Originally Posted by mtncrsr
.. So for an HT and a mobile, what would be your top three picks in those categories? Some reasons for those selection would be most helpful too!
That's a great question, Loren. Not sure I can come up with 3 but I'll do two of each. caveat this with my recommendations are for what I do, which is a lot of small wheeling runs, larger club runs, Cruise Moab, yakking around town. I don't do any HF stuff so my answers are biased to 2m only.
Top HT pick:
1. Yaesu VX-3r. It's small, lightweight, fits in your buddy's cup holder for him to monitor the trail run and the battery lasts all day, even 2-3 days if it doesn't do much transmitting. It's also cheap, relatively speaking compared to the "good brands," and it's got a cryptic yet eerily intuitive OS if you have experience with other Yaesu brands (personal preference). It saves your money for another radio. It's really easy to "lock" and "unlock" so you don't change the frequency or volume setting, and heck it can go in your shirt pocket at parties. Don't let this be your only radio though, only get it if you also get a mobile rig.
2. Yaesu VX-7r. Also small, but so packed with features you'll never learn them all. So lots of entertainment value if you really get into the hobby. Take the radio, a spare battery pack, and the manual on a 14-day backpacking trip.. 2 weeks later you still won't know how to use the thing completely. But what you'll know is how to listen to normal radio (yes, music) on one band while monitoring another in the garage, how to monitor two ham bands (simplex, repeaters, doesn't matter), and how to change output and squelch. Combine that with water resistance and a ton of available accessories, plus its resale value that's within 10% of retail most times, and it's a good choice, and is enough radio if you could only have one, but I wouldn't recommend it.
one comparison point: The VX-3 does not receive as well as the VX-7. For a lot of practical purposes (like runs we do) this doesn't matter, since you're usually talking to solid mobile rigs 5 miles away or closer. But in my basement you can hit the 145.310 on the VX-7r, but not the VX-3r, using the same antenna. Just thought that bears pointing out.. don't go bush for a month with a VX-3 as your only lifeline, borrow someone's 7.
Top Mobile pics:
1. Yaesu FT-8800: Dual bands are clearly the way to go.. if you can drop $350+ on a mobile rig don't even think twice about it. Monitoring a repeater while the run is on simplex, monitoring two simplex, being the interpreter for others who are too far apart or who can't monitor 2 bands... examples are numerous. on Rubicon for example I had one channel on our group, the other on NorCal. At CM you can have a literal field day with that other band, yet still not lose communication with your group. And after a year or so, navigation actually gets pretty easy on the thing, I can do just about everything I need to do from the hand controller.
2. Yaesu FT-2900: Don't actually have one, but I do have the 2800.. same thing just older and less power. this is a straight up, no nonsense, high power when you need it, 2m radio. Secondary benefit is there are a lot of these around, so tech tips are generally easy to come by.. like when you "beep" before each transmission, odds are good someone else on the run knows how to turn that off. Plus you could take it out of the truck and use it as a leveling block for your camper- the cases are silly strong.
Most disappointing radio: Yaesu FT-7800. Of all the trucks I've ridden in with this radio, I've seen this one pretty consistently used- a single channel, 2m radio with a remote faceplate. My personal bias is spend a little more for dual bands (8800), or spend quite a bit less for a solid 2m rig w/o the removable faceplate (1802, 2900, etc.) The ability to "scan" is nowhere near the same as the ability to monitor two frequencies, it's like two phones compared to call waiting.
that was fun.. hope that helps!