I should have written this review a long time ago, but I am catching up with some items on this blog.
This Leixen VV-898 radio is new in the U.S. and was released last year. The radio comes in a kit which include the programming cable and software for $149.99. Sometimes you can find these at Hamfests for $139.99.
This radio is dual band and produces 10-watts of power on each band, 2-meter and 70-centimeter. It has a dual-watch option that is turned off by default, but can be activated in the menu. It is not dual receive. This means that the radio will monitor both bands at the same time, but whichever one receives a signal first is the one it listens to. If a signal is receive on the 2nd band while the first band is active, nothing will be heard from the 2nd band.
The bands on the radio are referred to as “A” and “B” – A – being the top band on the display, and B – being the bottom.
The radio has 3 buttons on the front that are labeled P1, P2 and P3. These buttons are completely programmable and can be set to perform any menu function you want. I currently have my test unit set for the P1 button to change between VFO and Memory, P2 long-press changes between A and B bands, and P3 is the scan button. Each button has a short and long press option, essentially giving you 6 buttons to program however you like.
Scanning on this radio is sub-standard. The scan feature works fine, by just pressing a button to scan through the memory channels or VFO, but once that button is pressed again, the scan doesn’t stop as it should. This might be a feature of just this 1 radio unit, as none of my customer’s have noticed this issue, but on my radio it doesn’t work correctly. You have to press the button 2 or 3 times to get it to stop scanning.
Overall, the audio quality of this radio is quite good. The squelch and the mic gain are both set in the menu, and the volume is push button also. This makes it more difficult to control than a potentiometer, but it works fine, all the same. When using this radio in my shop, I hold QSOs on several area repeaters and get good signal and audio reports.
Programming this radio manually is doable, and fairly easy to learn. Every option is available in the menu, and there is actually a menu button on the front of the face. Setting memory channel, CTCSS, offset frequency and direction, squelch, etc – can all be done in a short amount of time. But the programming software also works well, and if you are wanting to program multiple repeaters, I would recommend the software.
For $150 or less, this is a great radio. It isn’t a replacement for a 50-watt dual band mobile unit, nor should it be viewed as such. But for a Go-Kit or a small car, or just for those hams who are still using their HTs with an external antenna in the car, this is a great upgrade for you.