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Author Topic: What are the 3 best handhelds for the $ in 2017  (Read 4307 times)
WR1R
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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2017, 08:15:50 AM »

K7RBW ,hello sir and thanks for weighting in here, speaking of weighting in I’m surprised at the high view “ hits” but the low response “ hits” for such a big forum with so many members ,so thanks for taking the time to enlighten me . It’s actually quite unique for me because even though I have a 2x1 call and worked hard to get it back in the day in the early 90’s it’s like I’m a tech again ( and I feel like Rip Van Winkle ) and I’m totally overwhelmed at the amount of different communications systems and things like DMR , programming an HT with a cable etc etc etc . I have just ordered a Baofeng so I can listen to all the local repeators ,more for activity content then anything else and try to get a “ pulse “ on the health of VHF/UHF activity before buying a dual bander from the big three. I am fully aware of what the Baofeng is and I have watched a million and one u tube clips on that and a ton of other HT’s ( and all about DMR etc tryin to get up to speed ) and the more I watch the more I’m hoping  that more members of this forum would weight in and tell me me what they are using and what they like or don’t like about a certain rig . By the way back when I was very active I had the typical 2 meter/440 ht,and mobile in the car,a room loaded with rigs, a 50 ft tower with a pretty good antenna array and farm . I worked mostly low 20 meters CW and and chewed the rag with the local VHF / UHF gang from the club and friends . I also ran a 2 meter simplex modulated CW net teaching CW to others tryin to upgrade with 175 watts and real good 2 meter aerial at the top of my tower and I had a huge coverage area and that was a lot fun ! I was also a MARS Operator and passed a lot of traffic for guys overseas . I am going to a local club meeting in my area in a few days and see what they are like, I still have a shirt badge with my call on it but I’m debating if I’m even going to wear it , if I go as a newbie and they pretty much ignore me or the meeting is the same old stuff so to say then that will be a different story and my Baofeng will be as you say “ for $25.00 you can’t beat it “ . In closing thanks again for the response , I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving Day dinner and family and I hope more people like you will respond and help me out in my quest to make the right choice in a good quality HT for the buck
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W4KYR
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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2017, 09:14:16 AM »

To anyone considering buying a Baofeng...get yourself the AA battery pack. The AA battery packs (for the UV-5RA) are difficult to get without waiting for a month (or two) to arrive on the slow boat from China (or Taiwan).

At $10 to $12 they are almost the cost of the radio itself. Don't bother with the AAA battery pack, go for the AA battery pack instead. The batteries will last a long time and there are no concerns about having to charge the battery before using it. 

Good Luck



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The internet and cellphone networks are great until they go down, what then? Find out here. 
https://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/topic,111948.0.html

Using Windows 98 For Packet...
K5LXP
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« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2017, 11:49:15 AM »

I’m hoping  that more members of this forum would weight in and tell me me what they are using and what they like or don’t like about a certain rig .

Then you should've asked that instead of "best bang for the buck".

My opinion is the chinese HT's are great if you sit parked on a single frequency and just use memories to call up some saved channels.  They suck wind in just about any other capacity.  I have 2 of them and sitting on the desk monitoring is fine.  They rarely leave the desk though.  Their scan and memory management (in)capability makes them unworkable for anything I do.  The cheapest "big 3" radios blow the doors off the chinese stuff, at least for now.

You added dual receive to the list, which is useful but a feature I find more important in a mobile than a portable.  It does raise the cost and complexity factor.  To get a radio that can do this be prepared to be overwhelmed even more to learn the jargon and menus this class of radios has, along with the sticker shock.  More sticker shock if you throw in a copy of RT Systems to talk to it.

I've got probably a dozen HT's here, though none that are a contemporary true dual band.  The most recent true dual band I have is a Kenwood D7, which covers me for APRS and is a dandy portable FM satellite rig.  Of all the rigs I've owned and played with, I tend to gravitate to Yaesu for HT's because I think they're the most durable and the menu system is workable without a manual once you get it.  Something like the FT1 or VX8 would be a dandy HT but is soundly out of the "best bang for the buck" range you initially inquired for. 

Play with the bo-fang for a while and see if a one band at a time dualbander can work for you.  If so, then you have a lot of less-costly dual band options from the big 3 to choose from.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WR1R
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2017, 12:57:50 PM »

Thanks for the reply and as I stated when I say “ bang for the buck “doesn’t mean the cheapest I can find, I’ll gladly spend a couple of hundred on the BEST ht but it’s narrowing it down that’s the question . The yeasu rigs are great till you start adding the mic, bigger whip ,cable etc etc etc and then the price in total is crazy! I don’t have to have dual band rec but again the bang for the buck or the “ best “ is what I’m after, thanks for your input I hope more hams will chime in and share their experience with me. Enjoy your holiday and thanks again 73 Frank
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KD4UPL
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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2017, 07:09:45 PM »

Yaesu FT-60 is a great rig and a top choice. But, it does not have dual receive. The FT1XD has dual receive, built in APRS, GPS, and Fusion digital capabilities. I bought a new one back in June from HRO for $232. They may not still be available because they have been recently discontinued. The replacement, the FT2DR is a lot more money for no more features. It does have a touch screen but it's hard to read.
The newest dual receive HT from Yaesu is the FT-70DR. It includes Fusion but not APRS and GPS.
Really, I think there is the big 4, not 3, I include Alinco. Their dual bander, the DJ-500T is really inexpensive and I believe it will do dual receive.
I would stay away from the off-brand Chinese radios. I've heard too many horror stories about programming, poor documentation, lack of support, etc.
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WR1R
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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2017, 04:26:56 AM »

KD4UPL good day and thanks for the response ! Yes I'm starting to lean towards Yeasu but the only thing I don't like about Yeasu is that as soon as you start adding things like the speaker mic , cigar lighter ext. power supply to the rig, better aftermarket antenna ,programming cable etc etc etc the price starts climbing like $38.00 bucks for a rinky dink speaker mic, like really ?  Aside from the price jump after adding all that stuff your correct they have nice stuff for the price . While we're at I have been looking st the VX-6 and the VX-8 The tribander but I don't really need 220 mgs but both of those radios have it not sure how many people are using that band now a days ? I was telling someone else that I feel like Rip Van Winkle after being out of the hobby for over twenty years plus ! Thanks again for weighting in here I hope more people will as well and also tell me what there using and what they like and don't like about the rig they may be using . 73 Frank
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WR1R
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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2017, 04:53:00 AM »

Yaesu FT-60 is a great rig and a top choice. But, it does not have dual receive. The FT1XD has dual receive, built in APRS, GPS, and Fusion digital capabilities. I bought a new one back in June from HRO for $232. They may not still be available because they have been recently discontinued. The replacement, the FT2DR is a lot more money for no more features. It does have a touch screen but it's hard to read.
The newest dual receive HT from Yaesu is the FT-70DR.

KD4UPL when checking out the Yeasu FT 60 it's a great rig for the price $154.00 HOWEVER what kills me is then add the cable and software that's $37.00 then cigar lighter power ext. that's $24.00 then speaker mic that's $31.00 then after market Ariel that's $ 24.95 so now we go from $154.00 to a whopping $270.95 that's just plain crazy ... 73 Frank
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K5LXP
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« Reply #22 on: November 25, 2017, 07:33:07 PM »

what kills me is then add the cable and software that's $37.00

CHIRP supports the FT-60, maybe not as comprehensively as RTSystems but it's free.  I use it with a number of radios.  Works with a $10 cable.

Quote
then cigar lighter power ext. that's $24.00

That implies you'd use it as a mobile, which is a compromise solution.  But if that's the path, then you have to justify the cost of the adapter against what a mobile would cost.

I find having a second battery for any HT offers the most versatility and options for all kinds of situations.

Quote
then speaker mic that's $31.00

Speaker mic's made sense when HT's more closely resembled a brick.  Most HT's today aren't any bigger than a speaker mic and are readily clipped where you need it.  I haven't bought a speaker mic in probably 20 years.

Quote
then after market Ariel that's $ 24.95

Nagoya 771, about $5 on ebay, shipped.  But I'm not a fan of "gain" antennas on HT's though, I think it puts too much strain on the connector and makes the radio cumbersome to transport and operate.  I find it easier to run the standard antenna with high power and carry a second battery than use a more efficient antenna.

Your point is valid though, the price can jump significantly when you "accessorize".  But that would be the case whether you picked a $25 bo-fang or a $500 Yaecomwood.  Comes down to what you want to do and what it's worth to you.  No different than any other pastime or hobby.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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WR1R
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« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2017, 04:57:24 AM »

Your correct in what your saying and at this point I'm now even considering  going DMR . My uncle is also a ham but hasent  been active like me . You are also correct MFJ has a lot of acc. That are a lot cheaper . I will say this ham radio has really changed in the last 28 years since I was last active . I again thank you for your input and as we get closer to X Mass I will have to make a decision so any and all of the input is great and again thanks for weighting in here . All the Best 73 Frank
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K5LXP
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« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2017, 05:47:06 AM »

Since you brought it up, I would not buy a DMR radio in lieu of a contemporary FM hanheld.  I have both DMR and DStar radios, and today, the DMR equipment is not on par feature wise with even basic Big 3 radios.  DMR and DStar have their own learning curves and quirks and unless you have an Elmer for that, your out of box experience may not be that great.  I consider DMR today to be like using Linux on a computer.  It works, but it's up to you to figure it out.  The chinese DMR radios like the MD-380 are cheap enough that you get one of those separately and cut your teeth on that, with a separate FM radio for "normal" use.  There are no cheap DStar radios, but the upshot of that is most DStar radios are also decent/featured FM radios so you could go with just one of those.  Yaesu fusion is just getting started and unless there's a node where you live, you wouldn't have much to do with it so check a repeater resource like Repeaterbook or RFinder to see what activity is around you.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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WR1R
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« Reply #25 on: November 26, 2017, 06:50:51 AM »

Thanks again my friend for the input ! What I had forgot to say was that my uncle who is also a ham but hasn’t been active like me as well , is leaning toward DMR and we have both have been “ boning up “ as it were about the different models and like Yeasu with fushion and I com with D star how it all works etc etc etc . I notice most of the DMR repeators are on 440 for the most part and your right not a lot of them and if no node is close by then forget it . My uncle jokingly says to me “ in ten years analog will be dead “  so tryin to think to the future but also again “bang for buck  dual bander “ . I still can’t get over how some things are different today especially after reading the FCC reports on reducing of the CW portion of the testing with 5 wpm and then no code at all for all levelsthat surprised me  . I feel like Rip Van Winkle lol ! So in closing just putting my toe back in the water to see how it is and starting with VHF/UHF to start . Thanks again and enjoyed your input ,73 Frank
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K5LXP
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« Reply #26 on: November 26, 2017, 09:20:14 PM »

if no node is close by then forget it .

Unless, you care to buy some hardware, and set up a local hotspot repeater that connects to your wifi.  So your digital HT would talk within your house to this hotspot, and the internet would do the heavy lifiting to the conference servers.  A long way around the block to work digital modes if you ask me, but if you really really want to work it, that's one way to make it happen.

Quote
My uncle jokingly says to me “ in ten years analog will be dead “ 

I guess it could be possible if the right system and standards could be deployed, but I have a hard time picturing that happening in ham radio.  FM 2-way has been around about 75 years now and it's still a viable mode for many applications.  AM has been "dead" since the advent of single sideband, yet virtually every HF radio made comes with AM and you still hear it on the air.  Not hard to imagine though that if a particular digital protocol were to become wildly popular you might see an inversion in deployed systems, where you hear more digital than FM on the air, but I suspect we will never reach a point where FM went away unless it was eliminated as a legal mode by regulation.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM


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KA4AQM
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« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2017, 04:47:12 PM »

After getting a FT-60R, I have no idea what the other 2 may be. But you are doing your homework and asking very good questions. Good luck.
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WR1R
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« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2017, 06:18:03 PM »

Hi and thanks for the input ! Yes slowly narrowing down the different options . It’s also amazing how many “ cheap “older 2 meter mobiles like  kenwood for example for under $100 are out there ,free Bay is loaded with them that’s what I call a cheap base model and I’m still going to focus on a really good ( maybe even DMR ) HT . Thanks again for the help and as Christmas’s gets closer the advise would really be great ! 73 Frank
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KA4AQM
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« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2017, 01:44:35 AM »

Frank, another consideration for the type of radio you buy is application. In other words, what’s your intended use of the handheld and are the analog repeaters in your area so overloaded with users that you need a digital capability? Many Hams in my area got on the Yaesu digital fusion repeater bandwagon a year or two ago thinking they “needed” digital capability. Some of these folks still have their Fusion-capable radios in their box. And when the rubber meets the road, if you want to connect with others when using yr radio, whether it be an emergency or otherwise, you”ll want the biggest audience. That audience is still running analog, not digital. You also bring up a great point about used gear from the big three manufactures. If you can find someone who enjoys the latest and greatest radios, they will sometimes let their gently used gear go for a decent price. Get the word out in yr club, or their reflector. Go to qth.com and look there. But don’t buy until you have all your questions answered. You will find the right one. GL. Randy, KA4AQM
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