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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere

Caitlyn Martin (KU4QD) on May 14, 2002
View comments about this article!

Yaesu's introduction of the FT-817, a self-contained, battery operated, multiband QRP rig in late 2000 caused quite a stir in the ham community. The radio is a best seller, and a whole series of aftermarket products have come out to support this immensely popular QRP rig. Still, not every QRP and portable operator was thrilled with the rig. Here are the most common reasons why:

-Very short battery life. The radio consumes 450mA on receive and a whopping 2A when transmitting.
-Ergonomics. Lots of menus and a sometimes inconvenient over the shoulder portable design.
-Receiver performance. The well known Adventure Radio Society online publication The ARS Sojourner did extensive lab tests and reviewed the FT-817. Their concerns can be seen at http://www.natworld.com/ars/pages/back_issues/2001_text/0301_text/817_intro.html.

All in all, while the FT-817 is a remarkable radio for the price and size, it really isn't the "ultimate backpacker" as Yaesu advertises it. For those of us who want better SSB/CW receiver performance, are willing to operate on just a couple of bands on a given portable operation, and want long battery life and a lightweight radio, the HF handheld is the ultimate answer.


Mizuho MX-21S 15M SSB/CW HTI am often surprised at how many hams, even avid QRPers, aren't aware of the options out there for true hand-held operation. Mizuho is probably the leader in the field. Their spartan little monoband brick handhelds have been a staple of QRPers overseas since the first generation was introduced back in 1981. The radios were sold in the US by a number of distributors and under a number of different names (Pico, AEA DX-Handy, and Mizuho) between 1982 and 1994 and were never terribly successful. I attribute that to two things: 1) the QRP craze hadn't really begun yet, and 2) these rigs have no gee-whiz bells and whistles. What they do offer is solid performance in a small package at a reasonable price. Current models put out 2W (1W on 6 meters). Importing one from Japan (where the 6, 15, and 40 meter models are still available new) costs about $230. Importing one from the UK (where the 15, 20, 40, and 80 meter models are available new) runs about $320. (Hams in the UK can purchase Mizuho handhelds and accessories from Waters & Stanton. Importing these rigs is quite easy to do. Versions for all bands 2-80 meters (except 30 meters) turn up on the used market regularly, and range in price from $75-$200, depending on age, model, and accessories provided. There is an active reflector for Mizuho owners (which I happen to moderate) and detailed information on the MX series handhelds at: http://www.qsl.net/ku4qd/mizuho.


Tokyo Hy-Power HT-750For the ham who wants more than one band, digital readout, and a few more features, Tokyo Hy-Power Labs made the truly outstanding HT-750. The rig, sadly, is out of production, with THP citing parts availability problems as the reason. A note on their website indicates that the radio could be reintroduced at some point in the future. Still, plenty of them were made between 1993 and 1999. The rig was only sold in the US in 1993 but quite a few hams imported them directly from Japan after that and they do turn up on the used market from time to time. The rig is synthesized with a clear LED digital display and covers the 6, 15, and 40 meter bands. Output power is 3W on HF, 2W on 6 meters. Receiver performance is amazingly good, as in better than many of today's low end desktop HF transceivers. The only complaint is that the receiver is somewhat subject to overload in the presence of very strong signals. Be prepared to use the attenuator on 40m at night if you want to sneak in between the broadcasters. Typical US used prices range from $300-$550, depending on which accessories are provided and the condition of the rig. Accessories can still be ordered directly from Tokyo Hy-Power in Japan. More info can be found at: http://www.qsl.net/ku4qd/thp.


A 10 meter synthesized SSB/AM/FM handheld which seems to be directed at the outlaw CB market (after modification) is sold under the Titan RoadPro, Eagle Spitfire 454, and Magnum names in the United States. Ouput power is a whopping 7W. The battery consumption rate is pretty poor as you might expect, and receiver performance is just fair. This rig does not allow for CW. In addition, the transceiver tunes in 1kHz steps. There is a clarifier (RIT), but no XIT, so transmitting precisely on a desired frequency where another station is operating may not be possible unless the radio is modified. The mod, fortunately, is pretty simple and can be found at: http://www.mods.dk/mods.php3?radio=other&model=misc&selectid=2017#2017. Also, for FM operation, only a single fixed PL tone of 88.5 is provided. If you can live within these limitations and can do the mod the radio does> a pretty good job on the air. The good news is that the radio is quite inexpensive at $179. I've seen used ones go for as little as $75.


OK, you've decided to buy an HF handheld. You charge the batteries (or pop in fresh alkaline batteries), you attach the loaded telescopic whip antenna and pull it up, you turn it on, tune around and hear the world. Brilliant. Now you try and transmit and nobody seems to hear you. No, the radio probably isn't at fault. The pull up whips are very inefficient and really don't work well at HF frequencies unless you add a quarter wave counterpoise. Yes, you may look silly trailing a wire as you walk along, but at least you can get out. Expect to do better with a dipole thrown up in the trees, though, or one of the many somewhat larger portable HF antennas that have become popular since the Yaesu FT-817 was introduced. Small antennas are a compromise, and the smaller they are the more poorly they work. Radio manufacturers simply haven't found a way to bypass the laws of physics just yet. The good news: I have made many contacts, including some DX, using a Tokyo Hy-Power or Mizuho loaded telescopic whip with a counterpoise.


One more important note: while all these rigs will sound OK on the air, if you want them to sound as good as your bigger rig at home you will need to add the optional speaker/mic. offered by Mizuho or Tokyo Hy-Power. (I'm not sure if one is offered for the Eagle/Titan 10m handheld.) Be careful if you are buying a genuine Mizuho speaker/mic. separately, as the ones for the current (third) generation radios will not work with the older models and vice versa. Of course, aftermarket speaker/mics. can be wired for these rigs and often sound quite good.


An HF handheld is truly the ultimate backpack radio. The small size, light weight, and make them very attractive for the QRPer on the go or out enjoying nature. Which radio is best for you is a matter of individual taste. One warning though: HF SSB/CW handhelds (and VHF ones, for that matter) are addictive. I currently have seven of them, with a Mizuho MX-18S for 17 meters currently ranking as my current favorite.

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by NEWLICENSEE on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Hi all..

I am a new licensee (May 11, 2002), and am still expecting my new calls to show up sometime this week!

In the mean time....

I've already purchased a "reasonable" handheld 2m (Icom IC-T2H), and am now looking for a decent portable 2 bander, and a unit to set up at/in my home.

The battery issue is pretty much "moot" with me anymore as everything I see anymore has at least a 250ma current consumption.... mostly I suspect because of the dedicated processors used! <grin> I guess the rule of "Carry lots of extra batteries" really applies! My new Icom only holds for 5 hrs receive so I can't expect a whole lot more.

Some of the stories on here appear to be "dated"...??? Or is it me? I don't see much out here relating to new product reviews, or am I missing something??? To further mess up the confusion... I'd like to know where you can get really "Unbiased" reviews of new stuff...if they exist! <grin>

Having been out of it for a number of years and getting back, it's nice to see people still using "lagacy" gear... back when they really "made stuff"... <Grin>

Any which way... keep up the site!... I like it!

Jeff
[expecting call letters any time now]
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KD6JLS on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!

Concerns about the 817's battery consumption are justified, but with Maha's optional 1600mAh battery, I get more than enough operating time on a day hike.

Over-the-shoulder operation *is* a pain, which is why most fans of the radio don't even bother. It works much better in a fanny pack or back pack. The fanny pack lets you carry the radio where you can access the controls easy, while the back pack lets you carry an even bigger gell cell and a good antenna, like the MP-1.

Sure, handheld HF walkie-talkies are cool, and I wouldn't mind owning one, but nothing beats the versatility of the 817. Aside from being a lot of fun, it makes a great all-purpose emergency radio. I only wish more manufacturers were making radios of that type, so there would be better competition for pricing and features.

-Mark KD6JLS
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by W7UIV on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
The only reason I'm making any comment is because this takes me back exactly fifty years to 1952 when I was playing around with a couple of WW2 HF walkie talkies from my dad's junk box. They needed batteries, but even more important my dad told me; "You have to get a ham license!" Worse is that I'd have to learn Morse code..ugh! Even though from zero to 13 years old I'd gone to bed with the music of CW coming from my dad's RME 69 in the next room (excepting the war years when amateurs were off the air) I wasn't particularly interested in that language. Yet that was the deal. If I wanted the walkie talkies I had to learn that code. So I learned the code and got the novice ticket (I guess just as sort of a mark of achievement on the way to the general class for the walkie talkies). But while on the air as a novice something changed, being exposed to listening to DX, the walkie talkies sunk into the background. In a few more months I passed the General, but was ready for 40 meter DX, not walkie talkies. More than anything else I wanted one of those cards like my dad had from Harry, ZL2MM. Don't know whatever happened to the walkie talkies, but maybe if they'd had a BFO, crystal filter, and a place to plug in a key....hmmmmm. Even so, the idea of them did serve as the spark to get the fire lite. Guess I should look for one at the next hamfair to hang on the wall as a memorial with my novice ticket pasted to it. That would be kind of cute. Other then that, no interest in HF handhelds. But maybe the next step up like a TS50 would be interesting for portable.
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KU4QD on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
To "new licensee": Congratulations on your new license. I'm afraid you have completely missed the point of the article. This isn't about FM handhelds, and it isn't about 2 meters or dual banders. Those handhelds are well known and are for local communication. (OK, IRLP makes DX through the Internet possible, but it's still through a local repeater.) FM and repeaters are, to me, rather boring and totally beside the point.

This article is about handhelds that do two modes: single sideband and CW (morse code) and that are designed with long distance communications in mind. You can't even use themm until you get your General class license.

I really hope you enjoy your 2m FM handheld. You aren't even seeing the tip of the iceberg of what ham radio is all about.
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by WB2WIK on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article, Caitlyn!

I've seen, and even touched and held, most of the stuff you're writing about but haven't really used any of it (save the ubiquitous FT-817), and I'd be very interested in seeing how it sounds on the air.

Up for a "sked" sometime, around 0000 to 0200 UTC, 20m or whatever's suitable (I'm in Los Angeles). Would love to actually hear some of this stuff. If it sounds good enough, I'll be scouting the next few Swap Meets...!

73 de Steve, WB2WIK/6

 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KB9YUR on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! Ok, so is there a market today for a 5W SSB/CW HT that covers 6 and 2 meters?
I'd sure buy one if it sold for under $300.
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by WB8THR on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
The progression continues from the TS-50 to the FT-817 and who knows where?? I'd certainly like a nice, HT-based HF (80M-70cm) handheld and while the FT-817 comes close (I owned one for a while), it's still a bit bigger than I'd like. My hope is that someone, somehwere will see fit to do something like the old Tokyo Hi-Power radio, and have it for all bands like the 817.. it seems to me that the semiconductor industry can do quite alot with palmtop computrs...can palmtop HF be THAT far away???

Fred
K9FWH
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by WB4IDU on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
This article answers many questions and poses several more...Thanks Caitlyn.
Shortly after getting my first novice ticket in the late fifties, one of my "elmers, w4p v a showed me a w w II peanut tube type, 5watt A M handheld which looked and felt sort of like a "large__ telephone handset, had a big "pull up antenna,and was rock bound on 3885khz. Then when he told me of hearing and working a station either in mid America or on the coast from an upper floor hotel room on the opposite coast,I was definitely hooked...Having listened to k4gry, George blanket the state of Va. and who knows how much farther with a 5watt A M signal over a "full wave 75meter antenna" as a part of the "radio and tv service mens' net, weekday mornings (again on 3885, and then working Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia on 6meter A M with 5watts from Manassas Va .I knew qrp was viable in many circumstances. and ever since that time I've wanted to find a viable h f handheld which a "blind as a bat" ham like me could successfully operate. Over the years I'd heard faint rumblings that indicated there might be something out there that would fill the bill, (in fact somebody told me that Icom made something that "would cover the water front," but I've never been able to locate it, if it even exists.) Besides, being "out of the loop" both H F ticket and equipment wise before finally getting my general class ticket in late 1996, I didn't know who or what or where to even look till finding this site a few months ago, and finding your article today.
After being in and out, (mostly in,) of this great hobby for better than forty years, being fairly limited in both space and cash, I'm interested in downsizing my station, (but by no means lessening my love for and enjoyment of ham radio in general, and H F qrp in general and handhelds in particular...so I'd like to learn about some of these rigs from you guys and gals who have or have had them, with the eventual goal of maybe swapping for or buying one or some of them.
Again, thanks! to you Caitlyn and all who contribute to this discussion in any way and from whatever perspective, even the disalusioned.
Sincerely, Danny Dyer, wb4idu/4, ddyer@tfc.edu
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N8FVJ on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I expect to view a new 5 to 7 watt all-mode HT in a few years from one of the 'big four'. The radio should transceive 40m to 70cm (perhaps with the new 5mHz band as well) and have general receive capability for monitoring. Perhaps $650 or more. The sales should be brisk! Nice article.
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N1YRK on May 14, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Good Article!
As far as power consumption goes, yes the ft817 isn't great. You'd think that Yaesu would work on this....but in any case I remember reading somewhere that people who do HF packing are finding they are enjoying the Alinco DX-70TH radio, as it consumes half the power on RX and can give a full 100 watts. Of course it's a bit larger. I wonder if Alinco could use smaller finals and drop the size & weight down to steal some of Yaesu's glory.
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by NEWLICENSEE on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Rehi Sir;

Actually.. I did get the article.. My point was that I have yet to see anything "usable" that doesn't consume considerable current... and as such... batteries...

I like this rig myself... I've looked at them... hard... Money is an issue right now so maybe later this will be a "choice" for me in another portable...

Yes, I'm just licensed.. But already have 2m handheld and looking for at least 2 band base/mobile unit and also pricing and evaluating antenna needs... Looking at something as versatile as possible... both in handheld and in a base rig.

However before all this, I have to do that "Research thing"... I like the radio! Current drain and all... <grin>

73'

Jeff

 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by WA9PWP on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Check out the Elecraft K1-4 four band "field" CW transciever kit. CW only, analog VFO but PIC chip-controlled menu w/ digital LCD readout and many functions. It is pretty small, with an internal AA cell holder and internal auto-tuner and other options. My K1-4 only draws 50 mA on recieve! Loaded with 1800mAh AA cells, it plays quite awhile! Oh, output power is settable via menu from nothing to over 5 watts. Look at www.elecraft.com

72, Paul

 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N1KHB on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I'm really surprised by the lack of 162 mhz receive coverage for NWS WX forecasts. A backpacker or hiker using this radio would likely appreciate that feature, yet Yaesu strangely stopped receive coverage at 154 mhz.

Joe N1KHB
 
You don't need to be a General  
by KD6JLS on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
KU4QD wrote:
"This article is about handhelds that do two modes: single sideband and CW (morse code) and that are designed with long distance communications in mind. You can't even use themm until you get your General class license. "

REPLY:
That's not true. Novice and Tech Plus operators could use those radios, too, with limitations. For example, there's no reason a Tech Plus like myself can't use an HF handheld on the novice 10m voice allocation. I do it with my 817. And any hand held HF radio that transmits CW on the Novice CW bands is fair game.

Why would you assume you had to be a General to use the radios in this article?
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N8EMR on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
With most of the radio's Caitlyn mentioned either not in production or prohibitily expensive the 817
is still the best deal. Why would anyone go with a single band pico at $320USD when you can go full HF/6/vhf/uhf rig for under $600 with the 817.
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by WF0H on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
First, this brings back memories of the first 'packset' radios we played with years ago. A friend of mine, now WB6WLE, built a two-meter packset. It consisted of a Heathkit Twoer, a DC-DC power inverter power supply (I believe it used a vibrator but might have been solid state), a Boy Scout backpack and aluminum pack frame, and a half-wave GAM 2 meter mobile antenna with it's backet pop-riveted to pack frame. Then, for main power, a full-sized automobile battery (borrowed from his big sister's car, I think).
I can't tell you how much it weighed, but WLE managed to pack it a few blocks, at least. As I recall, the big battery powered that rig for about an hour on a charge. Less if we called CQ a lot...

The new FT-817 is a fantastic improvement, in spite of short battery life. I've had a lot of good long PSK31 QSO's on battery power with it and haven't run it dry yet, so the power consumption can't be all that bad.

I'm amazed at how well the collapsible whips do work with a counterpoise wire cut to 1/4 wave. I haven't tried the MFJ multibander below 10 Mhz., but it seems to work great with a counterpoise above that frequency. I'm looking forward to using it on CW portable in a couple weeks - I'll have AC power available so the batteries won't be an issue. I may take the laptop and do PSK, too. I've chased DX on SSB on 15 and 10 with it, and it does as well as I would expect it to - you don't break many pileups but once in a while you squeak through.

Anyway, the rigs mentioned here look great - I do wish there were more options. The K-1 is also a really great looking portable rig. A friend of mine had the AEA rig on 10 meters years ago, and claimed to work a lot of DX with it.

73 - K0RGR
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N8AVX on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I had a Mizuho 6m SSB handie once. Nice little rig. Can't remember what I did with it... Bought it at Dayton years ago.

As for "why would you want a little singlebander for $300 when you can get the all-in-one box for a little more than double the price", if you have to ask why, you would not be interested in my answer.

Here it is anyway. It is the same reason I have a component stereo, rather than an all-in-one. If the tuner breaks, I can still play my CDs. I DO NOT want to hear any "well the MTBF is so high that...". I like component stuff for redundancy and diversity, and many others do also.

I do have an all-in-one rig (IC-746), but I also have a HW-12, TR-3, TR-4, HTX-252, IC-W32A, HT-404, and one other out in the car I can't remember. I never worry about not having a rig to use. I've even got 2 TNC and three laptops! Redundancy, my good man, redundancy.

I already have my all-in-one. I'd love to get one of those HF HTs as well!

73,
Jim N8AVX
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KN4AQ on May 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Hi, Cait

Excellent article. But I gotta needle you on this: "FM and repeaters are, to me, rather boring and totally beside the point." Only cause you burn up enough time on 146.64 here in Raleigh - you gotta be really bored! 73, Gary KN4AQ
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KH7L on May 16, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Good article Caity. It seems you are not in too much in favor of the FT-817. The new AA NiMH batteries here in Japan are now 2000Ma. This should last a long time.

The Mizuhos last 2 days with these batteries. I called THP and they said they had a limited number of HT-750 left. $460 plus tax. and shipping. A new T-817
JA-version goes for $540 plus tax over here. The question would be....portable or HT.

The FT-817 has a lot more features than a Mizuho or
HT-750 but the HTs' I can throw in my bag and go to work. I have a MX-21S mounted on my montain bike, I haven't figured out where to put the trailer wire yet.

Used Mizuhos' go for about $140 I can live with that.

All the best. Rodney JJ0JIH
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N8EMR on May 16, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
If it breaks fix it. A component stereo is still only as good as the single point of failure, Your amp.
If your single band radio's break you fix it, if your multi band radio breaks you fix it. If you need redundancy then buy 2 or more.

>Here it is anyway. It is the same reason I have a component stereo, rather than an
>all-in-one. If the tuner breaks, I can still play my CDs.
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N3SOZ on May 16, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Azden made a 10 meter handheld, with FM operation only (I might be wrong on the FM-only). They aren't in business anymore but some Azden stuff pops up on Ebay here and there. They also made a 6 meter FM handheld.

Matt
 
Awesome article! Great info on handheld QRP!  
by W8KQE on May 16, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Great article for handheld QRP enthusiasts! HF handheld QRPing has definitely put the 'spark' and excitement back into the hobby for me after being licensed since 1977.

I have owned the 'Eagle Spitfire 454' for about a year now, and have also had good luck with it on 10m using an aftermarket larger whip, and an attached counterpoise radial I attached to the belt clip with an alligator clip (after sanding the paint off the clip for proper electrical contact). When 10 was open, I could hear a lot of DX, and even managed to work about 15 European stations while standing in my driveway, or hiking here in Ohio (on USB- too bad this rig does not have CW). Signal reports were generally weak, but for a portable running 'AA' cells, I can't complain!

 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by N5NRU on May 17, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Has anyone found any problems with the FT-817 Blue Ribbon Connector between the main board and front panel? I have a fairly new 817 and found the hold down clip ratteling around in the case. With the radio becoming inoperatable shortly thereafter.
This one will probably have to go back to Yaesu for repair. A real shame as it probably has less than 5 hrs total time. I even bought a custom Pelican Case to protect the radio.
 
A Quasi-HT for HF  
by NE0P on May 17, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article Caitlyn. I have used 2 Eagle Spitfires before, as well as the AEA 10 meter HT with varied results. The way I go portable HF today is with my Icom T81A (a truly remarkable Quad band HT), and my Kenwood TS2000. I can put the 2000 in crossband repeat mode, so it will take the signal from the T81A (on 70cm in this case) and rebroadcast it on whatever the main receiver is tuned to. It does the opposite pattern when a signal is present on the main receiver-and rebroadcasts it on 70cm so I can pick it up on the HT. I have used this setup so far to have many nice QSOs on 10 meter FM, and have checked into a couple of 6 meter SSB nets this way-all while bicycling to work or around town, or while sitting in the office at work. Yes it does have its limitations-like being tied to a single frequency and mode, and you are limited to the range of the HT, but it is better than nothing. For those of you with a TS2000, give it a try! Can't wait until Es season hits 6 big so I can run this method on a daily basis from work. It will be even better when I get the funds to afford a Kenwood D7A HT so I can run the sky command system and change bands and modes from the HT. Still haven't figured out a way to rotate the antenna thru the HT, though, HI HI.
 
RE: A Quasi-HT for HF  
by KL7IPV on May 18, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Good piece, Caitlyn. I had an Azden 10 meter but it was only FM. There is a company in Australia that makes a HF handheld capable pf 50watts out and it sells for $2500. Look at: www.qmac.com for the HT-90. I thought it was unbelieveable! It seemed like the dream rig you described but the price was for government buyers. Someday I believe we will see it available for us with a more moderate pricing.
73
Frank
KL7IPV
 
Why no NOAA Weather rx on FT-817  
by AB8JC on May 22, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Yaesu didn't design it for the US market. It was designed for Japan, where there is no 162 MHz weather broadcast. They cut off rx at 154 to help keep down intermod from paging systems. However, since it's sold so well over here, and everyone complains about this issue, they *did* add NOAA Weather receive capability to the new FT-897. And no, per Yaesu reps at Dayton, there are DEFINITELY NO PLANS for an FT-817 "Mark 2"
 
RE: You don't need to be a General  
by KU4QD on May 22, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Technically, you are correct. Grandfathered Novice and Tech Plus license holders can use at least some of these HTs. However, those licenses are no longer being issued. For "New Licensee" or anyone else who was not licensed under the old system the General class license is the minimum requirement. The comment about the General was in response to him.

Of course, any Technician licensee can use a Mizuho MX-6S or Tokyo Hy-Power HT-750 on 6 meters. The article was HF specific, but I thoroughly enjoy the 6 meter version of these HTs as well.

72/73,
Caity
KU4QD
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KU4QD on May 22, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Hi, Steve, and everyone else,

I would love to have a sched with you or anyone else who is interested in hearing a Mizuho on the air. My tower went up last weekend and the HF dipoles should be back in the air at a decent height (with the center point on the tower below the rotor) in the next few days. Once that happens, yes, by all means, let's get on the air.

Oh, and yes, if propogation is good I could just use the little whip and you'd hear me. I can't guarantee when that will be. Let's start with the dipole and I can always switch to the telescopic whip if band conditions are good.

Does 17 meters work for you? Seriously, once the antennas are up I'll be happy to meet you on the air. It sure beats this internet thing :)

72/73,
Caity
KU4QD
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KU4QD on May 22, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
To: N8EMR

I agree that you can get an FT-817 for $600 at Dayton, or about $650 any other time. I spent, on average, under $150 for each of my Mizuho (Pico) handhelds. I honestly feel the receiver outperforms the FT-817. Please do read the ARS review. Besides the FT-817 was horribly prone to front end overload. Also, new price for a Mizuho is $230 from Japan, not $320. If you absolutely have to have the 75m version then you'll probably have to pay $320 since they are hard to find used. Given the choice between a rig that does one thing well or one that does just about everything not so well, my choice is clearly different than yours.

To: Everyone who commented on battery life

Yes, a 1600mAh or 2000mAh battery pack improves the battery life of the FT-817. No question there. You can also put 1600mAh or 2000mAh batteries into a Mizuho. Any guess at how long they last? 70mA current draw on receive (or 45mA with the old, low power versions) is pretty darned hard to beat.

To: All the FT-817 enthusiasts out there

I am not against the FT-817. Yaesu has an engineering marvel on it's hands and it sells briskly for very good reason. The point of my article wasn't to bash the FT-817. Indeed, for someone who needs a very small radio that does everything but wash the dishes, the FT-817 simply cannot be beat.

The point of the article was to show a very good alternative that often goes overlooked. I think that for price, performance, and ergonomics the handhelds are worth looking at for some of us. They are not for everyone. It really is a matter of individual taste. I really enjoy the offerings by THP and Mizuho and I simply wanted to make other hams aware of the alternatives.

To: JJ0JIH, and everyone who wants an HF HT

Rod: thank you for the note. Yes, indeed, the HT-750 is back in production, at least for the moment. $470 is less than they sold for back in 1993. I highly recommend this HT and, since they only have a limited quntity, I'd run, not walk, to get one.

Finally, to KN4AQ:

Indeed, when I am in the car I am usually on a 2m repeater, mostly 147.315, but still sometimes 146.64. I used to run HF in the car years ago, and twice I almost caused accidents because of it. 2m FM is wonderful when I'm mobile because I don't have to take my eyes off the road or twiddle with knobs and buttons while driving. Tell me this: how often have you heard me on 2m FM from home on the base rig? It's a rare event, isn't it?

I will say that RARS has done a wonderful job with the 146.64 in Raleigh, and you can't find a friendlier bunch of people.

73 to everyone, and I hope to catch you on the aire
-Caity
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KU4QD on May 22, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
To: N8EMR

I agree that you can get an FT-817 for $600 at Dayton, or about $650 any other time. I spent, on average, under $150 for each of my Mizuho (Pico) handhelds. I honestly feel the receiver outperforms the FT-817. Please do read the ARS review. Besides the FT-817 was horribly prone to front end overload. Also, new price for a Mizuho is $230 from Japan, not $320. If you absolutely have to have the 75m version then you'll probably have to pay $320 since they are hard to find used. Given the choice between a rig that does one thing well or one that does just about everything not so well, my choice is clearly different than yours.

To: Everyone who commented on battery life

Yes, a 1600mAh or 2000mAh battery pack improves the battery life of the FT-817. No question there. You can also put 1600mAh or 2000mAh batteries into a Mizuho. Any guess at how long they last? 70mA current draw on receive (or 45mA with the old, low power versions) is pretty darned hard to beat.

To: All the FT-817 enthusiasts out there

I am not against the FT-817. Yaesu has an engineering marvel on it's hands and it sells briskly for very good reason. The point of my article wasn't to bash the FT-817. Indeed, for someone who needs a very small radio that does everything but wash the dishes, the FT-817 simply cannot be beat.

The point of the article was to show a very good alternative that often goes overlooked. I think that for price, performance, and ergonomics the handhelds are worth looking at for some of us. They are not for everyone. It really is a matter of individual taste. I really enjoy the offerings by THP and Mizuho and I simply wanted to make other hams aware of the alternatives.

To: JJ0JIH, and everyone who wants an HF HT

Rod: thank you for the note. Yes, indeed, the HT-750 is back in production, at least for the moment. $470 is less than they sold for back in 1993. I highly recommend this HT and, since they only have a limited quntity, I'd run, not walk, to get one.

Finally, to KN4AQ:

Indeed, when I am in the car I am usually on a 2m repeater, mostly 147.315, but still sometimes 146.64. I used to run HF in the car years ago, and twice I almost caused accidents because of it. 2m FM is wonderful when I'm mobile because I don't have to take my eyes off the road or twiddle with knobs and buttons while driving. Tell me this: how often have you heard me on 2m FM from home on the base rig? It's a rare event, isn't it?

I will say that RARS has done a wonderful job with the 146.64 in Raleigh, and you can't find a friendlier bunch of people.

73 to everyone, and I hope to catch you on the aire
-Caity
 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KC8TVW on May 22, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Just a comment re: general and above being the only new licenses available for HF use. I believe a new tech with code has the novice bands available. I sure hope I am not operating illegally.
 
Bad News!  
by N6SVP on May 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Dear Sir

Thank you for your email. Currently we are not stocking the MX. We have some
stock of accessories but no transceivers

Best regards,

Bill Bartlett
Sales Engineer
Waters & Stanton PLC
Tel: 01702 206835 Fax: 01702 205843
E-mail: bill.bartlett@wsplc.com
Web: www.wsplc.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Sheldon Hambrick [SMTP:sheldon_hambrick@hotmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 26, 2002 5:09 PM
To: sales@wsplc.com
Subject: Mizuho MX series handhelds

Dear Sirs:

I could not find the Mizuho MX series handhelds on your web page, only the
accessories. Do you know you still carry them? If so, what are the
shipping options to California?

Thanks in advance

Sheldon L. Hambrick
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by VK3JED on June 15, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Interesting article. As it happens, I have one of those "pirate CB" 10m radios, which, while it has a number of imperfections, is still quite a useful 10m box. Pity they didn't make the lower end of coverage go a few kHz lower and make it a dual bander (10/12m). I've used it quite a bit on the local 10m FM repeater, as well as pedestrian mobile QSOs with ZL on 28 MHz, which were a lot of fun.

However, it tends to make less trips with me, because it's an extra box to carry (my other main HT is an Icom IC-T81A quad bander). It's a matter of horses for courses. If I had the carrying capacity for a bunch of HTs, I'd take one of the higher powered compact HF/VHF/UHF rigs and the 55Ah SLA instead for all band coverage and 100W power. If weight was a problem, the FT817 and a 7 Ah SLA would be the way to go for me. I tend to make a lot of demands on the frequency agility of my gear, with band hopping being very common.

For monoband uses, the radios mentioned in the article look very interesting, and could be a lot of fun. Now, when something with the functionality of an FT817 comes in a HT style package, then things will get really interesting! By that time, my T81A will probably be due to be pensioned off (it's already 3 years old, plus the 5 or more wait before this kind of radio comes along), and I'd be looking for a more versatile replacement...
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by K3MOV on July 29, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I just happened to pick up a CQ magazine from the mid 80's and saw an ad for a Yaesu FT 70. It was an HF rig with a maximum power output of 20 watts. Appears to be somewhere between the size of IC 706 and a Yaesu FT 817. It appears Yaesu was way ahead of its time, unless the radio was a dud. Is anyone familiar with this model?
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by WA2JJH on August 18, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Why do I have a gut feeling a multiband HF handheld will be introduced. My money is would be on Kenwood.

They started it all with the TS-50 in 1992. The other major manufacturers have mini HF/vhf/UHF mini rigs that run circles around the TS-50. When I first purchased the TS-50 in 1993, it was the darling of the
industry. Every 3erd party sold backpacks, batts, portable antenna's, tuners, and fly away kits.

Now the yeasu FT-817 stole all the limelight.
It is if almost you see more FT817 portable acc's than people that own the radio!

OK....I think with in one year some company will have a multiband, multimode handheld.

It would make sense to leave out 160M. Cant fit those large coils inside a HT size radio.

Size...I think we could live with a radio as large as the Old 5wATT CB HT'S OR THE MOTOROLA HT-200.

BATTS. EITHER RECHARGEABLE LITHIUM OR DISPOSABLE ALKALINE IS A MUST. Forget about Ni-Cads period.

TX power out 5 watts PEP SSB. 2 watts CW and FM.

Instead of all those bogus hidden menus....just like the better CD walk mans...use a wired or IR remote control.

OHH would a Palm Pilot interface be too much to ask for????. How about using the interface on the more high end scientific calculators. If you interface the HT to a Texas instruments TI-85 ,83, or 92, you get graphing functions. Use the graphic screen for anything
A rig face can appear for example. Use the Calculators up down and scrowl keys to adjust freq, mode, power out, vol. sq and what ever. Use the more than 16 user defined keys for those hidden menu funtions!

Am I a dreamer and the only one. Perhaps some one will produce one...would not that be fun.

73's and laugh's WA2JJh



 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by WA2JJH on August 19, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea...some other ham hade a great idea. Taking the alinco DH-70 the radio shack verson...the one for $500. If Alinco could use 10W finals...shrink the rig.

We could all purchase a nice 6M to 80M radio, for under $500. If they only used 10W just the reduction in heat sink and toriodal transformers, could make the radio a true hand held.

Alinco could also build in, one of their gargage constructed 2m/440 HT boards in the same package.

This would make a radio comparable to the Yeasu 817.
I guess then Alinco would charge as much as yeasu.

I am very tempted to buy a used Alinco. Or buy one new from radio shack for $500. Take out the Final Brick and heat sink. Put the output of the driver transistor right to the antenna connector. Going thru the filter net work of course. Then I could take a mini H-T dual bander(a real cheap one) take the board out and put it in the Alinco where the Finals used to be. Actually if you do not mind low power on 2M and 440.
One could take the yeasu VX-1 right out of its case.
Then build it in a definaled Alinco. seperate out for VHF/UHF BNC connector in the back of the radio would do.

One can find VX-1's for under $150..these days.

The ham that wrote the oringinal artical said that the Alinco draws for less current on RX than the yeasu ft-817.

I think the price on the FT-817 is a rip off. I think Yeasu was in such a rush to get a D.C. to daylight rig out, they did not do the low power consumtion engineering. If a 100W Alinco can draw less on RX than a FT-817, something is not right. Maybe Yausu just took the FT-100 design. Took out all the bells and whistles, and 100Watt Final unit. Shazam....you get a FT-817.

Every ham I know who owns a FT-817, is not happy at all about the battary life. If you use disposable lithium ,you do a little better. Disposable lithiums are very expensive.

I think every ham wants a D.C. to daylight all mode, man portable rig. Some want it as a back up. Some want it for QRP. Some want it for the field. Some want it for emergency use. Some want just it for the nifty factor. Who cares!

Hey Kenwood....the TS-50s is out of date....where is your next all mode, all band minirig coming out?
Yeasu...Nice first try! Icom...you have been very quite. Alinco, you might be in a position for a real killing.

I just might try gutting an Alinco HF from radio shack. Slap in a yeasu VX-1. Put everything in a smaller case. Build in a Palm pilot or a Texas Instrument graphing scientific calculator interface.
I would use a TI-85. I could display all rig funtions in the 10 line screen. Use the over alpha numeric and 20 user difined key abilities. Use the graphing funtion
for DSP filter shaping, and band spectrum analyser!

I hope somebody is listening. If not I will be at every ham fest with my better minirig. Walk by all those 3 piece suit reps from all the ham radio companies, and rub thier face it!!!!

Hey I am not being mean spirited. I am just proving a point that if the Ham Radio peddlers do not give us we want, Many hams can "roll their own"!

73 mike WA2JJh

 
RE: HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by KD5HAW on September 6, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Re. the comment that some folks are using Alinco DX-70 TH radios for back-packing... I have one of these radios and like it very much. However, it weighs a whopping 2.7 Kg, almost 6 pounds,and that doesn't include a power supply (gell cell battery.)I wouldn't want to lug all that heavy gear around while hiking out here in the New Mexico mountains. The FT-817 weighs less than half the Alinco (1.17 Kg) and runs on batteries too. I like the idea of HF HTs...it's a cool concept. I suspect we'll see an evolution of new rigs like this because of the FT-817's popularity.
 
HF Handhelds -- Radios That Go Anywhere  
by VK3VSR on May 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It is probably worthwhile mentioning that there is yet another contender in the hand held market. The Condor 8833 which was made until about 2000 by a small New Zealand company.Many are still available worldwide but are difficult to obtain on the secondhand market as they are maintained as prized possessions by their owners. The Condor is 150mm highx67mmx55mm, about the size of an average handheld from the 90s,perhaps a bit smaller, and is fitted with a 2 channel(crystal locked) capacity suitable for channelling up between 2-7Mhz. My radios are both channelled for 5300Khz and 6840Khz.The radio is loaded with 8x AA batteries(an external 12 volt option is available) and utilizes half wave dipole which neatly reels up or out as needed.It plugs in to the top of the radio. The dipole is thrown over a bush,fence or up a tree. No counterpoise is needed.Audio is excellent and the range is in the order of 500-10000 km depending on conditions,often further,sometimes less. Transmit power output is 1watt PEP.Power consumption is only 180mA transmit and 10mW receive.Batteries last quite a long time.The speaker mike is built into the radio and is activated by a PTT button.The complete radio with batteries only weighs 510gm and comes in an optional neat waterproof plastic shoulder bag.But there is no reason why you can't just carry it in your pocket.It was designed for emergency communication application and as a super lightweight fully portable long distance personal communicator. I have used mine on various safaris to extremely remote regions of Outback Australia and maintained contact with friends at Bases in Alice Springs and Darwin from distances 100 to 1200 km.I have also used these radios to communicate between two seperate Safaris on hiking Outback Adventure Tours to talk to one another over distances of 100-300 km,which UHF hand held could not achieve.These radios are used in remote New Guinea highlands and around the world where small,light,efficient personal communication is required.See the photo.Regards.Roman
 
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