Yaesu VX7 Users

At this time I’m contemplating purchasing a Yaesu VX7 handheld for activating some of the higher summits next year, taking the rucksack weight right down to assist the ageing legs, FT-857 & Slab are available but weighty. With 2m, 6m & 70cms FM at 5w output or less available, this HH would suit my needs for an activation. Added with the fact that it is waterproof and apparently indestructible, small and lightweight, it sounds just the job.
Wonder if others are using this HH and what their thoughts are on use.
Especially interested in comments on antennas used,connectors, external handmikes, battery life working QRP, ease of use, any problems experienced etc etc…………

I’m sure many will advise the FT-817 and the extra expense, but not really interested in activating on the HF bands and again weight is king!


Ian 2E0EDX


The VX-7R is a good radio, but not as good as the considerably cheaper single-band 2m FM Yaesu VX-110. Battery life - it will easily do an hour or two on 2.5 watts (probably more), but can be supplied from a SLAB if needed. The RD on these Yaesu handhelds are not brilliant. You can buy bigger better ones to put on, but of course you would then lose the waterproof property of the VX-7R (if the rain was severe and horizontal!).

2m and 70cm with the RD are fine on the VX-7R, but 6m, even with the supplied attachment is pathetic. The extra bits and bobs like the the FM broadcast band coverage, the airband, MW (for the footy scores on BBC Radio 5 Live, used to have this on during lunch stops on the Pennine Way) and SW broadcast bands are entertaining novelties, but at the end of the day just that - novelties. I would go for the rugged tough black VX-110 2m FM handheld every time, for around half the cost of a VX-7R.

When the 817 was poorly in hospital for a few weeks recently, Jimmy and I had a major LD SOTA trip planned. We connected the HHs to the SOTA Beam courtesy of a BNC to SMA adaptor, and powered them with the SLAB (we had a few days’ multi-summit activating planned). Some summits where we could get away with it, we just used the handhelds as they were - own battery and RD, and this saved time for traverses between summits. This all worked well.

Yes, as you would expect, I would advise the 817 overall. Don’t worry about the HF. It’s the best portable VHF radio you can get for that price anyway. It is a brilliant 2m multimode, even without all the other bands. Remember, I was a class B for a while, and then after being permitted onto HF had no interest it (before CW), but the 817 was always a superb 2m radio for SOTA.

Our normal set-up is to take the 817, beam and SLAB in rucsacs ready for summit use, and carry handhelds on our waist belts for the ascents/descents.

Hope this is of use Ian. GL.


In reply to M3EDX:

SSB perhaps? :wink:

If this is for SOTAing only and unless you envisage making make enough FM contacts on 70cms and 6m to justify the extra cost perhaps a VX170 might be a better bet. More indestructable and waterproof and very much cheaper.


And editing this after the event I see Tom thinks similarly to me. Great minds hey Tom!

In reply to M3EDX:

Dont forget 2M SSB is a great band and mode to work and the 817 does remain king for what it offers.

I been using my 857 on the lower 1 point hills to get more power and give as many chasers a chance. I take the 817 on the larger ones as you often dont need the extra power. You can still keep th5 kit light with an 817 and a good rucksack will hide the weight as well.

I never had much success with the handy I also carry being stuck with FM it often a lets me down on the more distant contacts, hence why I use 2m SSB and I am one for giving chasers a chance.

M0JDK who I go out with on the hills uses a VX and it does perform well, but never beats a 817

In reply to M3EDX:

I have a VX-7 nad I like it. I have a waterproof speaker/mike and also the headset/boom mic. Both are worth the purchase.

The radio can get warm on long transmissions (but that may be a bonus). Worked 34 qso’s from tal-y-fan when I forgot the mic to the 817 so battery life if pretty good.

Always take it with me and is used for monitoring for other summits while ascending.

Like other have said though, the 6m capability with the rubber duck is rubbish. I think I’ve had 2 qso’s on that band with it, both less than 5 miles.

Have fun

In reply to 2E0KPO:

I use a Yaesu FT-60R handy which is very ruggedly built and has 5 watts maximum output on 2m/70cms. Mine is carried as a back up radio. The battery lasts for ages and 2 activations is a good possibility from one charge. It also has the facility to run from an external supply such as a small SLAB (a 1.2ah would be man enough and very light) or a NiMah pack. The FT-60R can be charged from your car cigar lighter socket between summits if required.
The nice part, it comes complete with multiband RD and a charger, at a very reasonable price of around just over £100. I wouldn’t swap mine for any other similar handy.

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to M1EYP:
"You can buy bigger better ones to put on, but of course you would then lose the waterproof property of the VX-7R (if the rain was severe and horizontal!). "

If you get one of the SMA to BNC converters available on ebay from Hong Kong as opposed to the horrible ones available in the UK, these screw tightly down onto the rubber seal around the VX SMA socket and in my experience are 100% waterproof. Then you can use any antenna that uses a BNC connecter without waterproof worries.
73 jim gm0cqk

In reply to M3EDX:

I have one. The battery seems to last a long time.

It gets quite hot on full power and long overs.

The external microphone/speaker connector is different from normal (threaded).

I find it difficult to remember how to navigate the menu system without the manual.

VX-7 Commander + cheap ebay lead makes programming it easier.


In reply to G6SFP:
I dont like the squelch arrangement on the VX7-R.faffing about in the menu,guess its just my age!,but otherwise a neat piece of kit,Geoff G4cpa.

In reply to M3EDX:

I’ve had a VX-7 for about 4½ years now and I find it very good. Admittedly I find that I seldom use it on 6m or 70cm. It may be worth thinking about whether you actually want these bands or you purchase a less expensive single band (and probably more sensitive)model.
While I’m ascending / descending a hill I have it strapped to the rucksack attached to a Sandpiper 2m dipole. Keeping a SMA-BNC adapter on the rig makes this easier as I find the SMA connector very difficult to use with cold fingers.
I bought an extra battery with my VX7 which gives me enough power for even the longest activating days. I frequently use the VX7 for 2m FM activations by plugging it into the 2m quad antenna on the summit. This saves the FT-817 battery for other bands / modes.

Overall I’m quite happy with the VX7 for use on the hill. A big improvement on the days when the old FT-51R would stop working once enough water seeped in to come half way up the lcd display.

Robin. GM7PKT.

In reply to G4CPA:
Geoff, take a look at the manual page 82. You can use the “my menu” facility to assign any of the menu items to the tx-po-lk key. I have assigned menu item #1 SQL NFM to that key. So to change the squelch, I don’t have to fiddle around with the menu, just press the tx-po-lk key and then main or sub to alter the squelch. Its not as neat as having dedicated control but using the “my menu” function makes it a bit easier.

In reply to GM7PKT:
“I find the SMA connector very difficult to use with cold fingers.”
Take a look at these on ebay from Hong Kong - easy to connect/disconnect, much more solid connection, and waterproof when screwed to the rubber seal on the VX. http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SMA-to-BNC-Adaptor-for-YAESU-VX-2R-VX-6-VX-7R-VX-170_W0QQitemZ130168454885QQihZ003QQcategoryZ48704QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
I wouldn’t be without one of these.
73 jim

OH! and i have just screwed up the display in Firefox by using a long URL :frowning:

In reply to G0CQK:
I got one of these “Hong Kong” SMA/BNC adaptors… Yes they have a nice rubber collar that helps you snug it down… but go easy.

I found to my cost that they are made of pretty soft metal and it’s easy to strip the thread… Otherwise it works fine.

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G0AZS:
I’ve been using one of these for just over a year with no problems, but I will watch that I don’t try to over tighten.
73 jim

In reply to M3EDX:

I have a VX7 which is deaf as a post - a common fault according to W&S emporium. It has spent the last 2 years taking up space on a shelf in the shack. I rarely use a handy these days, but when I do, I have the Yaesu VX170, under a hundred quid, good receiver & bombproof. Its also worth changing the rubber duck for a Watson or Diamond high gainer or similar - or go the whole hog & use a rucsack mouted half wave.

ps - I did have a Yaesu FT60 dual bander - great rig, but mine was last seen on the summit of Whitbarrow.

In reply to G1INK:

ps - I did have a Yaesu FT60 dual bander - great rig, but mine was
last seen on the summit of Whitbarrow.

Yes it is easy to put these little handhelds down and they go missing. I always double check before leaving a summit. BTW didn’t a certain yellow GPS unit suffer a similar fate?

I use two Standard rigs. Since acquiring the C710 a month or so ago, the C528 has stayed in the backpack as back-up. It is still a good rig and I have it programmed with the 446MHz frequencies in case of difficulties. I did originally consider the VX170 on cost grounds, but was persuaded by the 528 which was cheap on eBay and offered me the two bands. The use of a battery pack with standard AA NiMH’s has proved useful. The NiMH’s are quite a large proportion of the weight, so I went for 2500mA spec from the start.

73, Gerald

In reply to M3EDX

I have a VX7 and am pleased with it. It seems to be more sensitive than my THF7E and has worked well for sota. It’s also good for summits when the WX is driving rain. My lightweight kit for fast summits when accompanied by other people is the vx7 +30w pa + radio control model 12 V NiCd + diy dipole. I did buy the case for it as bits of the outer case were getting worn away from friction inside my rucsac as I also use it to listen to Radio 4 etc whilst out running in the hills.



In reply to G0CQK:
Hi Jim sri fer delay ,tnx fer squelch tip ,ill have another drink then investigate hi 73 Geoff.

In reply to G0CQK:
Hi Jim sri fer delay ,tnx fer squelch tip ,ill have another drink then investigate hi 73 Geoff.