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View Full Version : Recommendations for a entry level handheld HAM


Rezarf
12-13-2012, 05:41 PM
Hey guys, I know that you can spend as much as you wish on HAM radio's but I was wondering if you guys could recommend a simple handheld that I could keep on hand for monitoring/broadcasting (once I get my license).

I have been looking at some of the compact Yaesu series and was wondering whats the minimum you would recommend? I am thinking of something that would easily move from vehicle to vehicle, even take camping etc.

Thanks-

Drew

smslavin
12-13-2012, 07:58 PM
I've got a Yaesu FT-270R (http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-010076). It's 2m only and 5w but works great as a handheld. I've been carrying it on my mtb rides and trail runs lately. Pretty good range with the stock antenna but you can change it out to a longer whip and get a bit more reach. One was recommended to me but I'm drawing a blank on it. Would love to pick up a VX-8gr so I could have APRS on a handheld.

CO Hunter
12-13-2012, 09:06 PM
If you are looking for just a rig to rig radio, 2m only is fine. However, if you want to do more I would recommend getting dual band 2/70. The reason is some repeaters are on 70 cm e.g., Steamboat, Winter Park on Colorado Connection and Colorado Springs MARC. Yes, most are 2m but what if in the rare occasion you need to use that 70cm repeater? I have the Yaesu FT60 it is 2/70 and the nice thing about it is you can get a battery pack that uses AA batteries and still get 5w (full power), not true with most other HTs. If you want to TX and monitor another frequency some of the VX series will work, such as the one mentioned above. If you want APRS go for the VX-8 series. Other accessories to consider are a longer whip (1/4 wave) to replace the lame rubber duck, a remote mic (useful while driving) and a mag mount (full size or mini). Even the 1/4 wave mini works pretty darn well on a good ground plane.

By the way broadcasting on HAM frequency would get you in trouble. Hint, that is likely a test question ;)

CardinalFJ60
12-14-2012, 09:06 AM
the wouxon dual bander is cheap and works just fine. Yes, the Yaesu is better quality and has more features, but for $119 you can get yourself a fine little HT. then if you want...after using it, maybe upgrade to the dual receive models....or not.

One of my favorite HTs is the ft-250 (2m only). it's a simple little radio that I never forget how to operate. I'm consistently double checking the manual on my other Yaesu (6r, which I also love) to remember all the features and how to use it.

DaveInDenver
12-14-2012, 09:15 AM
It's hard to argue with the Wouxon or any of the Chinese radios. I'm not super enthusiastic that they often very closely copy the big Japanese guys, but at 1/2 or 1/3 the price they are tough to ignore.

A lot of people in the club have Yaesu VX-7R, so there's some built-in support for programming and use. We have a VX-6R and a VX-7R. If I had it to do over I would get the VX-6 again in a heartbeat, great little radio. The VX-7 is also a fine radio but I don't think the extra features are really worth the money. Although having dual RX is definitely handy, so I dunno.

I'd personally not spend a boat load at first, HTs get lost and broken so start simple and cheap. If you find you want more features, get something in the future. It's also never bad to have a cheapie to loan out, so it's not money wasted. I think it's best to start with a decent mobile, but an HT usually comes in a close second.

nakman
12-14-2012, 09:30 AM
Drew come over and play with my radios some time.... I will give you my take on ht vs. solid mobile :)

Oh, and I have some knife paraphernalia of some sort for you from Cardinal. ;)

subzali
12-14-2012, 10:18 AM
I've got an FT-60R. Don't know how to use it, really. But that goes for my FT-7800 too. Any of these things are too smart for me. Guess I need more time in the basement in my whitey-tighties.

Rezarf
12-14-2012, 11:13 AM
Thanks guys, I think. First need to buy some tighty whiteys... That cracked me up Matt.

Thanks, i like the battery pack capability with AA's thanks CO Hunter.

CO Hunter
12-14-2012, 06:53 PM
You're welcome.

Do your research and combine that with what you want and I'm sure you will make the best decision for yourself. You are fortune to have many experienced HAM radio folks up your way. I found this forum very useful when I was debating what to get as my first radio. Read through this section and you will learn a lot, it is a good place to start your research. One thing you will realize is that passing the test is the easy part, deciding on the radio(s) is the hard part ;)

By the way, I followed your trailer build a while back on MUD, great job!!

:cheers:

nuclearlemon
12-14-2012, 07:16 PM
i found the best handheld to be a high quality used one;)

Rezarf
12-14-2012, 10:58 PM
i found the best handheld to be a high quality used one;)

I only buy used :hill:

Uncle Ben
12-14-2012, 11:30 PM
Thanks guys, I think. First need to buy some tighty whiteys... That cracked me up Matt.

Thanks, i like the battery pack capability with AA's thanks CO Hunter.

In no time at all you'll be looking like this.....
http://media-cache-lt0.pinterest.com/upload/9710955416799102_Fe8r7Sa4_b.jpg

L43dean
12-14-2012, 11:33 PM
i found the best handheld to be a high quality used one;)

How do I make a drum sting on this?

nakman
12-15-2012, 11:29 AM
The real question is, did :kevin: already have that image stored locally, or did he have to search for it? :eek: :lmao:

wesintl
12-15-2012, 11:33 AM
The real question is, did :kevin: already have that image stored locally, or did he have to search for it? :eek: :lmao:

that's a self portrait from the early days :eek:

nuclearlemon
12-15-2012, 11:34 AM
who cares! i need more pics:D

Rezarf
12-16-2012, 03:10 PM
Ha! Tim gave me the quick 101 rundown, thanks Tim!

He did have a big stash of tighty whities in the corner... we didn't go there. ;)

I might start with the hard mount yaesu 2800 or hunt a used handheld down. Gotta take that test after the holidays.

nakman
12-18-2012, 02:16 PM
Here's a cheap HT http://denver.craigslist.org/ele/3463221545.html

Fishy
12-18-2012, 02:33 PM
Here's a cheap HT http://denver.craigslist.org/ele/3463221545.html

$75....nice deal. Especially if you can get a 12v plug for it and run it right from the front seat.

CardinalFJ60
01-02-2013, 10:49 AM
saw this today...for around $110, you can have a dual receive HT... Wouxon style.

http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-010931&oi=1008915250

Rezarf
01-02-2013, 03:39 PM
Thanks man, I am watching the Ebay prices for some of the used models I am interested, but I have told myself not to buy until I pass the exam... which I am doing fairly consistently on the QRZ site. I'm averaging about 75%, once I hit closer to 90% I'll go take the thing.

nuclearlemon
01-02-2013, 04:03 PM
Thanks man, I am watching the Ebay prices for some of the used models I am interested, but I have told myself not to buy until I pass the exam... which I am doing fairly consistently on the QRZ site. I'm averaging about 75%, once I hit closer to 90% I'll go take the thing.

why wait? buy one now and even if you don't pass, you can listen in

Air Randy
01-04-2013, 10:55 AM
I have a Yaesu VX-150 that I bought new 3 years ago, it has very little use on it. It has a NiCad battery with rapid desk charger, leather swivel case, lapel microphone and I think I have a cable somewhere that you wire into your vehicle so it charges while you drive. $120 it's yours.

I also have a 75w 2M mobile unit I would sell too.

At some point you will want a mobile because of the increased power, better ground plane, etc. Buts its nice to have the portable too so you can grab it if you ride in someones else rig who doesnt have ham or if you want to spot someone with ham in their rig over an obstacle.

bgoodheart
01-04-2013, 11:16 AM
Interested... got to sit for the test before doing anything but listening of course