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Author Topic: What are the 3 best handhelds for the $ in 2017  (Read 16991 times)
WR1R
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2017, 09:02:51 AM »

Hi Randy and thanks for that awesome response. Yes you’re right the application is the biggest thing and I find it amusing what you said about if your local repeaters are overloaded it’s actually the opposite up here in New England it’s like a wasteland you monitor VHFUHF and it’s dead once in a while I’ll have somebody bring up the repeator and converse with them but it’s far and few between. I also think you’re right about the digital radio mode there’s not many notes in our area and theres only a few  guys I’ve heard we’re actually using them right now. I’m sure will be the wave of the future but I think you’re right I don’t think it’s here yet and just yesterday for 75 bucks I picked up a Kenwood to 261 A  with the original keypad microphone and I was pretty happy about that. So yes you’re correct I still want to get an HT and really not sure which direction to go in but at least I have a lot of options how to get something before Christmas. Hopefully others will weigh in as much as you haven’t help me out in my quest for the best radio the best bang for the buck thanks again Randy for weighing in appreciate your input 73 Frank
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NEVBEN
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2017, 10:37:48 AM »

If were sticking to ham stuff then the VX-6R is on top of the list, I have 2 of them and no problems whatsoever.

If you widen it up to commercial offerings then first place goes to the MOTOROLA XTS5K with FPP, 2nd is a tie for the HAMFLASHED GE M-PA and the VX-6R then the Moto Saber.

Sorry JJL, I still prefer the Hamflashed M-PA to the Saber but only by a small margin and since I picked up 2 more FPP XTS5'K FOR $350  each, the xts5k is still my top choice.


What do you find are the advantages of the commercial offerings?  What makes you rate them higher than any of the radios marketed to amateurs?  I'm interested because I might be able to use them.  I'm presently using the Kenwood TH-K20A model and just added another one to my inventory.  I would be willing to spend more for HT's, but I do not want dual-band, tri-band, amateur digital modes, GPS, APRS etc.  I also don't need trunking, commercial digital modes, or NFM.

I only use the 2m amateur band, primarily a couple simplex frequencies and a couple repeaters.  I want a durable radio with good audio, long battery life, that is simple to use.  I'm reluctant to buy older commercial gear that might have good selectvity, but higher current draw on receive that make up for it with giant battery bricks.
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K4JJL
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« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2017, 05:52:27 AM »

What do you find are the advantages of the commercial offerings?  What makes you rate them higher than any of the radios marketed to amateurs? 

Durability is the main reason.  You can drive over a GE MPA, and it still works just fine thanks to the really heavy die cast case.  Also, ease of use in the field.  Any programming has to be done at home with a PC (although GE engineers released firmware to flash the MPA to make it totally field programmable) so it's impossible to muck up in the field.

Selectivity in ham specific radios went out the door when they made it receive DC to daylight.

Batteries are kinda big, but they've gotten better with the advent of the lithium varieties.  I can usually get a day's use out of a new one no matter the chemistry.
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WR1R
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« Reply #33 on: December 07, 2017, 03:00:38 AM »

Well thanks everyone who weighted in here I made a choice and I think I got a pretty good deal .https://www.ebay.com/itm/ICOM-ID-51A-Plus-2-Green-Leaf-Dual-Band-Hand-Held-Radio-and-MEGA-Bundle-/382291984250?nma=true&si=iqrBgSWLfnEVUSsiwTelm9CWe5Y%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
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WR1R
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« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2017, 11:06:04 AM »

Very happy with the HT that I went with and wondering if any of you have this rig or a D Star radio and whstbyou think about them ? 73 Frank
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KC2MMI
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« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2018, 07:33:43 PM »

The commercial radios are great quality but often not readily front-panel programmable, and require programming $oftware and cable$. Not as user-friendly as ham equipment no matter how you slice it.

The ARRL asked passerby for their handhelds to perform some conformance testing at the last Hamvention. Guess what, all the cheap Chinese radios failed. The Big Three were all still in compliance. And as the reviews all agree, those Chinese radios are a great bargain--but they fall short of the intermod rejection (more of a concern to city dwellers) and other performance points that the Big Three have. You can find specific lab ratings for most of this in QST, and any member can search the past archives online.

Some of the new radios have great big color displays, great for older eyes. Some offer great battery life and optional AA packs. Some do digital modes that many hams will have no interest in. Or, great interest in.

The only real way to pick "one of each" is to compare the features side by side and if still in doubt...take a road trip to a radio store.
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WR1R
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« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2018, 02:56:08 AM »

Very true and I went with the I Com 51D dual bander D Star and the I Com 5100 Mobile dualbander D star thanks for the info and 73 Frank
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N1GMV
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Posts: 175




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« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2018, 06:12:34 AM »

I have a TYT MD-2017 and in spite of a few quirks provides a higher "Fun Factor" than any other HT I have owned.
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N1AUP
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Posts: 106




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« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2018, 09:14:00 AM »

I second the Yaesu FT-60.  I'm very happy with mine, and the receiver is very good.  I can pick up Boston PD from 55 miles away.  Have not yet taken it through the Intermod Alley in Needham MA.  Will be doing this on Friday, so I'll report in.

I'm not a fan of Baofeng.  I know that designing and building radios costs money, and if they're only charging $30 for a radio, they're cutting corners in a lot of places.  I know everyone owns them because they're cheap, but I decided to pay the extra money, and get something solid.  Thus the FT.

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WR1R
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« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2018, 09:40:42 AM »

Hey I hear what you’re saying especially about the baofeng but I have one of those and as you can see in my above post I want with ICOM for the dual band a handheld 50 1Dstarbwith built-in GPS and the icon 5100 dual band with the Dstar and built in GPS but I do have the baofeng just for fun WR1R 73
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K6NIK
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« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2018, 10:55:27 PM »

I think the F60R has been sufficiently praised but I will add another vote for it. I have used one for a bit and really like its versatility, and the availability of AA battery case that allows full power Tx.

Lately, the other one I came to use quite a bit and I didn't see it mentioned, since I have had less and less use for UHF,  I bought a Kenwood TH-K20A VHF HT and it is superb. With the same antennas, no surprise since it's a monobander,  the K20A pulls in VHF signal far better than the F60R and the UI is more straightforward. Plus, Kenwood's body allows a much better seal with a Diamond SMA to BNC adator whereas the Yaesu needs Orings to close a gap. with the BNC adaptor I found myself with a small collection of Smiley antennas that range from "short and much better than stock duck" to "oh my that's long and can reach out and touch someone".

You don't get the airband or UHF with the K20A so there is that, what one gets in return, it's much thinner and less "bricky". I wanted a new HT that is a simple, compact 2M and it fits the bill well.

There much more feature packed HTs  out there but for the money I felt like the above two are safe bets.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 10:59:06 PM by K6NIK » Logged
KC2QYM
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« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2018, 06:36:14 AM »

Go cheap and throw away....Baofengs are fine.  Get the programming cable for your radio so you can program from your computer.  I have a UV5r+ and they receive fine and sound good on transmit.  There's hardly a reason to spend more than 50 or 60 dollars on a handheld anymore.
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WR1R
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« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2018, 09:11:50 AM »

 I agree that They are cheap and disposable however trying to compare a baofeng  I get my ICOM  51D Star with built-in GPS a tonof features they are  no way near the same as a baofeng  Frank WR1R
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AC7CW
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« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2018, 09:36:55 AM »

I have a Wouxun KG-UVD1P handheld. I try to listen to the newest satellite but I hear a repeater loud and clear via IMD. At this point the low price is not a good deal. Also it seems to go haywire only when it's really needed for something. The only time it completely lost it's programming was while I was using it for some event comms, the only time...
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Novice 1958, 20WPM Extra now... (and get off my lawn)
N1AUP
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« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2018, 09:23:51 AM »

Another thing to think about.

We buy our radios with some expectation that they're going to be used when the SHTF in an emergency situation.  If the Baofeng dies when you're rag chewing, you can order another radio, and throw out the old one.  When the SHTF, there might not be any UPS shipping, credit cards, Internet or anything else that is necessary to get another radio.  I'd rather buy something that has some quality built in, instead of something that was designed to meet an inexpensive price point. 
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