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Posted: 6/12/2009 10:54:46 AM EST
First I know not much on radios I did fix radios in Nam. Have they evolved much since then??

I do need something better that the wally world FRS type. I need longer range and more than line of sight.

Wife and I do hiking/camping etc. She is a geologist. I drop her off and she hikes to an end point where I drive and pick her up, usually up to 2 miles.

I found a place that has reconditioned Kenwood TK-380s for $350 each with new battery/charger.

Any Ideas on what I really need and what I'm getting into?? Thanks
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 1:10:20 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/12/2009 1:11:09 PM EST by Abearir]
GMRS with the required license should suit nicely in that application too. What ever route you go, be sure to apply for,and obtain, the required licensing before operating. The FCC doesn't fool around when it comes to commercial frequencies. Penalties are stiff and enforced.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 3:37:02 PM EST
I have a couple of /\/\otorola Sabers on the MURS freq's that I use in a similar way.

I paid $200.00 for both. Then just grabbed a couple new batteries,and new antennas.


They work great
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 5:36:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/12/2009 5:51:02 PM EST by Tony-Ri]

Originally Posted By jvm:
First I know not much on radios I did fix radios in Nam. Have they evolved much since then??

I do need something better that the wally world FRS type. I need longer range and more than line of sight.

Wife and I do hiking/camping etc. She is a geologist. I drop her off and she hikes to an end point where I drive and pick her up, usually up to 2 miles.

I found a place that has reconditioned Kenwood TK-380s for $350 each with new battery/charger.

Any Ideas on what I really need and what I'm getting into?? Thanks

First of all, you will very rarely get anything better than line-of-sight on anything above 30MHz without using repeaters. Read more in the Radio 101 thread tacked to the top of the forum.

Second, I'd recommend MURS radios. Unlike GMRS, there is no licencing requirement and the radios you can use are multitudes better than bubblepack radios. You could go with some surplus gear like TK-380's or Motorola HT1000's on VHF, but I'd think about the HX370S. The cost each ~$115 shipped and come with a charger, rechargeable battery, and AA clamshell. They are marine radios, and you can program them for the MURS frequencies. Oh, did I mention they were submersible? There's a big thread on here about them.




Originally Posted By Travis_Da_Chimp:
I have a couple of /\/\otorola Sabers on the MURS freq's that I use in a similar way.

I paid $200.00 for both. Then just grabbed a couple new batteries,and new antennas.


They work great

You can get those for about $30/each nowadays for the 12-channel radios
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 8:20:00 PM EST
I agree on the sabers. Mine are saber II's and have AR freq's also in the other banks.

I have seen some great deals on the HT 1000's. If I were to go that route again, That is the way I would go.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:16:27 AM EST
i snagged my UHF Saber II off ebay for about $100, including battery and shoulder mic a while back. Minus the PITA it is to program them (thank God i have an old Windows 3.1 486 in the closet), it's a great radio
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 1:54:52 PM EST

Originally Posted By IShootPics:
i snagged my UHF Saber II off ebay for about $100, including battery and shoulder mic a while back. Minus the PITA it is to program them (thank God i have an old Windows 3.1 486 in the closet), it's a great radio

I actually have Win 3.11 running in a virtual machine (Sun VirtualBox) for similar reasons. Keeps you from having to dig out an old computer.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 3:53:23 PM EST
The HX370S is Part80/Part90 FCC Type Accepted but wouldn't it have to be Part 95 for MURS and doesn't MURS have a 2 watt limit?
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 4:16:29 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 4:17:30 PM EST by ar-jedi]
Originally Posted By edwin907:
The HX370S is Part80/Part90 FCC Type Accepted but wouldn't it have to be Part 95 for MURS and doesn't MURS have a 2 watt limit?


use the HX370S at the LOW (1W) power setting to be compliant with the 2W MURS limit.
ensuring compliance is simple when programming the HX370S using the CE68 software.

1) enter the MURS channel frequency, transmit deviation, alpha mnemonic, etc.
2) set the channel power setting to LOW.
3) disable user selection of transmit power.
4) write configuration to radio.

from the CE68 manual:

"UP: Transmit Power Selection (User Power)
This parameter indicates whether transmit power selection capability by the user shall be
Enabled (“UP”) or Disabled (“––”)."


ar-jedi


Link Posted: 6/13/2009 4:47:00 PM EST
Thanks for the input guys.

Did I fail to mention when we go out in the sticks there isn't usually any cell phone towers that are useable?

That's how far out we go.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 5:07:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By ar-jedi:
use the HX370S at the LOW (1W) power setting to be compliant with the 2W MURS limit.


Interesting programming capabilities.
This is really an outstanding little unit from skimming the owner's manual.

I don't have any dedicated VHF handhelds, and I think I'll be picking up a couple of these for sure (unless I find a deal on a set of IC-F50 VHF ICOMS).

What's the programming software like?

I've got a 64bit Vista laptop that I run Win 95, 98, and XP under VMware Workstation.
The ICOM RS-92 (ICOM IC-92AD) software works fine under 64bit Vista with the serial/USB converter.
But there are no Vista 64 bit drivers for the OPC-966U USB ICOM software for the IC-F60 UHF HT, but XP under VMware solves that beautifully.

Link Posted: 6/13/2009 5:09:47 PM EST
Thanks for the input guys.

Did I fail to mention when we go out in the sticks there isn't usually any cell phone towers that are useable?

That's how far out we go.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 6:31:43 PM EST
Originally Posted By edwin907:
What's the programming software like?


http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=10&f=22&t=604623&page=2#10338155

ar-jedi

Link Posted: 6/13/2009 6:37:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By jvm:
Did I fail to mention when we go out in the sticks there isn't usually any cell phone towers that are useable?


http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=10&f=22&t=618176

reprinted for non-members:

cliffy109 writes:
Its been quite a while since I posted to Arfcom, but something has happened to me that really impacted me and I think others might benefit from hearing about it. Before I start the story, I want to give a little history of how and why I got into ham radio. In 2006, I decided that there was a big problem with some of my preparedness plans. I had no plan for communications. In looking at things, I saw two very real situations that might require comms beyond the use of a cell phone. The first and most obvious would be another 9/11 style attack. Conventional communication methods were almost useless and that could only get worse in the future.

The other situation was more personal. I hunt in an area with no cell coverage. I also like to hunt by myself and that had been bothering me for a while. I finally decided to do something about this. I found this forum on Arfcom and after reading a lot from AR Jedi and posting some questions, I decided to get licensed. I got my Technician’s ticket in February of 2007, my General in March and Extra in July of that year.

My first two radios were purchased with more emphasis on the hunting scenario. I got a Yaesu VX6R hand talkie and a Kenwood TM V708A for the truck. I got the Kenwood because I wanted the ability to “crossband repeat” or CBR. Because my hunting area is fairly remote, my HT can’t always hit the local repeaters. For those who don’t know, CBR means you use your HT to communicate to your base station (in the truck in my case) and the base retransmits your signal on a pre-determined frequency. Signals coming back and again retransmitted by the truck to the HT. When properly set up, it’s a very clear and reliable way to hit active repeaters when you can’t do it with an HT.

On Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, I drove to my hunting property and set my truck up for the CBR. I tuned to the Warrenton VA repeater, run by the Fauquier Amateur Radio Association. I had listened to this repeater enough to know that it was used frequently and monitored constantly.

I arrived at my tree stand at 6:15 AM and started my climb up. One of the ladder steps fell out from under my boot. That steps were 16” long pieces of 2x4 pressure treated lumber that I had nailed to the tree with 16d nails. I still managed to make it up the tree without problem.

My habit when hunting it to check the stand with my foot, climb into the stand and then attack my safety strap. For those reading this who think that is the wrong order, you’re right. When I stood on the stand with both feet, the stand broke away beneath me. I fell 20’ to the ground, landing on my back.

Remember that 2x4 with the nails sticking out of it? Well, I found it. It happened to be lying with the nails up, right at my impact point. Four nails penetrated between my spine and shoulder blade. I was wearing only a t-shirt with my jacket tied around my waste so they went all the way in. The pain was excruciating. At first, I didn’t realize I had landed on nails and thought the sharp pain was due to breaks in my spine and ribs.

With the wind knocked out of me and writhing in pain, my first instinct was to turn on my HT and call for help.

“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! This is K4GUN. I need emergency assistance!”

Immediately, my call was answered. I had two guys at first then one took over. He called the local rescue squad and got them on the way. He asked questions about my injuries, location and state of mind. He kept calm.

As I regained my senses, I figured out that the board was in my back. I also realized that I could still move my legs and arms. I sat up and drank some water and listened for the sirens. I directed them right to me through my friend on the radio. They were at my location within 30 minutes of my fall.

The paramedics tried unsuccessfully to remove the board from my back. Yes, that hurt just a bit. They were absolutely amazed that I was able to call for help. They couldn’t believe I had the foresight to have the radio with me and actually use it.

Aside from the obvious lesson about tree stand safety, there is a big lesson to be learned. Accidents will happen. Emergencies can’t be predicted. The thing you owe to yourself and your loved ones is to be prepared to deal with them. Having communications when all else fails is a big part of that.

I’ll post pics when I have a chance.





ps:
also see
http://www.eham.net/articles/20777

ar-jedi


Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:42:32 PM EST
The amateur radio Technician class license is fairly easy to pass for you and your wife. Then you can get some good radio gear very cheap compared to the $350 you have quoted. As Cliffy109's experience shows, it is nice to have much longer range comms than line of sight. I usually carry a radio with the local ham repeater freqs in it when hunting or backpacking in wilderness areas where there is no cell service. Since I don't have a serviceable dual band at this time, I sometimes carry a 2 meter and a 440 radio with me.

RS
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:44:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By IShootPics:
i snagged my UHF Saber II off ebay for about $100, including battery and shoulder mic a while back. Minus the PITA it is to program them (thank God i have an old Windows 3.1 486 in the closet), it's a great radio

I actually have Win 3.11 running in a virtual machine (Sun VirtualBox) for similar reasons. Keeps you from having to dig out an old computer.

Just don't try that with the older Motorola radios. You very well could brick them. Cheap surplus computers are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, and you only need true DOS for an OS. My used CF-28 works with all the radios I have except my Maratrac, I use a old P1-133 laptop for that.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 3:55:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By Tony-Ri:

Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By IShootPics:
i snagged my UHF Saber II off ebay for about $100, including battery and shoulder mic a while back. Minus the PITA it is to program them (thank God i have an old Windows 3.1 486 in the closet), it's a great radio

I actually have Win 3.11 running in a virtual machine (Sun VirtualBox) for similar reasons. Keeps you from having to dig out an old computer.

Just don't try that with the older Motorola radios. You very well could brick them. Cheap surplus computers are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, and you only need true DOS for an OS. My used CF-28 works with all the radios I have except my Maratrac, I use a old P1-133 laptop for that.

Kind of curious why it would brick the radio. Can you elaborate on what specific technical issue might cause this?
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 4:59:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By Tony-Ri:

Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By IShootPics:
i snagged my UHF Saber II off ebay for about $100, including battery and shoulder mic a while back. Minus the PITA it is to program them (thank God i have an old Windows 3.1 486 in the closet), it's a great radio

I actually have Win 3.11 running in a virtual machine (Sun VirtualBox) for similar reasons. Keeps you from having to dig out an old computer.

Just don't try that with the older Motorola radios. You very well could brick them. Cheap surplus computers are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, and you only need true DOS for an OS. My used CF-28 works with all the radios I have except my Maratrac, I use a old P1-133 laptop for that.

Kind of curious why it would brick the radio. Can you elaborate on what specific technical issue might cause this?

If its listed on the Pentium Compatibility Matrix as safe, then you shouldn't have to worry. I believe it has to do with the radios not keeping up with the computer, and that causes problems somehow. You have to remember that most of the ones affected were designed in the 80's and a 286-10 was top of the line and very fast back then. If you search BatBoard, I'm sure you can find a proper explanation.
Link Posted: 6/15/2009 5:30:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By Tony-Ri:

Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By Tony-Ri:

Originally Posted By Subnet:

Originally Posted By IShootPics:
i snagged my UHF Saber II off ebay for about $100, including battery and shoulder mic a while back. Minus the PITA it is to program them (thank God i have an old Windows 3.1 486 in the closet), it's a great radio

I actually have Win 3.11 running in a virtual machine (Sun VirtualBox) for similar reasons. Keeps you from having to dig out an old computer.

Just don't try that with the older Motorola radios. You very well could brick them. Cheap surplus computers are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, and you only need true DOS for an OS. My used CF-28 works with all the radios I have except my Maratrac, I use a old P1-133 laptop for that.

Kind of curious why it would brick the radio. Can you elaborate on what specific technical issue might cause this?

If its listed on the Pentium Compatibility Matrix as safe, then you shouldn't have to worry. I believe it has to do with the radios not keeping up with the computer, and that causes problems somehow. You have to remember that most of the ones affected were designed in the 80's and a 286-10 was top of the line and very fast back then. If you search BatBoard, I'm sure you can find a proper explanation.


Right on, thanks. I'll do some reading.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:42:08 AM EST
I'd also recommend going the ham technician license route. Then pick up a pair of VX-170's or similar radios for ~$100 new each. Then you can also use them on repeaters. Once you start playing around I'm sure you'll find a few repeaters that cover the wilderness areas your wife likes to travel.
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