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HedgeMage

What rig do you take hiking/backpacking?

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I'm planning to go for my ham license soon... I'd like to find a reasonably-sized transceiver that I can take with me on backpacking trips, both for fun and for emergency use, but that I can plug in at home or in the car for general use so I don't have to buy two transceivers right off the bat. Durability is important, and I want a unit I won't outgrow and wish to trade up from in the next few years.

 

A friend recommended the Yaesu FT-817ND but I've heard the battery life is poor and it doesn't appear to be capable of APRS, at least from the description I found on: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/1817.html

 

A less expensive option would be nice, too, but now it sounds like I'm asking for the world. :rolleyes: To be honest, I don't mind saving up if the unit will do *everything* I want, I'm just not sure I've found the one that does.

 

Any advice?

 

--Susan

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If you are just starting out with ham radio I would suggest you not buy a 600.00 dollar HF/VHF/UHF all mode radio like the 817. Instead I would suggest something like the Yeasu VX-170 that you could get for around 100 bucks. It's water proof, relatively sturdy for a 2 meter ham radio, and can be run at a full 5 watts with AA batteries.

 

You might also look at the thread http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=126921 for more info...

 

Take care,

 

Mike

Edited by kd8ccy

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If you are just starting out with ham radio I would suggest you not buy a 600.00 dollar HF/VHF/UHF all mode radio like the 817. Instead I would suggest something like the Yeasu VX-170 that you could get for around 100 bucks. It's water proof, relatively sturdy for a 2 meter ham radio, and can be run at a full 5 watts with AA batteries.

 

You might also look at the thread http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=126921 for more info...

 

Take care,

 

Mike

 

I certainly like both the fact that it's waterproof and the price! What kind of range can I expect from something like this? I like the idea in the thread you referenced about putting a repeater in the vehicle at the trail head -- how expensive does something like that get (in its simplest form)?

 

--Susan

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I wasn't the one who posted about using a cross band repeater, but in some situations it might be useful, such as when involved with a search. Duel band mobile (car) radios with cross band repeat function start around 400.00 dollars, plus whatever you spend on the antenna and the hand-held radio(s) you use with the mobile radio.

 

The range of a portable hand-held radio like the VX-170 depends on a lot of variables, such as terrain, weather, and other things that could block RF such as trees or buildings. Using this type of radio simplex you could normally get a few miles.

 

Mike

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The important question here is, what do YOU want to do with amateur radio? Do you want to hike out to God's country, get on HF and work stations all over with QRP power or do you want to hike into the woods and just casually scan the 2M band for local activity?

 

I ask these questions because you can see there is a big difference between the two. YOU need to decide what you want to do.

 

I have an 817 and I would not trade it for the world because of it's size and capability.

 

As for battery time, yeah, its a bit on the short side, but nothing a small gell-cell can fix. Oh and you can deffienently run packet from an 817! In fact, it has a nice feature that most mobiles dont, a packet port on the backside for an easy interface to a TNC. Bring along an Acer Aspire One mini laptop and you'll have one hell of a nice portable setup.

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Have a yaesu 817 that I love and I also carry a pocket pc and can do psk31 out in the back country.Lots of fun only running 5 watts.You might think about something like the Yaesu ft857 if you plan on carrying an extra battery that way you ge6t 1oo watts on hf.The 857 is a 600.00 dollar or so radio.This is a all band all mode radio.good for mobile good for a base station.

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I like HF too, however Susan is just starting out. She may not like ham radio after she gets her tech license.

 

Trying to talk someone brand new into a relatively expensive radio when they don't know if they will or will not like ham radio is not what I would suggest. A 2 meter or duel band ht is plenty to start their hobby with, and a lot less expensive than an hf rig.

 

Mike

Edited by kd8ccy

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N0YHO uses a Yeasu VX7r as my main ht on hikes and I also carry a VX150 as a backup (even though i never had to use it) Yeasu has always been a great dependable radio I really recomend any Yeasu product and I have used them for over 20 yrs I also carry a Nikon D3 camera as well.. 73.

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My hiking radio is a Yaesu Ft-60r, a nice 2M/70cm rig. Google it for the specs. Great radio. Lots of aftermarket battery and charger options out there too. You can even get a AA battery holder for it for extended excusions away from civilization. I have used it for over a year and have had zero problems. My longest contact, not counting AO-51 satellite ops (Ritzville, WA to somewhere in AZ), is from The Lakes Lookout cache to a Forest Service Fire Lookout in another forested area in Oregon. I was running 5 watts on 146.52 midday. Other side was running a 50 watt base rig. Your mileage may vary.

 

I've gotten it wet, dropped it on the rocks, run it from 110 degrees to -20 degrees, and generally abused it with no problems. Not bad for under $200 new. :)

 

edit to add: for what you want, 2 radios are better than one. You can get a nice 50+ watt 2m mobile/base rig new for $139 and a nice 5 to 7 watt handheld for $110-$200. Trust me, you will be happier in the end going this route. Mobile rigs aren't made for handheld use and handhelds aren't made for base or mobiling-from-your-car-use. The voice of experience speaks.

Edited by hikergps

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Both Linda (KE7VMF) and I (KE7VMG) take out Yaesu VX7R handhelds with us on our treks into the Arizona deserts. These are very dependable and rugged handhelds with exceptional battery life. We also have a Yaesu 2800 mounted in our Jeep. I chose this radio for mobile use for 2 reasons. 1.-it has a huge heat sink and requires no fan to keep it cool and 2.-it has 65 watts of output power.

 

We got into amateur radio after reading an article in our monthly Jeep club newsletter. The president of the club stated that there are places that the club goes in their jeeps where there is no cell phone service. We all use CB's to stay in touch on the trail, but they are worthless in the middle of the desert. So, it made sense to have communications that have a far reach.

 

In the greater Lake Havasu area, we have been all over the desert area and there hasn't been any place that i haven't been able to hit a repeater. I might have to go to the top of a hill, but I can still hit the repeaters. This could be life saving in an emergency.

 

Our Jeep club does many geocaching runs and we have introduced geocaching to many of the club members. I am preparing to start a prep class for some of the members to help them study to get their amateur radio licenses.

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Yaesu Vx7r for hiking, and Yaesu 8800r mobile for the Jeep.

 

Similar setup here, but FT-8900 in the Jeep; I have a FT-817ND that has yet to see "the field", but that should change sometime very soon. I picked up a couple of gel cell batteries to go along, and it should run for many hours (at "full" power) on the external power.

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I must've been in a hurry when I typed 8800. I did mean I have an 8900. I bought the quad band with the intention of upgrading my license to use all 4 bands. Time being what it is...

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I love my Yaesu 817, I have the old model I first got it as an afordable 2m SSB rig and love it. I have used the radio on many trips to the Ham swapmeets, Field day use and even QRP contesting. I wouldent give it up for anything. If running at 1w on the batteries (1500ma) I get about 45-60min talk time with 2-3 hours listen, or 4-5 hours if just listening. For field day I used a small solar panel and a pair 6v gell cells from a power wheel toy to talk all day and night on full 5w output.

 

73's KG6SOF

Edited by nobody077

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Frog is a ham (General Class), which has nothing to do with his team Geocaching handle (FrogAndPig). Frog's wife thinks he looks like a Frog, which makes her Miss Piggy (i.e. a Pig), since she married me. :D

 

Frog has a Yaesu-857D, which is for mobile/home use. He has a VX-6R which is for portable/mobile use. Frog would recommend a dual-band HT (2m/440) for geocaching/backpacking, especially since its water resistant. Spend extra money for the dual band, rather than just going with 2m.

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Frog is a ham (General Class), which has nothing to do with his team Geocaching handle (FrogAndPig). Frog's wife thinks he looks like a Frog, which makes her Miss Piggy (i.e. a Pig), since she married me. ;)

 

Frog has a Yaesu-857D, which is for mobile/home use. He has a VX-6R which is for portable/mobile use. Frog would recommend a dual-band HT (2m/440) for geocaching/backpacking, especially since its water resistant. Spend extra money for the dual band, rather than just going with 2m.

 

If Pig married you, who did Frog marry?

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Best bet is to buy a used 2 meter handheld at a swap fest or from one of the area hams. Sometimes hams have several and may want be rid of one or 2. If this way if you become not interested in ham radio, you are not out much. Also the area ham(s) may have more ideas as to what would be useful for the purpose in mind.

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