Yaesu VX-8DR

The Yaesu VX-8DR with a Nagoya NA-771.

A friend of mine has the FT-5DR, and gave me this. There were no cables or anything, but fortunately it charges with the same power cable as the VX-6R and looks like it takes the same batteries as the FT-5DR. However, its accessory connector is custom and different from all my other radios, meaning I’m going to need to get a new programming cable and handmic.

First off, it’s a great radio in that it is solidly built, has built-in APRS, and transmits well. I personally love the aesthetic of the radio, too. The battery lasts a decent amount of time.

Right now, I have to hand enter all the repeaters and frequencies I’m interested in. This isn’t a bad thing, but on this radio I definitely had to read through a bunch of stuff to figure out how to do it. Like all the other Yaesu radios I’ve used and owned, it’s built extremely well and both transmits and sounds great. However, it’s frustrating to use in a lot of ways. The buttons are tiny, so no wearing gloves. Each button has multiple functions, which you have to remember (though fortunately so far they’re the same as with the VX-6R)1. I think I’ll like it a lot more with a programming cable and a hand mic and spending more time getting used to it. As it stands, it’s a pretty solid radio.

It can do APRS, but if you want to beacon with it, you need a custom GPS dongle made at this point as the FGPS-2 unit isn’t available anymore. I can probably still use it to send SMS, though.

Update: after spending some time using the radio and reading the manual, I think I just might like it more than the VX-6R.

  1. That being said, I find Yaesu manuals quite readable and useful. There’s just a lot to remember. ↩︎