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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?

Gary Sanders (N8EMR) on September 1, 2003
View comments about this article!

The latest QST had a review of the yaesu/vertex standard VXA-700 Spirit radio.

This is a Air band radio AND a 2-meter radio in one. Now I am sure that this is an answer to a lot of prayers for the aviation/hams, but is this the type of radio that needs to be produced? It's scary to think a bunch of non-licensed pilots have extra channels to chat and worse yet, Hams that end up on an air-band channel.

Vertex/standard recent tried the same thing with with a MURS/FRS/marine radio. They called it a tri-band radio but it was a VHF/UHF dual band radio. I beleive the certification on this radio was pulled.

Anyone else concerned about this?

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by VK3DMN on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well speaking as an amateur that flys I could use a dual service radio. But I can understand the concerns on how these radios end up being used. If I go in to buy it am I required to show both licences? And what happens if I want to sell the radio? Do I sell it to another amateur? Another pilot? Or do I try and find one of the small number who are both....

I strongly suspect that lots of these radios will end up in the hands of well meaning people who don't belong to one or other service, and that has the potential to cause problems.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by DOODAH on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Airband handhelds have been available for years in this price range, and there haven't been too many problems.

Why would anyone buy this, outside of the aviation hobby? The same radio (appearance wise) is available as a dual band ham handy with extended receive, cheaper. So, only pilots will buy this, and they will probably keep it for years until it breaks, or be sensible enough to only sell it on to other pilots.

I really can't see this being any more of a problem than the situation at present.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by W3JJH on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This Yaesu radio strikes me as a very Japanese product. Such dual use products are popular in Japan. During my last visit there, I bought a piece of office desk equipment that seemed to be quite popular--an abbacus with a 4-function electronic calculator. It is possible to add or subtract on the abbacus faster than on the calculator (few "keystrokes"), but multiplication and division are faster with the calculator.

In 1958, there were great many amateur transmitters that were capable of operating on the 11-m band. As they were retired from amateur service, they did not migrate to CB. They were either scrapped or sold to hams who used them legally. I'd guess that something similar will happen to both of the VXA-700 radios Yaesu will manage to sell.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by AA8LL on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
When handheld aviation radios first came out, there were nervous expectations. Except for a few incidents, the problems have been slight. I always dreamed of having a set of HTs that used the same battery (and accessories!). Finally the Yaesu FT-50 and Aviator Pilot came out using the same battery and I bought into that. I was still wishing for a marine radio that used the same battery so I could call the Coast Guard from my rubber survival boat. Those batteries are the "heavy" part. Finally, I bought an Icom radio that used a different battery.
I am committed to the radios I have for the next few years but I certainly would have bought the combination radio had it been available sooner. Now if they can add the marine band, I will crunch the numbers again.
Lots of people have modified radios capable of operating where they shouldn't and problems are few. Why not make it possible for legitimate users to have some convenience as well? I'm amazed that there is a big enough market for Yaesu to have done this. Better get the radio soon if you want one.
73, Wade
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WB2JKM on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Just an observation:

Minimal problems with handheld air band radios? Wasn't there an arrest of a "terrorist" in NYC shortly after 9/11 -- with a handheld air band transceiver? As I recall the story, it was thought that he used it to guide in one (or both) of the airplanes to the WTC buildings. Maybe handheld air band transceivers shouldn't be quite so easy to obtain?

 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KC9ASI on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!

Airband handheld transceivers probably shouldn't be more difficult to obtain. (I can't think of where I'd go to get one.)

They serve a useful purpose: private pilots have an independent means of communication in case the built-in radio in the Cessna (or whatever) breaks.

And all the ham/pilots I know that are likely to buy one will beat it into the ground and it will be unusable when they're through with it (I figure 8-12 years life expectancy). Then they'll strip it for parts and build a nice little code practice oscillator or an AM receiver out of it.

I'm pretty sure it's a non-issue.

Now... since they can build an AM handheld along with a 2m handheld... how long until they bring out a 2m SSB/FM handheld? Or better yet, a 2m/70cm SSB/FM handheld?
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KC2HZW on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I don't see this as a problem, anymore than an unlicensed person buying ham equipment and using it without obtaining a license. It does happen, but not all that often. As a pilot, this radio is quite attractive to me, for several reasons. First, it is always nice to have a back up radio in the cockpit. Fly IFR (instrument flight) and suffer an alternator failure and you will be happy to have this little radio to contact Air Traffic Control. (Stories abound now of pilots trying to use cell phones to contact ATC.) As a ham, it would be nice to use when arriving at a new destination. And one less radio to carry, one less set of batteries to charge! There are many more pilots licensed as hams than you might think. And with a street price of over $400 not too many folks will go out and buy these on a lark to transmit on the wrong band.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by NE0P on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There used to be a 2 meter SSB handheld. Sold in this country as the Santec LS202A. They show up from time to time on ebay. Mizuho recently marketed a 2 meter SSB handheld in Japan, but I am not sure whether they are still being sold or not.

 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by W9JCM on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I think its great. I am going to purchase one and use it when I am up in my Glider. I can run both bands and not have to worry about a extra "ht" in the ship. Cudos to Vertex. Handheld have been around forever Sportys etc... If someone wants one they can get one.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WA2JJH on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
You make a good point. However on one hand some aviators are hams too.
However another poster poinyed out the guy in the hotel near WTC with an airband radio. Funny you simply do ot hear what happened to him. NOT THAT I CARE ABOUT A TERRORIST SKELL! I thought I heard he was cleared however. Not sure if he is detained or let go.

If that was the case, He just was in the wrong place,wrong time, and owning the wrong radio! We were never told what happned to the arabic man with the air band tcvr.

IMHO if you are going to buy a 2M/AIR combo, you should have to have it registered as yours with the FCC. When purchasing a combo, I would hope a valid ham ticket must be used to purchase. This is not the case.
Aviation radio's are sold, no questions asked by a few companies. VERY BAD IDEA!

FWIW, I think cell phones should be regestered with the FCC. The WTC TERRORIST made great use of pre paid cell phones. Why not, they do output 300mw. The mobile cell phones are 3W.

Many hams have found when you ''OPEN UP'' Your average dual bander, you will get TX and RX in the GMRS
region. A few will actually transmit on the upper portion of air band (120-134) I guess the rig makers use the exact same CPU for commercial as well as ham.

The combo's could be the right radio for those that need them. A very bad radio to be sold to any Joe Shmoe.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by K0IPG on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I still don't quite understand why QST bothered to review this radio. Didn't they already do a review of the VX-7r - which is mostly identical to this rig?

Anyhow, I do appreciate the concern for malicious interference eminating from unlicensed users of this rig, but this certainly isn't a problem unique to this radio. It just floored me when I found how easy Icom had made it to open up the transmit on my new IC-T90a. Snip 3 little diodes, that for some reason, were made very easy to access by virtue of a sticker covering a hole in the case. Naturally, the sticker had a warning about modifying the radio printed on it :)

So, really, the capability has been there for a long time. Now, though, this radio introduces the prospect of freeband AM, not just FM. This could cause some concern, but, since it'd probably be cheaper to buy a separate rig for each service (if your only intention was to cause interference), I don't see it as being a problem.

It's good that we keep vigilent about this kind of thing, though. The manufuacturers are profit driven, not driven by the best for the amateur service. Next time they do something stupid, make sure you let them know about it. In this case, though, I just don't think it's a problem...

73
Dan K0IPG
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by 2INTEREST on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Speaking for the hams that are also pilots (there are quite a few) especially those who build and fly experimental aircraft, this radio is an item which is very practical and valuable.

Every system in an aircraft that can be duplicated is duplicated, fuel delivery, ignition, etc. It only makes sense that there is a secondary radio set also. Space is at a premium in a small aircraft, especially in the instrument panel area. Therefore, this radio would fill an important niche.

This, or any handheld air band set is an eminently logical addition to the ham/aviation radios available. As to someone not authorized to operate on the aircraft band (or the ham band, for that matter) there are plenty of radio transceivers now in the hands of those who don't have proper authorization to use them. There is no reason to block their sales to unauthorized people, someone may be going to purchase the radio as a gift for an authorized person. And, as we all know, at most places, you do not have to show a ham license to purchase a ham radio.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by K8RBT on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have always wished that Icom would make a combo 2 meter and marine VHF HT. Tired of carting around two HT's with different chargers and battery packs.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KE4ZHN on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Whats the big deal? Anyone who is smart enough to fly a plane ought to know, and be smart enough to pass the tech test so whats there to be worried about? Im sure most anyone who is a pilot knows enough about radios to NOT use the 2 meter portion of this rig without an amateur ticket. If not, then let Riley slap a nice hefty fine on him and he will learn quick. I have read about glider pilots on the west coast using 2 meter rigs illegally in their aircraft and they got busted. Its not hard to figure out if a guy is an illegal aeronautical mobile just by listening and not hearing a callsign. Nobody with half a brain would even try it, your signal is much too strong and your coverage is very good from a couple thousand feet so youd be nuts to try and bootleg from a plane. Of course, you will always have the idiots in every segment of society, so anything is possible. But with the testing so simple to get a tech license to operate on 2 meters, its stupid to bootleg on it anyway ground or air. Id be more worried about people who open up dual banders and get on police and emergency paramedic frequencies and horse around then air band stuff. I highly doubt anyone would get much pleasure from boring aviation traffic. But its already been proven that the idiots who seek thrills get a big charge out of harrassing police with illegal gear. These misfits need to be hung by their heels and flogged to death with their HT! When peoples lives are at stake, the last thing you need is some moron jamming the police band or fire band with stupidity. And they ALL get caught eventually.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KD7KGX on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Re a "terrorist" helping the 9/11 hijackers find the WTC... the person who was arrested was later cleared.

Think about it. Here I am, in a sophisticated plane with all sorts of radios and navigation devices. It's CAVU (clear air visibility unlimited). I can SEE the Twin Towers... what help can someone give me on a handheld airband radio that I couldn't get from the cockpit? Radios, of whatever sort, did not play a role in the WTC attacks. Cell phones DID give those on board a chance to warn the rest of us.

This theorem of restricting ownership of items because someone MIGHT do something wrong with it is un-American. Isn't prior restraint unconstitutional? It's the same reasoning that keeps law-abiding people unarmed in places like New York City and Washington DC... yet the bad guys have guns. If a LAW would make a difference, then we wouldn't need laws.

The solution to abuse of radios is the same as the solution to the abuse of guns... punish transgressors SEVERELY. You won't be able to stop all abuse (and you can't in a free country). But you will stop most of the abuses by most of the people.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by YEPSURE on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The original post stated,

"It's scary to think a bunch of non-licensed pilots have extra channels to chat and worse yet, Hams that end up on an air-band channel"

My response to that would be, what about the potential of pilots who aren't licensed as amateur operators who end up on the two-meter band? The original post makes it seem amateur operators will start talking on the aircraft band, but what about licensed pilots who start talking on the amateur band (who aren't licensed)?

The implication here is that amateur operators are some deviant people who will screw with the aircraft band. But the opposite could be said (or implied) for pilots on the same level. Of course no one would even hint something like that becasue we all know what great citizens pilots are, right? Gimme a break . . .

The abuse potential exists on BOTH sides of the issue, and NOT just for licensed amateur operators. Amateur operators and pilots alike are human beings, and both are subject to abusing this issue.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by K0IPG on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Um.. "YEPSURE", you need to re-read the segment you quoted from the original post. The author of this topic already noted that pilots would have extra channels to talk on (aka the two meter ham band). In fact, I think that was the point of this post....
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by JN3XCV on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
As a pilot and a ham who owns this radio I for one am very happy that Vertex made it.

Scott
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by JN3XCV on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair? Reply
by WB2JKM on September 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Just an observation:

Minimal problems with handheld air band radios? Wasn't there an arrest of a "terrorist" in NYC shortly after 9/11 -- with a handheld air band transceiver? As I recall the story, it was thought that he used it to guide in one (or both) of the airplanes to the WTC buildings. Maybe handheld air band transceivers shouldn't be quite so easy to obtain?
-----------

Weren't a lot of people stopped with nail files at the aiport too!!! So perhaps obtaining nail files shouldn't be so easy.


Don't beleive everything you hear on the news. The feds simply questioned a person with an airband transceiver and he was a pilot.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by N2YTF on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This is a major problem....

Take a look at the new FRS/GMRS combination radios so popular now. I just went to costco and was asked about an frs/gmrs radio (I was a shopper but I was wearing my ham ht, guess I looked like I knew about the radios) I was looking at by a fellow shopper.

When I tried to explain to the woman that she could use the radio on the frs channels but not the gmrs channels (the advertised long range channels on the front of the box) without paying for a GMRS license, I just got a blank stare. She didnt understand and she didnt care about getting a license. How can you explain to an average person why she can use channels 1-14 without paying but needs to pay to use channels 15-22?

Although I suspect that aviators are more knowledgable than most consumers, I wouldnt be surprised to find many more using the ham bands when tempted or confused by Yaesu's new radio. I have heard such operations in the past between pilots even before this new radio came out (operations above long island).

Another point is that single use ham radios (ham bands only for tx) present an economic barrier to unlicensed persons using our bands. If a ham radio is only good for illegeal use, its not as appealing as a radio that can be used legeally in normal operation (for that unlicenced person in his own bands..like aviation) but has the added "bonus" of extra channels on the ham bands.

73 to all,
Tom, N2YTF
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by OBSERVER11 on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I guess that it would be a big concern if you cannot trust the users of either service.

Air band tranceivers are out there, Icom makes a very popular one, you can find them on eBay or your favorite pilot shop such as Sporty's. So the arguement that airband radios are rare, thus the band is protected is not the case...

Hams have been modifing thier hand helds for years, and only a select few have seen fit to operate out of band and get caught. Of course we all know that there are many ham radios being used on business channels, so I have not seen a concerted effort on the part of the FCC to prevent this from happening.

Which leads to the next option, do you trust the non-ham pilot from using his dual band radio outside HIS band?

I personally think that pilots take it a bit more serious, so my concern would be the ham that wants to explore out of the ham band.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by N0PWZ on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It's not really a problem Gary. Not any more than an HF rig that's been "opened up" to cover freqs outside the Ham bands. Truth be told, most pilots aren't terribly interested in "mucking about" in the FM bands unless they're licensed Hams, and many are.

Worry more about making sure you don't fall off your tower, or electrocuting yourself with your amplifier. There are lots more important things to be concerned about these days.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KC4JKW on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
If memeory serves me, the gent that was arrested, was cleared of any wrong doing..The radio that was found did NOT belong to him, but another privious guest in that hotel room, it had been left behind by accident... I'd be more worried about hand held GPS units..Am willing to be there were one or two of them with the LAT/LONG of the WTC, Pentegon, etc entered as a waypoint...
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KS4XN on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I used to take my garmin gps with me anytime I flew. It's fun to know where you are, especially on longer flights. But I haven't tried to do that since 9-11. Not because I don't think it's allowed, but any one security might decide to confiscate it and there are already enough hassles involved in flying...

73 de John, ks4xn
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by K9OI on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
As a HAM and a construction manager who routinely manages projects on a major airfield where contact with ground control is mandatory, this radio would be very useful.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by W3JJH on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The FCC Rules (97.11(b)) require that amateur radio equipment aboard aircraft "must be separate from and independent of" all other communications equipment on the aircraft. Since the air band radio is in the same box as the 2-m rig, this Yaesu radio is not legal for use on board aircraft. It's OK on the ground, but not on board. A pain-in-the-(select an anotomical feature), but that's government regs for you!
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by N3DPL on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
IMHO, any argument based on potential malicious intent is bogus. By the same logic, we shouldn't be allowed to own a car because we might use it as a get-away vehicle in a bank robbery, etc., etc. The overwhelming majority of individuals who will pay for this radio will use it for its intended purpose. Those who would intentionally misuse or interfere with the air band (or commit any other crime for that matter) already have numerous means available. This radio doesn't open up any new doors and it should be available to those who would find it useful.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by W7CSD on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
While in favor of the two different services on the same radio I can see the potential for some serious interference. Case in point; while at the Reno air races a few years ago there was a serious incident with someone, either accidentally or intentionally, keying up on the frequency used by race operations. While traveling a 400MPH 50í off the deck there isnít time to fumble around with the radio to tune to an alternate frequency.

While there was a good likelihood that this interference wasnít from a ham, the potential for another group of listeners to accidentally cause interference is there. It has been my experience that there are a lot of hams, about half of them with their HTs on aviation frequencies, at these events and as such the percentage of owners of this radio is higher.

I am not blaming Yaesu, I just want to make sure that everyone understands the potential for interference. It isnít a perfect world and all it takes is one screw-up to mess it up for everyone else.
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by N2DY on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
As to the terrorist who had an aircraft HT near the WTC, that was all a mistake. An actual legitimate airline pilot had one that he left in his room safe at a nearby hotel (I think it was the Millenium). Some investigators mistakenly thought that it was in the room of an Arabic hotel guest. His room was actually a few floors away. He was cleared.

I think this issue is overblown. If someone wanted to get on the airband and screw around, it can be done very easily. AES has been selling airband HTs for years at very reasonable prices. Hams are not going to risk getting caught down in the airband. Enforcement would no doubt be very strict, given the safety issues.

On the flip side, pilots tend to be a pretty responsible bunch and I doubt that they are going to invade two meters. There is no reason to, given that there are enough avaition talk around frequencies available. Also, at the heights that they are at, they would stick out like a sore thumb.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by 2INTEREST on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
W3JJH,

The rules may state the amateur gear be separate from all other radio gear, but I believe the rule was meant to address the installation of ham gear which may interfere with or damage other vital aviation radio gear, including the radio power feed and the antenna systems. It all depends on how the rule is interpreted. I hardly think the FCC is going to enforce that rule when a combination radio is used in an aircraft in an emergency situation, but you never know!
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by K7NNG on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
so what is the big deal. i use my yaesu dual banders on air/amateur constantly. i am a licensed pilot, licensed ham, and its pretty handy i would say. so, whats the big deal?????????????????????????????
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WA2JJH on September 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I can admit I was wrong. Nothing wrong with a combo radio. I do not think I can remember of anybody stupid enough to transmit on AIR freqs.

Many do open up dual banders. However they really just do it because the ability is there. I do not think any HAM dual bander would make FCC type acceptance for any other service anyway.

I find just the RX on out of band on a dualbander horrible. IMOD,low rcvr sensitivity,and the chance of destroying the final in TX.

 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by K9KJM on September 3, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KD7KGX got this one right...... Way too many people
try to control "things" Instead of doing it the proper way, CONTROL and punish those who would break the law
by misusing ANYTHING!
Makes no difference if someone snips a diode in a radio, Owns a gun and ammunition, Buys a five gallon
can of gas and also has a book of matches........
Go after and Punish those who would break laws instead
of trying to dream up new things to ban!!!!
The concept of prohibition has already been proven to
NOT WORK at all.......... Alcohol in this country
a few years ago, Guns in some foreign countries just
recently...... Check the crime rates in England since
gun prohibition! You don't see that stuff on the
6 oclock news!
Don't worry about what kind of radios are being sold!
Help the FCC get the personell needed to prosecute
those who misuse ANY radio equipment!

 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KC0CGF on September 3, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The actual rule is:

(b) The station must be separate from and independent of all other radio apparatus *installed* on the ship or aircraft, except a common antenna may be shared with a voluntary ship radio installation. The station's transmissions must not cause interference to any other apparatus installed on the ship or aircraft.

(* emphasis mine)

A handheld radio is not an *installed* radio apparatus.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by N4QX on September 4, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Dan, K0IPG, wrote:

"I still don't quite understand why QST bothered to review this radio. Didn't they already do a review of the VX-7r - which is mostly identical to this rig?"

This review was published toward the end of my tenure as Product Review Editor. The compelling ham radio hook was that the VXA-700 offers AM capability on 2 meters in a handheld. This is a capability that you don't have to be a pilot to use.

The second hook was the dual-service nature of the radio, perhaps of interest to ham pilots, like our reviewer, Rosalie White, K1STO. Once again, this is a small but measurable part of our population.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by N3EF on September 4, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KC0CGF

I see what you are trying to imply, but I suggest you look up the definition of "installed".
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KC0CGF on September 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Cite the reference and any relevent interpretations.

If it's in my hand and not in the panel of the aircraft, or permanantly attached to the aircraft, it's not installed.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KB5SXH on September 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Let's look at the major concerns here.

1: Pilots on HAM bands... Every pilot I know (which is several, as I am a student pilot) would have no reason to use the 2 meter ham band. They aren't required to know the band limits of the aviation service, because there are no "Aviation" radios that transmit outside the band. That is a requirement for type acceptance, to my knowlege. The likelyhood of a non-ham pilot getting this radio and using it on 2 meters is pretty low. The standard pilot might also familiarize himself with the operator's manual, and find that transmitting on the HAM band without the proper license would be illegal.

2: HAM operators are required to know where they can transmit and where they can't. If a ham is going to get on the air band, he's going to get on the air band, and it won't be accidental... In that case, whether he has air and 2 meters in the same rig is a moot point.

3: Providing a means of communication for terrorists... Someone once said, "Those who would sacrifice their freedom for their security deserve niether". If a terrorist wants to talk to an airplane, he will find a way to do it. I don't think that registering our radios (no matter what their type) or our cell-phones is going to make any difference in the end... Check this out: I own several firearms. The state, and the federal government for that matter, do not have a record of my firearms. I could call the Texas Dept. of Public Safety and say, "Hey, I've got this gun, and this gun, and this gun, and this gun, et cetera," and their response would be, "Yeah, what's your point?" I am personally capable of doing just as much direct damage with my weapons as a terrorist is with his radio. Hey, I've even got extensive military combat training. Should I register myself with the dept of homeland defense? Maybe I shouldn't be allowed to own radios, guns, and cell phones because with my organizational and combat skills, I could potentially kill a lot of innocent people.

I would also like to point out that another person on this thread mentioned that everything the terrorists needed to find and hit the WTC was in the cockpit.

Hey, should we put in place more restrictions on flight training? Maybe the FAA should tell a middle eastern flight instructor that I know that he's not allowed within 100 feet of an airplane... Maybe I shouldn't be allowed to fly because as I previously mentioned, I would make an outstanding terrorist (well, I guess I would need some form of religious or political fanaticism, but I'm sure I could come up with something...)

The bottom line is: Bad people will always find a way to do band things. Whether it is bootlegging on 2 meters or air band, or blowing something up...

Just my thoughts on the matter
73's
John
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KB5SXH on September 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Just to back-up KC0CGF:

I am not about to search the FAR's (Federal Aviation Regulations), but a peice of equipment is not installed unless it is reasonably hard to take out of the aircraft... If I take a Garmin Handheld GPS and attach it to my yoke, it is not installed, and I don't need to get an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic to sign off on it or have the weight and balance modified for it.

Secondly, this radio is in and of itself seperate from the avionics systems of an airplane. Additionaly, the part 97 rule only applies to using the 2meter portion of the radio. The only thing, then, that you can scoff at is using the 2 meter portion of the radio while flying the airplane when the same radio is the only means of communicating on air frequencies. Most pilots I know fly airplanes equiped with radios... Actually, come to think of it, every pilot I know does. The main purpose of handheld air radios is: emergency use when the primary aircraft radio is inop., and for monitoring air freqs...

Okay, off my soap box now...
-John
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WA2JJH on September 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WOW, we have some real avaiators here! You guys should have those radio's.

Frankly, I will just monitor this thread and learn.
I am just an avaition buff. HEY, you avaiators/hams, do you concure that the EA-6 PROWLER would make the best shack second to none! I know it is a converted A-6 intruder with every RF E.W. C.C.M, and RF jamming of hostiles from DC-MILLIMETER WAVES. The ERP'S of course are classified.

OK, many of you are pointing out the very fine points of aviation. I guess a SSB RACAL in the instrument board is a no-no for ham HF use!

Got the watch anyway for the b-1 from BREITLING.
I just never know when I need a watch that is compatable with night vision googles! Besides it has
UTC,and just about any other complication an instrumentation watch can have. The instructions do not tell you how to use the 3 dial slide rule for conversions

OK, I totally went of course with the thread!
Punching out...73 de MIKE
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by K5SPR on September 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
As a pilot and a ham I've been waiting for this combo for quite a while, and I've already printed out the order form and given it to my wife since my birthday is coming up. I'm actually hoping that they come out with a tri-bander that will cover 440 too.

At least half the pilots I know are hams and will buy one, and the other half are conscious enough of the rules not to break them. You don't stay a pilot very long if you don't learn to follow the rules - either the FAA or gravity will get you. As for the non-pilot hams, if you're going to TX on an unapproved frequency, there are plenty of other ways to do so without buying this radio.

As this will be my third radio from Yaesu, I applaud their efforts and hope they keep innovating.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WA9SVD on September 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
KB5SXh:
You make some vaild points, but there are some comments.

1. Pilots using Ham bands. I will admit that I'm not familiar with the exact rules, and this may be a regional thing, but here in California, many hang glider pilots and groups (I know, you may not consider them pilots, and I don't know if they require some sort of FAA license) use 2M FM around 144.120 MHz. Obviously illegal, as there is never any ID, but that's in the weak-signal portion of the band, so it's especially troublesome.

2. Why do people think that "terrorists" of any flavor will be required to purchase radio equipment, for nefarious purposes, here in the U.S.? Can they not buy in some other country? If they have a "world-wide" network of operatives, and adequate funds, why couldn't they just buy the equipment in another country and send it to their friends, or have another friend deliver it? If they really want it, they will find a way, whether they buy it here or elsewhere.

But I wonder how useful such a radio really is. The 2M side will obviously appeal to Hams, but most H-T's already have extended receive, that includes the VHF Aviation band. Will there really be enough market for the radio? And what would be the range of a H-T on aviation band with only a rubber duck antenna inside the cabin of an airplane?

I don't mean this as a flame, but please educate us that aren't that familiar with Aviation Radio, so we all can learn and be more informed..
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KB5SXH on September 6, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
WA9SVD:

Thanks for the civility of your reply...

1: I can see how nice, Wide FM signals in the weak signal portion of the band can be bothersome (Not a big VHF weak signal guy, but it still ticks me off...) The hang glider guys are really not pilots. I don't know too much about hang gliding, but I beleive it to be about as tightly regulated as sky-diving. The hang glider guys can't use Aircraft radio, so I guess they think HAM is lower profile... Those people should be penalized for their unlawful use of the radio spectrum. I'm surprised that they don't use FRS/GMRS radios because they tend to be cheaper than HAM gear...

Someone made a comment earlier to the effect of: Pilots who don't obey the rules are going to get it from the FAA or gravity. Right on...

2: I agree whole heartedly on what you say. To clarify, I am animately opposed having to register radios, cell phones, gps's, and anything else of that nature. Like you said, if the need it that bad, they'll get it. I don't care if having it easier for me to purchase and own things that I am allowed to use makes it easier for terrorists to ply their trade.

There is no law against owning any type of radio equipment. I could have a 750KW Broadcast AM station in my garage if I want to, and I don't have to have a license. If I actually use it, then there's a problem. Most people in the country are allowed to own guns. They aren't allowed to use them against other people unless they have a good reason, though. (And I don't want to deal with the "sportsman" argument here. I, for one, own only weapons that are not well suited for killing animals). The government doesn't have the right to tell me I can't buy a weapon (unless I am a felon, addict, wife/child beater, et cetera), and they don't have the right to tell me that I can't own a radio... Nor should they ever have that right.

Sure, cell phones have probably partially contributed to the terrorists' abilities. So has e-mail, and regular telephones. Makeing people register all of this stuff isn't going to make any difference in the end. If I want to do something bad enough, I can always improvise, and so can they.

As far as this radio in particular: I know more than a couple aircraft owners who have an extra antenna installed on their aircraft for use with an HT should they loose electrical or their primary COMs. Also, depending on the aircraft, the radio will suffice. When you loose communications, your main uses for the radio might include: Contacting the agency who controls the airspace that you are in (if you are in such airspace). In this case, you are probably at a pretty decent altitude, or within 8-12NM of the radio station you are attempting to contact. Your next main concern might be calling mayday should you be forced to make an emergency landing. If it is at an airport, all of the people you are concerned with hearing your signal are pretty close. If you are landing in a field somewhere, et cetera, well, hey. You're already having a bad day...
The next thing is to talk to the tower or on the Unicom or Multicom freq for the airport that you are going to land at. This is short enough where a rubber duck will be sufficient.

The general rule, though, in my opinion, as to calculating the range of a backup radio is: Just a little bit less than you need... (Mr. Murphy always tends to find a way to stow away on the airplane...) The radio may not perform well enough, but it performs a lot better than the plane's radios do when they have failed or you have lost your electrical system.

General aviation radios run pretty low power (Four watts, on average, I think). While in the pattern at the airport I can regularly hear Unicom traffic for an airport that is over 30 miles away. The further up you go, the further away horizon is...

Well, I've rambled on enough.
Stay Motivated,
John
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WA9SVD on September 6, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks John, for your explanation. (I'm sure a lot us us learned something new.)
Just out of curiosity, if you have an additional antenna for the 2M or 2m Aviation H/T installed, is there some FCC certification that needs to be done, or is it possibly a "DIY" project?
73, and good flying. (And may all your landings be successful ones.)

Larry WA9SVD
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KB5SXH on September 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Larry,

As far as I can tell from the FARs, and part 97, et cetera, that would be more of an FAA concern. The installation would have to be performed by an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (or A&P), or at least signed off on by one. Anytime anything is permanently installed on an aircraft, an A&P has to sign off on it. You can replace an item, i.e.: If your NAV/COM radio takes a dump, you can replace it yourself with the exact same kind, as it will not affect the weight and balance of the aircraft... You can change an antenna in the same manner. If you add a new antenna, which requires putting a hole in the aircraft, it must be approved by an A&P for weight and balance, structural, and aerodynamic reasons...

According to the FARs, a pilot can perform certain realatively simple maintenance tasks on an airplane. The FARs does not really say which maintenance tasks are authorized, so I take this to mean that a pilot can perform maintenance on an aircraft as long as it is within his abilities. For some pilots this could include changing oil, changing tires/inner tubes, et cetera, and for other, more mechanically apt pilots could include replacing fuel and oil lines and fittings, and various other things.

Okay, I'm rambling again...
Have fun,
John
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WA9SVD on September 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks John,

I sort of thought that adding an antenna would be considered a "modification" to the airframe, and would have to be certified.

(I'm not a pilot, but a minor aviation buff. Had the oppurtunity to spend a day at Oshkosk in '84, and worked backup emergency communications at El Toro CA Airshow a couple of years, when there still WAS an El Toro Airshow.)

 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KD5YTO on September 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Guys when i was taking flying lessons back in the late 70's you had to know code at 5 wpm. because the vor's and airports id's came in that way. You also had to have and FCC radio operators permit to use aircraft radios. so the blending is real close to current ham no-code tech. I for one when i started getting into ham which was not long ago. could remember very little code. but i could tell you at any time when the airport code for my home airport was keyed. LOL if i had more money i would probably fly. but ham has my dollar now.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KB5SXH on September 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Now they have the morse for the VOR printed on the sectional... You also no longer need an aircraft radio license unless you are operating internationaly...

My flight instructor was pretty amazed when I could copy the VOR id's without looking at the chart...

I do need to brush up my CW, though. When I think of all the trouble I went through to learn it, it's a shame to let it go to waste...

73's
John
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by VE6RZF on September 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
As a pilot, sailor, and ham operator, I have licenses for all of these bands. For the most part, the air band usage (except for the hang glider and ultralight pilots) is very professional. The marine band is somewhat less professional, and hams are often - let's say - amateur operators.

It has always been possible, with a little intelligence, to get on the aviation band and transmit without the appropriate licenses. The vast bulk of sane people stay off the band or only listen. Of course, there are real penalties for persons who abuse the band or try to create havoc; I do not know of anyone who has had to be disciplined in this manner.

Aircraft radios have, historically, been way overpriced relative to what you get. I am glad to see that more competitively priced radios are being made available to pilots.

 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by N3UEA on November 22, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
QUOTE ďThe FCC Rules (97.11(b)) require that amateur radio equipment aboard aircraft "must be separate from and independent of" all other communications equipment on the aircraft. Since the air band radio is in the same box as the 2-m rig, this Yaesu radio is not legal for use on board aircraft. It's OK on the ground, but not on board. A pain-in-the-(select an anotomical feature), but that's government regs for you! ď


Try FAR 91.3, I'll paraphrase: "The pilot in command may deviate from any FAR as need to meet the requirements of any emergency." Do you really think the FCC would have approved a radio that would violate another government agencies regulation?

As a student pilot ready for my check ride & a Ham, this radio is great. If my electrical system quits, Iím glad to know that Iíll have a great back-up. One of the things that my instructor has drilled into me is SAFETY. Pilots recognize the need for safety & for the most part are very professional. Their use of Ham bands is unlikely. Hams know the regulations, honest ones are also unlikely transmit on aviation frequencies.
 
RE: Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by M777 on March 15, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I recreantly bought a VX-7R as a gift for a friend who lives in Europe. Since I found out he wasn't so much into radios as I thought I ended up with the radio. I am not a pilot or a Ham radio user, however not being able to return the radio, I opened the box. Again I am not an experienced radio user, but it only makes since that you should not be able to transmit on some frequencies. This radio transmits on
AM
108.000 to 136.975
300.000 to 334.9875
NFM
40.000 to 58.990
137.000 to 173.995
222.000 to 224.980
WFM
59.000 to 107.900
174.000 to 221.950
470.000 to 560.300
UNKNOWN BAND
560.300 to 579.950

I know I didn't make a mistake on the listing because I had the radio checked by a professional who also verified the transmission. Also if I press the transmission button on the side of the radio and have my stereo tuned in to a local radio station on the same frequency I tune the radio on, I start hearing my transmission on the radio. This means the radio is transmitting on FM.
I was hoping to get some advice as to what to do with the radio. I am not sure if placing it for sale on e-bay would be smart.

 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by KC4VA on April 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
how can you keep interfearents down?
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by PHILIPHB on July 28, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
We had a rotocraft crash in Killingly recently. The HAM Members of ECRA used their foxhunting skills to locate the 121.5 becon. The VXA-700 could have been used to relay information from the hams to the FSS, CAP, UNICOM on 123.00 for Danielson, and others who were involved with the search. A handy radio indeed.
de Philip Brown
W1PHB
Single Engine Land Pilot
 
Air-Band/Two-Meters -- A Troublesome Pair?  
by WA4DQS on May 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Air-Band/Two Meters: A Handy Pair!

Well, it's been two years since the last comment in this thread. I suppose I stumbled onto this a tad late, eh?

A few months ago I bought a VXA 700 -- last one the local HRO store had. I couldn't resist owning an odd radio like that. Thanks to a few interesting incidents ten years in my past, I felt a strange need to own this radio.

Ten years ago it would have been one very handy item to keep in my bag of tricks. Who knows, maybe it still is.

I was a skydiver, and used to be part of a combination flying and skydiving club. For years we held frequent desert fly-ins in the high deserts -- remote dry lake beds. Perfectly legal stuff, just off the beaten path, and not quite what most people expect when they think of skydiving or flying. Good times to be sure! But also a situation laden with very serious safety issues that we had to stay on top of.

One time we had a few skydivers getting ready to exit a Cessna 182 at about 10,000 feet over our campsite. Suddenly a massive desert wind whipped up out of nowhere -- easily over 40mph sustained winds. Very dangerous conditions for people to be landing under parachutes.

Usually several pilots in the group had their airband HTs on hand -- even when they drove out to the site. It was a safety measure we tried to consistently maintain.

This time, we had only one surplus pilot, sans aircraft, in the campsite. He tried to radio an advisory to the aircraft with his airband HT, and prevent the jumpers from exiting. But his one HT battery was dead!

The jumpers, unaware of the freak winds, exited the aircraft.

We ended up driving a truck to chase the parachutists all over the desert. Two jumpers ended up getting dragged by their parachutes and did serious damage to their parachute equipment. Fortunately, no injuries.

I got a few photos of some of the scary landings, and we all realized what a much bigger mess it could have been -- and what a non-mess it would have been had we had a working airband in the camp.

After that incident I went out and immediately bought a $1,000 milspec grade airband tranceiver -- a factory-fresh, airport crew vehicle tranceiver. I bought a 5/8 wave airband mag mount antenna, and parked that bullet-proof setup in the campsite, inside my truck, wired directly to my truck's healthy battery, everytime we were active at our remote fly-ins, with instructions to everybody how to use the radio in an emergency.

Peace of mind like that has no price tag, and I cared nothing of what other Hams might have thought of my having a 36 watt mobile airband rig. The pilots and skydivers in the club were quite happy knowing it was there.

That radio got used a few times over the following years in similar situations, including one where it was used to help guide an inbound county MedEvac helicopter to us after two transient, off-road motorcyclists collided near our remote campsite, critically -- almost fatally -- injuring one of the riders.

On that particular incident, all cell phones in the camp, one by one, ultimately failed to find consistent reception and connect us to 911. We'd been lulled into a false sense of complacency by the one to two bars of indicated reception the damned phones indicated!

While our one medic club member tended to the ailing rider, one cell phone finally succeeded in placing a 911 call, but the call was dropped several times in the effort, and we were unsure exactly what got through to the 911 operator -- who seemed utterly confused as to where we were. (in the desert, 15 miles from the nearest zip code or man-made land mark to be precise!)

I ended up using my 2m/70cm HT to call a mountain top repeater station. After a few frantic calls, I got a shack-bound ham operator who knew where we were. He then called 911 from his shack and confirmed we had a helicopter flying in, who would be listening for us on a certain airband frequency we passed along.

Ten years later I wish the radio in my hand that day had been the VXA-700. At the very least it would have saved us a trip back to my truck to talk to the helicopter. Why walk when you can press a band-change button?

Today, my expensive 36 watt mobile airband collects dust in my shack. My trusty Kenwood TH-G71 HT, having been dropped a few too many times over the years, has since become less than trusty and I now use the VXA-700 as my 2m HT.

The desert fly-in trips have ceased, but sometime in the near future I intend to learn to fly an aircraft -- not just fall from them! I expect to take the VXA-700 along for those rides.

 
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