Special Stage Forums banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok, so I finally put my license to work at NEFR, since Brian was nice enough to loan me a radio.

While I'd prefer to spend much less, I have $150 in my budget.

I want a handheld at this time.

It will be used occasionally at rallies to work a ham station. It will also go in my co-drivers bag if I'm in the silly seat. I have no plans for other uses at this time.

Brian loaned me a yaesu this weekend, but I have no idea what model it was, but seemed to work well for me.....but I sure as hell have no clue what most of the buttons did. It dual received, which was neat, but also a little distracting for a novice.

Simple is better for me. SIMPLE. Think of me as a driver who got suckered into co-driver spot....i'm not that smart. Hooking it up to a computer for programming is fine by me...rather use a pc keyboard than a bunch of little buttons.
is the newer yaesu ft-252 or 257 a good solution?

It would likely be used for North east area events. So that would be NEFR, maybe STPR, ESPR and BRS. It will likely sit in a box 350 days a year.

Just tell me what to buy. Don't try to explain too much unless you speak slowly and use small words.
 

·
Straight @ "T"
Joined
·
188 Posts
There are a couple of 2 meter Yaesu radios available for about $120 and then get an MFJ 1/4 wave whip For $25.
Call Ham Radio Outlet in Salem NH.
There are some Chinese radios for about $50 but the Yaesu will have a bigger speaker for superior audio.
JimB
W1JIM


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

·
Dramamine is for DramaQueens
Joined
·
4,813 Posts

·
Straight @ "T"
Joined
·
188 Posts
In my experience the FT-250R or FT-270R would be perfect.
The FT-60R gives you 2 meter and 440 but not simultaneously which would be useful for crossband repeat which is the only use for 440 in northeast events.
If you're going to events throughout the country then 440 might be useful.

Whatever you get also purchase the longer 1/4 wave antenna.
I'd also recommend a speaker microphone - you can get generic version on ebay for less money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Get the Baofeng uv-5r or the newer uv-b6 (or uv-b5 if you prefer a flashlight to a rotary dial).
Yes, they are Chinese, yes they are cheap, but they work, and they work well. The speaker is very loud, and the newer uv-b6 has a very good frontend, which will more than easily pick up any signal a Yausu will.
No they aren't waterproof, no they aren't super slick (some easily dealt with quirks in software) but they are dirt cheap (you could buy 3 of them for your $150 budget) and they work well enough. Also, if you somehow run it over or get it rained on... its cheap so buy two. You can get two uv-b5s for $85 shipped at dealextreme.
 

·
Zero Cents!
Joined
·
311 Posts
Since we're on the topic of "cheap" radios, the Wouxun http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-010931 is a pretty good choice as well. I've dropped mine onto solid, polished concrete, run it through the dirt and mud, and lent it to more than one start/finish worker whilst running as a course car. Other than having to lug a computer around to make programming easy, it fills all the bills, has dual band and dual receive. Hard to beat for the price point. It also has enough channels to store all the rally frequencies you'd ever need for the whole country, and is rumored to be able to also work on FRS/GMRS frequencies. The one down side is that scan is a bit slow compared to the more commercial brands.

As everyone else has said, get a proper antenna. I run a Commet http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-001578

Also keep in mind that both the Boafeng and the Wouxun's will work with all the Kenwood accessories (think Peltor FMT-120 to HT radio, hand mics, programing cables, etc, etc.).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
OK
Summary of the results so far in order of price I've found. All would need(suggested) additional $25 for an antenna.

Yaesu ft 60r $142.95
Yaesu ft 250r $126.95
Wouxun KG-uv3d $119.95
Yaesu ft 270r $108.95 including a mail in rebate
Yaesu ft 252 $104.95 my suggestion...but nobody commented as to whether suitable (I have no idea)
Yaesu ft 257 $98.95 my suggestion...but nobody commented as to whether suitable (I have no idea)
Baofeng UV-B6 $53.60
Baofeng uv-5r $45 or 2 for $85

Given the antenna, that puts the ft60r out of budget unless I find a better price.
Given my budget with antenna it makes the wouxun the radio with the most features that also is dual band, followed by the baofeng uv-b6. The Baofeng is very cheap, but seems typical of chinese tech. Price makes it appealing....but also makes me nervous.
How important is dual band for my intended use?
Yaesu seems to be favored by many, and I certainly saw mostly if not all Yaesu radios at NEFR...but that is my limited experience.
 

·
Dramamine is for DramaQueens
Joined
·
4,813 Posts
What I've seen of the Wouxun is that their programming is really REALLY counterintuitive and you'll spend a lot of time with your manual if you have to change anything in the field.

I'd say push the budget, or hold off the purchase, and get the Yaesu FT-60R
Dual Band means you will be able to cross-band repeat through a mobile station with more power and a better antenna. While in many cases this would be your own radio you buy later, I do know if situations where we've placed a radio where 2m wouldn't get out of the hole, but they could cross band to the next radio point, effectively using the other operator's radio to get out.
Low probability of it happening, but having that flexibility is probably worth the extra $16.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Forgive me for my ignorance as I'm new at this....my only prior radio experience was with CB's many moons ago.

What sort of programming do you have to do in the field? I guess I envisioned you enter a frequency in, and away you go. I assume there must be more to it than that?
 

·
Straight @ "T"
Joined
·
188 Posts
While cross band repeat is good to have in reality I've only used it twice when I ran the finish on Concord Pond.
Communications from the start to finish has always been erratic there so I used to place a car with a Yaesu FT-8800R under the power lines about a mile from the finish and then link with an HT.
Later we found that it was easier to just erect a mast with a yagi pointed to the start.

FYI - crossband repeat is where you have a better situated radio receive on 440 while simultaneously transmitiing on 2 meters. You transmit to it on 440. When receiving the better situated radio retransmits the 2 meter signal on 440 for you to receive.

Field programming? At every event I have several people come to me to program their (Yaesu) radios.
Frequencies and PL tones for repeaters - that's pretty much what I need to do for them.

Thank you for volunteering.
JimB
 

·
your other left, you idiot
Joined
·
3,909 Posts
Multiple times the repeater has gone down:

Use the input frequency as simplex (requires me to read the manual [always bring it with you] to program this - I had never done it before - and don't remember now)

Switch to new (not on the list) simplex frequency.

Switch to new (not on the list) repeater.

Don't buy cheap tools. To a large degree, you get what you pay for.

Forgive me for my ignorance as I'm new at this....my only prior radio experience was with CB's many moons ago.

What sort of programming do you have to do in the field? I guess I envisioned you enter a frequency in, and away you go. I assume there must be more to it than that?
press on,
 

·
Dramamine is for DramaQueens
Joined
·
4,813 Posts
I've seen every situation Jimmy listed happen at an event I've been at in the last 5 years as well as someone having to cross-band through another operator's rig on a number of occasions.

Don't buy cheap tools. To a large degree, you get what you pay for.
Worth repeating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
No Problem on the loaner!

Ok, so I finally put my license to work at NEFR, since Brian was nice enough to loan me a radio.

While I'd prefer to spend much less, I have $150 in my budget.

I want a handheld at this time.

It will be used occasionally at rallies to work a ham station. It will also go in my co-drivers bag if I'm in the silly seat. I have no plans for other uses at this time.

Brian loaned me a yaesu this weekend, but I have no idea what model it was, but seemed to work well for me.....but I sure as hell have no clue what most of the buttons did. It dual received, which was neat, but also a little distracting for a novice.

Simple is better for me. SIMPLE. Think of me as a driver who got suckered into co-driver spot....i'm not that smart. Hooking it up to a computer for programming is fine by me...rather use a pc keyboard than a bunch of little buttons.
is the newer yaesu ft-252 or 257 a good solution?

It would likely be used for North east area events. So that would be NEFR, maybe STPR, ESPR and BRS. It will likely sit in a box 350 days a year.

Just tell me what to buy. Don't try to explain too much unless you speak slowly and use small words.
You were using a Yaesu VX7R Tri-band handheld. It's a great radio if you need something that can do most everything and need it waterproof. They are one of the more durable HTs (handhelds). I also run Baofeng UV-5r+ radios because they are CHEAP and work well. For $50~ you can pick one up with a spare battery and be good to go. Don't drop it, don't get it wet, and it will keep working. Programming the Baofengs are not as easy as the Yaesu's when you are doing it on the handset vs, using a programming cable and a pc. Do yourself a favor and see if you can find a Nifty card. It's like Cliffnotes for the radio manual and it's waterproof and made for field use. if you have more questions, shoot em out.

Brian
N1BMG
 

·
Spectator Wrangler
Joined
·
830 Posts
One advantage to a "big three" handheld is automatic repeater offsets. It makes it much more user friendly and faster to program. One sets the repeater output frequency, turns on the repeater function - done. The Chinese handhelds require setting receive and transmit frequencies. The Chinese radios- aimed partially at the commercial market include DCS squelch settings - an unnecessary complication for ham radio. The Beofeng adds to the problem by adding a crapload of CTCSS codes that aren't used in North America. The "big three'' and Wouxun offer only the standard set of CTCSS codes.
I've only programmed the Chinese radios with a PC. I haven't tried the cheat cards but the manufacturers
instructions are in bad Chinglish- which is why the PC works well. Advantage to the Chinese radios is that the programming seems to be very similar. Learn one and one can likely do the rest. The Beofengs ( UV-5R/RA/RE and B5/B6) do seem to be identical with the exception of the number of characters available for a channel name should that option be chosen.
I like the Chinese radios for commercial use- for rally/ham I'd get a "real" ham radio. The prices quoted - with the exception of the Beofengs- are really close. $110-119 for a Wouxun, $129 for a Yeasu- not a great deal of difference. The OP seemed to be looking to stay to the KISS side of radio- I'd stay with a big three unit.
I own both Yaesu and Wouxun radios. The Wouxun goes to the racetrack but the Yaesu radios go to rallies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
479 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Thank you very much Bruce, that sinks in for me.

I'll try to find a better deal on the FT60R and go that route.

Done, sold, mind made up. Thanks all.
 

·
your other left, you idiot
Joined
·
3,909 Posts
I didn't realize the Chinese ones don't do the automatic offsets.

Really old units don't. I have a hacked Yaesu that doesn't. You do not want one of those - it is a real pain to plug those in (a luxury once sampled becomes a necessity) (not everyone gives you the second freq, so you have to look it up).

Adding to your knowledge/confusion/$ - the antenna that comes with an HT is not the best (the rubber ducky) (all the world is a compromise), so buy a better one (generally [as in many things in life] bigger is better).

Scan Craigslist. Seldom is there a deal on FleaBay.

I have an FT-60R, and also the Nifty! Quick-Reference guide (lot easier to carry that in the rally car). Recommend both. Yaesus are bullet proof and lots of people to ask for help at rallies.

Thank you very much Bruce, that sinks in for me.

I'll try to find a better deal on the FT60R and go that route.

Done, sold, mind made up. Thanks all.
press on,
 

·
Spectator Wrangler
Joined
·
830 Posts
Jimmy is correct. If a MARS/CAP mod is done on most Yaesu radios, mobile or handheld, one gains out-of-band transmit and loses the automatic offset feature. I suspect that this will become less of an issue. Now that commercial radios are narrow-band ( ham radios are wideband) and the Chinese commercial radios are inexpensive, the incentive to modify a "real" ham radio is much smaller. Besides one always takes the risk of screwing up a perfectly good ham radio by doing the mod. Don't ask me how I know.
The Chinese radios are aimed at commercial (part 90) service. Part 90 radios are not supposed to be end-user programmable. That's the reason why they're difficult to program off the key pad and easy with a PC. One just enters ALL the variables- Transmit/receive frequencies, transmit/receive squelch codes, transmit power and channel name and pushes the button. The hope that the PC recognizes the programming cable so it can talk to the radio.
 

·
pressing on tirelessly
Joined
·
2,225 Posts
Another vote for the FT-60R. Good solid radio. It probably has more features than you'll need, but it definitely works well.

I recommend picking up one of the battery cases that allows you to use AA batteries if the stock rechargeable goes bad. They can be picked up for relatively cheap, and that and a handful of AA's is useful insurance.


Not to derail the conversation or anything, but I've had good luck with buying used radios on Ebay. YMMV. I've probably bought about 20 ham and GMRS radios of assorted makes. One had a flaky knob, another had a mic with a bad plug. Both were easy fixes for me, but it's certainly understandable that someone else may not want to take that chance. As a general tip, look for sellers with a perfect rating that've done a moderate amount of sales - somewhere between 50 and 200, say. Those tend to be the folks who have decent-working stuff that they just don't want any more. Any fewer than that and they don't have enough history; more than that and they're likely a bulk-reseller who hasn't done much more than a quick spot-check of the item. The latter group will generally accept a return if it's not up to par, but it's a pain to deal with.
 

·
Straight @ "T"
Joined
·
188 Posts
If a MARS/CAP mod is done on most Yaesu radios, mobile or handheld, one gains out-of-band transmit and loses the automatic offset feature.
Not in my experience w/ VX-150, VX5R & FT-8800R - YMMV.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top