Yaesu FT-7800/7900 VHF/UHF Mobiles
In the shack I have a Yaesu FT-7800, and it’s newer brother the Yaesu FT-7900 in the car.
This pair of radios are virtually identical. The newer FT-7900 has a slightly different facia, the difference being the size and shape of the control buttons.
The functions available from the front panel are the same as the FT-7800. The FT-7900 also boasts a few extra watts of RF output power on the UHF band.
Both radios have been programmed identically – this is just to help prevent confusion when operation the different radios.
In the case of the mobile unit, I have used the separation kit to allow mounting of the front panel of the radio in a convenient position, while the main body of the radio is positioned securely in the boot.
Yaesu VX-6r VHF/UHF handheld
When outside I often use a small Yaesu VX-6R handheld radio.
The wide frequency range and scanning features make this small radio perfect for listening around not only the amateur bands, but also the normal broadcast, air, marine, PMR and shortwave bands.
This radio is also ideal for taking out in the car when used with a small discrete mag-mount antenna. I simply place the handheld into a mobile phone holder which prevent it sliding around.
Here’s a short recording of astronaut Tim Peake talking to school children on Saturday March 05 2016 at approx 11.00am GMT received on the International Space Station (ISS) downlink frequency of 145.800Mhz using the VX6r and a mobile antenna. Due to the distant location of the school talking to the space station it was not possible to hear their transmissions.
Baofeng UV-5R VHF/UHF handheld
Another useful handheld radio is the Baofeng UV-5R.
This cheap and cheerful Chinese radio makes an ideal companion when working outside or hiking around rough terrain. The low cost of these radios means that should it get damaged or lost then it really isn’t a major problem.
The UV-5R features 128 programmable channels with priority channel scanning, dual watch and 1750 Hz call tone making it quite comparable to much more expensive radios.
The UV-5R also features built-in VOX (Voice Operated Transmit) for hands-free operation and a high illumination flashlight, neither of which is sported by the Yaesu.
As with most Chinese products, the user guide could be better written or translated. I have found a re-written and annotated copy and have made a copy available on my downloads page or by clicking here.
Vertex Standard VX-351 PMR handhelds
I also have a pair of Vertex Standard (Yaesu’s parent company) PMR handheld radios.
In the UK, these are normally supplied programmed to the 8 licence-free PMR channels. Software to program the channels is available and makes the re-programming of these easy.
Both my VX-351’s are programmed identically, the first 8 channels to the UK PMR frequencies. The remaining 8 channels are programmed for the 70cm calling channel and some local 70cm repeaters.