The VX-6R is a radio that I want to love more than I do. If I’m being honest, I use the Baofengs way more often.

Working satellites with KK6FEN along the California coastline. The VX6R is hooked up to an Elk dual-band log-periodic antenna.

It was my first radio; it was a pretty big deal to be able to afford a radio for me at the time. It’s a solid radio and there’s a lot of things to like about it:

  • It works well, which is subjective but the audio is relatively good.
  • It’s rugged, can confirm this from many hiking trips.
  • It’s tri-band!
  • It supports organizing memories into banks, so you can scan only the air bands or VHF repeaters or whatever your pretty little heart desires.

There’s a bunch of things to not like about it, though. As in, the radio could be a lot better than what it is.

  • Battery life is pretty bad. You can sort of make up for this by using a USB charging cable, though.
  • There’s no dual-watch. That is, you can only receive one frequency at a time.
  • The buttons are tiny! (What is this, a radio for ants!?) Specifically, I can’t use it in the Sierras or the Rockies during the winter: there is absolutely no way for me to press the buttons with gloves on.
  • You basically need a PhD in the VX-6R to use this radio for anything outside of pre-programmed usage. It’s extremely complexcapable, but every button does several things. It’s the TI-89 of HT radios.