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Posted: 3/5/2014 6:36:24 PM EDT
This thread is a long time coming.

So you are new to Amateur (Ham) Radio. First things first have you read these?
AR-Jedi's Can't fail thread
AR-Jedi's Ham Radio 101

And if you had any questions unanswered from those two read this one
FrankSymptoms' Too confused to ask thread

Now that you are read up (really read them) you may have some questions left about gear. What is the best AR? Is a Lager better than an IPA? Ford or Chevy? All of those debates have there supporters and there is no difference in Ham radio when it comes to gear. You may want a mobile or base rig as a first, but this thread is for HT's and it will lay out some pros and cons of each.

Lets start at the top. Who makes what?

The big three as they are called:

Icom HTs
Kenwood HTs
Yeasu HTs

There are others manufactures too:
Alinco isn't "in the big three" but if there was a big four they would be
Wouxun is a Chinese HT that changed a lot in Ham radio due to its price point
Baofeng is even newer to the American market and comes cheaper in price than the Wouxun

So now that you have done some window shopping lets look more into the subject.

What "bands" are active in your area? For a HT they can come from 28MHz-900MHz, but the big three (in order) are 2M (144-148MHz), 70cm (420-450MHz), and 1.25M (222-225MHz).
Look here and search for what repeaters are in your area. It is also a good idea to meet up with a club to see if those repeaters are active and what kind of footprint they have. There are a number of 2M repeaters in my area. One has a coverage of 90+ miles and one has a 10 mile coverage one way and a 20 miles the other way. So there are variables that the members of a local club can fill you in on.

Now you know the brands and bands available to you, what about modes? Are there any D-Star repeaters? If so you may want to go with an Icom. What about IRLP nodes? If you want to talk on those you will need a DTMF key pad. Past that what kind of environment do you plan on using your HT in? Yaesu's are know for there durability but some say the audio is a little low due to the covering over the speaker and mic, once again a pro/con. At $60 or $100 the Chinese HT's take a beating but are not rated for it.

When looking at any radio gear I like to visit a few sites.

First the manufactures sites usually have a PDF of the original brochure and owners manual.
Then I go to Rig Pix to get an overview. This is mostly for used gear that is not on the manufactures sites.
No search would be complete without reading an Eham review
I also like to check ebay, Eham classifieds, Swap.QTH, and QRZ for any deals on used equipment or to see what kind of resale value the radio has.

I will name the top HT's that are discussed here as well as what I have seen commonly in the wild.

Icom V80
Kenwood TH-72d, TH-F6a
Yaesu FT-60, VX-6,7,8
Wouxun UVD-1,3,6p
Baofeng UV3,5

This is not a complete list however they seem to be the popular ones. Something to keep in mind. The Chinese radios are a pain to program without a computer. Most HT's today allow entering memories from a computer program. The program can be a factory released program or something like KC8UNJ's Commander software , or the multi platform CHIRP software. These tools are great for entering large numbers of repeaters or importing databases from software like ARRL's travel plus. However it is still critical to know how to program your radio from the keypad. For that the Nifty guides are great.

Something else to look into are external antennas. If using the HT in a car a good mobile mag mount with help the radio a TON. If you are out doors or using your HT as a base radio the N9TAX Slim Jim or Ed Fong jpole PDF (can be bought from ebay) are great. A more permanent setup would be something like The Arrow J Pole.

Keep in mind when using an HT with these antennas an adapter is needed. The most common are
SMA male to UHF female
SMA to UHF
SMA to BNC



What I ask of you after reading this. First DO NOT QUOTE THIS POST that way if something is wrong I can change it.

Also PLEASE WRITE REVIEWS of gear that you have or have had. Create a separate reply to this thread for your review, also only one review per reply. Multiple people can review the same piece of gear. I will update this thread with hyper links below this post. No need to create a new thread just do your review in a reply to this thread. Try to follow this format


[img URL of HT]

Manufactures website link
Rig Pix link
Eham review link

any pictures you may have of it in a go kit or being used, abused or tested.

and your review with things you like and things you don't like about the radio.
View Quote



Link Posted: 3/5/2014 6:36:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: gcw] [#1]
I just copied the original thread and after reading it came to the conclusion I was drunk or dictating to a monkey. PM me with any spelling/grammar corrections.

If you posted a review before you can copy and paste it in this thread to keep it from getting archived again.


gcw Kenwood TH-D72
gcw Yaesu VX7r
SCWolverine Wouxun KG-UVD1
SCWolverine Wouxun KG-UVD2
danpass Wouxun KG-UV2D
SCWolverine Baofeng UV-R3+
Rockyriver Baofeng GT-3
f40 Yeasu FT-60R
TNC Yaesu VX-8DR
seek2 Icom V80 Sport
Tony-Ri HX-370S
CJan_NH Icom IC-F70/F80
Paul Kenwood TH-F6A
PowerPointRanger Pofung (Baofeng) UV-B5
PowerPointRanger Alinco DJ-V57T
PowerPointRanger Vertex EVX-539
Taft Baofeng BF-F8HP
zapzap Motorola XPR 6550
Link Posted: 3/5/2014 6:41:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: gcw] [#2]
Kenwood TH-D72



Kenwood Site
Rig Pix
Eham 4.5/5

I got this radio on a trade, with the MSRP around $500 I don't think I would have bought one new. However now I think it's worth every penny. What makes this radio different from most (except the Yaesu vx-8r) is that it has a built in GPS and TNC for doing APRS. But not only will it do APRS it can digipeat. It interfaces with Xastir nicely and if an amp was added would make a great APRS station at home. It also has a USB port for programing and connecting to APRS software. So that eliminates the need for an expensive cable. It comes with an 1800mAh battery that without using the GPS or TNC last a long time. But if the GPS is turned on the battery can go pretty quick. I also like to use it for sky command with my TS-2000 which takes a little to setup but fun once it's going.

The price is expensive but the radio is built tough, has the best menu of any HT (IMO) and has a ton of features
Link Posted: 3/5/2014 6:43:44 PM EDT
[#3]
Yaesu VX7r



Yeasu Site
Rig Pix
Eham 4.0/5

I also got this radio in a trade. I never had any desire to get it but thought I would give it a try. I got it with a bunch of accessories which were all Yaesu and very high quality. The radio is solid as a rock and a small. The screen is a dot matrix instead of LCD like most HTs so you can set icons for different things as well as have a number of different display options instead of just two lines. The battery dimensions are small but still holds 1500mA the AA pack only takes 2 AA instead of 4 like most. It also has a wide RX and can TX on 2m, 70cm as well as 1.25m and 6m

But for me the cons outweigh the good. The menus are a pain to navigate and key functions that are usually one button operations are buried. 6m is pretty much pointless with the factory antenna and 1.25m only puts out 300mW which is nice to see a 220 rig on the market but nothing is close enough for less than 1/2 a watt.

Something that doesn't take away from the radio itself but something in my eyes is the mic pin. Yaesu uses a TRS 3.5mm jack instead of the 2.5mm/3.5mm like the Kenwood, Wouxun, and Baofeng. There is nothing wrong with that design wise however non of my speaker mics or homebrew cables work with it.
Link Posted: 3/5/2014 7:01:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: SCWolverine] [#4]
Wouxun KG-UVD1



KG-UVD1

Eham 4.3/5

Rigpix




The KG-UVD1D was purchased as my 2nd Wouxun HT (ARFCOM-Buy Both). I bought the 2m/220mHz from MTC as a refurb for $79.99 shipped. The unit was purchased to access the Upgraded 220 machine here in Upstate SC. As mentioned above, this is my 2nd Wouxun purchase. I have been pleased with the service from each unit. In times past I have mentioned it was my belief that the Wouxun HT was the best $120 a new ham can spend.

For programming, I use the Commander Software. Programming from the keypad is a pain in the rear...and maybe the only serious minus I can score the unit on.

I've used this unit in portable and mobile (ext antenna 2m) enviroment with the shoulder mic with great success.

I recommend these sundry accessories to compliment this great little low cost unit:

Shoulder Mic
12v Car Cig Plug
AA Battery adapter
SMA antenna adapter for Mobile User
N9TAX Slim Jim Antenna for Base Use
Programming Cable

I initially purchased the D2 unit after studying the reviews/raves here on ARFCOM; and I'm glad I did. The 2m/220 1D has worked well for me...YMMV

SCW
Link Posted: 3/5/2014 7:02:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: SCWolverine] [#5]
Wouxun KG-UVD2



KG-UVD2

Eham 4.6/5

Rigpix


Showing Detail of SMA/BNC Adapter


Deployed with N9TAX "Slim Jim" roll-up dual-band antenna. Link



Attached to the Tactical Diaper Bag

This was my first ever Ham Radio Purchase. I used the D2 as a portable, mobile and base radio for months after getting my Tech Ticket. With an external (mag mount) antenna it made an excellent "Mobile" rig. The D2 is my Go-to HT, and right now works as portable/mobile in the family Suburban.

In times past I have mentioned it was my belief that the Wouxun HT was the best $120 a new ham can spend.

For programming, I use the Commander Software. Programming from the keypad is a pain in the rear...and maybe the only serious minus I can score the unit on.

I recommend these sundry accessories to compliment this great little low cost unit:

Shoulder Mic
12v Car Cig Plug
AA Battery adapter
SMA antenna adapter for Mobile User
N9TAX Slim Jim Antenna for Base Use
Programming Cable

I initially purchased the D2 unit after studying the reviews/raves here on ARFCOM; and I'm glad I did....YMMV

SCW

Link Posted: 3/5/2014 7:23:37 PM EDT
[#6]
I Have the following,  kenwood 707g, 710a and a woxum 6p.      

the 707 is my mobile rig, it is dual band but not dual receive.  I bought it used for 150.00 from from a fellow ham.  You can find them  for sale in the 150 to 200.00 range.  It does have a detachable face.

My 710a i use as a base here at the house and i have it mounted in a go box.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT,   it has all the bells and whistles and more than i will probably ever use. i just recently  started using the cross band repeat feature here at the house.  My rig is in the shop so i crossband repeat and use my handheld in the house. It has a built in TNC for my packet use.  I paid 450.00 new the the next monday the 710 g came out.  the only differance is that the g model has a built in gps and is 200 .00 more.

My handheld is he woxum 6p, i use it here in the house or when i am in my wifes truck .  dual band dual receive and a pain the in butt to program off of the keypad  other than that i have been rather impressed with my 119.00 HT.
Link Posted: 3/5/2014 10:14:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: danpass] [#7]


Manufactures website link
Rig Pix link  http://www.rigpix.com/mischam/wouxun_kguv2d.htm
Eham review link http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9242








Wouxun KG-UV2D HT

My first ham radio.  It seems to have every feature available and even more with the right software. It'll dual receive cross-band while the majority of base rigs won't.

With the stock duckie it'll trip the repeater but the signal is scratchy. With the RH clone whip the signal is improved but with the Ed Fong the signal is nice and clean and plugged into that it will hit the repeaters at 22ish miles.

Great run time on the stock lithium and pretty good on the AA adapter with Eneloops.


Accessories added:

SMA to BNC screw in converter
USB adapter cable
RH something whip antenna
12v battery eliminator kit with belt clip (the clip is separate)
Hand mic
AA battery pack
Secret squirrel coiled earpiece and ptt switch kit. Heck why not lol.
Ed Fong J-pole antenna mounted on roof. RG-8x coax from antenna, thru sliding door frame to 239-to-BNC converter pigtail and onto couch
Link Posted: 3/6/2014 8:47:47 AM EDT
[#8]
Baofeng UV-R3+




Eham 4.2/5
Baofeng Radio Mfg Site



I have 4 of these for use on the farm.  They appear to be really tough, surviving for the last three months w/o any failures.  
The + model is an upgrade over the UV3R (no +).  They are smaller than the UV-5R and offer an advertised lower power output by -1 watt.  
I bought from Amazon with prime for $29.99 each.  
I added the Condor Small Radio Pouch for toting along.  I do not like the pouch with this radio-it fits too snug and hampers operation.
The 3R and 3R+ do not have the following of accessories or buyers like the 5R but for my purpose, the 3R+ fit my need better (little hands / lower power).
Another draw for me was the USB/Cradle charger.

A good programming cable is a must for this and all other Chi-com HT's!

The ultra-compact size and fair amount of features/power make this little rig a perfect choice for a b/u EDC HT.

YMMV
Link Posted: 3/6/2014 12:29:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: tapered-pin] [#9]
I am just entering this market. I will complete the recommended reading first, then come in with my questions.
GREAT IDEA for a thread, btw.

I just purchased a gently used VX-7R and I'm THRILLED about it!
OF course, it's going to be overkill with extreme prejudice as a scanner for the time being (until I get my Tech/Gen).

Did I say that im thrilled about it!
Link Posted: 3/6/2014 1:46:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Rockyriver] [#10]
Baofeng GT-3

These little radios cost more than other Baofengs, However they seem to recieve a little better than their other siblings.
This series of Baofeng is a UV-5R in a different housing, screen, and chipset.
With shipping I paid $60 for these units. They so far have taken a lot of abuse with me at work and they have excellent battery life.
I would compare it to any high end HT on sound and operation.
I would not even consider a high end HT after owning one of these, however in mobiles and Base stations I do like the big names in those.

Link Posted: 3/6/2014 11:27:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: f40] [#11]
I have an FT-60R that I like quite a lot. It's easy to use and program without a cable. Will add more once I get a chance to use it more. Unfortunately I haven't found an SMA to BNC adapter that fits it well yet.
MFG link
Rig Pix
E-Ham 4.6/5


Link Posted: 3/19/2014 11:56:44 PM EDT
[#12]
I'm just wrapping up an Arctic field camp.  I'm sitting in a fairly remote Canadian town; this is the first evening with any free time. It might take a while before I can reply to questions, but I will respond as time allows.

I've been using a variety of HT's throughout, each with its own purpose. I'll write up a review for each, starting with my own personally-owned Yaesu VX-8DR. This is a great little radio,  Yaesu packed 25 pounds of radio into a 4 oz package about as big as a deck of cards. This one serves multiple purposes. It has 2 separate VFO's, unlike most dual-watch radios it actually runs 2 separate receivers. Note that this kills batteries quickly.

Over the course of the camp, I've used 2 bands primarily: GMRS for short range utility comms around our base, and aviation VHF for aircraft coordination. As an aside, we've also used Iridium extensively. Henceforth in conversation I will refer to it as F'n Iridium. But that sad chapter of my life is outside the scope of this discussion. I'd love to piss and moan about it at length and will happily do so by IM.

Just before the trip I got the speaker-mic for VX and have found it entirely satisfactory. It's tiny, appears to be watertight, and the mic key works well with heavy gloves, and has held up well to a few weeks of neglect and abuse. Including having the radio fall out of my pocket; the speaker mic cord makes a great tether. There's a port for a GPS to feed the rig's APRS feature. I don't have the GPS.

First, the negatives. The downside to such a small and flexible HT is, the complexity. The keys are tiny, and the markings near-impossible to read with old-guy eyes. The primary key markings are illuminated by the backlight, but not the secondary and tertiary markings, which are silk screened on the case. I need to push the tiny buttons with a fingernail which is painful since I've got mild freezer burn on my finger tips. Programming is not (for me) intuitive, and editing a memory channel is difficult. I have to refer to the manual every single time. I'm not a fan of the charger, it's a pretty chintzy wall wart with 2-conductor cable, and charging is very slow. I have the desk rapid charger but didn't haul it up here. The battery will barely last a full work day. That's around 12 hours here.

There is no dedicated volume key. I have to unlock the keypad, press a key on the side and turn the single knob to set volume.

If I were doing it again I'd get the extended capacity battery, or at least a spare.

The antenna is a tri-band affair. For 2m and 440 operation, a small cap is screwed on the top. That was lost almost immediately, leaving a sharp threaded stud. When the radio's in my breast pocket and I'm not wearing the parka, it threatens to poke me in my eye. For 6m operation an extension is screwed onto the stud. I haven't used 6m.

Now, the positives. This thing is tiny. I slip it into a breast pocket of my bibs and the speaker mic clips on the suspenders . This keeps the battery warm inside my parka, and the speaker mic outside where I can get to it. I've used marine VHF radios with this same arrangement in harsh environments, it keeps them out of the weather. -20F temperatures will kill batteries dead so everything has to live inside the parka. The antenna has developed a bit of a kink from being wedged in my arm pit since the bibs tend to push it that way, but no permanent damage. After a few hours' work I am fairly sweaty under the parka, and the radio ends up wet. It's rated submersible, and has suffered no ill effects from being wet. I just bring it into the room at night and plug in the charger, it dries out overnight and does it all again the next day. This is a solid little radio, I've dropped it a few times and generally have treated it poorly. No problems.

A typical work day consists of base operations, using GMRS to coordinate. I generally set the VFO to single-freq operation and lock it on the local freq, and use it for local ops. I've got all the radios programmed with digital privacy codes, and this radio interoperates with Wouxon and Baofeng radios, no problem.

Here's where this radio shines. Some days I fly out to the field camps. I'm usually in the back of the plane with the rest of the cargo, and use the VX-8 to monitor air freqs. The pilots coordinate on one freq, and the local airport uses another. Here's where the true dual-vfo operation shines. I plug a pair of earbuds in, and wear them under a set of 3M ear pro. Poor man's flight headset. With the radio in dual-VFO mode, one receiver plays in my left ear and the other in my right. After a little getting used to, it's a pretty good setup. Even back in steerage I can hear the plane check in with ground control, and other aircraft, so I know what's going on. Well-informed cargo, I am.

I found out that the radio is operating 2 receivers in this mode, and will kill the battery very quickly. So I typically run in single freq mode, on the airport freq til we check out of the pattern, then switch to the deconfliction freq for the flight.  The volume for each receiver can be set independently. It's a bit of a PITA to do so but not too bad.

Once on the ground I use the speaker mic to hear the aircraft  as they move around. They will call us before coming in for pickup. To talk to them, I carry an Icom aviation HT in my pocket. Kind of a pain, but I like keeping the radios warm inside my parka. I'd love it if the VX could transmit on aviation band, then I would be able to use a single radio for everything.

In summary, this is a great little rig as a plaything. I really find it too distracting and difficult to use for work. Once it's set up and channels programmed it works well. The first few days I reverted to the simpler rigs for daily operations 'til I had this one figured out.

Link Posted: 4/1/2014 4:20:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: tapered-pin] [#13]
oops!
I but a low offer in on another Yaesu VX-7R and they accepted it.
looks like I have TWO of these now, LOL

How do y'all like the Nelson Slim Jim antenna? I've got one of these coming also.

SCW, where did you get that radio pouch? I'd like something like that for my Yaesu(s). thanks!
Link Posted: 4/1/2014 5:31:09 PM EDT
[#14]
it's a Maxpedition knock-off... love it though
Link Posted: 4/3/2014 11:34:29 PM EDT
[#15]
Icom V80 Sport



Icom V80 Sport website

Eham Reviews

No one has reviewed this, so I figure I'd give my opinion which is a little bit off the
usual path. In a nutshell, the V80 Sport is a 2M HT that costs a bit over $100
with fewer features than almost every other HT on the market, and for me,
that's a good thing. It's a solid, no frills "survival radio" if you want to call it that.

First off I should warn everyone I'm not a big fan of handhelds, especially since I
moved out of the city. In the 1980s when I did live in the city with pretty awesome
repeater coverage and autopatches, my HT saved me more than once, but times
change. Second, I've owned quite a few HTs, since I was first licensed as a Tech + back in the 80s.
Back then I had Kenwoods and Heathkit HTs (!) and the venerable Radio Shack HTX-202,
and more recently have had the Yaesu VX-7 and VX-8s as well as a Baofeng UV-5R.

In the past year I cleaned out and sold off virtually all of my handhelds as I
standardized on the V-80 Sport. The reason for this is the V80's strengths are almost
exactly what I actually needed in an HT: a rugged, reliable, primary backup radio
that doesn't require substantial learning, difficult programming, or accessories
to get up and running, offers full power output and loud audio, and is relatively
cheap.

The V80 is a back-to-basics radio by today's standards, and I was looking specifically
for "not fancy" handheld that would run at full power in AAs (increasingly a hard thing
to do, the Yaesu's won't, and the Baofengs need an oddball aftermarket battery pack),
and let me get up an running on a simplex or a single repeater easily.

While radios no longer take direct tuning like my old Kenwood TH-21AT, the V80 is pretty
close, and is probably the easiest radio I've owned as far as programming since I stopped
spinning digits on the TH-21AT. Spending about 10 minutes with the "manual" (a big sheet
of paper) to get the hang of the major settings is all you'll really need. It does, unfortunately,
have a lot of settings buried in the menu system, and the display segmented and not dot
matrix -- a plus for reliability, but some of the odd menu abbreviations will send you looking
for the paper. The good news is most of the settings never need to be changed.

Controls are simple -- actually a little too simple. There's a single rotary knob that defaults
to volume, while squelch and everything else like CTCSS tones is a menu setting (I miss
not being able to dial squelch with its own control, but that feature has been gone from
handhelds for a long time.) The PTT button is only PTT, there's no extra buttons next to
it to act as a function key or to force the squelch off (there is a monitor button on the
keypad for this, though.) Some people complain about the size of the on-off button
(it's a soft button and not a switch, so it will very slowly drain the battery if it's left
in.) On the plus side, it's virtually impossible for the radio to be turned on or off
accidentally, but the radio doesn't "remember" being on if the pack is removed and
reinstalled. The antenna connector is old-school BNC, which seems more
rugged than most newer radios.

The V80 Sport is different from the rest of the V80 line as it's delivered with just a
AA battery pack. Since this is meant (for me) to be a dirt simple radio that runs on AAs,
it's perfect. Pop the back off, drop in 6 AAs, and you're up and running. Surprisingly, though
there's no option to power the radio outside of the pack -- no 12DC input. This really
isn't an option with the radio, but you can get the NiMH or Lithium packs that accept
a DC charging input.

The radio is pretty rugged. It's the usual plastic case, but it's thicker than usual. The main
point of weakness is likely the battery case retention clip on the bottom of the radio, but
even that has an upside -- unlike a lot of radios, if this broke, you could easily use tape
to hold the battery pack on without any operational issues, or even just hold the radio
in your hand.

Power consumption on RX is pretty low. With the power saver on, it's about 20 mA, and off,
about 60 mA. That means a set of 6 eneloops will last about 100 hours of idle monitoring,
which is about the same as most other new radios. Power output on high is 5.5W on the
AA pack, and audio quality reports have been good.
Link Posted: 4/9/2014 3:43:51 PM EDT
[#16]
I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned here!



http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/604623_Source_for_Marine_VHF_Radio_reviews__UPDATE__Purchase_Made_8_20_07_Attn_Yaesu_HT_owners.html&page=1
Before the influx of the chinese radios, this was the inexpensive darling of the Ham forum! The Standard Horizon (Yaesu) HX370S is a waterproof marine band radio with 40 programable LMR channels. It uses the same batteries as the FT-60r and the same programming cable as the VX-7r. The radio comes with a standard battery, a AA clamshell. and charger. Note, you need the software to program the channels. You can also disable the marine channels if you so desire.

I no longer have this radio; I sold it last year after getting the UV-5r. In my time using the HX-370S, the RX was very nice, but I must say that the TX audio left some to be desired on my unit, but I attribuite it to the waterproofing. Overall, it's a great radio with the plus being it's waterproof and support standard batteries and accessories. Compared to the chinese radios at 1/3rd the price, I'd probably go with the UV-5r, but if waterproofing or quality branding is a must, I can't have anything bad to say about it, besides 40 channels is a bit limiting. Still, not bad in its day for $110-$140, though nowadays, it might not be the best radio for the money, unlike 4-7 years ago.


Picture from ARFcom user Zak-Smith:
Link Posted: 4/23/2014 8:08:54 PM EDT
[#17]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By f40:
I have an FT-60R that I like quite a lot. It's easy to use and program without a cable. Will add more once I get a chance to use it more. Unfortunately I haven't found an SMA to BNC adapter that fits it well yet.
MFG link
Rig Pix
E-Ham 4.6/5


http://i203.photobucket.com/albums/aa278/pdenonville/62EA09A5-40F3-4FE8-B01E-319EA00F1E72_zpspzigwfmx.jpg
View Quote


There was someone who made the adapter with a rubber bushing on it to keep from stressing the solder joints on HT's

Found it http://www.work-sat.com/Antennas_files/gulyas-1012.pdf
Link Posted: 4/23/2014 11:07:50 PM EDT
[#18]

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Tony-Ri:


In my time using the HX-370S, the RX was very nice, but I must say that the TX audio left some to be desired on my unit, but I attribuite it to the waterproofing.
View Quote


Common problem with waterproof Yaesu designs in that time frame. The VX-7 suffered from it as well. Severity of the problem varied from unit to unit. I never noticed anything with mine, never had any complaints from the other end, but I heard a lot of complaints on the internet from other people who had ended up with severe problems. Must have been a consistency issue in the manufacturing process.



 
Link Posted: 5/30/2014 12:10:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: Gyprat] [#19]
It's been almost a month since I bought a new TH-F6A. My first impression was kind of neutral because the case feels a bit cheap. Now after using it for a while I like it a lot. Battery life is great (# 1 reason I bought it). The radio is light weight and durable enough for an average user. Programming and menus are very intuitive and simple. I find it much easier to setup and program than most Icoms and Yaesu's.
Audio volume is not as loud as some other HTs I own but it's good enough considering the radio's size and weight. I've been using it with a Kenwood KMC-45 312 heavy duty speaker/mic. It sounds great with plenty of volume.
Volume knob is a bit too small and hard to get to. It could be problematic when wearing gloves.
The radio has a lot of nice features. I have not tried HF SSB receive yet.
Overall I would give it 4.5 out of 5. Great little radio. I would highly recommend it.

Link Posted: 6/9/2014 1:23:43 PM EDT
[#20]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By gcw:
Kenwood TH-D72

http://www.kenwoodusa.com/Images/Cache/1993_356_600.jpg

Kenwood Site
Rig Pix
Eham 4.5/5

I got this radio on a trade, with the MSRP around $500 I don't think I would have bought one new. However now I think it's worth every penny. What makes this radio different from most (except the Yaesu vx-8r) is that it has a built in GPS and TNC for doing APRS. But not only will it do APRS it can digipeat. It interfaces with Xastir nicely and if an amp was added would make a great APRS station at home. It also has a USB port for programing and connecting to APRS software. So that eliminates the need for an expensive cable. It comes with an 1800mAh battery that without using the GPS or TNC last a long time. But if the GPS is turned on the battery can go pretty quick. I also like to use it for sky command with my TS-2000 which takes a little to setup but fun once it's going.

The price is expensive but the radio is built tough, has the best menu of any HT (IMO) and has a ton of features
View Quote


I love my D72... all my other HT's collect dust since I bought it.  
Link Posted: 6/24/2014 12:36:40 AM EDT
[#21]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By JeremyB99:


There was someone who made the adapter with a rubber bushing on it to keep from stressing the solder joints on HT's

Found it http://www.work-sat.com/Antennas_files/gulyas-1012.pdf
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By JeremyB99:
Originally Posted By f40:
I have an FT-60R that I like quite a lot. It's easy to use and program without a cable. Will add more once I get a chance to use it more. Unfortunately I haven't found an SMA to BNC adapter that fits it well yet.
MFG link
Rig Pix
E-Ham 4.6/5


http://i203.photobucket.com/albums/aa278/pdenonville/62EA09A5-40F3-4FE8-B01E-319EA00F1E72_zpspzigwfmx.jpg


There was someone who made the adapter with a rubber bushing on it to keep from stressing the solder joints on HT's

Found it http://www.work-sat.com/Antennas_files/gulyas-1012.pdf


I ended up buying the SMA to BNC adapter that HamCity sells, and I put two different size o-rings under it. Looks good and works well.

Link Posted: 7/2/2014 10:42:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: CJan_NH] [#22]
Icom IC-F70/F80 family

Back in 2009 or so I set out to build two GMRS repeaters. The first was a portable unit that could be run on a couple of deep cycle batteries and be set up anywhere, and the second on leased space at a commercial antenna site with backup power. My intention was to give friends and family a dead nuts reliable (and legal) means to communicate without a ham radio license during ice storms or other grid down emergencies. Both the 1998 and 2008 ice storms taught me that reliable communication and coordination is a godsend. That saga, as well as recommendations from several members here, led me to commercial land mobile gear for GMRS and UHF/VHF ham. It was important to me that any equipment I used was squeaky clean from a legal standpoint. While I could easily mod any of my ham radio gear to transmit out of band, I didn't want to hand out any equipment that wasn't 100% kosher for its intended purpose - particularly to family. Back then I standardized on the Icom F30GT/F40GT family of radios, and they have served me very well. Sadly, these radios have been discontinued by Icom, and their availability on the secondary market has almost completely dried up.

That lack of availability forced me to upgrade, and I have standardized again on the Icom IC-F70(VHF) and IC-F80(UHF) portables for short range UHF/VHF ham, GMRS, and commercial UHF at work. There are actually 34 specific models within the F70/80 series, but the basic breakdown is as follows:

F70: VHF
F80: UHF
S: non-keypad
T: full keypad
D: Digital P25 capable

So, an F80DT for example would be a UHF, P25 digital capable unit with a full keyboard. Despite a similar outward appearance, the following pic shows three vastly different models.

From left to right - an IC-F70DS, an IC-F80T, an IC-F80DT, along with an IC-F40GT for scale:


The F70/F80 family are waterproof (IPX7) and meet military specs for shock, salt fog, dust, extreme temps etc. They are rugged and built for hard use. Full keypad versions are front panel programmable in the field, when dealer mode is enabled. The display is very easy to read and fully customizable:

The little custom icons in the image above tell me that Temple Mountain is a ham repeater. OCD? Hell yeah!

All versions will store 256 channels in up to 32 zones, and support CTCSS, DTCS, 2-tone and 5-tone as you would expect. Most models are MDC1200 compatible. All models (analog or digital) can be configured for remote stun, kill, revive, and password protect after forced reset or start-up. Digital models can be configured with AES/DES encryption, and are certified to FIPS 140-2 with the right software activation key. The onboard firmware is flash upgradable, and the upgrade process is fast and painless - requiring only a computer and the standard $20 programming cable. The programming software is intuitive and very easy to use.

Overall I have been very happy with these Icom portables, and I have had no issues whatsoever that weren't user created The F70/F80 series use the same antennas, speaker mics, and Bluetooth adapters as the older F30/F40 series. They will also use the same tri-chem charger after a five minute swap of the charge cup insert.

Link Posted: 8/17/2014 8:04:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Paul] [#23]
Link Posted: 8/17/2014 11:14:11 PM EDT
[#24]
Good post fellas! Keep 'em coming
Link Posted: 8/23/2014 7:41:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: EXPY37] [#25]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Tony-Ri:
I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned here!

http://www.davesmarineelectronics.com/ProductImages/standard/HX370S_PACK.jpg

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_10_22/604623_Source_for_Marine_VHF_Radio_reviews__UPDATE__Purchase_Made_8_20_07_Attn_Yaesu_HT_owners.html&page=1
Before the influx of the chinese radios, this was the inexpensive darling of the Ham forum! The Standard Horizon (Yaesu) HX370S is a waterproof marine band radio with 40 programable LMR channels. It uses the same batteries as the FT-60r and the same programming cable as the VX-7r. The radio comes with a standard battery, a AA clamshell. and charger. Note, you need the software to program the channels. You can also disable the marine channels if you so desire.

I no longer have this radio; I sold it last year after getting the UV-5r. In my time using the HX-370S, the RX was very nice, but I must say that the TX audio left some to be desired on my unit, but I attribuite it to the waterproofing. Overall, it's a great radio with the plus being it's waterproof and support standard batteries and accessories. Compared to the chinese radios at 1/3rd the price, I'd probably go with the UV-5r, but if waterproofing or quality branding is a must, I can't have anything bad to say about it, besides 40 channels is a bit limiting. Still, not bad in its day for $110-$140, though nowadays, it might not be the best radio for the money, unlike 4-7 years ago.


Picture from ARFcom user Zak-Smith:
http://demigodllc.com/photo/HX370S/small/gang1.jpg
View Quote




Yep, these are great H-T's.

I like to use them for 'base' stations to monitor a repeater and solved how to power them by using the smart rapid chargers.

They have been in rapid chargers almost 2 years I guess and no issues with the batteries and are always ready to receive a signal.

 


Link Posted: 8/24/2014 2:24:07 PM EDT
[#26]
Link to Jupiter7200's most excellent thread about the Baofeng UV5R.



Mods, can the thread I linked be marked so it doesn't go into the archive?
Link Posted: 8/30/2014 2:32:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: zapzap] [#27]
I may add this.

VHF: Yeasu FT-270
UHF: Icom F21, Icom F4021T (full keyboard, any LCD Icom F-series can be FPP), Motorola HT750, Motorola HT1000.

I prefer the Moto's the most.

Here is a picture of my favorite 3 (F4021T, HT1000, HT750 w/Pryme Blu adapter):


Last week I acquired 11 more HT1000's, I currently have 9 or 10 HT750's…two F21's and somewhere I have a few VHF GP300's.



Link Posted: 9/14/2014 5:42:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: PowerPointRanger] [#28]
Pofung (Baofeng) UV-B5 Review



Does your Baofeng interfere with other radio services? Have you tested yours?
Manufacturer's Website
eHam Reviews
Hans PD0AC's Review - Lots of good technical information
Miklor's UV-B5 page - FAQs, 220 Myth Busting, USB Drivers, Manual Programming, etc.
No current Rigpix page, will update if they post one
Currently $33 shipped off Amazon as of 14 September, 2014
Note: the UV-B6 is nearly identical and shares all accessories. The difference is the B5 has a rotary encoder on top, the B6 has an LED flashlight.

[Edit - recommendation withdrawn. Link to ARRL report.]
Link Posted: 9/14/2014 6:50:22 PM EDT
[#29]
Alinco DJ-V57T Review



Manufacturer's Website (free programming software at the very bottom)
eHam Reviews
No Rigpix Page as of 14 September, 2014


This radio is the dual band entry in Alinco's DJ-V*7T series - the others are single band 2m, 220, and 70cm rigs that all share the same relevant accessories and batteries. They're also all waterproof to IPX7 standards, although Alinco warns that they are far from submersible - think rainstorm, not lake-bottom. It was these two features that attracted me to the rig: I wanted a dual band HT that I could program in the field that would stand up to heavy rains, a specification I came up with after listening to the 2013 Colorado Flood response on the local repeaters.

Of course, not two weeks after I got it, Alinco announced it's replacement - the DJ-500T. While spare batteries are almost $20 cheaper, the new radio does not have a AA Clamshell.

That brings me to the accessories, another reason I ended up with the rig:



The biggest plus for me is the AA Clamshell - it takes 6 AA alkaline cells and can power the radio at full 5W transmit power. Especially when any firefighting assets are involved, AA batteries are readily available in my area during ARES callouts, a logistical reality I can't ignore. Additionally, the speaker mic jack is the same as the threaded, waterproof Yeasu offerings, and waterproof aftermarket speaker mics are available and work great. Also available is the EDC-37 power cord: it comes unterminated, so it's easy to wire up with powerpoles. This powers the radio but does not charge the lithium batteries, only the old NiMH cells that the radio first shipped with. As far as I'm concerned, it's a more versatile battery eliminator than the cigarette lighter versions, and it's under $10. Antenna is SMA Male like the Yaesus, and I run an NA-771 which works great.

In use, it's a great sounding radio that performed better than my UV-5Rs when faced with distant repeaters and weak signals. Specifically, the UV-5R could break the repeater's squelch and I could hear 80% of the conversation, but others couldn't understand my transmissions. The V57T heard all of the conversation, and I was understood clearly. While the squelch is menu-driven, it's effective and actually does something, which I appreciated. Field programming is entirely possible, although I would have preferred automatic repeater offset.

There are a few downsides: I'll start with the worst -



This must be the worst belt-clip ever. It's solid plastic screwed into the individual batteries. It's just terrible. I also dislike the power button and menu-driven volume and squelch - all of these things should be accomplished with a knob on top, and none of them are here.


Bottom line - if you can find it on eBay for under $100, it's a dual-band weather-resistant field-programmable HT that can accept a AA Clamshell. It's served me well, and is all that I could reasonably ask from an entry level HT when it comes to performance.
Link Posted: 2/5/2015 10:58:28 PM EDT
[#30]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Gyprat:
It's been almost a month since I bought a new TH-F6A. My first impression was kind of neutral because the case feels a bit cheap. Now after using it for a while I like it a lot. Battery life is great (# 1 reason I bought it). The radio is light weight and durable enough for an average user. Programming and menus are very intuitive and simple. I find it much easier to setup and program than most Icoms and Yaesu's.
Audio volume is not as loud as some other HTs I own but it's good enough considering the radio's size and weight. I've been using it with a Kenwood KMC-45 312 heavy duty speaker/mic. It sounds great with plenty of volume.
Volume knob is a bit too small and hard to get to. It could be problematic when wearing gloves.
The radio has a lot of nice features. I have not tried HF SSB receive yet.
Overall I would give it 4.5 out of 5. Great little radio. I would highly recommend it.

View Quote


Well.... I jinxed it. It started having issues with squelch. Squelch keeps breaking every 1-2 seconds. It's driving me nuts. I checked all of the parameters and did a reset. Nothing seems to help. My other radios, including several Baofengs don't do this sitting right next to the Kenwood. It's out of warranty too. I should have bought a Yaesu FT-60 instead. I never had good luck with Kenwoods.
Link Posted: 2/6/2015 7:08:46 AM EDT
[#31]

Where did you get the radio pouch?

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By SCWolverine:
Wouxun KG-UVD1

http://www.fotolode.com/images/SCWolverine/Farm/1delta.jpg

KG-UVD1

Eham 4.3/5

Rigpix

http://www.fotolode.com/images/SCWolverine/Ham/wx1.jpg


The KG-UVD1D was purchased as my 2nd Wouxun HT (ARFCOM-Buy Both). I bought the 2m/220mHz from MTC as a refurb for $79.99 shipped. The unit was purchased to access the Upgraded 220 machine here in Upstate SC. As mentioned above, this is my 2nd Wouxun purchase. I have been pleased with the service from each unit. In times past I have mentioned it was my belief that the Wouxun HT was the best $120 a new ham can spend.

For programming, I use the Commander Software. Programming from the keypad is a pain in the rear...and maybe the only serious minus I can score the unit on.

I've used this unit in portable and mobile (ext antenna 2m) enviroment with the shoulder mic with great success.

I recommend these sundry accessories to compliment this great little low cost unit:

Shoulder Mic
12v Car Cig Plug
AA Battery adapter
SMA antenna adapter for Mobile User
N9TAX Slim Jim Antenna for Base Use
Programming Cable

I initially purchased the D2 unit after studying the reviews/raves here on ARFCOM; and I'm glad I did. The 2m/220 1D has worked well for me...YMMV

SCW
View Quote

Link Posted: 2/6/2015 7:44:13 AM EDT
[#32]
That is a Chinese Knock off of the Maxpedition CP-M or CP-S.  The S is great for the little Chi-com rigs, I'm thinking mine is the M and it is perfect for the Wouxun.
Link Posted: 3/9/2015 2:51:24 PM EDT
[#33]
Just bought a Yaesu VX-8DR.

Awesome radio but it'll take AWHILE before I figure out everything on this thing.
Link Posted: 3/21/2015 3:17:04 PM EDT
[#34]
Vertex EVX-539 Review



Vertex Standard's Product Page
VA3XPR Review
DMR-MARC: Basic DMR Primer
DCI's DMR 101 (.PDF)
Rocky Mountain Ham's DMR Tips
Programming Software: sign up for a free account, download the International Version when approved.

I've taken an abrubt 180 on digital voice, specifically DMR, over the last few weeks. Not only is there a 100% microwave RF linked DMR system in my state, but folks are integrating it into response plans. In the same timeframe, I found myself needing a 100% legal Part 90 handheld for a volunteer gig. So, when presented the opportunity to snag all of the below plus programming cable for $300 shipped, I took it.



I believe that any handheld intended for serious use should be some measure of weathertight, have a speakermic sealed to the same spec, and accept a AA alkaline clamshell for power. The EVX-539 checks all of those boxes for me, and the audio sounds great both ways. A further plus is the aggressive gasketing on the AA clamshell - will not degrade the radio's seals during use. Despite some mis-information elsewhere, these radios are more than capable of analog wideband FM as well as narrowband FM and DMR, all in the same codeplug. Speaking of codeplugs, I used a sample codeplug from Rocky Mountain Ham to see how everything fit together, and then used the other banks to make a few favorites lists. Not a big deal at all, just some new variables to learn on the DMR side. Once it was done, I was talking on Analog FM repeaters just as easily as a statewide DMR network.

I do have one gripe: the Vertex speaker mic connector -



In a perfect world, I'd like a quick-detach, weatherproof, common connector with lots of aftermarket support... the threaded TRRS Yaesu waterproof connector would have worked just fine here. While inconvenient, at least this Vertex connector tightens up to be solid as a rock.

Bottom line, if you're looking for a way into DMR and find one of these cheap, it's a great choice.
Link Posted: 5/5/2015 11:41:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Taft] [#35]
Baofeng BF-F8HP Tri power HT Review



No rigpix

Miklor.com Article

eHam Review


I profess that I first heard of the chinese radios I was not that impressed.  $28 for a hand held ?  I felt that was something was wrong somewhere.  

I recently got back into ham radio from my earlier stint in 2007 so I knew I would have some catching up to do.  I was at a recent ARES meeting on another matter when I saw my first Baofeng UV-5R. The owner was a man I have known for many years and well respected ham guy.  He loves his, says he won't go anywhere without it.  Said I should get the BF-F8HP as it is a tri-power and will do 8 watts.  I said ok and an order was placed to Amazon.   Under the theory of "2 is 1 and 1 is none" (Thanks again DocGP)  I ordered 2 of them at $64 ea.  Now that is twice the price point, but hey, if my guy says they're good, I'm good.  

I also ordered two(2) of the Nagoya N771 antennas just because I already knew better, plus speaker mics, AA battery adapters, and a programming cable.  

With & without an AA battery Adapter


When I opened they boxes I was quite impressed.   The radio's seem every bit as well built as any Vertex or Yaesu I ever owned.   The manual was much improved over the UV-5R I saw.  The Programming cable came with instructions to to to a website that would help, so I did.   Thank goodness for Miklor.com.  It has a great review and good instructions.

Here is what I found that the review did not cover.   The charging stand is "loose as a goose". The HT won't stay in straight and almost falls over.   A piece of cardboard or plastic about a millimeter thick behind the radio would probably make it more sturdy or sit tighter in the cradle.  I have not tried the enclosed ear bud because I does not interest me, but it might under the right circumstances.  YMMV.  

I programmed the radio first by hand using the manual.   It requires a lot more button pushing than say a Yaesu or Vertex. And you must save it twice on the ctcss side or it won't save it at all.   To be honest, I also found a youtube video on it to be much easier to understand and use thanks to a fellow ham user.  The manual is adequate but the youtube video was better.  

The programming cable has a built in set of drivers for your laptop or desktop computer.  Simply plug the cable into the USB port of your computer and the drivers automatically install.  Once installed, go to Chirp or baofengtech.com and download the Chirp software.  Get the daily updated one.  Miklor.com gives you lots of tip and tricks with programming which are very helpful.  

Programming was easy and simple.  A couple of radio checks both in simplex and with the local area repeater confirmed I have a radio that works.  Squelch, volume, channel selection, all easy to use one you play with it for a while.  Another feature I liked is you can adjust your TX screen or RX screen to several different colors such as blue, orange, purple, or no color.  If you want red for TX and blue for RX, awesome.  I picked orange for all.  

The radio has built in NOAA frequencies, built in FM music frequencies, and a LED flashlight.   I think I would have liked a squelch knob or squelch ring myself instead of the light.  The radio also talks to you in english as you program, but you can change it to chinese if you wish.   The radio also allows for FRS/GRMS channels including encoding for the repeaters.  

What I really like about this radio more than anything else is it's price point versus it's features.   Let me explain.  For $64 I get a dual band ham radio, a police scanner, FRS/GRMS, NOAA weather, and FM music radio all in one package, with a flashlight !  

At $64 if it is lost, stolen, or broken it is no big loss.   That is why I bought two of them. Now that I have played with it for a while I am seriously thinking about two(2) more just because.  



Link Posted: 5/16/2015 10:34:48 PM EDT
[#36]
Motorola XPR 6550

For a first generation TRBO radio, the prices on these have come down considerably. I paid $225 for mine (in like new condition). It came from an eBay seller with the stubby antenna, the 11Wh Impress battery, and a brand new Impress charging cradle w/ wall wart.

Pros:
It's a Motorola. Has good audio (some even say better than those of second generation TRBO radios). Decent battery life, I haven't had a chance to swap mine out for one with the 16Wh battery. Probably one of the louder portables I've owned. Fairly rugged, but lacks the color display a lot of the second generation radios have. It will do traditional wideband analog. If one purchases a GOP one can even purchase a firmware to enable FPP which works for both analog and digital. The programming/accessory connector has also been adapted by manufacturers of other DMR radios (Hytera, Tecnet) and the radios all run off the Motorola cable. One nifty function is the built in RSSI meter that can be displayed through a button sequence. Quick scan.

Cons:
It's a Motorola. If you don't have access to the CPS, there is that subscription (but wideband key is easy once you buy the CPS subscription). There are some proprietary features associated with TRBO (Roaming, Capacity Plus, IP site connect). Probably one of the biggest cons (well not a con but more a annoyance) is that the zones can not be selected by the 16 position channel knob on the radio, but have to be selected though a hot key on the radio and you can only put up to 16 channels per zone. Like most DMR radios, a channel/mode/personality is used for each digital time slot.

Overall:
If you can get them for around $200, they are not bad buys. Audio is pretty good, well built. They can be hard to figure out at first (though I will say if you can figure the CPS out you'll be for other DMR radios) and work a little unconventionally to other Motorola and commercial analog radios. I've seen a ton of them being carried by Southwest and TSA employees so they have been a popular radio and eventually the price will come down considerably.

Link Posted: 6/6/2015 8:02:20 AM EDT
[#37]
Sorry guys for the late update. Thank you for the added content, there are some really good reviews on here.

Funny how when I wrote this in early 2014 Baofengs were kinda gaining popularity, but now are everywhere. Hopefully I will follow zapzap's lead and add some moto content. Keep them coming.
Link Posted: 8/19/2015 3:10:00 AM EDT
[#38]
Link Posted: 8/24/2015 10:52:55 AM EDT
[#39]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Taft:
Baofeng BF-F8HP Tri power HT Review

I also ordered two(2) of the Nagoya N771 antennas just because I already knew better, plus speaker mics, AA battery adapters, and a programming cable.  
View Quote


The A-V85 antennas that come on the BF-F8HPs (and the F8+, and UV-82 depending on who you buy from) are actually a GREAT all around antenna for both bands better than the Nagoya 701 and cheaper to boot.  A pack of 5 are 20 dollars.  The 771 really shines on VHF though.

http://www.miklor.com/COM/pdf/AntennaTestingW9MDB.pdf

http://dacomp.com/baofeng.html

Link Posted: 8/24/2015 9:52:34 PM EDT
[#40]
Just a teaser…



Still waiting on the typical low audio issue to get written out of the firmware…
Link Posted: 12/16/2015 4:34:42 PM EDT
[#41]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Paul:
I own a couple of Kenwood TH-F6A HTs.

They're about $280 each and feature 2M, 220 MHz, and 440 MHz operation at 5 watts on all three bands. There's a medium power 0.5 W and a low power 0.05 W. It can receive both AM and FM broadcast bands and there's a large number of accessories available and the cheap Chinese parts work well with it.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m168/AR-15_Paul/Amateur%20Radio/RifleandRadio_zps5bb78f18.jpg

I have a kit that fits into my sporty car that fits inside a small Otter Box that includes the radio, an external antenna mount that rolls up in the window, the RF cable adapter, a DC adapter, and an antenna. Getting the antenna outside the car makes a great deal of difference.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m168/AR-15_Paul/Amateur%20Radio/OtterBoxKit_zpsab68b11a.jpg

There are aftermarket batteries that greatly increase the operation life.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m168/AR-15_Paul/Amateur%20Radio/BatteryCompared_zpsa651bb4a.jpg

I found a Maxpedition pack that fits the fat battery and use a speaker/mic to connect the radio from my pack to a shoulder strap.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m168/AR-15_Paul/Amateur%20Radio/PouchandAntenna_zps6ff10f11.jpg

This thing is very small. The aftermarket has a couple of tri-band antennas available replacing the stubby and giving a bit of gain.

http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m168/AR-15_Paul/Amateur%20Radio/RadioandPistol_zpsbcbf86a4.jpg

In use I've found that programming the radios using a PC helped a great deal. With +400 memories you're not going to run out of channels. They do alfa-numeric to help recall each channel. The AM/FM radio reception is nice for getting up-to-the minute news. I've also programmed in the local weather channel even though we don't have weather here. Where I work we run a 220 MHz/1.25 M repeater that covers the valley I live in completely. There's a network (Condor) that covers the entire length of the state along the coast north to south on 220 MHz. Having the common 2M and 440 MHz bands allows me to hit the big repeaters on the mountains above me. I've found that using the 0.05 W I can hit my three nearest repeaters on the three bands but crank it up to 0.5 W for full quieting.

Built to mil-spec standards I've beat mine up pretty hard and they just keep on working.
View Quote


Ive had my TH-F6A since 2004/5, has been a great radio. The antenna connector snapped off on mine, they are prone to it from what I understand but I put an aftermarket antenna on mine right before I dropped it on the kitchen floor. Probably would have been ok with the factory rubber ducky... And the new antenna wasn't any better in performance.

One really nice thing about this radio is that I was able to listen and charge off of only a 14w solar panel, the receive current must be very low. It's not often I buy something electronic that I haven't had to replace in ten years, I'm pretty happy other than the $90 it will cost to repair the connector.
Link Posted: 4/3/2016 1:21:05 AM EDT
[#42]
Link Posted: 4/3/2016 4:51:10 PM EDT
[#43]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zak-Smith:
My fleet of HX370S's (as pictured above c.a. 2012) is still running strong. As I said before, they are built very tough. We have not had any radios fail. One of them lost the plastic lens over the transmit LED, that's it. My VX8DR that I bought a couple years before the 370's but has seen a lot less use, is in worse shape.

That said, starting this year I am switching to UHF DMR (digital mobile radio) with the Connect Systems CS710. These are around $180 each. In experiments side by side with VHF (analog) HT's, we get 2-4x the distance with UHF DMR in simplex mode. Ability to get into repeaters that are far away and/or have really crummy signal paths is much superior. There are UHF DMR frequencies in the HAM bands or you can go the other route and just get an FCC license for itinerant UHF frequencies (ie above 450). The main downside is that until there are dual-band dual-mode DMR/analog HT's, you're married to either UHF or VHF only on a given HT. We went UHF due to it being a better fit to HT sized antennas. I have a man-packable DMR repeater setup in the works and I'll report on that eventually.
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Majority of the DMR repeaters in the US are UHF so there's always that.

A lot of people love to claim about the it's either there or it's not factor of digital (which simply isn't true as they don't actually take the time to assess the FEC being applied). I've found most quality DMR radios have roughly 5 dB lower thresholds operating in digital vesus analog. Tested two different repeaters, co-located, same system gains and losses and antennas both at the same height. Saw a 34% coverage increase (usable) when comparing the DMR repeater to the old wideband analog repeater.

Tell us more about the backpack setup.
Link Posted: 4/3/2016 6:46:32 PM EDT
[#44]
Link Posted: 4/4/2016 10:21:46 AM EDT
[#45]
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Originally Posted By Zak-Smith:
It won't quite be backpackable due to the power and duplexer requirements, but it's in the "man pack" class.   I'll post about it when we have it more done, but it's based on the small Hytera unit and it's intended to be left on the local mountaintop for days/weeks at a time during events.
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One of the interesting things at IWCE this year was a little P25 repeater. Ran on two computer batteries, was in a box roughly the size of a 50 cal can, internal duplexer, 15W out or 35W when bypassing the duplexer. Also had a NIC for networking and the entire package was IP67 rated. Only $27,000 MSRP.

I've looked into building a low power digital repeater using a hamtronics receiver but that's another story.
Link Posted: 4/4/2016 12:36:03 PM EDT
[#46]
Link Posted: 4/15/2016 4:48:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: OutlanderSystems] [#47]
When this gets underway, start a thread.

I'm currently working on getting a fixed location Hytera repeater on-line, and I'm also looking at putting together a portable DMR repeater.

I'd be very interested in seeing what you've got cookin'.


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Originally Posted By Zak-Smith:
With batteries, solar, charge controller, antenna, packaging, a really clean external duplexer, etc, I'll be into mine for under $4k.
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Link Posted: 4/15/2016 10:48:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Zak-Smith] [#48]
Link Posted: 4/16/2016 8:16:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: OutlanderSystems] [#49]
Roger that. Very interested to see how this goes.

If you don't mind me asking, which of the three Hytera repeaters did you go with?
Link Posted: 4/16/2016 3:34:24 PM EDT
[#50]
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