View Full Version : Another Which Radio Question
Mon 3rd Aug 2009, 03:19
I am going for my license in a few weeks and am going to purchase my first radio. What I will be using it for is mostly off road usage so I was looking for one with APRS and possibly being able to use the truck radio as a relay station for a low powered hand held unit for hiking or exploring a few miles from the truck. I also want it to be fairly powerful as there are lots of canyons and mountains in the areas I go.
I know this may not be the right place to ask but I figure I mine as well put it in the same post. Where are some good places to find info about radios, general info, and other basic info? I have been using the study guide at http://hamelmer.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; to study for the test. Is this a good resource or what is better? When I get back in town I am going to meet the local club in try to get some more info but for now any suggestions are welcome.
Mon 3rd Aug 2009, 09:09
I was looking extensively at the Kenwood 710 series as they do that sort of thing 'out of the box' effectively. It might even do cross band repeating, if that's what you want too. The basic licence level in the UK means I can't do that and I'm not sure what you have or the limitations of your licence.
APRS/ARPS etc sounds and seems like a good idea and in time I'll get it as well.
You might want to go for one that has a remote head unit so you can mount the main box out of sight and then when needed can hide the head so it's not a theft target :o
Good luck ;) There are quite a few sites with photos of different installations and where to put them in your vehicle. Also, don't forget to plan the mounting. If you flood your vehicle you don't want your radio to suffer! ;)
Mon 3rd Aug 2009, 09:20
Although, if you do go for another make of radio I have found this which can send the GPS to the radio for APRS/ARPS....
Quite popular by all accounts, but I have yet to utilise it. I have a Yaesu FT8800e so it might be good enough for me....
Mon 3rd Aug 2009, 13:39
Ok I have a few questions. Is cross band repeating mean it is able to work as a relay station? Also is it worth the extra $$ for a 2m/70cm radio over a 2M only radio. A buddy in the local 4x4 club suggested the Yaesu FT-2900R but I don't see that it can do aprs. How hard/expensive is it to setup aprs on a system that doesn't have it from the factory? Basically I am looking for something I will be able to use for at least a few years without outgrowing the capabilities.
Mon 3rd Aug 2009, 14:44
Miles - before you get too deeply involved with this idea, make sure that there are repeaters in the area you plan on exploring. If you have a broken axle (or ankle) in the bottom of a steep-sided canyon with no repeaters and with nobody else around, you could be in deep kimchee. With no repeaters, in a remote area, it's unlikely that ANY amount of transmitter power would do much good.
Not to rain on your parade, but I've seen people in similar circumstances. They thought their 5 watt HT would save the day ANY day. If there'd been repeaters in the area, they might have survived.
Do some studying about the "cross band repeat" function that many radios have. You can download operating manuals (the same ones that come with the radios) from various places on the Internet. Learn what they can and can't do.
Join a local amateur radio club and ask the members for their advice. Chances are there are some who've been off-roading in the same area as you plan to go.
Mon 3rd Aug 2009, 18:09
I looked into it and there is a repeater about 10-15 MI away on the top of one of the local mountains. What is the normal distance a 50W radio can transmit? I know for CB's and such it is roughly a mile per watt (on flat non-obstructed ground), but that is AM. I also spent bout an hour looking at radios today and I did some reading on the cross-band repeat function. After looking around I think that a radio with built in APRS is a little to expensive for me at the moment and the YAESU radios look to be the best bang for the buck as far as I can tell. Do you guys think that a 70cm/2m radio is a better place to start than just a 2m? I know they are a little more expensive, but I want to be able to keep the radio for a while before I need to get something more complicated. After looking around I found the YAESU FT-8900R. It looks to be able to do what I want and is pretty much the ceiling for my budget right now. Max output is 50W so I think that should be able to reach the local repeater more or less (I know there are a lot of factors to consider but more likely then not is fine for me) right?
Thanks for all the help,
Tue 4th Aug 2009, 04:34
10-15 miles over unobstructed level ground is one thing - you should have no problem hitting the repeater at MUCH less than the full 50 watts. However, offroading isn't always over unobstructed level ground. As I said, in a canyon somewhere it could be that 5000 watts wouldn't be much help.
Did you look into a club? Go to the ARRL homepage (arrl.org). You should be able to locate a club not too far from home.
Thu 6th Aug 2009, 01:41
the choice between 2m / 70cm or just 2 m for me was simple. I have NO 70cm repeaters within range of my normal daily travels, So that may be a main consideration for you. Landscape has everything to do with range ( unless you count tropo ducting and meteor scatter ) One repeater 10 miles from me needs 10 watts to bring it up and another one 45 miles in another direction needs only half a watt, so experimenting is the only true test.
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