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madflytom

Vhf/uhf Radio For Field Use?

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Hi,

 

I've been geocaching since this summer, and as I go out in the woods I often think it would be nice to have some way to communicate with people. My cell phone is pretty much useless in some of the areas I go, but I think a radio could get to a repeater if I needed to. Also, I spend quite some time driving around from cache to cache, and it would be fun to talk to people on a radio in the car. I have a CB, but I'd like to get into amateur radio.

 

My main question is: After I get my license, what should I look for in a good portable radio. Is a VHF/UHF a good option for portable use, or should I be looking into something else?

 

I've just started looking into all this, and studying for the test, so I have some time to make the decision. Also, are there any HAMs in the Indianapolis, Indiana area that geocache?

 

Thanks for your time!

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A good VHF/UHF dual band handheld (like a 2m/70cm) should get you where you need to be. Check some local repeater directories and see what bands are most popular, in the off chance that 6 meters is big in your town (in which case you'd probably want a vehicle-mounted unit). Also check the locations of repeaters in the areas you cache hunt, to help determine what you'd want to buy if you end up getting a single band radio.

 

~Justin, KG4ZEP

 

P.S. I'm through Indianapolis once in a while visiting friends. I'm down here in Cincinnati :-)

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Greetings.

 

First off, I'd like to say good luck with getting your ticket, I hope you pass and get it. Always nice to get more ham radio operators on the air.

 

Being from Reno Nevada, theres a few cachers that are hams. Being in a mountain area, vhf and uhf are the best things to have out and about in the hills around here. Pretty much you can get into a repeater from anywhere.

 

As the other poster suggested, go to Radio Shack or a local Ham shop, look at a repeater guide, and see what is the most popular. Or do a search online, there is quite a few websites that have the frequencies posted.

 

Take care.

 

Jeremy KB7RZF

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I've been very happy with my Yaesu VX-7R, although you might want to check out the VX-6R as it's a bit cheaper. Both are submersible, which is a nice feature if you might be hiking out in the rain. The VX-7R was my first rig, and I found it relatively easy to figure out.

 

--Marky

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I'll also recommend the VX6/VX7. I've had it since the summer and it's a very versatile HT. It has 6m, 2m, 220 (reduced power) and 432. I don't hear much on 6m and the 220 isn't too useful but you should do fine with 2m & 432. Of course it depends on your local repeater coverage.

 

I usually take the HT along when hiking. Get the case for the VX7 for extra protection even though it is submersible, the case guards against dirt and dents.

 

There are plenty of other dual-band HTs for less $.

 

I'm into HF qrp and am thinking about getting one a small qrp rigs to take out. Throw some wire up in a tree and you're all set. I have the FT897/w batteries but it's a bit heavy to lug around.

 

73,

Ramapo kd2mx

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Here is where I went to check on radio's www.eham.com.

 

It was very helpful when it came time to choose a radio. I also use a VX-7R. It is a wonderful radio. I use it with my Yaesu FT-8800 which is in my truck. I like this set up because the 8800 does a cross-band repeat, which is very useful in very remote locations(it makes my truck a repeater also) and saves alot of battery life.

 

Anyway good luck on your test! Not sure if you know about this but here is a good place to see how you are doing before you take your test.

 

73-KCØUYK Dave

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It's pretty funny to see all the different recommendations for HTs. :lol: Everybody seems to have their own niche/reason for the particular radio they have. Well, here's mine! I have a Kenwood TH-F6 tribander: 2m, 220, 440 ALL 5 Watts max. Why do I like this setup? Because it has the most popular bands (well, some might argue about the 220 part, but it depends on your area. I have a 220 repeater.) It is also quite small and I have the regular size rechargable battery, a monster at 3600 mAh and a nicad pack. What I don't really get are the 6m HTs and their very inefficient rubber dummy load antennas. Granted, all rubber ducks are compromises but 6m rubber ducks are really pushing the boundaries in my opinion.

 

Oh, I've also owned Icom and Yaesu HTs, both of which were very satisfactory. They just didn't offer full power on all of my favorite VHF/UHF bands. -Ken

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I carry an Icom IC-T8A Tri-Band (2 meters, 440, and 6 meters) when caching. As n8mhg stated the rubber duck doesn't work real well on 6 meters, but in our area we have an extensive 6 meter skywarn network and the rubber duck works well enough to be able to listen to the skywarn network while out in the woods. We've used it several times to keep ahead of nasty weather.... Also the big cluncky rubber duck on the T8A make a real nice handle if you need a quick club.... :lol:

 

N8OFP

Edited by N8OFP - Del

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One choice to consider is the Kenwood TH-D7A.  A dual band HT with a built in TNC for APRS and packet.  You can plug a GPS right into the HT and send your position.

I use a Kenwood D7A when I'm caching. You can see me on the findu server when I'm out caching or hiking.

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I have BOTH the Kenwood TH-D7 (handheld) and the TM-D700 (mobile). Both are good units, but packed with a lot of features that for a first timer I would not reconmend. You can connect both to a GPS and seend you POS out over the airwaves and if you like this feature, plaease do some homeworl on APRS. Google it :D.

 

I would buy a radio that is dual band, 2 meter and 70 centimeter (146 mhz and 440 mhz) because there are linked repeaters that uses these freq all over the US. I live in the western most part on the coast and I can talk from north of Seattle Washington to the Mexico border. Granted this system is not linked up full time and I have to have a "sys-op" do the connecting but its availible. Granted your not going to need that geocaching but you can get into some system if your "in range".

I think coverage is better then cell phones but granted like any system, there will be some holes.

 

Kenwood has some mobles for sale, TM-G707A (http://www.kenwood.net/indexKenwood.cfm?do=ProductDetails&ProdID=5012&Group=5)dual band is one.

And a hand held TH-G71A (http://www.kenwood.net/indexKenwood.cfm?do=ProductDetails&ProdID=5010&Group=5). There are othe brands, ICOM, YEASU that are in the same price range and I would reconmend any of these brands.

Alinco is another but I in my opinion not tha same in quality.

 

Now for the test, you can goto qrz.com and in the upper left side, there is a link to take a PRACTICE TEST. Do a few of those and seee how you do. www.arrl.org is another ham resorce. They have lots of info for geting into ham radio and they sell study guides and tapes to hgelp you along. A book called NOW YOUR TALKING cocts about 25 dollers plus shipping but it has EVRY SINGLE QUESTION they can ask you for your TECH class of licence, plus the theory to explain the answers. There is also a video course out there that can help you also, close to 100 I do beleave. My 12 yo pass his TECH a few months ago and the woman and I have been licenced since 98. Been having a ball.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me, I would more then glad to help. Even if I do ramble on and jump around..... :D

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I have an ICOM IC-T7A, dual band HT. And I would use it, if I didn't need a new battery. It's a matter of preference, I've had that radio since about 3 days after my callsign showed up on the FCC website. I ordered from HRO the same day I saw it. I've also used a Yeasu, and a friend of mine swears by Allinco.

 

Good luck on getting your ticket.

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I can recommend the Icom T90a tribander. Pricy little bugger, but boy is it rugged! I mean, you'd have a hard time breaking it with an impact if you tried, and it's still nice and compact and easy to carry. Plus, after a simple mod it'll transmit and receive on just about every band, including FRS / GMRS, air, marine, SAR etc. It's really cool to have all that in one radio smaller than a pack of cigarettes!

 

Joe

Edited by Stearmandriver

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If you're looking for just a single band 2m handheld (cover most of the repeaters in my area) and you need it to be rugged (great for geocaching outdoors) I'd highly recommend the Yaesu VX-170. This thing is built like a TANK. It could probably take a bullet (well, maybe not, but then again, maybe). You don't have to worry about using it out in the rain or snow because its waterproof to IPX7 standards (like a lot of HTs) but the value is incredible. Even though it's only 2m it's loaded, and I mean loaded with features. I bought mine from Universal Radio http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0170.html (which is a great site IMO).

 

There are plenty of wonderful HTs out there, but if you're on a budget, this one is a steal at $150USD.

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Boy, cant beat this set-up:

On foot, icom T90a tri bander.....can call back to the car on uhf....

in car an icom 2720 re-transmits on vhf out to a repeater!!!

 

works like a charm

 

N1KWV...herb

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I have, as of last Thursday night, passed my technician exam.. (Yeah me.) :laughing:

 

I have been checking the FCC site all day and my callsign is not yet assigned (Boo them) :o

 

So I am sort of in line with the OP's question as I am now trying to determine what radio to get. I went for my license because I work volunteer as a Search and Rescue person in our county and I find many of them have very strong personal opinions on what is the 'best' radio for what we do.

 

When looking around and compairing radios, one thing I see mentioned a lot is 146/440 and or 2M/440.

 

My question would be when it says 440 instead of 70cm does that indicate it can or can not do freq's such as 449.775 and 147.900?

 

I know some of the frequencies I will need to be able to use for SAR are:

449.775 transmit 444.775 recieve

445.775 simplex

147.140 transmit 147.740 recieve

 

I have borrowed a friends Yeasu, I do not recall the model, and it worked fine for me but on our last 24 hour call it died in the middle of the night and I had not even been talking on it as I cannot yet. I only had it on to listen.

 

I know I need something that I can get replacement batteries fairly cheap, but I would really not prefer to carry 15-20 AA's batteries. I would desire a hand held that is durable and has decent battery life. :P

 

So, yeah I am adding to the me too list :):)

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I have, as of last Thursday night, passed my technician exam.. (Yeah me.) :laughing:

 

I have been checking the FCC site all day and my callsign is not yet assigned (Boo them) :o

 

Congratulations! Be patient, the FCC has been getting better about the speed of turning out callsigns but it isn't over night (yet). It used to take months!!!

 

My question would be when it says 440 instead of 70cm does that indicate it can or can not do freq's such as 449.775 and 147.900?

 

I know some of the frequencies I will need to be able to use for SAR are:

449.775 transmit 444.775 recieve

445.775 simplex

147.140 transmit 147.740 recieve

 

I have borrowed a friends Yeasu, I do not recall the model, and it worked fine for me but on our last 24 hour call it died in the middle of the night and I had not even been talking on it as I cannot yet. I only had it on to listen.

 

I know I need something that I can get replacement batteries fairly cheap, but I would really not prefer to carry 15-20 AA's batteries. I would desire a hand held that is durable and has decent battery life. :P

 

440 is the same as saying 70cm. A "440" radio should operate all the way up to, but not including, 450MHz. Good luck with HTs. I have used quite a few of them in my radio life and the best battery pack I've had is my rebuilt FT-51R battery pack. Works for DAYS (as long as I'm not chatting).

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