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RallyX Weenie
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672 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Thinking about picking up a HT - primarily because I'll be using my 2900 while volunteering and want friends & relations in service to be able to listen in, but also in anticipation of getting another mobile that does cross-band repeat, as well as going though a few levels of ARES cert.

Since this is a bit of a spur-of-the-moment idea, cost is a big concern.
Also, since I'm likely to be loaning it out to non-hams, having a way to lock out the PTT would be nice.

Looking at the following options:
Yaesu FT-60 ($160 from UR) - http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0060.html - Has PTT Lockout, might be most similar to what I'm already used to with the 2900. About as much $$ as I can afford right now.
Wouxun KG-UVD1P ($110 from UR) - http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5547.html - Can't tell for sure from the Chinglish manual whether I can lock PTT. Nice price, lotsa features.
Alinco DJ-V57T ($130 from UR) - http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0057.html - Looks like the lock feature ONLY locks out the keypad, not PTT.

UR also has the TYT TH-UVF1 for $110, but reviews on eHam have me leaning away from that.

Thoughts?
 

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Premium Member
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1,570 Posts
Cross-band repeat is a nice-to-have feature, but as I and several others have alluded to in other threads, while potentially useful in certain scenarios, in practice I have found it is seldom used. Sometimes this is because it's tricky to figure out & set up the first few times, sometimes because it's not needed as you can park your vehicle with your mobile in it close by, etc.

If your budget is tight, I would suggest just going for a single band 2m HT, like the Yaesu FT-270R. I have the previous version, the Yaesu VX-170, and actually enjoy using it more than my VX-7R, as having fewer features it's much simpler to operate. It's mil-spec, simple to operate, easier to hold, has big battery, big buttons, nice big display, loud audio output, etc.

Now, obviously, being only 2m, it won't enable you to cross-band repeat, as it doesn't have the 70cm band to communicate with a mobile that can cross-band repeat. But it would enable you to loan it out, let friends & relatives listen in (but not transmit, unless licensed, unless it's an emergency). And you could still use it to listen in while marshalling if you have to park your vehicle a little bit away. Now obviously, while the RX sensitivity of an HT isn't too much worse than a mobile (though having a proper antenna connected to a mobile changes that somewhat), the HT obviously has much less TX output power than a mobile. So in cases where you need to TX, you may have to walk back over to your vehicle to use your mobile to TX in order to be heard. Depending on how often you need to TX, and how far you are from your vehicle, this may or may not be a big disadvantage. Most of the time you can park your vehicle close enough to your marshalling spot that it's not a big deal.

On the other hand, considering the dual band HTs again, one nice feature that the Wouxun has is what I would call 'dual monitor'. From my limited research, it's not a true dual receive (i.e. does not have 2 separate independent RX circuits), it's more like a single receive that can monitor 2 separate frequencies for activity. That could be helpful in certain scenarios e.g. it would enable you to monitor both net frequency & stage frequency at the same time. It seems that once it detects RX activity on one of the 2 frequencies, it temporarily locks to that frequency while there is activity (potentially missing RX activity on the other channel), but then unlocks & goes back to monitoring both frequencies as soon as the RX activity on the 1st frequency ceases. That's not such a bad thing as it's difficult to listen to 2 transmissions at the same time anyway, especially without separate volume & squelch knobs for each frequency. And anyway, it's an extra feature that the other 2 HTs that you mention don't have, so it's still ahead in that regard. Anyway, the reviews on eham.net don't seem too bad for the Wouxun, and it's difficult to argue with the value if it performs as advertised.

One other point to consider w.r.t. HTs, the antennas that come with them often aren't very good, with the antenna length being one of the things that hampers performance. I like the Diamond xx77CA series as an upgrade for these (e.g. the SRJ77CA for the Wouxun, the SRH77CA for the Yaesu - http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamantht/2368.html, make sure you get the right gender SMA connector that fits the radio). The tradeoff for increased performance is the upgraded antenna is a bit longer, and therefore a little more unwieldy, but I haven't found it to be a problem in practice. It might also be worth trying a ground counterpoise equivalent in length to the antenna. They have specially made ones like this: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamantht/2714.html. But in reality a simple piece of wire of equivalent length to the antenna, connected to the antenna ground, and hanging down (in opposite direction to the way the antenna is pointing) should work just as well. I need to try this myself sometime to see if I notice any appreciable gain in RX sensitivity or ability to be heard by others.
 

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R6+ / Cr, Sheeps Maybe
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305 Posts
The last rally I worked, I used my FT-60R through a Larsen 2m/70cm mag mount and I was getting into the repeater with it on the lowest power setting. I was about 15 km away from the repeater. Also on my way to the rally I was picking up net traffic 70 km away from the repeater. Both distances are approximate based off google maps. I'm still looking into a mobile single band but so far the HT has fit the bill for me
 

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which left?
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1,621 Posts
My Yaesu VX-2R (1.5w) has been able to hit repeaters at most times, and even done a fair bit of simplex communications at MN events.

It's very small and convenient. I do use a much larger antenna than it came with (the largest SMA whip I could buy at the local shop).

I've used the 70cm side several times, either crossbanding with my FT8800 or straight simplex at a start/finish where the distance between flying finish and the control was too long/terrain too rough for FRS (luckily the finish captain was also a ham and had a dual receiver).
 

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Registered
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3,258 Posts
Cross-band repeat is a nice-to-have feature, but as I and several others have alluded to in other threads, while potentially useful in certain scenarios, in practice I have found it is seldom used. Sometimes this is because it's tricky to figure out & set up the first few times, sometimes because it's not needed as you can park your vehicle with your mobile in it close by, etc.
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One situation where it was very advantageous for me was when short handed for workers. I ended up being stage captain, ham operator and advising/assisting the other 2 people that were at start with me. I'd have been lost without cross band to keep up with things because I couldn't be at the car at all times. Just my $.02 and experience.
 

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Dramamine is for DramaQueens
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4,813 Posts
I'm extremely happy with my FT60R. I have two and one isn't working any more but it was also dropped in a puddle and left behind for dead by some volunteers I loaned it to. :-( It is probably a simple fix, actually, I just haven't had time to deal with hit. The other one I have is rock solid.

They are built tough and the menus are simple.

I know a few people who have the Wouxun and the case is 'very' plastic and the menus seem to be less than straightforward. I'd say that over the long run, the FT60R is worth the extra $50.
 

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286 Posts
Use caution when going for accessories for the Wouxun...they use different setups than J. A. Pan&Co radios. Reversed connections (SMA antennas), off-size audio connectors...you'll be buying strictly Wouxun accessories (or a whole lot of adapters).
 
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