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Alligorpion

1st radio for new operator

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Howdy folks :laughing:

 

I'm medically retired and have lots of time on my hands and decided I would get back into radio as a hobby, but I am going Ham this time instead of CB..

 

I have found a local club in Ft Myers that offers free classes and has testing available also.

I'm starting classes in July to get my tech license. I have taken a few of the practice tests online and passed it most of the time. (about 80% pass rate). I could probable pass the test without classes, but I want to know I will pass so classes it is for me..

 

Currently I'm looking at the yaesu vx 170 for a first radio. I chose yaesu as I remember the name from my CBing days back in the 70s.. The reviews on the 170 are pretty good. It is also waterproof to a certain extent which would be good for me as I do a lot of hiking and caching. Does anyone here use the 170 ? and what is your opinion. My decision on the 170 isnt concrete yet and any suggestions on a good 1st radio would be greatly appreciated as I don't want to get one that I wont get th maximum benefit from. My budget is very limited and I would like the best bang for my buck in the under $200 range.

 

Thanx in advance for any help provided and see ya on the air soonish !! :blink:

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Hi,

 

Sounds like you are focused on getting a handheld. I have a Kenwood TH-F6A which I like, but probably would not take it outdoors with me into the woods. I don't find it durable or weatherproof enough. The Yaesu's are quite nice and I would recommend the FT-60R which also allows full power on AA's with the optional battery pack.

 

It's durable, weatherproof and will serve you well outdoors. Others contemplating the same question as you have gone with the FT-60R and have not been disappointed. Good luck on the test... it's easy :P

 

Read about it here... http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/4286

 

73's

 

Kevin, KB1OBG

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I have a Kenwood TH-F6A and I take it with me all the time while caching. It's even had gravity related air-ground interface issues, but has never had a problem.

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While A hand held radio is the only realistic choice for hiking the hand held radio are going to very limited in the power output and your choice of repeaters will limited.

 

You may find yourself looking for a Mobile radio for use in a car or for use at home for a base radio.

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Thank you for the replies and suggestions..

 

I have spoken to a local operator here in Ft Myers ( Ft Myers Amateur Radio Club, which is also providing the tech classes and testing) and he also recommended the ft 60r. When I looked at the 60r on Yaesu's website, I didn't notice where it claimed to be weatherproof. That was my only reason for not initially choosing it.

 

After reading Moonpup's post and talking to the local operator, I was convinced that this was the way to go.

The reason I want a handheld as a 1st radio is I do a lot of hiking and some caching and cant afford 2 radios at once. My 2nd will most likely be a mobile to be switched from the car to a power supply in the house as needed.

 

My classes start the 1st week of july and after a bit of studying (cramming) , I plan to take the test at my first opportunity which will be July 12.

 

There is 5 2m repeaters and 1 70cm repeater within 10 miles of my home and caching area so I hope a 5 watt HT will do the trick..

 

Thanx again for the help and hope to talk to some local cacher/operators soon !!

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That may be because it is not water proof, I also looked and I downloaded the PDF file from Yaeus web site. There is nothing about if being water proof.

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If in fact it isn't waterproof, that could present a major problem. I would never intentionally expose the radio to the rain, but there might ( and probably will be ) times when I have to use the radio in a less than perfect situation. The next step up that I have found would be the yaesu VX-7R which Yaesu claims is submersible...

This radio sells for about $115 more than I really wanted to spend right now but I would rather spend the extra $ now as opposed to buying anther radio if mine dies from getting wet.

 

Thanx for the input again ! :ph34r:

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Well i am going for a vx-2r idk how good it really is but it souds like a nice radio for the price. im not sure if its waterproof but most electronics can survive a little water.

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I've had my 170 for about 2 months now and i love it! Its easy to program and navigate through the menu system, it also receives and transmit great!

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That may be because it is not water proof, I also looked and I downloaded the PDF file from Yaeus web site. There is nothing about if being water proof.

 

It does say "water-resistant case construction". I believe it will be fine if it gets splashed or rained on.

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I have the Yaesu VX-7R. It is quite weather resistant, even submersible (but you won't find me putting it in a bucket of water). It is also very rugged. I'm quite pleased with the design. I've dropped it more than once, and so have my kids, and o problems. When walking in the rain, or experiencing water from other sources, I don't worry about it at all. It clips on my belt and works great. Highly recommended.

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I started out with a Yaesu vx-2r but was very frustrating getting into a repeater on 1.5W.

 

After a "geo-ham" hilltop expedition, I soon switched to a Yaesu FT-60R. I like the construction and dual-band features.

 

I've had the radio during misty conditions and have not had an issue with it. I'm sure that the same (water resistant) could be said with pretty much all current handhelds.

 

Yaesu released an upgrade to the VX-2, the VX-3, they added yet more features to it. But I would stick with a 5W unit. While the VX-3 is an amazing little rig, just didn't perform while on the trails.

 

Of course getting the right antenna for the job is something to look at. I'm more of a buy new rather than try a home brew. Of course this could be in another thread.

 

Anyway, good luck on the new rig, whatever you choose will probably be the right decision for you,

 

73

VA1CYR

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I think the 170 is a great idea! Cant go wrong with a tough two meter rig.. vx 150 is great too and the ft2800 mobile is a great choice and puts out 65 watts... check out hro... radios mentioned are all on sale for not much more than a hundred bucks...

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im also looking for a new radio. my biggest concern is that the nearest repeater to my home that anyone uses (as least that im aware of) is nearly 32 miles away-though there the line-of-sight is completely unobstructed. how much power will i need to be able to hit that repeater?

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Hey :anitongue: Any 5 watt ht should hit it.. only thing is you may need to get an antenna outside your house.. like a simple 5/8 wave mfj for about 29 bucks.. youll get it with no prob.. i have also had very good results with my telescopic bnc 5/8 wave antenna on my 2 meter ht at those distances.. if you only have an ht.. and must get distance.. its all in the antenna system... best way to get gain by far.. on transmit and recieve... also might look at some yagi antennas.. mfj has some cheap ones that work pretty good too. With the stock antenna it would be a stretch... maybe? with the conditions you have described?:lol: good luck!

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at night i can see the blinking red lights on top of the radio towers high on the mountain (7000ft higher than me) despite being 35 miles from them. assuming I can hit the repeater im def getting a HT so i can take it hiking/caching(im looking at ft-60r or vx-7rb). i assumed i would need an external antennae as I can't hardly receive from the repeater using my old ht without going outside. I know almost nothing about what to look for in an antennae and where to get them or how to build them

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I have a little of everything like many hams, but consider this.

 

The Icom V85 puts out a full 7 watts on 2 meters. That will work fine for the 30 mile line of sight, but more importantly, if you're in the woods you'll want as much power as you can get.

 

It's only 2 meters, but it is water-resistant to IPX4, which states "Protected against water jets - Water projected at all angles through a 6.3mm nozzle at a flow rate of 12.5 liters/min at a pressure of 30kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters."

 

I believe you can use it in the shower if you need to! Plus, it's only $199 at HRO. You may find it less if you look around.

 

If your main concern is getting a signal out in an emergency (yours or someone else's), you can take along a simple roll-up J-pole antenna. This is simply a twin lead cable with a BNC connector that you can stick in your pocket. If the rubber antenna on the radio isn't making it, connect the J-pole and throw it over a branch 4-5 feet up, and you should hit town from there!

 

HRO wants $45 bucks for one, but here's link to make one for all you existing Geo-Hams...

 

http://www.fiu.edu/orgs/w4ehw/j-pole.html

 

I'm sure you can find other plans, but having a J-pole in your pocket is never a bad thing in the woods.

 

Good Luck

 

N4EEE

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The Icom V85 puts out a full 7 watts on 2 meters. That will work fine for the 30 mile line of sight, but more importantly, if you're in the woods you'll want as much power as you can get.

 

I have a kenwood D700A in the car with a comet SBB7 antenna. I have it wired directly to the battery, so it can operate with the keys out of the car. I set one side to 50 W on whatever 2m repeater I can hit, and pretty much anywhere I've been, that gives me quite a menu of repeaters.

 

I set the 70 cm side to 446.200, low power with a PL tone.

 

Then I set the radio into cross-band repeat.

 

When I walk into the woods, I have my TH-F6A set to 446.200 with the matching PL tone and use whatever power I need (usually low or EL) to reach the car. The car repeats to the repeater. This allows me to not have to worry about the strength of my HT... as long as I can get a signal to the car, I'm good onto the repeater. I've never killed the car battery like this. The only obvious limitation is that I have to select a single repeater, so I try to pick one with an autopatch.

 

On the secondary side of the HT, I can monitor 146.52, although I usually listen to FRS channel 2 as that is widely used by geocachers in my area and the one where I'm most likely to hear someone needing help.

Edited by geoSquid

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Uh, what about wireless remote control of your D700a? See page 74, 75 in the user manual. (Haven't tried it on the D700a yet because it's not setup, but I have used an Alinco mobile remotely. Very handy.)

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Hello everyone,

With this kind of topic opinions vary alot. As many hams, I have various equipment. But my tips on radios would be: For a mobile/base setup I love my icom v8000 which has all the features and 75W out, for a decent price about $190. For a little less, you can get a used icom ic 2100h which is 55 watts, but can be tuned to about 70W again its only 2 meters but full featured,about $100 on ebay. For ht's I own a yaesu vx5r which has its bugs, as most radios do, but its very tough, has 6M, 2M and 70cm bands, weather proof too. cost me about 240 when they were new. However if I was looking for an ht, I would look at the yaesu vx7r. It has even more bells and whistles and yes its submersible, my brother who is also a ham tried this. another suggestion is the icom v8 handheld. I have seen them in action and used my buddy's on occasion, very nice old school solid design, with all the new cool features. Its only 2 meters though, but very well priced. New, about 100 to 120 bucks. Well thats my 2 cents, I hope this might be helpful to some of you that are looking for a good first radio. Oh btw, I suggest a discone antenna for multiband radios, not super high gain but very good performance and insane bandwith, works good on 2 and 440. Thats what I run on 2 meters, mine is about 30ft up. well 73's to all my fellow geocaching hams, KD7RGC

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If I were to get a new HT, I would get a Kenwood TH-F6A or the Yaesu VX-6R. That is because they are tri-band rigs, with 144, 222, 440 Mhz TX/RX, and I live in California. Here, 2M/144 is the best repeater band, and 222 is second best. 440 is mostly private, closed repeaters. The 222 band has many open repeaters and linked systems such as Condor, which cover hundreds of miles through linked mountain-top sites.

 

A couple of times while camping in the mountains, I called the wife (exYL) and friends at home a couple of hundred miles away using a linked 222 system, using an HT(single band ICOM.) Wife used mobile rig at home.

 

440 has some use for me. A couple of times I have made contacts with my FT-50R 144/440 HT on a repeater satellite.

Edited by EScout

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If I were to get a new HT, I would get a Kenwood TH-F6A or the Yaesu VX-6R. That is because they are tri-band rigs, with 144, 222, 440 Mhz TX/RX, and I live in California. Here, 2M/144 is the best repeater band, and 222 is second best. 440 is mostly private, closed repeaters. The 222 band has many open repeaters and linked systems such as Condor, which cover hundreds of miles through linked mountain-top sites.

 

A couple of times while camping in the mountains, I called the wife (exYL) and friends at home a couple of hundred miles away using a linked 222 system, using an HT(single band ICOM.) Wife used mobile rig at home.

 

440 has some use for me. A couple of times I have made contacts with my FT-50R 144/440 HT on a repeater satellite.

 

 

Glad to see 1.25 band is used widely somewhere, here in the part of tennessee that i live in we have many open 440 repeaters and a very wide 440 linked system.. 2m is the most popular by far, but to talk on a 1.25 repeater i'd have to go to memphis 90 miles away and talk on one of the three there, but every time i've tried seems i've been the only one on the freq... I think most places i've been a dual band rig would be the choice to handle most of what there was to do, but for a new ham who need to get something to start with i'd recomend a single band 2m radio... several really good ones for not much more than a hundred bucks, and really gives the user a chance to learn how to use a ham rig with the least confusion... and i don't know many of the veterans around my area who don't have and use their single band 2m hts alot.. and have them as backup rigs if nothing else... can't go wrong having one no matter what else you have... vx-150 vx-170 my favs .....

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at night i can see the blinking red lights on top of the radio towers high on the mountain (7000ft higher than me) despite being 35 miles from them. assuming I can hit the repeater im def getting a HT so i can take it hiking/caching(im looking at ft-60r or vx-7rb). i assumed i would need an external antennae as I can't hardly receive from the repeater using my old ht without going outside. I know almost nothing about what to look for in an antennae and where to get them or how to build them

 

Heres a simple, mag mount antenna i've had good luck with on a pizza pan in the house and on my truck..

 

http://www.cometantenna.com/products.php?C...4&childID=4

 

M-24M (w/PL-259) M-24B (w/BNC) M-24S (w/SMA)

2M/70cm DualBand

Mag-Mount Antenna

Gain & Wave:

2M: 1.7dBi 3⁄8 wave

440MHz: 4.1dBi 1⁄4 + 5⁄8 wave

VSWR: 1.5:1 or less

Max Power: 80 watts

Length: 19.5”

Coax: RG-58A/U, 12 feet

 

here's a cheap base antenna that's a dual band an will help you get out there...

http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php?prodid=MFJ-1754

or any other of these..

http://www.mfjenterprises.com/products.php...&type=price

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Check out the Kenwood D7. Great dual band hand held. Connect your GPS to it and you have a ready to go APRS station as well.

 

I have one I use for most of my cable testing and I just bought one for the YL. She loves it.

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