- Smart Beaconing Function. When using APRS for position tracking, the beacon timing is automatically adjusted to your travelling speed and location instead of using a fixed interval. This is the most useful enhancement in my opinion.
- Heads up compass display to the GPS Screen. Your traveling direction is always toward the top of the display. This might be useful if you are using the VX-8 as a navigation device, but as it can't display maps that isn't very likely.
- The number of DIGI-PATH route settings is increased from 1 to 7. Handy I suppose, but not too hard to work around.
- The number of Station List memories has increased from 40 to 50. Yawn.
- The number of APRS Message memories has increased from 20 to 30. Yawn.
- DIGI-PATH route indication function. The APRS Packet data includes Digipeater routing info. Yawn.
- The Message received LED flashing rate is selectable. Zzzzzz.
I think Yaesu missed some real opportunities here. Predictive text, as used in any mobile phone, would make APRS text messaging much less tiresome. And, even without maps, the ability to display your position graphically relative to other received APRS objects - and the ability to enter objects manually - would turn the radio into a half-useful navigation device.
This upgrade is currently only available in the USA. The European VX-8E will presumably need a different upgrade.