Review: VGC VR-N7500
Manufacturer: VGC (Vero)
Type: 2m/440 Dual band headless transceiver
TLDR – Very Good Radio, Lots of features, has Learning Curve, Would recommend.
I would like to start out with saying I am not an employee, paid representative, or otherwise commissioned by the manufacturer of this product to write this review. In fact, a fellow ham KI5NNL (not on Facebook) initially requested my thoughts on this radio after I had decided to purchase it. I have been operating the radio for the last month, and I’d like to share my thoughts on it.
First, this is my first mobile transceiver. I currently have it paired with a Comet GP-3 dual band antenna which is setup in my attic. I’m REALLY impressed with this radio. Lets get right into it:
What I like:
- Completely headless and concealable
- You control the radio with an app via your cell phone or tablet
- Fairly intuitive interface. Long press channel button to edit them. Short press to change channels
- Single channel, dual channel, and scan function.
- During scan, the app displays the primary channel of your choosing while showing you what channel is currently active.
- Along with voice, the app provides integrated APRS, CW, Text (APRS or data format), DTMF, and what looks like SSTV (able to send pictures).
- All transmissions are recorded for easy play back if you missed or need a repeat of what the other station said
- Built in CW and DTMF decoder
- Built in APRS IGate and uses your cell phone’s GPS for APRS position reporting
- Averages 50watt power, verified via meter and 50ohm dummy load.
- Microphone options!!!
- The radio is shipped with a hand mic with a standard RJ45 connection for traditional operation
- Via Bluetooth, you can use your cell phone directly as the hand mic
- Via Bluetooth, you can pair and use a headset for audio/microphone
- Dedicated or integrated PTT options via Bluetooth as well
- Solidly built. This is not a cheap feeling radio. All metal body with a plastic face.
- Runs cool. I’ve talked quite a bit recently on local repeaters and tried, at times, to be a bit long winded just to see if the radio would warm up. Never got overly hot or even warm, in my opinion.
What I didn’t like:
- When using the keyboard CW function (you type your message and the app translates to CW) it forces KA and SK at the beginning and end of your message. I’m not a fluent or even comfortable CW operator, but I was under the impression SK ends the convo, no the message. There is no way to change this behavior that I’ve found
- It’s not made very clear that Location and ID Signaling add data packets to the end of your voice transmission, regardless of what channel or mode you are using.
- The radio can be turned on and off from the app, but the radio is never really off unless you disconnect it from DC power. This is fine, but I’d really like to know hard numbers on the power draw in standby mode. This information isn’t documented anywhere. I hesitate to try and measure the power draw myself as my multimeter isn’t rated for full amp draw.
- The Learning Curve. Now this is true for every piece of technology. And the more reliant on technology something is, the more of a learning curve it has. This is not a ICOM or Yaesu radio that has a user manual that has been carefully worked out and been thru a few editions. This is a Chinese made radio that is demonstrating a new method of controlling UHF/VHF radios via smart devices (cell phone, tablet, etc). But since this is unlike anything that has come before it, extra time and patience will have to be invested. If you do invest that time and effort, you will be rewarded
So at the end of the day, I really do like the radio. I’ve had good audio and signal reports on several repeaters. I would recommend this radio to anyone needing a 50watt UHF/VHF rig that can be completely concealed in their vehicle. I would caution those interested to be ready to invest time into learning a new app. There is a learning curve, but very much worth it. If you have any question, be sure to ask them below and I’ll do my best to answer all of them.
Thanks and 73s till next time!