It’s a shack in a box!!! What can I say against this machine. Well for the price, not a lot really. It’s a good solid radio, and the main tuning dial has a great feel. I suppose for the purists amongst us, the microprocessor controlled functions contribute to birdies and additional noise, but other than that It’s a great rig. It can put out 100W on HF, 50W on VHF, and 20W on UHF. It covers all most commonly used amateur bands, with the notable exception of 4 metres. It has two outputs on the back, an N-Type for frequencies above 50MHz, and an SO239 for under 50MHz. It has built in DSP, CTCSS, Tone Squelch, Split VFO, and all the other functions that are far to numerous to list here that you’d expect from a contemporary transceiver. At the time I purchased this there were a couple of bundles available, which essentially boiled down to choosing either the Automatic ATU, or the Batteries. Yes it can take two battery packs and has a switch on top to swap between them, however because it’s got a regular 13.8v DC input I figured that the Auto ATU would be more useful, as If I’m portable with something that weighs this much I’d probably have a car to hand, and could use Lead Acid Batteries instead. The Auto ATU is ok, and the menu functions allow you to tune it right from the radio controls. In my opinion the Auto ATU is great if you have a nicely set up antenna with the right amount of inductance, however with a technically poor antenna setup it will not tune quite so readily. With my MFJ 971 manual tuner, I seem to be able to tune up far poorer antenna to give an acceptible vSWR reading. The other nice additional option is the slot in PSU. This gives enough power to operate the rig at full tilt, and slides on nicely to the main unit. It gives the box some additional weight, but it does away with having to have a separate PSU with high amperage cables knocking about.
A fantastic portable rig. This was a great purchase. Multimode, multiband functions, capable of split vfo with one SO239, and one BNC connector, very useful for satellite comms. It can provide 2.5 watts of power from it’s internal batteries, or 5 watts from an external power source, and is light enough to carry without breaking your back. It accepts a standard yaesu MIC with an RJ45 conector. It’s great for mobile and portable operation. The only criticism I have is that the buttons are rather close together, but there again I think it’s size and functionallity more than makes up for it. I’ve used this in the car many times, and the AF is loud enough to be heard over loud motorway driving in a small car. Whilst I also own an FT-897, this is the radio of choice for me as I love QRP the challenge of QRP operation. I have two loaded HF whip antenna that plug into the BNC socket, one for 15 metres, and one for 80 meters. The 15 metre antenna is great with this rig, but the 80 meter antenna is a bit on the heavy side for being supported by the BNC socket alone. I think that if used lots it may weaken the socket mounting, and I dont want to have to send it back to yaesu to get fixed.
Yaesu VX-5 HT
Another small portable radio. This covers 6m 2m, and 70cm. It’s not much larger than a modern cellular phone, and has most functions you’d expect from an amateur rig. It’s not that great for satellite comms, due to the smallest tuning step being 5KHz, and it doesn’t do USB, but it does have the advantage of being able to push out 5 watts RF whist running on the internal batteries.