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Author Topic: Help me choose my first mobile radio  (Read 1464 times)
KB8WPD
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Posts: 35




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« on: January 20, 2012, 07:33:48 AM »

Hey guys, I need help choosing my first mobile radio.  I have it narrowed down to the Alinco DR-635 and the Yaesu FT-8800.  I want a dual band radio that can monitor both bands at the same time, and I really like the ability to use crossband repeat.  The Alinco is easier on the wallet, but I firmly believe in the "buy once, cry once" mentality.  So which would you choose and why?  Thanks.

-Kevin
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K7RBW
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Posts: 387




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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2012, 08:55:07 AM »

It's hard to provide advice without knowing what's important to you. I'd check the reviews at http://www.eham.net/reviews/ before buying anything.

I  can say that x-band repeat is way overrated. It sounds cool, but it's generally not very practical. It's usually complicated to set up, and there's the problem of ID-ing your repeater. When you transmit your call, on UHF and your repeater retransmits the call on VHF, you've identified your handheld on UHF and your mobile on VHF. When the other station comes back with his call, he's  ID'd your mobile with his ID on UHF, not your ID. I suppose you could call your mobile on VHF to get your ID to come out on UHF, to be legal, but that's a little awkward. Likewise, you could hook an IDer up like repeaters do, but that's also some hassle.

Then there's the matter of power. If you're using this to have a mobile repeater so you can work from your handheld, you'll probably want an extra battery if you're leaving your car unattended. It would suck to come back to your car after a day of wilderness QSOs only to find your car battery was dead.

All this (and more) might be worth it to you, but it's not to most. I will say that listening on two channels at once is handy. Making sure you pick the right band to reply before keying the mike can be a bit of a distraction if you're driving, however. For me, I tended to use just one band for talking and the other more for monitoring to avoid that confusion.
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KB8WPD
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Posts: 35




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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 10:36:25 AM »

I mostly want an easy to use radio for voice communications.  I want to monitor both 2m and 70 cm at the same time.  I doubt I will use crossband repeat much, but I like the idea of having it just in case I need it.  I want a good realiable radio that will last for many years to come.  So I guess what I am asking is, which is more reliable, easier to use and has less issues?

BTW, I have read the reviews for both units, just looking for the thing that puts me over the top, one way or the other.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2012, 10:49:27 AM »

at the risk of side tracking your thread, look at the Yaesu FT 857d. new under 800 bucks and used in the $500 range. it gives you 2m and 440 mhz plus 6 m and all the hf bands, all modes ( am, fm,ssb,cw, rtty etc ) and all bands from 440 mhz to 160 m.  in my car I use it with an ATAS 120 antenna, which autotunes with the radio so all you have to do is drive and talk.  its not the best antenna you can use for mobile but at $300 new ( $150 on sale sometimes, ) or $100 or so used, and it works well .

buy the radio once  rather than a 2m/440 rig then a 6m rig and then a 10 m rig, when you can get them all in one fell swoop.  as a tech you can work phone on 10 m, 6m, 2m, and 440, which starts you off with a 4 bander right off the bat.
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K6LCS
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2012, 11:06:58 AM »

What I really like with the Kenwood TM-V71 as a mobile rig is the speaker setup. I mean, I have one speaker mounted on the door column behind my head and to the left. And the radio's internal speaker is under the dash. Without taking my eyes off the road, I can tell which band/freq is being received - because you can split the audio for each VFO in the radio. The speaker to my left receives, and that's my left side freq on the display. The speaker in front of me goes off, I know that is Band B ...

I cannot do that with my Yaesu FT-8800. And a quick look at the Alinco '636 manual tells me it doesn't do that either.

HRO has refurbs for the Kenwood - fully-warranteed. You can purchase one plus a great mobile antenna for the price of the '8800. (Mounting system not included.)

Clint K6LCS
909-241-7666
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.k6lcs.com
KW6LA
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Posts: 91




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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2012, 04:10:41 PM »

Buy the radio once  rather than a 2m/440 rig then a 6m rig and then a 10 m rig, when you can get them all in one fell swoop.

Biggest mistakes most Ham make !  FT 857D  and now get ur General ! !
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