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Thread: New and looking for LE radio

  1. #1

    Default New and looking for LE radio

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the HAM world and am currently studying for my technicians license (maybe general!). All the way through T6C on the study guide!

    I bought a cheap FRS radio a while ago, and more recently moved to a Baofeng UV-82HP (can't transmit yet though, obviously), but this is just the beginning. I want to be able to use a radio with an Ops Core AMP headset and a TEA PTT. The problem is I'm not familiar enough with these higher quality radios to know which one to get. I thought, "What better to ask the people on a forum who likely know a bunch about this?!" I was told my TEA that I need to buy one of the following radios:

    Motorola APX or XTS series, Harris P or XG series, Kenwood TK & NX series, Icom F series

    But I'm looking for this:
    1) A radio that can still do VHF and UHF
    2) Has a keypad and screen on the front
    3) Has an SMA antenna
    4) Water proof (it doesn't have to be IPX7 or anything crazy)
    4) Is less than $400

    Even if it's used I don't care. I would also prefer 5) for the radio to be DMR as I hear that's the most popular of the digital radios. But from what I hear I don't think I'll find that in these radios for that price range...

    This might not be the place to post this so I'll throw it in another thread. Regardless, I'm glad to be here!

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi from UK.

    Unless you want to take your radio swimming you don't need 100% waterfroof.
    I have a Yaesu VX-8 which is waterfroof. As is the Yaesu VX-7 & the VX-6. You can go scuba diving with those radios.

    But you want DMR. I would say steer clear of baofengs.
    To get you started don't go for an expensive radio as your opinion will change after you have passed the exam & got some experience.
    If you keep the box & keep your radio in good condition you can sell it when you move on (and you will). Ham radios tend to hold their value.

    So best to start with something like this....
    https://youtu.be/4oVTmWmRE4Q

    Whatever radio you choose, you will have the initial frustrations getting to know how the menu system works & downloading the drivers into your PC in order to make programming the radio easier.
    But after you have played with it a few days then it gets much easier. Here is a little more reading on the above mentioned radio. Be sure to read all the replies in that link as some have found the initial setup of the radio easier than others. After you have had the radio a couple of weeks (regardless of what one you decide on), it will get easier to operate as the days pass....
    https://wb4son.com/wpblog/?p=3566

    The best thing about this radio is the price. Although you can sell it to fund your next radio, you are more likely to hold onto it....
    https://www.remtronix.com/land-mobil...radios/dj-md5/

    The above link is for the standard DMR radio. For $20 more you can choose the "GP" version. That has built in GPS. Do a little reading to decide which version is for you. Whatever radio you choose to buy, remember that some have built in GPS & some don't.
    So the GPS version is here....
    https://www.remtronix.com/land-mobil...ios/dj-md5tgp/

    You may find a better price if you shop around. Even cheaper if you buy a used one from classifieds/eBay.

    BTW, that radio is dust & splash proof. If you really need to take it swimming & scuba diving then it's not the radio for you.
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sat 13th Jun 2020 at 16:02.

  3. #3

    Default

    Hi G7NFP!

    Thank you for you input and taking the time to give me a little welcome. Thank you for your advice in helping me get started picking out my first good quality radio. Unfortunately, the radio you suggested is not one I can make work. As I mentioned above, according to TEA my choices are limited to the following: Motorola APX or XTS series, Harris P or XG series, Kenwood TK & NX series, Icom F series.

    Do you have any recommendations there that might fit, or come close, to my preferences here:

    1) A radio that can still do VHF and UHF
    2) Has a keypad and screen on the front
    3) Has an SMA antenna
    4) Water proof (it doesn't have to be IPX7 or anything crazy)
    5) Is less than $400

    thanks!

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by IceKnight366 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the HAM world and am currently studying for my technicians license (maybe general!). All the way through T6C on the study guide!

    I bought a cheap FRS radio a while ago, and more recently moved to a Baofeng UV-82HP (can't transmit yet though, obviously), but this is just the beginning. I want to be able to use a radio with an Ops Core AMP headset and a TEA PTT. The problem is I'm not familiar enough with these higher quality radios to know which one to get. I thought, "What better to ask the people on a forum who likely know a bunch about this?!" I was told my TEA that I need to buy one of the following radios:

    Motorola APX or XTS series, Harris P or XG series, Kenwood TK & NX series, Icom F series

    But I'm looking for this:
    1) A radio that can still do VHF and UHF
    2) Has a keypad and screen on the front
    3) Has an SMA antenna
    4) Water proof (it doesn't have to be IPX7 or anything crazy)
    4) Is less than $400

    Even if it's used I don't care. I would also prefer 5) for the radio to be DMR as I hear that's the most popular of the digital radios. But from what I hear I don't think I'll find that in these radios for that price range...

    This might not be the place to post this so I'll throw it in another thread. Regardless, I'm glad to be here!
    BTW, l also have a couple of Baofengs. Fine for monitoring the frequencies. And a good radio to keep in your glove compartment or taking to the beach. As if it gets stolen or dropped in the water it's no big deal. But always remember not to leave "any" radio in view in an unoccupied car as you will return to find it gone alone with your side window.

    If you need any advice feel free to drop me a message.
    I passed the exams 30yrs ago so have got through many radios over the years.

    Good luck with that exam. Don't forget to pop back & let us know how it went.

    73 Jim
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sat 13th Jun 2020 at 17:47.

  5. #5

    Default

    https://youtu.be/i89wCU2t2WM

    Then look for a u94 Ptt adaptor

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by G7NFP View Post
    https://youtu.be/i89wCU2t2WM

    Then look for a u94 Ptt adaptor
    Thanks, I definitely will let you know how the exam goes! Also yes, I have the adaptor. Really all I'm looking for is which radio to get with these criteria:

    Motorola APX or XTS series, Harris P or XG series, Kenwood TK & NX series, Icom F series

    Criteria:
    1) A radio that can still do VHF and UHF
    2) Has a keypad and screen on the front
    3) Has an SMA antenna
    4) Water proof (it doesn't have to be IPX7 or anything crazy)
    4) Is less than $400

  7. #7

    Default

    I have done a little research. You simply need a radio that will accept the dual plug from that U94 PTT. That means many Kenwood or Baofeng radios. I would say go for the cheap Baofeng to start with. Then if you are comfortable with the setup you can always get a more expensive radio at a later date.
    Your best option would be to pop into your nearest ham radio shop with your headset. They will be happy to check which radios will work with your headset. Especially if it means a sale.

    Likewise, send this link to a few online ham radio suppliers. Ask them which radios they stock which have the Kenwood/Baofeng dual plug sockets. I don't even need to check, as l can recall that the Mike plug has a 3.5mm + a 2.5mm plug on it. I have used mike's with that plug on in the past.
    That is a standard Mike plug. I am sure that it would plug into my dual band baofeng (if l can find it).
    So send this link to a few suppliers & ask which radios they have that are compatible with that plug
    https://www.amazon.com/System-Milita.../dp/B082WHMTLV


    This guy is using a headset with the same u94 PTT that the ops core uses. And he has it connected to a cheap baofeng radio. That also has an sma antenna connector. Check it out
    https://youtu.be/wTQbtp9mzII

    It may also be worth asking them if they have a suitable adaptor to enable that dual plug to be used with other radios.
    Many years ago l never gave a thought to whether my Mike or headset was compatible with my choice of radio. Why? .... Because l simply bought a suitable Mike plug for the radio then soldered that plug into my headset or Mike.
    That's what all us hams done frequently.
    These days guys want to buy a setup that's ready to go. TBH if you lived near me l would say buy the radio you want, buy the Mike plug. Then pop round to mine & we would spend half an hour at my soldering station over a coffee.

    I found this one interesting to watch. Perhaps that headset is growing on me :-)
    https://youtu.be/2x38YwAYXjU
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sun 14th Jun 2020 at 13:35.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    96

    Default

    A walkie talkie is not a ham radio, it should be the last thing you buy, not the first..

    Just a few minutes ago I heard someone on a repeater trying to make a contact and the other person kept telling the person - hey buddy, I can't hear what you are saying, u are barely in the repeater.

    Amateur Radio is a hobby, as such, you need to make an investment - if you want to participate..

    My advice is to always start out with a 50 watt mobile and a base station antenna and a mobile antenna, buy yourself a SWR meter and a power supply and some low loss coax and a very good base station antenna, not a J Pole.

  9. #9

    Default

    Wow G7NFP! That is very good, detailed information - there's nothing I could add of importance. It's very nice of you to take the time to dig into the details. I hope the OP checks back to let us know what he decided to do.
    R2D2, I appreciate your thoughts as well, but I have to respectfully disagree somewhat with you on a few things. I haven't heard anyone in the past refer to a handheld amateur radio transceiver as a "walkie talkie". HT units are robust and extremely helpful and fun. My first radio was a handheld and I would recommend the same for any newcomer to the hobby. Remember that an operator's success and activity with an HT depends on the geographical location. Where I live, I can access perhaps a dozen repeaters and I can contact somebody all day long. I have made a few memorable simplex contacts on 4 watts too. Also, concerning J-poles, I have a portable one for my HT if I'm on a trail or excursion, and I use a homemade J-pole in my attic for my home transceiver. Ham radio is a unique experience depending on the operator's situation.

  10. #10

    Default

    Yes an HT "is" a ham radio if it has been designed & manufactured for that market.
    To suggest that it is not is an invitation for unlicenced people to buy them to use as PMR radios.
    I don't know about the US, but in UK PMR radios are not only limited to specific frequencies in the UHF band, but they are limited to a "maximum" transmit power of 500mw (0.5w).

    When l started out, money was an issue. So l invested in a Yaesu 290R. Only 2.5w running portable. But l also used it with an amp for mobile & base use.
    Last edited by G7NFP; Mon 15th Jun 2020 at 11:09.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator m0bov's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Surrey
    Posts
    457

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    Quote Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
    A walkie talkie is not a ham radio, it should be the last thing you buy, not the first..

    Just a few minutes ago I heard someone on a repeater trying to make a contact and the other person kept telling the person - hey buddy, I can't hear what you are saying, u are barely in the repeater.

    Amateur Radio is a hobby, as such, you need to make an investment - if you want to participate..

    My advice is to always start out with a 50 watt mobile and a base station antenna and a mobile antenna, buy yourself a SWR meter and a power supply and some low loss coax and a very good base station antenna, not a J Pole.
    That sounds like there is a standard amount of kit to make you a ham. You could start with any type of kit, you don't need to spend lots of money. Many hams started off with home brew or converted PMR rigs. As long as the operator understands how to operate their kit and is in a good location, it should be fine. In fact I woud'nt say you have to "invest" to participate, but if you do, make sure you've been in the hobby for a while before you decide what you want to spend your dough on.
    73
    James
    http://www.m0bov.co.uk
    HamRadioForum founding member and moderator

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by essbee View Post
    Wow G7NFP! That is very good, detailed information - there's nothing I could add of importance. It's very nice of you to take the time to dig into the details. I hope the OP checks back to let us know what he decided to do.
    R2D2, I appreciate your thoughts as well, but I have to respectfully disagree somewhat with you on a few things. I haven't heard anyone in the past refer to a handheld amateur radio transceiver as a "walkie talkie". HT units are robust and extremely helpful and fun. My first radio was a handheld and I would recommend the same for any newcomer to the hobby. Remember that an operator's success and activity with an HT depends on the geographical location. Where I live, I can access perhaps a dozen repeaters and I can contact somebody all day long. I have made a few memorable simplex contacts on 4 watts too. Also, concerning J-poles, I have a portable one for my HT if I'm on a trail or excursion, and I use a homemade J-pole in my attic for my home transceiver. Ham radio is a unique experience depending on the operator's situation.
    Now retired so l have all the time in the world.
    Always happy to help anyone in any way l can. Even if their chosen setup differs to something l would choose for myself. We are all different, we choose different gear & have our own reasons for wanting that ham licence.
    But what matters is we are all hams.

    I gave my 5yr old grandson a couple of "walkie talkies". Or better know as PMR radios.
    Yes you are right, big difference between a walkie talkie & a ham radio.

  13. #13

    Default

    See, when a person grows up in a family running HF radios that require little power to do big distances, it is easy to be biased. Truth is, if one is up for a TRUE challenge, shooting major skip from a handheld is possible. Some people understand ionospheric propagation well but never took the time to understand what makes VHF and up work over the horizon. And that's fine. That person can miss out on whats really exciting. Anyone can fire up an HF rig and make contacts, regardless of solar cycle (just go lower in frequency and mind the D layer), but FEW take the time to understand the intricacies of VHF propagation and what makes the shorter wavelengths so magical.

    For example, if you live near a coast, VHF will get you hundreds of miles, and quite often, thousands ~ consistently. If you take your understanding of ionospheric propagation and set it aside for a moment to realize there is more to atmospheric propagation with respect to the higher frequencies, you will soon realize there are often conditions that can make you amazing contacts that would otherwise be boring on HF. Its not about being able to talk to someone constantly, its about having fun. R2D2 will never do anything someone else hasn't already done, and he may be happy with that - which is fine. If one opens their mind and learns something new, that person would be monitoring the weather conditions and atmospheric temperature inversions and have no time to trash-talk handheld radios. That person would be like.... "there's a cold front approaching, i gotta go!". Any "walkie-talkie" can do amazing things with a homemade beam connected to it. Some people find confidence in a sure thing, others seek a challenge.

    And there is nothing wrong with a j-pole if you understand its operation and tune it properly. Its a great antenna.

  14. #14

    Default

    Well said Brandon Lind.

    Yes you are right. 30yrs ago l passed the RAE (radio amateurs exam). The very same exams as every other ham in UK with a class A licence. But they gave me a class B licence. That meant that l could not use HF bands until l sat the Morse test.
    Eventually they abolished the Morse requirement & that meant everyone got an A licence. Even those who pass the Foundation or Intermediate exams are permitted to use the same HF bands as those of us with a full licence. They just limit their power output.

    However. That restriction drove many of us to VHF ssb. Yes we can cover great distances with our little VHF multimodes. Granted, it's more of a challenge. That's perhaps why the achievement brought more satisfaction. It's not difficult to cover the same distance on HF as we all know very well.

    Some guys still prefer VHF/UHF. Some even higher. Now the technology has gone digital, there are many different ways to communicate. I often wonder how much further can the technology go? And, will l be around to see it?
    Last edited by G7NFP; Tue 16th Jun 2020 at 08:02.

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    INDIANA
    Posts
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    [QUOTE=IceKnight366;41288]Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the HAM world and am currently studying for my technicians license (maybe general!). All the way through T6C on the study guide!

    I bought a cheap FRS radio a while ago, and more recently moved to a Baofeng UV-82HP (can't transmit yet though, obviously), but this is just the beginning. I want to be able to use a radio with an Ops Core AMP headset and a TEA PTT. The problem is I'm not familiar enough with these higher quality radios to know which one to get. I thought, "What better to ask the people on a forum who likely know a bunch about this?!" I was told my TEA that I need to buy one of the following radios:

    Motorola APX or XTS series, Harris P or XG series, Kenwood TK & NX series, Icom F series

    But I'm looking for this:
    1) A radio that can still do VHF and UHF
    2) Has a keypad and screen on the front
    3) Has an SMA antenna
    4) Water proof (it doesn't have to be IPX7 or anything crazy)
    4) Is less than $400

    Okay, minus DMR, the baofeng uv-9r meets your needs. It is I vhf/uhf, has keypad, Sam female antenna, ip 67 waterproof dust proof, and is much less than $400 at about $40, plus it is 8 watts transmit. As far as using the headset you desire, it uses Motorola m4 pinout, so anything with that adapter will work.

    Here is the radio at $40.

    radtel Baofeng UV-9R Plus 8Watts Walkie Talkie BF-UV9R Plus IP67 Waterproof Dual Band Ham Radio 8W https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R8PHHF3..._CIZ7EbYV95VK9

    Here is a link to build the headset of your choice. Choose Motorola M4 for the adapter.

    http://m.planetheadset.com

    I personally have a set of these and have had no problems. The m4 adapter is slightly larger for the plastics portion, but the waterproof seal and screw match, giving the needed seal and effect.

    Welcome to the group! Feel free to ask more questions.
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  16. #16

    Default

    Ah yes the Baofeng UV-9R. I have one of those living on a drawer. I bought that one specifically because it had 8w transmit.

    Pop back & update us on your progress as no doubt be others looking to solve the same issues as yourself.

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by G7NFP View Post
    Yes an HT "is" a ham radio if it has been designed & manufactured for that market.
    To suggest that it is not is an invitation for unlicenced people to buy them to use as PMR radios.
    I don't know about the US, but in UK PMR radios are not only limited to specific frequencies in the UHF band, but they are limited to a "maximum" transmit power of 500mw (0.5w).

    When l started out, money was an issue. So l invested in a Yaesu 290R. Only 2.5w running portable. But l also used it with an amp for mobile & base use.
    it looks like R2D2 is doing his grumpy old man act again

    a HT is a ham radio

    UK PMR is not limited to 500mw - 'pmr446' licence free is ...

    on Uk simple light you can use 5w and on site specific you can go higher if the licence allows ... also before airwave the Ambulance service used what was effectively a commercial VHF PMR system , ditto the fireservice 'fireground' UHF kit

  18. #18

    Join Date
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    INDIANA
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by G7NFP View Post
    Ah yes the Baofeng UV-9R. I have one of those living on a drawer. I bought that one specifically because it had 8w transmit.

    Pop back & update us on your progress as no doubt be others looking to solve the same issues as yourself.
    I got a cheap China antenna to get my signal outside of my vehicles and had a really good time with it until I got a proper mobile unit. I was hitting repeaters from 15+ miles out. Theyíve been dropped and thrown (I have children) and just keep working. Iíve heard these are made by someone other than baofeng for baofeng. I just know they function well, and do all I need. May not be exciting to all, but itís a lot of fun for me. Maybe pull that bad boy out of the drawer and give someone else a chance to get started with it, or do some experiments with it.
    73s, God bless and good day. KD9KVS
    I have a brain injury.
    I am not my brain injury.
    This does not define me.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NicolaJayne View Post
    it looks like R2D2 is doing his grumpy old man act again

    a HT is a ham radio

    UK PMR is not limited to 500mw - 'pmr446' licence free is ...

    on Uk simple light you can use 5w and on site specific you can go higher if the licence allows ... also before airwave the Ambulance service used what was effectively a commercial VHF PMR system , ditto the fireservice 'fireground' UHF kit
    Yes PMR446 is limited to a maximum of 500mw. OFCOM is very clear about that.
    Business radios can have 4-5w power, but licence is required.
    There may be a few other ways to bend the rules, but hams should be following Ofcom's rules.

    For those who want to use more power in UK there are several options. CB radio, pay for a business licence, or sit the super easy Foundation exam.

    https://www.walkie-talkie-radio.co.u...cing-in-the-uk

    Having said that, l do not claim to be an Angel. Before l was a ham l broke Ofcom's rules.

    It was many moons ago when l was only 14yrs old. ( I had the radio bug at that young age, 49yrs ago)
    I also had radio gear. I was broadcasting music from my bedroom which was being received by all the kids in the local playground. They also had 5w handsets to call me & request the songs.

    That went on for several weeks before the cops moved in on us.

    So yes l got caught transmitting without a licence. Most of my gear was confiscated.
    I was taken to the police station by my dad (who knew the right people), & very soon we were sitting in the inspectors office. I suspect that my dad had been on the phone to arrange that meeting. Although he refused to tell me the details.

    This is how it went......
    If l agreed to sign over my gear to the cops they agreed not to charge me.
    I knew that there had been previous discussion between that inspector & my dad as the form was all printed out detailing my donation of "all" my radio gear to the police service. All l had to do was sign it & that would be the end of the matter.
    There were several handsets in addition to my base transmitter.
    They told me they would use them for police cadet training, & that was also stated on that "donation" form. I had no idea if they were serious or they would simply destroy them (it was 1971).
    Although l was very pissed off that l had got up at 5 every morning 7 days a week to do that paper round for many months to buy all that radio gear, l was also very aware that the only thing that mattered was not being charged. Especially as "broadcasting" without a licence was a serious charge to a 14yr old who wanted to some day become a radio ham.
    With great reluctance, l signed on the dotted line. Then my dad countersigned it.
    I was given a copy which l regret not keeping.

    As l sit here on my birthday, l can hear my 5yr old grandson running around the house with his new PMR radio. I had a couple of Motorola's living in their box, so thought he may as well have them. Especially as he made me a birthday card rather than buy one. His mum says was his idea.
    It says "Happy Birthday Gadad" in silver glitter. Looks like he spent some serious time making it during this lockdown. So as he made me happy it's only right that l make him happy.
    Perhaps a new ham in the making. He can use them to talk to his dad when they are out on their motorbikes & Quads.
    Last edited by G7NFP; Sun 28th Jun 2020 at 10:16.

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