Author Topic: Choosing the right HT  (Read 29082 times)

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Choosing the right HT
« on: February 06, 2010, 11:11:03 AM »
Having just recently received my tech license, I am now very anxious to get my gear and get on the air. The problem is that I am having a very difficult time deciding on the right set-up that will carry me years into the future. I have read several reviews over at eham, and it is obvious that there is no one radio that everyone is happy with. I suppose that's the way it is with any product review.
I have received some great advice from Truik on this subject, and now that I have the funds available (tax refund), I am ready to go shopping.
I have two shopping scenarios in mind: (A) Buy two handhelds. Perhaps one a tri-band, and the other a dual. The purpose would be to communicate with the Lass if away from home, speak with others in the area, as well as being kept aware of emergency activities, and to be able to call for help should an emergency arise. I have checked the repeaters in all the areas that we visit, and have found 2m/70cm to be the most popular. I was thinking of a tri-band with additional bells and whistles for future growth as an operator.

(B) Purchase a dual band mobile and a dual band HT. I would like a mobile that could be taken indoors and hooked up to a DC source and roof antenna. I like the fact that the mobile has a greater power output than the HT, and we could use it as we drive cross country.

My fear is that I am going to run down to HRO and make a purchase that I may regret later. Because I plan to go beyond the technician level, I am leaning towards a radio that will accommodate that desire. At the same time, I know that desire comes at a price. I would rather have too much of a radio than not enough and have to go back later and upgrade.

 I know that there are enough of you out there with the experience I am looking for to help me in my decision process. All I am looking for is some good advice and your own experiences with the two set-ups I have described. I am also open to any ideas that I haven't thought of.

Thanks!

Occeltic

Offline survivininct

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 09:26:14 PM »
I would absolutely get the mobile and HT combination as a HT is very limited in its range (low power).  Alternatively, you can just get the HT and an Amp.  

As for what bands, check the local area you will operate in.  I have a dual bander and never use the 440 side because there is little activity.  Where you live, that may not be the case.  

Dual band repeat is a good feature if you get a dual band rig - allows your car to be a repeater on one band by using the other to link it and your HT together.  Works quite well.  

If your in a ham club, go to some meetings and ask questions first and play with their rigs.  Some hams may even let you borrow one to use to check out the bands - you can even listen using a scanner.  See where the action is and buy something to get in on the action.  You may only need a single band one which will certainly be all you need for your day to day communications.  The second band is nice, but rarely necessary.  Take the saved money and get a HF rig!

My fist HT was a Kenwood TR-2600 2Mtr HT (what a brick by today's standards) and I will tell you - when I got that I though I really had something.  I had more fun with that rig than I have had with any other I have ever owned - and I have owned several.  I put probably a thousand QSL hours on that thing!  It is less about the rig (thought the 2600 was a great rig) and more about how you use it!

Oh, and forget about buying a HT that will last you a long time, forgetaboutit   :o
Like guns owners and guns, Hams never get their fill of rigs!  Better ones come out and we have to have them... ;D

73
« Last Edit: February 06, 2010, 09:30:15 PM by survivininct »

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2010, 05:44:29 AM »
You might want to look at a something else just for grins, If you are thinking of getting a HT and a mobile, You might be in the right price range, Take a look at the Multi Band small Icom 706 or Yaesu 857 or the 857D  You could get those for about the same price, and have much more radio. you would still be able to use the 2 meter 440 and six meter parts of the radio, it is adjustable output so if you wanted or needed to you can use batteries.

It also has all the Hf frequencies so that you can hear what you are missing on the HF bands and it will inspire you to upgrade to the HF bands and you wold all ready have a rig that you know how to operate and you will not need to buy another. and lastly it is pretty much a general coverage receiver so there is not much much you could not tune in, very nice if you are thinking of an emergency radio at some time in the future.

Pretty much a one stop shopping radio for those not wanting to fall into the trap that the rest have fallen into buying lots or radios.

Just other thoughts

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2010, 05:58:34 AM »
I only wish they would have had that type of radio when I started out over 40 years ago, Over that time I would guess I have had 30 or better rigs, many I still have setting on the shelf. Now I have one of the multi band rigs, its small, has all the bands, puts out lots of power and will Tx or Rx any place I want, works good as a base station when I go up to my Cabin, I have even found it fun to work 80 meters in the car with just a hamstick while driving and talking to the guys around me with in my state. several hundred miles(cant do that on VHF). And then jump to VHF and hit the local repeaters.

Again Just thoughts and what works for me, There would not be all the brands if there was one perfect rig.

Offline rkramseb

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2010, 06:26:44 AM »
Oh how I know your concerns. 

I opted to buy at an early stage before I received my ticket.  I actually had saved enough to buy  a couple of radios...I opted for the Yeasu 817 and the 857...ATAS antenna and a dual band mag mout.  I"m in law enforcement and can run my 817 from my patrol veh....ALSO I can take this radio when I travel...just throw it into my back pac and go...I usually throw the mag mount in my checked baggage.

I have since picked up a dual band HT....It goes EVERYWHERE...

Radios are like candy...Everyone has their favorit and reasons why...Mine was being light weight and being able to take it to remote areas and OPERATE.  So far so good

Now working on my general...My want list now includes a base station antenna...GAP more than likely...Live just moinutes from their factory.

GOOD LUCK and BE SAFE

3's   Ron KI4YQI

Offline Ragnar

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2010, 09:42:41 AM »
I would get a HT and a mobile. Set the mobile up so that you can use in the car or as a base. 

For an HT for get trying to use a tri-band  most people only use two bands on an HT  2m and 440. I have heard of using 220 but limited. Now that is not to say don't get a tri-band radio... I bought a VX-7 because I like the features better than the VX-6 but have only used 2M and 440

Reason I say get a mobile as your second is because you will do most of your talking on the mobile. 

If your main concern is getting something that you and your wife can communicate as well, you can probably buy 2 HT (2M only) for the price on one tri-bander.

I do a lot of public service events with my Club and that is where I use my HT the most, however about half of those events if I did not have a Mobile I would not be able to help out.

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010, 09:55:31 AM »
I also have a vx-7r and the thing I like the mst about it is the extended RX range.  I have a 7900 mobile and I miss eing able to listen to one station and scan at the same time like I do on my ht. So dual recieve could be important.

Eventually I will have an 8900 in the truck, and that will give me the best of both worlds.

I don't think you can go wrong starting out with a radio with fewer features as scout said, there is always a shelf it can sit on as back up.

I think a dual band mobile and a dual band ht is a great combo to start and learn.  2m and 440 are the most used freq.  lots of repeaters.

I found that until I spent some time with radios, I didn't know what I needed. now that I have some time on the air under my belt, it is easier to decide wher I'm going.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010, 12:12:41 PM »
As I expected; all great advice as I try and make a good choice getting started as a new operator.  :) :)

I took the time to check into the local repeaters, and as you have stated, they are using 2m/440, so I know I would be on those two bands the majority of the time.

I know I would be saving money by going with a radio with less features, but while I have the funds, I am leaning towards a rig that has what I need when I am ready to upgrade my license, as well as a mobile that can double as a base. I have spoken with a friend who uses his HT Icom in his vehicle by connecting it up to an amp and magmount antenna. I suppose you could do the same by taking it indoors and having a similar setup.

I had no idea there were so many choices when it comes to purchasing a radio, but I believe I am well on my way to making the right choice. Thanks again for you ideas. I will post to let you know what I end up with. Hope to connect with each of you..

Occeltc

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adp113

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2010, 02:39:40 PM »
One thing to consider with wide RX or multi band HTs is how awful they are at rejecting intermod and how week the sensitivity is.  They are nice to have, but not something you want to count on too much.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2010, 07:44:22 PM »
Thanks "adp113." Can you please expand on that thought for the less experienced operator (pre-rig) type person?

Occeltic

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2010, 07:58:52 PM »
One thing to consider with wide RX or multi band HTs is how awful they are at rejecting intermod and how week the sensitivity is.  They are nice to have, but not something you want to count on too much.

Yes, I'd like to have a better understanding of our view also please.
pc

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2010, 08:27:24 AM »
Sure, the two biggest issues I have with HTs is poor rejection and poor receive.  Yes, the little antenna on an HT is pretty inefficient.  But, you'll find that HTs just have rather poor receivers as well.  As an example, my ft 1802m in my truck is by far the best receiving radio I have ever had in the last 15 years - for two reason.  First, it is a single band radio designed for 144-148, that is it.  It rejects all the crap that falls just outside the ham band in the public service band that causes intermod.  This translates to a radio that is quite until it receives the intended signal.  Next, the ft 1802 is very sensitive.  Meaning that I can hear much more with it.  My last radio was a kenwood tmv7a, great all around radio but horrible at rejecting intermod and a rather poor sensitivity receiver.

HTs are poor scanners with poor transmitters built in.  Yes, they are great for portability.  But, they are not meant to be a one size fits all radio.  Sure it will work in a car with a mobile antenna, but get ready for intermod.  And, lets face it, with an HT you are always dependent on using a repeater that belongs to someone else - and that dependence is BAD.

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2010, 08:57:09 AM »
And, lets face it, with an HT you are always dependent on using a repeater that belongs to someone else - and that dependence is BAD.

This idea isn't new to me, but the rest of yoour info was.  Thanks!

adp113

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2010, 10:34:24 AM »
I'm not a big fan of repeaters.  The politics behind the clubs that run them and the unwritten rules makes simplex a much more attractive choice.  With 50 watts on VHF and a decent antenna for home (5 db gain) you will work as much stuff as you would with a repeater.

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2010, 11:26:38 AM »
All the Ideas are good ones, and there is no right or wrong answer, But If I was choosing A first radio,and maybe only radio I might have, keeping in mind we really don't know from one minute to the next when we will need it. and when we might not be able to get another.

 Or when we might be cut off from the rest of the world, "WHEN" not if, Cells internet, wired phones and all the rest of the electronics that the Government now Controls goes down, or is taken down.

My first choice would be one that covers as much as possible, both transmit and receive many forget or maybe don't know That a great many of the emergency communcations are in HF and 50 MHZ parts of the band.. I would also make sure it had enough power to work simplex, on all frequencies, as some one said depending on others equipment it a loosing cause, and will leave you with a worthless piece of gear.

 After I had that radio I would consider getting the other less useful and specialized rigs, for playing with being convenient and handy.

Just my thoughts, That one of the reasons I am on this forum, kind of the most important first, kind of thing.

SM

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2010, 06:16:49 PM »
HTs are poor scanners with poor transmitters built in.  Yes, they are great for portability.  But, they are not meant to be a one size fits all radio.  Sure it will work in a car with a mobile antenna, but get ready for intermod.  And, lets face it, with an HT you are always dependent on using a repeater that belongs to someone else - and that dependence is BAD.

Thanks for expanding on the subject "adp113." :)

 I can see your point in regards to being dependent on repeaters that belong to someone else. I guess there could be many reasons for a repeater to go down, or access limited for one reason or another. Are all repeaters privately or club owned? Aren't there enough repeaters out there to eliminate some of the concerns? Why is intermodulation such a problem with HT's? Or is it common with all multi-band rigs?

Please keep your thoughts coming! I am still not clear on the direction I should go!

Occeltic

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2010, 06:40:39 PM »
Regarding "Intermodulation." Would this be an example of intermodulation: I am driving through a local shopping center listening to an AM radio station (790khz), and as I drive in front of one particular store, I receive a signal blasting out of the place that nearly wipes out the channel I am listening too. I know for a fact that they use wireless headgear in the store to communicate with each other, and that the store is also loaded with florescent lights. It is the only store that has this affect. My guess is the wireless communication system.

Why wouldn't high quality radios have some sort of isolation to keep this from happening? 

Offline JerseyVince

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2010, 08:28:27 PM »
Regarding "Intermodulation." Would this be an example of intermodulation: I am driving through a local shopping center listening to an AM radio station (790khz), and as I drive in front of one particular store, I receive a signal blasting out of the place that nearly wipes out the channel I am listening too. I know for a fact that they use wireless headgear in the store to communicate with each other, and that the store is also loaded with florescent lights. It is the only store that has this affect. My guess is the wireless communication system.

Why wouldn't high quality radios have some sort of isolation to keep this from happening? 

That is an example of front end overload. The signal is so strong and close it totally overpower the radios filters and just drowns out all other signals.

Better radios and most scanners/Amatuer radios have an attentuator to help stop some of it but if its a real problem a Band Pass filter on the antenna is used to stop the signal. These are avail for HT/ mobiles/ HF gear but mostly HF base guys use them

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2010, 08:31:48 PM »
That is an example of front end overload. The signal is so strong and close it totally overpower the radios filters and just drowns out all other signals.

Better radios and most scanners/Amatuer radios have an attentuator to help stop some of it but if its a real problem a Band Pass filter on the antenna is used to stop the signal. These are avail for HT/ mobiles/ HF gear but mostly HF base guys use them

Thanks for the info.  Has anyone ever told you that you look like Bruce Willis?

Offline JerseyVince

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2010, 08:47:28 PM »
No (I Have more hair) But seriously I have been told I resemble Steven Segal (No pony tail)

Now back to DIE HARD Bluray ;D





Take this under advisement, Jerkweed lol still one of the best action movies of all time (IMO)

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2010, 07:09:13 AM »


 I can see your point in regards to being dependent on repeaters that belong to someone else. I guess there could be many reasons for a repeater to go down, or access limited for one reason or another. Are all repeaters privately or club owned? Aren't there enough repeaters out there to eliminate some of the concerns? Why is intermodulation such a problem with HT's? Or is it common with all multi-band rigs?

!

Occeltic



 all repeaters  are privately or club owned, There is no standard set up or any other standards that must be followed, ( other than the FCC regs of course)

So some have huge coverage, areas, others have very little coverage it all depends on location, feedline, antenna, and quality of equipment and two dozen others things. Most of all being how well and active the system manager, or owner in most cases is

 Many many systems do not have back up power, So when Grid goes down you loose 85% of all systems. some do but are poorly serviced so when Grid goes down it only last for a few minutes. Others will last longer But the Amplifier drops off because they draw so much power, and can not be run with battery back up. If that happens you might have a system that usually covers 50 miles suddenly drop to 15 or 20 miles, after that you can not hear it any more. You can still get in but you can not hear the system, if you are out more than 15 or 20 miles.

Distances that systems are  apart from one another are all different , in different parts of the country because or local regulations, from various repeater councils and the terrain that is around to use for locations.   you might only have two or three systems on any one band at one time with in a usable radius for an HT.

 Here in Michigan we have lots of Systems, but 95% do not have back up power, Most of the UHF ones are not useable with an HT out much more than 5 to 10 miles, mostly because of terrain. Most because they are all privately owned and financed. I have build, owned and operated      multiple systems for almost 40 years. Always stayed privately owned because of the politics  and political problems with in the clubs and members. All this stuff makes difference on the where how and how well a system works.

It is fairly flat here and all the Commercial sites have been snapped up by Commercial stuff with money to pay big bucks for them, Ski hills Huge towers  The few hills with towers and so on we have pay big money for them, The last one we left was $200.00 a month, just for the antenna location. Hard to keep up on donations So we now operate on VHF mostly from other Hams locations where we can afford the electric bill.  We have no mountains.

 We do not have a UHF system here that is usable much more than a few miles with an HT with a normal HT antenna, As I said almost every thing is different with every system.

I have often said it would be good training for all new hams to be the system manager for a system for six months, when first licensed, it gives a new outlook when you are setting at Xmas dinner or out with the XYL for dinner or at church and the cell phone rings and a user of the system that does not even make donations says, the repeater is not working can you see what is wrong.

Sorry For the last soap box, Hope this helps a little. Good luck it is really a lot of fun and you will love it. it kind or runs in the blood. But as many have said, DO not depend on other equipment. It will bite you every time. I sure would not the safety of my family on others equipment.

SM

adp113

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2010, 07:10:41 AM »
Thanks for expanding on the subject "adp113." :)

 I can see your point in regards to being dependent on repeaters that belong to someone else. I guess there could be many reasons for a repeater to go down, or access limited for one reason or another. Are all repeaters privately or club owned? Aren't there enough repeaters out there to eliminate some of the concerns? Why is intermodulation such a problem with HT's? Or is it common with all multi-band rigs?

Please keep your thoughts coming! I am still not clear on the direction I should go!

Occeltic


Ultimately someone owns the repeater.  Be it a club, an individual, or the dreaded ARES/RACES group.  Just because they allow anyone to use it openly and freely today does not mean that it will be open tomorrow.  When you use someones repeater your are at their mercy (like living under their roof), and don't assume that because you are a club member that you will have access to the club machine when you need it.  When the power goes out, repeaters have limited back and limited power.  It is not uncommon for a repeater control op to shut the machine down if he does not like or agree with your use of a limited power repeater.

I ditched using repeaters after our local OEM (open) repeater was being shut down after midnight to deliberately screw with the group of us that was using it.  It was only being shut down because one little man with a title did not like that the repeater was being used late at night by people with odd work schedules.  How he tried to justify it was really funny, but that little title he coveted he no longer has.

If your looking to buy radios to use on FM here is what I would buy:

The cheapest Yaesu 2 meter mobile just over $100.  Get one for the car and one for home.
A Cushcraft arx2 antenna for home and for the car get a simple 2 meter 1/4 wave total for both about $100 - you'll need some coax for home (get the good stuff)
You'll need a power supply.  I would get at least a 25 amp model.  Around $125.

total invested is under $500 for all new stuff.  You can half this amount if you buy used.  Later on you can ad an HT to the gear list and you can get a single band radio for less than $150.

I buy the cheap yaesu for a couple of reasons.  At $100 when it breaks it is no big deal.  If it goes missing it is no big deal.  It has just what I need and none of the crap.  It will last you at least 4 years even if you beat the crap out of it, and many more if you keep you car dirt free.

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2010, 08:58:30 AM »
All very true and unfortunately does happen, and it is not right. But on the other side of the spectrum, I have had to do the same thing,
Quote
"Shutting a system down at night"
, for quite a while

Because I had a Lid, reading a service manual for three and four hours at a time, ID'ing every five minutes like required,  I turned him in to the FCC they did nothing,  interesting how little help you get some times from users, when it is out of there way, He finely burned up the amp on the system cost me several hundred dollars to replace some parts. So as I said it comes in all angles, all ways and every thing you can think of.

 So until you walk in there shoes, "repeater trusty", it looks a little different.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 09:03:14 AM by scoutmaster »

adp113

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2010, 10:57:06 AM »
All very true and unfortunately does happen, and it is not right. But on the other side of the spectrum, I have had to do the same thing, , for quite a while

Because I had a Lid, reading a service manual for three and four hours at a time, ID'ing every five minutes like required,  I turned him in to the FCC they did nothing,  interesting how little help you get some times from users, when it is out of there way, He finely burned up the amp on the system cost me several hundred dollars to replace some parts. So as I said it comes in all angles, all ways and every thing you can think of.

 So until you walk in there shoes, "repeater trusty", it looks a little different.

He wasn't the repeater trustee, he was the junior deputy assistant ares/races something or other BS title.  The trustee was outraged at what he did and that was the end of his ability to do anything with the repeater and his little title.  His justification for what he was doing was that we were tying up the repeater in case someone needed it in an emergency - oddly the repeater came up every morning 10 minutes before he left for work. 

Lets face it, if all you have is a ham radio and you need that much help at 3am are you going to call for help on a dead quiet repeater or are you going to ask for help where you hear someone?

A few years later the guy had a total mental break down that played out on the air for weeks.  His wife left him for the owner of a trailer park - a summer park for travel trailers.  They had a trailer there and were year round residents even though they had a nice home.  So, his wife leaves him, the boyfriends evicts him from the trailer park, the wife takes the house, his job gets sent overseas (he was under skilled and way overpaid) and he takes the route of getting drunk and driving around crying and threatening to drive into a pole or tree at high speed.  It was both sad and funny

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2010, 11:20:27 AM »
Sounds like all the reasons I have never gotten involved in Having others having say in what happens to systems I put together, But it also sounds like the repeater trusty was not doing there job, If my call is on a system, the buck stops there.

If he did not know it that worse yet. If he did know that  was as bad as the guy that turned it off, If it was every night like you say sounds like there was more to it than one person.

Glad you got it worked out
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 11:25:30 AM by scoutmaster »

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2010, 11:31:08 AM »
But it does bring up another point, Not to depend on something you do not have control over

Offline Kagetsu

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2010, 02:12:01 PM »
meh, I think I have the gest of the advice.

When I started, and haven't really moved beyond. 2 meter handheld, using sometimes mobile with a 5/8 antenna and external mike was my radio life.  2 meters handheld is still my focus. But I choose a new 3band 6m/2m and 70cm. Just my thought's and not alot of use. 2m is all with repeaters everywhere. most used. I choose 70cm because of it's close range com and growing repeaters. 6m is my idea because it's wider wavelength gives it less obstacle interference and should be better for direct simplex ops. I intend to set my vehicle to the same bands, but I don't find my time "in truck" as often wanting a radio. 

adp113

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2010, 02:26:27 PM »
Sounds like all the reasons I have never gotten involved in Having others having say in what happens to systems I put together, But it also sounds like the repeater trusty was not doing there job, If my call is on a system, the buck stops there.

If he did not know it that worse yet. If he did know that  was as bad as the guy that turned it off, If it was every night like you say sounds like there was more to it than one person.

Glad you got it worked out

The guy shutting things down at night was pretty much a goof.  He pretty much sealed our move to simplex and that was 12 years ago.  The first step in not relying on something you don't own is to just do away with it on your own.  The terrain here is similar to MI, some rolling hills with a few 1000 ft + hills and a lot of flat farmland.  It's amazing just how well 50 watts on simplex does.

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2010, 03:58:48 PM »
So instead of letting one person run you off to simplex,( don't get me wrong I love simplex, My avatar is, my beams( stacked 13s with 5/8 andrews hardline) at 110 feet with the repeater antenna on top) Why did you not  put up a repeater? that you controlled, and let every one use it?? Simplex is nice, but a bit rough from the car, or HT. As I have said never depend on a repeater but they have there places. And  are even more reliable when you control it.

Offline WestTx753

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2010, 07:38:28 PM »
I have used a Vx5 with a mag mount 5/8 out of the truck on both sides of the US for the last 5 or so years. It works and gives me alternative bands. Yes there are downsides such as 5 watts, more interference rejection, and needing more power but it can work. Would I keep that setup in the truck if I thought things were going down hill and I needed to bug out? Not a chance the FT857 would be in the truck as fast as possible. I have even finally upgraded to general class just incase I need the HF bands. So I guess my suggestion is buy the best bang for the buck. For somewhere near $500 you can get a FT857 and 100 watts HF, plus VHF, and UHF.