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Author Topic: Dual Duty Radio Vacuum  (Read 2311 times)
KT0DD
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Posts: 277




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« on: June 14, 2013, 06:42:53 PM »

I have been doing a lot of internet searching and I'm pretty amazed at the lack of availability of dual band radios suitable for combined ham / first responder use. Carrying 2 radios and associated batteries / accessories etc. can add unneeded weight to a go-pack

First, you have 1 or 2 quality models from the likes of Motorola, Harris, Thales or Kenwood with a price range that is absolutely ridiculous at $2000-$4000+. Totally out of reach for the average person, yet quite a money maker for the M/K/H companies. I have a hunch they know most SAR teams have access to federal grant money and that's what they're after. At these prices, every solder point in them better be solid 24k gold and knobs made of diamond. Oh wait, that would be a Rolex HT.


Next, you have the whoflungdung class...Baofeng, Wouxun, TYT, HYT, etc, that are part 90 accepted (barely acceptable specs). They're fair radios if you don't do a lot of regularly rugged SAR work, but the Chinese and several U.S dealers are selling the SH** out of them. Would you like your life depending on one of these radios? One step above a bubble pack radio...maybe...


Now we have the Dual Band Amateur radios that are Mil-Std 810 C/D/E and IP-54 rated  like the THF6A & TH-D72 kenwood's, ICOM IC92AD etc that are in the $300-600 range. These are quality radios but not part 90 accepted. Too many hams and first responders buy these and have them modded even though it's illegal to use them. Once again, this is due to the lack of availability for what they may need and can reasonably afford.

Why don't the commercial companies or amateur companies recognize this void and come out with a good quality mil spec dual band Part 90 and 97 radio for under $600? It doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars to be rugged and reliable.

73, Todd - KT0DD


 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 06:48:59 PM by KT0DD » Logged
WB6DGN
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Posts: 584




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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 02:23:24 AM »

Quote
Why don't the commercial companies or amateur companies recognize this void and come out with a good quality mil spec dual band Part 90 and 97 radio for under $600? It doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars to be rugged and reliable.

"It doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars to be rugged and reliable."
But it helps!  Remember that the performance specs. of those radios far exceed almost any amateur radio in both transmit and receive.  They are much less likely to cause harmful interference to other users and they are much less likely to be bothered by harmful interference from other equipment operating nearby.  Compare the specs. of any of the commercial radios that you mentioned to the best amateur radio you can find (in the same band) and you'll see what I mean.

Why not look for a used late model commercial radio from someone who will program it for you to your specs?  That would get you what you need and assure compliance with the legal requirements as well.  There's lots of good equipment on the internet at prices that rival new ham radios.  True, you are very unlikely to find a commercial radio with VFO function (some are available but they are quite pricey) but, with a little planning, you can have it programmed with everything you will need the first time.  AND, you'll have a radio that won't blow the squelch open every few minutes due to intermod. as most "ham" radios will.

While I will be the first to agree that most commercial equipment is grossly overpriced as you stated, there are valid reasons why it SHOULD cost more than its ham cousins.  Just operate one of each, side by side, and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Tom
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KT0DD
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Posts: 277




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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 07:32:31 AM »

It SHOULD cost more because the manufacturers want you to think that way so they make lots of money, especially on government contracts. It's similar to the government $5,000. ashtray and $12,000 toilet. Sales is about convincing someone you have to have something at a price regardless of whether that is an honest price or not. Just ask any used car salesman...lol.

All the Moto-trash I've looked at online is SINGLE Band, not DUAL band. I'm sure a used $4000 class dual band Moto rig would still run over $1500 if it's in working order.

Where I live, our SAR uses 70CM Ham for general logistics and the 155.mhz public safety band for on site talk around. I currently own 3 Wouxun KG-UV6D V2's as they are Dual band Part 90 radios. I would carry 2 of them on a SAR event so I always have a backup if one fails.

It would simply be nice to have one DUAL band Part 90 radio I could trust. I think a good $500-600 radio would cut hard into the Chinese market and really give a viable option for those people who buy ham HT's and feel the need to mod them.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2013, 10:15:36 AM »

I think it's not a big enough market for anyone to be concerned with.

The commercial/industrial/public service LMRS market is quite large; the amateur radio market isn't, especially for those who wish to have what you're asking for.  Maybe a few thousand -- in the whole country?  Maybe not even that many.

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WB6DGN
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Posts: 584




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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 01:41:19 AM »

Quote
I'm sure a used $4000 class dual band Moto rig would still run over $1500 if it's in working order.

Not even close.  Government doesn't need to recover anything on their "throwaways".  After all, they've got an endless supply of money at their beck and call; no need to "dirty their hands" selling used gear.  I've recently seen Astro Spectras (mobiles) in the $200 to $600 range depending on accessories and "flash code", ie. feature set.  These are modern narrow band capable, selectable per channel, and can do P25 digital with the proper flash.  The ones I've seen are excellent, both physically and electrically.  The XTL series (next generation) are priced about the same but they are little more than a renamed Astro Spectra anyway.  Once you've used one of these radios, the only use you'll find for the hammy radios is as doorstops; there truly IS that much difference.
I have no use for handhelds but I see equally good equipment and prices on them all the time. 
Of course, its necessary that you know what you're buying which is where a knowledgeable friend is a valuable asset.
I agree that government prices (from local to federal) are insane but they are necessary so the politicians and purchasing officials can get their "fair share" in kickbacks.  Those "free" trips all over the world for a family of four are getting pricey these days!
Your comments clearly show your inexperience and lack of knowledge about the similarities and differences between ham gear and true commercial equipment.  You're trying to compare apples and applesauce.  The applesauce just don't have the same "crunch"! 
By the way, after over 50 years in the industry, I am fully retired and no longer involved in any way in the industry other than as a hobby.
Tom
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WB6DGN
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Posts: 584




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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 01:54:40 AM »

Quote
First, you have 1 or 2 quality models from the likes of Motorola, Harris, Thales or Kenwood with a price range that is absolutely ridiculous at $2000-$4000+. Totally out of reach for the average person, yet quite a money maker for the M/K/H companies.

Missed this earlier.  WHY is that price range out of reach when talking about a quality dual band, ham/commercial radio but COMMONPLACE when referring to a hammy HF radio?  I've seen comments like this occasionally and often wondered what the difference was.
Same situation when comparing test equipment to HF radios.  A quality 'scope or spectrum analyzer is "out of reach" but an Icomyaewood HF radio at the same price is a "good deal".  Just don't compute!
Tom
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KB2FCV
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 07:27:32 AM »

As WB2WIK states, the market simply isnt there for it. For most hams, the cheaper inexpensive HT is plenty. They don't need or necesarily want to pay extra for the rugged durability.

On the opposite spectrum you have public service and commercial.. thousands upon thousands of rugged radios are sold. For many of the users of these types of radios - their lives depend on these radios working and surviving in harsh work conditions every day. They are built to a different set of standards than your hammy HT.. which is one reason they cost a lot more.

It would be a market far too small if they were built ruggedized for the ham market / part 90.
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