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Old 03-25-2008, 05:09 PM
Shorty Shorty is offline
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Default Radios and dust/water

After much deliberation, I narrowed down my choices for a mobile radio to 5. I was feeling pretty good about the choices, but I then realized that the dust and water that I get in my soft-top 40 may cause the cooling fan on the radio to choke (in addition to the driver ). I usually have the back window open, and that tends to suck dirt and road mist into the cabin.

I know that Yaesu makes a couple of rigs for mounting to motorcycles and such, but I was getting partial to the larger displays such as on the Kenwood TM-V710A and TM-V708A. I think that I also want to stick with dual bands.

Does anyone have any experience with running a radio in this type of hostile environment? Any suggestions besides the FTM-10R and FTM-10SR?

Another question: I am thinking of mounting the radio between the center spreader bars of my roll cage. This would put the radio rather close to the soft top. Does anyone know if the radio would get hot enough to damage a soft top?

Thank you my brother hams...
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:03 PM
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I was thinking Yaesu FT-2800 until you said dual band. Anyway, this radio has no fan and is designed for harsh environments. It's designed supposedly to MIL-STD-810, which is all about shock, dust & moisture intrusion, even gunfire resistance. It has a plenty big display, too. It's not a super feature laden radio, but I've always thought it would be the ideal radio for a soft top or open FJ40.
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveInDenver View Post
I was thinking Yaesu FT-2800 until you said dual band. Anyway, this radio has no fan and is designed for harsh environments. It's designed supposedly to MIL-STD-810, which is all about shock, dust & moisture intrusion, even gunfire resistance. It has a plenty big display, too. It's not a super feature laden radio, but I've always thought it would be the ideal radio for a soft top or open FJ40.
Since I posted, I've been looking over some of the single band rigs. Yeah, the FT-2800M looks promising.

I was also considering the IC-2200H. It has an optional digital unit. Is digital capability (such as digital mod/demod) worth considering?
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:12 PM
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Since I posted, I've been looking over some of the single band rigs. Yeah, the FT-2800M looks promising.

I was also considering the IC-2200H. It has an optional digital unit. Is digital capability (such as digital mod/demod) worth considering?
I believe (and I'm not familiar with Icom, so you need to verify) that means that it has a TNC built in. There are a few radios that have a TNC built in, in particular some of the Kenwoods. Any radio can be used for digital modes by using a TNC, but having it built-in is certainly convenient. Is it worth it? That's sort of the question. Some of the things you can do with it are packet operation (essentially sending messages instead of talking, both Internet email and just local messaging) and APRS. APRS seems to be interesting to a lot of people, this is where your GPS can report your location and other people in the area or via digital repeater can see where you are. Some of this is even reportable over the Internet. I've never personally done anything with digital radio because I don't have a computer in the car and don't have a GPS receiver. But it's something that is interesting.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:55 PM
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I run topless quite a bit with the 4Runner and have a Yaesu FT-2200 (no longer made). It's a single-band without a cooling fan. It's not mil-spec and it's held up fine for 6-7 years so far. I just wipe the dust off it and turn it on. I don't think you have to worry about it, especially with a mil-spec radio. They usually don't mind a little water spray either. Just don't get them soaked or submerged. Even a submerged radio can probably be revived by pulling off the cover and drying it out well.

Ocasionally I've had a little corrosion on the contacts for the front panel so every LCD digit and symbol on the screen would be on. I'd just snap off the panel, (it's not a removeable panel radio but it still comes up with 2 screws and some snaps) clean the contacts a little, put it back on and everything's back to normal. It's only happened twice, I think.

If you're long-winded and use high-power the radio could get a little warm. I don't imagine it'd be nearly enough to affect a hard-top. I usually use low power and it hardly produces any heat....it definitely stays much cooler than the CD player.

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Old 03-25-2008, 08:59 PM
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Thanks, guys.

I'm leaning towards the fan-less ones now, but I'm just curious: Do you think that if I were to go with one that has a fan the fan would become inoperable with the dust and/or mist? Or the radio would short out with the wet?

Also, from what I've read, the Digital Voice (DV) processing is touted by the brochures as producing a clearer audio. Anyone have any experience with it?
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:14 PM
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The fan on my FT-8800 is not what I would call a super robust device, basically it's just a little DC brushless fan like you'd see at Radio Shack or something. Nothing fancy, but also nothing special. With the potential exposure to elements, I would keep it in the back of mind. But OTOH, if you mount the radio where it gets good air flow and the fan dies, I would not expect you to kill your radio, either. Just put your hand on the radio and don't transmit if it's hot. Radios also have thermal shutdowns to protect themselves, so you won't ruin anything.

The FT-2800 and the IC-2200 looks similar in that they have very deep heat sinks and I would not be terribly concerned. There are couple of reasons mobile have fans. First (this is speculation on my part) is they are often used inside for base radios, where the air is fairly still. Second, the ones that have fans are usually ones that are designed to be split and that means the body of the radio is tucked away behind or under a seat, for example. Again, not the best air flow. If you mount it where it gets decent air flow, then you should not have any issues without a fan. Plus, no fan = much quieter (not that it matters in an open 40!).

No experience with voice processing. Couldn't hurt I suppose, but also not really a hugely necessary feature IMO. Just having a good mic goes a long way.
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Old 03-25-2008, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post

Another question: I am thinking of mounting the radio between the center spreader bars of my roll cage. This would put the radio rather close to the soft top. Does anyone know if the radio would get hot enough to damage a soft top?
I'm going to be stacking my Radio Shack CB and FT-2800 Ham radio between the spreader bars of my roll cage. I don't think the get hot enough to do any damage.
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