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FunYet

What radio unit and where to buy???

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I’m looking for advice on a portable/handheld radio unit and where to buy (preferably online). We're going to be doing some camping and hiking this summer and I'd like to have more than my Motorola mini walkie-talkies with me. I realize some suggestions may require that I obtain a license. All the better, I’m always looking for something new to learn and try.

 

Thanks!

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I think you'd be best to learn more about the Amateur Radio hobby first. This way you'll be more informed when you buy your first radio and avoid any disappointment. Buying an amateur radio is appreciably more complicated than buying a GPS receiver or any other consumer electronics.

 

Cheers!

Coupar-Angus

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...thanks! I do plan to wait till I get the license. I've jumped into a few purchases here and there without knowing all the options. Learned my lesson(s). Trying to plan ahead a bit to get an idea of what kind of $$$ I should be saving. What's a typical price range?

 

Thanks

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for $207 from Ham Radio Outlet. I can't see how they make money on this! Tri-band (6 Meter (50MHz), 2 Meter (144MHz), and 70cm (440Mhz)), die cast case, Li-Ion battery, tons of programming options, all in a package about the size of a pack of cigarettes. With 5 watts out! (FRS is limited to ½ watt). There are MANY options available to you. You can get a GRMS license (~$75, no test), which give you the ability to use repeaters and use more power on 8 channels (?), but many of the radios available in the stores are not much better than FRS (maybe a watt). The Tech class license is pretty easy to get, no Morse code required, just a 35 questions, multiple-choice test. If you are good with “technical” stuff (GPS’s computers, etc.), with a little studying, it is easy to pass. My 9-year-old daughter is studying now for her Tech Class, and recently a 6 year old got a General Class license (more in depth test, 5 word-per-min. test required)!!!

 

Go for it!!

 

SteveL

 

These are my opinions and only my opinions, unless you share them as well, which would make them our opinions, but I am not of the opinion that I can express your opinion as my opinion without your prior expression of said opinion, and then my re-utterance of that opinion would, in my opinion, be foolish unless I were expressing agreement to your opinion, and then it wouldn't be my opinion but your opinion to which I only agree.

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Read the threads on "What Do You Use Parts 1, 2, and 3". It will give you some very good ideas. Several of the list members tell of the systems they use.

 

I am particularly happy with my latest system, an ICOM IC-W32A, using the BP-170 battery pack and the Comet BNC-24 antenna, I get 2.5 watts ERP and battery power to last many many hours. Along with the remote-control microphone, it is a difficult system to beat! BUT, I hike a lot, so I need the long battery life.

 

Something else to consider. Everything I carry in my pack (with the recent addition of the BP-170 batteries) uses AA batteries. So now I only need to carry a few AA spares. Not 2 AAAs, 6 AA, 2 Cs, and 1 D, plus the cell phone back-up.

 

Others will tell you the small micro-radios are good. Yes, they are. But check things like output power, ease of use, (convoluted menues) battery type and battery life before you buy. I will be glad to answer any questions you have about it or help you any way I can. Good luck in your choice.

 

Mike. Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC).

El Paso, Texas.

 

Citizens of this land may own guns. Not to threaten their neighbors, but to ensure themselves of liberty and freedom.

 

They are not assault weapons anymore... they are HOMELAND DEFENSE WEAPONS!

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I agree with SteveL. The VX-5R is a great value. I have one, my wife (W6EPS) has one, and there are 5 or 6 more in our scout troop.

 

I also think it is a good idea to get your license first, and assess what you really want, need, and are willing to pay for in a radio.

 

There are several brand names who collectively manufacture dozens of compact, high featured, very usable hand-held radios. Just about every ham has at least one of these that is usable on the 2 meter band. Come to think of it, I have four working HTs, three of which work on 2-meters (not including my wife's VX-5RS).

 

There are some very servicable 2 meter HTs on the market for right around $100. Close-outs, specials, and low power models may dip to $80 or so.

 

On the other end of the price range, you can get the latest and greatest most bestest and spend as about much as you have....

 

Study a bit, pass the test, and go for it!

 

Dave_W6DPS

Amateur Extra and newbie geocacher

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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Thanks to all for the good advice. I scheduled my test and will proceed from there.

 

Thanks!

 

FunYet

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Most new Hams get a handheld (HT). The most popular is the 2 Meter band because is has the most repeaters. So if you get a single band HT, get 2 Meter. For a multi band HT, it depends where you live. Here in Southern California, the 222 MHz band is very active with many open and linked repeaters and is a great supplement to 2 Meter. The 440 Mhz band, however is mostly closed repeaters and would be useful if you belong to a club with a private repeater. Kenwood makes the only 5 watt HT with all three bands. As for 6 Meter, 1.2 Ghz bands, they are little used and not of much value.

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quote:
Kenwood makes the only 5 watt HT with all three bands.

 

I recently purchased an Icom T90A which has 5W output on 6M/2M/70cm bands, but not 1.25M. There doesn't seem to be a lot of traffic on 1.25M here so I don't think I'm missing much.

 

[This message was edited by mbteam on February 21, 2003 at 10:37 AM.]

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Fantastic, compact unit. icon_smile.gif

 

Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.

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Hi to all hams.

I have a question. When you geocache with your radio, in what capacity do you use it? I am a ham and a newbie geocacher and was wondering if there is something special we get to do???

Also,are there any ham/geocachers in the Chico, CA and surronding areas? I know there are hams, and geocachers but how about both?

 

thanks

 

Sjess KG6IZM/AG icon_smile.gif

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quote:
As for 6 Meter, 1.2 Ghz bands, they are little used and not of much value.

 

I have a Kenwood TH-F6A triband with 2M/220/440 but rarely use anything other than 2M.

 

6M is right down there toward the HF area and is sometimes capable of DX, so I almost wish I went for the Yaesu, just so I'd be able to try a little of everything with one HT. In reality, I'm not likely to set up an antenna and work DX at all, and I already had Kenwood accessories, so I'm pretty satisfied.

 

ApK

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quote:
Originally posted by Sjess:

I have a question. When you geocache with your radio, in what capacity do you use it? I am a ham and a newbie geocacher and was wondering if there is something special we get to do???


 

Nothing special, other than stay in touch. I use mine VX-5R to keep in contact with the XYL (W6EPS), either in the car or at home.

 

I also monitor 146.52 for stations using the Wilderness Protocol when in less-than-urban areas. I am a bit diasappointed to find that few hams are even familiar with the Wilderness Protocol, and even fewer monitor for it. WP is intended to give someone stranded, lost, or hurt a chance of raising someone on ham radio. I keep the dual watch on my HT set to 146.52, and often use that freq when geocaching or just hiking.

 

So, take your HT, monitor 146.52, and have a good time!

 

73's de Dave_W6DPS

Amateur Extra

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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Can a VX-5 be used to send Morse code? Does it have the capability to generate continuous tone?

 

Thanks

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Sending CW with a handheld would not work very well at all; keying the transmitter and/or keying tones would be a real bear......

 

I also agree that the VX-5R is a real bargain and a great performer. I bought one a couple of years ago to replace a VX-1R, and use the EVE programming software along with the programming cable that comes with the Yaesu ADMS-1E programming kit... I found out about the freeware "EVE" program after buying the ADMS kit. My wife has the VX-7R and the ADMS-1G programmer kit. There is now a freeware program out there called VX-7 Commander, and it can be found on the Yahoo Groups VX-7R forum. The guy who write the program is constantly updating it, adding features and making it easier to use, and it is totally free, unless you care to donate.

 

In summary, the VX-5R is a high-performance bargain; the VX-7R is a bit more money for even higher performance and even more features.

 

I Roger your vector, Victor...... Over.

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quote:
Originally posted by FunYet:

Can a VX-5 be used to send Morse code? Does it have the capability to generate continuous tone?


Sorry, should have answered this earlier, and you probably have gotten your answer by now, but just in case...

 

No, both the VX-5 and -7 are FM-only rigs. I suppose you might be able to hook them up for packet, but the only transmission mode they employ is FM.

 

-----

~ Boyd

N5CTI

 

"Never ask a man where he's from. If he's from Texas, he'll tell ya soon enough. If he ain't, don't embarrass him."

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I have a Kenwood th-f6a and its great. I just got a 3.5 inch antenna and that makes it real nice to pack around. I have a cross band repeat capable Kenwood rig in my vehicle when I really get out in the "boonies". I can get out to a repeater almost anywhere in Oregon with this setup.

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FunYet, Hello and I wanted to say first it's good you want a real exciting hobby like Amateur Radio. You need to do some leg work that will not be very hard. I dont know where you live but i bet you have a local ham Radio club pretty close by. It make good sense to hang around others who have been doing something for a while? You do not have to join unless you want to. They can help you or give you direction in how to go about it. Also they may have a VE Team, which stands for Vol. exaimers a group of people that give the tests to people wanting to obtain the ham license. Then we You get set up with a club or group, you can have some others to study with and etc. Then in a short while take the test. As far as Radio's go there are alot of good one on the market. It depends on want, you need, or plan to do with it. When you get to that point they hams locally can help you and you can do most online. Reading, comparing , pricing,etc. Hope I have helped. I started with a small group and it will lead to a club. very 73's de Continouswave in sunny Mississippi

WV5V ARS

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quote:
Originally posted by FunYet:

I’m looking for advice on a portable/handheld radio unit and where to buy (preferably online).

 

<snip>

 

I realize some suggestions may require that I obtain a license. All the better, I’m always looking for something new to learn and try.

 

Thanks!


 

FunYet,

 

I can highly recommend the Kenwood TH-D7A(G). It is a 2m/440 dual band HT with APRS capabilities built in. Of course, it does require a license but, getting your technicians license is a very trivial task and I'm sure you'll not have any problems.

 

Once you get the tech license, the jump to General is just a little bit away and will give you HF privs. I was a technician class for 10+ years before I upgraded. I would have done so much earlier had I realized how much fun HF operating was.

 

If you don't want to study for a license, I can also highly recommend the Garmin rino120. It is a 12-parallel channel GPSr with WAAS, and also has FRS and GMRS 2-way built in. I have been very happy with mine although I've only had it for a few days. It is very easy to hook it up to the Kenwood D7A(G) and if you do this, you can beacon both via APRS on amateur radio frequencies and with the Garmin "peer-to-peer" format on FRS. People you hear beacons from via either will show up as waypoints on your map as well.

 

If you get a rino, I recommend that you get a GMRS license. It takes all of 5 minutes and costs $75.00 for 5-years. This will allow you to use the GMRS capabilities of the rino (legally) which include higher power output as well as more frequencies.

 

I'm sure you'll enjoy either option or both as much as I do.

 

- EnterZone

Amateur callsign: K4WTF

GMRS callsign: WPXT826

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103_0365.JPG?dc=4675426701340226128

 

My HT and some Nikons. They always go with when out and about.

 

103_0367.JPG?dc=4675426701345518482

 

The HT with speaker Mic. There is also some "film" over the display to keep it from being scratched. Its ugly but it works.

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quote:
Originally posted by GlfWrVt:

And one for Desert Warrior... Just for fun and a little off topic.


 

Reliable, but lacking in accuracy for my needs.

 

3 weeks ago at a match, (Classic Battle Rifle match) I watched a KNOWN GOOD shooter fire a 10 round string from the prone. In two consecutive shots, he hit the 5 ring at 4 o'clock, and the 5 ring at 10 o'clock, from 100 yards. The rest were 7s or better.

 

Meanwhile, two targets left a guy with a basic AR-15, not a fantastic shooter, never got less than the 9 ring.

 

The bad rap the M-16 got in Viet Nam was due to two things. Lack of proper maintenance, and choice of powder. Today's M-16/AR-15 is a fine reliable machine. With proper care, it will do all you ask of it. BUT.... you got to know what you are doing, and there are a few tricks. Like - lube with powdered graphite in the desert. Oil attracts dust.

 

But this is getting WAY off topic. *GRIN* Still... nice photo. I love the background color scheme! From your combat patch, I see you served with the 3rd ID. Good unit. I fought with 24th ID, Barry Mc Caffery's unit. 3rd sure rolled up Baghdad this time, didn't they? Sorry they got screwed in the end, but I thank them all the same.

 

Mike. Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC).

El Paso, Texas.

 

Citizens of this land may own guns. Not to threaten their neighbors, but to ensure themselves of liberty and freedom.

 

They are not assault weapons anymore... they are HOMELAND DEFENSE WEAPONS!

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I have a VX-150 myself, its just a 2m but thats seems to be busy around here. Off-Topic, yes I have a AR-15 myself and its shoots great, But its been sitting in the corner lately. I just bought a STG-58 (FNFAL, From the Steyr blueprints) and really like shooting that, although you gotta watch the brass, it throws it at least 2 positions to the right, I always need to be in the right most shooting bench. icon_biggrin.gif

 

"We never seek things for themselves - what we seek is the very seeking of things."

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

 

icon_geocachingwa.gif

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OK. I'll post the AR/AK pict. I use the AR for matches. I use the .223 AK for a truck gun / plinking.

 

102_0286.JPG?dc=4675426354352077119

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If you have reliable cell phone coverage, it IS the number 1 choice! However, ham radio has much greater coverage. In the desert, I carry both. Cell phone for when I can, and ham radio for fun, or for when the cell won't.

 

Welcome to Geocaching. (I can tell you are new by your posts: 1 on the bottom)

 

Mike. Desert_Warrior (aka KD9KC).

El Paso, Texas.

 

Citizens of this land may own guns. Not to threaten their neighbors, but to ensure themselves of liberty and freedom.

 

They are not assault weapons anymore... they are HOMELAND DEFENSE WEAPONS!

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Hey Guy's!...Gal's...

Just stumbled on the forum here. Been registered here for a couple years, but haven't posted yet. I live in the west end of the U.P. and it is VERY remote, but All the 2m ham's standby on 146.52...They all must know the wilderness protocall too...great idea. I am studying for my General, just going straight to the top. I am retired Coast Guard and started my career out to be a radioman, but failed the 10WPM test 2 months into school, and they couldn't put me back a month so I dis-enrolled, but the requirement to be a radioman in the CG then ('79) was 18WPM, course we all know that is is no longer a requirement, nor does the CG monitor 2182 for code anymore, but My unit is a Yeasu 757 GS II. I have a 100 foot end feed longwire w/ 1to1 balun.

 

I also monitor 146.52 for stations using the Wilderness Protocol when in less-than-urban areas. I am a bit diasappointed to find that few hams are even familiar with the Wilderness Protocol, and even fewer monitor for it. WP is intended to give someone stranded, lost, or hurt a chance of raising someone on ham radio. I keep the dual watch on my HT set to 146.52, and often use that freq when geocaching or just hiking.

 

So, take your HT, monitor 146.52, and have a good time!

 

73's de Dave_W6DPS

Amateur Extra

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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I just bought a STG-58 (FNFAL, From the Steyr blueprints) and really like shooting that, although you gotta watch the brass, it throws it at least 2 positions to the right, I always need to be in the right most shooting bench.

 

I feel your pain or should I say I've shared the pain, my 58 has thrown brass in excess of 10 feet, my range has required me to setup a box to catch the brass. People always stop and stare when I start ripping 3 shot bursts off with it. icon_smile.gif Hey everyone has to have some fun....

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quote:
Originally posted by EOW66:

How about a cell phone ? Towers are everywhere these days.


 

I have seen a number of times when the cell coverage was nonexistent, but a handheld Amateur Radio transceiver did quite well. Anybody who travels in north central PA will likley agree.

 

I carry both cell (Verizon) and the VX-7R when on foot in the wild, and use a Kenwood tri-band mobile on the road or trails in the Jeep.

 

I Roger your vector, Victor...... Over.

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Looks like I'm gonna skip the lame scanner and grab a VX-5R. icon_smile.gif

 

-----------------------------------------

If you go into the huckleberry region back of Shark River you had better not scorn the story of the great pirate ship that sails without trouble in twelve inches of water, and has skeletons dangling at the mastheads. - Stephen Crane 1894

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quote:
Originally posted by Shark River Pirates:

Looks like I'm gonna skip the lame scanner and grab a VX-5R. icon_smile.gif


 

It is often nice to have both. You can carry on a QSO with the VX-5R and still have an idea of activity on other frequencies. For just listening, the VX-5R is a pretty full-function scanner!

 

Dave_W6DPS

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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Hey Dave!

 

What test needs to be taken and where can I take it in order to be able to speak to others on the VX-5R?

 

-----------------------------------------

If you go into the huckleberry region back of Shark River you had better not scorn the story of the great pirate ship that sails without trouble in twelve inches of water, and has skeletons dangling at the mastheads. - Stephen Crane 1894

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quote:
Originally posted by Shark River Pirates:

Looks like I'm gonna skip the lame scanner and grab a VX-5R. icon_smile.gif

 


 

A VX-5R or a TH-F6A?

 

I think more switch from the VX to the TH then ther other way around. icon_biggrin.gif

 

REAL geeks have ham licenses icon_cool.gif

 

[This message was edited by GeckoGeek on July 31, 2003 at 02:32 AM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by Shark River Pirates:

Hey Dave!

 

What test needs to be taken and where can I take it in order to be able to speak to others on the VX-5R?

 


 

The two major groups giving exams is ARRL and W5YI. You can look over the exam pool for the Technician class here. Radio Shack may have study manuals. They used to but I don't see any in their on-line catalog.

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Thanks Gecko!

 

-----------------------------------------

If you go into the huckleberry region back of Shark River you had better not scorn the story of the great pirate ship that sails without trouble in twelve inches of water, and has skeletons dangling at the mastheads. - Stephen Crane 1894

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quote:
Originally posted by GeckoGeek:

quote:
Originally posted by Shark River Pirates:

Hey Dave!

 

What test needs to be taken and where can I take it in order to be able to speak to others on the VX-5R?

 


 

The two major groups giving exams is http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml and http://www.w5yi.org/vol-exam.htm. You can look over the exam pool for the Technician class http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/pools.html. Radio Shack _may_ have study manuals. They used to but I don't see any in their on-line catalog.


 

All of the above is true and correct. Just a Technician class, 35 question, exam.

 

A tutorial is available here, online.

 

You can also take practice tests online, which gives you a good idea of how you are doing.

 

Good luck!

 

Dave_W6DPS

 

My two cents worth, refunds available on request. (US funds only)

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quote:
Just a Technician class, 35 question, exam.

 

35 question, multiple choice, answers included in the question pool.

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Well, my VX-5R came yesterday and I'm pretty impressed. Being a first time buyer I must say the technology in this little thing is pretty impressive.

 

The build quality is exceptional and it feels great in your hand. I have yet to transmit since I don't have my license yet but it also makes a great scanner. I'm picking up four towns crystal clear with this thing.

 

Two thumbs up so far! Thanks for the recommendations.

 

One question... is there a smaller antenna available or would that effect the reception/transmission?

 

-----------------------------------------

If you go into the huckleberry region back of Shark River you had better not scorn the story of the great pirate ship that sails without trouble in twelve inches of water, and has skeletons dangling at the mastheads. - Stephen Crane 1894

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re: Antenna

 

In general the more antenna the better (dictated by a formula that uses frequency and the speed of light)

 

Smaller "duckys" can be used when you have clear line-of-sight to the repeater or reciever (in simplex mode).

 

I usually carry three antennas with me, a ducky a 1/4 wave and a 5/8. This is all stuff covered in the exam.

 

Remember .. just like a GPSr .. it all starts and ends with the antenna.

 

>Personally Responsible for the Recovery of .00244% of the Benchmark Database!<--watch this number!

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