[aprssig] VX-8 First impression (5 days of use in the mountains)

Mark Cheavens mcheavens at usa.net
Sun Jan 4 17:08:27 EST 2009

To change the subject from the bootlegger for a while!

Overall rating: Good (4 out of a 5)   (D-7 is  a 2.5 out of 5)

Here are my first impressions of the VX-8 that I started using over 
the holidays.

(Some of these I will compare to the D-7 I have used for many years, 
as well as compared to my favorite radio the FT-50)

There are many items that I still have questions about that I cannot answer.

I have only tested on VHF with APRS and on UHF for voice. I was still 
having to carry TWO radios. The FT-50 and the VX-8 while doing back 
country radio diagnostic work. Sure beats carrying the D-7 and the FT-50.

I WILL be selling my D-7 as I have never really liked its convoluted 
menu system. (I have a drop in charger, three batteries, Alkaline 
pack, Speaker Mic, Water proof Kenwood holder, Lots of cables for 
different GPS's)

Items I like:
1. Nice size and package layout!
	- My Radio and GPS has arrived. (GPS adapter(S) have not).

Items I dislike:
1. Can't view RAW packets. (Same as D-7). I would like to be ABLE to 
see the raw packet. (Path and packet type for system diagnostics)
2. Requires two hands for most controls. FW and VOL button on the 
side cannot be done with one hand.
3. Non-standard keyboard layout (same as other VX series radios).
4. No direct keypad entry into CTCSS frequency. (Must use the menu).
5. When new packet comes in, it does not display on the screen (like 
the D-7), you must go into "APRS" and then view the stations list.
6. When viewing a stations information, you can't go "up/down" in the 
station list, you must "back up" to the station list, then go into 
the other stations information.
7. As with the Kenwood - I would like to view the list as EITHER:
	A. Last packet from each station heard (How the D-7 and VX-8 work).
	B. OR - Last 40 packets heard (for stations that send out status AND 
telemetry packets in quick sequence).
		(Example: Go look at the raw packets of station "PURG" - My remote 
sensing telemetry station)

1. No voice alert capabilities.
2. If volume is on "0" you can still hear APRS packets, unless you go 
into the APRS menu and turn ON "APRS MUTE".
3. Even when APRS is muted (see above) raw packets will BLOW into the 
other receiver occasionally. (This when stationary on a fixed UHF channel)
4. No smart beaconing.
5. No proportional paths.
6. Without the GPS you can only store ONE static location (D-7 has 3)
7. Why did Yaesu include function key access on the front panel to 
"ARTS, DTMF, WIRES, and CODE". None of those are "common" use items 
in the US or Europe that I have seen.

Unknown issues:  (untested or no options for these in the manual)
1. I have had complaints of audio quality. I have not put it on the 
service monitor yet to see the issue.
2. Firmware upgradeable? (If not, this is a BROKEN item!)
3. RS-232 (KISS) output?
4. Will it cross band repeat?
5. Software programmable? (again, if not, BROKEN)

Battery life: As the manual states, with RX battery saver off, with 
the small supplied battery, I get about 8 hours of RX use.
Messaging - I don't like text messages on my phone, and generally 
don't use them on the D-7, I have not tested on the VX-8 at all.

I wonder if Yaesu is listening?

Mark Cheavens

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