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Yaesu vx-8dr

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KB2HEX, Feb 28, 2010.

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  1. KB2HEX

    KB2HEX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have been out of the ham game for some time, just upgraded to technician and looking to get back on the air. I am looking at the VX-8DR and was wondering if anyone has any feed back on it?

    Also, I seen allot of demos on the web that show how to use the cloning software on the VX-8R, does anyone know if there is a software for the VX-8DR?

    and lastly, is it even worth looking into the ICOM IC-92AD?

    Some details, I am in NJ soon to be moving to MD. I am not sure of what infrastructure there is between D-STAR or APRS.

    Your help on this is greatly appreciated.
  2. N4CYA

    N4CYA QRZ MODERATOR Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Here's what D-Star is:

    D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) is a digital voice and data protocol specification developed as the result of research by the Japan Amateur Radio League to investigate digital technologies for amateur radio. While there are other digital on-air technologies being used by amateurs that have come from other services, D-Star is one of the first on-air and packet-based standards to be widely deployed and sold by a major radio manufacturer that is designed specifically for amateur service use.

    Other non-digital voice modes such as amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, and single sideband have been widely used since the first half of the twentieth century. By comparison, digital D-STAR signals offer clearer signals and use less bandwidth than their non-digital counterparts.[1] As long as the signal strength is above a minimum threshold, and no multi-path is occurring, the quality of the data received is better than an analog signal at the same strength.

    D-Star compatible radios are available on VHF, UHF, and microwave amateur radio bands. In addition to the over-the-air protocol, D-Star also provides specifications for network connectivity, enabling D-Star radios to be connected to the Internet or other networks and provisions for routing data streams of voice or packet data via amateur radio callsigns.
    The first manufacturer to offer D-Star compatible radios is ICOM. As of December 30, 2008, no other amateur radio equipment manufacturer has chosen to include D-Star technology in their radios. Kenwood re-brands an Icom radio and distributes it in Japan only.

    • What does "D-STAR" stand for?
      The D-STAR stands for Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio. It is an open standard digital communication protocol established by JARL*.
      *Japan Amateur Radio League
    • What can I do with the D-STAR radio?
      4.8kbps digital voice (DV) mode and 128kbps data * (DD) mode communications are available. When using DD mode with a PC and the D-STAR radio, high speed data communication is possible.
      *DD mode is available with ID-1 only.
    • Can I send data with a voice transmission?
      Yes, you can. In DV mode operation only, you can simultaneously send up to 950bps of data, such as call sign, short data message or GPS position with a voice transmission.
    • Can I make a call with foreign countries?
      Yes, you can. The Internet gateway allows you to relay your call to a remote D-STAR repeater over the Internet. The D-STAR repeater call sign and IP address must be registered to the gateway server. Some restrictions may apply based on specific country regulations.
    • Can I use the D-STAR repeater without connecting to the Internet?
      Yes, you can use a D-STAR repeaters a local repeater. You can also communicate with other D-STAR radios directly.
    • Can I receive a call only when the call is intended for me?
      Yes, you can. the call sign squelch function opens the squelch only when you call sign is received.
    • How do I set a repeater call sign when I make a call to a desired station using a D-STAR repeater?
      When you communicate with other D-STAR stations using a D-STAR repeater, it is necessary to set the repeater's call sign in RPT1/RPT2 as well as the desired station call sign and your own call sign.

      For example, when you make a call in the same zone (without using the Internet gateway), set the uplink repeater call sign in RPT1 and the downlink repeater call sign in RPT2. Set “CQCQCQ” for the desired station call sign, when you make a CQ call.

      When you make a call in another time zone using the Internet gateway, set the uplink repeater call sign in RPT1 and the gateway call sign in RPT2. The gateway repeater has "G" setting for the8th-digit. Set "/" plus downlink repeater call sign at the desired station call sign, when you make a CQ call.

    Some websites to check out that'll help you find the D-Star repeaters in your area and the state your moving to:

    - Jamie (N4CYA)
  3. KE7WNB

    KE7WNB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just purchased a VX-8DR last weekend along with the gps reciever. Nice radio. My only issue is the recieve audio on 440 is very low even with the volume all the way up. It works fine on 2m and I haven't tried it on 220 or 6m yet.
    I bought it for the APRS function and that works great. The east coast has a good network of digipeaters so your s.o. can easily track you on the site. I'm looking forward to running APRS while hiking and bicycling and seeing how well I'm tracked.
    Even though I'm involved in emergency communications too, theres not enough infrastructure for DSTAR yet for it to be of interest to me. The only use of DSTAR right now is emcomm, and after the digital TV transition I'm wondering if DTAR will even work in noisy conditions.
  4. K4LCA

    K4LCA Ham Member QRZ Page


    I just purchased the 8DR. I've not had my hands on it yet, but I ordered it with the GPS option (why get the radio if not using GPS).

    Here is the software package I ordered as well. Not used it yet either.

    I've not used APRS before, so a brand new learning experience for me.
  5. AA4HA

    AA4HA Ham Member QRZ Page

    On my wish list for Yaesu;

    1. Add DStar functionality via a firmware upgrade to the VX-8DR. Even if there was an incremental cost ($40) to add the capability it would be really cool. I know that Icom seems to be holding all of the beans in the DStar bag right now. Either it needs to be more broadly adopted as a standard or it needs to go away.

    2. It has been mentioned before about the crippled Bluetooth functionality for supporting a small number of headsets. I agree that even a limited programming interface or TNC connectivity across the Bluetooth link would be a great feature. To be able to use the RT Systems software for memory management or the built in TNC for packet (other than just APRS) would be useful. The use of a kludgy cable in place of the microphone "is so 80's".

    These days, software makes the radio.
  6. AA4HA

    AA4HA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Tori at RT Systems was great to deal with. Kudos to her, she responded to my email on a Sunday night within minutes of me sending it. Their interface cable is professionally made and the software arrived very quickly.
  7. K3TTL

    K3TTL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just got my VX-8DR a couple of days ago and I also got the GPS. I have gotten the radio programed to an extent - still more work to do. ;)

    I have yet to try the APRS functionality but the GPS works great! The readout on the radio matched my heading and speed on my way home from the office.

    If I had anything negative it would be the included battery. I think they should have included the larger one. The included one works but you are going to want the higher capacity one.
  8. KJ4SSR

    KJ4SSR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't have a VX-8R but what's with this trend these days for the tiny pocket-sized hand-helds? :confused: If they just made them a tiny bit larger, they could fit much bigger and better batteries inside. I'd gladly accept 1cm longer chassis in exchange for a few more hours of juice.
  9. K3ZDF

    K3ZDF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've had the VX-8R (not the "D") for almost a year now. Solid HT, super easy menu navigation, solid Tx and Rx performance, including loud audio on all the bands. No GPS unit, so my battery has pretty respectable life. The APRS receive is very good, and definitely neat to watch if nothing else.

    Dual receive, and tri-receive if you count the AM/FM BC band, is nice. I live near Lake Erie, so having the pre-programmed Marine freqs are good too.

    The cons, which are few:

    - so-so SWL receive
    - deaf on the mil air bands (225-380 MHz AM)

    I just bought the RT software & cable - no problems there. I did program the entire unit by hand way before I got the software, which was relatively easy. I have owned many Yaesu handhelds, and I think they finally got the user interface right, and consistent.

    Good luck.
  10. K3TTL

    K3TTL Ham Member QRZ Page

    The VX-8R/8DR is so tiny to begin with, I could absolutely deal with a slightly larger unit due to a larger battery; and I have small hands!

    Still learning all the bells and whistles on this thing but so far I am impressed! I got the software/cable to program it and have completed that this afternoon (at least it's done for now). My Yaesu VX-170 was pretty easy to program once you learned how to do it however the software is real nice! Not crazy about the cost but I am beginning to think it was definitely worth the expense.

    Oh, one other negative - the belt clip. Yaesu could have done way better IMO.
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