Anything better than the VX-8DR to upgrade to?

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Alligator24

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I currently have a VX-8DR (with an external GPS attached). I bought it used, and it has been acting a little strange lately. Before I bring it in for a repair, I thought I'd check to see what new models might have been released lately - perhaps something digital with APRS and a GPS. Can anyone recommend an upgrade from the VX-8DR, or is this the best I can get? I'd use it for just about everything at some point, but it must be a handheld. I may also pick up something identical for my son. Any recommendations?
 

W9BU

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Kenwood TH-D72. Does APRS and has a built-in GPS receiver. You can interface it with an AvMap G6 GPS mapping GPS receiver so you can see received APRS position reports on a map. You also have full access to the internal TNC so you can use it for regular AX.25 packet in addition to APRS.
 

Alligator24

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I'm not sure. I'm just looking to try something new. I also considered the FT-1DX, but it hasn't gotten the best reviews.
 

W9BU

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My personal opinion is that digital voice for amateur radio is overrated.

Some of the various digital voice formats currently available in amateur radio offer some sort of repeater linking over IP. Amateur radio has had that for years with IRLP and EchoLink. The difference is that with those repeater linking systems, the user's RF link is analog.

Some of the digital voice formats offer the ability to send data along with the digitized voice, but the data rates are slow so not much data can be passed.

Most of the digital formats have the ability to use less bandwidth than an analog signal with +/-5kHz deviation that is typically used in amateur radio. Less bandwidth would allow, for example, more repeater pairs to be coordinated in a given amount of spectrum. Given the number of amateur radio repeaters that sit idle for hours or days at a time, I'm not convinced that we need more repeater pairs.

So, other than the ability to experiment with a new mode, I'm not sold on digital voice for amateur radio. If there are people in amateur radio that you want to communicate with who are using digital voice, you'll have to buy a radio compatible with the systems they are using. Otherwise, I don't see a compelling need for digital voice.

By the way, the topic of which amateur radio digital voice format will win out has been playing out in this thread:

http://forums.radioreference.com/digital-voice-amateur-use/278650-digi-mode-will-win-out-end.html
 
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