.: Yaesu VX-7r

The Yaesu VX-7r was my first radio I purchased after I got my licence. I brought this second-hand, and purchased a few items new for it. Namely the cigarette lighter charger and a Nagoya 2/70 portable antenna, which is a bit higher in gain - it performs pretty well for what it is.

The radio itself is a tri-band unit, covering 6m, 2m and 70cm. It can also be modified via software to do the MARS/CAP section if you have a need for such a thing.

These are a very reliable little radio and I would definately recommend it to anyone that is considering taking a portable into the bush or camping, or any environment where it may get knocked around a bit.

A few things to watch out for:

1 - Rubber Seals:
The little rubber plug on the right side where the charger port is, that will in time perish and snap off - thus the radio will no longer be waterproof.

2 - Heat:
They tend to get very hot if your having an extended QSO. To be fair there isn't a lot of air movement inside the radio, actually there is none! Its waterproof remember :) So it has a tendancy to get rather hot if your using it a bit.
To the point where it is uncomfortable to hold.

3 - Waterproofing:
I don't know if I trust the claims of its waterproofness. I will leave this up to someone else to confirm. Although, I have had it in heavy rain and it survived without fault. One thing you will find if it does get wet is that the receive audio (and I suspect tx would be same) is muffled. You need to shake the radio a little (gently of course) and wipe it down to dry it off. Once you do that everything is back to normal. Also when using attachments like speaker/mic and non-vx7r antennas ensure they are sealing correctly, or this will cause water to enter the radio.

4 - LCD Screen:
In direct sunlight, or even on hot days the screen can become distorted. By this I mean the liquid starts to run, as would any LCD when its hot or in direct sunlight. It can also cause the screen to fade and in some situations I've seen it flickering - Only cure is to get it away from direct sunlight/heat and let it cool. This problem will also be present if you have been using the radio for an extended period.

5 - Battery:
I have noticed with mine, when changing batteries sometimes the radio won't restart or turn back on. This is easy to fix, just unclip the battery and then push it back down just enough for the clip to latch over it and then let the clip push it into place. I am not sure if others have this problem or if it is just my radio, as I have changed batteries a lot over time - maybe the contacts on the battery are getting bit ordinary.

Performance wise I can't fault it. It performs very well and I have accessed repeaters from places where other portables could not do so. Programming it (as with most radios) from the front panel is painfull I would strongly suggest getting the Yaesu programming software, or downloading the free VX7 Commander software.
VX7 Commander allows you to change all functions of the radio along with memory channel management.

As said earlier, I would recommend this radio to anyone. Its very reliable and gives you access to three bands. There is also dual VFO's and it will receive on both at the same time, although if there are transmissions on both at the same time one VFO will be louder then the other - as they are both coming through at the same speaker this is pretty obvious. But it does give you the capacity to monitor two seperate frequencies at the same time, which can be handy. There are also many other nifty little features in this radio, such as: reverse mode - for checking input frequency of the repeater; single button access to direct VFO mode; easy access to power level via function key - no scrolling through menus to change it. And due to the dual VFO I believe this could also be used for satellite work to as well, if you were into that - I've yet to experiment with satellites be interesting, one day I will get around to it.