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RE: Usefulness of a VR-500 or -5000



Hello Steve

> Saw a Yaesu VR-500 (all-mode dc-1.2 GHz handheld rx) and VR-5000
> (dc-S-band tabeltop RX) today at "OK" prices.

> Anyone have comments on the usefulness of either for satellite use?  In
> particular, the VR500 as the rx side of a portable Mode B, J and -S
> setup? (yes, I know I need a converter as it doesn't cover 2.4 GHz)

I have both these units, and bought them for exactly the purpose you
suggest: satellite downlink reception on V/U/SHF.

You can use the VR-500 (and I have done quite successfully) on the downlink
of a sat link. Problem with this (and the VR-5000) is that the SSB filter is
rather wide so on the transponder sats you'll struggle to hold a QSO if the
bird's busy. The VR-500's so wide that you hear an SSB signal both sides of
the suppressed carrier frequency. Except for the AOR AR8200, all handheld
all mode RX's seem to have this wide SSB filter limitation. (The AR8200 is
extremely difficult to drive for satellite purposes having no proper tuning
knob - someone's gotta tell these people that no-one's ever designed a
better replacement for a tuning knob).

The VR-5000 was a big disappointment. Although it has coverage up to and
including AO-40 S band, you'll _definitely_ need a preamp in the GHz - it's
very insensitive (should've realised that when I saw the SO-239 on the back
and no N type). Lack of a TCXO doesn't help. Computer interface is very
lacking (eg you can write but not read the frequency in use). You can get a
DSP for it but it's AF not IF. The VR-5000 has dual RX within 20MHz - I
really thought that this feature was going to save this radio's bacon: you
could RX the beacon at the same time as holding a QSO. Unfortunately you can
only use the second RX for FM or AM, so that's no use for AO-40.

Did I say the VR-5000 has appalling Dynamic Range? I did now. Strong signal
handling is... erm... what strong signal handling?

The VR-5000 was reviewed recently in the UK by Shortwave Magazine (July 2001
issue I think) and the review also reflected my own sentiments. Yaesu UK
responded that the VR-5000 is internally viewed by Yaesu as primarily an HF
Receiver with VHF & UHF capabilities. Hmmm. You wouldn't know that from the
marketing literature.

If you really do want a DC-light RX, the AOR AR-5000, although significantly
more expensive, is a far better choice. It has proper SSB filtering, better
strong signal handling, extensive computer interface, GREAT sensitivity (I
can run it barefoot on AO-40 close to the antenna).

Anyone want to buy a second hand unblocked VR-5000? ;-)

73 Howard G6LVB

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