Author Topic: Choosing the right HT  (Read 29133 times)

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2010, 06:25:43 AM »

 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.

West TX

Really Really not trying to start up a fire here, or stir up anything at all, just trying to spur some thoughts from others, But when we here in michigan had the East coast black out, It Just hit us. No warning No time to prepare. I was out in the car at work, I was instantly in traffic jams. Had I not had my equipment with me. I would not have had use of it. Before I got home several hours later, I had already talked to my wife at home and my son at his school. To me that is the really bad part. We must be in a constant state of readiness, if our preping is going to help.

PS good choice on the 857 I have one in each car and a 897 in the house.

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2010, 07:42:16 PM »
I've got my FT-817 listed on ebay.  As soon as it sells, I plan to get an FT-857.  ;D

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2010, 05:33:48 AM »
Is it just the output power the reason you are getting rid of it??

 I have one as well and find myself using the other rigs because it seems I am always short of getting into the repeater, or Hf station I am trying to talk to?

It is fun to work HF QRP but now a days with all the noise and pile ups I am finding I am rarely successful, Just wondering. As I know several of the guys are trying to decide what to buy.

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2010, 06:53:02 PM »
Is it just the output power the reason you are getting rid of it??

 I have one as well and find myself using the other rigs because it seems I am always short of getting into the repeater, or Hf station I am trying to talk to?

It is fun to work HF QRP but now a days with all the noise and pile ups I am finding I am rarely successful, Just wondering. As I know several of the guys are trying to decide what to buy.
Yes, thats exactly right.  I can make contacts, and some take more work and patience than others.  There is a difference between making a contact, and being able to carry on a conversation(QSO.)  I've found that rarely, at least with my antenna setup, is 5 watts enough power to have a conversation with the stations that I contact.  Usually, the other station has to really work at making out my callsign so we can call it a contact.  I live in Kansas, and I've used my FT-817nd to make voice contacts as far away as Ireland, so it does work, just not as reliably as something with 50 to 100 watts.  Maybe it will get better when we start seeing some sunspots, and the band conditions improve.  Now with all that said, I do beleive that in an emergency, you key the mic at 5 watts, and use the word emergency, somebody will hear you somwehere, and respond. 
Dmart


Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2010, 07:04:45 PM »
To sum it up, if the FT-817 is going to be your first radio, you'll probably be dissappointed.  QRP can be a lot of fun, but when you first get your license, and are looking for your first radio, spend just a little bit more, and get something with more than 5 watts of power, so you can easily make some contacts, and get yourself hooked on this great hobby!  Don't get me wrong though, the FT-817 is a wonderful rig for the portability it's designed for, and in a shtf scenario, it could be the most approriate rig because of it's low power consumption, and light weight.  It's like everything else, you have to make choices, and compromises.

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2010, 07:15:25 PM »
Ok, back to the subject of HTs.  As far as the big 3, Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu, I don't think you can make a wrong choice with any of them.  I prefer the Yaesu HTs for their ruggedness.  I own an obsolete Kenwood TH-D7, which I use for portable APRS, and a Yaesu VX-6R.  The Yaesu VX-6R is the best HT I've ever owned, and if it ever dies on me, I can always use it as a hammer.  ;) 

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2010, 09:12:02 PM »
Ok, back to the subject of HTs.  As far as the big 3, Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu, I don't think you can make a wrong choice with any of them.  I prefer the Yaesu HTs for their ruggedness.  I own an obsolete Kenwood TH-D7, which I use for portable APRS, and a Yaesu VX-6R.  The Yaesu VX-6R is the best HT I've ever owned, and if it ever dies on me, I can always use it as a hammer.  ;) 

I'm pretty hapy with the yaesu radios I have too, i'llbe buying my wife a vx-7rtomorrow forvalentines day. Aren't I romantic.

I took a the specs ofthe 817 and immediately came to the conclusions that you are pointing out. I'll be buing an 857 aqnd ifIwantto do low power, or conserveenergy, I'll tx on low.
pc

adp113

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #37 on: February 13, 2010, 08:13:41 AM »
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.

Coordination was not an option.  The coordinating board is basically corrupt and its a pay for coordination scheme going on here.  Next was cost.  It made little sense to dump a couple of thousand dollars into a repeater.  Next was location.  The area sits about 200-300 feet above sea level with an 1100 foot hill to the east and 1600 foot hill 15 miles to the north.  For where we all live, work and recreate simplex works just fine.  Best of all, with simplex, we can move or change frequencies at any time without any hassle.

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2010, 08:32:01 PM »
I'm pretty hapy with the yaesu radios I have too, i'llbe buying my wife a vx-7rtomorrow forvalentines day. Aren't I romantic.

I took a the specs ofthe 817 and immediately came to the conclusions that you are pointing out. I'll be buing an 857 aqnd ifIwantto do low power, or conserveenergy, I'll tx on low.
pc
There is nothing wrong with the Yaesu VX-7R.  It's a popular radio with hams I know in this area. 
I went ahead and purchased a Yaesu 857.  I have an Elecraft T1 automatic tuner that I used with my FT-817.  It works pretty good, but it has a 20 watt max rating.  Until I get a bigger tuner, I'm operating the FT-857 at 20 watts.  Even that made a huge difference compared to the 5 watt FT-817.  Today on 20 meters, and this evening on 80 meters, the rule of thumb has been, if I can hear the other station, they can here me.  I worked a half dozen or so stations today on 20 watts.  ;D

Dmart

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2010, 10:14:17 PM »
There is nothing wrong with the Yaesu VX-7R.  It's a popular radio with hams I know in this area. 
I went ahead and purchased a Yaesu 857.  I have an Elecraft T1 automatic tuner that I used with my FT-817.  It works pretty good, but it has a 20 watt max rating.  Until I get a bigger tuner, I'm operating the FT-857 at 20 watts.  Even that made a huge difference compared to the 5 watt FT-817.  Today on 20 meters, and this evening on 80 meters, the rule of thumb has been, if I can hear the other station, they can here me.  I worked a half dozen or so stations today on 20 watts.  ;D

Dmart

We now own 2 vx-7r's.  we also purchased the maldol 209sma antennas so we have a convienient antenna for day to day close range simplex work which I hope we do a lot of.  Used them tonight while the kids were asleep in the car I ran into home depot and my wife helped me make a decision on some shelving from the car.  Wrked well for that purpose.  We will see if I can hit the 015 repeater from home on 5 watts???

The 857 looks like a great all around rig.  I'm trying to decide if I'm gonna need two.  one for the house and one for the truck.  I will have a 8900 for the truck soon, but it only covers 10m and that will be in fm.  we wil see what happens.  I'll need to win the lottery or sell some guns to do this hobby "right."

Glad you like your 857!

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2010, 06:18:59 PM »
Now that I've purchased my HT's and accessories, I was looking forward to spending the day listening and perhaps involving myself in conversation with local Hams. According to the call sign database there are 119 ham operators in my zip code. I have spent all day trying to listen in on the simplex freqs, as well as trying to hit the local repeater, or even listen in, but I've had no success.  :(

Tomorrow I hope to have better success as I attempt to test the radios distance abilities while I am away at work. I will be attempting to reach our second radio at home with just my call sign followed by "testing", and then calling my wife via cell phone to see if she could hear me (The Lass is not licensed yet). To be honest, my original intention for obtaining my license and the equipment was not because I was looking for a good hobby. And although I can see now what a great hobby it is, my main intention was to be able to communicate with the Lass should I be at work and a SHTF scenario takes place. I also know that in an emergency situation, the airwaves are going to be jammed up, and two 5w rigs may not cut the mustard. We got that from the sales person at HRO yesterday when we bought the two HT's. He hinted that a mobile rig was going to do much better, and I agree. I was just trying to get out of the door without spending a thousand bucks!

I know the HT's only have 5W of output, but I want to see how well they do. I also want to see how close I have to be to the repeaters in the area in order to hit them. Tomorrow will tells us what we need to do next....

Occeltic

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2010, 06:46:52 PM »
Now that I've purchased my HT's and accessories, I was looking forward to spending the day listening and perhaps involving myself in conversation with local Hams. According to the call sign database there are 119 ham operators in my zip code. I have spent all day trying to listen in on the simplex freqs, as well as trying to hit the local repeater, or even listen in, but I've had no success.  :(

Tomorrow I hope to have better success as I attempt to test the radios distance abilities while I am away at work. I will be attempting to reach our second radio at home with just my call sign followed by "testing", and then calling my wife via cell phone to see if she could hear me (The Lass is not licensed yet). To be honest, my original intention for obtaining my license and the equipment was not because I was looking for a good hobby. And although I can see now what a great hobby it is, my main intention was to be able to communicate with the Lass should I be at work and a SHTF scenario takes place. I also know that in an emergency situation, the airwaves are going to be jammed up, and two 5w rigs may not cut the mustard. We got that from the sales person at HRO yesterday when we bought the two HT's. He hinted that a mobile rig was going to do much better, and I agree. I was just trying to get out of the door without spending a thousand bucks!

I know the HT's only have 5W of output, but I want to see how well they do. I also want to see how close I have to be to the repeaters in the area in order to hit them. Tomorrow will tells us what we need to do next....

Occeltic
Even with HT, and 5 watts, you should be able to stir up a little action in your area.  What type antenna are you using?  If your using the stock "rubber duck" antenna, simplex might be a challenge, but you should be able to get something going on a local repeater.  I guess it depends on how local it is.  I don't know how you are with improvising antennas, but one of the simplest setups is a 1/4, 1/2, or 5/8 wave mobile antenna on a pizza pan.  You might be amazed at what you can do with that.  You'll need an adapter to adapt your HT connector to the PL-259 mobile antenna connector, but those are easy to obtain, you should keep some those around anyway.  I hope this info proves useful.
Dmart

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2010, 06:58:34 PM »
Thanks dmart! I did indeed purchase a Diamond antenna because I had heard enough about the standard whip antenna to know I needed too. I also purchased a mag mount with a coupler for connecting the HT. I like the pizza pan idea...except that I am now craving a hot pepperoni! ;D
I have spent so much time today trying to "experience" my first day on the air, that I am taking my mind off of it by sitting here enjoying my forum friends and a glass of Cabernet.. :)

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2010, 08:36:44 PM »
Now that I've purchased my HT's and accessories, I was looking forward to spending the day listening and perhaps involving myself in conversation with local Hams. According to the call sign database there are 119 ham operators in my zip code. I have spent all day trying to listen in on the simplex freqs, as well as trying to hit the local repeater, or even listen in, but I've had no success.  :(

Tomorrow I hope to have better success as I attempt to test the radios distance abilities while I am away at work. I will be attempting to reach our second radio at home with just my call sign followed by "testing", and then calling my wife via cell phone to see if she could hear me (The Lass is not licensed yet). To be honest, my original intention for obtaining my license and the equipment was not because I was looking for a good hobby. And although I can see now what a great hobby it is, my main intention was to be able to communicate with the Lass should I be at work and a SHTF scenario takes place. I also know that in an emergency situation, the airwaves are going to be jammed up, and two 5w rigs may not cut the mustard. We got that from the sales person at HRO yesterday when we bought the two HT's. He hinted that a mobile rig was going to do much better, and I agree. I was just trying to get out of the door without spending a thousand bucks!

I know the HT's only have 5W of output, but I want to see how well they do. I also want to see how close I have to be to the repeaters in the area in order to hit them. Tomorrow will tells us what we need to do next....

Occeltic

What is the distance from work to home?  All things being equal, the best you will see HT- HT is about a mile or two if its flat and open.  If you are each on top of hills, in the prairie, or on the water, it will get better.  At home on my 897 with a cushcraft arx2b I am able to hear someone on an HT to about 5 miles.  I sit on top of an 80 foot hill and my antenna is another 40 feet above the ground.  It is quite a sight from the roof.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2010, 10:03:15 PM »
That's really not what I wanted to hear adp113. I need much better range than that! Is this why I haven't been able to hear anyone all day? My office is just over a mile from my home, but the problem is that I may be five or more miles away from home at times. If a mile is all I'm going to get, then I have made a huge mistake with my purchase..

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2010, 06:06:01 AM »

 According to the call sign database there are 119 ham operators in my zip code. I have spent all day trying to listen in on the simplex freqs, as well as trying to hit the local repeater, or even listen in, but I've had no success.  :(

Tomorrow I hope to have better success as I attempt to test the radios distance abilities while I am away at work. I will be attempting to reach our second radio at home with just my call sign followed by "testing", and then calling my wife via cell phone to see if she could hear me (The Lass is not licensed yet).

To be honest, my original intention for obtaining my license and the equipment was not because I was looking for a good hobby. And although I can see now what a great hobby it is, my main intention was to be able to communicate with the Lass should I be at work and a SHTF scenario takes place. I also know that in an emergency situation, the airwaves are going to be jammed up, and two 5w rigs may not cut the mustard.

I know the HT's only have 5W of output, but I want to see how well they do. I also want to see how close I have to be to the repeaters in the area in order to hit them. Tomorrow will tells us what we need to do next....

Occeltic

Several points I would like to hit,


Just because you have 119 ham operators in my zip code, really does not mean any thing, I have hundreds and you will usually only hear 10%  or less on two meters, the rest are spread out over , HF, packett, 6 meters, 440, 220 , digital and dozen others places or just don't even have a radio at all.


Checking as you described with your wife at home should work fine, in letting you know if you can make the trip simplex, I got my wife and my kids into ham for the same reason, and that reason only, My interest is another story but we have used it for years for just communications reasons.

With the right antennas, and feed line you should be able to get at least 10 to 15 miles with two HTs, Now that is talking a High gain Base antenna, and a 6 DB gain antenna on your car. Not talking A antenna on a cooky sheet, We have all used that one and it works great. For repeater use and so on it is great. But simplex is another story.

As far as the  "emergency situation, the airwaves are going to be jammed up", I don't agree. For sure on the two meter band. Most repeaters do not have back up power, so they will be down. Second the ones that do may be short lived as the back up power takes continues work to keep in good working order, I have three systems that I maintain and I know it is a continues job.

 most hams do not have back up power so other than in there cars they will not be able to get on,

and lastly I was on and using the two meters during the east coast black out, and the airwaves where dead,  And I have an antenna 100 feet in the air.  other than a few on the normal simplex frequencies, that are normally used the others where dead.

  My family always stays away from those and we have never found traffic a problem. I think you will find it wide open.

"listening in a in using the repeaters", From what you say you may be having one or more problems in that aria,

A lot of systems are protected with PL tones, to keep others far away from keying up a system they do not intend to use, your radio will or should generate those  tones and they are usually listed in the repeater listings.

You should be able to tell when the repeater is working, it should come up and ID either in voice or code when ever some one keys it up, or talks over five minuets. If you are hitting it, you would hear a carrier come up.

Hope that helps some. You will find hams in general are all ways more than willing to help, some times to a point of being a pain in the ***.

Once you get your wife on board, and licensed. I think she will see the usefulness , Before cell phones, many years ago that is all my wife and I used. My kinds had HTs in there back packs at school. and could hit the local repeater.

Good luck
SM

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2010, 06:20:01 AM »
another after thought, Have your wife set her cell, in front of the radio and you call it, then all the way home you can test, using your call and you can tell where and when you hit the home rig, Saves her being forced, to much to get involved until you get it set up. I found that my wife had no interest, So I would get it working and then get her involved. For Me it saved her from getting upset. Just a thought.

SM

Offline TigerDragon

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2010, 06:39:02 AM »
Also, try to find a local HAM club and attend their meetings.  Our local club has a monthly official meeting, but we also meet every Friday for lunch just to ragchew.  The local club should provide you with a wealth of information about the local 2m trends.

I wouldn't say that you "made the wrong purchase" if your HTs aren't picking things up.  It's possible that you just aren't using the right tones to activate the repeater, or the repeater is down for maintenance (owner would know) or similar.

As for HT recommendations, (for anyone else who might be interested in finding a nice one) the Yaesu vx8r with the GPS accessory gives you a handheld, APRS, and GPS in one unit.  It's not cheap, but it reduces the amount of gear you might want for an emergency situation.  APRS is double edged, though.  Either you do or you do not want people to know where you are at.  In a "repeater towers are down" emergency, it won't matter much, though.

73

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2010, 07:02:00 AM »
Thanks for your comments regarding my post. It seems the one thing I really left out of the equation when deciding on a rig was the range of communications I was looking to achieve. My office is only a bit over a mile from the house, but the problem is that I am only there a fraction of the time. The majority of my day is spent anywhere from 3 to 15 miles away, so I can see that I am going to have to make some changes in order to insure being able to reach my home should I need to.
You are right, Scoutmaster, about other folks in the area being on different bands apart from what I was monitoring, and I am thinking the reason I wasn't picking anyone up was due to the shorter range of my HT. This is probably the same reason why I couldn't hit the repeater. I did include the tones in my transmission and hoped to hear a confirmation of that TigerDragon, but again I think it was due to the distance from it.
I looked up the call signs in my zip, and found a couple of guys at work who are hams. I will be approaching them today to see what I can find out regarding their experience. One I know is a member of the club I went to when I took my exam, and I will be planning on visiting them when they next meet.
Thanks for the suggestion regarding the cell phone SM. My wife is being this endeavor, but after convincing her that I knew what I was doing regarding the purchase of a couple of HT's, additional antenna's (including a mag mount), and all the accessories, the bill was over $600. Therefore, I better figure this one out soon. If I need to return to HRO for a refund or a replacement on what I bought, I am sure I have limited time to do so.

Thanks again for your assistance! :)

Story to be continued...Occeltic

KJ6EZR

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2010, 07:34:18 AM »
All very good points, and true.
Don't give up I am sure you will find them very useful. First thing that comes to mind, Is an HT should have the same receive capabilities as most larger radios. So you should hear much the same,  Given you are using the same antennas, feed line and so on. Only get the good stuff, it is expensive, but well worth it. If you get the cheap stuff you can loose all of your transmit and receive signal before it gets out the end of the coax.

If you are using the rubber ducky that comes with the HT then you are cutting yourself short. Just being in a house will cut down your coverage with a rubber duck, A duck is a negative gain antenna. That means it is like if your rig is running 5 watts  after it goes out to the antenna its like only 3 watts into the air. With a duck.  Where if you have a 6 DB GAIN ANTENNA  your 5 watts would be like 10 watts out into the air.  Not accurate numbers but you get the idea. Also the HT will have an open front end and get more interference, Base rigs do not. but it does not sound like you have that problem.

But you can see the antenna makes a huge difference, from 3 watts to maybe 10 watts,  with the same radio, Feed-line and antennas make a huge difference.

The higher you can get the antennas you can the better it will be.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2010, 07:39:55 AM by scoutmaster »

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #50 on: February 22, 2010, 08:00:56 AM »
Don't despair!

First good choice buying two radios.  When you wife gets her ticket, you will find lots of situations where comms with a ht are more convienient than with cell phones.

suggestions on antenas youhave gotten are good ones.  it makes a huge difference to have a good antenna.

Today my wife and I will be tinkering with the ARTS function on our radio in 2m  We were reallysurprised at how low the range was yesterday when we were driving in seperate vehicles.  about a mile.  we were both running ducks inside the vehicle and I'm guessing most of our power was slamming into the roof ofthe car because of the high takeoff anglewith such short antennas.  maybe 440 would have been a betterchoice.

HTs are very useful tools, and you will find them to be so I'm sure.  there is no one radio that can do everything well, so dont expect that from the ht's.  Jack talks abouta 4 gun battery, well, a 4 radio battery isnt too far off either.

God luck!

Offline venturecrew

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2010, 09:32:58 AM »
It has many many advantages that will show as time goes on, You will love it.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2010, 06:44:33 PM »
Oh brother....have I been despairing! I sure hope I'm not the only one out there that gets their ticket and then has the kind of issues I am having. I think the radios are good radios, and I tested distance on them today to see if I could reach home. I am guessing the distance was close to five miles, but I was in an elevated area looking down towards the community we live in. Our home20 was behind a hill and down the road a bit from my point of view, yet she could still hear me okay. I then decided to drive down the road a bit, and was at a lower elevation and it was a no go. The biggest problem that I think I am having is my inability to hit the repeater. The two guys at the office can't understand why I can't do so. The big a=s mountain with the repeater on it is right there! It is putting out 150W. I know its offset input freq and its output freq, and still, I'm not hearing anything. I was able to pick up, through scanning, two or three conversations on the 2m and the 70cm bands, so I know that I can receive as well as send. I am at a loss as to the repeater.
I am going to attend the local radio club meeting tonight to see if I can find out what the hay I am doing wrong!

You guys are awesome for wanting to help me out on this Ham Radio journey! I was really excited about the whole thing of getting on the air, using the repeaters, making new ham buddies...ya know, all the good stuff! :) At least I'm making them here on TSP! ;D

adp113

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2010, 06:46:01 PM »
That's really not what I wanted to hear adp113. I need much better range than that! Is this why I haven't been able to hear anyone all day? My office is just over a mile from my home, but the problem is that I may be five or more miles away from home at times. If a mile is all I'm going to get, then I have made a huge mistake with my purchase..

I don't want to say that you made a mistake, as HTs do have a value.  The trick is knowing what that value is.  They are great for portability and having a battery.  But, when it comes to a daily use radio, there are better choices.  I am not a proponent of buying an HT as your first of sole radio - I did this 15 years ago with a radio shack htx202 and I was disappointed because an HT is the most limited radio you can buy.  So what I did was to toss away, at the time $269, on an HT only to go out and spend nearly four hundred on a dual band mobile like I should have done in the first place.  Using an HT you are going to be limited to using local repeaters while you are rather stationary.  Notice the reliance on repeaters, and that is not a good thing.  You are never far from a low bat warning on an HT when you are running 5 watts.  5 watts and mobile is a recipe for a lot of picketing fencing into a repeater.

If you listen to the local repeaters around drive time you will hear much more activity.  But, generally repeaters seem to be the vast areas of people listening and not talking.  If you look back though this thread there was a lot of years of good advice on buying a first radio and what to get and what to avoid.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #54 on: February 22, 2010, 07:04:24 PM »
Good words adp. I've already been on the phone with HRO about making a return of the radios and an upgrade to what I should have gone with in the first place, a mobile. This is what Truik suggested, but I was trying to save a buck or two and have a radio for my Lass as well. I may just purchase two mobiles, one for my truck, and one that can be in the house or in the Lass's car.
Scoutmaster has shared very wise words with me:You should do your best to not rely on a repeater for your comms, as they not only require maintenance, a good power source (including back-up power), an owner who doesn't want to control the repeater to meet his own personal interests, and a good location as well. I believe he is right on with his assessment.

The suggestions for a higher gain antenna are good one as well. The mag mount we picked up has a 2m gain of only...gee, I don't think it has any additional gain! Okay, it has 2.15dBi on 70cm. I'm not sure why I have this antenna, but it looks good!

I really want to make this experience with Ham Radio a lot of fun. Please tell me that it can be, and that I will be able to jump over this learning curve hurdle soon...

Occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #55 on: February 22, 2010, 07:22:42 PM »
It is a fun hobby.  Don't get hung up on buying a multi band mobile radio.  For just about $139 you can get a 2 meter Yaesu ft1900r that will do what you need it to do.  Tight receive, 50 watts and 10 memory banks to store 200 memory channels.  On the first page I posted at list of things you could buy for under $500 that would outfit you at home and in the car.

Offline pac1911

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #56 on: February 22, 2010, 08:19:14 PM »
or for 149 you can get into a 2900 and you have 75watts...

Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #57 on: February 22, 2010, 08:50:03 PM »
RE:  Those nice 100 watt HF rigs, if the SHTF, power to run them might become a concern.  Even with that watts out turned down, they suck a lot more electrical than the rigs designed for QRP.  This might be more of a concern if you have to bug out for any reason.  I for one don't plan to carry a car battery on my back. 

As far as the HT's go, I like the rigs that Yaesu make, but I have my reservations about the battery packs.  I really like my Icom 2M HT, it has the AA battery back.  At some point, depending on how long the fecal matter has been in contact with the fan, that battery will become impossible to replace whereas you might have better luck salvaging some AA's out of some solar sidewalk lights etc.

As I stated in another thread, I really like my 703+.  I can turn it up to 10 watts if need be, it has a built in auto tuner making setting up a field expedient antenna a breeze.  Just cut the wire close enough for government work and let the tuner take out the slop.  If/when the SHTF, depending on the location and the severity and nature of the event, contest activity might end for a while, and even so, they generally only occupy the weekends.  If I had to be making an SOS call, I'd bet on any given weekend with one watt and a SOS or mayday, or break break break for emergency traffic, you will be responded to.

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #58 on: February 22, 2010, 09:20:31 PM »
Oh brother....have I been despairing! I sure hope I'm not the only one out there that gets their ticket and then has the kind of issues I am having. I think the radios are good radios, and I tested distance on them today to see if I could reach home. I am guessing the distance was close to five miles, but I was in an elevated area looking down towards the community we live in. Our home20 was behind a hill and down the road a bit from my point of view, yet she could still hear me okay. I then decided to drive down the road a bit, and was at a lower elevation and it was a no go. The biggest problem that I think I am having is my inability to hit the repeater. The two guys at the office can't understand why I can't do so. The big a=s mountain with the repeater on it is right there! It is putting out 150W. I know its offset input freq and its output freq, and still, I'm not hearing anything. I was able to pick up, through scanning, two or three conversations on the 2m and the 70cm bands, so I know that I can receive as well as send. I am at a loss as to the repeater.
I am going to attend the local radio club meeting tonight to see if I can find out what the hay I am doing wrong!

You guys are awesome for wanting to help me out on this Ham Radio journey! I was really excited about the whole thing of getting on the air, using the repeaters, making new ham buddies...ya know, all the good stuff! :) At least I'm making them here on TSP! ;D
Did you try going to where the repeater is, and try to bring it up from right next to it?  You could try that, and if you still can't bring it up, then you know something is wrong.  It just doesn't seem to me like it would be that hard to bring up the repeater from your home.  I have a Yaesu VX-6R, and I use it at least once per week to talk to a friend of mine who lives 35 miles away via simplex.  Now granted I'm not using the factory antenna.  I have a comet white fiberglass high gain verticle mounted on a 35FT tower fed with 50ft of RG-8 cable.  My friend uses a Kenwood base all mode transceiver,  but typically uses low power, 10 watts or less.
Dmart

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #59 on: February 22, 2010, 09:26:17 PM »
RE:  Those nice 100 watt HF rigs, if the SHTF, power to run them might become a concern.  Even with that watts out turned down, they suck a lot more electrical than the rigs designed for QRP.  This might be more of a concern if you have to bug out for any reason.  I for one don't plan to carry a car battery on my back. 

As far as the HT's go, I like the rigs that Yaesu make, but I have my reservations about the battery packs.  I really like my Icom 2M HT, it has the AA battery back.  At some point, depending on how long the fecal matter has been in contact with the fan, that battery will become impossible to replace whereas you might have better luck salvaging some AA's out of some solar sidewalk lights etc.

As I stated in another thread, I really like my 703+.  I can turn it up to 10 watts if need be, it has a built in auto tuner making setting up a field expedient antenna a breeze.  Just cut the wire close enough for government work and let the tuner take out the slop.  If/when the SHTF, depending on the location and the severity and nature of the event, contest activity might end for a while, and even so, they generally only occupy the weekends.  If I had to be making an SOS call, I'd bet on any given weekend with one watt and a SOS or mayday, or break break break for emergency traffic, you will be responded to.

If you have an emergency, there is always someone on 14.300MHZ who will here you and respond, at least during the daylight hours.  There are folks from coast to coast that monitor that frequency.
Dmart