I purchased this radio mainly because of the built in APRS feature, but also to double as my do everything handheld… and it does almost everything! in a package the size of a pack of cigerettes.
First off it is a tri-band radio, in addition to the standard VHF/UHF it also does 6m which is great when you really need to reach out. We also have a 6m repeater here in Vero so that is an added bonus for me to be able to use it portable. While I tend to baby it because of the cost it is actually very rugged and submersible so I don’t have to worry about dropping it in a puddle of water which is good because I use this radio when I am out hiking alone sometimes, the APRS beacon is a nice safety net to help people find me if something ever happens as my last position will be known.
I purchased the Optional GPS and Microphone which gives me the full APRS options in an easy to use package. A few SMA to BNC & SO239 adapters round out this radio to give you a lot of options in a very small package.
NOTE: Unfortunately I bought this when it first came out and has been the case with many early adopters (See D700 Page) an upgrade was soon released in the VX-8DR which offers additional APRS features. Unlike Kenwood who wants over $300 to get some of the additional features Yeasu has an upgrade program for only $60 where you send in your old VX-8R and get a VX-8DR upgrade board installed, but I have yet to take advantage of it.