The Leixen VV-898 is a somewhat recent addition to the mobile UHF/VHF radio market. It is a dual band, amateur ham radio that comes loaded with a lot of exciting features. The ultra-compact receiver has a small size of a handheld and can easily fit into most any vehicle. In this post, we take a closer look at this product and learn more about its features, how it works and overall troubleshooting.
Leixen VV-898 Review – Best Value Amateur Ham Radio
An excellent solution for those looking for a small and discreet radio to mount in a vehicle is the Leixen VV-898. Despite it’s small size it is a fully featured, compact and lightweight transceiver.
It can be mounted easily in a motorcycle, tractor, boat and even the smallest of cars. It’s perfect for any place where you need radio communication, but space is limited. The little radio works with both UHF and VHF bands and consumes at just 10W of electricity.
The 10 watt micro mobile dual band radio is capable of storing up to 199 channels and up to 30 FM broadcast channels and suits business and personal use. Some of it’s features found that typically are exclusive to the more expensive units include:
- Dual Watch
- Channel Scanning
- 1750Hz Burst Tone
- DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency)
- Both Single & Group Call
- Vox Capability (Voice Activated Controls)
- Emergency Alarm
- User-Defined Channel Names
The radio also has an integrated 87.5-108MHz FM radio receiver that lets you listen to your favorite stations. It is also equipped with a 400mW speaker, two front panel LEDs, a hand mic, backlit keypad and backlit front panel LCD display. It is repeater capable and Part 90 type accepted, which means it is approved for business use.
The Leixen VV-898 comes encapsulated in a rugged frame, complete with a solid cover and an aluminum heat sink. It’s design was well thought out and can easily handle regular use of the transmitter. The package also includes a solid metal mounting bracket. The layout is comprehensive and keys work well. The integrated microphone is fully featured and fits conveniently into the hands of an adult. The receiver has a sensitivity level that matches other mobile devices. The audio quality is clear and undistorted even on full volume. There is also a speaker jack located on the back of the unit, for those who like to enjoy the full sound of an external speaker. The radio also includes extra features that only commercial-quality radios offer. These include:
- Talk Around
- Wireless Field Programming
- Audio Scrambling
- Reverse and Wireless Frequency Changing
Leixen VV-898 Programming – How It Works?
Like any other mobile two-way radio, the Leixen VV-898 can be programmed in one of the two ways – either through software or manually.
From the Console
Programming this radio directly through the console may seem difficult initially but it is not in actuality. This is because the radio does not have a large number of buttons, knobs and dials. It has only a few buttonsm including the front four of which are function keys. There is also a simple keypad on the microphone with 16 keys, which are marked. You can go through the manual programming guide and menu definitions. You can use the buttons on the console and the keypad to program the radio efficiently.
While this can take some time in the beginning, it becomes easier once you know how to enter a sequence, assign to a channel and save it. Setting up channels and frequencies on Leixen-898 is far easier than programming most other radios. The menu has 51 items which are listed in the manual along with the description of the function and the options available.
Programming the radio with software is more intuitive than doing it manually using the interface of the radio. The Leixen-898 has an impressive line of features but running the software is what really sets this unit apart, especially at this price point. Though programming this radio is not at all complicated, software makes it much simpler and you get more options than you can get from any other compact ham radio. For the price and size, this radio offers a lot more than just transmission and receipt.
The programming software is specific to the model and you can download it here for free. Most of the process is intuitive, but there are instructions you can fall back on if you’re ever not sure what to do next. To make use of the software to program the unit, all you need is a USB cable and the credentials below. Once you install the program and attach it to your Windows computer, launch the software to program the radio.
- Username = ham
- Password = 89812345
Leixen VV-898 Manual & Troubleshooting
The Leixen VV-898 ships with all the accessories for installation and of course, the user manual. The manual is available in English and Chinese and describes everything you should know about the radio. Before you start troubleshooting, make sure that the following steps have been followed correctly:
- The transceiver should be connected to a 13.8 V DC supply.
- It should be installed using the mounting bracket included to provide enough air flow and avoid overheating.
- Use the jack on the left of the front panel to connect the Hand Microphone.
- The jack for earphone connection is at the right of the back panel.
- The antenna jack is on the left of the rear panel.
- Avoid too low or too high temperatures when storing the transceiver.
The user manual lists all the menu buttons and their designated functions to help you use the radio better. It also explains the LCD display layout. You can also find the steps for selecting an operating channel as well as transmitting and receiving. You can also learn how to make individual and group calls.
Here are some troubleshooting tips for the Leixen VV-898 transceiver.
- If you see green light flashing at the Power On button, it means the voltage is either too high or too low and the radio needs to be reset.
- To Factory Reset the device, Press the Power On button and instantly press M for 2 seconds.
- You will see a menu showing factory reset on the screen.
- Press M again and you will be asked for confirmation.
- Pressing M again will factory reset.
- If your radio LCD turns dark, it can be because it was left in the vehicle on a hot day. The display can darken due to extreme heat, which is more common among small spaces. If you can turn on the air conditioning or get it out of the sunlight, normal operation to the unit will resume once cooled off.
The Leixen VV-898 brings all the features of a mobile radio in a small package that you can install in the smallest of spaces. It is ideal for amateur as well as commercial applications as it is accepted as the full-fledged two-way radio for business. It is a lightweight radio that is versatile and offers more than just radio service.