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Yaesu VX-8GR vs. Kenwood TH-D72

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by snakyjake, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    I need help choosing my next radio. Here's what I want:

    1. Use radio for backwood emergencies and communicating with group.

    2. Freeband on FRS and Aviation (for emergency only). Rather re-program the radio than de-solder. Frequencies need to be accurate so I get good communication on the FRS/Aviation channels.

    3. Scan frequencies for activity. In an emergency, I want to find out where someone is in the spectrum.

    4. APRS satellite.

    5. Durability.

    6. Long battery life and easy charging. Don't limit the battery comparison to only what comes with the radio.

    7. Good UI, as I don't like carrying a manual with me.

    8. Another feature I wish the radios had is I don't like giving up my voice TX band when using APRS.

    For reference I have a Kenwood TH-D7. I have Standard Horizon/Yaesu HX-470 for my marine VHF. Prefer the Yaesu solid quality. Like the TH-D7 size and form factor.

    I like the Yaesu GPS screen better, as it shows me the number of satellites. Not sure how Kenwood notifies a lost/poor GPS signal.

    What is going to be the deciding feature between the two?

    Thanks. Jake.


     
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    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011

  2. depark

    depark W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Let me be the first to take a stab at this. There is not one handheld radio that can can do everything that you are asking for. There are limitations to what they can do. That being said I would recommend the Yaesu VX-8DR.

    1. Use radio for backwood emergencies and communicating with group.

    The VX-8DR works excellent for that. There several guys in mjy Search & Rescue group that use them including myself.

    2. Freeband on FRS and Aviation (for emergency only). Rather re-program the radio than de-solder. Frequencies need to be accurate so I get good communication on the FRS/Aviation channels.

    You can do the mod on the VX-8DR and use the FRS frequencies. Don't be too against the de-soldering, it is easy to do. You can only listen to the Aviation channels. To transmit on them you will need a different radio.

    3. Scan frequencies for activity. In an emergency, I want to find out where someone is in the spectrum.

    Does it very well.

    4. APRS satellite.

    You bet it can do it and it dose it very well.

    5. Durability.

    IPX8

    6. Long battery life and easy charging. Don't limit the battery comparison to only what comes with the radio.

    With the larger battery 8 hours easy

    7. Good UI, as I don't like carrying a manual with me.

    If you have any Yaesu radios then you will do fine with it.

    8. Another feature I wish the radios had is I don't like giving up my voice TX band when using APRS.

    The VX-8DR is a quad band radio. You can use 2 seperate frequencies at a time. One can be used for APRS and one for voice.


    I hope this helps a bit.(y)
     
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  3. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with Depark's assessment. The VX-8DR is like the swiss army knife of HT's. It's frequency range is far greater than most other HTs and is a tough little radio. Note that we're both recommending the VX-8DR over the VX-8GR.

    FWIW, I have both the VX-8r and the TH-D72. There are things that I prefer about each radio, but I believe your requirements are better served by the Yaesu.
     
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  4. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    Is the trade off between VX-8DR and VX-8GR:

    • DR's ruggedness vs. built-in GPS.
    • DR has the 6m band.

    Not sure how useful 6 meter is. Ideally there would be a reliable 6m APRS network in WA state.

    I'm also liking the idea of being able to use the GPS with my laptop. Can this be done with Yaesu?

    Any problems using Yaesu's TNC with a laptop?

    Also like to program my radio's via software like Kenwood. How's the software for Yaesu.

    What are you finding the trade-offs to be between VX-8DR, VX-8GR, and TH-D72?
     
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  5. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    The 8DR also has 220Mhz and a host of other features not present in the 8GR. The catch with the Yaesu product is that the TNC is not accessible from a PC like the Kenwood is. The VX-8G does output the APRS info to the PC, but you can't actually control or use the TNC in the VX-8 radios from the PC. If you want a full TNC, then the Kenwood is the only choice.

    BTW, both radios have good programming software although the VX-8 software doesn't come from Yaesu; you have to purchase 3rd party software.
     
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  6. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    Does that mean the Yaesu's lack of PC TNC does not work with UI-View or APRSPoint?

    Or does the lack of TNC control mean you can't control the radio from the PC, using the PC as the radio's user interface?

    I really enjoy looking at a map of all the APRS units in the area.

    I also would like to use the radio's GPS to connect to my PC for navigation.
     
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  7. kd0fqx

    kd0fqx W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Why the distaste for the GR?
     
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  8. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    I read the Yaesu 8GR GPS is not as good as Kenwood's. Kenwood is using SiRFstarIII, not sure what Yaesu uses.

    Received a response from Kenwood regarding the device being powered by the USB port. Kenwood: "The TH-D72A may not be power by the USB connection."

    My Delorme PN-40 can be powered and recharged via USB. This is especially convenient when travelling, as I don't need to bring a charger or special USB cable.

    Jake
     
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  9. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    For me it's not a matter of distaste, but a preference for the better durability of the 8DR. Durability was one of his requirements. I also like some of the extra features of the 8DR, however if you don't need them then there's no need to pay the extra price for them.

    You won't be able to use the Yaesu GPS for navigation on your PC. I'm not sure that the GPS chip used is better in one radio vs. the other; they both work for me. The lack of PC control in the Yaesu means that you cannot use a program like UI-View or APRSPoint to set up an IGATE, relay messages, etc. You should be able to use the VX-8GR to display stations on a map, but I have not personally done it with that radio.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  10. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    Can you explain what it means to not have full TNC? For reference, I have the Kenwood TH-D7. What am I able to do with the D7 that I can't do with VX-8?
     
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  11. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    You cannot use the VX-8 TNC for any type of packet. You cannot use it as a digipeater or igate. The TNC can only be accessed by the radio and it can only be used for the built in APRS functions. Because of the ability to do packet with the TH-D7, I was even able to connect it to my PC and use the winlink system to send an email. One could argue that there is a way to do that with the APRS->email gateway, but that doesn't necessarily work for any use case.

    I think there is a place for both of these radios in one's radio arsenal. The proposition gets expensive in a hurry, though.
     
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  12. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    Thanks Moleculo. As long as I can fully use APRS and APRSPoint/UIView, I'd be happy.

    Winlink is something I've wanted to try. But with a HT/portable it is mostly impossible for me because of reception (trees, mountains, distance). Ideally I want a compact portable HF that can do APRS too!

    The value of APRS is the vast network.
     
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  13. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    You will not be able to fully use APRSPoint/UIView with the VX-8. Those programs need to be able to access the TNC to enable all APRS functions.
     
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  14. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

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    Sorry to repeat the question:

    All the APRS functionality EXCEPT digirepeat and igate?
    VX-8 can receive APRS via PC software.
    VX-8 can transmit APRS messages via PC software.

    Jake
     
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  15. Moleculo

    Moleculo Administrator Staff Member

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    The software will not be able to access APRS on the VX-8 at all. In order for a radio to receive or transmit APRS traffic via the software, the software must have access to the TNC to be able to read or send the messages. The only thing you probably will be able to do with the VX-8GR is display stations location on the map. That's it.
     
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