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eHam Forums => VHF / UHF => Topic started by: N4FBW on April 02, 2013, 11:41:39 AM



Title: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: N4FBW on April 02, 2013, 11:41:39 AM
Hi,

I've heard that most handhelds today suffer from complexity and feature-itis and so I'm looking for a handheld that just works without a ton of features on it. I don't use VHF/UHF FM and the only reason I want an HT is that I live in earthquake country. I'd prefer not to buy one of the Chinese radios and likely won't consider Kenwood for due to poor design/quality. Any ICOM or Yaesu recommendations? I don't mind spending some money, I just want something that actually works!

73,

N4FBW


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: N5TWB on April 02, 2013, 12:54:15 PM
Compared to my first HT, a Kenwood TH-215 brick, vintage ca. 1988, everything today has feature-itis, especially when considering the number of channels. From my observation of various ham friends and acquaintances' gear, I'd say the Yaesu FT-60 ought to be among the HTs you consider for being fairly basic and uncomplicated. Under the Icom brand, the T-70A would seem to fit your specs. You might also want to consider the Alinco brand DJ-V57T.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: K4JJL on April 02, 2013, 04:11:22 PM
I'd go for one that takes AA batteries. I have so many handy scratchies with shot batteries that cost more than it's worth to begin with. Especially if you use it very infrequently.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: K1CJS on April 03, 2013, 04:28:19 AM
I'm another that uses my HT infrequently.  I use an Icon T7H, dual band 2m/440, but only one band at a time, no dual displays.  It used to be sold as a sport model with the AA battery holder as a T7H sport for around a hundred.  I've had it about ten years now and it's still going strong with one exception--the PTT let go a couple of years ago.  Bought a new one and replaced it and the HT is working fine now.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: KD0NGX on April 04, 2013, 08:45:00 PM
Yaesu FT-60 is very easy to use, has a AA case available and very reasonably priced. I liked mine so much I got another to have to carry around.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: N7DMA on April 06, 2013, 06:34:09 PM
+1 on the FT-60R. Like KD0NGX said, good radio, and plenty of available accessories. Get the AA battery holder, and a decent aftermarket antenna. I use a Diamond SRH329A as a good replacement for the stock antenna. Tough as nails!

My all time favorite single band HT is the venerable Yaesu VX-150. Found inexpensive on the used market. I've had mine for 10 or 12 years, and it's my go-to radio. It rides along in my pack on hikes, and backpacking trips. I use a MFJ "Long Ranger" antenna with that one. This morning I was on a hike in the Santa Catalina mountains, and with this setup, I made a 50 mile FM simplex contact. With 5 watts! It helped that I was at about 8500 feet above sea level. I've beat the snot out of that radio... takes a lickin', and keeps on tickin'. Best HT ever. Commercial quality. Also shares accessories with the FT-60.

My 2 pence worth.

Karl,
N7DMA
Tucson, AZ


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: G1HSM on April 12, 2013, 02:03:26 AM
Although I have a Yaesu/Vertex VX-2 (now replaced by the VX-3), I'd get one of the cheap Chinese Baofeng UV-5R HTs. A couple of our club members are happy with theirs, and it has received some good reviews:

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10755

73, Leon
G1HSM


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: VE5EIS on April 12, 2013, 08:20:25 AM
I've been using a Wouxun (don't have it handy, alas) but I picked up a Baofeng just because they are so cheap; I thought it could live in the car.  Turns out it's a pretty decent radio in its own right.  There are some things about its user interface that I prefer to the Wouxun.

For $40-50, it's an amazing value.  It'd be particularly apt for a new ham, or one that doesn't use 2m/70cm very often.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: K4JJL on April 15, 2013, 08:27:41 AM
One of my friends found a nasty birdie on one of the Chinese handhelds (Baofeng UV-5RA).  It made a repeater on 442.000 completely unusable.  The squelch stays open and it squeals with heterodynes.  I've heard of birdies on other frequencies with the other Chinese radios.  Do some research before buying to make sure it's not on top of a popular repeater freq you intend to use.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: KD0PCG on April 15, 2013, 02:44:46 PM
If you can compromise on the UHF side of things, the Icom V80 Sport is a pretty good deal. While it is 2M only, it runs on AAs, it's simple, tough, and about $100.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: BASSMAN12350 on April 19, 2013, 10:18:17 AM
If you can find one (they're hard to come by) check out the Icom W-31A or better yet, the W-32A dual band radio.  Aside from rather short battery "run times", remedied now with aftermarket NiMh or Li-ion replacements, these radios are straight forward, easy to operate rigs with nice features, true cross-band repeat capabilities, and are built like bricks.  I've had my W-31A for 18 years and it's still working just fine.  The only downside I can think of is the rather low volume output (200 mw max) of the audio.

Good luck and 73.

Steve


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: VE6FGN on April 29, 2013, 09:24:59 PM
I have an FT-270 and love it- waterproof, tough, works great- but only VHF.

Bought an FT-60 for the dual band capability- it too is a great radio. Use the original rubber duck antenna on both, real happy with the propagation.

Good add-ons: get a cable that allows you to connect to a PL-259 connector- allows you to use a large remote antenna. Amazing what you can do with 5 watts and a gain antenna...!!! 12v charger is handy for the car.

Cheers!


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: K5UNX on May 02, 2013, 10:17:30 AM
I have a FT-60R. Like it a lot. Price was good. I did get an adapter to a PL-259. I have connected it to a larger antenna and it works good. I would also get the software to program the memories with the computer.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: W7AIT on May 02, 2013, 07:58:34 PM
Sorry you don't like Kenwood, but I do have to say these facts:
1.   I own 2 Kenwood THF6A's and owned one older thumbwheel Kenwood TH-21AT HT back in the 80's; I broke the antenna connector off the TH-21AT and had to repair it; it was my fault, not Kenwood.
2.   The older of the two THF6A's is eight (8) years old and had zero problems, no failures, no repairs, no knobs fall off, no antenna problems, no problems at all.
3.   I purchased the 2nd THF6A so I could donate the older one to a friend who has no HT's.
4.   The Kenwood THF6A's do EVERYTHING and do it well on 2, 220 and 440.  I even have use it to work AO51 satellite barefoot when AO51 was still operational.  I used a ARROW hand held antenna and programmed the radio for Doppler.  Successfully made many satellite FM contacts through AO51 with the THF6A HT.
5.   Batteries are a bit expensive and the MAHA after market don't work due to a mechanical design flaw, the finger stock isn't dimensioned properly and it won't contact correctly to allow enough current on transmit.  The Kenwood batteries on  the other hand work fine, no problems; they are pricey, but you get what you pay for.
6.   I would recommend the Kenwood THF6A HT to anyone.  Its an excellent HT, has lots of features, easy to use, reliable, and is still working fine after 8 years.
7.   I don't use my HT very much, maybe once a month, but then there are times I might use it every day.  Its always been dependable.
8.   All the Kenwood THF6A speaker mic's, battery chargers work well and are reliable.
9.   I had a brand new 1.2 ghz Alinco tri band HT here and it was impossible to use and program.  I think it was designed "in Martian" because I could never get the thing to work properly and it was impossible to program; I ended up selling it.
Those are my observed actual facts.
Again I'm sorry you had such a bad deal with Kenwood.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: KO3D on May 05, 2013, 07:12:06 PM
They are really incredible values. The cost has nothing to do with  their quality as the Chinese appear to be "dumping" them at the cheap price to get market share.

I've been using a Wouxun (don't have it handy, alas) but I picked up a Baofeng just because they are so cheap; I thought it could live in the car.  Turns out it's a pretty decent radio in its own right.  There are some things about its user interface that I prefer to the Wouxun.

For $40-50, it's an amazing value.  It'd be particularly apt for a new ham, or one that doesn't use 2m/70cm very often.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: K0OD on May 05, 2013, 09:36:58 PM
    "Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one"

Same boat here. Their complexity kept me from buying a HT for 20+ years. My fave was the little ICOM IC2A, with its tuning wheels, from 30 years ago. So simple!

Just yesterday I ordered a VX3 dual bander from R&L ($185) mainly for tornado alerts. Liked the fact that it can also be used to monitor rail and air frequencies on trips. Tunes 500 kHz to 999 MHz!

It's credit card size and only puts out about 1.5 watts. I'm not sure it was exactly what I needed. Ordered the programming software and bigger whip too.
 


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: W4FBI on May 16, 2013, 11:15:28 AM
Agree that for less than $50, you can't beat this handheld. I have two.

The only issue was weak audio. Took advice from a user group and drilled out the mic "hole" to about twice it's size. Bingo! Perfect now!!

I wouldn't try this mod from the outside. Take it apart and drill from the inside (or you'll probably nuke the mic). Putting it back together took some gymnastics, though...

My .02


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: K4JJL on May 17, 2013, 07:28:33 AM
Agree that for less than $50, you can't beat this handheld. I have two.

The only issue was weak audio. Took advice from a user group and drilled out the mic "hole" to about twice it's size. Bingo! Perfect now!!

I wouldn't try this mod from the outside. Take it apart and drill from the inside (or you'll probably nuke the mic). Putting it back together took some gymnastics, though...

My .02

I had a Yaesu speaker mic that had the same problem.  I used a needle heated up with a candle to poke a hole in the plastic.  Didn't have to disassemble or wreck the board.


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: KF7VXA on May 31, 2013, 04:51:09 PM
I have several brands of Chicom radios and a Yaesu FT-60. The Chicom radios may work, but none are as tough as the Yaesu.
For a cheap radio to throw in my vehicle, the Chicom's are fine, but I don't really trust them all that much. Too easy to change things such as freqs ect. The Yaesu works every time, takes the AA battery pack and of course the ciarette lighter plug in.
For just a little extra money, you will have a solid radio that will be working for years to come.

I should add, I had a Chicom radio go bad, had to send it back to China. It cost $17.00 just for postage and that was just the radio body, no battery, antenna or anything else. I look at the Chicoms now as throw aways.
Programming them can be a major pain also. The cords that come with many of them have counterfit chips in them so you end up having to spend another $15.00 to get a quality programming cord. Found that out the hard way also.

My Best, John


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: WALTERB on June 02, 2013, 08:39:25 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Baofeng-UV5RA-136-174-Dual-Band-Transceiver/dp/B009MAKWC0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370187542&sr=8-2&keywords=baofeng


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: KC1MK on June 03, 2013, 12:22:29 PM
I don't operate VHF/UHF FM much, but do enjoy it occasionally. I recently bought an Icom IC-T70A, and so far I am very pleased with it. It doesn't have wide-range receive, which is a plus for me (I use a GRE PSR-800 for scanning). It's pretty simple to learn and operate, and the battery life is very good. I got the Sport model with the AA battery holder, and also got the 1900-mAH battery and rapid drop-in charger. I use the RT Systems software and cable to program it. It's rather more expensive than some other HTs, but since I typically only buy an HT every decade or so, that wasn't a big deal.
73,
Jeff, KC1MK


Title: RE: Good dual band HT for someone who rarely uses one
Post by: VA7VO on June 04, 2013, 06:55:11 AM
Hi,
I have tried only two just to see what the experience would be using FM on satellites. The first was the Kenwood Thf6 and found the intermod and receive gain was not that good as well as receive audio.
Next the IC-91A. Receive gain good, not too bad for programming, screen is a little hard to read, dual receive and great tx audio response.
Tracking is easy with dual VFO's, used, about $160? Mine is 6 years old and fits the hand the way a radio should.
However, the triband from Alinco with 1.2Ghz works really well, programming is straight forward, on 1.2Ghz simplex it has good audio (using my 736 as a test) and for $240 not a bad deal.
Actually that's three, while the older radio may be good they are no longer supported by the various manufacturers.
It's wiser to go with a newer model.

Glenn, VA7VO