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Author Topic: VHF/UHF Handhelds - Modes other than FM  (Read 5520 times)
KK4MRN
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Posts: 92




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« on: January 11, 2013, 02:43:58 PM »

How come most VHF/UHF Handhelds I see advertised at various ham radio shops online are not multi-mode? 

They seem to be only FM.

I want to try out other modes, such as, CW, SSB, digital, etc. too.

Don't get me wrong.  I want to buy a ham radio and use FM, but I also want to try out CW.

Or am I missing something here?  Are the descriptions online just not being descriptive enough of these devices?  Maybe there is an add-on or attachment which allows other modes like CW to be used?

Daniel, KK4MRN
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 02:49:57 PM »

FT-817 is about as close are you are going to get.
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 05:06:05 PM »

Handhelds are designed for a specific function:  clear voice communication
with other stations, often through a repeater, using a small attached
antenna.
  They do this fairly well.

CW and SSB don't (usually) operate through repeaters, and therefore
require larger external antennas to be effective.  That makes it
somewhat inconvenient to carry such a radio on your belt, so they aren't
very popular:  that just isn't the niche that HTs are designed to fill.

It is more common to find "portable" rigs, such as the FT-817 or the
older IC-202, that are more than hand-held size (to allow more
battery capacity, in addition to other circuitry) that can be operated
on a whip antenna, but are really designed to be attached to a better
antenna of some sort for portable operation.

Not that one can't make HTs for SSB - there have been some for HF
(including 40m, where a whip antenna isn't very useful.)  But that
isn't the niche that the HT is usually designed to fill.
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KC9YAJ
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2013, 01:00:43 AM »

I would take a guess that handheld is for the sub $500 price points, and there's almost nothing, if not nothing, in that price point that does All Modes, that I have found. It seems from what I saw wile investigating, All Modes comes into play closer to that $1000 range.
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KM3F
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Posts: 512




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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2013, 12:57:06 PM »

Dan, your new to the hobby but think about it for awhile.
You can't get all that operation in a handheld as it not practical given the antennas and size that would be needed for each band, the distances involved, the power to run it etc..
Something like having a big truck to do everything you want but at what cost, size, fuel use, garage etc.
Good luck.
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WB4SPT
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Posts: 156




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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 07:31:04 PM »

Actually the argument to putting in SSB into a handheld makes some sense.  THe power efficiency is much better than FM and most of the digital voice modes.  But, the market is not there for point to point vhf/uhf ssb, or is it??  Antenna has nothing to do with this.
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K0JEG
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2013, 10:31:28 AM »

Isn't part of the problem coming up with low cost linear amplifier designs? Because of the nature of FM you can run a non-linear amp and get away with it.

I'd love to see a hand held 10/6/2/70cm SSB/all mode HT. Certainly should be possible. But it wouldn't be cheap. These days it seems everyone is gushing about the Beofang $50 dual banders, not the high end D-star ready HTs. Of course, I'd also like to see satellite-like linear transponders on hilltops, not the re-purposed  commercial repeaters we have today, so what do I know?
« Last Edit: January 13, 2013, 10:34:13 AM by K0JEG » Logged
K1CJS
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Posts: 6046




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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2013, 10:55:31 AM »

....I'd love to see a hand held 10/6/2/70cm SSB/all mode HT. Certainly should be possible. But it wouldn't be cheap....

Nor would it be the size of a handheld.  It would be larger, about the size of a small VHF FM mobile--if it would have the technical specs of a GOOD radio, that is--which would make it about the size of a Yaesu FT-817.

Hey!  They've already done that!
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K0JEG
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 01:40:46 PM »


Nor would it be the size of a handheld.  It would be larger, about the size of a small VHF FM mobile--if it would have the technical specs of a GOOD radio, that is--which would make it about the size of a Yaesu FT-817.

Hey!  They've already done that!

True. But I think with a lot of DSP magic the size could be shrunk down to something the size of a Kenwood TH-d72 or equivalent. Heck, I'll bet the KX3 could have been made much smaller if it wasn't going to be a "kit" radio. In fact much of the space in a KX3 case is for batteries, which could be replaced with flat LiON packs and space for add-on accessories like the tuner. If the tuner were included it could also be put on a shielded section of the main board, which eliminates connectors and cables, etc.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2013, 08:19:58 AM »

Could well be.  But I still think adaquate filtering is going to mean more needed space, DSP or not.  Heck, the 817 is already small.  It can't be made much smaller and still cover the bands that it does, even though it does cover most of the HF bands.  10, 6, 2 and 440 only?  I don't think there is much of a call at all for a radio of that sort, just like there isn't much call for a 220 rig--and the big three know it.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2013, 10:29:35 AM »

Even if you could build a small hand-held that would work VHF/UHF SSB, you wouldn't have much range with a rubber-duck antenna. If you hook it to a Yagi to get some range then you might as well use a desktop that runs 100W output and be competative. FM HTs are practical because of repeaters.
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WB4SPT
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 04:48:21 AM »

Isn't part of the problem coming up with low cost linear amplifier designs? Because of the nature of FM you can run a non-linear amp and get away with it.


Cell phone volume sales has driven down the cost for at least "more linear" PA's with 3G services.  At least for the cellular bands. Wink
The big benefit for going SSB is battery life and increased range, all else being equal. I'd have to think more on the SSB repeater issue, that might be solvable.
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KCJ9091
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 07:31:52 AM »

Terrestrial Linear Transponder.
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WB8VLC
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Posts: 124




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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 12:09:00 PM »

There used to be a couple of tokyo-Hy-power ssb handhelds back in the 80's and 90's,

the THP  Ht-750, 6, 15 and 40 meter model was one that I remember.

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AA4PB
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 12:19:09 PM »

I believe there is still a 40M SSB and a 10M SSB model available. But, he was asking about an "all mode" VHF/UHF HT and I don't recall there ever being anything like that.
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