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Author Topic: Which Dual Band Mobile would you buy? Requirements inside.  (Read 3869 times)
KD8RFT
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Posts: 29




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« on: December 01, 2011, 08:35:38 AM »

I am in the market for a dual band mobile radio.

Here is what I want:
remote head mounting
cross band repeat for camping/hunting
2m/70cm coverage
wide receive coverage
Memory management with banks, so I can easily separate what gets scanned and what does not, depending on where I am (location).
Ability to upgrade to more advanced features like GPS, APRS, packet data, etc. I wont be playing with that stuff now, but I want the ability to upgrade if needed in the future.

I just bought a FT-8900 at HRO for $399 with separation kit, but I am thinking I might not be happy with the memory management and I am worried that the radio might not let me play/upgrade to APRS/GPS, etc. in the future because it is an older rig.
I dont really have a super need for the 6m and 10m bands on the ft-8900, but I do have a 10M repeater in the area and I though it would be fun to try since 10M is pretty open nowadays. It is not that important. Memory management and the ability to possibly use future tech is more important.

Thanks for any suggestions,

Jerry
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VA3WXM
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Posts: 277




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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 09:37:52 AM »

I've had my FT-8900 for several years and really like the radio.  However, the memory management really stinks.  The FT-8800 (same form factor, two less bands) does break up those channels into workable banks.  You might want to consider this one as the separation kit will work with it as well.

I also own a Kenwood TM-V71A which is a dynamite radio.  I haven't done much scanning with it but it has "Group Scan" that allows you to scan in groups of 100 channels.
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K0BG
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 04:17:53 PM »

When folks ask what to buy, I always respond in the same way. Go to your nearest dealer, play with all of the gear, and then decide which one suits your needs, som someone else's.

If you just have to ask, then ask what they don't like, as you usually get a more-truthful answer!
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KD8RFT
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 05:09:34 AM »

When folks ask what to buy, I always respond in the same way. Go to your nearest dealer, play with all of the gear, and then decide which one suits your needs, som someone else's.

If you just have to ask, then ask what they don't like, as you usually get a more-truthful answer!

I wish I had a radio store close to me. I live in metro detroit. the closest store that I know of is universal radio and they are about 300 miles away.
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M6GOM
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Posts: 876




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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 06:49:11 AM »

Kenwood TM-D710 and Greenlightlabs GPS receiver. The TM-D710 has a TNC built in, will do APRS and Echolink out of the box and only needs the GPS receiver to give full APRS location info. You can also set it up as an APRS digipeater. Head unit acts as a fully fledged TNC interface to a computer for use with UIView32 and packet.

Make sure you buy a 2010 on one. There was a filter issue in earlier ones which was sorted with a revised circuit board.
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KI4SDY
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 07:38:20 AM »

If you are looking for convenience, ease of operation and a reasonable price the Yaesu FT-7900r will fit your requirements, other than the fact that it does not have cross band repeat. The best features are the push buttons on the front panel for those most used frequencies and bands. This cuts down on your distraction from driving while operating the radio. I always suggest making any adjustments while sitting at traffic lights, but it sounds like you may not have any near you.  Wink
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 07:07:30 PM by KI4SDY » Logged
KD8RFT
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2011, 12:11:50 PM »

Kenwood TM-D710 and Greenlightlabs GPS receiver. The TM-D710 has a TNC built in, will do APRS and Echolink out of the box and only needs the GPS receiver to give full APRS location info. You can also set it up as an APRS digipeater. Head unit acts as a fully fledged TNC interface to a computer for use with UIView32 and packet.

Make sure you buy a 2010 on one. There was a filter issue in earlier ones which was sorted with a revised circuit board.

After doing lots more research, I think this is the route I am going.
The kenwood seems like the best bang for the buck.
Free software for programming is awesome.
built in APRS is also awesome.

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N6AJR
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 01:41:40 PM »

I have owned  a bucket full of mobiles and such.  I currently use  an ft 857d in the car as it gives me 2m/440 /6m/ all hf bands.  I also have a Moto 900 mhz in the car.

My suggestion would be to find a local club or 2 and then check with the club members as to what they have , and perhaps even see their setups.   also perhaps a trip to a hamfest might be in order. Or schedual a trip to the radio store in coujunction with so other purpose, like family or a "holliday" with the family or such.  her is how to find the local clubs.....


go to  ARRL.ORG and in the upper left click on licensing,education and training , then click on  find an exam session, type in your zip code and hit enter. this will bring up a list of ham tests in your local area.  most of these are sponsered by a ham club. they all have a contact person and phone number under the learn more  part.. call and ask about  the next meeting, for an elmer , how do I ....
 
some one will take you under their wing.
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KD8RFT
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Posts: 29




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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 09:34:06 AM »

I wanted to update this thread. I originally purchased a Yaesu ft-8900 from HRO because it was on sale ($399) and I thought that having 10 meters would be fun. I soon realized that I would probably be more interested in APRS/DATA modes.  I sent back my yaesu ft8900 to the hro store in va. and the manager was very helpful. I exchanged it over the phone and paid the difference for a kenwood 710 and the green light labs gps. I just installed every thing this past sunday and it is working great.

I am working on programing frequencies in today with the software for a pc. I bought the programming cable off of ebay and Kenwood has free programming software which works great.

it is a slick setup. the gprs works flawlessly and I get satellite lock on a few seconds.

thanks for all the helpful input
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 04:08:22 AM by KD8RFT » Logged
W8JX
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Posts: 5474




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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2011, 09:34:29 AM »

Having to use HF rig to cover 2m and 440fm never appealed to me. A separate dual band radio is more practical and does not tie up HF rig too.
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K1LA
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« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2011, 02:38:03 PM »

A few things to consider is the size of the remote heads. I own both the Kenwood TM-D710a and the Icom 2820h and neither have particularly small remote heads (they're giant). Some of the Yaesu's mentioned here have more compact heads which you may enjoy based on your dashboard / console space availability.

that being said, if the size of the remote unit isn't a bother then I personally really love the two Mobile's I mentioned. The Kenwood is cheaper and if you don't need DSTAR then it's a really excellent way to go (APRS, greenlight labs GPS compat) or its little brother the TM-V71a(for the smaller head) get great compliments from my on TX and I love their programability and ease of operation. The 2820 is a beast and is wonderful to work VHF/UHF and Dstar all on one mobile. You'll enjoy Cross Band Repeating on both of those so you can use a little HT to walk around your house or car depending on where they are.

lastly, just my opinion, its worth springing for the RT systems software. Both Kenwood and Icom offer free programs for memory management but they don't compare to RT systems and their plug and play cables.

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