The Ham Radio Thread

lhracing

Active Member
Location
Layton, UT
I have been studying to take the Technician license and hope to take the test at the end of the month. I am looking at hand held radios, I have seen that a lot people start out with the Baofeng's and I have looked at the BF-F8HP. I am not opposed to spending a little more money for a better radio and have also looked at the Yaesu FT-60R and FT70DR or even the FT-2DR but it is kind of pricey. I am looking for some input from others that have some experience and hopefully suggestions.
 

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
On another ham related note, how many here only have their Technician license?
While I have an Amateur Extra license, I do nothing that cannot be done with a Technician license. Ever.

As a Last Man Standing fan, I've been thinking I need to get my General just to join in on talking to the crew. They have a club KA6LMS and lately the kid that plays Boyd has been getting on the air with them.
A well-known local named Carl (WE7OMG) has had a contact with KA6LMS. You can even hear it in one of their YouTube videos they posted when they were making contacts during a break.
 

lhracing

Active Member
Location
Layton, UT
I have been studying to take the Technician license and hope to take the test at the end of the month. I am looking at hand held radios, I have seen that a lot people start out with the Baofeng's and I have looked at the BF-F8HP. I am not opposed to spending a little more money for a better radio and have also looked at the Yaesu FT-60R and FT70DR or even the FT-2DR but it is kind of pricey. I am looking for some input from others that have some experience and hopefully suggestions.

So I took the test today and passed the Technician license 35/35. Tried the General but not so good... Now to find a radio
 

Caleb

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Supporting Vendor
Location
Riverton
I'm sure it's somewhere in this 20 page thread :p but is there a break down of what the different licenses allow you to do? Myself and my Dad are looking to get licensed so we can have a setup at our cabins to have some sort of outside communications.
 

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
I am looking at hand held radios, I have seen that a lot people start out with the Baofeng's and I have looked at the BF-F8HP. I am not opposed to spending a little more money for a better radio and have also looked at the Yaesu FT-60R and FT70DR or even the FT-2DR but it is kind of pricey. I am looking for some input from others that have some experience and hopefully suggestions.
Now to find a radio
So many hams start with an HT. Back on page 6 of this thread, I advised against buying an HT for your first radio. A mobile radio makes a better first radio for many reasons, so that's what I always recommend... though they do cost more than an HT. On top of that, I suggest buying a quality Japanese brand rather than a cheap Chinese Baofeng, et al. However, your budget will always be a significant factor, so I understand if you go for an HT instead.
 

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
I'm sure it's somewhere in this 20 page thread :p but is there a break down of what the different licenses allow you to do?
This was covered on page 1, yes, but the FCC has granted us a few more frequencies since then. As a result, the chart has been updated. Here is the new one:



The entry-level Technician license (T) lets you do almost everything in the right column; you are limited on 10 meters but the rest is fair game. The left and middle columns are mostly off limits to Technicians, except for a few small band slices where you can do morse code. If you want to talk below 10 meters, you'll need to progress to a General license.

Utah has so many repeaters on 2m and 70cm, you'll probably be fine with just Technician licenses. Where is your cabin, approximately?
 

Kevin B.

OLAF
Supporting Member
Location
Stinkwater
So I took the test today and passed the Technician license 35/35. Tried the General but not so good... Now to find a radio
So many hams start with an HT. Back on page 6 of this thread, I advised against buying an HT for your first radio. A mobile radio makes a better first radio for many reasons, so that's what I always recommend... though they do cost more than an HT. On top of that, I suggest buying a quality Japanese brand rather than a cheap Chinese Baofeng, et al. However, your budget will always be a significant factor, so I understand if you go for an HT instead.
I'm gonna agree with Dempsey 100%, right before I tell you why I disagree.

Those little Baofengs are absolutely no match for a proper mobile radio in the mobile radio's element, and for what 99% of guys on this board are going to use their ham for, the mobile is 100% the way to go. HOWEVER - those little Baofengs can leave your rig if you want to (or have to) strike out on foot and keep a radio with - most mobiles can't do that. Those little Baofengs can be loaned to a non-ham friend in case of emergency (or even just to listen in to the chatter on a group run). They can listen in on the FRS and GMRS frequencies that those little blister pack radios use (they can transmit on them too, tho that's not legal). And they're so cheap they're practically disposable.

Notwithstanding everything that Dempsey has said about a little HT paling in comparison to a proper mobile setup, and everything he's said about Japanese radios being generally better than the Chinese, I still don't think there's any reason not to get a little Baofeng UV5R or BF-F8. It will never be a decent substitute for a good 50w unit with a real antenna and you should be looking at spending $200-$300 at least on a good mobile unit. But get a little Baofeng anyway to screw around with while you're shopping for a real radio, and then once you've got a real radio toss the Baofeng in the glovebox or a backpack and have a spare/loaner.
 

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
HOWEVER - those little Baofengs can leave your rig if you want to (or have to) strike out on foot and keep a radio with
Full disclosure: I own a Baofeng UV-5R. I also own a Yaesu FT-60R, with an upgraded antenna. Every time I go on any Jeep run, the Yaesu FT-60R and its antenna are in a ziplock baggie in the Jeep's glove box... just in case.
 

Hickey

Rusty Girdle
Supporting Member
@Caleb , you can probably communicate quite easily between cabins and vehicles of your fimilies with GMRS radios and licensing. Unlike HAM, your entire family can use the radios under your license, and vehicle mounted GMRS radios can use higher wattage for better distance.
 

lhracing

Active Member
Location
Layton, UT
I'm gonna agree with Dempsey 100%, right before I tell you why I disagree.

Those little Baofengs are absolutely no match for a proper mobile radio in the mobile radio's element, and for what 99% of guys on this board are going to use their ham for, the mobile is 100% the way to go. HOWEVER - those little Baofengs can leave your rig if you want to (or have to) strike out on foot and keep a radio with - most mobiles can't do that. Those little Baofengs can be loaned to a non-ham friend in case of emergency (or even just to listen in to the chatter on a group run). They can listen in on the FRS and GMRS frequencies that those little blister pack radios use (they can transmit on them too, tho that's not legal). And they're so cheap they're practically disposable.

Notwithstanding everything that Dempsey has said about a little HT paling in comparison to a proper mobile setup, and everything he's said about Japanese radios being generally better than the Chinese, I still don't think there's any reason not to get a little Baofeng UV5R or BF-F8. It will never be a decent substitute for a good 50w unit with a real antenna and you should be looking at spending $200-$300 at least on a good mobile unit. But get a little Baofeng anyway to screw around with while you're shopping for a real radio, and then once you've got a real radio toss the Baofeng in the glovebox or a backpack and have a spare/loaner.

Thanks for the input. I do think that I will buy a Yeasu, now to decide on ether the FT70DR or FT-2DR. The FT-2DR looks to be very nice but at twice the cost of the FT-70DR I am not sure it is worth it to me and from what everyone is saying may not be justified on a handheld.

Anyone using either of these?
 

Caleb

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Supporting Vendor
Location
Riverton
@Caleb , you can probably communicate quite easily between cabins and vehicles of your fimilies with GMRS radios and licensing. Unlike HAM, your entire family can use the radios under your license, and vehicle mounted GMRS radios can use higher wattage for better distance.
True, however our intention is for communication to the outside world, not really between cabins or vehicles (that's another project I'll probably be taking on this year :D ). We had an incident a couple years ago that we had to call out and had no way of doing so (there's no cell reception in most of our area for anything but Verizon and that's pretty spotty). I was lucky to find a spot that I was able to get out. Plus, when the apocalypse happens, I'll need to be able to talk to other survivors :rofl:
 

TurboMinivan

Still plays with cars
Location
Lehi, UT
our intention is for communication to the outside world, not really between cabins or vehicles
Ham radio will probably allow you to communicate from your cabins to your home in Riverton, depending exactly where each is located. At the cabins, you should be able to hit both the Ephraim repeater (146.660) and the one at Boardinghouse Ridge (147.080). Both of those are part of the linked Sinbad system, which also has a repeater on Lake Mountain that offers coverage into most of the Salt Lake valley.

If your Riverton home cannot reach the Lake Mountain repeater, it should definitely be able to hit the 147.120 machine on Farnsworth Peak, which is part of the Intermountain Intertie linked system. There is another Intertie machine down on Levan Peak (145.270) which you can probably hit from your cabins; if so, there's another option for you.

A more fun option would be to try and sneak a signal through a mountain valley. This is heavily dependent on the precise location of your cabins, but if you're lucky you might squeeze between a few mountains and get a signal to one of the repeaters on West Mountain just outside of Payson (about 45 miles from your cabin). If you do, that machine will also reach up into parts of the SL valley and may let you talk to home without using a linked system. Or you could go for a real trick shot and try to bullseye either the 70cm repeater (449.950) in Vernon or the 145.390 repeater on Black Crook Peak. These machines are ~ 70 miles away, so it'll be tricky... but it would be neat to "bank shot" your signal from there into Riverton and to your home (depending exactly where it is).


Please note: all the above assumes the use of a mobile ham radio with 50+ watts output combined with a good 1/2-wave antenna. If all you have are HTs, your likelihood of successful communication over these distances is substantially reduced. But even if you are limited to HTs, it can't hurt to try and experiment. I'd even be willing to assist you in your testing if you like.
 

Caleb

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Supporting Vendor
Location
Riverton
Wow, that's awesome! I obviously have a ton to learn with these...time to start studying :D
 

nnnnnate

Well-Known Member
Location
WVC, UT
So since last night when I went to pull out my HT the battery was dead (I haven't done much wheeling or camping in the last year) but I was working on something else and couldn't run right out to my LX and turn that radio on just yet. The station wasn't programmed there anyway so it didn't matter but I digress. I've been scheming on how to bring the mobile inside the house. To make it a "portable mobile" ... I was just thinking that I've got a decent DC power supply for my RC lipo battery chargers and that should work since it is 12v output.

The guts of my radio are currently mounted to a piece of plywood that I drop on the passenger front floor when I need comms. I also still have my mag mount antenna I used when I was rolling in the car with an HT. I am pretty sure that has the right end to connect to the mobile. I think I'll only need to source a cable to connect the face plate to the guts, and reconfigure the power cable so I can easily swap between whats run in the car and what I'll use in the house.

I know the hard core hammers (is that a thing?) use car batteries mounted in pelican cases with mobile units and I'd probably do that but I don't have a spare car battery. This would also be a lot easier on a mobile without a remote mount face but the connecting cable is simple and I should be able to make one.

I don't really want to have to sit in my car in the garage to call in to the net. This way I can set it up in my hobby room inside or in the shop.
 
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