VX-8G Adv. Dual Band Handheld Transceiver with Built-In GPS

I have been reading with interest the developments that have been made in the area of Amateur radio and the use of APRS when Peter returned from Arran last year he started to experiment with the fox view series of aprs projects he brought the Foxdelta FoxTrak for around £14 plus postage Peter had a lot of fun with the above set up taking it out with him on his bike or when out helping at the club field day site. I was interested in doing some thing in the shack and I soon got interested in the Foxview2 The FOXVIEW was the first amateur radio project ever built for radio amateurs to view APRS packets without a PC or expensive APRS Enabled Radio Equipment. FoxView2 is called an APRS Terminal. Intended for Base Station use,

FoxView2 will do the following:

1. Its an LCD APRS Viewer with Filters.

2. A Tracker with GPS# 3. A GPS-less APRS Position encoder

4. A stand-alone (No PC) Digipeater

5. An advanced tracker with FD-OT+ tracker module*

6. A Kiss TNC and 1 Wire APRS WX Station*

The  FoxView2 has been running in the radio shack for a year mostly set up with Peter’s call sign however when is was away with the Cam-hams on the Scottish island of Mull Peter set it up to transmit my call sign – I had read in the radio press about the Yaesu VX-8G  I thought it might be fun using the radio when I am out and about in the Great out doors walking or on my bike. The Yaesu VX-8G/E (Europe) is a 5 watt GPS 2m/70cm Dual Band FM Handheld Transceiver has Wideband Receive (108-999MHz) with a built-in GPS antenna and Data Terminal, but, unlike his older brother the VX-8D, no Bluetooth® capability.The VX-8G is fully rugged and waterproof (IPX5) design, and is perfect for extreme sports and outdoor use. The VX-8 Series radios are compatible with the world wide standard APRS® (Automatic Packet Reporting System) using the GPS system to locate and exchange position information and more. I ordered one from ML&S and it arrived on Friday morning.

Peter set it up and he was the first to try it out on Sunday afternoon he cycled on the following route as recorded on aprs.fi 

I monitored Peter’s progress from the shack while he was in town we were able to speak to each other on 70cms only changing over to 2m after Peter got to the bottom of Boars Hill. while Peter was at the top of Boars hill I heard Peter on 145.400 in QSO with Mike M1ELK/M  who was parked on Bury down.

Experimenting with Bicycle mobile and Bicycle portable

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed cycling over the years I have had the standard three gear bike and during my time up in Scotland I was the proud owner of a Phillips racing bike I cycled miles on this bike one time Dai Jones and I cycled from Lossiemouth to the village of Tomintoul the gate way to the Cairngorm National park we stayed overnight in the Tomintoul Scottish Youth hostel going for dinner in the Gordon hotel. In the morning we cooked breakfast at the SYHA before cycling back to Lossiemouth stopping for morning coffee in Aberlour and stopping for lunch in Elgin my trusty racing bike often was my main mode of transport of choice and used when going salmon fishing on the river Spey or trout fishing on the river Lossie and on Wednesdays the prayer meeting and the Fridays bible study at Calvary tabernacle United Pentecostal Church Elgin upon returning to Oxford I brought a mountain bike.

‘Calvary tabernacle United Pentecostal Church Elgin’

I first started operating mobile using a yaesu VX150 hand held on 2m from then I thought I might like to take things one step further and operate Bicycle portable on HF using the yaesu FT817ND with the antenna mounted on the rear wheel carrier of my town bike. On my last visit to the Kempton park amateur radio rally I purchased from MoonRaker the SPX 100 “Plug N Go” telescopic portable antenna this antenna covers from 80 meters to 4 meters to change band you simply using the fly lead and socket on the base of the coil. I use the ZL 817 LDG Autotuner for the best SWR. From sandpiper I brought a roof window bar mount. And in my tool box at home I had the leads and connectors required to install the transceiver and antenna on my bike. Finally I needed a safe way of carrying and storing the radio on my bike and for this I went to my local cycle shop in town and I brought the Arran rear wheel cycle bag.

‘out side Metron college sports pavilion’

My first couple of trips bicycle mobile was over to the Merton College sports field I parked up at the sports pavilion and resting the FT817 on the bike rack this was fine for making a short trip in orderto check how things were working and making a few local radio contacts but to go further the back wheel cycle bag was a must.

‘Peter 2E0SQL Operating along the river Thames’

Our first cycle ride out portable mobile was over port meadow we set up beside the river Thames just south of Wolvercote lock  Peter 2E0SQL had some fun on 40m and it was here that we used the ZL817 Auto tuner for the first time this atu tunes up the antenna giving a 1:1 VSWR.

‘Peter 2E0SQL’

Peter and I cycled up to the farm on the Saturday of CW National field day on the way Peter 2E0SQL operated bicycle mobile on the old London road at shot over using a small hand held operating through GB3RD once at the field we were put to work as there was a few jobs that needed completed before the start of the contest we helped put up the dipoles for 160m, 40m, and 80m.

‘Bicycle Portable’

once the contest started I set up my bicycle portable station it came as no surprise that the radio club station G5LO/P was end stopping on my station but what did surprise me was that I could hear on my simple antenna the pile up that G5LO/P was working.

Portable from Shotover Country Park

Shotover Country Park offers everyone a chance to enjoy a place of beauty and history right on the edge of Oxford. Covering 117 hectares (289 acres) on the southern slopes of Shotover Hill there are spectacular views from the top across south Oxfordshire. The park is an intimate mosaic of hidden valleys, varied landscapes and diverse habitats, a haven for wildlife and an ideal setting for peaceful enjoyment of the countryside. The landscape of Shotover has changed throughout its history. From Saxon times until the Civil Walk (1640s) Shotover was part of a Royal Forest providing a hunting ground for noblemen, fuel and grazing for local people and timber for many of Oxford’s historic buildings. In 1660 Shotover ceased to be a Royal Forest and became open farmland, which was grazed or cultivated. Until the end of the 18th Century,

“The Old London road Shotover”

the main road to London passed across Shotover Plain. Travellers often fell victim to highwaymen here. From the late 1930s Oxford City Council started to manage Shotover as a park and two wardens were employed to look after it. During the first half of the 20th Century, farming ceased at Shotover and woodland started to establish. During World War II, Slade Camp was part of Cowley Barracks and provided a temporary home for soldiers who took part in the D-Day landings. At the same time Shotover Hill was used for military training and tanks built at Cowley were tested there. From the late 1970s work started to clear woodland to restore heath, grassland and marsh habitats.

Peter and I approached Shotover from the Oxford side.  The old road is fairly steep once you cross over The bye pass bridge  I was the first one to dismount from my bike and start walking up the  hill Peter 2E0SQL being younger and fitter cycled on a few yards further before stopping and joining me in the walk up the hill upon reaching shotover hill and reaching the communication mast we walked into Mary Sadler’s field  we sat on the bench under the tree at the top of  the field Peter and I enjoyed the panoramic views from the West,  South, and East it was from here that we tired our first test to see what 2m and 70cm repeaters that we could hear and of course open. Later we were to make the same test from our second location that is found by going onto shot over plain and half way between the risinghurst foot path  and the farm looking North.

“M3JFM/P on shotover plain”

It was while we were at our second test location that Peter and I noticed three Red Kites they are distinctive because of their forked tail and striking colour predominantly chestnut red with white patches under the wings and a pale grey head. They have a wingspan of nearly two metres but a relatively small body weight between 2 – 3 Ibs. This means the bird is incredibly agile, and can stay in the air for many hours with hardly a beat of its wings. They are a delight to watch.

For our experiment with used the FT817ND with the standard rubber duck antenna.

From Shotover Peter and I could open the following repeaters


GB3VA   RV56 145.7000 145.1000. IO91LT Aylesbury

GB3NE RV61 145.7625 145.1625. IO91HJ Newbury.

GB3RD  RV54 145.6750 145.0750.  IO91KI Reading.

GB3WH RV52 145.6500 145.0500.  IO91EM Swindon.

And the following on 70cms:

GB3ET RB13 433.3250 434.9250. IO91KH Basingstoke.

GB3AW RB10 433.2500 434.8500. IO91HH Newbury.

GB3TD RB03 433.075 434.675. IO91DL Swindon.

GB3UK RU69 430.8625 438.4625. IO81XW Cheltenham.

GB3BS RU68  430.8500 438.4500. IO81TK Bristol.

GB3HC RB06 433.15 434.75 IO82PB Hereford.