My ham radio choices for shtf [Archive] - Glock Talk

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ric0123
06-04-2011, 16:03
Whenever a thread comes up about communications, it usually turns into a Ham vs everything else contest. I'm not going to go there. I'm also not going to preach about how ham is the ultimate xxxx that solves everything for every body. What I'm going to list out is the radios I've collected and why. Maybe this will put things in perspective for non hams, and I'm curious to get feedback from Hams to my choices.



First off, I've been a ham about a year and I've pretty much sold myself on Yaesu. Their menu systems on all of their radios are pretty much the same, they seem to have feature rich radios that are build well and resonably priced. All of those things are opinions

http://www.yaesu.com/


My first radio was a Yaesu vx-7r. It is a handheld radio that's built very tough (claims to be submersible).

Reasons why:
-durable
-extremely wide receive range (eliminates the need for a scanner)
-decent power output. 2.5watts
-removeable antenna, many battery pack options
-Tri band (actually quad unoffically) 6m (50mhz) 2m (144mhz) 70cm (440mhz)
-Wide band capable



In regards to the last bullet. I'm not going to get into an argument about the legalities of transmitting on non ham freqs with a ham radio. My point is, the radio COULD transmit on vhf business band, marine band and other stuff in the 150mhz range, as well as UHF business band, FRS, GMRS and other stuff up in the 440mhz range.

I picked this radio because it's able to receive CB, WX, FRS, GMRS, Biz Band, FM broadcast and a whole crap load of others, and transmit on most of them.

If I had to only have one radio, this would be it, which is why it was my first. It also has dual tuners, so you can listen to two stations at the same time.

If you're wondering about price, I think I paid about $325 for it

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0777.html

I added a magnetic external antenna and a replacement tri band whip for about $60 total.








My second radio is a yaesu ft-8900.

It's a quad band 10m (28mhz FM only) 6m (50mhz) 2m (144mhz and 70 cm (440mhz) mobile radio. Outputs 30 watts I think? depending on band.
Receive range isn't as wide as the 7r. What's cool about this radio is that it will do crosss band repeat and dual tuning. So, you can have one channel set to a repeater, the other set to a diff frequency and use your handheld 7r out in the field and use your vehicle as a relay station. Pretty slick. You can also wide band mod this radio (I've not done it yet)

I got this radio because I wanted more power than the 7r, but I wanted multiple freqs (I'm big into multi use equipment).

I also bought this because I got a screaming deal on it. They are typically about $500. The quad band antenna for it is another $100, a good mount is another $50

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs/0890.html






My third radio is the FT-817nd. This is an emergency unit/backpacker radio. They sell it that way.

The reason is,
-It's very low power
-it has an internal battery pack
-it transmits on basically any freq you can think of from shortwave up to 440mhz in any mode (am, fm, USB, LSB, packet, digital, etc)
-it has an antenna port on the front to stick up over your head in a backpack, and one in the back for mobile use.
-its tiny.

If I had to be stuck on a desert island, this would be the one. It's very low power output (2 watts max) but for shortwave you don't need much. I'm about to get an LDG-817 antenna tuner for it for another $120 which will allow me to use pretty much any piece of wire as an antenna (including shoving a coat hanger in the back). Hams use this radio with a 7ah lead acid battery for 2 day field day events no problem

They are expensive, but eham.net and craigslist are your friend. Retail is just under $700, secondary market is about $500

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/1817.html




My final radio was an impuse purchase, but had a reason.

BAOFENG UV-3R 136-174 400-470 DU BAND POCKET SIZE

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220783360925&ssPageName=ADME:X:AAQ:US:1123


It's a cheap Chinese radio. Cheap meaning under $99 shipped. I bought it because

-it was cheap
-it will tx and rx on any band between 136-174mhz 400-470mhz
-it has a removable antenna so I can use an external
-did I mention it was cheap?

This radio is going in my GHB/BOB. For $99, I don't care if it gets lost, broken or stolen, (like my 7r, at over $300, I'd be ticked). It will pick up the common vhf, biz band, gmrs, frs freqs and transmit back to them. If you had to have one urban radio and you're budget minded, this would be one to look at. It has an internal rechargeable battery, I'm working on a 3 AA external battery pack for it just in case.



So there it is. I'm not really in the market for any other radios right now. These are the 3 that I've always wanted for SHTF, TEOTtWAWKI and normal daily use. I picked them for the functionality, and capabilities. I sure don't claim to be an expert on any of this, but if there are questions, I'll do my best to answer.

powder86
06-04-2011, 16:14
i wish i knew more about this stuff. and though i want a radio, i've gotta get my food preps first.

Akita
06-04-2011, 16:56
Please folks, lets respect the OP's wishes and dont start the typical argument in this thread.

I Love Yaesu, but if you want to get an entry radio I recommend this one:
http://www.wouxun.us/
Roughly 1/2 price as a Yaesu or Icom or Kenwood.

Remember too that you can transmit on the MURS band/freqs if you stay <=2watts (which the wouxun will do).

(edited to add: that should read that you can transmit on MURS with 2 watts or less WITHOUT A LISENCE )

bdcochran
06-04-2011, 17:07
I will be honest. I disposed of my ham gear other than 2 meter handhelds.

The reasons are simple:

1. I no longer have anyone with whom I need to communicate if shtf;
My kid grew up. My girlfriend has her head on her shoulders and has her shtf plans.

As a result, depsite being an Advanced Class (no longer offered), I have grown rusty. I have dealt with it by having the various units carefully bagged and stored with a couple copies of the manuals each. I have plenty of non rechargable batteries and battery packs.

If you are in the situation of having children, I had my son licensed at 8, with a pack and radio stored in the principal's office under lock and key. Imagine, your kid having the only bug out bag in school!

ric0123
06-04-2011, 17:15
Please folks, lets respect the OP's wishes and dont start the typical argument in this thread.

I Love Yaesu, but if you want to get an entry radio I recommend this one:
http://www.wouxun.us/
Roughly 1/2 price as a Yaesu or Icom or Kenwood.

Remember too that you can transmit on the MURS band/freqs if you stay <=2watts (which the wouxun will do).



I'm aware of the wouxun and they've gotten good reviews from what I hear

JK-linux
06-04-2011, 17:51
.....

Bushflyr
06-04-2011, 20:46
Most of the paragliders I know use a vx-150. Discontinued now, but whatever 5 watt yaesu is available. I also have a Kenwood thg-71a, but it died.

Big Bird
06-04-2011, 20:55
I have a Yaesu VX6R which is my handheld. But it gets little use. The 2m radio I use the most is my ICOM mobile unit in my car.

But I spend more time on 10 meters and 40 meters than any other band. At home I use both a Yaesu FT 950 or the ICOM 7000. I personally think 10 meter is more useful for local communications than 2 meter. The IC 7000 stays on 2 meter hooked to a ground plane antenna and the Yeasu is hooked to a Ameritrion 600 watt amp so its my HF rig. I have several antennas I use for the Yaesu but I do well with just a folded dople for 20 and 40 meters and a vertical for 10 meters.

I will say that I much prefer the controls on a ICOM radio over the Yaesu radios I own. The ICOM is much more intuitive IMO

RED64CJ5
06-04-2011, 21:22
I must admit over the years my collection has swayed farther into being more Yaesu-dominant. This is due in part to their standardization of terminology and menu structure across products and overall value.

I used to have a fair amount of Icom but nowadays my home pecking order is:
Yaesu (several HF, HT, and mobiles)
Kenwood (several mobiles and a couple of HT)
Alinco (older mobiles)
Drake (for quasi EMP resistance and ease of repair)

At one time I was very "HT" heavy with almost a dozen in the fleet but now I've gotten more practical and am down to 4. 2 for the BOB's (identical Kenwoods), a Yaesu VX-6R, and a Yaesu VX-2R.

To each his own. Go with what works for you, learn it intimately, know how to service it, know it's limitations. I have helped a lot of guys buy radios over the past twenty years and it's a lot like buying a gun or a car....Very subjective based on one's individual perceptive need.

RED64CJ5
06-04-2011, 21:23
I personally think 10 meter is more useful for local communications than 2 meter.

Couldn't agree more. It is horribly under-rated for local comms.

Bravo 1
06-05-2011, 03:00
excellent thread,,,,,tagged:cool:

kirgi08
06-05-2011, 03:16
Red,youse went KISS,I did also,just a different way.'08.

Mister Clean
06-05-2011, 12:36
I think your choices are all top notch! :thumbsup:

It is clear that you have put a lot of thought into trying to cover all-of-the-bases (i.e. portability, mobility, BOB, and cost effectiveness). You also took into consideration your power sources.

It is also clear that you have planned what to do if something happens to your primary antenna by knowing ahead of time what the options would be.

Kudos and major props to the "man-with-a-plan".
:)


*********************************************************


I am also a licensed HAM operator. I passed my GENERAL exam last month just in time before the current question pool expires at the end of this month. Now I am studying for my EXTRA ticket so that I can pass that exam before the question pool changes again next year.

I think that if the SHTF, HAM radio will be very useful if not a vital means of communication. I am extremely active as a HAM operator already and society hasn’t even broken down yet! I have a training session (net) scheduled for almost every day of the week. For example:
- I belong to 3 HAM radio clubs and we have on-the-air training sessions every week for newbies, ELMER Q & A sessions and just confirming that our latest and greatest antenna/microphone/transceiver/power source, et cetera is working as intended.
o We practice monitoring more than one band at a time, the use of repeaters, changing frequencies, AM, FM, SSB, RTTY, MORSE code, simplex relays, mobile, APRS, et cetera.
o We practice using our handy talkies versus mobile stations versus home base stations, low/mid/high power and portable/mobile/permanent antennas, et cetera.

- I practice at least once a month using my HAM radio(s) as a member of:
o my local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
o Medical Reserve Corps
o Amateur Radio Disaster Services (ARES)
o Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES)
o SKYWARN Weather Spotters (lots of activity lately for this . . . almost every day last month!)


When it comes down to what is my favorite radio, I have a different philosophy than the OP.


"Jack of all trades, master of none" is my philosophy. I like to know how to program, monitor, use more than one brand just in case my radio is out of commission and the only available radio does not have the manual sitting on top of it.    No small feat when you consider that even WITH the manual, it took me almost 2 weeks to figure out how to transmit using one of my radios. I could monitor just fine. But it was only because of the practice sessions that I participate in that I kept trying and trying until someone finally confirmed that they had heard me. I wasn’t sure if it was the radio, the microphone, the antenna, the power source or some combination of all of these. Turned out to be a simple setting on the radio.

Handie Talkie: Yaesu VX-8DR, 50/144/430 MHz, Triple-Band, 5 Watts, Submersible Transceiver
APRS/GPS/Bluetooth Handheld , dual band monitor function, heads up compass
Covers AM/FM broadcasts, TV stations, public service channels, temperature sensor
spare Li-Ion battery packs, 3-AA battery pack, DC auto power adapter, AC convertor
Antenna: Yaesu factory rubber duck and Diamond SRH999 Quad band

Mobile: ICOM IC-208H, 144-148/440-450 MHz, VHF/UHF Dual-Band, 55/15/5 Watts
Aviation, Marine, Weather and Utility Communications
DC auto power adapter, Astron RS-35M AC power convertor
Antenna: Larsen - Tri Band VHF, UHF, 800 MHz Motorola Style Mobile
Buddipole, Slim Jim end-fed dipole

BaseStation: Kenwood TS-2000 “dc to daylight”


Almost every HAM that I know has multiple power sources on hand so that if the SHTF they can continue to operate “off-the grid”. Gasoline/propane generators, solar panels, gel battery storage arrays, alkaline/Li-Ion batteries in the hundreds, et cetera.

All of my HAM friends also have dozens of alternative/spare antennas at the ready.

bdcochran
06-05-2011, 12:40
In answer to the question about antennas. The hand held units come with an antenna. I then bought a spare hotshot (if I remember the term)antenna for each unit as back up - cheap and better than the originals.

mac66
06-05-2011, 13:21
Please folks, lets respect the OP's wishes and dont start the typical argument in this thread.

I Love Yaesu, but if you want to get an entry radio I recommend this one:
http://www.wouxun.us/
Roughly 1/2 price as a Yaesu or Icom or Kenwood.

Remember too that you can transmit on the MURS band/freqs if you stay <=2watts (which the wouxun will do).

(edited to add: that should read that you can transmit on MURS with 2 watts or less WITHOUT A LISENCE )

I had a yaesu VX6r which was great radio but every time I set it aside for awhile I had to relearn it. It was pretty complicated and I am not very active as a ham. I sold it and bought two Wouxons and use one or the other quite often, atving, hunting, or when out and about. Good bang for the buck and can be used on alternative freqs if needed. I also have a pair of Puxing 777+s. in UHF which make a nice alternative comms in an emergency.

Mister Clean
06-05-2011, 13:46
I had a yaesu VX6r which was great radio but every time I set it aside for awhile I had to relearn it. It was pretty complicated and I am not very active as a ham. I sold it and bought two Wouxons and use one or the other quite often, atving, hunting, or when out and about. Good bang for the buck and can be used on alternative freqs if needed. I also have a pair of Puxing 777+s. in UHF which make a nice alternative comms in an emergency.



Touche'. That is precisely why I mentioned that I participate in training nets every week. Even WITH the manuals right in front of you, some HAM radios are a beast to figure out how to use. So much so that an entire "cottage industry" has evolved to produce SUPPLEMENTAL or ALTERNATIVE manuals/cheat sheets/et cetera.

GlockRadio
06-05-2011, 16:07
First off, I've been a ham about a year

My first radio was a Yaesu vx-7r. It is a handheld radio that's built very tough (claims to be submersible).

Reasons why:
-durable
-extremely wide receive range (eliminates the need for a scanner)
-decent power output. 2.5watts
-removeable antenna, many battery pack options
-Tri band (actually quad unoffically) 6m (50mhz) 2m (144mhz) 70cm (440mhz)
-Wide band capable


My second radio is a yaesu ft-8900.

It's a quad band 10m (28mhz FM only) 6m (50mhz) 2m (144mhz and 70 cm (440mhz) mobile radio. Outputs 30 watts I think? depending on band.
Receive range isn't as wide as the 7r. What's cool about this radio is that it will do crosss band repeat and dual tuning. So, you can have one channel set to a repeater, the other set to a diff frequency and use your handheld 7r out in the field and use your vehicle as a relay station. Pretty slick. You can also wide band mod this radio (I've not done it yet)


http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs/0890.html



My third radio is the FT-817nd. This is an emergency unit/backpacker radio. They sell it that way.

The reason is,
-It's very low power
-it has an internal battery pack
-it transmits on basically any freq you can think of from shortwave up to 440mhz in any mode (am, fm, USB, LSB, packet, digital, etc)
-it has an antenna port on the front to stick up over your head in a backpack, and one in the back for mobile use.
-its tiny.

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/1817.html


So there it is. I'm not really in the market for any other radios right now. These are the 3 that I've always wanted for SHTF, TEOTtWAWKI and normal daily use. I picked them for the functionality, and capabilities. I sure don't claim to be an expert on any of this, but if there are questions, I'll do my best to answer.




I've been a ham for over 30 years and I must say you have put together an impressive list for SHTF. In fact my BOB contains an FT-817 and an two VX7r's, the FT-8900 and IC-706 are already mounted in the SUV with the antenna kit bag that resides there permanently for erecting all types of emergency antennas. My kit also includes the LDG-817 antenna tuner and it is a recommended "must buy" for the 817. Nice to see that others also include communications in their BOBs! Great job! :perfect10:

RED64CJ5
06-05-2011, 18:31
There is one comment I can't keep to myself about the FT-817's.

The factors you need to look at closely in determining whether to buy an FT-817 are available power output, size and weight, and battery consumption. Frankly, I do not recommend someone buy an FT-817 unless they have plenty of money and other rigs at their disposal first.

Here's why:

1. They have minimal power output compared to an FT-857. 100W vs 5W on HF. Even 25W would have been great, but 5W can be next to useless unless you're strictly looking at local communications or you have a very good antenna setup. And yes, I have 20 years of QRP (low power) operations experience so I know you *can* work the entire world on less than a watt. (but there are conditions that must be met)

2. The 817 may have a nice carry strap, but I will tell you from personal experience that an 857 fits equally as nice in a pack. You do not need nor will you frequently use the 817's carry strap. The two units are very comparable in size and weight, with the 857 being slightly larger and heavier, but minimally. Take a look at the them side by side in a store.

3. Power consumption. Here's where I think the 817 is a loser in this battle. While you can certainly utilize the internal battery of the 817, it is not going to last you very long compared to using something like a small 7 amphour external battery. Essentially, my thought here is that you can utilize an 857 set on lower power along with an external 7 amphour (think alarm system) battery and get the same results. Essentially you can run the 857 down to as little power as you want (5 watts, for example) and then if you need more power, it is available.

I'm not trying to put down the 817 as a contender. I just think that if it's your sole HF radio, you are at a disadvantage. 5 watts is fine if you are hill-topping, have an awesome antenna, or are the conditions are great. 5 watts are pathetic if you're really needing to talk to someone and don't have the ability to "boost up" to something more feasible for domestic (N America) communications like a 25-50 watt rig.

So if you have an FT-817, I recommend you look at available amps such as the Tokyo Hi-power to give you an extra 20 or so watts.

If you do not own an HF rig, consider a small, portable unit like the Yaesu FT-857 and comparable models from Icom or Kenwood. (think IC-706 or TS-50S.) The 817 is good for your BOB if you really know what you're doing and are familiar with it's limitations. I'd stick to something with a little more power, myself.

DustyJacket
06-05-2011, 19:14
Does the HAM license still require passing a morse code test?

I came close once, but no bananna....

RED64CJ5
06-05-2011, 19:18
Does the HAM license still require passing a morse code test?

Most of the old codgers who fought against "no code" are 6 feet under now.

While I did pass my code test to get my license, I am glad to see it gone.

You can now obtain your license without it!

DustyJacket
06-05-2011, 20:47
hmmmm..........

Big Bird
06-05-2011, 21:52
Yeah, I had a Yaesu 817 and it was a fun radio to use with a Buddipole and I made contacts in California, Jamaica and England on 20 meters but generally it was really hit or miss with only 5 watts output. Its really a hobby radio for low wattage DXing.

Cool concept but limited application.

Jim in MI
06-06-2011, 10:00
Thanks for bringing up HAM again.

I got my license a few years ago but still haven't bought a raidio(s).

I just can't quite figure out what one to get.

I "think" the problem is I don't need one, but three, so I am having a kind of hard time.

I don't want to buy a radio I will never use (buying a gun that I never use is OK though)

I have no idea who I would talk to.

I have a learn morse code CD in my car CD player as this exact moment. I would want my radio to be pretty easy to use CW with.

DoctaGlockta
06-06-2011, 11:44
I've been following this thread on calguns

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=414648

Good review here on the Wouxun UV3D:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWZveoLVuOg

And some great software downloads that you can really expand the function of these radios

http://www.kc8unj.com/kguv.html

I have not purchased these radios yet nor am I an expert. I'm looking for some portable Ham radios as well.

Good luck.

RED64CJ5
06-06-2011, 11:49
I am not a fan of the non-type-accepted, fly-by-night 'Hong Kong' radios on the market. That being said, there are a few radios, namely Wouxun and TYT that have gone the 'above board' approach of becoming type-accepted and legally offered in the US.

Recently I decided to get my mother back on the air after about 10 years of absence. I did a lot of reasoning as to whether or not a mobile or an HT would better suit her and ultimately decided upon an HT for it's flexibility. Almost always I would recommend a new ham or someone without a radio consider an HT as a first purchase (but not in all cases - sometimes a mobile is a better choice.)

We decided to bite the bullet and get her a Wouxun UVD3. It is a little quirky but it works quite well and using the UVD-Commander software it is easy to program. I still cannot compare this $110 radio to a $300 Yaesu, but it is definitely worth it's price.

Retired Man
06-06-2011, 11:50
I am a amateur radio operator ( AB6CE ) now you can find anything about me.

Been one for over 40 years If I remember back that far.

Amateur Extra!

Glock30Eric
06-06-2011, 12:22
I don't need a radio and phone because they won't work well with me, because I am deaf. I cannot hear my own .30-06's bang! ;)

DoctaGlockta
06-06-2011, 12:24
I am not a fan of the non-type-accepted, fly-by-night 'Hong Kong' radios on the market. That being said, there are a few radios, namely Wouxun and TYT that have gone the 'above board' approach of becoming type-accepted and legally offered in the US.

Recently I decided to get my mother back on the air after about 10 years of absence. I did a lot of reasoning as to whether or not a mobile or an HT would better suit her and ultimately decided upon an HT for it's flexibility. Almost always I would recommend a new ham or someone without a radio consider an HT as a first purchase (but not in all cases - sometimes a mobile is a better choice.)

We decided to bite the bullet and get her a Wouxun UVD3. It is a little quirky but it works quite well and using the UVD-Commander software it is easy to program. I still cannot compare this $110 radio to a $300 Yaesu, but it is definitely worth it's price.

Really appreciate your feedback on these radios. To a novice they seemed to have a lot to offer at a reasonable entry price. I imagine that it doesn't matter what Receive/Tx range you order as the software opens up all of the options? Thanks. Art

ric0123
06-06-2011, 17:07
Really appreciate your feedback on these radios. To a novice they seemed to have a lot to offer at a reasonable entry price. I imagine that it doesn't matter what Receive/Tx range you order as the software opens up all of the options? Thanks. Art



Some radios are software mod able (like the 7r), some are hardware mod only (8900 and 817, where you have to open the case and solder jumpers). My Baufon radio was able to transmit on a HUGE range out of the box, no mods needed

mcole
06-06-2011, 19:59
i went with 2 portables: ft-270r (2 meter) and ft-277r (70 cm). also the ft-897d with ldg tuner, battery pack, internal power supply and chameleon portable antenna. these also work with my imax-2000 antenna. you can also get a $20 diamond antenna (1.5 feet long) that considrrably increases the portabes range to reach repeaters. mcole

Dirk Pitt
06-07-2011, 07:26
My list of radios is very simple:

I have a Kenwood TH-79AD


That's it, maybe boring but I don't worry about what radio for what !

RED64CJ5
06-07-2011, 08:01
Are any of you guys on EchoLink?

Kadetklapp
06-15-2011, 09:07
I passed my test and got my ticket in December of 10 after being a closet ham-admirer for over a decade. The hobby is quirky, but the equipment, methods, and "theory" are very useful in SHTF. As for rigs, I have the following-

My go-to HT is a sparkling new Yaesu VX-8R. This is honestly too much radio for me, a beginner. I love it and it will do everything except make my coffee. Impressive radio. Too bad it didnt' have more power. Complex to operate.

My back-up HT is a Vertex (Yaesu) VX-150. It's a regular two-meter rig. Simple to operate. I've had this radio a LOT longer than I've been a ham.

My mobile rig is an ICOM IC-V8000 2-meter. Great radio, simple to operate.

My base rig is a Yaesu FT-2600M 2-meter. Good radio, had it about as long as I had my VX-150. A little more complex than the ICOM.

Then I have four or five Regency RH256 VHF mobiles I intend to keep around as back-up-back-ups. I like these old radios, although to work on 2-meters they need realigned.

Next for my shack is a 900mhz (33 cm) rig and an HF rig of some sort.

Kadetklapp
06-15-2011, 09:09
I don't need a radio and phone because they won't work well with me, because I am deaf. I cannot hear my own .30-06's bang! ;)

But wait! You should consider taking and passing the exam and then learn code. Lots of operators still communicate in code, especially world-wide. Still something you should consider should SHTF! :wavey:

mac66
06-15-2011, 13:28
Really appreciate your feedback on these radios. To a novice they seemed to have a lot to offer at a reasonable entry price. I imagine that it doesn't matter what Receive/Tx range you order as the software opens up all of the options? Thanks. Art

The advantage to the cheap Chinese radios is that they are a cheap way to get into the hobby and/or have communications during an emergency. The Tech license is pretty easy to get. You can use them just to listen to until you get the nerve up to participate or you can jump in.

As an emergency radio, they are a heluva lot better than FRS/GMRS bubblepack radios. They are open banded which gives one a lot of options. Many of them have the ability to scramble signals like the Puxing 777+.

I do some back country ATV riding and always take one of these radios with me. Not only do they double as a weather radio but I've always been able to pick up someone on 2 meter or one of the other ham, business, marine, GMRS, or other bands whether UHF or VHF. You can also use them as a police/fire/ems scanner if your locals haven't switched to 800mz yet. Many haven't.

G29Reload
06-15-2011, 17:56
When it comes to HAM, you're pretty much limited to:

ICOM

Yaesu

Kenwood.

There's a few others, some good kits, and some resale on older tube stuff.

But any of the first three, you'll be fine.

My 100w base is an ICOM 746 Pro
My HT is Kenwood.
The car mobile is a Yaesu 7900.

MStarmer
06-20-2011, 19:04
VX-6R
FT-8800
FT-897D
FT-817ND

Too many but I was on a spree.... For SHTF probably just the VX-6R with a mag mount. Light and can take AA's or any 12v I can tap.

Raiden
06-20-2011, 23:07
The Quansheng TG-UV2 (http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/8931?page=1) I ordered should be here soon - hopefully before my next trip into the backcountry. Its features, all the good reviews online, and its low pricetag sing to my inner cheapskate. I haven't TX since I was in middle school, and I rarely listen, so I generally just want something for emergencies and for those rare days I feel a little nostalgic. I've used one before, and I'm optimistic I'll be able to pick up its intricacies quickly... I don't have a lot of free time to learn something too complicated.

Fanner50
06-24-2011, 16:51
Tagged. I'm really interested in getting into ham radio, especially 2 meter.

Can someone tell me about 10 meter?

RED64CJ5
06-26-2011, 12:58
Tagged. I'm really interested in getting into ham radio, especially 2 meter.

Can someone tell me about 10 meter?

2 meters (144-148 MHz) and 10 meters (28-29 MHz) are both EXCELLENT bands that offer tons of versatility.

What do you want to know about the 10 meter band? Antennas are cheap/easy to make and the rigs can be had for little money.

arabianights
06-27-2011, 19:35
i don't trust electronic devices, they have a high tendency to fail and need to be charged all the time.

Lone Kimono
06-28-2011, 18:22
From reading this thread it seems I'll need to buy at least two types of radios...portable and stationary.

Mister Clean
06-28-2011, 19:26
i don't trust electronic devices, they have a high tendency to fail and need to be charged all the time.


Good for you!
:supergrin:

When the SHTF, which method of "long distance" communication do you plan to employ?

- semaphore with flags?
- semaphore with lanterns?
- smoke signals?
- papyrus scrolls?
- the pony express?
- shouting really loudly?
- drums?


Just pulling your leg . . .
:supergrin:
-

ric0123
06-28-2011, 19:29
From reading this thread it seems I'll need to buy at least two types of radios...portable and stationary.

All depends on what you're looking to do. A portable radio is... portable. Lower powered and finite battery life.

A stationary radio generally has more features, more output power (which isn't always needed) but will require power of some kind. AC, Vehicle, externa aux batteries.

I've got a bit of everything. The 7r has a lot of features, and decent battery life. I can charge and power it from the car, as well as AC.

The 8900 has more power and a few more bands. It's fixed inside my car. Can I operate it with my car off? (meaning if I had no gas and the car wasn't running). Sure. How long will it last? Few hours.

If you're in a major city, chances are you can hit a repeater with a handheld. Assuming that repeater has power, you're golden.

Assuming you can't hit a repeater due to no power on their part, or your location doesn't have repeaters... generally speaking you're going to need more output wattage to be able to contact others. (doesn't really apply to HF, but roll with me on this). So, a mobile or fixed radio with a good antenna would make more sense, assuming you have a way to power it. Said stationary radio also makes it harder to bug out with the equipment, so unless its a mobile radio, you're going to leave it at home when you leave. I'm not planning on staying home, so my rig is in my car. If I am at home, I can walk out into the car and fire it up, and idle the car if I need to for power.

RED64CJ5
06-28-2011, 20:44
From reading this thread it seems I'll need to buy at least two types of radios...portable and stationary.

Not necessarily. A radio like a Yaesu FT-847 can cover the spectrum and is quite portable.

Check out the new Elecraft at http://www.elecraft.com/ (the KX3) Might be a real contender!

Kadetklapp
06-29-2011, 07:09
I need to get on ten meters. Going to have to upgrade my license and I really need to learn code.

ric0123
06-29-2011, 17:38
I think it's all a matter of what you're trying to accomplish. If you're lucky enough to have a survival retreat up in the mountains somewhere, DX, long distance communications for information (of any kind vs local info) would probably be a good thing. If you're near a city, chances are that there are several repeater networks close to you on VHF. A handheld that is programmed to all of those repeaters will give you local information that will probably be far more relevant. Though I have a 10m and 6m higher powered radio in my car, the chances that I'll actually USE it for info if there is a SHTF situation is slim. Though, if I happen to be in the car or on the road when something goes down (which does occationally happen) I'll have that as a capability. If you're a city deweller that never leaves the city and never will, then I don't see a lot of use for it.

oldsoldier
06-29-2011, 19:51
Amateur Extra here since 1989. I'm not familiar with the rigs most of you mentioned. The newest piece of equipment in my shack is an 18 year old Ten-Tec Omni 6. I prefer CW and rarely connect a microphone. I guess the only thing I can add to this thread is that around here a low powered VHF/UHF rig would be about worthless. The only person you would talk to is yourself. I would add a small 100 watt HF rig, coax, and lots of flexible insulated wire to your SHTF equipment list.

RED64CJ5
07-01-2011, 15:24
Amateur Extra here since 1989. I'm not familiar with the rigs most of you mentioned. The newest piece of equipment in my shack is an 18 year old Ten-Tec Omni 6. I prefer CW and rarely connect a microphone. I guess the only thing I can add to this thread is that around here a low powered VHF/UHF rig would be about worthless. The only person you would talk to is yourself. I would add a small 100 watt HF rig, coax, and lots of flexible insulated wire to your SHTF equipment list.

SHHHHH. Don't let on how valuable CW can be. A lot of people are so hung up on digital modes they forget CW is "the original" and is very reliable under adverse conditions. I'm a little rusty on CW but in a few hours I can get back "up to speed."

Lone Kimono
09-17-2011, 08:54
Anyone have any tips of where to shop for a Yaesu online?

G29Reload
09-17-2011, 09:47
experience so I know you *can* work the entire world on less than a watt. (but there are conditions that must be met)

2. The 817 may have a nice carry strap, but I will tell you from personal experience that an 857 fits equally as nice in a pack. battery and get the same results. Essentially you can run the 857 down to as little power as you want (5 watts, for example) and then if you need more power, it is available.


So if you have an FT-817, I recommend you look at available amps such as the Tokyo Hi-power to give you an extra 20 or so watts.

If you do not own an HF rig, consider a small, portable unit like the Yaesu FT-857 and comparable models from Icom or Kenwood. (think IC-706 or TS-50S.) are familiar with it's limitations. I'd stick to something with a little more power, myself.

If you have the scratch and don't mind going to 5lbs, the ic 7000 should have a better front end. how has operating with the 857 been?

RED64CJ5
09-17-2011, 19:01
Anyone have any tips of where to shop for a Yaesu online?

Ham Radio Outlet and Amateur Electronic Supply are two big ones but there are many other reputable US dealers. Gigaparts.com is another.

If you have the scratch and don't mind going to 5lbs, the ic 7000 should have a better front end. how has operating with the 857 been?

Yeah, the IC7000 has a few other goodies, too. Honestly, the used market for 857's is not fantastic so I often tell people to find a good deal on an FT-100. My old FT-100 from 1999 works fabulously. It's just a little larger than the 857 but it is easier to manipulate the buttons and menus.

G29Reload
09-17-2011, 20:42
Honestly, the used market for 857's is not fantastic so I often tell people to find a good deal on an FT-100.

The used market on radios sucks almost as bad as pawn shops trying to sell worn out pistols for $5 less than list on a new one. Everybody thinks their used radios are worth a fortune. Not worth the risk with getting it home and finding blown finals.

G29Reload
09-18-2011, 02:22
It's just a little larger than the 857 but it is easier to manipulate the buttons and menus.

How is operating with the 857? voice coms on SSB, reception, tuning, sensitivity, mobile ops with a battery, etc?

RED64CJ5
09-18-2011, 18:45
How is operating with the 857? voice coms on SSB, reception, tuning, sensitivity, mobile ops with a battery, etc?

Almost all of the "all-in-one" HF,VHF,UHF radios are somewhat a compromise in performance on some aspects.... Selectivity, etc.

I really haven't had any used market problems.. I think Craigslist and eBay are two of the worst places to look for used ham gear. swap.qth.com, eham.net, and qrz.com forums tend to be the best.

G29Reload
09-18-2011, 19:55
Almost all of the "all-in-one" HF,VHF,UHF radios are somewhat a compromise in performance on some aspects.... Selectivity, etc.

I really haven't had any used market problems.. I think Craigslist and eBay are two of the worst places to look for used ham gear. swap.qth.com, eham.net, and qrz.com forums tend to be the best.

No, I mean specifically with the 857, what are your impressions operating with it, in SSB, voice coms, etc.? REgardless what you paid for it.

RED64CJ5
09-19-2011, 06:04
No, I mean specifically with the 857, what are your impressions operating with it, in SSB, voice coms, etc.? REgardless what you paid for it.

I'm not going to write you a review. Sorry. Plenty of those on eHam.net.

Honestly, I like my FT-100D a lot better. It is bigger, but I like it's interface.

With the 857 I have worked PSK31, JT65, SSTV, CW, and voice modes. All are fine. I'm not sure what specifics you want. You are often limited by the antenna. Most of the time I have used either an ATAS (Yaesu multiband vertical) or a B&W folded dipole 6m-160m. Again, the antenna, and the environment around you will play big factors. Do you have a lot of local RF noise? If so, the 857, FT100, 817, and IC-7000's are all going to not be ideal. Their receivers are too widebanded and are lacking in better DSP to counteract the noise.

What do you want to know specifically? Your "SSB, voice coms" reference doesn't help me. I have used these radios on USB and LSB, CW, and FM... Not really much on AM, though they will do it at a reduced power (40watts vs 100watts typically.)

G29Reload
09-19-2011, 09:55
Do you have a lot of local RF noise? If so, the 857, FT100, 817, and IC-7000's are all going to not be ideal. Their receivers are too widebanded and are lacking in better DSP to counteract the noise.

This is a surprise. I thought the front end on a 7000 was supposed to be top notch.

What's the next highest portable that would have the DSP to deal with it?

AWMP
11-05-2011, 05:48
I'm an ICOM and Yaesu guy but I'm really looking at getting the Wouxun hand held and then the mobile. The price is right. We look into this further but I have a feeling it will be my next purchase.

Please folks, lets respect the OP's wishes and dont start the typical argument in this thread.

I Love Yaesu, but if you want to get an entry radio I recommend this one:
http://www.wouxun.us/
Roughly 1/2 price as a Yaesu or Icom or Kenwood.

Remember too that you can transmit on the MURS band/freqs if you stay <=2watts (which the wouxun will do).

(edited to add: that should read that you can transmit on MURS with 2 watts or less WITHOUT A LISENCE )

crunchless
11-05-2011, 06:25
I was a little hesitant being kind of a snob, but I got 2 KG-UV2D from Wouxun.us and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. The software is what makes it so great - you can really open up the radio. I programmed them so that they also have FRS and GMRS channels in memory. Plus they also can hear a lot of the public safety channel, around here up over 460.

And as everyone has said, you can't beat the price. I'm thinking about getting 2 more since these are in my and my wife's car GHBs (along with AA batt holders). I want at least one more to play with.

Oh, only slight weirdness is that the antenna mount is not standard (at least not compared to my Yaesu and Kenwood HTs. The antenna screws into a hole in the radio rather than on top of a threaded post. But I think the web site does sell a converter.

I'm an ICOM and Yaesu guy but I'm really looking at getting the Wouxun hand held and then the mobile. The price is right. We look into this further but I have a feeling it will be my next purchase.

engineer151515
11-05-2011, 06:53
tagged for good info

Akita
11-06-2011, 15:02
I was a little hesitant being kind of a snob, but I got 2 KG-UV2D from Wouxun.us and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. The software is what makes it so great - you can really open up the radio. I programmed them so that they also have FRS and GMRS channels in memory. Plus they also can hear a lot of the public safety channel, around here up over 460.

And as everyone has said, you can't beat the price. I'm thinking about getting 2 more since these are in my and my wife's car GHBs (along with AA batt holders). I want at least one more to play with.

Oh, only slight weirdness is that the antenna mount is not standard (at least not compared to my Yaesu and Kenwood HTs. The antenna screws into a hole in the radio rather than on top of a threaded post. But I think the web site does sell a converter.

Truth there. There are several places on the web that sell the adaptors. Also note that a 17" antenna will give you another 50% or so (in a VERY gross estimation) in distance/performance.

RED64CJ5
11-06-2011, 19:04
I don't want to come off as a snob, but there are some quality control and support issues with the $50-150 Chinese radios. I've seen several instances where the radio becomes fried during a legitimate software download via the manufacturer's own control software.

I personally acquired a UV-2D for my mother to have a dual-band handheld. Compared to any of my other Yaesu or Kenwood radios, it is limited on features. Basic things such as repeater auto-shift, easy memory management/banks, etc. are non-existent.

I recently picked up a Boefang UV-3R for $60 at a hamfest. It is a real piece of junk. Sure, it works. But compared to my Yaesu VX-2R (several years old,) it is like stepping back in time. For $60, it is like buying a set of cheap Chinese wrenches to keep in your "throw down" toolbag.

In addition, some of them contain features that are not exactly legal to own in an amateur transceiver in the USA. Whether or not that matters to you, it is something to consider.

I have now had the chance to do several "side-by-side" comparisions with the Wouxun, Boefeng, and TYT compared to the "big names." Overall, I can't say much about these inexpensive ones other than they are of "fair" value... Not "good" value.

My opinion -- don't invest in these Chinese radios as your primary setup. It could end up costing you in the long run. But hey, as a guy who has owned and extensively literally 100+ different handhelds in the last 20 years, what do I know?

Akita
11-06-2011, 19:37
...In addition, some of them contain features that are not exactly legal to own in an amateur transceiver in the USA. Whether or not that matters to you, it is something to consider....




Red, could you elaborate on the 'illegal to own' features? I understand 'illegal to transmit' on controlled freqs, but I am unaware of 'illegal to own' in the USA on these or any other radios for that matter.

A radio is just a piece of inert electronics until it is misused, kinda like a firearm; or so I thought.

RED64CJ5
11-07-2011, 07:25
Red, could you elaborate on the 'illegal to own' features? I understand 'illegal to transmit' on controlled freqs, but I am unaware of 'illegal to own' in the USA on these or any other radios for that matter.

A radio is just a piece of inert electronics until it is misused, kinda like a firearm; or so I thought.

You're right -- my wording on that was bad. Illegal to sell is the correct word. The ones that are open to ham and non-ham bands are not permitted for sale, but who is going to check them? They are not type-accepted for both amateur and commercial band use. There are some US-vendors of these radios who have taken the high ground and are not offering the software or radios capable of going out of band.

As a lifelong prepper, I understand the benefit of having a radio capable of going anywhere on any band (heck, my opened up FT-100D does that...VHF/UHF/HF...and more) But the difference is I am a skilled operator who knows what I'm doing, what's on each band (for the most part), and not just some dummy who is going to get on the first VHF or UHF they find busy in an emergency and say "WHAT'S HAPPENIN' YALL?"

I have legitimate reasons for being opposed to some moron getting a wide-open radio and using it out of band. As someone who has devoted time and energy to local emergency communications, these out of banders have the potential to do a lot of harm in the event of an emergency, costing people time, money, and dare I say the potential for life loss.

This is why I made a point to mention the China-radios ability to operate out of band is not necessarily a "great" thing. Again, I'm not opposed to those radios having tried several and bought a couple myself, but I really don't think they are all people make them out to be.

Dallas.com
11-07-2011, 09:48
sorry guys but can you educate me on the use of a handheld unit as far a reach and possible uses. I hunt on remote areas and have been giving some thought on getting one of this units in case of an emergency.

RED64CJ5
11-07-2011, 10:13
sorry guys but can you educate me on the use of a handheld unit as far a reach and possible uses. I hunt on remote areas and have been giving some thought on getting one of this units in case of an emergency.

Chances are, if you are really in a remote area hunting, a handheld VHF or UHF transceiver won't help you. You will likely need HF (high frequency) coverage which might come in the form of a small base or mobile radio like the Yaesu FT-817/857. You could possibly use a VHF/UHF radio for satellite contacts, but it will be difficult because you'd need to know pass times (when the bird is coming overhead.) One never knows -- maybe there is a good VHF or UHF ham repeater in the area where you hunt. I know that I have several at my disposal in the "remote" areas of Texas where I hunt. Other places may vary.

Dallas.com
11-07-2011, 11:14
Can you explain the difference between those radios that you mentioned, by remote I mean that most of the time I'm by myself several miles away from my vehicle and on foot. I don't mean in a place such as Alaska but when you are on foot with no cell signal miles away from your vehicle and by myself. accidents such as a fall, snake bite, and the such can become more than an "inconvenience".

dherloc
11-07-2011, 12:05
Curious...

Never really researched ham radios, and I am sure its out there but thought I would toss out a simple question.

I am 30 miles from home when I am at work. With these hand held jobbers that everyone is talking about, could I use one of them to contact the house easily? Is it as simple as talking on a walkie talkie to get the person at the house?

RED64CJ5
11-07-2011, 13:55
Can you explain the difference between those radios that you mentioned, by remote I mean that most of the time I'm by myself several miles away from my vehicle and on foot. I don't mean in a place such as Alaska but when you are on foot with no cell signal miles away from your vehicle and by myself. accidents such as a fall, snake bite, and the such can become more than an "inconvenience".

I hate to use this analogy, but the reality is some of the answer is like "how long is a rope." There are many factors -- terrain, power, height, antenna gain, etc that will affect your ability to communicate. You might be in an area where a VHF (144 MHz) ham handheld can get you 5-20 miles without a repeater. Then there may be areas so unforgiving that you'll be lucky to go a mile.

You can run a 'remote base' in your mobile and if your handheld is in range of the mobile, your mobile radio in the vehicle can act as a mini-repeater to extend your range.

The real question you have to ask yourself is, who is listening on the other end? Do you have people setup to be on the lookout for you? Honestly, there are not a whole lot of hams per capita in the USA and unless you are tied into a repeater system or a network of people you know, there is a good chance you could be in a remote area and nobody ever hear your call for help on the radio.

Curious...

Never really researched ham radios, and I am sure its out there but thought I would toss out a simple question.

I am 30 miles from home when I am at work. With these hand held jobbers that everyone is talking about, could I use one of them to contact the house easily? Is it as simple as talking on a walkie talkie to get the person at the house?

Again, "it depends" is your answer. If there is a repeater somewhere in that equation, 30 miles could be very do-able with a handheld on either end of the conversation. If you are talking handheld to handheld, it is a real stretch unless both the home and office are on hilltops with line-of-site views of each other. Chances are, there are repeaters in your area..Whether or not they have redundant power or backup power is a separate item. With 2 mobile radios on VHF, as long as the terrain cooperates, you could easily communicate with each other if proper antennas are used. If there is a mountain between you, forget it.

dherloc
11-07-2011, 14:16
Well no mountains in FL, but it is not line of site. Actually, now that I think about it, there are "hills" in the form of gypsum stacks between hither and yon. So what you are saying is that if there is an obstruction between the two, there will probably not be a signal.

Thanks for the response.

Akita
11-07-2011, 14:57
You're right -- my wording on that was bad. Illegal to sell is the correct word. The ones that are open to ham and non-ham bands are not permitted for sale, but who is going to check them? They are not type-accepted for both amateur and commercial band use. There are some US-vendors of these radios who have taken the high ground and are not offering the software or radios capable of going out of band.

As a lifelong prepper, I understand the benefit of having a radio capable of going anywhere on any band (heck, my opened up FT-100D does that...VHF/UHF/HF...and more) But the difference is I am a skilled operator who knows what I'm doing, what's on each band (for the most part), and not just some dummy who is going to get on the first VHF or UHF they find busy in an emergency and say "WHAT'S HAPPENIN' YALL?"

I have legitimate reasons for being opposed to some moron getting a wide-open radio and using it out of band. As someone who has devoted time and energy to local emergency communications, these out of banders have the potential to do a lot of harm in the event of an emergency, costing people time, money, and dare I say the potential for life loss.

This is why I made a point to mention the China-radios ability to operate out of band is not necessarily a "great" thing. Again, I'm not opposed to those radios having tried several and bought a couple myself, but I really don't think they are all people make them out to be.

Thanks, thought I was missing something.

Dallas.com
11-07-2011, 15:16
This topic really got my attention now. How do you set up a repeater to extend your range of commo?

G29Reload
11-07-2011, 16:20
Well no mountains in FL, but it is not line of site. Actually, now that I think about it, there are "hills" in the form of gypsum stacks between hither and yon. So what you are saying is that if there is an obstruction between the two, there will probably not be a signal.

Thanks for the response.


Nothing is written in stone. FL is VHF territory. Grab an ARRL repeater directory. You'd have to see on an individual basis.

Here in N. VA we have a mountaintop repeater that covers a huge region west of DC. Anywhere from Winchester to strasburg to woodbridge to BEthesda to Chambersburg PA and beyond is possible with 5W. Add on antennas make it even easier.

RED64CJ5
11-07-2011, 16:59
This topic really got my attention now. How do you set up a repeater to extend your range of commo?

Normally you use a VHF/UHF dual band, dual VFO radio. Essentially it works in "cross-band" repeat mode. it is acting like a primitive "repeater" to extend your rage from the handheld (lower power) to the higher power mobile radio and better mobile antenna.

Nothing is written in stone. FL is VHF territory. Grab an ARRL repeater directory. You'd have to see on an individual basis.


Exactly. It is very hard to say, without a little research, as to what the coverage of a particular area may be. People think East Texas is flat (where I live.) HA!! The question of whether someone can do mobile-to-mobile or handheld-to-handheld is not an easy online answer. My favorite is "what is going to be the range of my pair of $50 FRS radios...."

ric0123
11-07-2011, 22:43
The thread lives!

I've also got a Boefang UV-3R. Got it on ebay for under $99, with 2 antennas, software, cable and a free keychain.

It's not terrible but it's sure not great. I've not actually used the software that I can remember so I can't attest to it. I bought it because
1. it was cheap
2. it was wide band (legalities aside)

My plan was to leave it in my GHB. I've got a yaesu 7r that I really don't want to loose. My car has been broken into twice and I'd be grumpy if it got stolen. I consider the Boefang UV-3R a 'throw away' radio that happens to work on 2m, 440, frs and a whole host of other freqs. For me, it's purely a SHTF radio that's got a lot of capabilities in a small, in expensive package assuming I've got to bail out of my car and leave my 8900 behind.

ric0123
11-07-2011, 22:45
Side note, I finally got around to getting the right cable and software to program my 817 but since I'm in an apt, I can't do much with it. I'm loking at an lz817 auto tuner or a miracle whip SO239 tuner with the BNC antenna so I can work some bands without a 80 foot antenna in my living room

For the non hams, antennas are very important (duh). But if you get into multiband radios, you've got to pay even more attention to antennas and make sure you've got the right antennas for the bands you're planning to transmit on. The quad band antenna for my 8900 and mount cost me about $175

itatorro
04-01-2013, 16:02
For SHTF don't forget to look at a good deep cycle battery and solar panel to keep them going. for shtf comms here is my plan. ft-277uhf to mobile xband rpt to base or other mobile on vhf xband to uhf portable. I find that uhf portable have better range than vhf do to antenna limitations on vhf portable. 25w/50w(crossband) vhf mobile to base with good antennas has better range than uhf. i am located in N. Okla

w9trb
04-01-2013, 18:32
I have been a Ham for about 25 years and am an Extra class. The thing I learned somewhat recently is that just having Ham radios doesn't always prove beneficial. I was on a trip to the Shawnee National Forest and on I 57 southbound. The traffic slowed to a crawl. I got on my dual band Icom mobile, that I had programmed in several Southern Illinois repeaters. I could raise no one. I just had to put up with the delay as best I could. Once I got done with my camping trip, I stopped at a major truck stop and bought a ssb cb radio, cable and antenna. The truckers know all the goings on down the road. At least now I can monitor the channel 19 and make a decision on whether to get off at the next exit or not.
Even if I had contacted another Ham, there is no likelyhood that the Ham would know what the hold-up out on the interstate was all about.
As far as the Chinese radios go, it is odd to me that someone would want to trust an emergency radio of dubious heritage. You wouldn't carry a cheapo pistol for your defense, so don't go cheap on your radio gear. Radios have a long life span, if you take reasonable care of them. Attend a Hamfest and you'll see radio gear made before you were born that still does the job.
My best advice to anyone considering Ham radio, is to seek out a radio repeater club in your area and buddy up with the local folks. They can help you with setting up your station and are in most cases great folks to know.

bdcochran
04-01-2013, 20:35
I knew my equipment when I purchased it. Then other life events intervened and I forgot a great deal that I knew.

So, in the last few months, I obtained and printed out multiple manuals for the gear, put the manuals inside zip lock plastic bags, made sure that I had spare batteries that had life, and then placed the equipment inside snap on brand sealed clear plastic and stackable containers.

This was done for cb, walkie talkie, ham, and other similar equipment.

It isn't possible to retain the contents of a 40 or 50 page manual inside my mind. I also cannot speak with facility about what is cheap or effective on the current market. It is possible, however, to keep the equipment clean, accessible, and with power options for when shtf.

mac66
04-02-2013, 10:12
As far as the Chinese radios go, it is odd to me that someone would want to trust an emergency radio of dubious heritage. You wouldn't carry a cheapo pistol for your defense, so don't go cheap on your radio gear. Radios have a long life span, if you take reasonable care of them. Attend a Hamfest and you'll see radio gear made before you were born that still does the job.
My best advice to anyone considering Ham radio, is to seek out a radio repeater club in your area and buddy up with the local folks. They can help you with setting up your station and are in most cases great folks to know.

I think one reason the Chinese radios are popular is because...

A-they are cheap which allows one to get into the hobby to try it out. If you don't like it or lose interest, one doesn't have much invested.

B-the dual band ones are pretty easy to use and are versatile. One can simply program GMRS and MURS channels and use those for comms if you don't have another ham to talk to. Plus they are much better than the toy GMRS/FRS radios that are available (yes, I am aware of licensing requirements)

C-a few of the Chinese radios have good reviews. One doesn't always need top end stuff, sometimes good enough is good enough.

One of my favorite radios is the Standard Horizon HX370s which is a VHF Marine radio. It can however be programed to 2m, land mobile and MURS. In addition it is very good quality and waterproof. It is made by the same people who make Yaesu and Vertex Standard radios and use the same accessories. I bought a pair of them 3 or 4 years ago for around $100 each and use them with MURS while ATVing or on Marine band on my brother's sail boat. I also have some VHF police/fire channels programmed to receive. Good bang for the buck.

FireForged
04-02-2013, 15:54
Local HAM guys were the only people who actually had decent information during our last little crisis (locally). I dont care anything about transmitting but I would like to listen to HAM freq without a bunch of bells and whistles. Can anyone suggest a receiver for that purpose.

ric0123
04-02-2013, 21:21
to just listen, any scanner will pick up most UHF and VHF Ham freqs. $100 would get you in the door. If you want to listen to trunked police, that's something else entirely.


Having said all of that, I'm going to toss a wrench in it.

I've been a HAM a couple years now. During the last power outage we had here (couple months ago) I got on both of my radios and scanned for traffic, then called out on the calling freqs and local repeaters. I didn't hear ANYTHING... and no call backs.

So either the repeaters aren't on battery backups (I can't recall if I got the repeater beep back) or not a single HAM in Austin, Tx was on the air during the storm (which I find hard to believe). Big disappointment.

Having said THAT, I was able to use my radio to get and give important weather info several years back when I got caught in a hail storm on the way to Dallas.

I also agree with what MAC said about the Chinese radios. Some of them actually have very good reviews. The price point is VERY attractive. I'd much rather loose a $70 Baeofung radio than my $300+ Yaesu if my car gets broken into AGAIN. I also like the wide band capabilities, to get into VHF biz band, FRS and ham..etc etc..

gosnmic
04-24-2013, 20:53
I dont care anything about transmitting but I would like to listen to HAM freq without a bunch of bells and whistles. Can anyone suggest a receiver for that purpose.

It's not only the receiver but also the antenna! You can likely listen to local 2m - 70cm type traffic with a cheap Baofeng (UV-5R is popular as previously mentioned in the thread) but you'll be able to listen to stations farther away if you have a better antenna (not talking huge distances here, perhaps 10-20 miles depending on terrain, location, antenna type).

If you're looking for other alternatives you could consider software defined radio solutions which have the capability to receive over quite a range of frequencies (again, it's largely antenna dependent - if you don't have a good antenna in a good location, you're not likely to get good results). Five Dash has some SDR kits and they offer pre-built ones from time to time (as time permits them to be built - see http://fivedash.com/) and you can look up a list of SDRs in Wikipedia for more options (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_software-defined_radios) ... I've only tinkered around inside and haven't gotten very good results (but I don't have a good antenna and I haven't tried to reduce RF noise either...) If you're going the SDR route, you'll need a computer and something like HDSDR (software) to run the receiver.

Best bet might be to find a local HAM group and see if they'll be willing to help you out a little. If you tell them you're not ready to be a HAM but you wouldn't mind listening in a little to see what it's all about they might be willing to help pitch in either with suggestions, assistance, or possibly selling/loaning equipment! I've had some locals help get me up and running with a simple "slim jim" antenna so I can hit the local repeater (I'm in a 'low spot' so it's difficult for me to transmit out)... even threw in some materials he had on hand to get me running (which reminds me, I should buy him a pizza or something one of these days ...) Hope that gets you started in the right direction.