ezyang’s blog

the arc of software bends towards understanding

Later Impressions of the VX-8R

Earlier in January, I blogged some first impressions about the VX-8R. It's now three months later, and I've used my radio on some more extensive field tests. I'm considering selling my VX-8R for a 7R, for the following reasons:

  • I generally need five hours of receive with medium transmission. I only get about 3.5 hours worth of receive with the standard VX-8R battery. This is not really acceptable. (At risk of being "get off my lawn", Karl Ramm comments that his old Icom W32 from the 90s got 12 hours of receive.)
  • The AA battery adapter is laughable, giving maybe 20min of receive time before flagging. The ability to run digital cameras on AA batteries had given me the false impression that I'd be able to do the same for a radio, really this adapter is only fit for emergency receive situations.
  • The remaining battery indicator unreliable, going from 8.5V to 7.5V, and then dropping straight to zero. This is the defect I sent mine back in for last time, but I saw this problem in the replacement, and a friend confirmed that he saw the same on his.
  • The radio gets quite hot during operation. I'd never noticed the temperature with the 7R.
  • Everyone else around here owns a 7R, which severely limits the swappability of various components (in particular, batteries).

I really am going to miss the dedicated stereo jack and slimmer (and, in my opinion, better) interface, but these really are deal breakers. C'ést la vie.

3 Responses to “Later Impressions of the VX-8R”

  1. Karl Ramm says:

    I’m not at all convinced that there isn’t something wrong with your
    radio, but because no one else around here has an 8R, and the club
    never bought one, it’s hard to check.

    If I weren’t spending all my money on a different hobby at the moment, I’d probably be planning to pickup an 8GR…

  2. Quentin Smith says:

    I think this is the point where I caution you to actually go to HRO and try out all the current radios before buying one. (they’re about a 30 minute drive north of Boston.) Personally, I find the TH-F6A to be awesome, but it’s a very personal decision, and you should NOT buy a radio just because it’s what everyone else has.

  3. Kevin RIggle says:

    Your first radio is not a personal decision — you use whatever’s available, or if you need to own it you buy whatever everyone else has that meets what requirements you know you have. Now that you have some experience, it’s more reasonable to go to the trouble of trying a bunch in person.

    I’m sorry to hear the 8R didn’t work out for you, though. I had high hopes for it as a potential replacement for the 7R. :-/

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