N9EWO Review :
Yaesu - Standard VR-5000 "Wide Band Receiver"

The discontinued "Yaesu - Standard" VR-5000 "Wide Band" receiver. Mixed receiver that is NOT for the faint of heart, owners manual not helping the cause. HF dynamic range is poor with any good antenna in use (see review text below for very important help on this). Even with the dynamic range / quality control issues, had a long life on the market (10 years, ending in Dec 2009 for 800 MHz blocked USA versions). Very late samples paint have a more "sandy" cabinet feeling finish. (sorry.....unknown when this change was made in production.), also later samples have a bit better performance , no lockups and improved firmware. Included near the bottom of this review are recommended PC software programs for the VR-5000.  (photo: N9EWO)

Discontinued Receiver

Approx. Serial Numbers Tested :
Sample 1 : 2F31xxxx
Sample 2 : 9N25xxxx (from the last month of production Dec 2009 for USA 800 MHz blocked versions)
(Note : There were some limited production "full coverage" samples made in very early 2010)

Firmware :
Sample 1 : Ver 1u.17 JP:**** USA
Sample 2 : unknown (last USA 800 MHz blocked version).

Owners Manual (Version) : 0104q-DY and 0911e-KY

(Included PA-28 wall power supply: China)

N9EWO's Review On The Yaesu - Standard VR-5000 "Wide Band" Receiver

[Note : I owned a Standard AX-700 (sold later in the USA as the CCR-708) receiver in 1992 that had a very similar concept to this VR-5000. The AX-700 did NOT cover the shortwave / HF bands , 50 to 905 MHz only. But in many ways its spectrum scope and other features are quite similar and the VR-5000 . It was certainly patterned after this set.  NOTE : It uses good old incandescent panel lamps for the LCD backlight and of course by now most have burned out and are NOT easy to replace. For my general review I wrote on the AX-700 see May 1992 issue of "Monitoring Times", page 94.]

Important Note : We of course will be looking at this receiver on the "Short Wave" side of the fence below 30 Mhz.

Nice "Steel" Cabinet

I like the general solid feel of the VR-5000. Solid steel top and bottom covers, as well as the rear. Buttons are of a hard plastic variety, so no rubber buttons are used. From my own personal experiences with other Yaesu hand held radios (transceiver models VX-1R, VX-2R , VX-5R and VR-500 receiver), these sets have rounded "rubber" buttons and the silk screening of the letters/numbers actually have started to come off within days out of the box. The optional case is a must with these "handie"sets , right from being brand new out of the box to help prevent this (The cases have a clear plastic sheet that covers the buttons).

But again this should not be a issue with the VR-5000, at least at first sight? Lets hope that this problem does not happen here ?

Display Gremlins, Main Knob, Tiny Tight Keyboard

The display is nice and big with separate contrast and brightness controls. Not a problem with the lighting as the bright back light will not allow you to fall asleep in front of it.. However, on our samples we found the lighting to be inconstant across its surface. That is brighter at the left end than on the right. Adding another subjective comment is that even with the "Dimmer" at 0 setting it's still seems a bit harsh on the eyes, especially at night or in a room with very low light. For those who might use this set at a bedside with it's sleep timer, it very well might keep you awake (unless you wear sunglasses to bed). UPDATE : After in use for a few years the LED backlight has become a bit less "intensive" bright, so this is not as much of a problem.

Its contrast while being adequate, could be better. I found the setting of 12 out of the 15 possible settings to be about right (about 6 if you are looking at it head on or below). But is still a bit on the light side no matter how you adjust it. The inconstant lighting across its surface bothers me the most with the display. Another display gremlin I noticed on the far left side of the display is "moon" shaped darkness area (more noticeable when looking from the right side at an angle). I have seen this other samples too so this is not a fault. Yaesu told me that its the plastic "light guide" behind the LCD display and is not a fault. All are stinkers to my eyes but not a major drawback either.

At least the backlighting is made up of 4 "White" LED's, which should mean a owner should not have to worry as much about failure as compared to florescent tubes (CCFL) being used in many radios of today.

The tuning knob is of a "push on" plastic variety with a rubber cover over it. Light detents as you rotate it. This works well to me and the rubber grip helping to hold onto it. The only fly in the oatmeal is the knob on our sample seemed to be more "free feeling" in one part of its rotation than the other.
Almost like it is slightly rubbing on the case with half of the spin ?? (with first sample only, the Dec 2009 sample had none of this) .

One other comment on the tuning knob, sometimes turning it "Counter-Clockwise" (to the left-down in frequency)...it skips a beat. That is it takes 2 or 3 clicks to go one. I have yet to have this happen going "Clockwise", that is to the right-up in frequency. Not using a optical encoder here. Note : The later Dec 2009 made tested sample also did not suffer from this issue.

All keys have a good feel . The 1 to 0 number key area is very tight for space and makes entering frequencies a chore. But I did get used to it after a bit of use even if its not using the telephone keypad format. The "0", CLR and ENT keys are in weird places. You also need to enter frequencies in MHz, so the "
." (decimal) will always have to be pressed.

The mode button uses the unpopular "Carousel" arrangement. Reminded me how much I hated this on the JRC NRD-525 receiver. More on this later, but just adds to the poor ergonomics.

We have 2 little pop-down feet to help tilt the set for easier use. I found these to be of little help (if at all) as it's rise is scant, and really needs a bigger boost. It does help the bottom mounted speaker to emit output.

VR-5000's rear panel. VERY LATE samples (2009 ?) used EXT SP and REC jacks that lacked the metal outer "ground" ring (last ones used jacks that were all plastic construction). Computer connection (CAT) is via a 9 pin MALE SERIAL jack. NULL MODEM (cable or adapter) is REQUIRED. REC output audio level is on the low side and preamp was required to boost it up to a proper level for recorder use. NOTE : The squelch control does not function with the REC output nor on the SUB receiver. We do NOT consider it a discriminator output either (and the schematics supports that) ??

"Microprocessor" Lockup Problems with Early Samples , MUST Use A Better Regulated Power Supply.

On any new modern day "microprocessor" receiver / ham transceiver I pull out of the box, I always do a "reset" to put to rest any chances of the sets computer being spooked during shipment. When the microprocessor reset was attempted on the first VR-5000 sample (press & hold ENT {SET} while powering up), the screen the indicates what button to push for a reset or back out of it, but the LCD display displayed :


After checking the included power supply's voltage at full load which was fine (well not really see below), this one was baffling me as it was totally locked up with the above message displayed and was unable to do nothing. After leaving the set disconnected with no power for a good 15~20 mins, I then returned power to it and came back on as normal and it did indeed do it's reset as well. You may see the LCD screen continue to display (without the backlighting) sometimes or you may not ??

To make this weird quirk even more strange, I did a number of resets after with no further problems whatsoever. Every time after this was OK. This is the first time I have ever experienced this type of problem, or maybe not a problem ?

Another time I had a microprocessor lockup during the first days of use as when I attempted to store the first memory in a channel. Again it locked up and the way to bring it back was to pull out the power plug out of the radio for another 15~20 mins (you do NOT have to do a microprocessor reset to get it out of a locked up mode !).

Update : With mid to late samples , Yaesu added (tacked on) a "button cell" cordless phone rechargeable battery pack to the rear of the microprocessor board to help tame this issue. For the most part it works, well until the battery needs replacing.  PLEASE NOTE : This battery does NOT back up the clock !! 

I'm not the only person to have this problem, I read on the user groups that others are having almost the same lockup problems, and this is with firmware version ver. 1u.17. But most of the problem appears to be with the included dirty "Un-regulated" power supply ? I say this because when I went to a REGULATED 5 AMP 13.0 volt power supply (Astron RS-7A), most of this lockup problem cleared up. Second tested sample never suffered from this bug (firmware ver. unknown).

So ditch the included AC power supply and use a better
REGULATED one. Voltage set at 13.0 volts and at least rated 5 amps of continuous current (for less heat). To keep any additional problems from creeping up, do not use a supply any lower than 13.0 volts (could experience lock ups again !!). The VR-5000 uses a BA12T (12 volt) Rohm internal voltage regulator. UPDATES : I used a Astron RS-7A (5 Amp) "linear" regulated supply and is perfect with the VR-5000 with it's internal voltage adjustment turned down to 13.0 volts (as loaded to the receiver "turned on" using a GOOD digital multimeter). Heat sink on the Astron power supply only gets "above warm" even after a number of hours in operation. This voltage also helps reduce the general cabinet heat when compared with the included wall wart supply. Important Note : Heat seems to be the nasty that has helps to bring on LCD failures (all or entire, see near end of this report). So another reason to ditch the included power supply (that's near 1.1 volt drop difference, less heat / voltage for the BA12T to have to burn off) , see chart below.

VR-5000 Voltage-Current , N9EWO Chart
(2nd sample tests below using a Fluke 77 IV meter)

DC "coaxial" plug size used : 5.5 O.D.  x  2.1 I.D. Positive "+" tip.

VR-5000 Actual Measured Current
 (at 13.0 Volts , Astron RS-7A Regulated Power Supply, Dimmer at 0)

(Note : With Dimmer at 7 [max brightness] add 55 ma's to the readings below)

150 KHz : 696 ma
2499 MHz : 738 ma
Included Unregulated PA-28 AC Power Adapter Voltage
 (USA 117 volt version, Dimmer at 0)

Unloaded (not attached to receiver): 18.78 volts
Loaded (receiver on) : 14.09 volts

VR-5000's Dual Receive

This is a interesting difference that I have never seen on a receiver of this type. We have a dual receive system which allows 2 signals to be monitored simultaneously within a 20 MHz spread . So for shortwave you are covered pretty much. A real stinker here is that on the sub receiver you may only select the AM (med) and FM (narrow) modes. So you can have say your favorite Ham SSB frequency on the main channel and the BBC in the AM mode on the sub receiver. This generally works well and I found it to be one of the major "fun" traits of the set. But it does take a bit getting used to selecting back and forth.

There is a dual tracking function with this system, that is you can have the sub receiver track automatically as you tune the "main". This needs to be toggled off as it has no real use on shortwave.

I was most pleased with this part of the set, great being to check broadcast "duals" at the same time.

The Spectrum Scope (or as Yaesu - Standard calls it "The BS - Band Scope" mode)

Yes, we cannot forget the "BS" button on this set....(humm).

This is the other main attraction of this set and can be of use provided you take the time to really learn how use it, The owners manual is of little help, missing most of this function. You are almost on your own.

Not only will it allow you to have a peek at the spectrum in a given swath (up to 10 MHz), along with various step sizes, and once you see a signal on the scope you can move a cursor over to "leap" on to it in a second or two (uses the sub receiver for this, see manual updates below on how to access). Again manual was of no help only saying a bit about this part of the band scope in one of the first pages of the manual. The old AX-700 / CCR-708 did this operation a bit easier and was and was "presto" to make happen.

Mind you this is not in any real time, and the more area you wish to have a peek at the longer it will take for the set to scan that section and display it. For the amount of money this set sells for... it works and is another fun part of the set . But consider it a bit of a rubric's cube....that is you get to figure it out to an extent ??

It does take a fairly strong signal to show up on the "scope" display, a signal on the weak side will not show a thing. UPDATE : 2nd sample was better in this area.

A part of the set I enjoyed with the VR-5000, amazing what signals I was missing without it.

Unacceptable HF Dynamic Range With Good Antenna, Good Sensitivity On "Main" Receiver / Too Much Attenuation

Overall good sensitivity on the main receiver, but the usual problem with just about all wide-band sets, the the VR-5000 inhibits very poor dynamic range on the HF/SW. Connecting any large shortwave antenna will overload it for sure and makes it unacceptable. Even in peak band periods, say 49 meters at night , overloading even occurred with a 25 foot thin piece of wire indoors, near a window.

The set has a one step 20 db attenuator , and of course kicking it in most of the time helps (not always). With of course destroying the sensitivity. It would have been nice to have also seen a 10 db level as well,
but adding an external VARIABLE attenuator helps greatly , see below.

Before selecting the attenuator, a control called "RF TUNE" should be tried first. This uses the main tuning knob (as does most of these types of selection functions). You can sometimes stop the overloading by tuning it OUT of peak , and just maybe you can tame it without having to turning on the attenuator. It does not work for me all the time this way..but is worth a try before attenuation. Good news is that it stores this RF TUNE value in memory so if you write it to a memory channel..it will be stored as well as the frequency/mode/tuning step etc.. Bad news it adds another step to the tuning process in normal tuning mode.

But really folks......why should a 21st century receiver have such a fiddly control, but I suspect this comes down to the price point of the set ? Let's face it...this does indeed stink.....and the dynamic range stinks even worse. We even tried an external preselector , will no REAL improvement to the dynamic range..

Even after I get the RF TUNE set right and no overloading on my shorter 25 ft indoor wire antenna (and peaking it correctly), I'm still hearing signals where they should not be. Say WWV in the 3900 kHz area. So perhaps a case of spurious signal irking about ??

But if you can live with it, the set seems to work best on shorter PASSIVE antenna's (thin wire in the room say 25 feet or less). It clears up some , but not all of the dynamic range problems on the main receiver.
Again I must stress adding an external VARIABLE attenuator helps greatly with long outdoor antenna's (see below).

I will NOT be held responsible for any info that is listed here.

A Way to Tame the VR-5000's Nasty Overloading on HF / SW Bands ? The "Scanner Master" ATT-20 (or build it).

The lone coarse 20 db on board RF attenuator in the VR-5000 provides either too much OR not enough signal reduction to tame the weak front end with use on large antennas. Usually it cuts more signal than what is required, leaving the set "deaf". So to help with this serious drawback one can add a "External" VARIABLE attenuator. You can purchase one ready made or provided one is handy with simple electronics and a bit of metal cabinet work you can build one.

Adding a simple external "Variable Attenuator" allows for a much finer adjustment level and does not cut off too much signal , just what is needed to stop the overloading . Placed in the receiver's antenna line externally before the VR-5000's own SO-239 connector. If you need additional "signal reduction" it gives for about 20 db at maximum rotation (pre-made or home-made versions listed below). Select the internal 20-db attenuator and then add additional where needed with a variable one (example: 49 meter band at night).

Ready Built : We tested one that came from the
USA retail scanner dealer "Scanner Master" and is called the ATT-20.  A bit pricey at $ 50. USD (at the time this report was typed), but works well and can be placed right on the rear of the set. With the VR-5000 one will have to add one RF adapter (PL-259 male to BNC Female). It uses BNC connectors.

A huge plus to this already build version is that it
uses a "Piher Attenuator" . In a nutshell it's a variable resistor that keeps it's impedance stable across the entire tuned range (it tunes 3 pot controls at once). Allows for use right up to the marked range of 1000 MHz. We have tested this and is for real. The homemade version (as covered below) will work near equal in the SW/HF bands , however it becomes very high loss once you get past 150 MHz.

A couple of notes : The ATT-20's control turns a bit stiff (in it's 3 turns of rotation). There is a small pointer on the "blue" knob used. This added another bump in the way of rotation (is not the cause of the stiff feeling) , so we just took a pair of nippy cutters and snipped it off as shown in the photo below , this problem fixed . Also don't weight (stress) down the connector on the input of the attenuator with a thick cable.

Scanner Master's ATT-20 Variable Attenuator as connected to a Yaesu VR-5000 - (left photo above with required RF adapter) Product uses a Piher Attenuator (right photo above) which retains impedance across it's range. Downsides : It turns a bit STIFF and you also need to snip off the dial pointer on the blue knob (as shown and is easy enough to do). (N9EWO Photo)

Or Build One...

OK for those of you handy with electronics, a 1K (1000 ohm) "linear taper” potentiometer control is installed inside a small ALL metal enclosure with the desired RF connectors and knob (all your choice). The "pot" control is wired with the antenna input on one end, the ground connection on the other end (note: with a 33 ohm resistor in between this ground pin and chassis ground). The center "wiper" is used for the output to the receiver. Again this control is usable up to about 150 MHz. I actually used a 10 turn "wire wound type" pot for a much more precise adjustment, but any standard carbon linear 1K (1000 ohm) will work fine .

Dave N9EWO
ver 3.2

Sub Receiver at Sub-Performance (tad worse than the main receiver)

The "sub" receiver has a even less dynamic range vs the "main". It also has a slightly less sensitivity and a bit less audio level and crispness (as compared to the main). More background noise mixed in as well. It certainly is not the of the same league as the "main".

Actually this "sub" receiver is used for the spectrum display while in the BS mode , so the "Sub" receiver.....actually using it for listening is a real secondary use and can throw it in the category "might as well use it while it's there" .

But it can indeed be of use, as long as you know its limitations.

Another Gremlin : But wait, here's other gremlin, and the way that it hear it. At a evening listening time: Place the "main" receiver anywhere between 4000> and <22000 Khz ,AM mode (If you go outside of these ranges, the gremlin that I'm trying to show will not appear in the "sub"). Now on the "sub" receiver enter a frequency around 9000 khz (but I find it to be anywhere around here). I now here WWV with a nice signal in the "sub" receiver. I can actually tune the "sub" and WWV shines it's way all over the place. So at odds here, Is it weird spurious, interaction between receivers, image problem ?? I discovered this by placing 11787 khz in the "main" (old Iraq freq) and 9022 khz (another old Iran freq) in the "sub" .

Dreadful Owners Manual

As with my comment above the owners manual lacks any important information, other than the very basic operations of the set. Be prepared to spend many hours "Trying" to figure out operations. This has to be one the worst owners manuals I have ever tried to tackle (expect for the Uniden BC-898T scanner, that's even worse), ARRRGH !!! Update : The last version of the manual (2009), is SLIGHTLY better.

Generally Good SSB Performance, No Synchronous Detection and Poor Manual ECSS

This was a bit of a surprise. The SSB modes have a good bandwidth being used , true offset filtering, clean sound and proper tuning steps as well. We can tune as fine as 20 Hz, which is very good on a set of this type. As I will cover later too, frequency display is off a bit, as much as 320 hz on USB (LSB not as bad).

But a couple more bug-a-boos.

First the AGC is not adjustable, and the SSB mode's AGC rate is a bit too fast for my ears. AM AGC decay actually sounds very good to me.

It lack's synchronous detection (a shame with any set being made today), and when ECSS is attempted manually it just does not work right. We certainly can tune fine enough which you would think is the # 1 problem. It has to do with a heavy amount of a "whoosh" background noise, like it almost covers it up (excessive phase noise??). You need to turn up the volume almost all the way to hear any signal at all. In any case the signal is awash with this background noise , making manual ECSS unusable.

Good Filter Selection / "Merry-Go-Round" selection

SSB (LSB/USB) modes have one filter selection so is not selectable independent of mode.

The AM mode has 3 excellent bandwidth selections in the main receiver (but you have to get on the carousel-merry go round), with the widest one being useful for MW or SW broadcasters that are in the clear. Again in the sub band you only have AM (med) and FM (narrow) available.

One mode is tied with a "Auto Step" function. So if you breeze buy the mode you want, it will take another 8 pushes to get around to it again (that is if you want a manual set tuning step). Another ergonomic nightmare with the set.

The manual tuning "Step" button also uses the "merry-go-round" system.

Hissy Audio (tone control at full clockwise rotation) / Line Out for "Main" only and No Squelch

The VR-5000's general audio is very pleasing with a tone control. However the set's internal audio amplifier is loaded with hiss in any mode. This is of course noticeable with the volume turned down, or squelched. Tone control is at a fully "clockwise" rotation for me (this is where I like to keep it at). The more you adjust the tone control "counter-clockwise" (to the left) the less this hiss problem exists.

Even more noticeable with external speakers , but if one chooses to use the "bottom" mounted internal, it may not be noticed hardly at all.

If one is a handy, the audio "line" output does not contain this hiss and could be routed into a external audio amplifier or perhaps a computer amplified speaker ?? But as noted below, the "line" output is a bit weak and might not work properly with some amps. Again, remember the squelch control does NOT operate in the "line out" audio (its always open) and also the "sub receiver"" audio does NOT appear in the line output at all.

Line Output A Bit Weak

Speaking of the "line output" , its a 1/8 inch phone jack on the rear cabinet (where it belongs). It lacks the standard level that will work with PROPERLY with consumer cassette or Mini Disc decks. It's a bit on the weak side for sure. If the station is broadcasting at a proper modulation level ,I was able to adjust the recorder(s) to a proper VU level, but the control on the the deck to almost maximum. If the station has weaker audio, then it's going to be a major problem. We added a
microphone preamp to boost the REC level for use on all signals going to the audio recorders and other audio line devices.

Frequency Display A Bit Off / Runs Almost
Hot !!!

On our sample I see a display error of about 320 Hz high (USB Mode after warm up, LSB Off about 120 Hz high). You would think that it could be a bit closer here. With the second sample it was much closer (at about 40 to 70 hz off warm).

After a few hours on at 13.0 volts (Astron RS-7A with a internal voltage adjustment), the cabinet and even the included PA-28 power supply (if used) gets very warm if not even hot. It's not heat that makes the set difficult to touch, but more than what I would like to feel emitting from a receiver cabinet. Cabinet heat is greater with the PA-28 in use (and more heat stress because of the higher voltage).

5-Segment Signal Strength Meter

A 5 segment meter can be found for each receiver, and for general use and to peak the RF TUNE function, works OK. But it is a bit less than what I would like to see.

There is a way to toggle a meter with more segments using a function called "Base Field Strength" in the special modes menu. This gives you a wider scale meter, however it lacks any markings so is of little real use (cannot use it with the RF Tune control either) . It's chore to get to and out of this mode.

Good FM Broadcast Selectivity. Sensitivity

I found the VR-5000's FM to be a bit above average. I'm able to separate stations close together on a lesser set would get washed out (say the Sony ICF-2010). Sensitivity is also in the above average category. Yes, it too is prone to overloading with any real antenna so watch out.

Needs External Speaker

The VR-5000 really needs a external speaker (as does most sets ). Internal not only being on the bottom, but is bassy and muffled. The downside is you are going to notice the sets nasty excessive hiss. Even with the hiss issue an external speaker is a big plus.

Audio Wave Meter

The "audio wave" meter is nothing more than a joke to me. Looks nice...but of no real use.

No Back Of the Set Antenna's : Extremely Noisy Microprocessors

If you are thinking of using a back of a set antenna like say with a Uniden scanner, think again. The radio emits so much garbage from the internal (2) microprocessors to make it TOTALLY useless in the approx 30 to 300 Mhz range. This is a MAJOR drawback for sure to me. In the upper limits it's not as bad, but this should not be at all. If you need to use an indoor antenna , feed whatever homebrew antenna with coax to get it a distance away from the set.

Known LCD Failures Over The Years / More "sandy" cabinet finish on Later Samples

Another bug one needs to keep in mind with any used sample is with the LCD (display) . There have been many reports over the years where vertical parts (of the dot matrix sections) drop out, that is go missing. This CAN (but not always) be caused by bad or dirty "ribbon cable" connections (it does NOT use a rubber zebra strip ??) or worst case is just a bad LCD. My gut feeling is this is a heat stress related failure of the LCD. Again use a Astron RS-7A regulated power supply with the voltage set at 13.0 v (internal voltage adjustment control) for a bit lower heat stress. Also (very important) allow plenty of ventilation around the cabinet and don't stack ANYTHING around or on top of it.

The "tacked on" cordless phone rechargeable battery (except for very early samples) might need replacing as well in time ?? Take note : If it gets really bad (like the cells near shorting out) you could indeed have nasty operational issues !!

Later samples cabinet paint have a more "sandy" feeling finish. Sorry.....it is unknown when this change was made in production.

Experiencing Dead HF Reception ......"Q2045" (maybe?)

Are you experiencing DEAD or near DEAD HF / SW reception on your VR-5000 ?? A very common failure is MES FET transistor Q2045 (3SK228). Function is the RF amplifier for the 0.1 to 30 Mhz reception which comes AFTER the 5 low frequency filters. This is a 4 lead surface mounted device (SMD) transistor. Yes for those who do not properly physically disconnect outdoor antennas whenever the set is NOT being used (and that is ALWAYS), or for amateur radio folks who uses excessive RF around it and not dealing with it properly, will more than likely experience this failure sooner or later. So you have been WARNED !!

A Very "Fun" Package For The Wide Band Person, For "Short Wave" Use (or build) a Variable Attenuator.

Even with its below-par RF performance (sour dynamic range), the Yaesu -Standard VR-5000 is still a fun package to play with having "Dual Receive" and "Band Scope". The well chosen bandwidth filters makes the audio very tolerable and generally pleasant. Certainly better than with other sets around today that might give you 1 poorly chosen one for the AM mode. A good synchronous detector would have made it even better.

The VR-5000 was a very usable "wide band" set for the money, but I wish the display was better and more evenly lit, had better dynamic range, and the excessive audio hiss emitting from it's audio was not there.
Using the "variable attenuator" (as covered in the above text) helps greatly to make the set very good on the SW / HF bands .

Dave N9EWO
c N9EWO, All Rights Reserved
ver 9.5

Discontinued Receiver

If you found this review to be enjoyable and useful, please consider a small donation to help keep it here and updated. ANY donation amount is very much appreciated. Please see the main page for more information. Thank You.

VR-5000 Computer Software from Bob Freeth G4HFQ
There are very limited choices for ANY computer software with the Yaesu VR-5000. A few floating around that are not worth your time (and or money). However Bob Freeth G4HFQ in the UK comes to the rescue with 2 very useful and bug free programs for Windows PC folks (sorry don't know of any for Mac users) as long as you carefully follow instructions. 1 being FREE and one at a very low reasonable cost ($ 15.). We tested these using Windows XP and Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit versions) with no problems. However were not tested in Windows 8, 8.10 or 10 and above (so you are on your own with those).

One needs to keep in mind that the VR-5000 computer port (ok C.A.T.) uses a good old fashioned 9 pin SERIAL connection. Add on serial cards (for large home computers) can still be purchased today in PCI or PCI express plug in cards. There are also those Serial to USB dongle things, but we try and stay away from those (probably good quality ones are usable...but not tested by me). Additionally it uses a MALE connector on the radio end just like with any serial connector on the hosts computer serial card end. So one needs to use the odd FEMALE to FEMALE 9 pin serial cable or an "gender changer" adapter. One last VERY IMPORTANT note, you will also need to make use of a NULL MODEM adapter or cable. Otherwise no software is going to work with the VR-5000. 

1. FTBVR5K - "Memory Management" programming software for the Yaesu VR-5000 receiver. Yes, a MUCH better way to program the memory channels including the alpha information. We have found no equal to this simple but excellent program. It's costs USD $ 15. (as I type this text), but worth every penny. Can be downloaded to see how you like it for 14 days, but with limitations of course. (During evaluation, with the exception of being able to write memories back to the rig, FTBVR5K operates for 14 days from the date first run. The program will then cease to operate until it has been registered.)

"CAT control" program for Yaesu radios. Made to be used with many different Yaesu model radios, but allows for simple computer control of the VR-5000. Note : Does NOT support memory management for it's "internal" memories, but has 12 GUI quick memories that are very useful (also the "Memory Grid" which allows for virtually unlimited memories when using the program). FREE , but donations are appreciated.

Bob Freeth's FTBVR5K Memory Management Program for the Yaesu VR-5000 is unmatched.
Worth every penny of it's $ 15. USD cost. (click on picture for a larger view of it's GUI)

I will NOT be held responsible for any info that is listed here.

VR-5000 corrections and updates to the manual
(credits unknown, Use all information below at your own risk, May no longer be valid depending on version of manual.)

Page 3

(6) Function Keys

[BS(BS SET)] Key

Press this key momentarily to toggle the Band Scope feature on and off.
Press this key twice, after the [F] key is pressed (when the Band Scope is activated) to activate the SUB VFO cursor, which enables the SUB VFO tuning.

After you've activated the Band Scope, press the M/S key, then press the [F] key, then press the [BS(BS SET)] key twice. You will now be able to move the channel marker within the sweep range as programmed.

Set the Channel Marker to the desired position (frequency); now press the [COPY] key. The SUB VFO frequency will move to the new position you set (the current location of the Channel Marker), and you'll hear the new channel's activity if you have the SUB VFO volume turned up. If you now press the [BS(BS SET)] key, you will see that the SUB VFO has moved to the Channel Marker's frequency, as both VFO frequencies will be displayed.

Pressing the [BS(BS SET)] key once more will restore the Band Scope display.

Page 37

Under "To Activate the Band Scope ..."

3. When the Band Scope is activated, press the [M/S] key; you can now move the Channel Marker. This allows the Channel Marker to be moved anywhere within the programmed sweep range. When the Channel Marker is set to a frequency that may be of interest, press the [COPY] key; the frequency will change to that set by the Channel Marker.

"Yaesu - Standard" USA Press Release

More "VR-5000" manual corrections.

Programmable (Band Limit) Memory Scan (PMS)

This feature, a more refined and useful form of VFO scanning, allows you to establish sub-band limits for scanning. This allows you to monitor only a portion of the wide frequency range of the VR-5000, instead of sweeping the entire spectrum from 100 kHz to 2.6 GHz. Programmable Memory Scan utilizes a pair of frequencies to establish the upper and lower scanning limits within special memories. Here is the procedure for setting up limited band scanning:

1. Press the [F] key momentarily, then press the [PMS(PMS SET)] key to enable the storage of the frequency pair into a PMS memory.
2. The cursor will be pointing at the PMS CH menu option; press the [ENT(SET)] key.
3. If you want to program the frequency pair into the currently-selected PMS register (shown on the right edge of the display), proceed to the next step; if you wish to choose a different PMS register, press [ENT(SET)], then use the [q(t)/p(u)] keys to select a different memory register number. Then press [ENT(SET)] to move on to the next step.
4. Rotate the DIAL knob to set the cursor to the PMS TAG menu option.
5. Press the [ENT(SET)] key to enable the programming of the name tag to the PMS memory. To attach an alpha/numeric name tag to the PMS memory, program the alpha-numeric label using the DIAL knob and keypad, as described previously; if you don't want to label this frequency pair register, press the [ENT(SET)] key again.
6. When you have complete the creation of the label, press the [ENT(SET)] key.
7. Now it's time to set up the band limits. Rotate the DIAL knob to set the cursor to the START F menu option, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.
8. Set the VFO frequency to the Lower sub-band limit, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.If you programmed the frequency using the keypad, press the [ENT(SET)] key again.
9. Confirm that the cursor is on the END F menu, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.
10. Set the VFO frequency to the Upper sub-band limit, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.If you programmed the frequency using the keypad, press the [ENT(SET)] key again.
11 Rotate the DIAL knob to set the cursor to the END menu option, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.
12. Confirm that the cursor is on the WRITE menu option, press the [ENT(SET)] key.
13. The PMS memory programming process for this register is now completed.
Note: 50 PMS memories are available. You therefore can set upper and lower operation limits on a number of bands, if you like. Each PMS memory register, remember, stores both the lower and upper frequency limits.

Operation (Current PMS Register)
1 Press the [PMS(PMS SET)] key to initiate PMS scanning in an upward direction.
2. If the scanner encounters a signal strong enough to open the squelch, the scanner will halt and pause on that frequency. Scanning will resume according to the protocol you selected in the previous discussion.
3. To change to a different PMS frequency pair, press the numerical keys on the keypad corresponding to the PMS register you wish to use. For example, if you are on PMS register and wish to use PMS register 03 press [0] + [3] while PMS scanning is engaged. Scanning will begin on the new register without further action.
4. To reverse the direction of the scan (i.e. toward a lower frequency, instead of a higher frequency), turn the DIAL knob one click in the counter-clock direction or press the [q(t)] key momentarily while the VR-5000 is scanning. To revert to scanning toward a higher frequency once more, rotate the DIAL knob one click clockwise or press the [p(u)] key momentarily.
5. Press the [V/M(MW)] key to disable the PMS scanner, and return to VFO mode.

Comments From Others
(taken from mailing lists , newsgroups, or direct to me)


While in vfo mode, to store the current vfo frequency into memory, hit "F-V/M". At this point, the cursor will be pointing to "Channel".

Hit "Enter". This brings you to a page with the frequency displayed, and the bank will indicate "00", and the "ch" number will be one more than the highest channel existing in bank 00. It has temporarily created a new channel in bank 00 for you to store the new frequency in. Assuming, however, that you don't want the frequency stored in bank 00, hit the "v ^ " (arrow keys to left of dial) to choose one of the existing banks. Using the arrow keys, you can access ANY EXISTING BANK PLUS A NEW BANK.

This is the point that confuses people. It is not possible to select any bank number at random, but only one new bank. For example, if you have banks 0 thru 5 already defined, then when you go to store a new frequency, it gives you the option of storing the frequency into any of those banks, or you can choose to store the frequency in a new bank 6. If you have 0 thru 6 defined, you will be given the choice of storing in a new bank 7, etc, etc, etc. You can create as many banks as you want, but you can only access them one at a time.

If you want to have dozens of banks to choose from, then all you need to do is to store some dummy frequency is each bank you want, one by one. When you go to actually put real frequencies in those banks, just choose the channel number of the dummy frequency before you store your real frequency.

After you have chosen a bank, choose the proper channel number, either an existing channel or the one new channel number, and then hit "enter". This brings you back to the previous page, with the cursor on "CH TAG". At this point, you can store the frequency by turning the tuning knob down to "END", and hit "ENTER", which brings you to a page with the cursor on "WRITE". If you hit enter now, it will store the frequency. If you have made a mistake, you can tune down to "CANCEL", and choose that option.

When on CH TAG above, you can enter a name for your channel if you want, or you can come back later and edit that item. Once a frequency has been stored in a bank, if you select that bank while in memory mode (V/M) , you can enter a BANK name, and some other features, by hitting the BANK button. Again, edit the items you want to change, then tune down to END, and WRITE the data.

One additional item of confusion, is that some of the functions you try to alter using the above method (I can't remember which ones off hand, but that isn't important), don't seem to respond to the "ent" key. If you try to change a value, but the enter key doesn't seem to work. If that happens, the secret is to use the "." key.

The entering of frequencies into this receiver is really quite simple once you get the hang of it. It's just that the procedure isn't explained very well in the manual, and often the manual is just plain wrong.

One other comment: I have used the "ent" key in my step by step above, whereas the manual describes the use of the copy/rec key in some cases. I know that the copy/rec key works the same in some cases, and is a shortcut to getting down to the end/write options, however I think it is easier to understand if you scroll down to those items and use the enter key instead.

Bill Jones N3JLQ

(sorry, from unknown sources)


First, in memory mode, select the channel you want. Then follow the instruction below.

To setup the Priority Monitoring:

1. Press the [F] key momentarily, then press the [V/M(MW)] key.

2. Rotate the DIAL knob to select the cursor to the "Channel" menu, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.

3. Press the [F] key momentarily, then press the [5(PRI)] key. A "PRIu" icon appears on left of the memory channel number in the LCD. Then press the [ENT(SET)] key.

4. Rotate the DIAL knob to select the cursor to the "END" menu, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.

5. Confirm that the cursor is on the "WRITE" menu, then press the [ENT(SET)] key.


SCOP save option: Sets the time the bandscope picture is kept in memory when the BS key is toggled on and off.

In this case you can keep in memory (if set to infinite) the last snapshot of the bandscope before it was toggled off. Of course, as soon as the bandscope is activated again, another band sweep will start, deleting the old picture saved in memory.

Func TM Timer: sets the time the F mode is active (when the F key is pressed and the F icon is on) before it goes off.

Skip Data: Skips data transmission channels (e.g. GSM carriers) in autostore mode. In my case it works as well as the autostore (1u.17)

It is fairly easy to change the parameters of a stored channel. A memory position, once recalled and having some parameters changed (e.g. RF tune, step size, mode) can be saved again by pressing F+MW then, at the next prompt, twice the COPY button.


Yaesu - Standard uses the same serial number scheme for all of their ham gear. The serial number has the form YMLLNNN where Y = the last digit of the year of manufacture, M is a letter representing the month of manufacture with "C" = January, "D" = February, and so on, the lot number is represented by the two digit LL (00 - 99), and NNNN (0001-9999) is the unit number within lot LL.

As an example, 0N070145 means December 2000, lot 7, unit 145. The lot number is not linked to the year & month, i.e., LL does not reset to 00 each year. Service bulletins refer to lot numbers.

Another Example: Serial number 1e110089 means:

Manufactured: March 2001
Lot: 11
Unit: 89

TRICKS with the VR-5000 (N9EWO)

1. Holding the V/M button down while powering up with the VR-5000 you will see the Firmware Version #.

2. Holding the 'Dim' button while powering up the unit on , you get a test screen with all the LCD icons (sic) showing up.

NOTE: These 2 tricks will NOT work on firmware versions above "1u.17" .

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