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Author Topic: New Transceiver Recommendation  (Read 2243 times)
K8BUX
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Posts: 4




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« on: November 19, 2012, 03:08:13 PM »

I'm going to buy a transceiver to become more active on the vhf/uhf bands.  I'm looking at the Icom 2820h and the Kenwood 710a.

Since I got my license decades ago, before vhf/uhf became viable, my only experience with it is using an old Icom IC-8A HT. I understand repeaters, and the idea of tones, but am confused about how some of the newer "features" such as APRS and D-Star factor into a decision.  I also want to use the radio as a "scanner" to monitor local police and emergency broadcast, but it looks like I can do that with a programmed memory bank scan, and either radio would work-----although I do wonder how well.

So, which radio would any of you buy?  Do I care about aprs or D-Star?  What about Echolink?  I just signed up for that, and will do a little researching about how that works, so maybe that wil  help inform me.  My greatest interest is just to have a better link to local repeaters in cases of emergency, and to '"read the mail", but maybe I would really like the newest bells and whistles, if I only understood what "benefit" or "fun" they offered.   For example, it looks like aprs would allow my wife to track where I am Smiley, but I'm not sure what other practical or fun uses it has.  Same with D-Star. I guess it allows me to somehow remotely qso over very long distances on 440, but is that something that lots of people are doing. 

Open to any input.  Thanks.
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ONAIR
Member

Posts: 1737




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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 08:23:17 PM »

I'm going to buy a transceiver to become more active on the vhf/uhf bands.  I'm looking at the Icom 2820h and the Kenwood 710a.

Since I got my license decades ago, before vhf/uhf became viable, my only experience with it is using an old Icom IC-8A HT. I understand repeaters, and the idea of tones, but am confused about how some of the newer "features" such as APRS and D-Star factor into a decision.  I also want to use the radio as a "scanner" to monitor local police and emergency broadcast, but it looks like I can do that with a programmed memory bank scan, and either radio would work-----although I do wonder how well.

So, which radio would any of you buy?  Do I care about aprs or D-Star?  What about Echolink?  I just signed up for that, and will do a little researching about how that works, so maybe that wil  help inform me.  My greatest interest is just to have a better link to local repeaters in cases of emergency, and to '"read the mail", but maybe I would really like the newest bells and whistles, if I only understood what "benefit" or "fun" they offered.   For example, it looks like aprs would allow my wife to track where I am Smiley, but I'm not sure what other practical or fun uses it has.  Same with D-Star. I guess it allows me to somehow remotely qso over very long distances on 440, but is that something that lots of people are doing. 

Open to any input.  Thanks.
  If you just need 2M, Yaesu FT-2900.
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KA4POL
Member

Posts: 1977




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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 10:00:24 PM »

Your questions are provoking a multitude of answers. All these different possibilities like D-Star, APRS etc. can be discussed very controversial.
It might be a good idea to get in touch with your local club to see what those members are using and doing. Before making a higher investment it could also be a good idea to get one of those inexpensive little radios like a Baofeng UV-5R. This would give you a feeling of what is going on locally.
Just some comments concerning the different features you mention:
Echolink: Interesting add on using the internet to extend range. Actually you could even connect from computer to computer without any ham radio involved.
APRS: Nice toy for tracking a ham.
D-Star: Proprietary format of ICOM. Being digital you either get a good signal or none, like digital TV. There is no weak signal that you could hear out of the noise.
Anyway you got to tackle a little computer with those new radios. Get ready to program all kinds of features like DTMF CTCSS, squelch level etc. Good thing is, there are Yahoo groups where owners can exchange their experience and you can find good support.
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K8BUX
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 02:44:01 PM »

Thanks for the replies.

I used my HT to get on a local repeater today and got a recommendation for the Kenwood 710a unit.  Not enough D-Star activity in this area of CT, and apparently some anecdotal evidence of possible quality issues on the Icom.

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W5LZ
Member

Posts: 477




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« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2012, 06:20:42 AM »

Since I'm a Kenwood fan I would second that '710 suggestion, ir the '71A.  As for the 'D-link', there's not much activity with that around here.  I don't feel like I'm missing anything not having that capability.  It wouldn't be a very practical mode for emergency use, too restrictive.  'EchoLink' doesn't require a radio at all if you have computer, only a valid amateur license.  If you're posting here, then I would have to think you already have 'EchoLink' capability (computer and internet access).
It's nice to have all the bells-n-whistles, or capabilities, in one radio but I think you'd be wise to find out about those bells-n-whistles and capabilities before buying.  Would they all be usable/desirable in your situation?
 - Paul

(And as everybody knows... If you ain't got Kenwood you got squat.  Right?? Smiley)
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N7KFD
Member

Posts: 37




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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2012, 01:06:36 PM »


Along with W5LZ I'm also a Kenwood fan and I own a D710. The 710 is a great radio with an abundance of features but if all you need is 2 meters the TM-281 is also a fine radio (I own of of these too), or Yaesu's FT-1900 is a great radio (I have one in my company vehicle). The best thing to do is look around and see what fits your needs and budget. An easy web site to navigate is www.universal-radio.com, and they carry all of they newer equipment. Good luck with whatever you buy.

Jim
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K9MHZ
Member

Posts: 404




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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 05:50:51 AM »


D-Star: Proprietary format of ICOM. Being digital you either get a good signal or none, like digital TV. There is no weak signal that you could hear out of the noise.


That's not true at all.  D-STAR is an effort from the JARL, and Icom was just the manufacturer that launched into it.  The only thing "proprietary" of a D-STAR radio wrt that mode is the encode/decode chip inside, and it's not Icom's chip....they just use it in their radios.  There are some open sourced efforts underway currently.  There's a nice status update of such things at the D-STAR forum at Dayton every year. The second part is also curious, especially since we're using FM.  FM is a mode that's heavy in capture of the strongest signal, but a weak signal above an unsquelched noise floor would still decode, but that's of course unsquelched simplex, which makes no sense since the center of the D-STAR system are the repeaters which are connected to the worldwide network.  The repeaters themselves actually do a very good job of capturing weak signals from HTs.

I think the best advice above is to determine what's popular in your area.  That will keep you motivated.  DEFINITELY ask around locally.

One final thing.....don't get caught up in the silly "I'm an Icom/Kenwood/Yaesu fan..." thinking.  From those three manufacturers, the new gear today is fabulous.  The differences will be in modes, band coverage capabilities, full duplex (satellites) or not, etc, etc.  Again, determine your interests and go from there.  BTW.....CTCSS, DTMF, offsets, etc programming is a breeze...it will cost you 20 minutes of your time, so that's a non-issue.

Good luck.



      
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 05:59:34 AM by K9MHZ » Logged
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