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I have saved enough money to buy a mobile dual band (VHF/UHF). I will still need to save for either a multiband or a dual band with cross-band repeat.

 

I was originally planning on using my mobile as a local repeater so I can use my HT while caching and then use the mobile to reach out and touch a repeater. It seems that I don't really need this function given my caching patterns and the availability of cell phone coverage where I am.

 

Question for everyone is how much do any of you really use the cross band repeat? Is this a needed function in a dual band? Would a non-repeating dual band be just as useful? Is there enough activity on 6 meters to warrant trading cross band repeat for 6 meter (ala a triband radio)?

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Cross-band repeating seems to be one of those functions that everyone wants, but nobody uses.

 

While I have heard many people make a big deal of their radio's cross-band repeat function, I have never actually seen or heard anyone using it. More than once I've seen someone going on about their radio's cross-band capabilities, only to admit that they weren't clear on its usage and that they had no clue how it worked when asked for more details.

 

I don't mean to imply that it can't be a useful function in a radio - in the right situations, I'm sure cross-band repeating can be a lifesaver. It's just that for all the hype given to it by the ads and prospective radio shoppers, it seems to be a seldom-used, under-utilized feature in most cases.

 

In my case, I just purchased my second dual-band radio, opting for the less expensive one-at-a-time model, rather than paying an extra $100 or more for one with cross-band and simultaneous receive functionality. For as infrequently as I see it used, and as infrequently as I would use it were it available to me, I'd rather save the cash for other things.

Edited by Seamus

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I have used mobile crossband repeat since almost 20 years ago (back when repeaters had short squelch tails) when I had two Kenwood radios (one VHF and one UHF) tied together with the infamous RC-10 controller. Later, I got a TM-721A and "dorked it over" to do crossband repeat. Nowadays, radios come with the feature already enabled, but most of the repeaters have very long squelch tails, lessening the usability of the crossband repeat feature to access a repeater. Using it on simplex frequencies works well, though.

 

I have had one set up at home and it allows me to communicate with a low-power HT to people up to about ten miles away. This is convenient, but not my primary hamming activity.

 

By the way, with radios becoming relatively less expensive (quad-band for $415.00), single-band radios are available for very little money.

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Question for everyone is how much do any of you really use the cross band repeat? Is this a needed function in a dual band?

I don't turn on my radio that much (one day I'll put in that relay so it turns on for me). There was a time for a fun run I was assigned to an aid station that was a known "RF Hole" under in overpass. I set up my mobile as relay with the expectation that I'd need it. It turned out I didn't.

 

I've also read an article where cross band in the car helped out in shelter situations. The locations were too marginal for pure HT, and it took time to set up a proper station. Until then, people where using their HTs to get to the car where it was relayed.

 

So yes, it's useful. There's also something to be said for dual monitoring with a true dual radio. Particularly since some of those can be setup for VHF+VHF or UHF+UHF and not stuck with VHF+UHF mode.

 

So, yes there's a place for it. And I'd spend the money again. There are probably places I might buy a "one at a time" but that would be after I've got a "true dual" in my collection. Personally, I'd rather have it and not use it then the other way around.

 

You'll have to decide for yourself which way you want to go. I think one of the questions I'd have to ask is what is your risk factor? Do you cache alone? In remote areas? Is it an acceptable risk to trust your communication needs to a single device (such as a cell phone) in the event of an emergency? What backup plans are there? Can you wait until someone misses you and comes hunting?

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I have thought of a single band, but most of the HAMs here have recommended a dual band, especially for storm spotting as they are able to listen to the repeater in Lincoln or Ashland and hear storms coming to their location. The buzz on APRS was that it converted their dual band into a monoband and was not that much of an addition.

 

I have thought about a triband (6 M, 2M, and 70 cm) and about a quad band (with HF). I asked about the 706 Mk IIG and was told that the VHF is not very strong. Haven't investigated any of the other multiband units.

 

Seems the cross-band repeat is not that frequently used. I may go for a more efficient antenna or a power mount for the luggage rack.

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I have thought of a single band, but most of the HAMs here have recommended a dual band, especially for storm spotting as they are able to listen to the repeater in Lincoln or Ashland and hear storms coming to their location. The buzz on APRS was that it converted their dual band into a monoband and was not that much of an addition.

 

I have thought about a triband (6 M, 2M, and 70 cm) and about a quad band (with HF). I asked about the 706 Mk IIG and was told that the VHF is not very strong. Haven't investigated any of the other multiband units.

 

Seems the cross-band repeat is not that frequently used. I may go for a more efficient antenna or a power mount for the luggage rack.

The tri-banders that my wife and I use on the road have been really great, but I will be putting mine (TM-741A) in the house and replacing it with the Yaesu FT-8900R that is now awaiting a replacement programming cable. The Yaesu does all four bands well, although i will probably never use 10-M much at all while mobile; my operating is mostly 6-M, 2-M, and 450-mHz, but maybe I will upgrade the antenna system on the Jeep to cover 10-M as well. The price and performance makes the 8900 a good value.

 

If you buy the Yaesu, get the aftermarket (shareware) programming software..... looks really good.

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I use X-Band repeat all the time. If you look at a topo map of the Franklin Mountains in El Paso, (N 31* 50.xxx W 106* 30.xxx) you will see lots of canyons and spurs. I park the jeep outsice the canyon, and X-band the radio. That way I can hit the desired target from in the canyon.

 

Since I use an ICOM IC-901A fully loaded, I can even work DX on 10m or 6m while hiking. It is fun telling a DX station you are using a handheld in a canyon.

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I use the cross band repeat on my mobile quite a bit (Yaesu 8800 ). But the again I work communications at about 12 events a year, keeps me more mobile and I do not run dowm my HT batteries. Keep in mind though to be legal you must have a remote way to turn the radio off, or be able to turn it off within 3 minutes.

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One thing to consider is where you expect to primarily use the radio. I live in the Western suburbs of Chicago. We have so very many repeaters around here. I have never had need to use the X-band repeat on my Yasue radio. I have the dual band for the car and two 2-meter HTs. Now if my HT was a dual band, then I guess I might have a bit more use for the repeat.

 

Now Desert Warrior is in a very different sort of location. Illinois is just plain flat. If I was anywhere near canyons and such, I could see the X-band repeat being more useful. My point is, the usefullness of this feature can depend greatly on the area where you might be using it.

 

More later,

Ken S. -- N9KJU

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Kind of reminds of some of recomendations in ARRL publications regarding new hams starting out with an HT. Were I live, if all you have is an HT, even with all the repeaters we have in our area, there are places were 5W of power is not enough. My club has 8 repeaters in our county and there are still places were an HT will not work.

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Kind of reminds of some of recomendations in ARRL publications regarding new hams starting out with an HT. Were I live, if all you have is an HT, even with all the repeaters we have in our area, there are places were 5W of power is not enough. My club has 8 repeaters in our county and there are still places were an HT will not work.

That reminds me of my adventure yesterday.

 

I took my HT (yeasu FR 51) and my various antennas (rubber duck and 1/4 wave whip that came with the radio, and my new roll-up J-pole) out to the the Missouri river where I will be helping cover radio needs for the Lewis and Clark Re-enacters coming up river later this month.

 

At the same place, each antenna would hit and miss the same repeater. The Yaesu rubber duck beat my 1/4 wave! The J-pole was on a mast that was about 14 feet in the air, so it dominated.

 

I really am proud of that silly thing. 50 cents in twin lead, some solder, a pair of wire cutters, and a tape measure and you are off. The mast is a piece of 1/2 sched 40 PVC and a 6 foot length of 3/4" sched 40. A ring clamp is my adjustable stopper. A couple of bungee cords and I am clamped on about anything. :unsure:

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