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Just Passed Tech Exam, Need Advice On Ht


bnolan
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I just passed my tech exam thursday night, so I don't even have a call sign yet. Now I am thinking about buying an HT and I have a few questions.

 

Currently, my family uses FRS radios to keep in contact in car caravans, amusement parks, between campsites etc. Also if we split up while geocaching we will use the FRS.

 

Much of the remote cacheing in this area is out of reach of cell phones, but there are several 2 meter repeaters on the mountains, some with autopatch. This would sure be handy in an emergency, or to get word to my wife that I am OK, but will be 3 hours late getting home.

 

Here is my dilema: I don't want to carry 2 radios. At first I had hoped to be able to get a dual band HT and use it for GMRS and 2 meter Ham (after getting the GMRS license of course.) But a little research revealed that to use a radio on GMRS, it must be certified to part 95. This rules out most HAM equipment.

 

I did find a part 95 certified radio (midland 70-440) that can be programed for 70 cm Ham frequencies as well as GMRS. But I don't think there are any repeaters around here on 70 cm.

 

Do any part 95 certified dual band HTs exist? MURS radios would also work for the family communication. Perhaps there is a radio that is certified for MURS that could also be programmed on 2 m?

 

Thanks for any help you can give pointing me in the right direction.

Edited by bnolan
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I think you are pretty much out of luck. There are miltiband business style radios out there but they are few and far between and very expensive. I personally carry multiple radios. I Cache with a large frame pack so the room occupied by an FRS radio is very small. I usually leave the radios in the pack until I need them. That way they are waterproof and if I fall the radios are usually ok. I also carry a role up J-Pole antenna for 2m work. The repeaters are hard to hit here and the J-Pole provides much improvement over a ducky.

 

As far as radios go I am a fan of the Icom line. I also have several kenwoods and alincos. The radio I cache with or do serious climbing with is an IC-w32a. It is a very durable radio. It Mil speced for shock which is very important for me. And I can monitor the park service while I am talking to my party at the same time. Out here there are very few 70cm machines. There really is no use for a dual band rig but all of mine are. I have been know to leave the state and take the rigs with. If your area has both then get a dual band rig. Of course it is perfectly legal to receive a FRS signal on the ham rig. To modify and talk is another thing all together. Perhaps you could carry the FRS radio to do your talking and when you need the 2m just pull it from you pack and go to town.

 

Brad

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I have an HT that will talk on the GMRS FMRS freq. :P but it is illeagle to do so. :ninja::ninja: You'll have to carry two with you. I really like my THF6H Tri-band that really gets out. Batteries last a good long time.

 

Congradulations on your accomplishment but don't do anything that jeprodises your license. :ninja:

 

W9OKD

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Just checked the FCC database and my callsign was posted: KE7DGM

 

Now I need a radio. I have given up on the idea of having 1 radio for HAM and GMRS. Can you give me some suggestions as to what features are important and which radios I should consider ?

 

- Dual Band HT (2m and 70cm)

- DTMF keypad

- CTCSS tones

- BNC connector for antenna

- Li Ion or NiMH Battery ( no NiCd ) with optional AA.

- Reasonable small

- under $250.

 

Any other features you think I should be looking for ?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

KE7DGM

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I recently purchased a Yaesu FT-60R that meets most of your requirements.. Of course not the FRS thing, but you can program in and listen to the FRS freqs, just not talk on em. One nice thing is you could scan them and if you catch your party on it, you could switch to an FRS.

 

Only difference between your list and this radio is it uses the smaller antenna connector (I'm not sure what it's called) But most places cary antennas that use the same style, or if you're looking to attach it to a mounted antenna, there are converters.

 

It's a fairly small unit too, not as small as some of the VX models, but it fits in the hand nicely, and has 1000 memory channels (I have no idea how I'd ever fill that many up).

 

And personally, for as much use as I've put it through, it's held up great, and works like a champ. It comes with a Ni-MH batterypack, and you get a decent amount of play time between charges. You can purchase a AA pack for it as well.

 

FT-60R Linky

Edited by KC0GRN
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Now I need a radio. I have given up on the idea of having 1 radio for HAM and GMRS. Can you give me some suggestions as to what features are important and which radios I should consider ?

 

You can do Ham and GMRS with one radio, but that radio had better be a commercial-grade handie-talkie. I have a few of them that will do this but then you run into the problem where the rubber duckie is optimized for only one of the bands. Technically it is a little grey to run a commerical 2-way on GMRS, but there are provisions for this in the rules. Running a commercial rig on Amateur is perfectly fine - in fact I've been doing it for about 18 years.

 

As for getting a new ham handie I have some advice:

 

- get a dual-band unit as a minimum

- check www.eham.net and go to reviews section

 

Cheers!

C-A

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Oh no! What have I done?!

 

I just read about APRS and the Kenwood 7H-D7A(G). This appears to be the ultimate Geocacher plaything. Tell me if I have this right. If I plug my GPS into the 7H-D7A, I can send my coordinates onto the internet and my wife can call up a web page and see my location. It also looks like I could send a short text message directly to her email account.

 

Too bad it is out of my price range. I'm not ready for such a radical cashectomy.

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Oh no! What have I done?!

 

I just read about APRS and the Kenwood 7H-D7A(G). This appears to be the ultimate Geocacher plaything. Tell me if I have this right. If I plug my GPS into the 7H-D7A, I can send my coordinates onto the internet and my wife can call up a web page and see my location. It also looks like I could send a short text message directly to her email account.

 

Too bad it is out of my price range. I'm not ready for such a radical cashectomy.

Try either a TinyTrak 3 or an Open Tracker. These are APRS beacon converters that function like one way (send only) TNC's. You plug the GPS into them and then plug them into the mic/speaker plugin on your radio. The nice thing is that they are small and not very expensive (I bought an Open Tracker kit for $31). You will need cables but you would need them for either the Kenwood or these.

 

You can get the cables at TinyTrak's website, www.byonics.com.

 

Reduces the cost and lends both more portability and flexibility of use. Once I get the hang of the system, I am thinking of getting a GPS receiver kit (they receive only and send their data out for PC's or other devices.) This would be left in the truck and I would connect an old HT to it. This would give me an APRS beacon for storm spotting, without having to use my good GPS.

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I use a tiny trak, I didn't think of APRS until after my radio purchase, but at least I kept my price down that way. It interfaces fine with my radio, only thing I don't like is all the cables to get everything to operate.

 

I'm considering purchasing an old delorme GPS (the yellow ones they sold to connect to laptops) on ebay and plugging the tinytrak into that, that way I don't have to fuss with my GPS and those cables in the equation. Plus I can just leave that delorme in my vehicle, as that's the most I need for tracking anyway.

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I have a dedicated OLD Kenwood TH21at talkie and 10 watt amp along with a Tinytrak3 APRS controller and DeLorme Tripmate GPS as my tracker. GPS receiver, radio, amp, TT3 costs me a total of about $100.00 for a tracker. Go to http://www.kd5om.com and see my location. My tracker has been running for 2 years continuously with no problems. All this fits into an ABS plastic box and is hidden in my tire jack compartment in my Yukon.

 

As far as a radio to talk on, I like my Icom T7H dual band talkie and my Kenwood TH79a dual band talkie. My mobile unit is an Icom IC-207 dual band. In the shack I have an old Icom IC-27H and an old Alinco DR-112T. If you go shopping for a pre-owned radio, make sure it has CTCSS tones. Most repeaters uses tones now-a-days.

 

As far as a unit to do both, you would probably save a lot of doe by having 2 radios. My wife, a none ham, and I use FMRS while on outings.

 

Oh yea!! Congradulations on your new ticket. Ham radio and Geocaching goes together very well. Someday I hope to QSO with you on 20 meters HF.

 

73s de Jerry KD5OM

Edited by kd5om
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Oh no! What have I done?!

 

I just read about APRS and the Kenwood 7H-D7A(G). This appears to be the ultimate Geocacher plaything. Tell me if I have this right. If I plug my GPS into the 7H-D7A, I can send my coordinates onto the internet and my wife can call up a web page and see my location. It also looks like I could send a short text message directly to her email account.

 

Too bad it is out of my price range. I'm not ready for such a radical cashectomy.

The D7 is great for portable APRS. You can run the tracker on the VHF side and it will not interfere with the other VFO for voice. I recommend using UHF for voice when running APRS on the 2M side. UHF is my personal favorite :D

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You can get the cables at TinyTrak's website, www.byonics.com.

Yep, the first couple waves of cables sold by Byon were made by my own two hands. Byon has since taken over making them himself. Check out www.rpc-electronics.com

 

As for the TT3 or OT...they are great for a mobile application. Portable just isn't as easy with the D7. I NORMALLY would side with the 3rd party/homebrew option. I'm not much of a fan of Kenwood's ideaology, but I do love my D7 and I have to admit its great when wanting to do portable APRS.

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