Thoughts on the VX-8DR

The VX-8DR in all its glory.

The VX-8DR is an analogue-only radio that first debuted (as the VX-8R) around 2008, with the DR model coming out later as “a devoted APRS users version of the VX-8R series.” It was discontinued around 2017-2018, though. I recently came across one (thanks, Ryan). So why a post about a discontinued radio, especially now when my interests are primarily HF-oriented? The answer is I think this is my one of my new favourite radios, and it’s sad to see it gone.

The first thing I like about it is the aesthetic: no bright LCD display like you get on a lot of more modern radios (like the FT-5DR and Anytone 878UVII+). It fits well in your hand, it’s solidly built, and it’s a quad-band dual-receive radio. I don’t know of many decent quad band HTs out right now, which is unfortunate; I’ve had to resort to using my FT-817ND for portable 6m operation. I also like that it can listen to two amateur channels at once, and can send APRS messages directly from the radio; I’ve been using a Baofeng or the VX-6R with a mobilinkd TNC3 paired to my phone. The manual is readable enough that it only took about five minutes to program in some local repeaters.

There are things I don’t like about it:

  • The speaker isn’t very loud.
  • I would prefer if the dial’s primary function was to change the volume, not the memory or VFO.
  • The connector is a proprietary connector, so I have to try to find a hand mic and programming cable for it.
  • The keyboard is tiny and harder to use.
  • In dual receive mode, you don’t get memory labels — you have to memorize what memory or frequency belongs to which repeater. I really think this is such a bad thing, as it’s good to know these things and you can turn off the dual receive function if you need the labels. I’m just accustomed to a certain level of convenience.

I definitely like this more than the VX-6R. There’s just a certain classic nature to it1, and I’m sure it has to do with my personal history with radios.

On an unrelated note, I got my QRZ grid squared and all contintents awards today, so that was kind of cool.

  1. Another one is the Tecsun PL-368, which isn’t an HT. ↩︎

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| December 27th, 2023 | Posted in Radios |

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