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Entry Level Ham Radio help.

Discussion in 'Ham Radio - CB - Trail Communications' started by RockRanger, March 31, 2015.

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  1. RockRanger

    RockRanger Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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    I passed my technician test on Saturday and now need a radio for the ranger. I have a handheld boefang for now but am looking for a permanent mount that hopefully will get better reception. I am not looking for anything crazy as I am really not that into trying to talk to random people. I mostly want it for rig to rig communication on the trail and emergencies when out wheeling in the local mountains. From talking to a few locals just about all the local trails have a repeater close enough that a rig mounted unit can access it but the handhelds cant always. Another plus would be easily removable so I could add an antenna and mount in my wife's jeep and quickly swap the radio over.
     
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  3. Brian1

    Brian1 Elite Explorer

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    First, congrats on passing the exam! I would recommend a Yaesu FT2800m or 2900R. the 2800 is what I use in my Explorer but it has been discontinued and replaced with the 2900R. So far it has been a great radio. It wont be that great for switching between vehicles though. Since you already have the Baofeng I would just buy a vehicle antenna and adapter if needed to the radio which will greatly improve it over the stock rubber duck antenna for the Jeep or other vehicles.
     
  4. rizzjc

    rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Congratulations! I'd say look for a Yaesu FT-1802 used, or FT-1900 new. You can't beat the price. You can usually get one for $125 on sale, and just use a mag mount antenna on the roof.

    If you want to be able to move it, best way might be to get the same mount, and an extra power cable and antenna.
     
    Last edited: March 31, 2015
  5. Rick

    Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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    I just caught this thread. Congratulations on getting your Tech license Matt :chug:
     
  6. RockRanger

    RockRanger Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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    Thinking about getting the Yaesu 2900 radio. http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=h0-010078

    My only reservation is it not being duel band like my baufang radio is. In reality how big of a deal is that? I have a duel band antenna on my truck currently that I attach to my hand held currently.
     
  7. Stic-o

    Stic-o Elite Movie Star Elite Explorer

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    Subscribing
     
  8. Rick

    Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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    For vehicle to vehicle communications 2m alone is fine. In AZ 2m repeaters are much more prevalent than 70cm repeaters. Look for repeaters in the areas where you intend to wheel. If they are mainly 2m repeaters that's all you'll need.

    I have dual band radios because some local friends hang out on 70cm. I've never used 70cm on the trail.
     
  9. Stic-o

    Stic-o Elite Movie Star Elite Explorer

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    Rick is there a map of these reapeaters?
     
  10. BKennedy

    BKennedy Elite Loser Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Okay, I have a question about dual band radios. What if your stranded, alone, there are monsters approaching and you need help. Does the dual band radio give you more options in reaching someone?
     
  11. Rick

    Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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    In AZ, it's not the ideal band for emergencies since it is so seldomly used. It's rarely used for simplex, direct radio to radio communications. It's mainly used for repeaters, and if there is no repeater, or if you can't reach it due to the reduced line of site due to it's short wave length it's of no use.

    Here is a link to an online repeater guide:
    https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeaters/index.php?state_id=none

    and another...
    http://www.levinecentral.com/repeaters/google_mapping.php?State=CA
     
  12. Rick

    Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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    BTW, a combination of HF and VHF is the best bet for emergency communications.

    In the event there is no repeater available HF can reach across country from about anywhere, but a cave ;). It would be easy to reach someone who could relay info on to local authorities on HF, but the "link" between you and the responder isn't as reliable as VHF due to atmospheric conditions. I carry HF VHF and UHF in the Pumpkin.

    Funny story, years ago I was out in the Pumpkin playing with the HF radio. Char was supposed to be at work. All of a sudden I heard a man using Char's callsign, he was in conversation with her, but I couldn't hear her.

    He was in Colorado, she was on our base rig at the house. She was trying to find me since her car died on the way to work and she had to be towed home. The man I could hear in Colorado relayed for Char and I. On HF we were too close to hear each other, but the band conditions were perfect to reach Colorado :D
     
  13. rizzjc

    rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    2 meters is definitely is the most popular for local communications. I had the same concerns when I got my single band, but honestly, the only thing I did with my dual band was to scan other channels when I was stationary on one. I rarely used 440. It's just not used much around me because it doesn't have nearly the coverage. I used my single band Yaesu 1802 for many years before getting a new dual band. I only got the dual because it had a detachable face, which I needed to fit it in my new car.
     
  14. tdavis

    tdavis Linux Guru, Jack of All Trades Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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    I need to stop by the HRO in oakland and pick one of these up for the jeep..
     
  15. Brad C

    Brad C Member

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    What's nice with most dual band radios is that you can monitor/transmit on two different frequencies even within the same band (two 2 meter repeaters, for example). A simple push of a function key will usually allow you to change the transmit frequency while still monitoring the other repeater/frequency. I use this a lot when doing weather watching with RACES/ARES here in my county. I can monitor the local repeater where all of our local folks have a wx net and then flip to the Columbus, Oh wx frequency to do reports. You can also set one side up as voice and the other side for packet. Heck, when our local repeater went down one below 0 winter day, I used my radio as the repeater!

    There are many uses for a dual band radio besides the second band.
     
  16. RockRanger

    RockRanger Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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    Got the Yaesu 2900 radio. I have it mounted in my ranger just need to finish wiring it.
     
  17. Rick

    Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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    :biggthump
     
  18. rizzjc

    rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    Can't go wrong with that. I've got a previous version of that radio. Solid performer, and a great price.
     
  19. RockRanger

    RockRanger Elite Ranger Elite Explorer

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    I have had the 2900 radio in my truck for a year now. Overall I am really happy with it. Typically when we are heading out for a trail run for the day we all end up on our radios chatting on the way to meetup point from our houses. It is nice to know where everyone is so you have an idea if someone is running behind. Usually a few friends that aren't even going hop on the radio and start chatting with us as well.

    The Ham radio saved us on a trip this summer when a guy in our group had a brand new radiator split on him on the trail. Cell phones didn't work but we were able to hit a repeater and get a hold of some one who called my friends wife at home. She was able to get the old radiator with a pinhole leak and bring it to the trail head. We were able to get home at a decent hour instead of a 3am trail recovery.

    We also used them a lot in Moab as a good chunk of us had Ham radios. Ask DiffWackDaddy about his friend he chatted on the radio with when we were on Kane Creek trail. :D

    The only down side I have is that it can't monitor two channels at the same time. I never thought about that feature when I was buying a radio. After using one for a year now I can see how handy it is. We wheel on the trail running simplex but it would be nice to monitor the local repeater at the same time. This would be handy when one person has to leave early and if they have problems they can reach us on the repeater.
     
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  20. Brian1

    Brian1 Elite Explorer

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    I believe it is capable of that. Read up on "Priority Channel Scanning" aka Dual Watch in the owners manual. I have never used it on mine but I think it should do what you describe.
     
  21. rizzjc

    rizzjc Scubajoe - Radio Mod Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    I think Brian might be right. I haven't played with that in a while. I have a dual band radio in my car now, but still have the single in my Explorer. I use to use the scan feature a lot when I WASN'T talking, but I think there is still the priority scan. Manual for my FT-1802 says you can operate on a VFO, Memory channel, or Home channel, while periodically checking a user-defined Memory Channel for activity.
     

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