Sunday, August 25, 2013

Yaesu VX-8GR APRS use while sailing

Recently we went on a bareboat sailing charter and along with my other sailing essentials I packed the Yaesu VX-8GR that I received as an early birthday gift from my family while at
Yaesu VX-8GR along side my Garmin GPS
Hamvention in 2013. I have used the APRS capabilities a few times on his HT but I was not sure how it would function while sailing. I forgot the battery charger but as I learned with this experiment that wasn't an issue.

Radio setup:
Call sign: k8esr-8
Single frequency receive
Transmit an APRS packet every 10 minutes
Battery : FNB-102LI (extended battery)
Transmit power: 5 watts

Over the course of the week I ran the radio for 10 hours:
Monday: 1 hour
Tuesday: 2 hours
Wednesday: 3.5 hours
Thursday: 1.5 hours
Friday: 2.5 hours

I was very impressed with how well the radio worked while sailing. After the week of use I was only down to half of the bars of battery remaining. To get an idea of the battery usage running APRS I chose to not use the radio for voice communications.

Map of the received packets from 
After sailing on Wednesday I pulled up the data on and took a screen shot. In areas of the bay there were fewer points plotted but packets in other area were still well received. That said, the performance is not totally based on the transmitter but also on the location and height of the receiving digipeter or I-gate.

Overall I was very happy with the performance of the HT considering it is transmitting at 5 watts. The antenna was attached to the radio but had I mounted the antenna higher I probably would have had even better results. The VX-8GR has been discontinued by Yaesu but the performance characteristics may be similar on the other Yaesu radios like the FT1DR.

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