A couple of years ago, Leixen introduced the VV-898, an ultra-compact, dual band VHF/UHF radio. It's about the size of a typical handheld and can fit inside almost any small vehicle with quick and easy installation. recently, Leixen released a new backpack version of this tiny mobile radio that you can carry around with you. It's almost as portable as a handheld radio and it's a lot more powerful.
The original VV-898 is a 10 watt micro mobile dual band radio for amateur and business use. While adequate for connecting to local repeaters around town, some users wanted higher wattage for other mobile applications. To satisfy the demand for more power, Leixen recently introduced a 25 watt version, the VV-898S. It is exactly the same radio as the original with more than twice the watts. Each model transmits and receives on both VHF (136-174MHz) and UHF (400-480MHz) and can receive on 400-520MHz and 200-260MHz. They also have a built-in 87.5-108MHz FM radio receiver so you can listen to your favorite commercial radios stations.
The VV-898 and VV-898S feature 199 programmable channels with channel scanning, dual watch, CTCSS/DCS encode/decode, DTMF, and 1750 Hz burst tone. Both models have individual call, group call, user-defined channel names, VOX capability and an emergency alarm. Each model is also equipped with a built-in 400mW speaker, backlit front panel LCD display, two front panel LEDs and a hand mic with a backlit DTMF keypad. These radios are repeater capable and Part 90 type accepted, which means they are FCC approved for commercial business users as well as hams. Read A closer look at the Leixen VV-898 for more specs and a look at its menu options.
Of course, one of the best features of the VV-898 is its small size, which makes it even more mobile than a typical mobile radio. The VV-898 is so small and light, it is even possible to mount it in a vehicle with Velcro® and other hook and loop fasteners, as depicted in our Leixen VV-898 Quick and Easy Mobile Mount video.
From the beginning, many hams suggested using the VV-898 in a go-box. Apparently Leixen caught wind of this idea, because they did just that, with the launch of two new variations of this micro mobile, the Leixen VV-898P and VV-898SP UHF/VHF Dual Band Mobile Backpack Two Way Radio.
New variations of the Leixen VV-898
The VV-898 Backpack Radio is mounted in an enclosure with everything needed to function as a battery powered mobile device capable of instant-on operation virtually anytime, anywhere. It has a rechargeable Li-Ion battery designed for extended periods of operation and a radiator fan with an on/off switch to keep it cool while transmitting out in the field. While it does use the 400mW speaker already built into the radio, a speaker jack is located on the side of the unit for more flexibility and external audio configurations. It includes a 13.8v AC adapter to recharge the battery or to power the radio when used as a base station.
Two backpack models
Like the stand alone mobile versions, the VV-898 backpack radios are available in two models.
Leixen VV-898P - This is the 10W model. It has a 6A Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Price: $159.99.
Leixen VV-898SP - This is the 25W model. It has a 10A Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Price: $179.99
The VV-898 backpack radio is designed to sit upright on its end. This allows you to slip the radio vertically into a backpack or sling bag and operate it while walking around town or along the trail on a hike. The SO-239 (UHF Female) antenna connector is located on the front face of the radio so a whip antenna such as the Nagoya NL-R2 will also orient vertically when attached to the unit.
Some advantages and potential uses of this radio include:
- Sits vertically in a pack so you can use it while hiking or walking
- Perfect for use as an instant, ready-made ham radio go-box
- Can also be set on a desk and used as a base station
- Can be easily converted back to a mobile rig for use in a vehicle
The chassis is designed for easy disassembly, so you can take the radio itself out of the backpack box and mount it in your vehicle. To add value, Leixen included a mounting bracket and 12v DC power cord with T connector in the package, just in case. While not specifically recommended by Leixen, the package does include instructions for proper backpack to mobile conversion.
There is one caveat to its portability outdoors. Although the VV-898P and VV-898SP Backpack radios are designed with field communications in mind, these units are not designated as waterproof, or even weatherproof. It isn't dust proof for the trail and isn't designed for high humidity or moisture saturated environments. It is important to keep that in mind when taking it along on a hiking or camping trip. However, for many applications in stable environments, the VV-898 Backpack radios offer a lot of options and versatility.
All four models of the Leixen VV-898 are available from Buy Two Way Radios. For an in-depth discussion of the backpack models, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Podcast TWRS-101 - Leixen Mobile Backpack Radios.
For a closer look at the VV-898 radio, watch our Leixen VV-898 Unboxing Video.