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Author Topic: Help Me Choose My First Radios  (Read 440 times)
FRATRA
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Posts: 26




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« on: February 28, 2007, 07:42:41 AM »

Any suggestion on radios? I want to go with two dual bands. I'm thinking about starting with a handheld maybe a Yaesu FT-60R and a mobile possibly used as a base initially also, considering a Yaseu FT-8800R for this.

A friend likes Icom and directed towards a Icom IC-2720H but have read a lot of bad reviews about it on this forum.
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2007, 07:50:05 AM »

...two dual bands...

Do you mean a dual band radio?  Or, do you mean two dual-band radios?  Or, do you mean a quad-band radio (two dual bands)?

Assuming a simple dual-band radio, I use the Yaesu FT-7800R and I like it.   It is simple, not too expensive, and does not have a lot features I never use.  Some might say that transmit and receive are features I never use because I am hardly ever on VHF/UHF but I do like this radio.
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N3BIF
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2007, 08:04:11 AM »

 I think he wants a dual band portable and a dual band mobile. Thats my take anyhow
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2007, 08:11:03 AM »

OK, in that case (which makes sense), I also have the Yaesu FT-6R which I like but hardly ever use.

Now, what would really be nice is a radio the size of the FT-6R that covers all mode HF at 100 watts.  It would be a great radio, Yaesu could also sell little red wagons so that you can pull your battery pack around.
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FRATRA
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Posts: 26




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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2007, 08:12:54 AM »

Sorry if I worded my question poorly, it sounded good in my head.

Yes two separate radios. I am considering a Yeasu handheld FT-60R, and a Yeasu mobile FT-8800R. Was wondering if there was better choices out there.
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KZ1X
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Posts: 3227




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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2007, 08:18:30 AM »

Can I ask why you'd choose VHF/UHF FM radios as a first radio?

Really; I'm just curious.  Now that there's no Morse test for HF access ... why would somebody do this?
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1125




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« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2007, 08:19:12 AM »

You worded your question just fine -- my reading was done poorly.  However, although I do not own either radio, I think that they are good choices.  I am sort of an Icom fan.  I have two HF Icom Xcvrs, and an Icom amplifier but my first choice for VHF/UHF would be Yaesu.  I have owned two Icom VHF rigs (bought new) and sold them both within a few months because using them and programming them was way too much of a hassle.  Someone recommended Yaesu as an improvement and I have been happy with the choices.  Of course, like I said, I don't spend a lot of time on VHF ("not that there is anything wrong with that", Seinfeld) so I am not an expert on operations and features.
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N4LI
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Posts: 397




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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2007, 08:39:59 AM »

I am sure the 8800 is a very fine radio.  I have the 8900 -- three of them, actually -- and really, really like it/them.

This brings up my point.  For about $50 more, you can go from the dual-bander 8800 to the quad-band 8900.  A heck of a lot more bang for your buck.  

Some may chime in and say those bands -- 6m and 10m -- won't be useful on FM.  I would heartily disagree.  In the Summer when sporadic-E is up, I get a lot of mileage out of the 6m FM section.  Sure, most 6m activity is SSB, but, in good openings, there is quite a bit of FM work.  And, since I specifically decided not to have SSB in the car -- too much distraction -- the 8900 was great.  There is also some sporadic use of our local 6m repeater on 53.01(-).  The 8900 also works on 10m FM, too (though this requires a General Class ticket).  10m is great in sporadic-E and via F2 when the solar cycle is up.

$50?  No-brainer, to me.

Peter, N4LI
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N0RZT
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Posts: 105




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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2007, 10:02:50 AM »

If you plan to work repeaters, and especially if you take road trips, I suggest you make sure your radio has automatic repeater offset.  I'm sure the Yaesu radios do, but ask the question.

I've used a Yaesu HT, a Kenwood HT, an Alinco HT, and an Alinco mobile.  By default, when you entered a frequency in the repeater subband, the Yaesu and Kenwood radios would automatically set the trasmit offset by +/- 600kHz/5MHz as appropriate.  You could change or disable the offset for a particular entry, and you could even change or disable the default offset - but the default was to assume you were entering the frequency for a repeater.

Both Alinco radios - while they knew the standard offset for each band, when you entered a frequency the default was to treat it as a simplex frequency.  You specifically have to tell it to offset the transmit frequency, and whether it's up or down.  It requires fewer key presses to determine whether you can hear someone on the repeater input frequency (1 keypress) than it does to set the repeater offset (3-5 keypresses)!  For routine around-the-city work, it's fine - you're only going to enter each repeater into memory once, and if you're the kind of person to QSY to a simplex frequency once you're close enough to the other station then you want to be able to quickly switch between the repeater's input & output frequencies so you can determine when to QSY.  But when I hit the road, I'll either enter repeater frequencies on-the-fly or sit down for about a half-hour to enter them all at once into memory - in either case, the extra steps are annoying (and for this exact reason, I wouldn't have bought that Alinco mobile if I didn't get such a good deal on it).


Take care,
Chris
N0RZT/8
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KD5ZOV
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Posts: 21




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« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2007, 11:59:49 AM »

Im going to make this easy for you, I was faced with this same dilema about 5 years ago, and I picked the FT 706mk IIG, you can not beat it in the mobile all bands and in the shack all bands done.
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K7NG
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2007, 12:08:36 PM »

If you are going to stay on VHF / UHF as your primary Ham Radio activity, at risk of being flamed for the following, I suggest:
Spend your money on a mobile radio and a similar or identical one for home station use.  HT's are great but they can prove frustrating because they don't always get into the repeater of choice the way you want to.  I have made this suggestion before to people I have Elmer'ed or at least VE'd and I think I have been agreed with more often than not.  Find a used HT somewhere that meets most of your requirements and see how well it works for you before you put a significant amount into one - HT's with a given set of capabilities don't cost much differently than mobile radios with the same features.
...OK, people, flame away!
But other than that...
I would make sure that any dual-band radio you choose is DUAL-RECEIVE...Some are dual-BAND but only receive on one band at a time.  
I like to use my ham gear for scanning public-safety services when I am on a trip.  If you plan to do the same thing, you should consider how fast your radio will scan.  Many ham transceivers don't scan very fast.

Those are my only inputs - I will leave any other suggestions to those who use VHF/UHF more than I do.
73 from K7NG
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9879




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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2007, 12:23:46 PM »

ft 857d,  $689 at HRO, and use a slide mount for car or home. all bands all modes, 440 mhz to 160 meters
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K7PEH
Member

Posts: 1125




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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2007, 01:03:13 PM »

"ft 857d, $689 at HRO, and use a slide mount for car or home. all bands all modes, 440 mhz to 160 meters"

After you pick up your 857D at HRO, walk to the nearest variety store and grab yourself a nice magnefying glass, you might need it.

I looked at both the 857D and the Icom 706 Mk IIG and I just couldn't see the screen or twiddle with the knobs very easily.  Not that Icom is that much better in the size department but it is a little bigger.


 
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KV6O
Member

Posts: 90




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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2007, 03:21:59 PM »

Not to mention that the 706 and 857 are not dual band radios!

My first mobile was a Kenwood D700 - APRS is built in and FUN!

I have 2 dual band HT's - a TH-F6A and a D7 - the HT version of the D700. I have run APRS on my mountain bike with it!  Oh boy, that really IS geeky....

KV6O
Steve
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KA5ZCB
Member

Posts: 16




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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2007, 04:49:36 PM »

Hmmm you say  "First Radios"...
I've had a Dual-band HT (IC-32AT) since '91...
a GREAT radio... but there just isn't THAT much
activity (for me) on 440...  there are plenty of
area repeaters (DFW).. but the  2m is still
where I end up talking/listening...

So, I recently decided to crawl into the 21st Century
(or is this the 22nd?)... and have ordered a
Yaesu VX-170.  Nice features, rugged, good Battery-life.

I wouldn't get  TWO  Dual-Band radios (HT & Mobile)
to start...  I'd get used-to operating habits and
how the radio is used...   then, again, you may
already know what activity you will use...  

good luck.
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