The VX-6R isn't a very sophisticated radio by today's standards, but the chunky little handheld (it's smaller than a pack of cigarettes, if anyone remembers how big those are) offers a lot of technology stuffed into a small package. It offers a tri-band transceiver (2 meters, 1.25 meters and 70 centimeters), wide band receive including FM, air band and shortwave (!), a full backlit keypad and a fairly large display for such a small radio. That's about where the bells and whistles stop - no digital modes, no GPS, no color display. It's an honest radio, one that would meet the needs of about 90% of American hams.
But the real reason I like the VX-6R is that it's a tough little bugger. In its advertising Yaesu seems to be targeting this radio at the outdoors crowd, with glossy shots of the radio being used by someone obviously too close to water to be holding an electronic device. In Yaesu's parlance the radio is 'submersible'. Heck, it's even printed on the face of the radio.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to put Yaesu's claim to the test. Back in October, Tropical Storm Nate paid a visit to the Atlanta area and dumped a few inches of rain on us. OK, more than a few. I figured this was the perfect test environment for the little radio.
After a few hours of sitting on the tailgate of my truck it was time to test.
I have to admit I was half expecting the little radio to fail!
Since this test I acquired a second (used) VX-6R as a back-up and put it through the same test during a heavy rainstorm. This radio also passed the water resistance test with flying colors. It appears Yaesu's advertising isn't hype - these little buggers really can stand up to being dunked or left out in the rain.
The VX-6R has become my 'take everywhere' HT - on dog walks, on fishing trips, to the shooting range. Although I don't abuse my communications gear it's good to know this is a radio I don't have to baby. It can easily survive a tumble from the tailgate of my truck or shrug off being left out in a drizzle. It is convenient to carry and easy to operate. When paired up with a decent tri-band antenna like the Diamond SRH320A it makes a tough, capable little communications package.
If you've been thinking about getting a VX-6R I recommend you pick one up soon. Yaesu may well kill it off in the upcoming year to make more market space for something more modern but less capable than this little winner.