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Author Topic: Can HT do mobile?  (Read 9439 times)

Posts: 3

« on: October 01, 2010, 08:41:31 PM »


I'm a fairly new HAM whose acquired a new Icom dual-band HT. While it's nice to listen to around the house, I'd like to enjoy it while mobile - if it's feasable. I'm thinking perhaps an external speaker/mike, a cigarette lighter adapter for power, and a mobile dual-band antenna may do the trick. I do realize that Xmit power and receive audio will be sub-par for a mobile rig, but would this be worth my time? Should I just wait until I can spring for a 'true' mobile rig before going any further? Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Bill, KF5INA

Thanks to all who have responded! I ended-up with a Diamond MR77S dual-band mobile antenna to use with the HT. I will enjoy this mode until enough HAMs tell me to turn-up my mic gain, and grow tired of connecting & disconnecting everything. For the most part, my 5-watt signal is received clearly, but I suppose the vol level at the other end is rather low compared to what the 50-watt mobilers can crank out. It's fun to experiment with non-the-less!

Bill, KF5INA

« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 08:44:21 PM by Bill Hendricks » Logged

Posts: 1454

« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 06:01:35 AM »

Go and get the MFJ 1729 Power Gain dual band magnetic antenna for $39.95. It comes with the magnetic mount, a PL259 and BNC connector for portables. Use a SMA adapter if necessary. This antenna is highly rated on and here locally. Pick up an extension mike and the cigarette lighter adapter for the portable and you will have a good performing compact mobile rig that you can move from vehicle to vehicle and from mobile to portable to base. If you decide you need more transmit power later, get one of the small brick linears used off of eBay. I got mine for $12.00! Who knows, you may decide that you don't need a regular mobile rig? I would put the money into HF.  Wink  
« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 07:03:05 AM by Guy "Vern" Wells » Logged

Posts: 14491

« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2010, 06:15:59 AM »

An HT in the car can work pretty well. If you have a nearby repeater you can even use it without an external antenna. A good antenna will help. It doesn't have to be a mag mount either. You could do a permanent antenna installation and use it with the HT now and then use it with the permanent mobile installation later.

As far a volume with the HT, you may have an issue with some HTs. You can always get an amplified speaker or use an ear plug or (if you have a newer vehicle) connect the HT headset output to the aux in on the car radio.

My biggest issue with the HT in the car was that sometimes it wasn't in the car when I wanted it. I eventually wound up doing a permanent mobile installation.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 500

« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2010, 07:45:17 AM »

Speaking as one who has went down this road before, by the time you buy a external mike, external speaker, power cord, and have the HT laying around in your mobile, you could spend <$100 for a used mobile 2m transceiver.  I even went so far as to buy a BD-35 dual band amp.  Oh, the clutter of cables and cords...


Posts: 490

« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2010, 07:46:21 AM »

My experiences with an HT in the car have almost always convinced me to get a real mobile set, and here's why:

1) the 12v power, while not excessive, can make the radio run very hot. Probably not bad, but probably not good, either.

2) connecting and disconnecting the antenna puts a lot of stress on the connector. I'v had to replace or repair the BNC connectors on at least 2 HTs due to this. SMA connectors may be less prone to this, but even if it doesn't hurt the connector...

3) installing and removing the radio each time you get and get out of the car is a big pain. (The novelty wears off quickly!)

4) people have already mentioned the audio level. Driving with one ear plugged into a head phone helps but, again more things to connect/disconnect.

For $150 or less you can get a new 2M mobile set (I got a Kenwood just recently) that has 50W and very good audio that comes straight out of the front panel (not out of the top or bottom). It works very well in the mobile and doesn't cost much more than a 2M HT.

Use the HT as a way to make QSOs from the car while you save up for a mobile set.

73  de Bob

Posts: 297

« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2010, 10:48:52 AM »

I can't remember the model number off hand, but the Successor to the ICOM-2100h is available for about $135.  65w 2m mobile well featured for the price...

Posts: 2202


« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2010, 07:53:59 AM »

And mag mount antennas are GUARANTEED to scratch your car's finish. No matter how you "pad" them, you will see the damage they cause in just a couple weeks' time.

Travelling hams can always use a mag mount, though. Rental cars ... in hotel rooms I use one hung upside-down from the curtain rod ... friend's back yard - a mag mount has its place in your kit o' stuff.

Amps for HTs? If you are not making it with 5W to that repeater, you'll probably not make it well with 35W. Amps do not alter the laws of physics and theory of "line of sight."

Too many connecting wires ... too many antenna cable connects/disconnects ... all items dangerous projectiles in a collision if not securely mounted ... You will long for simply reaching over, touching a POWER button, and holding a substantial mic in your hand (along with increased power and an efficient antenna system) that a mobile rig offers.

What is your primary car that you use?

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

Posts: 5482


« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2010, 08:33:29 AM »

Using an HT in the car is like using an mp3 player with earbuds instead of the stereo in the dash.

Yeah, you can do it.  Eventually, you will end up with both.

Same goes for HT's used as mobiles.  It gets old.  For what new and used mobiles sell for, there's no point in putting up with the inconvenience.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

Posts: 277

« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 09:20:45 AM »

I potential option if one were really keen at running a mobile handheld would be to get ahold of certain models of Motorola HT and a vehicular adaptor (or "convertacom").  The latter accepts the former and converts your handheld into a mobile radio.

The XTVA for the XTS and the SVA/AVA for the Saber/Astro Saber come to mind.

Posts: 24

« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2010, 01:41:11 PM »

Edit: Well, I just realized that somehow I ended up in the wrong thread - I had thought I was reading the thread I had started a few days ago when I posted this response - not trying to hijack your thread!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 01:46:57 PM by Jeff Schmidt » Logged

Posts: 3746

« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2010, 02:52:03 PM »


Using an external antenna will let you talk at a greater distance,
it will also hear signals that you do not hear with the stock antenna.

One advantage a mobile radio has over the HT is the filtering.
The tiny HT has no room for effective filtering of the signals from
paging systems and other transmissions that you will receive with
an external antenna on the car. 

When you've added an external brick amp for 2m, you will end up
with an HT on 'life support', external power cables, antenna connections and linear.

73 james

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