New "S" version now with 25 Watts. Comes complete with radio bracket and keypad microphone
- Dual band: 136-174MHz/400-470MHz
- Power: 25W
- Dual Reception/Dual Display
- Voice Companding and Scrambler
- Multi silent mode (QT/QTADT/QTXDT) 107 groups DCS/58 groups CTCSS
- DTMF encoding and DTMF decoding
- PTT ID (Voice broadcast PTT ID）
- All calls, group calls and selective calls
- Monitor, RX Inhibit, RXTX Inhibit and Emergency Alarm
- FM Radio (87.5MHz-108MHz)
- Scan/Scan add
- Channel name edit available
- 199 memory channels
- APO (Auto Power Off)
- TOT (Time-out timer)
- Font Set (Big/Small)
- VOX (Level adjustable)
- Busy channel lockout
- Keyboard lock (Auto/Manual)
- Multi scan mode (TO/CO)
- Channel steps (2.5K/5K/6.25K/10K/12.5K/25K)
- Wide/Narrow band selection (25KHz/12.5KHz)
- TX Stop
- Talk Around
- Beat frequency
- Reverse frequency function
- 1750Hz burst tone
- Four key programmable
- Lease Function (can program lease time of the radio at a exact time)
- Input frequency by using Keypad
- Wireless changing frequency
- PC software disable frequency input
- Passwords for menu functions Set
- PTT Times per Minutes Set
- All/Function reset
- 13.8V DC Power Supply
- Size: 120 X 85 X 40mm
- Antenna connection SO239
- Bar Code/EAN:
- A good value-for-money radio with all the features you need for Amateur use.
Review of Leixen VV-898S
I've had this radio for several months now and have a good chance to check out its features (and idiosyncrasies). I bought this radio mostly for use in the shack but also as a low cost standby for Raynet use to supplement my Yaesu FT8900. For the intended task it performs well enough. The radio has all the usual features you need for Amateur use (variable power output, up to 200 programmable channels, CTCSS etc). Most of the functions can be set up using the keys on the front panel and/or microphone, though this is somewhat tedious especially for options like setting up a channel name instead of the default frequency display. It is much easier, in my view, to programme it using a PC and suitable software – more on this later.
The front panel has three buttons marked P1, P2, P3 which can be programmed to carry out different functions such as select power level, toggling between memory Banks A and B (see below), 1750 Hz tone and Reverse Repeater. 6 different functions can be configured depending on a long or short press.
From an RF performance perspective it does the job. The receiver is every bit as sensitive as my Yaesu FT8900 and its adjacent channel selectivity seems good enough for most purposes. The audio output is ample for the shack but might be a bit low in a noisy vehicle. There is an audio output jack for connection to an external speaker which would almost certainly help in a noisy environment. On the transmit side the audio quality is satisfactory albeit you have to “talk it up” a bit. Transmit power is advertised at 25W but this can be adjusted between 3 levels (spec: 5W, 10W, 25W). My measurements gave more like 4W, 8W and 22W. I'm running it at 12.8v and you might get the specified power when running it at the full spec voltage of 13.8v. Overall I'm happy with its RF performance.
My radio, which has V1.8 software is the so-called “dual-bank” version; it has 2 banks (labelled A and B) of 100 programmable channels (memories) per bank. I believe that all new radios have this dual bank capability. Each channel will store frequency, repeater offset, CTCSS configuration, power level and name (and probably other things as well!). I use the radio almost exclusively in channel mode with VFO mode used occasionally for an ad-hoc set up. Mostly, channel mode works well but there are a few “gotchas” for the unwary. If you change power level, or CTCSS configuration, the radio remembers the new setting(s) for when you come back to that channel later. Other radios revert to the programmed settings as a known starting point when you come back to a channel. It's not a big deal but you have to keep an eye on the display to know what the radio is doing. What is a bit more annoying is the reverse repeater function which, whilst it does reverse the transmit and receive frequencies, it does not handle the CTCSS as you might expect.
As an example, say you have a repeater set up with CTCSS on your transmit frequency and no CTCSS on the receive frequency (often called Encode only), when reverse repeater is selected, you'd expect the CTCSS tone to be transmitted on the new transmit frequency and no tone required on the new receive frequency (the normal repeater input). However that does not happen. The radio switches to requiring a default tone (56Hz) on the new receive frequency and so no sound heard . This is unfortunate since for me, one of the main uses of Reverse Repeater is to listen on the repeater's input frequency to see if another station can be heard directly. I have now abandoned using the radio's reverse repeater function. One workaround (as the expense of reducing the number of channels available) is to set up normal repeater channels in Bank A and reverse repeater channels in Bank B. This works but it's not as convenient as you have to select the normal and reverse channel pair before toggling between the two with the “A/B” button.
The supplied microphone has up and down buttons for volume, and a 16 key pad which allows many of the radio's functions to be controlled. This includes channel section, selection of Bank A or Bank B, memory or VFO mode and, while transmitting, generation of DTMF tones. It is supplied with a mic clip.
As for programming using a PC, I've tried the Leixen software which is ok but not very helpful when it comes to moving channels around or moving settings between Bank A and Bank B. I've also tried Chirp which until recently prevented the entry of frequencies with a 12.5kHz offset, again not helpful. The basic Chirp software does not (at the time of writing) support the “Dual Bank” version of the radio in its native mode, but by using an available Python Script loaded into Chirp (see Issue Number 4069 on the Chirp website), full programming (including 12.5 kHz offset) is now possible. This has become my preferred method as I use Chirp for other radios.
Using the official Leixen programming cable (USB on the PC end and RJ45 to go in the mic socket on the other end) is probably the way to go. I made my own cable (for this and other radios) using information on the Miklor website (www.miklor.com). This threw up the fact that the pin numbers shown in the Leixen manual for the mic connector are wrong, but again the Miklor website came to the rescue.
The manual is better than most supplied with “Chinese” radios and you can work out what to do quite easily. Again the information on the Miklor website helps to explain some aspects which are not fully explained in the manual.
So far the only thing that has gone wrong with the radio is the tab on the RJ45 mic connector broke off allowing the mic connector to fall out. After much fiddling I managed to crimp a new connector in its place. I now use an RJ45 extension cable so that the strain of the curly mic lead is not carried by the connector tab
Summary: In my view this a good value for money radio once you have mastered its “quirks”. In the shack it works well for simplex or repeater use. Personally I wouldn't use it in a car as its operation involves taking your eyes off the road to look at the screen so that you can see what the radio is doing. It would be ok so long as you are not driving. It is certainly very compact making it possible to fit into small spaces.