Help me figure out mobile HF radios

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Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:34 am

I am looking to set up an HF radio for SHTF and general fun.

I am currently residing in Nashville and am most interested talking to my buddy in Kansas.

Desires:
to normally have it mounted up in my basement.
To have a quick relocate option into my truck. I realize this may require a secondary battery and/or putting in a bigger alternator.
To have a clue what the above 2 options will cost.

I am looking at a Yaesu FT-857D because that is what my internet search turned up, but I know nothing about this.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rustyv » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:01 pm

The 857 is a nice radio for the money. I want one, and the guys that convinced me to get my license both have them. Don't forget the power supply, coax cable, and the automated antenna tuner is a real nice to have.

You'll probably want 2 antennas: a base station and a mobile pre-mounted in your rig. Pre-made base stations are usually 10-15 feet tall, though if you have a nice tall tree nearby, look up the "fan dipole" and make your own.

All that said, talking from one state to the next can be interesting. Propagation gets weird sometimes. Some days one of my buddies can chat with his dad just over the Oklahoma border, other days they can't hear each other at all, but europe and Australia come in perfectly. All depends on the frequency, sunspots and solar activity in general, the whims of God, how the RF feels like bouncing around that day.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:11 pm

Precision wrote:I am looking at a Yaesu FT-857D because that is what my internet search turned up, but I know nothing about this.

I think that one is the best bang for the buck. It's what I bought.

Don't forget to get licensed. ;)
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rumpshot » Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:38 pm

Have you gotten your ham radio license yet? If not, find a local ham radio club and get with them to learn the ropes. I suggest you join the club, but if you are not inclined that is okay too. I believe there are now 3 levels of licenses. Technician, very easy to get. General, a little study will be required. and Extra, lots of study. You could obtain the technician in a month or two. General, you could do in about the same. Extra will take a little longer to learn.

I suggest you get a 2-meter (VHF) mobile rig and get familiar with it and the local repeaters. As much for familiarity with radios and local coverage as an opportunity to find an "Elmer". An Elmer is nothing more than a mentor, but is invaluable for learning/understanding ham radio.

I just picked up a QYT KT8900 Mini Dual Band Car Radio from Amazon for $75. I would recommend you get the later version,
QYT KT-8900D 25W Dual Band Mini Mobile Transceiver. It is still under $100. Programming either is not childs play, but software makes it easy. Both of these radios can do stuff that will make your head spin. Don't worry about that for now.

Randy can probably help you more than just about anybody left on the board.

The Yaesu FT-857D is a great radio. I have not used one, but they are highly rated. Amazon has a package: Yaesu FT-857D HF/VHF/UHF 100W Ultra Compact Mobile Transceiver with Nifty! Accessories Mini-Manual and Ham Guides TM Quick Reference Card Bundle!! for about $925. I recommend the Nifty! mini-manual. It is compact and readily helpful, while the owners manual requires lots more pages and digging through.

I have an Icom IC-7000, a very similar radio, but one generation out of date now. I like it a lot.

Rusty mentioned antennas. Don't scrimp there. Particularly for your mobile antenna. Temporary antennas work, some work exceptionally well, but there are limits to them. Base station antennas run from a simple long wire to massive beams on a tall tower.

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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby slowpoke » Mon Jan 30, 2017 4:08 pm

I dont do mobile HF, but I do some portable HF from tme to time. Do you really want mobile(i.e. while you're driving)?
That tends to limit most normal people to voice modes. Those I've known who do said the biggest thing to worry about is the moble antenna and tuner. Limiting the antenna to something that fits in the vehicle severly limits its performance, so you want the best you can get. You will also work at the smaller wavelengths of hf, and again theres not much ssb bandwidth. Now if you're like the one guy who i knew who could converse via cw while driving(i.e. not a normal person) then mobile opens up a bit. Most traffic is moving to digital modes on hf, so it becomes an issue of texting while driving, thus i prefer portable.
Ive used Yaesu and theirs are nice. I actually like Icom better though due to interface aesthetics. ymmv.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:53 pm

I've been fighting a cold last couple of days (home sick today), I'll try to post something when I can sit at the keyboard more than a few minutes at a time.

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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:36 pm

slowpoke wrote:I dont do mobile HF, but I do some portable HF from tme to time. Do you really want mobile(i.e. while you're driving)?
That tends to limit most normal people to voice modes. Those I've known who do said the biggest thing to worry about is the moble antenna and tuner. Limiting the antenna to something that fits in the vehicle severly limits its performance, so you want the best you can get. You will also work at the smaller wavelengths of hf, and again theres not much ssb bandwidth. Now if you're like the one guy who i knew who could converse via cw while driving(i.e. not a normal person) then mobile opens up a bit. Most traffic is moving to digital modes on hf, so it becomes an issue of texting while driving, thus i prefer portable.
Ive used Yaesu and theirs are nice. I actually like Icom better though due to interface aesthetics. ymmv.


portable would be fine. If I understand you correctly, I could do portable from my car I would be better served to do it while pulled over though.

In theory, I am going to become part of a local and extended group of like minded individuals that wants an alternative comms vehicle in case things go sideways and as a way to speak to a buddy in case SHTF requires mobility from his location to mine or visa versa.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:39 pm

Rumpshot,

Thanks. I will investigate that bundle on Amazon. I will also take due care regarding antennea. This is a complete learning project for me, so I need to build from pretty damn close to zero.

Are there any informational sites I can peruse to get a clue and the lingo without diving straight into the deep end?
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:42 pm

Thanks guys.

I will likely go play at one of the local clubs for their insight and guidance to getting the licensing. I await Randy feeling better to pick his brain and any further guidance you all have.

One thing would be helping to explain to me the difference in use between the $100 units Rumpshot mentioned vs the $1000 unit I referenced. By difference, I mean utility of certain bands, user interface, portability, power draw/ demand -- whatever might be important to know. Would buying one of the lower price units be a good home unit and the expensive one be small so thus portable?
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rumpshot » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:27 pm

A deep time sink website: http://www.ac6v.com/

The tiny unit I just got is good for line of sight (really a bit better than that) local use. It would teach you a lot about short range propagation and some about antennas if you build your own.

The unit you described is capable in the VHF/UHF spectrum, same as my little one, but also in the HF bands. It will do a lot more than the inexpensive one. The Yaesu will draw about 20-22 amps of power. My little QYT draws less than 10 amps. My QYT transmits I think 25 watts of signal, the Yaesu, depending on the band will transmit 100 watts of signal. The Yaesu has many more features and benefits.

For programming any computer programmable rig out there, I most heartily recommend rt Systems programming kits.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rustyv » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:04 pm

to help you study for the tests... https://www.qrz.com/hamtest/

I used their online tests to do some last minute prep before taking mine.

Probably the fastest and cheapest way in is to buy a Baofeng UV-5R from amazon. Sub $40, spend a little extra upgrading the rubber duck to a whip (it was in the recommended products last time I looked). I have a nice kenwood I use these days, but I keep the Baofeng around because it's portable and handy.

Primary difference between the radios is going to be bands, features, and quality. The 857 will run practically DC to Daylight, and everything in between. My Kenwood is a 50w transmitter that does 2m, 1.25m, 70cm, and 23cm, but nothing in the HF bands.

The Baofeng will do 2m and 70cm. On a good day, down hill with a tail wind it'll pump out 5watts.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:48 pm

Ok, so I definitely know I don't know enough to ask cogent questions, but here goes anyway.

430mhz is line of sight which basically means CB or equivalent. The taller the antenna the further away I can pick up and broadcast to. Pick up usually being further than broadcasting. For broadcasting the power rating is a rough approximation of range assuming flat land on a line of sight frequency, correct?

The lower bands are ionosphere bounce bands, so that is why the range and such is variable with them. Sometimes you have good atmospherics, sometimes you don't and that is why you might bounce to 1000 miles away, but not 500 miles away.

Also there seems to be two methods of talking about things. Hz / Mhz as well as meter measure. I am assuming one is the inverse of the other. As in 2m is equal to some kind of HZ equivalent, it is just like .223 vs 5.56 are effectively the same thing (regarding diameter).

DC to Daylight means absolutely zero to me.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:49 pm

and thanks for the links. I am going to have a fair amount of time Friday and saturday night. Out of town gunshow. So I may get some studying in then.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:11 pm

Precision wrote:Ok, so I definitely know I don't know enough to ask cogent questions, but here goes anyway.

430mhz is line of sight which basically means CB or equivalent.

430mhz (70cm) is UHF line of sight. CB is HF in the 26-27 mhz (11m) range. Much different. With the right conditions, I understand CB can go hundreds or miles, but I think there's some limit to how far you're legally allowed to transmit.
The taller the antenna the further away I can pick up and broadcast to.

The higher the antenna, the farther you can receive and transmit. We don't "broadcast" ;) Antenna length generally depends on frequency.
For broadcasting the power rating is a rough approximation of range assuming flat land on a line of sight frequency, correct?

The antenna is more important than the power. Some guys can transmit 1000 miles on a watt.
The lower bands are ionosphere bounce bands, so that is why the range and such is variable with them. Sometimes you have good atmospherics, sometimes you don't and that is why you might bounce to 1000 miles away, but not 500 miles away.

Mostly correct. First sentence roughly correct. First half of 2nd sentence mostly correct. The reason you would get 1000 miles but not 500 is because of skip zone. The signal has a "shadow" between the end of line of sight and the place it reflects back down off of the ionosphere.
Also there seems to be two methods of talking about things. Hz / Mhz as well as meter measure. I am assuming one is the inverse of the other. As in 2m is equal to some kind of HZ equivalent, it is just like .223 vs 5.56 are effectively the same thing (regarding diameter).

Approximately 300/mhz = meters or 300/meters = mhz. It's not exact. ETA: Frequency allocation chart
DC to Daylight means absolutely zero to me.

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I'd suggest you visit the ARRL site and get a Technician's and a General study guide. And I highly recommend qrz.com that someone above mentioned for the practice tests.

I, too, look forward to hearing from Randy.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:22 am

Yeesh, I hope I can live up to all the hype!

To expound on a couple of Weet's points;

Power output is often the least important variable in long range communications. More power into a crappy antenna system can not only damage your radio, but can turn you into an "alligator", all mouth no ears. Which means you are transmitting your signal far beyond what you can hear, thus just contributing to the noise level (and probably interfering with conversations you have no idea are out there)

In some cases, you actually want a lower antenna, such as when operating Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) where you bounce an HF signal straight up and back down to attain "local" communications within 300 miles or so.

I operate at 100 watts (maximum power output of my gear) or less and have been happy with my results.

Meters is a measurement of wavelength. Hz is a measurement of frequency. Weet posted the formula of their relationship. When talking ham radio Meters is usually used to refer to a band of frequencies (as in 20 Meters), while Frequency is used for more precision such as when setting up a contact frequency (such as 14.300 MHz)

The Different types of stations are Base (fixed, such as your home station), Portable (transportable, either hand held or setting up your radio/antenna/power source at a temporary location) and Mobile (station mounted in a vehicle such as a car, boat, aircraft etc.). So, if you were to pull your car over to the side of the road, you would still be operating a mobile station as when I worked a Nevada station while stuck in construction in Yellowstone.

I personally have no problems operating HF voice while driving cross country. Once the antenna is tuned to a band (and I have an automatic tuning system, so press the Tune button and let it sort it self out) you don't generally have to keep your eyes on the radio when tuning around (my radio beeps when I hit the edges of the amateur bands). I clip the microphone to my shoulder belt at chest level. Doing this I have made contacts as far as Cuba when driving in South Dakota.

There are several nets (such as MIDCARS on 7.285 MHz daily) you can check in with, get signal reports to get an idea of how well your equipment is working etc.

Digital is coming on strong for message traffic or emergency operations support, but that is not my primary use of my HF gear in my truck. I save that for the home shack or the local Emergency Operations Center. I just like playing radio when on long cross country trips and having an emergency backup for areas not covered by cell towers. And, playing with it in normal situations gives me practice and gain skills for use in an emergency.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:54 am

Equipment wise, my gear (Icom 706MKIIG) is no longer in production and I haven't kept up, but anything by Kenwood, Yeasu or Icom will be good quality stuff that will get the job done as long as you do your part. No matter what you pick, you will be drawn in to endless Ford v Chevy 9mm v .45 type arguments in the ham community. :twisted:

If I were buying today I'd look real close at the Icom IC-7000 simply because it's closest in look and feel to my 706.

I know several folks with the FT-857D and like them, but I find the control head display and controls a little small for me.

Kenwood's TS-480 is only HF + 6 meters, and is a little big for a mobile for my tastes, but again I know several folks that have been happy with them.

I'll limit this bit to mainly mobile ops

Any ham radio will need to be hooked directly to the battery. I can run my 706 at full (100 watts) on my stock battery and alternator on my Trailblazer, but would not want to run it while the engine was off.

As for antennas, you can go easy or cheap.

On the cheap end, you get a set of Hamstick type mono band antennas, one for each band you want to operate, You will have to stop and switch the antennas when changing bands (for instance when moving from daytime to nighttime ops). The other downsides are, while they are relatively cheap, you can end up spending as much as a high end multi-band antenna to get a full set for all bands, and then having to have room to carry them in your vehicle and getting to them when you need to change bands.

At the other end are multi band antennas such as what I use, the Tarheel screwdriver antenna. (called a screwdriver because the ham that came up with the design used the motor from an electric screwdriver as the drive mechanism). There is a large coil that adjusts up and down to get the proper match for your radio at a given frequency. I have the Little Tarheel which 6-80 meters. The full sized Tarheels would be more effective, but the smaller one is more convenient for parking, and works well enough for me. I have an inline auto tuner that controls the antenna when I press the tune button on my radio. The controller uses the radios built in SWR meter to search for the best match.

If you do go with a Yaesu, they do make a similar multi-band antenna designed to work with their radios (the ATAS series), but you are then limited to Yaesu for full compatibility, and I have had friends that had problems with them.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:10 am

...even before I read MHI, my response to seeing a poster for the stars of the latest Twilight movies was "I see 2 targets and a collaborator".

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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:24 am

One last thing for now (FINALLY! said everyone else on the board)

You will need at least a General Class license to operate effectively on HF. Extra Class opens up more frequencies, but may not be worth the effort for what you want.

So, before you spend a lot of money on an HF rig, I'd say get your Technician License, get a VHF/UHF radio to start playing with while you study for your General.

By that time, after hanging around with and talking with other hams, you can refine what you want in an HF rig, and you might even be able to get a good deal on some used gear.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:21 am

I'll jump back in with some links I've found helpful. Anyone who has better links, chime in. Reading about ham radio is like going down a rabbit hole. ;)

Eham.net has great articles and reviews.

Reviews:
Icom IC-7000
Yaesu FT-857D (I got this one because I seemed to be able to find it cheaper and I already had a used FT-897D, so same programming, shares a tuner, etc)(if you get this one, from everything I've read, skip the Yaesu ATAS and go with Randy's Tarheel)
Tarheel Antennas (I'll skip linking to the ATAS, but you can browse to them)

You'll need a tuner. I've heard great things about the LDG tuners. I bought one for base use, but haven't set it up yet. Can't say about mobile. Randy?

Places to buy stuff:
Local hamfest. Go here, enter your zip code and how far you're willing to drive. You can find good deals at a hamfest. Do your reading first, so you know what you're looking for.
DX Engineering - my favorite - good prices, great service
GigaParts - I've found good prices here, too. Comes up on a sweepstakes screen. Go to Products|Radio Gear
Universal Radio - can't remember if I've bought from here, but everybody links to them
Ham Radio Outlet
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:42 am

Weetabix wrote:You'll need a tuner. I've heard great things about the LDG tuners. I bought one for base use, but haven't set it up yet. Can't say about mobile. Randy?


I have an LDG for use in my home shack, and there is one at the County EOC for it's HF station. Work great.

I don't need one for my mobile as I have a Turbo Tuner that works with my radio and Tarheel to adjust the antenna to resonance. (basically the antenna is the tuner)

I don't think the Turbo Tuner is made any more (it was pretty much designed to work with the IC706), but Tar Heel links to the TuneMatic. I don't know anything about them, but I trust the Tar Heel folks judgment.

This, of course, is the easy way. The cheap way is to use the simple/up down switch that come with the antenna and adjust the antenna manually using the radio's built in SWR meter (or an external meter) to get a dip in SWR. Takes time and you do need to pull off the road to do that. I used a sharpie to mark the resonant points for 10/20/40/80 meters on the outside of my antenna. So I can get close by watching the antenna in my mirror and then fine tuning (literally) using the SWR meter. Back up in case the Turbo Tuner dies.

In between, you have something like the Ameritron SDC-102. You have to tune manually for each frequency, but once you it set, you get a readout so that you can move back there quickly, and has 10 memories for frequently used frequencies.

If you go with a monoband antenna such as a Ham Stick, then the LDG would be a good one to fine tune within a band and adjust when you swap out antennas for another band.

You pays your money for what level of convenience you want. I was lucky in having some unexpected money so I could indulge myself.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:03 am

Ok, completely overwhelmed. In fairness to me I have not had time to chase down many of these links. Weekend will afford me some time.

To Randy's idea of buying a non-HF and playing with it. I don't think this will work, but I want to see if I am getting this at all.

for local coms, I am looking at getting the Baofeng UV-82hp. For a little more money it looks like you get more power, more power options, and better (more rugged) case / components over the UV-5R.
Is this an actual Ham unit?
Do I need a license to use it?
And most importantly, will this be a training platform for the basics of the bigger unit I mentioned before? ---- I am guessing, NO to the last question.---
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:15 am

My goal is to have an on person unit that can (on certain bands) communicate with the larger unit.

I think any of the UV- units (UV-5R / UV-82hp) would do that given proximity / line of sight,

Then I want a portable unit. Defined by me as something that can be mounted in the vehicle and used as designed. It sounds like the Yaesu FT-857D will do that, but I will need to invest in a proper antenna set up and a tuner.

the brains- Yaesu FT-857D
https://www.amazon.com/Yaesu-Transceiver-Accessories-Mini-Manual-Reference/dp/B01M7501W0/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1485925717&sr=8-13&keywords=Yaesu+FT-857D

the antenna Amazon suggested
https://www.amazon.com/Yaesu-ATAS-120A-Motorized-FT-450DandFT-897D-ATAS-120/dp/B004UM9UL4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485925822&sr=8-1&keywords=Yaesu+FT-857D+tuner

The tuner amazon suggested
https://www.amazon.com/YAESU-FC-40-Automatic-Antenna-Tuner/dp/B00GU0PU90/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1485925822&sr=8-2&keywords=Yaesu+FT-857D+tuner

Would this make me functional in the vehicle? Are the tuner and antenna correct for all the bands the unit offers? It doesn't look like it to me.

Then for my non portable solution, my assumption is I could set up a different antenna at the house and swap out the other two components as needed or buy a different brain and leave it permanently at the house. One of the less expensive bigger units that is a generation or two older as it will run on land power?
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby slowpoke » Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:47 am

Precision wrote:My goal is to have an on person unit that can (on certain bands) communicate with the larger unit.

I think any of the UV- units (UV-5R / UV-82hp) would do that given proximity / line of sight,

Then I want a portable unit. Defined by me as something that can be mounted in the vehicle and used as designed. It sounds like the Yaesu FT-857D will do that, but I will need to invest in a proper antenna set up and a tuner.

the brains- Yaesu FT-857D
https://www.amazon.com/Yaesu-Transceiver-Accessories-Mini-Manual-Reference/dp/B01M7501W0/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1485925717&sr=8-13&keywords=Yaesu+FT-857D

the antenna Amazon suggested
https://www.amazon.com/Yaesu-ATAS-120A-Motorized-FT-450DandFT-897D-ATAS-120/dp/B004UM9UL4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485925822&sr=8-1&keywords=Yaesu+FT-857D+tuner

The tuner amazon suggested
https://www.amazon.com/YAESU-FC-40-Automatic-Antenna-Tuner/dp/B00GU0PU90/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1485925822&sr=8-2&keywords=Yaesu+FT-857D+tuner

Would this make me functional in the vehicle? Are the tuner and antenna correct for all the bands the unit offers? It doesn't look like it to me.

Then for my non portable solution, my assumption is I could set up a different antenna at the house and swap out the other two components as needed or buy a different brain and leave it permanently at the house. One of the less expensive bigger units that is a generation or two older as it will run on land power?

I dont think thats the tuner you want, but I am not sure. The Atas should be the mobile tuner. Try calling the guys at gigaparts.com They should be able to at least meet amazons prices, and they do tend to know what they sell. They're good people. They will also help you to figure out what else you will need like antenna mounts and wireing.

edit I just checked and they're considerably cheaper than amazon
https://www.gigaparts.com/yaesu-ft-857d.html

My suggestion is to follow the previous advice and get your technician license and inexpensive ht then figure out the hf unit while studying for your general.
also your likely going to want to get an audio card interface so you can do digital modes off of a laptop. I have an ft817, with a netbook, interface and antenna tuner that all fits in a satchel. psk31 is fun :)
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:20 pm

DX Engineering has it even cheaper.

Precision- unfortunately this is not a plug and play proposition. Get the license manuals. Get your Tech. Join a club. Play with 2m and 70cm. Get your General. Do lots of reading. Do DX on HF.

And the Baofengs require a Tech license.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:22 pm

ok, so what I hear you saying is slow down.

Buy an inexpensive home based rig AFTER I have gotten some training on someone else's rig at a club.
Get at least a tech license before I go much further. By the time I get the next upgrade on the license, I will likely know enough to buy something that will work for me.

No plug and play. Each set up needs to be custom assembled to fit desired parameters. I am looking at roughly $2000 for a car mobile rig that will do what I think I want currently.

Note to self, find new hobbies that are not so damn expensive.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:51 pm

I got a perfectly serviceable Icom 2m mobile rig at a hamfest for $20. $15 or so for a mag mount mobile antenna, and Bob's your uncle. Start cheap and easy, then move up.

Lots of people deride the Baofengs, but I think they're good starters. Baofeng + repeater book info for repeaters in your area + Chirp software (free) + mag mount 2m/440 antenna, and you're mobile and building operating skills.

But get the Tech license first. ETA: but with the gear above, you can start listening right now. You can learn a lot by listening.

What's an analogy? You don't recommend that a new shooter go out and buy a $3,000 1000-yard rifle, then plop him on a bench and expect him to compete, right? Same kind of thing here.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:54 pm

Precision wrote:Note to self, find new hobbies that are not so damn expensive.

Quoted for truth! :lol:
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby slowpoke » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:11 pm

Weetabix wrote:
Precision wrote:Note to self, find new hobbies that are not so damn expensive.

Quoted for truth! :lol:

Amen
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby First Shirt » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:45 pm

slowpoke wrote:
Weetabix wrote:
Precision wrote:Note to self, find new hobbies that are not so damn expensive.

Quoted for truth! :lol:

Amen

+1

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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Denis » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:21 pm

Other than owning a pair of Baofeng handhelds strictly for SHTF use, I know nothing about radio stuff, but I passed on this thread to an acquaintance stateside who sometimes deals in used radio gear. Here's what he said:

I currently have 2 older (80’s) radios, and might sell one, but they are more of a “transportable” type even if people used to install them for mobile. Both are Yaesu FT-847’s. They are a good example of an all band transceiver from the era. They are available used for 800USD to 1200USD. The FT-857 is the preferred model for all band field use, esp among the prepper, emergency comms folks, but they are not cheap.

Smaller radios with HF, like the Yaesu FT-8900 destined for my truck but currently on my desk, include 6m and 10m. Those are HF, but not the really low bands. Propagation on those bands has been poor. I’ve also got the TYT TH-9800 clone, which retails for $250USD. I might sell it if it checks out as good, but it won’t be super cheap.

The other 4 or 5 mobiles I currently have are just dual bands, VHF and UHF.

Mobile HF is even more dependent on antennas and tuners than fixed ops. There are more compromises involved in antenna design when operating mobile (mainly size and height). So there is a big learning curve for HF mobile.

Since Precision is just starting out, this page might be helpful as it’s focused on the beginner and the sort of ops it sounds like he wants:

https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2017/ ... s-in-2017/

I wish him well, and it’s an interesting journey with lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

I’ll mention [to you] if I pick up a good HF rig, or sell some of my other gear.

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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:08 pm

Denis wrote:https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/the-foundation-squaring-away-communications-needs-in-2017/

I thought about linking to that, but I wasn't sure if it would be too overwhelming. :)
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:06 pm

Still not back to full speed, but here's something I wrote back in the Kim days (almost 9 years ago, wow). I have not verified the links or updated it, but here it is for what it's worth.


This subject comes up from time to time in the forums, so I’m going to try to put together a summary of information here. I am basically going to address this from the point of view of dealing with natural disasters (earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, winter storms, etc), as these are the most common and the one you are most likely to deal with. The principles apply, for the most part, to Man made disasters such as industrial accidents, civil unrest, terrorism, etc. as well, but you might have to adjust due to tactical constraints.

During a SHTF type situation, it is important to maintain situational awareness. One way is through communications, with others of your family and/or group, and with the authorities (often through announcements in the broadcast media). You need to be aware of such things as :”WTF just happened?!” “Is it still happening?” “Is it going to happen again?”, “where is everyone?”, “Does anyone need help?”, “where is the nearest help?” “Should I stay or should I go?”.

(Please note that this is written from the perspective of the environment of the United States. Other countries have different rules and regulations about the possession and use of communications gear of various types.)

The first part of this is to build a communications plan with your family/and or group. (like minded friends, neighbors, lodge brothers, militia brigade, etc.) BEFORE a situation develops.

This is as simple as having a list of phone numbers for each member, including mobile, work/school, and home numbers. Not only should these be programmed into your cell phone (if you have one), but you should have a hard copy list with you as well in case your phone isn’t working, or the cell sites are down, but the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) hardwired landline is till up. You might also want to carry a roll of quarters and/or a pre-paid calling card for such a situation.

It is also important for each member of your group to know what to do if a situation arises and the phones go out of service entirely. Such as setting up a rally point (probably home), designating who picks who up from school, who’s going to stay in place until contacted/picked up, any alternate means of communication (such as radio), etc.

Your communications plan should cover all means available to you. Such as:

Receive only: (Note, always evaluate any source of information for credibility and reliability based on personal experience and what you observe. Even with the best of intentions, people often misreport, misinterpret, or just don’t understand what they are reading or seeing. In addition, what’s going on in another part of your state/city/county may or may not have anything to do with what’s going on your particular location)

Commercial Broadcast: AM/FM/TV. This is a primary way for announcements from government Emergency Management (EM) officials have of getting information to as many people in their area as possible. Local news media will also be a source of information separate from the official announcements (this can be a good or a bad thing).

You should have a receiver capable of picking up at least commercial AM and FM broadcasts that does not require commercial power. There are many models out there that use batteries, 12v dc (i.e. from car power jacks) and a hand crank and/or solar cells to recharge the internal battery pack. Kim has one linked in his excellent article on emergency gear.

Several of these come with TV band audio reception, but be aware that Commercial TV broadcasts are scheduled to switch to all digital in 2009, and these radios will not be able to receive TV audio after that time.

Many come with Short Wave capability, which is probably of limited use in a natural disaster situation, but it can be fun to surf the bands if there’s nothing else to do. In addition, if the SW bands cover the Amateur Radio HF bands, persons in Hurricane susceptible areas might be interested in monitoring the Hurricane Watch Net.

I put this on the “must have list”

NOAA Weather Radios
The NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) through the National Weather Service (NWS) maintains a network of stations throughout the United States. These stations continuously broadcast weather reports and forecasts for their listening area. During weather and other emergencies, they broadcast watches (be ready, something very well might happen), and warnings (something is happening NOW).

NOAA Weather radios are receivers that have the 10 NOAA frequencies pre-programmed. You can use them to check the NWS forecasts and conditions, and mute the audio when not listening. In the event of a watch or warning, the NOAA station will broadcast a tone that will cause the radio to automatically un-mute (and usually sound an alert tone) and you will be able to hear the audio of the bulletin.

If you buying a new one, make sure it supports Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME). This allows you to tailor the bulletins you receive to your local area. Each geographic area (usually a county) has it’s own SAME code. NOAA encodes SAME data in it’s bulletins, placing the SAME codes of affected areas into each separate bulletin. This means that your radio will only sound an alert for bulletins affecting your area, and not for areas that have no impact on you.

There are a variety of NOAA radios available from a variety of sources. For my home I have a Midland 74-200, and an Oregon Scientific WR-102 in my vehicle.

Utility of NOAA radios will vary depending on where you live, but I put this on the “mandatory” list for anyone living in tornado country. It is a very good idea for anyone else, as some local EMAs (Emergency Management Agencies) have started putting out bulletins about HAZMAT incidents, wildfires, etc. via NOAA radio.

Scanners
Scanners are specialized radios that can receive signals from a variety of sources, including commercial broadcast, law enforcement, fire, aviation, etc. They will tune across a range of frequencies (hence the name Scanner), stopping at any that have activity. They can then restart scanning once that activity stops. This allows you to monitor activity on a variety of frequencies using only one radio. They range from “DC to Daylight” capable of receiving High Frequency (HF) to Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and above, to those with a more limited ability for special purpose use (Aviation for instance). They can be big console base stations, or small portable “walkie talkie” sized units.

Scanners can be useful for monitoring local activity such as Public Safety (Police, Fire) calls, amateur radio weather spotter and relief support activity, NOAA radio (but usually don’t have SAME or alert capability) local EMA activity, etc. to help maintain your situational awareness by getting information that hasn’t been released by the media yet, or is not being reported by the media. (FYI: by US law, cell phone frequencies are blocked in any scanner sold since the late 90’s)

However, as communications technology advances the old type scanners may be of limited or no use in a give n area. Many government agencies down to the local level are encrypting their communications, and even those that don’t, are moving to digital “trunking” systems that require specialized scanners. Also, be aware that some jurisdictions severely limit or ban use of scanners capable of monitoring Public Safety frequencies in private vehicles.

This is in the “nice to have” category IMHO. I don’t have any (my amateur radio gear provides as much scanning capability as I need), but many people find this a fascinating hobby in and of itself.



2 Way Communications

Phone systems. You have two basic parts. POTS and Cell (wireless).


POTS

Plain Old Telephone System is the hardwired landline system those of us alive before cell phones grew up with. It is fairly robust, with large bandwidth for voice traffic. The landlines will often be operational when the cell system is jammed with traffic. If you are unable to get out on a cell phone, it may only be an issue with a local cell site. Try getting to a landline and try again, even if calling another cell user. They might not be affected in their location.

I keep a POTS phone that has a hardwired handset in my home. That gives me one phone that is operational during power outages (cordless phone base stations often do not have battery backups) and has some chance of being useable even if the cell systems are down. However, if there’s an issue with the central switching office, or the phone line itself (i.e. ice storm) , it’s not useable.

Cell Phones

Cell phones use RF (i.e. radio) waves to communicate with local sites (consisting of receivers, transmitters, and control equipment, usually on a tower or other high spot) that relay the signal to the central phone switching system.

They can be very handy due to their portability, and are not affected by things like ice bringing down phone lines. However, you are limited by needing to be in the coverage area of a cell site (getting better in the US, almost 100% in most urban areas) and in not having your signal blocked by buildings or being underground.

Cell sites usually have backup power, but this capability can be limited and so the sites may go down during an extended power outage, and of course they are susceptible to tornados, earthquakes, etc.

Along the Ohio river several years ago, several sites were down for days and weeks as the lower portions of the towers were flooded, killing their electrical power. The World Trade centers had a multitude of cell sites on them, all lost when the towers went down. Katrina scrubbed many towers down to the concrete pad, and many others were destroyed or required weeks to repair.

If the main phone switch goes down, the cell sites may be up, but not have anything to relay to, effectively killing the system.

It is also possible for sites to go down, and therefore kill service for a given area due to traffic volume. The system is developed under the assumption that only a certain percentage of users (20% IIRC) will normally be using the system at any given moment. There is some margin built in, but during a situation where everyone is calling everyone else at once, the system will go down.

During the recovery operations for TWA 800 off the East coast, it took 3 days before enough temporary cell sites were brought in to handle the combined traffic of recovery crews, the media, onlookers, and normal operations.

The same thing happened in Oklahoma City after the bombing, although for a shorter period of time.

Tip: If you have text messaging available on your phone, you can sometimes get a short message through the system when a voice call will be rejected due to traffic volume. Something to keep in your tool bag of tricks.

A subset of the wireless type phones are Satellite phones,.

Pro: They are flexible, not reliant on local infrastructure, have the ability to reach outside widespread disasters, relatively immune to any attack short of a nuclear exchange or anti-satellite warfare.

Con: Cost. Phones can run about $1K. Calls cost $5-$10/min. You must have a clear view of the part of the sky the satellites orbit which might be an issue in some situations. The satellites themselves can often have reception problems during some types of solar storms.

Bottom line, I regard cell phones somewhat like the Police: Can’t beat them when they’re there for you, but I’m not going to rely on them being available in a emergency and will make plans to take care of myself.


E-Mail. E-mail has many of the vulnerabilities of phone systems, with the addition of virus, DOS attacks, etc. However, depending on your method of connecting to the internet, it might be available during times when the phone systems are down since it often travels different paths.

And of course, both parties need to be at a terminal (PC, or e-mail capable wireless device).

Useful if up, and would not ignore it if available, but I would not plan for it as my primary means of communication in an emergency.


Radio (Note, I am only covering common options legally available to private citizens in the US. You might have gear that transmits on military, commercial or Public Safety bands, but it isn’t legal for private use, I don’t want to know about it, and I don’t know you).

Radios generally have two advantages over phones of any type:

1. Not reliant on infrastructure such as phone switches, commercial power, and linked cell sites.

2. Able to send “one to many” type messages quickly. With phones, you normally have to call each member of a group individually to pass or receive information. With radio, everyone in your group can hear the information at once, which saves time and increases situational awareness of the group. (I know some types of phones, such as NEXTEL has a feature that accomplishes the same tasks, but we’re back to that infrastructure thing again.)

One thing to be aware of (which might be a disadvantage depending on the situation) is that you have no expectation of privacy with any of these radio services. Encryption of radio signals in these services is illegal. Anyone with a scanner or proper receiver will be able to hear everything you discuss.


FRS (Family Radio Service) Is a non licensed radio service in the UHF band intended for private citizens to use in short range, non-commercial communications.

Pro’s: No license required, cheap, easily available at discount, electronics, and outdoor stores. Simple to operate.

Cons: No license required, cheap, easily available. Simple to operate. Which means that many people have them, and few of them have any clue as to effective radio operation or protocol. If you get into a situation with a large number of people (such as an amusement park on a busy day), FRS can become unusable as multiple people try to use a few channels at the same time.

Has severe limitations on allowable power and antennas, which gives them a restricted range. (Actually that can be a good thing as well, cutting down on the number of people sharing a small set of frequencies in any given area.). These restriction mean that all FRS radios are basically small handhelds.

FYI: “Privacy Modes” advertised on some FRS radios, aren’t. They are referring to subaudio tones you can set so that you do not receive any transmission that does not have the right tone. However, that only keeps you from hearing other people, it does nothing to keep other people from hearing you. There is no privacy in private, civilian radio communications.


The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a licensed radio service in the UHF band originally intended for use by businesses (construction, security, etc) but is now available for use by families.

Pros: Higher power and external antennas (which means more range), base stations, mobiles allowed. No license exam. Not as crowded.

Cons: Equipment more expensive and not as available.

Requires a license (no test, just filing the paperwork and a $85.00 fee for 5 years).

Limited number of channels, so it is possible for interference from other users if enough users are crowded in one place.

Since there is no testing, hence no study or training required, GMRS users can also cause problems through ignorance of radio techniques and protocols that help ensure smooth operations.

Please note that many manufacturers are selling “dual use” radios that have both GMRS and FRS in one unit (the frequencies of the two services are interwoven with each other). A license is required to legally operate the GMRS frequencies, but none on the FRS, UNLESS, the “dual use” radio transmits with more than a ½ watt and has a removable antenna. At that point you are required to get a GMRS license to use those frequencies.

Citizens Band (CB) Is a non licensed radio service in the HF band used for private and business use. Designed as a 1-5 mile range service, but since it is the HF part of the spectrum, atmospheric conditions can give ranges in the hundreds or thousands of miles under the right conditions (this can be a good or a bad thing).

Pros: No license required Equipment is cheap and readily available. Simple to use.

More frequencies available than FRS (40 channels).

If you’re near a major trucking route, you can usually raise someone to get help (Truckers on Channel 19, many State Patrols and users monitor Channel 9 for emergency calls) anywhere in the country.

Can use handhelds, mobile units, base stations, and external antennas.

Cons: Limited power output (5 watts). (Many folks play with amplifiers to boost that. Again, it’s illegal, I don’t want to hear about it, I don’t know you.)

Same issues as with FRS and GMRS with non-radio savvy folks not understanding how radio works, therefore causing interference and confusion.

Very little to no enforcement by the FCC. This leads to a small subset of people on CB with an outlaw mentality that enjoy breaking the rules, pushing illegal power, intentionally interfering with others, and in general being jerks. They may be technically savvy, but are lacking in the maturity department. A group of these folks can make effective CB communications impossible in an area.

Multi Use Radio Service (MURS) A non licensed radio service in the VHF band. Was once used by commercial (construction, security, etc) but is now open for any personal or business communications.

Pros: No license. Almost nobody knows about it so not a lot of crowding. Can use external antennas and transmit data in addition to voice.

Cons: Equipment not readily available in most places. Limited to 2 watts.


Amateur Radio (HAM) (Full disclosure. I am a licensed Amateur Radio operator, which means I should know what I’m talking about, but could be a wee bit biased ;-) )

A licensed radio service that has frequency allocations in several bands in the HF, VHF, UHF and above regions of the radio spectrum. Amateur communications must be totally non-commercial in nature.

Pros: Extremely flexible. Ham operators can use any of a number of bands and modes (voice, digital, satellite, etc.) to get communications through. You can optimize your frequency and mode for the task at hand and the distance you need to cover (from around the neighborhood to around the world).

Least number of restrictions on power limits and antennas.

No license fee (there is usually a test fee to take the exam, but once licensed, you never have to pay another fee to maintain it).

Exam based licensing ensures that operators have some exposure to radio theory and protocols, making for more effective communicators.

Self-Policing, in cooperation with the FCC, which keeps the number of on-air jerks to a minimum (but they are still out there).

There is a large subset of the hobby that specializes in emergency communications. They provide a pool of personnel that have wargamed and or practiced for real, in exercises, and in contests. Thus there are likely going to be people outside your group that you can contact, and that can provide assistance and training.

Experimentation and do it yourself are encouraged (within the limitations of the regulations). Hams can and do build, repair and modify their own equipment. This is unique in the radio services. FRS, CB, GMRS and MURS all require what used to be called “Type Acceptance” from the FCC and must be certified to meet certain technical standards before they can be sold or used. Thus it is illegal to build, or modify transmitters and then use them on the air for these services. The equipment is often designed to only be repaired by certified/factory technicians, and, in the case of FRS particularly, makes repair non-economical.

Cons: License with exam requires study.

More complex than the other services. Amateur Operators are expected to know the theory of how their equipment works and to keep it working within legal limits. Same with operating procedure and protocol. For example, there are no channels as in CB, FRS etc. you have a range a frequencies to work in, and you are expected to only operate on the frequencies and in the modes you are authorized to by your license.

Equipment more expensive and not as readily available (i.e. not in your average Big Box store) as other services.


Organizations: The following organizations are good contacts for more information and to find folks in your local area that might be of assistance:

ARRL: American Radio Relay League. The primary US national level amateur radio organization (think NRA for hams: not the only one, but the biggest). They can provide information of getting licensed, testing, training for emergency communications, technical information, etc. Their Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)is their organization that specializes in providing emergency communications support.

RACES: Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. Basically a government controlled version of ARES. Radio operators that support local, state and national government communications, often using amateur radio. They usually work for the local Emergency Management Agency. Also known as the Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) in California.


REACT: Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams. Basically a non-ham version of the ARRL’s ARES organization. Specializing in use of non Amateur band equipment (CB, FRS, Business band, etc) to support disaster relief operations. They also use amateur frequencies when they have licensed operators available.
This has just been a basic overview. I hope this has been useful in giving you factors to consider in your personal disaster response plan.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:55 am

My local group uses the baofeng units. I am considering a Baofeng 82HP or a Yaesu FT-60R. They currently use the non licensed bands and for now it is unlikely they will get the entire group to get their tech license. I will be doing that and more...

From my limited understanding, the Baofeng has more power (7w vs 5w max) has a bit more frilly stuff, but does not have the shock resistance / water resistance of the Yaesu FT-60R.

The Baofeng is about half the price too.

Is there a reason to go with one or the other considering the cost difference vs performance vs durability? Money is an object but not a significant one for good kit.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby slowpoke » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:21 am

Precision wrote:My local group uses the baofeng units. I am considering a Baofeng 82HP or a Yaesu FT-60R. They currently use the non licensed bands and for now it is unlikely they will get the entire group to get their tech license. I will be doing that and more...

From my limited understanding, the Baofeng has more power (7w vs 5w max) has a bit more frilly stuff, but does not have the shock resistance / water resistance of the Yaesu FT-60R.

The Baofeng is about half the price too.

Is there a reason to go with one or the other considering the cost difference vs performance vs durability? Money is an object but not a significant one for good kit.

The yeasu is much easier to use and setup from the keypad. I think some of the the boafangs will dual recieve though. I actually have both and use the yeasu much more, but thats partially because of issues ive had with the programming cable on the uv5r, and partially that im used to yeasu ht's since thats what i started with twenty years ago.

Its not difficult to get a technician license. couple days studying, the test is very cheep.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:05 pm

slowpoke wrote:
Its not difficult to get a technician license. couple days studying, the test is very cheep.


You know that, I know that. Getting a group of 100+ people to actually act on that... well you know people, so...

It sounds like I should save the money and buy the 82-HP and if I end up seeing its shortcomings, then keep it as back up kit and get the FT-60R later.

Or when if I get the Yaesu vehicle mount, upgrade the man portable to an FT-60R at that point.

Thanks
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rumpshot » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:56 pm

I too would recommend the Yaesu. The Baofeng is less expensive, and they have come a long way since they were introduced, but all of the chinese radios are awkward, at best, to program.

Just about any handheld you get will take a beating over time. Don't intentionally dunk it in the lake/river/toilet and it should not have water issues. I am not directly familiar with either radio but the Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood radios are built around an aluminum frame. My little TYT, I believe, is only plastic. The TYT is much lighter weight and smaller. The display is harder to read too.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rumpshot » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:57 pm

You are not going to notice the difference between 5W and 7W except in battery life.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rumpshot » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:00 pm

On the other hand. If everyone else in the group has the Baofeng and there is someone that is good at and has the right software for programming. It would be good to go with a common radio.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby slowpoke » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:27 pm

You dont have to get 100 people passing the test at once. You need to get about 10 or so then the licensed cohort can show the advantages and fun of it to the other ninety. within a couple years you will have 40 to 60 licensed, but more importantly, even those unlicensed will be exposed to the usage and in an emergency will know how to use them.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:53 pm

slowpoke wrote:You dont have to get 100 people passing the test at once. You need to get about 10 or so then the licensed cohort can show the advantages and fun of it to the other ninety. within a couple years you will have 40 to 60 licensed, but more importantly, even those unlicensed will be exposed to the usage and in an emergency will know how to use them.


good point. I will bring that up. I need to start working on getting mine and get my local buddy working on it too so as not to be "that guy".
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:57 pm

Rumpshot wrote:You are not going to notice the difference between 5W and 7W except in battery life.


I assume the 7W will eat the battery quicker. I think you have talked me into the Yaesu. If the extra power is not much help, the aluminum frame and better water resistance are all good things. They all have Baofengs. Some 5R, some 82 and I think one 82HP. I think band commonality would be more important then item commonality with the exception of swapping battery packs. I assume knowing the programmed frequencies is all I would need to know to program my Yaesu to have the same presets as their Baofengs, correct?
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:06 pm

Precision wrote:
Rumpshot wrote:You are not going to notice the difference between 5W and 7W except in battery life.


I assume the 7W will eat the battery quicker.


The extra 2w might help in a fringe area. You'd get more mileage of replacing the stock factory antenna (AKA "Air Cooled Dummy Loads") with a quality after market antenna.

I have a couple for each handheld I own to use depending on operating environment and mission requirements. (EX, I have shorty antennas to use in areas with solid repeater coverage outdoors for convenience, but also have extended whip antennas to use in rural areas with marginal repeater coverage).

Aluminum in the air beats watts at the transmitter every time.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:17 pm

Precision wrote:They all have Baofengs. Some 5R, some 82 and I think one 82HP. I think band commonality would be more important then item commonality with the exception of swapping battery packs. I assume knowing the programmed frequencies is all I would need to know to program my Yaesu to have the same presets as their Baofengs, correct?

For information only - contains no recommendations:
The Yaesu won't transmit on all the bands that the Baofengs will, but it will receive more.
Baofeng: Frequency Range: 65-108 MHz (Only commercial FM radio reception) VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx)
Yaesu: RX: 108-137, 137-520, 700-999.99 (cell probably blocked); Tx: 144-148, 430-450
Recommendations:
You should recommend that no one without a ham license transmit in the ham bands. Hams will DF you.

Presets: yes.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:31 am

I had to leave the keyboard before I addressed the rest of Precision's post.

TLDR:

Weetabix wrote:Recommendations:
You should recommend that no one without a ham license transmit in the ham bands.


Reasons:

1. It's illegal. From the forum rules:
and be LEGAL
.

2. On a practical level, the FCC can and has levied fines in the multi-thousand dollar ranges for non-licensed users.

Hams will DF you


1. Hams have a good working relationship with the FCC enforcement division. They often do the original grunt work (DFing, documentation) and provide cases to the FCC on a platter.

2. There are a group of hams that do this type of stuff (DFing and locating transmitters) for fun. They are very good and fiendishly clever. Your group might fly beneath their RADAR, but once you have their attention, you have it in full.

It's not just about being "the radio police" or messing with kids not in our club. Amateur radio has a lot of privileges and occupies a lot of valuable spectrum. One of the reasons we do is that we are self-policing.

Unlicensed (or worse, licensed amateurs that enjoy being pricks) operators have caused havoc up to and including interference with public safety frequencies. Hams often take the blame from local officials and the general public. So much of this is defensive.

If nothing else, we know what a cesspool CB (11 Meters) became when the FCC gave up even trying to enforce the rules. We don't want that to happen on the amateur bands. (It's bad enough on some frequencies in some locations as it is).

I guess the bottom line is that no responsible licensed amateur is ever to going to recommend anything, especially not on an essentially open forum like this, other than have your group get licensed to use amateur frequencies, or restrict themselves to CB, FRS or other non-license radios.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby HTRN » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:43 am

Weetabix wrote:
Precision wrote:Note to self, find new hobbies that are not so damn expensive.

Quoted for truth! :lol:

I wish my hobbies only cost two grand. :(
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:10 am

HTRN wrote:
Weetabix wrote:
Precision wrote:Note to self, find new hobbies that are not so damn expensive.

Quoted for truth! :lol:

I wish my hobbies only cost two grand. :(


You've obviously never seen a hard corps DX or contest station. :ugeek:
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:38 pm

I am still very new to this, but in talking with a few members of the group, they have self limited to frequencies that are NOT license required for broadcast (FRS I believe). I don't know the particulars of how that works yet, but I expect that if they are aware of that, they are doing it as such.

They have a couple of guys who are licensed and know the rules and set up the guidelines for everyone else. I will see as I get more involved with them and with HAM.

In trying to grow my business while working 2 other income streams, learning the Ham rules has taken a back seat. I am hoping to get some basics figured out tomorrow as I need a day of NOT working.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby HTRN » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:53 pm

randy wrote:
HTRN wrote:
Weetabix wrote:
Precision wrote:Note to self, find new hobbies that are not so damn expensive.

Quoted for truth! :lol:

I wish my hobbies only cost two grand. :(


You've obviously never seen a hard corps DX or contest station. :ugeek:

You've obviously never looked through an industrial catalog. :ugeek: :mrgreen:
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:49 pm

Precision wrote:I am still very new to this, but in talking with a few members of the group, they have self limited to frequencies that are NOT license required for broadcast (FRS I believe). I don't know the particulars of how that works yet, but I expect that if they are aware of that, they are doing it as such.


Cool! I didn't mean to get into lecture mode, but I've found it's easier to get this out early before someone has invested in equipment or set up habits that might not be optimal for their intended purposes.

They have a couple of guys who are licensed and know the rules and set up the guidelines for everyone else.


I'm in a similar situation with a local CERT team. Since it's sponsored by a local FD, I also have to include proper usage of Department provided Public Safety radios in the mix.

In trying to grow my business while working 2 other income streams, learning the Ham rules has taken a back seat. I am hoping to get some basics figured out tomorrow as I need a day of NOT working.


I understand. Let us know if you need assistance or explanations as you read about stuff. I know it's hard to sort out what you really need to get started vs the nice to know or stuff you'll want as you advance.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:11 pm

I have gone through the links several times. I thought there was a link to free study literature, I do not seem to find it. I did find the free practice exams. I got a 40(ish) just based on common sense on the technical. Not bad.

If there is no good free study guide, please help me spend my money wisely.

I finally broke down and bought a Boafeng 82hp. I figured at $100 including the programming cable, an extended life back up battery... could do a lot worse. I held off on the fancy antenna for now as Iwant to see what the factory one does, locally. I am sure I will get it, but my trip point was $100 on getting involved.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:37 pm

Here's a page with several links to free study guides.

I worked with Ron on development of the original Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course back in the late 90's and trust that anything he links to is good.

You can also review the Technician Test Question Pool.. The test you will take will have only questions drawn from this pool. If it isn't in the question pool, you won't be tested on it. Make sure anything you find on the web was published after July 1, 2014.
Those questions are valid until June 30, 2018, at which point a new pool will be issued.

Different people study in different ways. So if the free ones don't work:

I've always used the ARRL study guides.

I know a lot of folks that that like the W5YI materials.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:00 am

thanks for the links. I read through the info and took a quiz. For the Tech license it seems to be about common sense and phrase recognition. After doing a once through slow read, I got an 88%. The questions were heavily favored towards things I already knew, so that is likely an fluke. But a few 30 minute study sessions over a few days and I am pretty sure I could pass.

I may study the tech and general both before taking the test as I hear if you pass the tech, taking the general is free and no penalty for failure on the general. Is that the case?

Looks like I am on my way. I have a radio being delivered on Wed and hopefully by the end of the week I won't just use word recognition and luck to pass the test, some of this will have actually sunk in.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rustyv » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:06 pm

That's the case. I took my tech a few years back, passed, and was handed the general exam. Took it and passed, and was handed the extra exam. Failed that one, but only by a couple of questions. Hadn't studied for it at all.

I would at least study for your tech and general exams, maybe make a few passes through the extra question pool.

Which reminds me, I need to go back and take my extra exam again :geek:
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Rumpshot » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:29 pm

Just realized I need to renew my Ham license by April. I too should brush up on Extra and take the test.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:55 pm

Glad to be the alarm clock to help you guys remember things. lol
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby randy » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:40 pm

Precision wrote: After doing a once through slow read, I got an 88%.


As we used to say in Targeting School: 76% is overkill.

And what Rusty said. Take 'em all and collect the set!
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby slowpoke » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:38 am

Rumpshot wrote:Just realized I need to renew my Ham license by April. I too should brush up on Extra and take the test.

Mine is september I think, and same old on the extra test.

We should try for a gun counter hf net some time.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:48 am

randy wrote:
Precision wrote: After doing a once through slow read, I got an 88%.


As we used to say in Targeting School: 76% is overkill.

And what Rusty said. Take 'em all and collect the set!


I am gonna study for the technical and the general. That way I should AT LEAST pass the technical. I really think my 88% was a fluke of good questions. definitely more study needed.

In other news, the radio, the extra cap battery and the programming cable all came today. I will get them programmed over the weekend by my buddy who is in the group.
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Precision » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:33 am

randy wrote:
You can also review the Technician Test Question Pool.. The test you will take will have only questions drawn from this pool. If it isn't in the question pool, you won't be tested on it. Make sure anything you find on the web was published after July 1, 2014.
Those questions are valid until June 30, 2018, at which point a new pool will be issued.


this used to be a link to the sample tests. Now it is not. I was taking the practice tests and went to do a couple more tonight and bang it isn't there anymore. hmmm

ETA: maybe I had the links confused but I found the one I wanted. https://www.qrz.com/hamtest/
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Re: Help me figure out mobile HF radios

Postby Weetabix » Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:14 am

Maybe if you don't want to use a battery to buffer it, you could use a big-ass capacitor. :P
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