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Author Topic: What's a good dual/tri-band handheld?  (Read 1524 times)
WK5H
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Posts: 111




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« on: June 06, 2005, 12:39:53 PM »

I've been out of the loop on radios for a while, but, am getting back into it.

I sold my only radio years ago, and decided to get back to a handheld for now, with visions of a mobile later this year.

I've narrowed my choices to 4 radios, and wanted to get some input on each from people who own em and love em or hate em.

Yaesu VX-5R
Yaesu VX-7R
Icom IC-T90
Kenwood TH-F6

The only reason I like the VX-7R is it has more rx than the VX-5R, but, I would live with the VX-5R if I can't find a good used VX-7R.

I like the looks of the IC-T90, and it seems to have the most rx coverage.

I REALLY like the looks of the TH-F6 with it's split band view.  It boasts that it has 5w across all bands, but, I think the others do too (just one of the things Kenwood boasts about).

Thanks in advance for all the feedback!
KC5DEB
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KG4NZR
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2005, 05:39:27 PM »

The Yaesu handhelds have 6-meters but do not have a full 5-watts on 1.25 meters like the Kenwood TH-F6A. The Kenwood has 2, 1.25, and 70-cm. I have owned the Kenwood for about three years and love it. If you go that route, I recommend immediately replacing the stock "dummy load" antenna with an after-market antenna. Comet and Maldol both market antennas that will work. I selected the Maldol for its higher gain on 70cm despite its 14-inch length.

73 Bill KG4NZR
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WB0GAZ
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Posts: 30




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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2005, 11:55:08 AM »

I identified 3 core bands as 2/220/440, and want wideband ssb/cw/am/fm so this drove me to thf6 and miracle ducker IL as accessory for hf receive. ergonomics on the thf6 been very satisfactory for me.

73 Dave WB0GAZ wb0gaz@hotmail.com
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KG4YJR
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2005, 06:50:29 PM »

VX-7R here. I have an extra one put away in case they ever quit making them.

73
Dave
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KB1LKR
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Posts: 1899




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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2005, 07:07:18 PM »

If you're looking at VX-5's and -7's don't overlook the new VX-6r 144/440 at 5W plus 222 MHz 1.5W max and about $80 less but otherwise similar to the VX-7 (which is only 0.3 W max on 222 IIRC, though it and the -5 have 6m capacity, though 6m is tough w/ the small antennas on an HT).

I'm partial to Yaesu's FT-60r but it's only 2m/70cm and doesn't cover below 108 MHz (if that's important to you). I personally would take 1.25m over 6m in an HT in a hheartbeat (even at 1.5W).

I can't speak from first hand experence on Kenwood or Icom's HT's.

Of course what works for *you* hinges on what's in your area for repeaters on 1.25m vs on 6m FM
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N0XMZ
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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2005, 01:53:46 PM »

I highly recommend the Icom IC-T7H. It doesn't cost a fortune, has 2m & 400 (one of the rare HTs that UHF will actually TX from 430-450), and out-of-band RX (incl. AM on the air bands). I've had mine for about 2 years. I can't count the # of times I've dropped it and it keeps on working like nothing happened. If you get one, make sure you get the optional AA battery pack. I use NiMH batteries in mine since the NiCad pack that came with the radio is practically worthless. This radio also will do up to 6 watts with 13.8 VDC. I've worked AO-51 with it while waiting at a bus stop with the stock rubber duck.
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K7IHC
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2005, 12:20:37 AM »

For an affordable, no-nonsense, top-quality dual-bander, check out the Kenwood TH-G71A.  I've had one (purchased used on eBay) for three years, with only a broken encoder knob and antenna connector from a drop off an ATV.  The parts were easily obtained (via Pacific Coast Parts/East Coast Transistor) and replaced.
Browse the G71A reviews here on eHam...
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KB9YUR
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Posts: 229




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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2005, 03:20:49 AM »

I highly recommend the Yaesu FT-60. It's dual-band and wide range receive.
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2005, 12:29:32 PM »

I agree with Dave, WB0GAZ.  The Kenwood TH-F6A makes the most sense.  

6m isn't terribly useful for an FM only HT.  95%+ of the activity is SSB.  Also, most HT antennas are terribly inefficient at 6m.  In other words, you won't get much use from that band.

222MHz has some of the widest area repeaters in a lot of parts of the country.  It's true here in Ohio and it was true where I lived in North Carolina before this.  I wouldn't personally consider a dual-bander when the price difference for the extra band is so minimal.  A Yaesu VX-6R, for example, has a street price of $214 if you shop around.  That's $71.33 per band, which is pretty impossible to beat.

I personally think the extra $70 for the Kenwood TH-F6A is worth it.  The TH-F6A puts out a full 5W on 222 vs. 1.5W from the VX-6R and the transmit audio of the Kenwood rigs is much nicer.  They just plain sound better on the air.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
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WK5H
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Posts: 111




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« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2005, 09:10:27 PM »

Thanks for all your advice, and every bit of it is appreciated.  I stumbled into a deal I couldn't pass up, right here on eham.net's classifieds.  I bought a Yaesu FT-50R in great condition.  It's really all I need, and I think I'll take the rest of the money I was anticipating on spending on a handheld, and spend it on a mobile for my truck.  Now, just got to find a rubber duckie antenna to get out a little further!
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