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04 septembrie 2008

Yaesu VX-170

The newest aquisition in my shack is a Yaesu VX-170 HT. It is a VHF portable radio.
The radio is a monobander, very similar in schematics with VX-150.
I do not intend to sell my VX-150, just to have a more rugged radio on my hand...

Below are the main features from Yaesu website with some personal comments:

Submersible!

The VX-170 conforms to IPX7 specifications for submersibility (submersion for up to 30 minutes at a depth of three feet).


Yeah, right, like a Navy SEAL! But wait, I can't talk nor receive under 1m of water!

I did put the radio under water. Not at 1m depth and not for 30 min's. I can tell you, the radio is OK after that. Of course, the radio was in the same state i extract it from the original box! No "mic-un-muffle-mod"...


Outstanding Receiver Audio

The VX-170's hefty 700 mW of audio provides plenty of volume when operating in a noisy environment.

As advertised, the radio put a lot of audio. The sound is comparable with a GP-300 from Motorola. The receiving signal is very inteligible even in mobile operation. I plan to remove my FT-8900 from the car after I figure how to mount this radio comfortably and after I will purchase a MH-73A4B microphone.


1400 mAh Battery Pack Yields Long Operating Time

The VX-170 is supplied with a long-life 1400 mAh Ni-MH Battery Pack, for extended operating time during search-and-rescue or public service event operations.


The same battery, FNB-83 (7,2V-1400mAh-183 grams NiMH) is found on the professional line of HT's from Yaesu. I use the same kind of battery also on VX-150 in conjuncton with a rapid charger (CD-30). The FNB-64 (7,2V-700mAh-150 grams) is also suitable for this radio and can share the same rapid charger.


Expanded Receiver Coverage

The receiver's frequency range is 137-174 MHz, covering many public service, marine, and government channels.


I testify that the "general coverage" is a real coverage! The radio performs very well on the the whole band. I am pleased surprised about this! Also, a very nice feature is the scanning! The radio scan very fast! A little faster than the VX-150.


User Password

To prevent an unauthorized person from using your VX-170, you may engage a security password that must be keyed in prior to operation, if you like.


Not so useful feature as a full reset will erase the password! This pasword is only to protect the memories content and does not work as a antithefth protection.


200 Memory Channels

The 200 memories may be partitioned into as many as 10 memory groups. Alpha-numeric labeling is available on all memories.


Well, this is a interesting issue! The early announcements advertised a "1000 memories" but this radio never had this amount! Always was a 200 memory radio!


Keyboard Frequency Entry

Operating frequencies may be entered directly from the front panel keypad, which may also be used for quick recall of memory channels by number.


Weather Broadcast Channels

In the U.S. version, a dedicated special memory bank of ten NOAA Weather Channels is available, with a "Severe Weather" alert capability.


Not so useful in Romania!!!


EAI (Emergency Automatic ID) Feature

Ideal for search-and-rescue work, the EAI feature can be commanded on so as to identify your VX-170, and engage your PTT and microphone, remotely in an emergency situation. So if you don't check in during a search, help can be dispatched, with the automatic TX function allowing others to perform direction finding. The EAI feature is not included in the U.S. version at this time.


Well, this option is available only with optional board FTD7. As I do not have this board, I can't tell you too much about. From the user manual, this optional board enable the radio to pageback the receiving calls. I remember that FT-530 have this pageback feature as a standard feature.



Split Tone Capability

Besides the usual CTCSS and DCS Encode/Decode features you've come to know and love on a Yaesu transceiver, the VX-170 includes a "Split Tone" capability that allows you to Encode a CTCSS tone, and Decode DCS, or vice-versa. You can also Encode (without decoding) either CTCSS or DCS.


This is nice when working on some repeaters or Echolink systems. Not very useful on day-to-day usage.


OK, here are some observations, useful I hope for the end user...

-The radio doesn't have a squelch button; the squelch treshold is set by F+ Moni+ DIAL. Similar with a VX-2 radio. I miss this feature from my VX-150. On the lateral, only PTT and MONI buttons are available!

-The stock antenna looks like the VX-150 antenna, but there are some minor differences... This antenna performs better!

-The microphone is not below the speaker. Is below the RX/TX LED on the front. I read about some "mods" for a beter modulation... Puncture the seal in front of the condenser mike... Huh! i will not make that mod! I received good reports on my audio so I can't see a reason for this irreversible mod. And it affects the sealing of the radio.

-The radio is well protected for moisture.

-You cannot use the same optionals or programming cable from a VX-150. Instead, you can use the same from VX-5.
-The backlight is operated from MENU, not from a dedicated key. You can assign the backlight to a programmable key. On the keyboard, <7> and <8> are user programmable. For programming this keys, you go to MENU ([F] followed by [0], choose the desired function with the DIAL (on bottom of the radio), and press [7] or [8] to assign the function.
-Despite the bells and whistles, the radio is easy to program. I put around 20 mem's with alpha-tags in about 30 minutes or less. Is very easy!
-The pain in the #@! is the belt clip! I did not found a way (yet) to replace the original belt clip... At least, that part that is attached to the belt. I lost it in the first hour of using...

-The batteries are the same used on VX-150. Also you can use the alkaline battery adapter.

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