Saturday, September 7, 2013

Equipment Review: Yeasu VX8-DR Quad Band Handheld Transceiver

By Flea - Be A Survivor

I told you guys yesterday that I purchased a new handheld transceiver to replace the 10 year old Icom T7H dual band my wife bought me for Christmas back in the day.   I love the Icom but it is certainly showing it's age.

The radio I picked up is the Quad-Band Yaesu VX-8DR Submersible VHF/UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver and let me tell you...I absolutely am a Yaesu convert at this point.   I used to buy all Icom stuff but after I picked this thing up I went out and immediately bought the Yaesu FT-7900R Mobile Dual-Band Amateur Ham Radio 50W/45W VHF/UHF Transceiver for my car.

The first thing I really like about the Yaseu is the form factor, it is small...but it isn't too small if that makes any sense.   The radio feels well built although the move by radio manufacturers away from mil-spec stuff makes it seem like it would be less tolerant of abuse than my old Icom T7H.   This radio is SUBMERSIBLE though!   I personally am not going to test it that with mine :)

The second thing I really, really like about the Yaesu is that it is QUAD BAND!   For the money you just aren't going to find another quad band radio like this.   If you are a technician this radio is a perfect starter radio because it covers 6 meters/2 meters/1.25 meter aka 222 band/ and the 440cm band.

The radio has many, many features but some of the ones I like are:
- Memory stations may be displayed with 16 digit Alpha-numeric tags
- CW Training
- Emergency Automatic ID system
- Emergency Strobe/Beep and Busy strobe LED functions

The alpha-numeric tagging is great.  You can label both memory banks AND individual memory slots.   I personally have 1 bank for each band and than one unified bank for NE Ohio.   I have also programmed all the repeaters in memory with their assigned call signs, so those appear on the display along with the frequency and I can always tell what repeater system I am on.

Below are the frequency ranges for receive and transmit:

Frequency Range Receive:

0.5 - 1.8 MHz
1.8 - 30 MHz
 30 -  78 MHz
 76 - 108 MHz
108 - 137 MHz
137 - 174 MHz
174 - 222 MHz
222 - 225 MHz
225 - 420 MHz
420 - 470 MHz
470 - 800 MHz
800 - 999 MHz
Frequency Range Transmit:

 50 -   54 MHz
144 - 148 MHz
222 - 225 MHz
430 - 440 MHz

Overall the radio is put together well.   I think it is a really great piece of does have a few weaknesses that I feel I need to disclose to you.
My biggest gripe with the radio is the 7.4 volt 1100 mAh is OKAY but I bought the upgraded 7.4 volt 1800 mAh and that is WAY better.   The latter battery lasts twice as long and in my opinion is the battery Yaesu should INCLUDE with the radio not make you purchase separately.

The other gripe I have is the programming software is a necessity in my opinion because it makes the alpha-tagging thing way easier and it is not included with the radio.   To be fair, most radios do not come with programming software but Yaesu could really stand out here if they bucked the trend because let's face it...this ain't exactly a cheap radio.

Those are really the biggest gripes I have with the radio.  So to sum it up, I wholeheartedly can recommend the Quad-Band Yaesu VX-8DR Submersible VHF/UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver as a radio that I use and love.   I give it the BeASurvivor stamp of approval without hesitation.   As a side note if you haven't gotten your Ham ticket I really would urge you to do so, you will learn alot about communications and better prepare yourself for the shit hit the fan event that is inevitably right down the road.

That is all....

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Update on Stuff...

By Flea - Be A Survivor

Man have I been busy...

Being in Ohio has been good thus far but I do miss South Carolina.   I finally did a few things I have been meaning to do for a long time: get my CCW and upgrade my ham ticket to general (many more high frequency channels available to me).

The CCW thing was painless save for the ridiculous wait to get an appointment with the Sheriff.   I got my training done, 10 hours classroom and two hours range over a weekend.   I then had to wait 3 months to get an appointment with the Sheriff!   The good thing was after the appointment I had my CCW mailed to me within 7 days.   I currently carry a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 with built in laser...nice gun.   I hardly can tell I am even carrying anything.   I carry it in a pocket holster.

Next, I upgraded my technician ham license to general opening up a world of HF bands to my grubby little fingers.   Was painless, studied for a month, took the test and passed.   I hooked up a 10 meter dipole antenna in my attic and I have a nice 10 meter rig setup as well as my VHF/UHF (2m/440cm) gear.   The big acquisition for me was a new handheld to replace my 10 year old Icom T7H.   I picked up a Yeasu VX-8DR QUAD BAND HT...yes I said quad band (6m/2m/220/440).   This radio is the cats meow and will be doing a review of it eventually.

Some misc stuff I picked up:
Colt M4
Baretta M92
S&W M&P22

All cool little toys to talk about soon...

That is all...