RadioReference on Facebook   RadioReference on Twitter   RadioReference Blog
 

Go Back   The RadioReference.com Forums > Topic Specific Forums > Railroad/Railfan Monitoring Forum

Railroad/Railfan Monitoring Forum This is the place to discuss monitoring railroad communications.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-24-2009, 4:28 PM
trainman111's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Henrico, VA
Posts: 1,001
Default Icom V82 vs. Yaesu VX-170

I'm looking at purchasing one of these two radios to use when I go railfanning. I've looked at the tech specs and they both seem to be pretty similar. The sensitivity on both radios is about .16 for receive, but the selectivity on the V82 is 50/55db. versus > 70db. on the VX-170. So, does anyone have any other technical input or input in regards to the different features of these radios? I've heard very good things about both of these, and I have the feeling that it will be a tough decision.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 04-24-2009, 4:48 PM
DDan's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Oceanside, CA
Posts: 2,913
Default

You can use the VX-170 to drive nails in a pinch. It is one solid radio. I have used one for a while now and at times in rf heavy environments. Always worked like a champ.
__________________
73 de W6KRU - Dan

WS-1080 PSR-500 BCD436HP BCD396XT BCD396T FRG-100 PRO-43 PRO-90 PRO-2050 FT-857 FT-90 VX-170 VX-3
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 04-24-2009, 6:11 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: In the 'patch
Posts: 2,348
Default

the other spec that might interest you is audio output. from my experience with icom and vertex ham gear is that the icom stuff sucks for audio power, i believe the vx-170 puts out about 700mw on recieve and the ic-v82 only puts out about 200 mw, and if your going to be around trains i would recomend the vertex, i own one and love the audio output, hands down the best untill you get into commercial gear.

get a properly tuned antenna for 161Mhz, the stock one sucks outside the ham band
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 04-24-2009, 6:34 PM
peterjmag's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Posts: 2,761
Default

Nope, disagree the V82 has the best ears on any hand talkie out there. Yes even over the 170. During peak ducting months I hear all kinds of things just on the stock duck that the 170 won't even break the squealch. Yes the 170 has the loudest audio and is built really well but the V82 has 7 watts TX and the sensitivity is like no other on receive which helps the 7 watt TX. I say go for the V82. The ears are the best!
__________________
P.J. Maguire KE5JVM

GRE PSR-200U and GRE-PSR-410, Icom IC-3001 VHF and IC-4001 UHF
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 04-24-2009, 7:17 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 191
Default

IMHO, Icom handhelds are too fragile for outdoor, railfanning use.

Drop them once and you have a serious problem. The other gripe I have is the longevity of the battery packs, they seem to develop a "memory effect" rather quickly. I know this is true regardless of manufacturer but Icom batteries seem worse than normal.

Several years ago I had a terrible time finding replacements for one of my radios. Icom (or their supplier) quit manufacturing them for a period of time. Then, the price wars began for the remaining stock. I had to pay $90 for a battery now selling for $25.

Last but not least, the audio output is too weak to be used around trains. I can't hear a thing if a locomotive is within 100 feet, and that's WITH the radio pressed against my ear.

My recommendation: VX-170 all the way.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 04-25-2009, 6:56 AM
wwhitby's Avatar
Member
  Audio Feed Provider
Audio Feed Provider
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Autauga County, Alabama
Posts: 973
Default

I don't own a VX-170 but a railfan friend of mine does. He's very happy with it. It also seems to scan the frequencies programmed in very quickly for a ham radio.

Warren
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 04-25-2009, 8:24 PM
trainman111's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Henrico, VA
Posts: 1,001
Default

Well that's definately some very good input from all of you. I did think of one other thing though. The sensitivity and selectivity ratings of these two radios were based on their operation in the 2M ham band. Has anyone ever tested the selectivity and sensitivity in the 160MHz range? Would it be similar to that of a scanner or would it still be close to how it performs in the ham band?
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 04-25-2009, 9:36 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: In the 'patch
Posts: 2,348
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterjmag View Post
Nope, disagree the V82 has the best ears on any hand talkie out there. Yes even over the 170. During peak ducting months I hear all kinds of things just on the stock duck that the 170 won't even break the squealch. Yes the 170 has the loudest audio and is built really well but the V82 has 7 watts TX and the sensitivity is like no other on receive which helps the 7 watt TX. I say go for the V82. The ears are the best!
Peterjmag, I was not talking about receiver sensitivity, i was refering to audio output power, and yes the vx-170 kicks all icom handhelds away when it comes to audio power, icom amateur handhelds are 280mW or less audio power output, i cant remember one being more, the vx-170 is 700mW to the internal speaker. it is the one of the reasons that i moved away from icom handhelds

When it comes to sensitivity, at least icom sells the radio with a real antenna, the stock vertex antenna sucks.

5W vs 7W, moot point, a radio is going to need alot more power to notice any real gains in simplex talk distance, besides, the fellow wants to use it for monitoring trains, and as such should have no reason to transmit.

No matter which radio you choose to buy, get a replacement antenna tuned to 161Mhz, might not seem that big a deal but it makes a big difference to how far away you can hear.

I have not done selectivity and sensitivity testing on the vx-170, but i imagine that the S&S drops of a bit but i can not quantify it.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 10:00 AM
K9MEL's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Warwick, RI
Posts: 11
Default

I have the VX-170 and love it. However, I bought the Vertex (Yaesu) 150 and was blown away by price, volume and sensitivity. HRO at one time was running a special that included two battery packs. They then started carrying the 150 with the same battery as the 170 and included a table top rapid charger. I was amazed at the sensitivity. I always find it interesting that the 150 gets overlooked. Word of advice, it always helps to call the folks at HRO or Universal to see what the current deal is. Do not rely on the web page. They are both good stores and they compete against each other! Again, I think the 150 is great, but so is the 170. Icon makes great radios for marine monitoring! Have fun!
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 10:02 AM
K9MEL's Avatar
Member
  Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Warwick, RI
Posts: 11
Default

Sorry I meant Icom
Reply With Quote
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 12:28 PM
snjct2000's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,015
Default

Excellent Post!! I own the Icom IC V8, Icom IC V82 and Vertex VX-170. For sensitivity (which I feel is the most important aspect in monitoring the railroads) the Icoms win hands down. I've done numerous side to side comparisons with the same antennas on each unit and found that the Icoms will consistently receive signals that the VX-170 does not. In comparing variables such as ease of use, durabilty, etc. the VX-170 may come out ahead. But as for picking up those far off trains, the Icom is the clear winner!!
Reply With Quote
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 7:30 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 191
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snjct2000 View Post
Excellent Post!! I own the Icom IC V8, Icom IC V82 and Vertex VX-170. For sensitivity (which I feel is the most important aspect in monitoring the railroads) the Icoms win hands down. I've done numerous side to side comparisons with the same antennas on each unit and found that the Icoms will consistently receive signals that the VX-170 does not. In comparing variables such as ease of use, durabilty, etc. the VX-170 may come out ahead. But as for picking up those far off trains, the Icom is the clear winner!!
I agree that sensitivity is extremely important. For railfanning use, audio output would have to be tied for first, or a very close second.

As I explained before, I can't hear my Icom HT's when I'm outdoors near a moving train or even an idling locomotive. Same problem when I'm driving on the highway. Holding my Icom's to my ears earned me the nickname of "Radiohead" about the time Radiohead, the rock band, was becoming popular.

I think the sensitivity debate, in this context, requires everybody to be honest with themselves. If you plan to use your radio outdoors, around trains, at least 75% of the time, a slight (dis)advantage in sensitivity is totally irrelevant if you can't hear the radio.
Reply With Quote
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 8:57 PM
trainman111's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Henrico, VA
Posts: 1,001
Default

I plan on using the radio mostly in the car, since I usually sit in it while railfanning, but I'll get out and take the radio with me as a train approaches. If I do go with Icom, I'll definately plan on getting an external speaker. What I find interesting, is that some people have said that their Yaesu has better sensitivity than the Icom, and others say its the other way around. I suppose I'll just have to pick one and see if I like it, if not I'll go with the other.
Reply With Quote
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 9:57 PM
trainman111's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Henrico, VA
Posts: 1,001
Default

The other main thing I'm looking for if one radio receives significantly better than the other in the railroad range. For example, I compared my RS Pro-96 today with an Icom IC-2200 using the same antenna and the 2200 was picking up much more than the Pro-96. Of course this was expected since one is a portable scanner and the other is a mobile radio. I can't imagine there is THAT much of a difference between the two in terms of reception because they both seem to be pretty popular.

So to sum things up so far, these are the pro's I've noted.

VX-170
----------
Built like a rock, waterproof
Better audio output

V-82
--------
Better sensitivity
Reply With Quote
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 10:04 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 191
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by trainman111 View Post
I plan on using the radio mostly in the car, since I usually sit in it while railfanning, but I'll get out and take the radio with me as a train approaches. If I do go with Icom, I'll definately plan on getting an external speaker.
What kind of external speaker? How are you going to power it? These are things you should consider.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 10:24 PM
trainman111's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Henrico, VA
Posts: 1,001
Default

I'd have to look at the different options out there, but I could power it directly from my car battery. This would definaetly have to be one of the major pro's of the VX-170. It's audio output is superb and superceds the V82
Reply With Quote
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 04-26-2009, 10:31 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 191
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by trainman111 View Post
I'd have to look at the different options out there, but I could power it directly from my car battery. This would definaetly have to be one of the major pro's of the VX-170. It's audio output is superb and superceds the V82
Has anyone used their car's stereo jack meant for iPod's and mp3 players? Mine doesn't have one, but I plugged a Uniden scanner into a rental car one time. Worked OK. I wouldn't call it great, though.
Reply With Quote
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 10:14 AM
N8IAA's Avatar
Member
  Premium Subscriber
Premium Subscriber
Amateur Radio Operator
Amateur Radio
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Fortunately, GA
Posts: 5,195
Default

You all realize that one doesn't need an amplified spkr for a ham ht? Just plug in an external speaker to hear the audio better. Definitely need one (amplified spkr) for a handheld scanner. I use a bought a a garage sale stereo to radio transmitter for $1. Works great with my Pro-106. Which by the way, is an outstanding railfan radio
Larry
__________________
Digital/Analog scanning and hamming
Reply With Quote
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 04-27-2009, 5:55 PM
snjct2000's Avatar
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,015
Default

Well I've got to say that while the VX-170 may be louder, I have never had any difficulty in hearing the radio traffic on my Icoms. Guess you could buy one of those lapel external speaker microphones that sell for around five bucks on ebay if you really wanted to. Between the two Icoms, I do prefer the audio on the V8 over that of the V82. It seems a bit crisper.
Reply With Quote
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 04-30-2009, 3:36 PM
Member
   
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 1,746
Default

I have a VX150 and VX170 (and a V8000).....The VX170 certainly is loud, but the VX150 outperforms it sensitivity-wise in Los Angeles with all the interference we have here.

Also, be aware the Vertexes have that proprietary 4-phase audio plug....so you need to do some work to add output to bigger speakers etc.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:08 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
All information here is Copyright 2012 by RadioReference.com LLC and Lindsay C. Blanton III.Ad Management by RedTyger
Copyright 2011 by RadioReference.com LLC Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions