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Vertex VX-4207 - tips, tricks, quirks, etc.


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So..thinking of this as more of a knowledge base/sharing type thing, since it's another Part 95 approved LMR option, and last I looked, pretty reasonably priced on the used market.  I'm thinking trying to keep this first post an overall summary as new things come to mind, or info comes up in the thread.  Definitely still some things I can learn; I suspect it's possible to program to be able to change tones within a pre-defined table, but haven't dug back into the CPS to look for it.  the times i've run into this, I just programmed the same channel more than once with different tones (copy and paste works great, both single or bulk).

Programming:  it's not listed on their site, but there's listings on ebay for cable+software; i got mine from The Antenna Farm. I've found the help menu in the CPS (all versions of the Vertex CPS, really) to be pretty good at explaining most of the settings, given the market it's aimed at.

A couple quirks:

  • Scanning: It's set up for on-hook scan, which means the mic holder needs to be grounded (to the radio, if it's not mounted to anything).  Took me awhile to figure this out, but I understand it's common on LMR gear. I have the mic holder on one of the screws holding the radio in the bracket (since they're base radios for me); ran a wire to that screw when the holder was mounted on plastic in the truck. Also had to chase an issue with a mic that would not let the radio scan, turned out to be a broken ground wire inside the mic.
  • Squelch:  I'll try to add a screenshot, but there's a "Squelch Offset" setting in one of the menus; in one of my starting from a fresh code plug, that defaulted to like..10 out of 15 without me realizing it, and NOTHING would break squelch, no matter how I set the squelch in the radio's menu (unless it was off)...I moved that down to like 2 or 3, and the menu squelch is generally on 1...working great now.

On mics, the NIB 4207  came with the older Yaesu mic (MH-25A8J), as did the 4204, while the 2nd 4207 came with the newer MH-67A8J Vertex Standard mic.  I haven't run into any audio difference between the two, though the MH25 definitely has a nicer feel to it, with the weight (which is literally just a weight inside), and the softer throw of the ptt key.  The MH67 is more of a click on/off.  Both seem to interchange and scan just fine.

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Great series of Vertex radios, the VX-4200 series. When working for the oil industry, these were the "go-to" radio for a fleet of small (less than 72 foot vessels) that needed commercial radio comms on board. This was also based on the caveat that corporate had decided to end the installation of radios in smaller vessels, and vehicles to save money. The (corporate decision-makers) thought was that handheld radios could hit everything that was required in all roles, in that case, handheld Motorola PR1500 VHF radios. However, the West Coast required repeaters and radios with more output power than a handheld radio, so Vertex VX-4200's were used as a "cheap" option that could escape the corporate types scrutinizing the budget.

We did not use the scan function activating on hanging up the mic, and often tore the small wire off the mic mounts when the radios shipped with that version. Other came with a separate piece of wire to connect to the mic holder. The only issue we ever had was the metal cases would rust when left in "open house" style vessels, where the radio was exposed to the elements. 

Great write-up on this radio. It would be a great mobile to use for GMRS. For 14 years, I ran the older and slightly smaller VX-3200 VHF and another for UHF, stacked in my car for commercial and GMRS use.

My only warning about using the VX-3200/4200's is that some of them are not capable of narrow band operation (12.5 kHz) operation, as there was a problem with some of the filters during manufacture in Japan. High humidity meant that they would only work in wide band (not a problem for GMRS). For a while, Motorola would fix them, later ship replacement filters, and then stopped supporting them. These radios with faulty narrow band filters were the last of the VX-3200, and first run of VX-4200 radios (made before the narrow band mandate of January 2013), being supported by Motorola when they purchased Vertex. (There were also some issues with some Motorola and Icom radios that used the same filters). 

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