Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R Submersible Amateur Ham Radio Transceiver (144/222/440)
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- AM/FM BCB, Wideband Receive 504 kHz-998.9 MHz (less cellular)
- Black magnesium case, 900 memories, severe weather alert and multicolor transmit/receive LED.
- CTCSS/DCS, EAI Emergency Automatic ID
- 900 Alphanumeric Memory Channels, ARTS-Automatic In-Range Transponder
- Backlit Keypad & LCD, Internet Key for Access to WIRES™
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Yaesu VX-6R Triband Amateur Radio Transceiver.
144/222/440 xmit (2 meter, 1.25 meter & 70cm), plus 0.5-999Mhz receive range too (AM/FMN/FMW, less cellular).
Built-in PL & DPL, Alphanumeric.
Can receive AM/FM broadcast radio, Shortwave, CB, Police, Weather, Aircraft & marine bands.
Includes Antenna, HiCap 1500Ma Batt & charger.
Waterproof & submersible (rated 3ft for 30 mins).
Has a security password feature, built-in morse code trainer, black magnesium case.
For Optional Programming Software & USB cable search B004H5Q8IM .
This unit is also compatible w/the following OPTIONAL Yaesu Speakermikes, chargers & accessories - CD-15A, VC-27, MH-73A4B, VC-24, SDD-13, E-DC-6, CT-91, ADMS-vx6, csc-91, FBA-23 (all sold seperate).
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Update Nov 2016: My buddy and I used these on a recent hunt in Colorado, usually separated by trees and hills and they worked great. Every time we called each other we had good reception. These radios are not cheap but they were money well spent. They worked great. Reminder that you do need a HAM license for these radios. Doug KG5KVZ
So, I did the mod that opens the bands. Why ? Because the factory settings limit TX in UHF to 460 MHz and I have to business radios which are pre-programmed to work around 464 MHz. What a bummer. So between buying a software for the business radios and doing the mod, I chose the mod.
The whole procedure is removing 1 little (!) bridge, which you can access taking of the battery cover. It's all quite well explained elsewhere, except that it is a bridge, not just a "blob" of solder. I needed serious magnification in order to see what I was doing, and after some frantic resetting, the radio is doing it's thing.
It will now TX on 040.000 - 075.995 & 116.750 - 124.850 & 135.000 - 229.995 & 393.000 - 492.000. Nothing short of amazing.
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I purchased this radio about 1 month ago, after researching long and hard - this is after all my first HT ham radio, though I have two other business UHF HT radios. Why did I choose this model ? Especially one that started shipping in 2005 ? The reasons are several. First, I liked the fact that this radio is submersible. 1 meter, 30 min ! So, I'm pretty sure a downpour is not going to damage anything. Second, e.g. the VX-8 is sporting APRS and other features that I know that I'm simply not going to use - so try to understand what you really need in a handheld radio, do your research before buying. Features cost money and are you really going to sit and send sloooow text messages to anyone via APRS ? Are you going to beacon your position every minute ? Going on the net (sloooow) using the radio ? Thought not. Third, this radio transmits on 3 bands, and listens in to just about anything - more about that later. I chose this particular radio over (especially) Kenwood TH72A, TH-F6A, the other Yaesu's, and Icom radios.
The radio arrived very well packed, and my first impression was: Woooaaahhh this is a Very Well Made little radio ! Well Made because the body is made of metal, buttons are feeling solid and precise, and Little because the body is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. I'm a big guy but the radio actually feels well in my hands, however I could imagine someone with Shrek-sized hands might have trouble punching buttons. But for me, no problem at all. Size and weight are factors important to me, since this goes in my Go-Bag.
The Manual is long. Accept the fact: you'll have to read and study. Have a problem with that ? Then don't buy the radio or have a friend explain the 10 most basic functions and don't expect the full potential from it. I took the effort to download it before I purchased the radio, and while it is difficult to understand it all without having the radio close by, at least it gave me an idea what to expect. Already there I understood that it was probably going to be a while before I am going to program odd repeater shifts, but, of course, you never know... The manual is written in a very comprehensible English, I cannot understand that anyone might want to criticize anything there.
A lot of people claim that the Yaesu menu system is hard to understand. Well, in fact, it is not. I was worried before I bought it, but getting to know the radio I can say that I find it logical, except for certain special functions. There is definitely a learning curve, and you have to read the manual, filter what you need and what you can forget about. Certain important functions are very easy. An example: to store any frequency, you can just press 1 button twice. That's it, and the radio will store the frequency on a new, sequential channel. You can customize the radio to a quite broad extent, there are several battery saving functions, the search functions are quite advanced, and most of these functions are available with the same menu-recall buttons and adjustment with the dial on top of the radio. I've read that some users complain about the need to enter the menu for the squelch function: Yes, you can do that, but there is actually a very simple shortcut, and furthermore you can program up to two buttons to accommodate the functions you use the most.
The software, that you can buy as extra, is very nice to have. After trying to plug in stations and repeaters from the keypad I would not say that it is 100% necessary - but it is nice to have a back-up of all the settings and memories. Naming banks and channels is a lot easier with the software.
The sound is very clear, surprisingly, given the small speaker, and I got good reports on my Tx as well. Mic gain is adjustable. I also bought the waterproof speaker/mic, which also delivers astoundingly clear sound. The volume on the radio is sufficient that I normally keep it on about 50 %. The display is nice and easy to read, also in daylight. The key buttons are back-lit, but you cannot read the secondary function, since this is printed directly on the case. Text and symbols seem printed solid enough.
When you finally slide in the battery and turn the radio on for the first time, you get the impression that This Thing Works, built by people with precise rulers and not much tolerance for slack. I guess the Yaesu-guys know how to build a radio ! My first test was with me running around the neighborhood, communicating back to home on UHF. Quite disappointing, I got to about 8 blocks and transmission started to get scratchy. I had anticipated this and brought a MFJ 1717S antenna. Once that came on, it was a whole different ballgame. At 2 km in city environment we were still talking on a low power setting (there are 4 levels). Buy an aftermarket antenna - but that pretty much goes with any HT, it's the single most important thing you can do to improve range. I have still not gotten to the range limit in simplex mode inside the city, but I suspect it'll be around 3-5 km, quite impressive. On UHF there is a quite nasty slide-off in sensitivity when you're getting higher on the band, but the seller (Ham Radio - great guys !) explained to me that this is to be expected. Btw the radio comes pre-loaded with a bunch of weather, marine and short wave stations and channels, all arranged in a separate memory bank. Very neat.
This little thing receives from 0.8 MHz practically non-stop up to 1 giga. You have to buy or make various antennas to take advantage of all this potential, but if you do you literally have the world coming in. TX is another matter, you can transmit on the 3 most popular ham bands, however, it is possible to mod the radio to TX in a wider range. Should you do that ? That would be up to your conscience I guess. I'll do it.
A word about dual receive radios. This Yaesu VX-6R is not a dual receive, in the sense that you cannot switch between two bands active at any one time. What you actually CAN do - and this is a great function in my opinion - is that you can set up a frequency that the radio will monitor for activity every so-and-so seconds. In this way, you can do your thing wherever and how you like and at the same time let the radio keep an eye on e.g. a commonly used group frequency. If there is activity, the radio will automatically lock on to that channel so you can listen in. That is all the dual monitoring that I need... Again, before investing in a dual frequency radio, understand your needs.
I also bought the (expensive!) quick charger, that charges the battery to full in about 4 hours. Furthermore you can charge the radio with a wall wart, and also a 12V DC cable and plug, that in my case goes directly to my portable power bank with 12V out. Plug in a 20W solar panel charger directly to the power bank and you'll probably not be thinking about buying the insanely expensive original extra battery for the radio.
This is a great radio !! Since I bought it I've had the chance to see and use other HT radios from other brands. While this certainly isn't the most advanced radio on the market, it is the kind of radio that you know you can depend on to do the job, in any kind of weather. It has A LOT functions which should be more than enough unless you are looking for something very particular. I wanted a rugged, all-round, lightweight 5W radio with an attitude - and that's what I got !
Added note: Do yourself a favor and go to [...] l and download the free software. It will make programming so much easier. I programmed over 100 stations manually on the keypad before I found this. It is so much faster and allows you to assign memories to different banks, insert new freqs in between other existing memory channels, etc.
Would I buy this again? Probably not as the first radio back after a long absence. For the seasoned ham, this would probably do more than he/she needs, but as a newbie, I'm a little overwhelmed. I probably should have started with something simpler, but I'll figure it out.