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Author Topic: Which dualbander is best?  (Read 4059 times)

Posts: 10

« on: March 25, 2002, 08:38:35 PM »

Okay gang,
   I'm new to, but seeing how helpful you guys are to everyone, I'll throw this out.  I've got a 2002 Toyota Echo, 4dr, w/AC and the six speaker stereo system, as well as a manual tranny.  Now onto the important part.
   I'm graduating from college in May and will hopefully have some money to play with this summer or next fall.  I've been looking at Yaesu's current crop of 2m/440 mobiles and am not inclined to purchase one due in part to the reviews I've read.  
   I've got a vx-5r (had an ft-50 before that, which I loved) which I like (knock on wood).  Dualband repeat isn't essential, however I would like to be able to receive two frequencies at once, and have the audio come through (ie: audio for both the vhf and uhf sides, useful when I run event ops.).  I was looking at the old Yaesu ft-8100 (potato head mic?) and trying to procure a used one.  Being able to remote the faceplate is a plus, as this car isn't that big, and I don't want to tear the dash apart, or punch holes where they're visible.  Suggestions, ideas?
   I'd like to keep the price under $300, $250 would be better still and approaching $200, well, I can dream.  I'm not going to buy just yet, but I want to get opinions and ideas so I can do research and make an educated decision (and hopefully not have to ship the rig to the shop for service).  I like Yaesu and Kenwood from experience, but I'm pretty willing to consider anything that is normal sized (I'm avoiding the micro rigs, simply because they're small and can be somewhat difficult to use in a car.  I've got not the best eyesight, and like a rig I can use without looking (aside from setting a memory or configuring settings).

Thanks and 73,

Posts: 269

« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2002, 03:41:00 AM »

I've done a bit of research on this subject and if I buy a dual-bander, it'll most likely be a Kenwood TM G707A unit.  I've used a TM V7A as a base rig, and it works very well, but I've heard of some display visibility problems in a vehicle.  None of the major mfgs of VHF/UHF ham mobile rigs seem to have a full range of absolutely awesome units.  Some are great, but others from the same mfg are dogs.  I like Kenwood stuff (public safety land/mobile radios), but I got an Icom 2100H as a 2m rig, as the Kenwood equivalent didn't measure up to the Icom.  The Icom dual-banders don't seem to measure up to the Kenwoods (in a similar price range). Browse the Product Reviews section of this website.  It's very informative.

Posts: 4

« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2002, 09:52:22 PM »

I have a Yaesu FT-8100 and wouldn't recommend it.  Not a good radio in my opinion.  It has been to Yaesu a couple times for repairs, once for the display scrambling and once for the squelch pots going bad.  Also had it loose recieve audio, a day after it came back from Yaesu the first time, which I ended up fixing my self.  It has major intermod problems, even out in the boondocks of Iowa, it is completely unusable in the downtown Cedar Rapids area, and for about 20 miles around the local Channel 2 TV transmitter (I work a mile from there so that really sucks).

Posts: 10

« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2002, 11:15:54 PM »

Hmmm...perhaps I should check the Kenwood G707A out (though the idea of not being able to get replacement faceplates gives me pause).  Of course, the major issues now are saving the money for the rig (whatever I get), picking a rig (if Yaesu came out with a SIMPLE dualbander that allowed dual receive, remote mounting, computer programming, and such, without many bells and whistles, I'd think about it), and finally, installing it in the car without destroying anything.
Come to think of it, has anyone had experience installing in Toyotas?  How difficult are they?  Better still, has anyone installed a rig in an Echo?


Posts: 5

« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2002, 08:17:56 AM »

I have a Kenwood TM-733A that is mounted in a full size pickup.  It has the control head that is removable and I have the head on the dash and the guts under the seat.  It has been a good rig except for a hard PTT switch on the mic, (which has been replaced once already) and the final output module on 2m went bad.  Using low power all the time didn't help it.  It now stays at the full 50W output.  The display has some pretty small print, but the memories are very good and it does have dual receive and can crossband.  You will have to find one used as they don't make them anymore, and also, CTCSS Decode is an option.  Good luck and vy 73.

Posts: 1045


« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2002, 12:49:00 PM »

I think you are smart to get a mobile, rather than an HT.  A dual-band HT is something you will want to get as a spare and for walk & talk later, but a mobile rig is much more useful.

I'm not that familiar with the current selection of new dual-band rigs, but I can tell you that I have owned and sold a variety of Kenwoods which suffered from various problems.  I went through several 2 meter single band Kenwoods, a TM241 and a TM251 which both had frustrating intermittent displays and finals which went "soft" before their time, and went through two 2-meter modules on a very expensive Kenwood TM742 tribander before I got frustrated and sold it.  

The only Kenwood mobiles I kept were a pair of TM255A all-modes, which are excellent rigs.  Two dual-band mobiles I have in my vehicles now are both older Yaesu FT5100s, which have given good service. I replaced the fan control thermistors in both, because the rigs otherwise run "hot," but they are otherwise simple and reliable rigs.

If you do need Kenwood or ICOM repairs, I can highly recommend Cliff at

It's a toss-up whether you get a new rig with warranty, or an older rig from somebody you know and trust, which has been checked out or has a known history.  I have done well buying used gear, but many people are reluctant to do so.  I've found that some of the recently discontinued rigs which have been in production a while, but which have an established track record or usually better buys than the lastest thing that comes out, and you have fewer problems.

For a single-band 2-meter, I think the Kenwood TM255A all-mode is the best 2m mobile that they ever made.  I have two and have bought others for our RACES cache and I pick up used ones whene ever I can find one reasonable.  Expect to pay about $500 for one in 9 to 9+ condition, really clean, and about $350 for one which has been scratched, dented and beat up externally and run hard mobile, but is still 100% functional.  For a dual-band I would look hard for a used FT5100 for around $225-250 and expect to have it checked out, the Li backup battery replaced and the fan control thermistor changed to a cooler one, which will run about another $100 unless you do the bench work yourself.  They are both very good rigs.  My 2 cents.

73 de KE4SKY, Virginia RACES Training Officer

Posts: 440


« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2002, 05:51:27 PM »

If I had the choice of which duel band to get I would get a  ICOM IC207H 50 watts on 2m and 35watts on 440MhZ.  The radio looks nice and is about $300 new which is not bad for a new duelbander.  

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