I’ve read online that some folks have a hard time programming it by hand, but I’ve had no issues. Perhaps that’s because I’ve owned several Yaesu/Vertex radios, so I’m familiar with their programming protocol. If this were to be your first Yaesu radio, I can see how programming would seem a daunting task. Once I got the knack..which didn’t take long at all, I was able to quickly program it by hand.
I don’t have large hands, but you can see even with the extended life battery pack installed, it fits nicely in the palm of my hand. Not only that, it just feels “solid”. So many of the smaller HT’s feel cheap and light to me, but that’s not the case with this one.
Although I’ve not put it on a wattmeter, and this isn’t a technical test, I’m able to hit all the repeaters I expect to hit, with good audio reports. Transmit range doesn’t seem to be any worse or better than any other HT I’ve owned. Transmitted audio quality is crisp and clear.
One of the cons is the receive audio. It’s very low, which can often be expected with many micro HT’s. It’s fine in a quiet environment, like at home, but outdoors or driving in the car it can be problematic. I’m glad I’ve got the speaker mic, that helps with that issue a lot.
Battery life is what I’d call outstanding. I can beacon on APRS all day, and have a few short conversations, and still have plenty of battery life left in the evening. I do have a spare battery pack, and, as with any HT, I’d recommend that if you’re going to be out in the field a lot with it.
I’ve barely scratched the APRS part of it, so I’ll save that for a later review. All in all, I’m very happy with it, and if you’re looking to purchase one of the higher end HT’s, I’d recommend giving this a look.