Radio Preppers

General Category => VHF and Above => Topic started by: Geek on March 22, 2013, 08:56:49 PM

Title: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 22, 2013, 08:56:49 PM
I bought a Yaesu VX-6R as my first radio.  I received it about a week ago and thought I'd post a few comments and add more as I learn more.  The unit is about the size of my fist, extremely small, and has a very rugged feel to it.  The rubber duck antenna appears to be 11.5".

It claims to be submersible in 3m of water for 30 minutes, but I have zero intention of testing this.  :-)  I bought my unit with a desk charger and the software to program it.  It was easy to get started, but I found myself referencing the manual frequently due to the many dual function keys needed to operate it.  My impression is the same is true for any competing models, so I don't think this is a real knock.  I set up the software without difficulty and programmed in some local repeaters.  The software was very easy to both set up and use.  I've been listening, not transmitting, and mostly paying attention to the 2m band.  I've picked up signals from much further away than I expected and the radio seems to at least function on all the bands it covers.

The unit did not come with a car lighter plug, so today I ordered one along with a battery pack that will take AA batteries instead of the custom battery that comes with the unit.  I also ordered a couple inexpensive 2m antennas to see what happens to the range when I swap them.  One is a tiny unit that replaces the rubber duck with something about an inch long.  The other is a long cable that I'll test by hanging it out the second story window.

I bought the radio from Gigaparts, who called because I did not supply a call sign to make sure I understood what I was getting.  I explained that I had just passed the exam and was waiting to get the call sign from the FCC and Gigaparts sent the unit right out, so I have a positive impression of them as well.  The radio is pricey compared to a Baofeng, but I decided to go with a solid brand name for my first purchase.  Overall I am quite please and would recommend this radio to someone looking for a solid HT.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: madball13 on March 22, 2013, 09:01:36 PM
Great HT. I have a 7 and a 8.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 22, 2013, 09:23:15 PM
I chose the VX-6R because it appeared to be the smallest unit in the Yaesu line.  What caused you to choose the models you have?
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on March 22, 2013, 11:24:08 PM
I have an FT-270R, because it is waterproof, cheap, and is a 2m band handheld.. If I had the money, I would have bought a VX-7R, for the 6m AM option. I still might get one some day, though I prefer operating on HF CW.

Gil.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: RadioRay on March 24, 2013, 02:50:11 PM
You did well.  That entire line, from the VX-5 onward are just superb.  I like having a basic shortwave receiver in the handitalkie, though that is a side feature.  They're built like a tiny tank and a person would have to WORK to damage one.  That unit tied into a mag-mount antenna (5/8 wave) on the roof of a car will surprise you with it's capabilities.  With a house roof mounted gain antenna / beam, you have a powerful comms station.  With a simple - though delicate - modification, that rig is capable of transmitting almost anywhere that it can hear - except for the AM/Shortwave bands. This is a handy 'emergency' HT that is compatible with FRG,GMRS and MURS radio services.  Unfortunately, it's not type approved by FCC for that, but they might have more important things to deal with. YMMV. However, in an emergency , you do what is morally responsible - regardless of regulations.

You are quite correct in wanting to be able to charge it with the 12 volt charge plug.  In any emergency, you might not have AC power, but you probably are surrounded by car batteries. If this charge adaptor is regulated, you can probably use it with a solar panel as well but FIRST confirm that the charger can safely accept the higher voltage of a solar panel, otherwise when you reach the end of your battery recharge cycle, as the solar panel draw less current, it's voltage may rise high enough to fry the charger, so read the specs.

de RadioRay ..._ ._
Title: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: White Tiger on March 24, 2013, 04:19:13 PM
I had heard that after their manufacturing contract ended - the Chinese company that built these for Yaesu put their own model out based on the VX platform...

I believe it's called Baofeng
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 24, 2013, 04:24:10 PM
That unit ties inot a mag-mount antenna (5/8 wave) on the roof of a car will surprise you with it's capabilities.  With a roof mounted gain antenna / beam, you have a powerful comms station.  Witha simple - though delecate - modification, that rig is capable of transmitting almost anywhere that it can hear - except for the AM/Shortwave bands. This is a handy 'emergency' HT that is compatible with FRG,GMRS and MURS radio services.  Unfortunately, it's not type approved by FCC for that, but they might have more important things to deal with. YMMV. However, in an emergency , you do what is morally responsible - regardless of regulations.

You are quite correct in wanting to be able to charge it with the 12 volt charge plug.  In any emergency, you might not have AC power, but you probably are surrounded by car batteries. If this charge adaptor is regulated, you can probably use it with a solar panel as well but FIRST confirm that the charger can safely accept the higher voltage of a solar panel, otherwise when you reach the end of your battery recharge cycle, as the solar panel draw less current, it's voltage may rise high enough to fry the charger, so read the specs.

de RadioRay ..._ ._

Can you recommend a specific antenna?

Re: FRS and GMRS, I have a GMRS license (one of 3 people in America I believe) is it illegal to use this radio for those frequencies since I have the license?

My thought on the charging is if the battery pack that takes AA batteries works okay, I'd just get lots of rechargeable batteries and a solar battery charger.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: madball13 on March 24, 2013, 04:42:39 PM
I chose the VX-6R because it appeared to be the smallest unit in the Yaesu line.  What caused you to choose the models you have?

I chose the vx7 because I wanted a HT that was waterproof. I had a ft60, which worked well, but the size and lack of waterproofing made the 7 a better choice for my activities. I picked up the vx8gr on a whim when I saw one listed on qrz for a great price. I has a built in GPS and the ability to do APRS which I found to be a great feature.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 24, 2013, 06:13:08 PM
The VX-6R is also supposed to be waterproof, or to use their term "submersible".  As a scuba diver I don't take that seriously.  I can destroy anything underwater.  :-)
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on March 24, 2013, 10:35:07 PM
Quote
The VX-6R is also supposed to be waterproof, or to use their term "submersible".

Only three feet down and for a short time...

Gil.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: madball13 on March 25, 2013, 05:41:33 AM
The VX-6R is also supposed to be waterproof, or to use their term "submersible".  As a scuba diver I don't take that seriously.  I can destroy anything underwater.  :-)

Exactly, I see it as "not gonna die if I'm caught in a down pour"
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 25, 2013, 08:55:10 AM
Quote
The VX-6R is also supposed to be waterproof, or to use their term "submersible".

Only three feet down and for a short time...

Gil.

This actually raises an interesting prepping point.  We've talked about Faraday cages in other threads, but not about protection from everyday risks like water or impact.  What does everyone do about making their gear rugged enough to survive in a disaster?  This unit seems pretty rugged, but I am sure I'll accumulate some equipment over time that is not as solid, and even this will require some packaging if I want it to hold up in a natural disaster or simply primitive conditions.

Currently I have an FRS/GMRS unit and a crank AM/FM radio in each BOB.  The FRS/GMRS is in a mylar bag, inside a metal case, inside another mylar bag, then stored in a pocket of the BOB.  The crank AM/FM are in layered mylar bags.  If I find some metal boxes the right size I'll probably add those.  I'm going to have to do something similar with Ham and CB gear.
Title: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on March 25, 2013, 10:56:34 AM
I use Pelican cases...

Gil.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Joe on March 25, 2013, 11:50:06 AM
I am looking at picking up a VX-6R myself. I have a lead on a used one. I was doing some checking on them and found where some of them have a problem with a ceramic filter in the FM de-modulator. Where the radio will transmit, but will only receive FM radio stations.
The part is available from Yaesu and is around $3.00. Might not be a bad idea to have a extra one around just in case. This isn't going to stop me from buying one. Just wanted to pass it on. Link to the place I got the info from.

Part#CF2002 (Toko ALFYM450F=K) on page 29 of the service manual that you can download online

http://forums.radioreference.com/amateur-radio-general-discussion/222004-trouble-yaesu-vx-6-squelch.html
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 25, 2013, 02:37:21 PM
I use Pelican cases...

Gil.

Pelican cases are certainly waterproof and if you use the foam woul protect against impact.  Do you have a bunch of them or a few larger cases?  Do you have enough for everything?  You were on the Faraday cage thread, so do you simply drop your faraday caged items into a Pelican case or vice versa?

BTW:  I have used Pelican cases for scuba and they truly are waterproof.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on March 25, 2013, 03:47:05 PM
Quote
Do you have a bunch of them or a few larger cases?  Do you have enough for everything?  You were on the Faraday cage thread, so do you simply drop your faraday caged items into a Pelican case or vice versa?

Hello,

I have one for my K1 and getting one for my KX3. I also have one small one I can use for smaller rigs, but it is used for something else right now.. I use them for transport. The Faraday boxes (cookie tin can) stay home. I might get Faraday bags for inside the cases.. So, not quite enough for everything yet, but getting there. I'll probably get a small one too for my Weber MTR. The small ones are quite affordable, however prices go up quickly for the bigger cases. The biggests one is my Pelican 1400 for the K1, but it also contains a battery and key.. The 1200 would have worked for the K1 I expect. For the KX3, I am getting the 1150, which is just big enough for a tiny key and microphone, but nothing else, which is all right since the KX3 has space inside it's case for batteries. My Yaesu FT-270R handheld, I won't bother with a case.. I probably won't even take it with me camping anyway. A small CW radio is enough for me.

Gil.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 28, 2013, 09:26:37 AM
I have discovered one other feature of the VX-6R worth noting.  There is an available battery pack replacement that uses AA batteries.  This would make the problem of recharging in an emergency much easier to solve.  I've ordered one battery pack to test.

Looking at ads I don't see this as an available accessory for any of the cheap Chinese radios.  If anyone is aware of such a capability on one of the inexpensive Chinese models, please let me know.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: madball13 on March 28, 2013, 10:15:36 AM
I have discovered one other feature of the VX-6R worth noting.  There is an available battery pack replacement that uses AA batteries.  This would make the problem of recharging in an emergency much easier to solve.  I've ordered one battery pack to test.

Looking at ads I don't see this as an available accessory for any of the cheap Chinese radios.  If anyone is aware of such a capability on one of the inexpensive Chinese models, please let me know.

Nice feature to have, keep in mind you will have reduced power capabilities with the AA. I would look for a 12V option that you can plug into the radio. I use an energizer back up battery that comes with a plug that will fit the VX-6. Like this:

http://www.energizerpowerpacks.com/us/products/xp8000a/index.html

I also have a solar panel that feeds the XP800 and then to the radio.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Joe on March 28, 2013, 12:15:58 PM
Geek

The Wouxon line has the AA battery packs. I have a KG-UV6d, not a bad radio for the price I paid $100.00 for it and it came with the software and data cable.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 28, 2013, 12:51:37 PM
I have discovered one other feature of the VX-6R worth noting.  There is an available battery pack replacement that uses AA batteries.  This would make the problem of recharging in an emergency much easier to solve.  I've ordered one battery pack to test.

Looking at ads I don't see this as an available accessory for any of the cheap Chinese radios.  If anyone is aware of such a capability on one of the inexpensive Chinese models, please let me know.

Nice feature to have, keep in mind you will have reduced power capabilities with the AA. I would look for a 12V option that you can plug into the radio. I use an energizer back up battery that comes with a plug that will fit the VX-6. Like this:

http://www.energizerpowerpacks.com/us/products/xp8000a/index.html

I also have a solar panel that feeds the XP800 and then to the radio.

I agree that the 12volt will be handy, but I want the AA for a SHTF with a minimum of power generation capabilities.

Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on March 28, 2013, 01:04:12 PM
That's what I just decided to go for, AA rechargeable NiMH cells. I ordered a Goal Zero 7W solar panel with their four AA battery holder. This way I can recharge four AAs at a time, four or eight per day depending on conditions. My rigs use eight AAs, but they will last a few days when full. I can use AAs for flashlights and other devices as well. the Goal Zero battery holder also allows charging USB powered devices like my tiny powered speaker and iPod.
I was going to use LiPo batteries with a special charger, but the price is much higher. The other advantage of using rechargeable AAs is that if for some reason you can't charge them, you can always buy regular disposable batteries.
My 2.9Ah SLA battery is great, but a bit heavy (3.3Lbs) for hiking...

Gil.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Geek on March 28, 2013, 06:27:27 PM
Have you used the Goal Zero Charger?  Are you satisfied enough to recommend it?  Where did you buy it?
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on March 28, 2013, 07:06:55 PM
I don't have it yet, just ordered it from Amazon... I will let you know though.

Gil.
Title: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: White Tiger on April 05, 2013, 11:13:38 PM
Would like to know about this - I have been reading about the Goal Zero Solar charger and have become interested. Let me know what you think.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on April 06, 2013, 12:01:20 AM
I got the package.. Started a new thread: http://radiopreppers.com/index.php/topic,403.0.html (http://radiopreppers.com/index.php/topic,403.0.html)

Gil.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: Archangel320420 on September 13, 2013, 01:31:10 AM
I have a VX7r. Love it.
Title: Re: Yaesu VX-6R
Post by: gil on May 31, 2017, 05:30:54 AM
Looks like the VX-6R can easily be modified to transmit on 6m (1.5W) by removing a solder blob... Of course, you need a different antenna, but it makes it so much more desirable...

(http://radiopreppers.com/images/VX-6R_Mod.jpg)

Gil.