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Chief Rick
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I am looking for a mobile radio to set up as a base station.

 

Primarily looking at 2-meter, I don't know if 70-cm is something that would get a lot of, if any, use in my area.

 

Analog vs digital?

 

Anything else I should or shouldn't be looking at, feature-wise?

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I'm still new into the hobby, but my daughters bought me a Kenwood TM-V71A, which is a dual band, for Father's Day. My oldest, who is also a ham, did a ton of research and that is what was decided upon. In checking out videos on Youtube, the does seem to do well as a base station, and I am considering another for that purpose, if I decide to install one.

As for features, I suppose it depends on what you're planning on doing with it.

 

KE8PHY

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13 minutes ago, DocWard said:

I'm still new into the hobby, but my daughters bought me a Kenwood TM-V71A, which is a dual band, for Father's Day. My oldest, who is also a ham, did a ton of research and that is what was decided upon. In checking out videos on Youtube, the does seem to do well as a base station, and I am considering another for that purpose, if I decide to install one.

As for features, I suppose it depends on what you're planning on doing with it.

 

KE8PHY

I really want to become proficient and be able to communicate during times of uncertainty - like right now.

 

I don't have anyone that I know locally in the hobby and I'm not interested in contesting.

 

Maybe get involved in ARES and/or RACES.

 

I was gifted a Baofeng UV-5R but I don't have a repeater close enough to the house to use it.  At least, as-is.  I ordered a new rubber-duck antenna for it and I also ordered a 2-meter J-Pole antenna to set up here at the house.  Hopefully between these two I'll be able to reach the local repeater and start learning how to properly communicate.

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Just my 2 centavos but I would Get a good dual band mobile rig and use it for a base station. Even if you aren't using 70 cm now you may in the future and the cost difference is negligible.

 

If you are contemplating a rig in your primary vehicle make them both the same model. That way you'll only have to learn one set of controls.

 

Make or buy a case to house it that can easily be packed up in case you had to bug out.  Big briefcase, small suitcase, metal case, even a light weight wooden box 

 

I've seen a few in the old hard sided nav bags that pilots use for charts and approach plates. 12 VDC fan in the side for cooling. Other side has a vent covered with screen to let air out. Power connector to allow connection to a battery or DC power supply.

Even saw one with the DC power supply inside the case. RF connector to connect a cable to your antenna.

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1 hour ago, Chief Rick said:

I really want to become proficient and be able to communicate during times of uncertainty - like right now.

 

I don't have anyone that I know locally in the hobby and I'm not interested in contesting.

 

Maybe get involved in ARES and/or RACES.

 

I was gifted a Baofeng UV-5R but I don't have a repeater close enough to the house to use it.  At least, as-is.  I ordered a new rubber-duck antenna for it and I also ordered a 2-meter J-Pole antenna to set up here at the house.  Hopefully between these two I'll be able to reach the local repeater and start learning how to properly communicate.

 

A very good reason, and one of the reasons I got my license. I had also wanted to be a ham since I was a little kid. Once I am more proficient, I will look into ARES or RACES, but that is down the road just a little.

My daughter and I received UV-5Rs as gifts as well... It must be a rite of passage. I could hit our local repeater, which is about two miles as the crow flies with the rubber duck, and got a bit better reception with an Abbree. It lost it's programmed memory, and instead of fighting it, just used hers for our club's net check in. Once I got the Kenwood, using a Compactenna for dual band, I was able to hit our local repeater from a nearby state park about fifteen miles away. I started out at high power (50W), and went down to medium power (10W), then finally to low (5W). At low power the operator I was making contact with could hear me, but said there was more noise. I haven't tried any further as of yet. When I did my first net check in with it, I got comments about how clear I was. Being a Kenwood, it also has an excellent speaker.

I will say that an HT with an external antenna may surprise you. The antennas are the limiting factor on them, without a doubt. One of our first club activities was to support a local bike tour with another ham, and he used an HT with a magnet mount antenna on top of his wife's minivan. He had no problems reaching across the county on simplex, but then again, the receiving station antenna was a mast antenna like you see on mobile TV vans.

None of this is not to keep you from getting something to use as a base, but it does open up options!

 

 

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There's not an active club in my county so I plan on participating at the location I took my test.  Unfortunately, that's about 50 miles away.

 

One thing I just learned today concerning digital vs analog - your TX has to match the repeaters you are using.  So, in order to operate digitally here along the MS Gulf Coast I'll need a Yaesu radio capable of C4FM.

 

I also ordered a 2-meter break-a-way J-Pole antenna to use with the UV-5R for semi-mobile use.

 

I want to get a base station set up and working before I start looking into mounting anything in my vehicles.

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45 minutes ago, Chief Rick said:

There's not an active club in my county so I plan on participating at the location I took my test.  Unfortunately, that's about 50 miles away.

 

One thing I just learned today concerning digital vs analog - your TX has to match the repeaters you are using.  So, in order to operate digitally here along the MS Gulf Coast I'll need a Yaesu radio capable of C4FM.

 

I also ordered a 2-meter break-a-way J-Pole antenna to use with the UV-5R for semi-mobile use.

 

I want to get a base station set up and working before I start looking into mounting anything in my vehicles.

 

I'm surprised there aren't any number of clubs operating in that area. Seems the Gulf Coast would be a hotbed, simply due to the risk of inclement weather.

Correct my if I'm wrong, but you can still hit the repeaters without C4FM, you just need that for digital?

I chose to go the other way around, mobile before base, because I want to be able to use it when I travel, and camp and the like. Also, if I do need to "bug out," my vehicle of choice is my Tundra.

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26 minutes ago, DocWard said:

 

I'm surprised there aren't any number of clubs operating in that area. Seems the Gulf Coast would be a hotbed, simply due to the risk of inclement weather.

Correct my if I'm wrong, but you can still hit the repeaters without C4FM, you just need that for digital?

I chose to go the other way around, mobile before base, because I want to be able to use it when I travel, and camp and the like. Also, if I do need to "bug out," my vehicle of choice is my Tundra.

There are only two along the MS Gulf Coast - one in Harrison County and one in Jackson County.

 

With an analog TX (any brand) I could access a repeater but only talk to other operators also in contact with that repeater.

 

With a compatible (Yaesu/C4FM) digital repeater I could also access Wires-X and expand my range even further.  

 

This is possible when the repeater is connected to the internet. If I can reach a repeater that is connected to the internet (not all are) with a Yaesu C4FM capable radio, I can access Wires-X even if I do not have internet connected to my TX.  This means I can also connect to Wires-X when mobile with a Yaesu C4FM TX.

 

I don't know all the specifics, but there is no industry standard so each manufacturer has it's own protocol for internet communication.

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I have the same radio in my shack as a base as I have in the Jeep: ICOM 208H.
Diamond dual-band no-ground antenna clamped to the Jeep's hood lip; the one in the shack is powered by a deep cycle marine battery, and connected to an Arrow J-pole in the attic:
http://www.arrowantennas.com/osj/j-pole.html

I have every 2-meter and 70-cm repeater in-county, and at least one repeater in every adjacent county, programmed into both.
We activate severe weather nets when a weather warning is declared; Amherst repeater gives our best county coverage, and Net Control reports our boots-on-the-ground reports to the National Weather Service. We train with NWS as certified weather spotters.

(Not storm chasers. We're spotters, there's a standard reporting format we use ... storm chasers are another breed of cat!)

We also participate in the Burning River Traffic Net -- formal message handling that passes messages out of disaster zones.

I handled traffic out of Katrina, more tornadoes than I can count -- my favorite message, stripped of identifying headers -- was, "It's a Boy!" -- this out of a tornado strike out West.

There are many really good choices for radios: my free advice is to hook up with a local ham radio club, try different radios, some are far more intuitive in their programming, others almost have to be programmed through a laptop: a sit-down with people with actual experience is still the best way to find your answer.

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18 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

I was gifted a Baofeng UV-5R but I don't have a repeater close enough to the house to use it.  At least, as-is.  I ordered a new rubber-duck antenna for it and I also ordered a 2-meter J-Pole antenna to set up here at the house.  Hopefully between these two I'll be able to reach the local repeater and start learning how to properly communicate.

 

If you can't hit the repeater with your UV-5R and that j pole, you probably won't be able to hit it with a mobile rig, either.  If 5 watts won't open the repeater at all, 50 watts almost certainly won't make a difference.

 

I have a Yaesu FT-8800 in one truck and a pair of Kenwood TM-281a radios, one in the other truck and one in the shack with a j pole above me on the roof.  I live in a river valley in an RF hole, so ideally I'd have my VHF antenna up higher, but it hits the repeater pretty well as needed so I haven't made adjustments.

 

I really love my 8800 and I would generally recommend it, but I learned the other day it's discontinued.  The cross band repeat is a great feature when needed.  The similar Kenwood V71a discussed above would do the job as well.  Having two receivers is convenient sometimes.  The Baofeng you have also has a "dual watch" feature for the same thing--you can listen to two frequencies at once, which comes in handy.

 

I would concur with connecting with your local club.  Mine conflicts with my shooting hobby so I mostly participate at events and through our email list (and on the repeaters, although they're mostly dead).

 

If you have any questions, post them here!  I'm sure between those posting here, you'll get a good answer.

 

I have been an operator for about 10 years and have my DXCC.  I enjoy phone a lot but with the conditions so terrible, I've been on FT8 more than anything this year.

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I plan on attending the next club meeting (where I took my test) next month.  They hold their meeting on Wednesday nights so no conflict with anything other than sleep.

 

I am trying to hold off on buying a mobile TX until after I attend the next meeting and can talk to people.

 

I'll retry the UV-5R after I receive my antenna.

 

We don't have internet here at the house so I'm not sure how much benefit I'll get out of radios designed for all of those features.

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2-meter will work, especially if you can “hit” local repeater(s).

 

I’m pleased with my Yaesu FTM-7250D dual band use as a base station.  Antenna is a J-pole in my garage attic.   I can reach two repeaters at 20 plus miles.

 

KB9CWU

Edited by Matthew Duncan
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On 8/29/2021 at 6:51 PM, Chief Rick said:

There are only two along the MS Gulf Coast - one in Harrison County and one in Jackson County.

 

With an analog TX (any brand) I could access a repeater but only talk to other operators also in contact with that repeater.

 

With a compatible (Yaesu/C4FM) digital repeater I could also access Wires-X and expand my range even further.  

 

This is possible when the repeater is connected to the internet. If I can reach a repeater that is connected to the internet (not all are) with a Yaesu C4FM capable radio, I can access Wires-X even if I do not have internet connected to my TX.  This means I can also connect to Wires-X when mobile with a Yaesu C4FM TX.

 

I don't know all the specifics, but there is no industry standard so each manufacturer has it's own protocol for internet communication.

 

OK, thanks for elaborating. That was sort of my thinking, but my understanding isn't that clear because I've not messed with that end of things, nor am I sure how much I will.  It seems to me the concern would be how reliable is internet service in "uncertain times?" I want to be proficient in simplex and then using repeaters first and foremost. Beyond that, things like digital / internet and rasberry pi usage are for down the road.

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11 hours ago, Matthew Duncan said:

2-meter will work, especially if you can “hit” local repeater(s).

 

I’m pleased with my Yaesu FTM-7250D dual band use as a base station.  Antenna is a J-pole in my garage attic.   I can reach two repeaters at 20 plus miles.

 

KB9CWU

I wouldn't mind finding a used FTM-7250D but I've not had any luck over the last week.  AT least, none that are less than they were when they were new.  The only new dual-band digital Yaesu mobile radios are the FTM-300DR and and FTM-400XDR, which seem to be a whole lot more than what I'm looking for.

 

There are several HTs but I'd like something with more power in the base station. And to be perfectly honest, I don't care for the form factor of the HTs.

 

I wouldn't mind having 70-cm at home but when looking at Yaesu radios specifically, my choices are limited to ~$500 digital units.

 

I did see this ICOM IC-2730A TX.  Dual-band, analog, 50W.

 

I question  whether the digital capabilities are worth the expense, to me.  I don't have the ability to connect a TX directly to the internet from my residence.  What other benefits do digital TXs have that should make me consider one over an analog unit?

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5 minutes ago, Chief Rick said:

I wouldn't mind finding a used FTM-7250D but I've not had any luck over the last week.  AT least, none that are less than they were when they were new.  ...What other benefits do digital TXs have that should make me consider one over an analog unit?

 

I didn't realize they were discontinued.  Bought mine just over a year ago and waited two months for delivery.  I must have be lucky enough to get the last one in the hold of the slow boat from China!

 

I have zero experience with digital radios.  Aren't they heavy Internet dependent?

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1 minute ago, Matthew Duncan said:

I have zero experience with digital radios.  Aren't they heavy Internet dependent?

I don't know.  You don't have to have internet to use them but it seems most of the features are slanted to using the internet to expand the range.  Again, I don't know what benefits, if any, digital has over analog with the exception of using it over internet.

 

I know I prefer my old analog TV channels over digital.  Sure, the digital channels are clearer - when you can get them.  But if you don't have enough signal to get that crystal clear reception, you get nothing.  At least with the old analog signals you could usually tune a signal enough to see/hear the program well enough to know what was going on.

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1 hour ago, DocWard said:

 

OK, thanks for elaborating. That was sort of my thinking, but my understanding isn't that clear because I've not messed with that end of things, nor am I sure how much I will.  It seems to me the concern would be how reliable is internet service in "uncertain times?" I want to be proficient in simplex and then using repeaters first and foremost. Beyond that, things like digital / internet and rasberry pi usage are for down the road.

Exactly.

 

We never lost power over the last few days but we did lose cell service.  Without cell service we have no means of communicating.  We don't have internet unless we use satellite (only adequate in the best of times, less than useless during bad weather) or cell phone/hot-spots.

 

I understand that the repeaters have back-up power sources.  Whether that's battery, alternate electric or solar - I don't know.  If it's battery, how long will the reserve power last?

 

Even though my local repeater is connected to the internet, did it lose connectivity with the storm?  If so, having digital capability on a base station has no benefit that I can think of).

 

Like you, I want to concentrate on simplex and what I consider basic repeater use for now.

 

Watching the Weather Channel right now and seeing the number of people that don't have any means of communicating with no idea of how long it's going to take to get that ability back makes me want to get on the air sooner rather than later.

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I would imagine most repeaters have emergency power.  While my home radios don't, I certainly have the means to run them indefinitely either mobile or in my RV.

 

If you want true emergency communication though, you need an HF rig. VHF may help you get a few people together locally, but if you want to get messages out of the hurricane zone, you need to have access to 80/40 meters.  VHF is just line of sight.

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15 minutes ago, Chacón said:

If you want true emergency communication though, you need an HF rig. VHF may help you get a few people together locally, but if you want to get messages out of the hurricane zone, you need to have access to 80/40 meters.  VHF is just line of sight.

True.

 

I do want a HF set-up but that's for a little further down the road.  I want to have my General license by this time next year.

 

Local/semi-local is what I want for now.  If I can reliably make contact ~150-200 miles away without needing internet I'll be happy (for now).

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Just now, Chief Rick said:

True.

 

I do want a HF set-up but that's for a little further down the road.  I want to have my General license by this time next year.

 

Local/semi-local is what I want for now.  If I can reliably make contact ~150-200 miles away without needing internet I'll be happy (for now).

 

You're not going to be able to talk that far with VHF or even close to that.  Even when the repeater is up on a 10,000 foot mountain, you won't get that kind of line of sight.  At sea level, the horizon is 23 miles, so double that is about the best you can hope for unless the repeater is up high.  If you want to talk 200 miles away, you need an NVIS oriented dipole and you need to be on the 80 (I guess sometimes called 75) meter band.

 

The general is not much harder than the technician test and gives you 83% of the operating frequencies.  If you recently took the tech test you should be able to pass the General with 10 hours or so of studying.  I used www.hamtestonline.com when I did it.  I took the tech and general at the same time and upgraded to extra about 5 months later.

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I used to run a Yaesu 857D as a mobile. I’ve since switched to an IC-2730A for mobile, and slowly working on a new go box setup to double as my base station. 2M is being handled in that setup with an IC-2300H HF will be an IC-7300.  Each of the VHF radios have around 50 or 60 repeaters programmed covering all of AZ as well as a fair bit of NM, Parts of Southern, CA, and by opening repeater links can reach up through UT, ID and into WA. 

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28 minutes ago, Chacón said:

 

You're not going to be able to talk that far with VHF or even close to that.  Even when the repeater is up on a 10,000 foot mountain, you won't get that kind of line of sight.  At sea level, the horizon is 23 miles, so double that is about the best you can hope for unless the repeater is up high.  If you want to talk 200 miles away, you need an NVIS oriented dipole and you need to be on the 80 (I guess sometimes called 75) meter band.

We don't have anything close to 10k feet. :lol:  Local elevation is ~250 and it's all downhill to the coast.  My plan is to mount my antenna ~30 feet above ground level.

 

Downtown Mobile (AL) is 35 miles, Biloxi (MS) is 40 miles, Gulfport (MS) 50 miles, NAS Pensacola (FL) is 90 miles and New Orleans (LA) is just over 100 mile LOS.

 

Hattiesburg (MS) is also 50 miles LOS while Meridian (MS) is right at 100.

 

Realistically, I'd like to hit Gulfport and Hattiesburg on simplex so as not to have to rely on repeaters.  If I can hit Pensacola, NOLA and Jackson - even better.

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58 minutes ago, Buckshot Sheridan said:

I’ve since switched to an IC-2730A for mobile

How difficult is the IC-2730A to set-up/program?

 

One of the reviews stated "must have RT Systems software for programming".  That's another $50 and I'm not aware if it's useful for any other/future radios.

 

It also doesn't come with any mounting brackets.

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1 hour ago, Chief Rick said:

We don't have anything close to 10k feet. :lol:  Local elevation is ~250 and it's all downhill to the coast.  My plan is to mount my antenna ~30 feet above ground level.

 

Downtown Mobile (AL) is 35 miles, Biloxi (MS) is 40 miles, Gulfport (MS) 50 miles, NAS Pensacola (FL) is 90 miles and New Orleans (LA) is just over 100 mile LOS.

 

Hattiesburg (MS) is also 50 miles LOS while Meridian (MS) is right at 100.

 

Realistically, I'd like to hit Gulfport and Hattiesburg on simplex so as not to have to rely on repeaters.  If I can hit Pensacola, NOLA and Jackson - even better.

 

There is no way you will be able to communicate that far simplex.  I think you have very unrealistic expectations of what is reasonably possible.

 

The earth is curved and the RF horizon simply will not make it that far.  It would be really fun to be on VHF if it did, but it isn't.  The only repeater I can hit that far away from my home is up over 10k', which is some distance away, but it's also 6k' above the valley.

 

On flat ground, you might get 40 miles depending on the height of the repeater.  Simplex really is very dependent on where the antenna is with respect to the other one.  I can climb a mountain and talk to the whole valley with 5 watts simplex, but down in the valley, depending on antenna, more than 10-20 miles is a pretty big stretch on flat ground.

 

You will see when you get your rig set up.....but what you seek to do is not realistically possible.  You may want to think about a VERY large tower and gain antenna if long distance simplex is what you're looking to do--but even then you may have a hard time hearing anyone who would try to respond to you.

 

Depending on the height of the repeaters, you may be able to get Gulfport and Hattiesburg from where you're at--but you won't be able to hit those distances simplex from the ground with an omnidirectional antenna, regardless of power.

Edited by Chacón
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47 minutes ago, Chacón said:

 

There is no way you will be able to communicate that far simplex.  I think you have very unrealistic expectations of what is reasonably possible.

 

The earth is curved and the RF horizon simply will not make it that far.  It would be really fun to be on VHF if it did, but it isn't.  The only repeater I can hit that far away from my home is up over 10k', which is some distance away, but it's also 6k' above the valley.

 

On flat ground, you might get 40 miles depending on the height of the repeater.  Simplex really is very dependent on where the antenna is with respect to the other one.  I can climb a mountain and talk to the whole valley with 5 watts simplex, but down in the valley, depending on antenna, more than 10-20 miles is a pretty big stretch on flat ground.

 

You will see when you get your rig set up.....but what you seek to do is not realistically possible.  You may want to think about a VERY large tower and gain antenna if long distance simplex is what you're looking to do--but even then you may have a hard time hearing anyone who would try to respond to you.

 

Depending on the height of the repeaters, you may be able to get Gulfport and Hattiesburg from where you're at--but you won't be able to hit those distances simplex from the ground with an omnidirectional antenna, regardless of power.

Appreciate the replies. 

 

There's a net meeting on my local repeater every Wednesday night.  I'm going to try and get on air tomorrow night with the UV-5R.  I hope my new antenna arrives by this weekend.

 

The Harrison County club meeting is once per month.  Wish it weren't so far away but it is what it is.  I may also see about joining the Jackson County club, depending on meeting nights, as it is closer.

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7 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

I don't know.  You don't have to have internet to use them but it seems most of the features are slanted to using the internet to expand the range.  Again, I don't know what benefits, if any, digital has over analog with the exception of using it over internet.

 

I know I prefer my old analog TV channels over digital.  Sure, the digital channels are clearer - when you can get them.  But if you don't have enough signal to get that crystal clear reception, you get nothing.  At least with the old analog signals you could usually tune a signal enough to see/hear the program well enough to know what was going on.

The reason you could get an analog TV channel  is the transmitters were very high power 250kW+ with high gain stacked dipole antennas.  Digital TV has 15W transmitters.  With digital TV stations have lots of repeaters because of the low power & it is UHF which is more line of sight than the VHF analog, channels 2-13.  I remember analog cell service where I could get service on top of a 6000 ft mountain that line of site to a cell tower was >50 miles.  That ended when cell service went to digital.  Analog cell phones had much higher transmit power to insure service.  Digital transmission gives the best possible signal to noise ratio of any type of modulation.  That is why deep space probes have use it since the 1st probes were launched in the 70's.

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7 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

How difficult is the IC-2730A to set-up/program?

 

One of the reviews stated "must have RT Systems software for programming".  That's another $50 and I'm not aware if it's useful for any other/future radios.

 

It also doesn't come with any mounting brackets.

 Or text it doesn’t come with a mounting bracket. There are a number of them available for different applications. 
 

I would absolutely get the programing software for the radio. It can certainly be done manually, but really quick and easy to setup different banks of channels, and make changes with the software. I keep one bank for the local Phoenix area, another for eastern AZ and NM, and another that is just the repeaters on the SkyWarn system for all of AZ. When I’m traveling somewhere out of the area I can easily build another bank of repeaters along the route. 
 

My 2300H was really easy to manually program. I did my bank of roughly 60 channels in a little over an hour. In the case of that radio the software was close to what I paid for the radio, and with fewer features it was easier to do manually. For that one the antenna I’m using is just a copper pipe J Pole that I built. 

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I received my new antenna for the UV-5R today and I was able to hear traffic on the Jackson County repeater.  They could hear me key but no audio.  That repeater is supposedly about 10 miles from my residence.

 

I was also able to hear traffic from the Biloxi repeater but didn't try to make contact.

 

I was able to make contact with my local repeater and an operator in Gulfport said could hear me clearly.  I could hear him key, but not his audio.  This repeater is supposed to be about 12 miles from my residence.  Tomorrow night this repeater is supposed to be active for the weekly net meeting, so I'll try again.

 

All of this with a Baofeng UV-5R with Nagoya NA-771 standing outside.

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On 8/31/2021 at 7:26 PM, Chief Rick said:

I received my new antenna for the UV-5R today and I was able to hear traffic on the Jackson County repeater.  They could hear me key but no audio.  That repeater is supposedly about 10 miles from my residence.

 

I was also able to hear traffic from the Biloxi repeater but didn't try to make contact.

 

I was able to make contact with my local repeater and an operator in Gulfport said could hear me clearly.  I could hear him key, but not his audio.  This repeater is supposed to be about 12 miles from my residence.  Tomorrow night this repeater is supposed to be active for the weekly net meeting, so I'll try again.

 

All of this with a Baofeng UV-5R with Nagoya NA-771 standing outside.

 

A real antenna will make all of the difference.

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I had to make a last minute run to Arkansas yesterday so I've not had a chance to mess with anything.

 

I did receive my J-Pole, coax and adapters.  I'll see about rigging it up tomorrow.

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Was able to talk to another operator today.  Temporarily set my antenna up with the base about 8 ft off the ground and at an angle.  Hit the Lucedale, Vancleave and Biloxi repeaters.  Hope to get it mounted permanently within the next week with the base at least 20 ft off the ground.

 

ANT.thumb.jpg.225fe3d68e53b2fc492a826fe8cf358c.jpg

ANT.jfif

Edited by Chief Rick
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I didn't realize what I was missing on 70cm until I got a radio for that. Was on 2m for years and upgraded my shack Radio Shack radio to an Icom 2730. Oh...my.

 

Dual band, simultaneous receive...yep. One button to switch main channel (transmit) back & forth. One button push between weather channels, VFO, Memory. Like anything else, keep a cheat sheet handy for acessing the memories but for 90+ percent of operating, once it's setup everything is on the front panel/mike qith the push of a button.

 

I have not yet gotten into the digital modes like C4FM and the like. Around here, central AZ that seems to be the most popular and useful, easy to use so I will probably go with that when I do.

 

Pretty much every dinky pile of dirt is AZ has a repeater for something. There's not many places I can go unless its in a deep hole that I can't get a signal to somewhere.

 

One thing I learned long ago, you never know which feature you will need in the future...until you need it LOL. I am lucky to have a Ham Radio Outlet nearby so I have the ability to get good info and hands-on the new-hottest whenever I want. Local clubs are also an excellent resource.

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31 minutes ago, Dubious Don #56333 said:

I didn't realize what I was missing on 70cm until I got a radio for that. Was on 2m for years and upgraded my shack Radio Shack radio to an Icom 2730. Oh...my.

Dual band, simultaneous receive...yep. One button to switch main channel (transmit) back & forth. One button push between weather channels, VFO, Memory. Like anything else, keep a cheat sheet handy for acessing the memories but for 90+ percent of operating, once it's setup everything is on the front panel/mike qith the push of a button.

 

I have not yet gotten into the digital modes like C4FM and the like. Around here, central AZ that seems to be the most popular and useful, easy to use so I will probably go with that when I do.

 

Pretty much every dinky pile of dirt is AZ has a repeater for something. There's not many places I can go unless its in a deep hole that I can't get a signal to somewhere.

 

One thing I learned long ago, you never know which feature you will need in the future...until you need it LOL. I am lucky to have a Ham Radio Outlet nearby so I have the ability to get good info and hands-on the new-hottest whenever I want. Local clubs are also an excellent resource.

The ICOM IC-2730A is definitely on my short list.  Advertised price is $289.95 and it offers everything I currently want.  The only only potential downside is no C4FM.  To paraphrase; I don't know what I don't know.

 

The least expensive Yaesu C4FM capable TX that I can find is the FTM-300DR, which is $459.95.

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I talked to our local ARES emergency coordinator last night.

 

His recommendation was to save up a little more and buy a Yaesu FTM-300DR.  His reasonings; the digital mode allows use of Wires-X, the Yaesu is easier to program and Yaesu's are what most of the operators in this area are using.

 

There's a meeting this Saturday morning at 0900 I plan to attend.

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