Yaesu FT-847 All-Mode Transceiver (Almost DC to Daylight!) - My wife got this one for me as an early '98 Father's Day present. My first impressions are favorable. I've only been using it a day, so check back later to see if I've added anything to these comments. It has, for the time being, replaced my FT-736 on the desk top. The radio's DSP is not IF based (bummer) but rather lives in the audio section. I have a Timewave DSP-599zx that I am comparing it to, and I must say that the internal DSP does not measure up to the Timewave. (I doubt that anyone has come up with an audio DSP that can beat Timewave's latest product.) Compared to the old DSP-9 that the '599 replaced, the radio's DSP is much better. It provides NR, Notch, and HP/LP filtering. The front panel layout is pretty easy to use. You can sit down, without the manual, and get it up and going with just a couple of button pushes. The internal RF preamps seem to be pretty good. I checked into the 144.250 SWOT net this morning and did not bother to turn on the mast-mounted preamp, which I would normally use. Signals sounded really good. The band stacking registers are GREAT. They remember almost every front panel option you had going prior to changing bands....preamp, DSP settings, RIT, mode, frequency, etc. They did a nice job on this one. I hate the volume control. It is digital in nature....turn the knob, change the DC voltage, and some circuit responds with a step change in the volume. I miss the linear volume control from my FT-736! The light-blue LCD display makes it easy to view at virtually any angle and provides very readable icons. I like the digital metering, covering S meter, power out, ALC, and FM discriminator signal. The power meter seems to be quite accurate when compared to an external meter. Unlike so many new compact rigs, the case stays at room temperature cool, probably attributable to the tiny rear-mounted multi-speed cooling fan. Another surprise was that Yaesu, for some unknown reason, did not provide for VOX operation. Since I don't use VOX, it is of not much consequence, but I am sure some folks will really complain about it. The rear panel is quite populated with a variety of mini-din plugs (argh....I hate those tiny plugs!). There is one for packet, one for the optional antenna tuner, and the remaining one for keying your external amps. Hold on to your seats for this one.....there is a DB-9 connector that provides for a direct connection to your PC (have to use a null-modem cable) without the need for a level converter. The operating commands for the PC interface seem to be somewhat lacking, time will tell when I get around to programming them. The radio also comes complete with CTCSS encoding and decoding, as well as the newer DCS (digital coded squelch) function. There are rear panel connections for 1200 and 9600 data, and these baud rate settings may be independently set on each band and each VFO. Likewise, they can be stored into one of the 100 memories for easy digital operation. I briefly visited the satellite features and they seem to be pretty much on par with what the FT-736 offered. The menu system, which provides for about 50 configurable options, is easily accessed by a single front-panel button, with alpha-numeric prompts guiding you along on the display. There are 4 rear panel antenna connectors, three SO-239s for HF, 6, and 2 meters, and an N connector for 430 operation. The menu even provides for re-routing the 6 meter signal out of the HF port.....nice touch! There are only a couple of options for the radio; Collins CW and SSB narrow filters, a mobile mounting bracket, and the voice synthesizer (which only reports the frequency). Last of all is the manual. I've used a number of Yaesu manuals in the past, and this one has to be the best one to date. Easy to read, good examples when needed, and most of all it is logically organized.
Yaesu almost made THE weak signal operator's radio when they made this model. The manual states that cross-band repeat operation is possible, which it is. What they don't quite say is that it only works in one direction. In other words, you can come in on 440 FM and go out on 6 meter SSB, but when your 6 meter contact responds, you don't get anything back. It is a one way repeat. I imagine the reason for this situation stems from the rig not having dual receive. You can not monitor/receive two bands at the same time, which would be necessary for a fully functional cross-band repeating radio. I wish it had been so! Oh well, maybe next time.
FT-847 Update 5/30/98 - I've had two weeks to use the radio and most of my previous comments stand as written. I have connected the radio's serial port to the desktop PC and have written some software to control the radio. The command structure is somewhat lacking. As it is now, you will not be able to use logging software with the radio unless all frequency control is done via the computer. There is not command to request the operating frequency, although I could tell you what the S-meter reading is (guess that counts for automatically filling in the RST report, eah? There is also no commands for any scanning (which really can be implemented under software commands, but would be much easier to use the radio's registers for that) and nothing to allow any use of the memories. There is no interface commands for controlling AGC, pre-amps, attenuator, keyer, speech processor, DSP, etc. Overall, the command structure is lacking a lot of functionality. I have heard that Yaesu is working on fixing this, but have seen nothing in writing yet. (see 11/17/98 update below) To cure the robust audio output, I started using and external speaker, connected to the rear-panel jack via a patch cord with about 200 ohms of resistance in the hot lead. This is enough to make the volume control useful. I read on another 847 web page that someone had gone into the radio and put a dropping resistor on the input of the audio amp module. They said it did a good job and of course, this would make the internal speaker more pleasant to use as well. I have worked several 6 meter openings over the past week with good results. I also copied a brief 2 meter Es opening from Minnesota. I've yet to work a hot 6 meter opening with a lot of local QRM from the full-legal stations here in Phoenix. I am looking forward to seeing how the radio performs under crowded band conditions.
FT-847 Update 6/15/98 - I assembled the mini-din plug for keying my external brick amps and mast mounted pre-amps today. ARGH, those crummy little plugs. If they made them just a bit smaller, they would be impossible to use. I personally like to modify the ever so common RCA audio patch cables and convert them to amplifier key-line service. I have this thing about using shielded cables....I believe they should be! After striping the out insulation off of the cables, I was able to put two of them (sure glad I don't have amps for the other two ports) into the rear of the plug and solder them to the correct pins. Wow, they are getting these things pretty small. I believe a manufactured cable could have been provided or Yaesu could back up a step and use the standard 5 pin DIN plugs like the FT-736R used on its amp keyline connector.
This past weekend was the June VHF contest. Although I spent the majority of it as a rover, I caught some late Sunday operation at home with the 847. It did a nice job....and I would say better than the 736R did under similar BIG signal conditions. I've no test equipment, etc. to back up this observation. Just my impression and experience on how close I can work to the local big gun stations when their beam pattern is looking over the top of me.
FT-847 Update 11/17/98 - I had mentioned previously that the computer interface command structure was a bit lacking. A few months ago, I learned that Yaesu was offering a free upgrade for new firmware. So, I packed up the radio and sent it back to them. About 10 days later, it was returned with the new firmware, NO CHARGE (except for my shipping it there). I am happy to say that they at least now have included the ability to query the radio to determine what frequency you are using. They did not include the other functions I commented on above. However, I was able to update my logging software so it can now obtain the frequency and mode. So, as I roam around the band, at least I have that information constantly be provided to the PC. (Better than it was!) The update included some other changes as well, but I've no idea what they were. Yaesu's work order simply stated that it was updated to current production level. Most of the components were chip caps and resistors, some hardware, a couple of diodes, etc.
Sangean ATS-909 Multi-mode Receiver - All in all a nice portable receiver. As of 5/2/98, still in production. Covers .15 to 30 Mhz, AM/LSB/USB. Also covers the commercial FM broadcast band. The sound quality is good when using the internal speaker. The supplied headphones provide stereo output on FM broadcast. It has a very large and informative alpha-numeric LCD display. A full keypad allows directly frequency input and a tuning know is provided. It has 29 banks of 9 memories each (you do the math). It runs on 4 "AA" batteries or an external 6VDC adapter @ 300 mA (not supplied). Battery life is shorter than I expected (but it puts out a lot more than a Walkman type radio does too). It has an external antenna port, and comes with a small "wind-up" type portable antenna which is suitable for draping across the top of the curtain rods. It has an RF gain control, along with selectable tone and manual tuning knob. It has the usual built-in clock, timer, and alarm functions. The manual is adequate. The biggest gripe I have with this radio is that there is a slight drop out of audio when tuning the frequency knob. If you are tuning quickly across the band, you can easily miss a signal.
Kenwood TS-60 50Mhz All-Mode Transceiver - I like this radio! It was my first VHF all-mode rig. I got it shortly after they were introduced. For a mono-bander, it is expensive when you compare it to something like the IC-706. However, I believe it is a better radio and the front panel layout is a lot better. I ran it for some time in my Jeep Cherokee until I moved it into the shack (it replaced an borrowed radio) and put an IC-706 in the Jeep. I like Kenwood's programmable microphone feature. I make good use of the 4 buttons, assigning one of them power level, another switches between VFO and memory, another switches between VFO A & B, and the last one .... well, I forget what I use it for. A friend sold his TS-50 some time ago, and gave me a screaming deal on an after-market RF speech processor and 8 pole crystal filter add-in. The speech processor can be turned on and off by using the existing front panel buttons (nice touch). You may select from 3 power settings, that being 10, 50, and 90 watts. The radio uses an extensive menu system to initially setup your options, and after that you can basically forget about it as everything else is available as a simple front-panel button (or a function on one of the mic buttons). Every common function is available without having to scroll through menus (unlike the IC-706). This makes for an easy to operate radio. It has a variable speed fan that runs when it needs to. That means it runs when you build up some heat after transmitting for a while. It will only run in receive until it cools the rig back down. (I like that a lot!) Front panel headphone jack is 1/8". The mobile mount that comes with the radio has a rubber shock pad built into it (nice touch).
Yaesu FT-50RD HT - Overall, a nice 2M/70CM handheld. My biggest complaint with it is the display. In my opinion, Yaesu took a giant step backward when they put this display on their radio. Granted, it does support alpha-numerics, but at the price of poor contrast and limited viewing angle. The other negative aspect of the radio is that it is not dual receive. It does have the "dual-watch" feature, which allows it to jump to the other band every 5 seconds or so and check a frequency, however, if you are listening on a simplex frequency on the other band, the calling station could easily give you a call and you would not catch it with this method. I bought a spare battery, a Maha nickel-metal hydride type, when I purchased the HT. This was the first NiMH battery I have used. I am very impressed with its performance. It packs almost twice the mA hour capacity in the same physical space and retains a full charge much longer than ni-cad type batteries. At this time (5/4/98), I have been using the NiMH battery for about 5 months and it has been working great. Since the radio allows you to constantly display the batter voltage, I have noticed that the NiMH battery maintains a higher terminal voltage during the discharge cycle. With the 9.6 volt battery, this HT will put out a full 5 watts. I also like the 4 selectable power levels, which take you from 100mW up to the full 5 watts output. The memory channels hold the power settings, which makes it very easy to switch repeaters and always have the right power setting. This does prolong the battery life. The digital voice recorder works amazingly well (I wish I had this on my VHF/UHF all-mode rigs for contest work. Its usefulness on a HT has yet to be completely realized. Aside from playing practical jokes on the local folks, I have yet to find a valid reason to put it into an HT. I purchased a Diamond SRH-519 replacement antenna for the HT. The original one seemed to be OK, but when I saw the trim/slim Diamond replacement antenna, I could not resist picking one up. It works very well and looks great on the radio. The menu system is quite easy to access. Yaesu has put a multi-function knob on the top of the radio which gives you easy access to dozens of settings. Gone are the 3 and 4 level deep commands form the keypad (gee, I sure don't miss that). Several of the commonly used items are available as keypad functions, which makes it very simple to make a quick change. All in all, they did a pretty good job on the menu functions. Another item was their implementation of a new speaker-mic plug configuration. The FT-50 uses a single 4 conductor plug, which of course makes the $100 mic from the FT-530 useless on this radio (I believe someone is making an adapter but the kind of kluges things up a bit). This new mic attaches to the side of the radio, which looks to be a bit awkward. I think the time honored method of a top mounted speaker-mic is a better idea. Another annoyance, (it is a small one for me), is that the radio is advertised as being Wideband FM capable. It tunes the commercial FM broadcast band just fine, but the IF strip in the radio is not wide enough (or some similar problem) so the receive audio is badly distorted. Amazingly they still advertise the radio as supporting this feature, even though it does not (gee....isn't there a law against false advertising?)
Yaesu FT-530 Dualband HT - I picked this 2M/70CM handheld just after it first came out and I still think it is a great radio. If you are looking for a good HT at a hamfest, I would seriously consider this one. Although larger than the FT-50, it is small compared to the bulk of the HTs from its era. It is has a true dual-band receive, both of which work very well. The back-lit display is easy to read at almost any viewing angle, and the keypad is also back-lit for night time use (the FT-50 has no back-lit keypad). This HT has a lot of settings that use multiple sets of keystrokes. As such, you will need the book handy in order to manage them (the manual is outstanding). However, once you set them, you will probably never visit them again so it is not a big draw back. I have only used the 7.2VDC, 600 mA hour battery packs on it, and it gets average battery life. When hooked up to an external 12VDC power source, it will put out 5 watts but you better have a pair of thermal gloves....this baby will get HOT if you are long winded! I had to have one of the fancy speaker mikes when they hit the market, the one with the LCD display and control buttons on it. It works great! You can leave the HT clipped on your belt, and run most everything you would need from the microphone. Changing bands, channels, VFOs, etc. is easily done with just a button push or two.....AND, you can see what frequency you are running, etc. at the same time. For a while, this HT was semi-permanently mounted in my wife's car, with one of those little dual-band RF Concepts HT amps. With the LCD equipped speaker mike, you could easily control the HT even though it was safely tucked under the dash. Yeah, Yaesu had a pretty good idea when they built that microphone. I've cracked open the battery packs a number of times and had the local battery store dropped in a new six-pack of "AA" ni-cads. Although I bought the FT-50 to replace this one, I doubt I am going to get rid of it.
Alinco DJ-S41 440 Mhz HT - This is a very small 440Mhz FM HT that I got for my wife some time ago. The main attraction (the only one?) is that is small, small enough to put in a purse and still be able to get all the "other stuff" in as well. It puts out a whapping 340mW of power, and has the ability to go QRP....down to about 50 mW output. There is no keypad on this radio, so controlling repeaters, making autopatches, etc. are out of the question. But, if want a small HT for local coverage, this is a good one for that. The antenna, which does not disconnect from the radio, folds flat against the back of the case. This makes it look less like a radio and more like a big pager. With 20 channels available, you should have no problems storing the local repeaters that you can get with a 1/3 of a watt. Another feature that makes this radio ideal for the casual user is the battery pack...or should I say lack of a battery pack. It uses 3 "AA" cells, which are loaded into the radio via a trap door on the back of the case. Considering the multi-year shelf life of alkaline batteries, this makes for an ideal purse radio that might only get used a few times per month. The batteries will almost always be up to full capacity. It does have an external power connector for 5.5VDC input. It does have CTCSS encoding and the standard speaker-mic jacks. Last time I looked (5/1/98), HRO was selling these new for about $89. For that price, you can't go wrong for a back-up/emergency 440 HT!
Alinco DR-599T/E Dualband Mobile - I bought this 2M/70CM mobile rig up just after Alinco put it on the market. It has been in several different vehicles, including some time in the shack. It was the first mobile I had with a separation kit. While installed in my Jeep, the radio itself was bolted down securely under the rear seat while the display head was neatly mounted on the dash. It has since been relocated to my wife's Jeep, where it is installed in a similar fashion. By all accounts, it is a good radio. The amber display is easy to read at night or in bright sunlight. While camping, the cross-band capability makes for a great HT range extender (a good use for the little DJ-S41 above). The manual leaves something to be desired, but it is good enough to use the radio (after a little trial and error every now and again). The radio can be remotely controlled via the microphone keypad, or over the air from the DTMF keypad of your HT. The command sequences are not exactly intuitive to use, but at least it can be done. The receiver behaves as well as most and better than some in the presence of strong RF fields. It is not intermod proof, but like I said it is better than others I have used in the past. I bought the optional CTCSS decoder module and the DTMF module for it so it can doing all of the regular CTCSS stuff, DTMF memory dialing, DTMF squelch for paging, remote control, etc. The heat-sink mounted fan keeps the unit cool, especially when you stick it under the rear seat! The front panel is pretty simple to operate, with all of the common functions available with one or two button pushes. The # of memories is a bit low compared to currently manufactured rigs, holding up to 28 of your favorite repeaters frequencies. These 28 memories are shared between the VHF and UHF bands. So, if you have only three 2 meter frequencies, you can use the other 25 for UHF. In summary, it is a well built radio that has survived a number of years of "Jeep mobile" service. That has to be worth something!
Uniden HR-2600 10Meter All-Mode Transceiver - This little 25W transceiver can be found at most hamfests for about $100. I obtained mine from a friend who was looking for a DSP-9, which I just happened to have. The xcvr is large for a mono-bander. It is larger than my IC-706 rig. BUT, you can also work on this one without having to posses the skills of a brain surgeon. With the start of the new sun-spot cycle, I wanted something in the shack to play with for a 6 meter liaison rig. This fits the bill just fine. There is at least one after-market mod for this radio that adds a new EPROM chip for expanded frequency operation. I think it adds some memory capability also. The radio itself works quite well. I put it on an A/B coax switch in my Jeep and did some comparisons to my IC-706's receiver. It did amazingly well. There were a few signals that were heard on the IC-706 and not on the 2600. Considering the difference in price, I think this could be expected. The 2600 handles the 100Khz repeater offset with the push of a button. The built-in SWR meter works accurately enough to make the outboard MFJ antenna tuner useable. Squelch and RIT are standard, as is the noise blanker (no comment on how well the NB works). If you have need of a little 10Meter xcvr, look around at your local hamfest and latch onto one of these rigs. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Kenwood TM-V7A Dualband Mobile - The perfect indoor mobile radio. That is where mine is in use. From what I have heard, it needs to stay there too. Everything I have read, and those I have spoken with, comment that the cool blue display is the worst thing in sunlight. You can configure it for blue-on-white or white-on-blue, and it washes out either way once the sun comes above the horizon. Other than that, I love the radio. The alpha-numeric display supports a usable amount of information, and allows you to name your repeater channels. I use it a lot around the house as a cross-band repeater (simplex freqs). I can easily run around the area with my FT-50 on a 440 simplex frequency and talk to the local guys on 2 meters, using the antenna gain and power available on the TM-V7A. A note to those who try this....the microphone on the Kenwood stays active when the radio is in cross-band repeat mode. So...anything said in the room (at any time) can be heard over the radio. I believe Kenwood has a service bulletin out that provides the necessary info on how to mod the mic and eliminate this problem. The menu system is quite functional, with a large number of configurable options. Most of them are of the "set and forget" type. It has more memories than I could possibly use (something like 280 or so). Overall, it is a very nice radio, as long as you leave it in the house. You will be very disappointed if you want to use it (or should I say see it) during daylight mobile hours.
Yaesu FT-811 440Mhz HT - Good little mono-band HT. I used mine on and off for several years before selling it (too many HTs). The display is small, but was probably on par with others back when it was being produced. Full DTMF keypad with the usual bells and whistles. It had CTCSS encode and decode (the decode was an installable option) and supports DTMF paging as well. It went to the local Phoenix RF mountain-tops with me and was better to use than the current HTs that seem to hear everything once on the mountain. I had the speaker-mic and DC adapter/charger which both worked well. The HT did not have a direct 12DC jack on it. You had to use the DC adapter/charger option. This looked like a short batter pack that mounted in place of the regular batter, and allowed you to connect the HT batter to it. This made the HT about 1.5" taller, but gave you a full 5 watts out on high power. It would also charge the battery while you were plugged into the local cigarette lighter.
Yaesu FT-736R All-Mode Satellite Transceiver - I ran this radio for about 18 months as my primary 2 meter and 70 cm weak signal radio. It is a very good radio and just dropped out of the current Yaesu catalog. It was produced for 12 years. Not a bad track record, and that should say something for it! I only used it a few times on satellites, but those few times were a real kick. Someday, I might invest the time and money to put up some antennas that do that mode justice. There are getting to be a lot more used 736s on the market. If you are in need of a good VHF/UHF radio (and you can even work on this one quite a bit if you enjoy that), pick one up. It has room for two more band modules, which usually get filled with either a 6 meter module (pretty popular now with the upcoming solar cycle), a 222 module, or a 1296 module. When filled with 4 bands, it makes a pretty good contesting radio. It does not have dual receive capability....i.e., you will only receive on 1 band at a time. So, if you like listening to the 2 meter calling channel when working a hot 6 meter opening, this radio won't make you happy! I've got a friend of mine who is thinking about putting in the English manufactured Mutek boards. These are a complete RF upgrade for the 736, providing new receive and xmit boards for 2 meters and 70 cm. Much better selectivity and intermod rejection, so they say. SSB Electronics carries these boards, along with a nice line of pre-amps (have installed one on a friend's tower and it works very well).
Yaesu VX-5R 50/144/430Mhz Tri-Band HT - Well, I had to go and try one of these little radios. I had looked at the VX-1 but wanted nothing to do with a radio that cost that much money and only put out a few hundred milliwatts. But, when this little 5 watt beauty came long, I thought I would try it out. So far, so good. I spent several hours today putting in frequencies, make the alpha-numeric names for them, etc. Wow....putting in the name tags takes a while.
One thing that the VX-5R is missing, but has been on so many Yaesu HTs in the past years, is the DTSS (dual tone squelch system) function. If you are into the group paging function, you won't find it here. I do not use the paging function, but the DTSS is used to control a couple of my other FM mobile rigs for remote control access. (You can substitute the 3 digit code by simply entering it on the keyboard, but it is kind of a pain to do.)
I am impressed with the lithium-ion battery technology. The 7.2V 1100 mAh battery seems to do a really good job. It charges up in about 2 ~ 3 hours. I opted for the little charging stand that runs about $25. It is powered by the wall-wart charger that normally plugs into the radio. But this allows you to charge the battery without it being attached to the radio. So, with a spare battery, you obviously charge one in the stand while using the other. Given the short charge time, you could probably get along without it, but it is nice to have. The jury is still out on the Yaesu case (oh yeah....you have to buy these now.) I'm sure it will help protect the radio's die cast metal case (all metal), but It is kind of cheaply made. I probably should have opted for one of those "The Pouch". They do offer a lot better protection. Given the size of the radio, the belt clip (made of plastic) can be too big or else it won't fit. The jury is also out on the belt clip's ability to safely hold the radio. (Again, "The Pouch" might be a better solution.)
So, you say how is the radio? Well, the .560Khz ~ 15Mhz band does leave something to be desired. I can get a handful of AM broadcast band stations on it, without any special antenna. I've not tried hooking it to any outside antenna, which I would imagine would make a world of difference. My FT-847 handles that section of the MF and HF spectrum so I am not too concerned out it. It is nice to be able to pick up a few of the local stations. The wideband FM reception (both TV and FM broadcast band) is quite good. I had no problem picking up all of the VHF TV stations. I did have some difficulty in getting the local UHF ones. The receive in the three ham bands seems good. I did some very unscientific comparisons between my FT-50RD and the VX-5R, sitting side-by-side on my desk. I even switched antennas back and forth and all in all, the performance was virtually the same (of course, I did not test 6 meters on the FT-50RD). I've not had it on the mountain top yet (it will be up there in a week or so) so not sure how it will survive the heavy RF environment. I'm sure it will squawk and puke all over itself, just like most other HTs seem to do. The 220 memories provide ample room for my storage needs. I'm sure some folks will fill all of them up and wish for more. (How may public service freqs can you listen to at once?)
The speaker audio sounds pretty good. Not quite what the FT-50 has, but pretty good none the less. Speaker mics, an earphone, etc. are all attached by one of those 1/8" 4-conductor plugs. I do resent all of my other (older)Yaesu speaker mics not working in these newer radios. I think squeezing everything down to such a small size is taking a toll. The keypad does pretty good, except that they moved the ABCD keys to the left side of the pad (nothing like staying consistent), and the * and # keys are along the right had side. However, they did backlight the keys AND you can actually read what is on the buttons. Of course, you can't read the writing on the case, which handles the other couple of functions that each key performs. But then again, I haven't found an HT yet were you could read the writing on the case when the lights were out!
All in all, I like this little radio. I hate having to screw on the 6 meter antenna extension when I want to work on 50 Mhz, but I also like NOT having it there when I'm only concerned with 144 and 440 Mhz. A friend of my has the Icom tri-band HT and the antenna looks a little like a small baseball bat. He has also told me that it does not work well at all. I compared mine with a Diamond dual-band antenna and it seemed to perform about equally.
VX-5R update 2/12/99
I've had a chance to use the radio for a full week now....and I am impressed. I have had numerous comments by long-time radio friends that the xmit audio sounds really great. One guy said it was the best reproduction of my voice that he had heard on any radio (aside from the FT-847). I asked them if the deviation sounded about the same as other users (yeah, I know this is not very scientific, but I'll check it on the IFR 1200 this weekend), and everyone agreed there was no reason to adjust it.
The most impressive thing I have discovered so far is the battery life. I had set the receive battery saver to the 300 ms (1:1.5) setting. I find this setting adequate as far as not missing the beginning of a transmission, etc. The radio has an onboard battery monitoring function that will record the accumulated transmit and receive time in hours & mins. Note that the manual is incorrect in their statement that the time displayed is the total time since you turned the radio on. It is actually the total time since you last reset the monitoring function. I reset mine each time I put in a fresh battery (which has been a total of 1 time this past week). I used the HT until the low battery indicator started showing in the receive mode. How did it do? The timer showed almost 19 hours of receive time and 25 minutes of transmit time recorded. Of course, this was spread over a multi-day period. I am completely impressed with the battery performance. Most of my transmit time was at the 1 watt level, with the remainder being at the 2.5 watt level. More than 50% of the receive time was with no activity on the channel....probably closer to about the 75% mark. The user manual indicates that the receiver draws 25 mA during battery-saver enabled receive mode. I am not certain if this is for the factory default setting or if this is an overall average. Either way, it seems to be very energy efficient when the channel is quiet. I think I am going to give the transmit battery saver feature a try next week. I use the HT daily on my to and from work commute route. There are a few places where the repeater is shadowed by some mountains. It will be interesting to see if xmit power does in fact adjust itself based on the strength of the received signal.
Oh yeah...one additional comment about the Yaesu case. While walking from the parking lot to my office, I was switching my briefcase between hands. The HT's wrist strap, which has since been removed, got caught and the end result was that the VX-5R ended up on the asphalt. I had the Yaesu case on it at the time and I must say that it did it's job. No scratches on the radio (and the case still looks good too). I doubt I could say that had the case been in my briefcase. So...the jury has delivered their verdict....I will continue to use the case. I also picked up one of the "The Pouch" cases which attaches much more securely to a belt than does the HT's belt clip. I wanted something more secure for when the HT goes with me on the bike, etc.
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