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Author Topic: Which handheld  (Read 674 times)
K9DUO
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« on: October 11, 2009, 07:43:35 PM »

Im looking to make an immediate handheld purchase.  I want a dual band radio.  Ive narrowed by search down to the Yaesu FT60R, Kenwood THF6A, and the Icoms IC91, IC91AD, and IC92D.  I really dont care about the DSTAR feature, but I do like the looks of the Icom radios.  Reading the reviews on the IC91AD, many say it gets very hot durng transmit. However they all have fairly good reviews.   So any input on your experiences with these radios would be appreciated.
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K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2009, 05:12:26 AM »

Handhelds are great for supplemental use, but make lousy first and/or only radio.

Every one of the units you listed is a decent handheld. About the only real difference is the way they're programmed. This is one of the reasons you should make the choice, rather than ask someone else; we all have different tastes, don't we? It's also the reason you should never rely on product reviews.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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KB1LKR
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2009, 03:05:11 PM »

How/where/for what do you plan to use it?

If you're looking for rugged (and only a modest number of bells and whistles -- no barometers/altimiters, GPS/APRS interfaces, no AM/FM broadcast or SW broadcast coverage, no D-Star, etc.) a clean simple display and a *commercial* quality belt clip, the Yaesu FT-60r is tough to beat and modestly priced. It is weather/water resistant, but it is not submersible/dunk-able, if that is important than you may want to look at others.

It also has an available 6 AA cell holder which can be populated w/ ordinary AA sized Ni-MH cells -- currently available in the 2300-2700 mA-hr range, assuming you have a charger for them and desire greater capacity than the supplied Ni-MH battery. In a bind, alkaline AA's can also be used.

Try to look at/test drive various HT's in person if you can though.
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KG6WLS
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2009, 09:19:55 AM »

All these HT's you mentioned are FB. I'd stay clear of the IC91AD if you have no use for D Star, or don't have a D Star system in your area for that matter. Yes, it does get toasty during long periods of TX use.

You've posted here in the Mobile Forum so it's safe to assume that you're looking to use an HT while mobile? Performance will be hindered greatly using any of these rigs "out of the box" that you mentioned, unless you're planning on drilling a hole and installing a Larsen NMO 2/70 to the mobile. Even going that route you would still have to purchase an adapter to the HT and you will only be limited to 5 watts!

If it were me, I'd spend the same amount of money for a dual band moblie and a Larsen NMO 2/70. Far too many new hams in my area got an HT for their first rig and were suddenly disatisfied.

73
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N7MSD
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 03:07:06 AM »

I have to disagree with most of the guys here: if you know what to expect, there's nothing wrong with having an HT as your main rig.  In my experience of running almost entirely with them, problems only crop up with A. desensed repeaters (almost always VHF), B. needing a bigger antenna to get that 5 watts out (remember radio rule #1: a better antenna will ALWAYS give the best performance boost compared to, say, amps), and C. absolutely no intermod rejection and easy desensing; this latter can be fixed with a bandpass filter like DCI's, and most mobile ricebox radios need them as well in my experience.  It's true that in some situations you just need that extra punch of transmitter power, but in my experience 99% of the time a full-size gain antenna is all you need.

One more thing: if you have the money and you don't care about D-STAR, why not go triband?  Your call says you're in Norfolk, so I'm sure there's some 6m or 23cm stuff there on FM, so that opens up a few more radios like the Alinco DJ-G7 (don't have it, just considering it).

One more thing: if you haven't had one before, be aware that dual-banders that can receive 2 frequencies at the same time tend to have problems when both are in the same band (assuming the radio even supports it), so having multi-band reception may not always be a panacea.  This is especially annoying when scanning: for example, on my IC-91AD, having both A and B "bands" hit on the same band will cause anything from pops while listening to a QSO on one while the other scans away, to opening up the squelch on both and stopping the scans cold as it drives you nuts with noise.  With an older radio, I didn't have to worry about it: I just put VHF in one and UHF in the other.  But the IC-91 (and maybe the IC-92 as well) can only do narrowband-FM and D-STAR in "band" B, which means some overlap must occur if I have anything in A.  OTOH, if you won't be using either, this obviously won't apply to you.

Mike
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K0BG
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 07:31:14 AM »

Well, Mike, you might be right, however...

The gentleman is question is a Tech, and I'd hope he has the desire to upgrade sooner or later, as you did last year. One of the quickest ways to squelch desire (excuse the pun), is to limit yourself by buying a handheld as an only radio. Why you might ask?

In far too many parts of the country, FM is a vast wasteland, and very limited in scope, in many different ways. Too many self-centered, repeater creeps is the main one. If you aren't part of the in crowd, you're out! Not right by any means, but that's the way it is all too often.

Another biggie is location. Us westerners are spoiled because we're used to repeaters with towering HAAT, and that's not the way it is in most of the rest of the country. For example, using a 5 watt handheld in down town New York, isn't very rewarding.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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N7MSD
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 02:24:36 PM »

I stand partially corrected.

I totally agree with your third paragraph (FM being a wasteland, snobby repeater owners, etc).  I still am amazed at the Southern California listings in the ARRL repeater directory: it seems nearly the whole 6m and 2m bands are "cordoned off" in L.A.  And in more rural areas, it's definitely not what you know, but who you know--not just in radio but in everything.  I personally know someone who has a huge network of repeaters but only a few people are allowed to use them; I know another group of guys who hardly ever use their repeater, but, boy, do they sure get upset if you key it up! (I realize this is off-topic, but it had to be said.)

I'm surprised a HT in the middle of a city isn't that rewarding considering most repeaters would be relatively close to you (I'd think).  OTOH, while repeaters here in the west have that HAAT as you said, there's also issues in trying to get around those mountains and hills between you and it--sometimes so damn many!  And that's when I'd say you need the extra power, though if I were doing base I'd throw up a beam instead (or in addition).

Finally, I'm trying to come up with a short response to your "squelching of desire", as you put it, but can't, and I've been long winded enough here.  Suffice it to say, the reason that I only do ham radio on occasion has less to do with carrying around a HT and more with the fact that most existing technology available to a ham is just so underwhelming.  I realize lots of guys like to chat, but for me it's always been the first reason amateur radio exists: experimentation.  The trouble is that I just don't have the time or resources to do it like I did when I was a kid.  Maybe I'll fix that one day, but for now most of my time goes into playing with internet-related stuff where most of the OTA is either wi-fi or WiMax.

Mike
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K9DUO
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 01:26:58 AM »

Thanks to all that replied.  This will not be my primary radio.  I have radios in each vehicle and will soon have one in the house.  
I ended up with the Icom IC91A.  Seems to be a pretty decent radio from what Ive seen so far.
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KG6WLS
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« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 01:10:12 PM »

"I ended up with the Icom IC91A. Seems to be a pretty decent radio from what Ive seen so far."

It's too bad that Icom has not come out with IC91MITT...also known as the oven mitt. The rig does get hot during long TX usage. I'd recommend that you get a headset w/ boom mic. I did the same with mine for that very reason.

Enjoy it!!

73
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