I really like my FT-7800R, I found it to be a basic but reliable 2m rig with good wide band coverage... at least wide enough to cover the aircraft band.
What isn't so good is the effort required to manage the memories... particularly if you want to program more than a few frequencies. If you are like me you probably have a limited set of frequencies programmed and everything else is done through the VFO as and when neaded.
After having the rig for a couple of years and feeling I really wasn't getting the best use out of it (particularly when scanning), it really was time to investigate programming software and the hardware required for an interface cable.
My software selection was based on the following criteria:
Positive comments on www.qrz.com
Quick review of the demo version suggested that it would do the job OK.
I also needed an interface cable.... something equivilent to the Yaesu CT-91.
Some internet digging turned up a few designs but nothing that matched the junk box parts... the level conversion was easy... standard MAX232 design but additional interfacing was required to covert the two line TTL serial to one line to suit the FT-7800R. I discovered this design for the Three to Two Wire Converter
... and I had a 4069 in the junk box so combined it with the MAX232 as shown.
.. and it works really well. A recycled PS2 keyboard extender cable provided the connection for to the FT-7800R. It worked first time....
For many years my VX5 had a similar managment problem with it's lack of memory management.... could the new interface work for the VX5 as well? The internet suggested so but many times over the years I had looked at VX5 programmer schematics but always been put off by the difficulty in getting the 3.5mm plug with 4 connections.
These must have finally become popular for some consumer devices and they now (2010) appeared in the Jaycar catalog. Replacing the interface PS2 connector with a 4 connection 3.5mm and testing using EVE on the VX5 worked well.
But the really big bonus is the relationship between FTB-7800 and KC8UNJ's free VX-5 Commander software
..... FTB-7800 will export in VX-5 Commander format and if you can keep your FT-7800 definition within the VX-5 limits, especially limiting the number of memories to 220 and memory banks to 5 means you have have exactly the same memory configuration on the FT-7800 and VX5 with no extra work.
I can only say thank you to G4HFG and KC8UNJ for their software tie up... it really was an added bonus I didn't expect.
I don't have one of the more recent Yaesu radios such as the VX2, VX6 or VX7 but FTB-7800 supports exports for KC8UNJ's Commander software for each of these so you probably get the same benefits.