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Author Topic: Best $200 radios?  (Read 4518 times)
KI7LLD
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« on: March 14, 2017, 08:30:27 PM »

Currently have only played with a Baofeng UV-82. Taught me a lot and got to listen in while I was studying for my test but sadly that $20 radios speaker went out two weeks before I got my license.

So....
Looking to spend about $200 on a hand held (to use while driving)  and prob about that amount on a home base system (mobile system in the house?). What is the best bang for my buck?
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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 09:21:29 PM »


Just to narrow the field, remove any chinese radio from consideration.  While a case can be made they're "good for the money" you get what you pay for.   

The Yaesu FT-60 would get my vote for a workhorse HT.

For $200 you're not going to find a decent dual band mobile, but bump that to $300 and the field opens considerably.  You could go for multiple bands like the Yaesu 8900, or pick a flavor of digital mode and go down that road.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
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KE0MGO
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2017, 11:02:49 PM »

I too have a couple of Boafeng HTs and they do serve there purpose. I, like you just got my ticket, and wanted something a bit better then the Boafengs (they still work). Yaesu is having a rebate program right now so I picked up a FT-7900R dual band. I believe the price is $269 with a $20 mail in rebate. A bit more than the Chinese equivalent but I felt it was worth the cash. I don't mind $25 to $50 for a throw away radio but once you get to the $200 or so mark I feel it is better to go with a known product and reputation. Just my two cents from a new Ham hope its helpful.
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SWMAN
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« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 04:00:29 AM »

I second the vote got the FT-60r. I have had one for 5 years and really like it. Bought mine at Texas Towers. HRO has them now for 149 bucks.
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KI7LLD
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 12:48:15 PM »

The FT-60r looks pretty good and a decent price. Marked it down as something to research. Is there features to look for that make life easier or something of that nature? Might look in the $250-$300 range. Little Extra cash won't hurt.
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KD5BVX
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2017, 02:07:38 PM »

I've heard good things about the Kenwood TH-F6a radio - and it's rated pretty good in the reviews section on here - so it might be one to take a look at.  I see that Gigaparts has it for $299 so it's top of your price range but, again, I've heard many rave about it. 

Another option is the Yaesu VX-6R - it's about $240 or so and also has many good reviews on here. 

Yaesu also has a new FT-65R dual bander out that is sub-$200.  It's new, though, so not many reviews out about it yet. 

Just throwing out some ideas and options in that price range in addition to the others mentioned. 
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Mark
W1XWX
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2017, 03:31:33 PM »

Let me be the contrarian-- A TYT TH9800 mobile-- about $200 with cross band repeat. We set one up as a cross band to our 2 meter repeater from a distant site in the county. Been running 27/ 7 for over a year with zero issues. 73
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KI7LLD
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2017, 06:00:24 PM »

Let me be the contrarian-- A TYT TH9800 mobile-- about $200 with cross band repeat. We set one up as a cross band to our 2 meter repeater from a distant site in the county. Been running 27/ 7 for over a year with zero issues. 73

How is TYT on the scale of Junk - Great? Not really a brand I see much about.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2017, 08:19:46 PM »


KE0MGO makes the same point I have, when it's a $35 HT and it's a POS, it's just a throwaway radio anyway.  When you're looking at spending a couple-three hundred, why choose chinese junk when for a little more you can get one that has all the features, no/few quirks and a reputable manufacturer to back it up?

The chinese radios are *not* clones.  They're not functionally equivalent.  Operate one for half an hour and the difference is immediately obvious.  I don't mind putting up with the shortcomings of the $35 HT's but see little point in buying poor knockoff mobiles for almost as much money as name brand stuff.

Yes, I've tried both.  You couldn't give me a TYT anything.  Maybe someday the chinese radios will be "just as good" but it isn't today.  Problem is people buy this crap and not having anything else to compare it to think it's great.  Kinda like the guy running hamsticks that can work everything he hears.  But you can't work what you can't hear, and you don't know what you're missing until you've had a radio that does it.   Some differences are blatant, some subtle, some latent.  And you put up with it to save $60 or whatever over the cost of a mature and featured design.   The sale price is higher but the dollar/value ratio is way better with the legacy brands.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
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KD5BVX
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2017, 08:34:47 PM »


Problem is people buy this crap and not having anything else to compare it to think it's great. 

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 

This sentence is spot on.  I've seen/heard this from quite a few - they've never had anything better but will argue that their $35 ht is as good (or better...yep, heard that, too) than one from the "big three (or four)".

I will say that I do own an MD-380 (not as my main ht but as another one to rx some DMR stuff) and it has killer receive (ana and DMR) and great audio in and out, but I would never say all of the Tyt radios are great or that the often-called "clones" are as good as the ones they copied. 

I do find Mark's sentence I copied above to be true many times, though. 
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Mark
VE6ND
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2017, 04:27:29 PM »

Hey Bill,

If portable is your thing then I don't have an answer, however, this little nugget showed up in my mailbox two weeks ago. The QYT KT7900D, it is quad band however it is not recommended to use the 350-390 Mhz portion as this is actually for DOD, Navy and government. It covers 2 meters, 220 and 440 @ 20 watts.
The radio has been on continuously for 10 days with the exception of one day for show and tell. Does it work? Darn right it does, and it is a SDR radio but is very clean in spurious response, has a tight front end and tested it by driving around downtown Calgary for intermod.

Glenn, VE6ND
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DU7DVE
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2017, 03:30:37 PM »

Hey Bill,

If portable is your thing then I don't have an answer, however, this little nugget showed up in my mailbox two weeks ago. The QYT KT7900D, it is quad band however it is not recommended to use the 350-390 Mhz portion as this is actually for DOD, Navy and government. It covers 2 meters, 220 and 440 @ 20 watts.
The radio has been on continuously for 10 days with the exception of one day for show and tell. Does it work? Darn right it does, and it is a SDR radio but is very clean in spurious response, has a tight front end and tested it by driving around downtown Calgary for intermod.

Glenn, VE6ND

Sure, they work. Biggest problem I have with these radios is the clunkiness of the operating system. It is pretty tedious to program them on the fly. Lots of quirks too. If you look on one facebook group for these radios, you'll find a lot of people having this or that issue. I used to recommend these to new hams in our area but I just got fed up when they came back to me with one problem or another.
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K4JJL
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 10:48:56 AM »

Hey Bill,

If portable is your thing then I don't have an answer, however, this little nugget showed up in my mailbox two weeks ago. The QYT KT7900D, it is quad band however it is not recommended to use the 350-390 Mhz portion as this is actually for DOD, Navy and government. It covers 2 meters, 220 and 440 @ 20 watts.
The radio has been on continuously for 10 days with the exception of one day for show and tell. Does it work? Darn right it does, and it is a SDR radio but is very clean in spurious response, has a tight front end and tested it by driving around downtown Calgary for intermod.

Glenn, VE6ND



Most reviews say that 220 MHz RX is super-deaf.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 11:13:05 AM »

i have five Chinese HTs and two Chinese mobile radios.  Not a bit of trouble with any of them.  On the other hand, an iCOM HT lost it's finals (not abused in any way), a Kenwood base HF radio developed relay problems (a common problem I was told) and a Motorola UHF radio let out the magic smoke.
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DU7DVE
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 04:26:30 PM »

i have five Chinese HTs and two Chinese mobile radios.  Not a bit of trouble with any of them.  On the other hand, an iCOM HT lost it's finals (not abused in any way), a Kenwood base HF radio developed relay problems (a common problem I was told) and a Motorola UHF radio let out the magic smoke.

Right but your experience still doesn't change the number of people who've had problems with those. Wink

Where I am, probably 100% of new hams start with the chinese radios. We've found a lot of problems maybe 20%.

One of our members is a dealer. He decided to have his own rebrands as he was continuously having to deal with problems with radios not bought from him. Any problems with the rebrands, he is willing to deal with since it came from his stock.

But yeah, go ahead and enjoy your radios. I'm just not recommending any more of those.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 04:36:45 PM by DU7DVE » Logged
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