General Discussion > Ham

Choosing a Ham Radio

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defibvt:
So I swung by HRO today to take a look at Ham Radios.  What a decision to make.  I have decided on 4 to choose from.  2 mobile units and 2 handhelds.  Those of you (Brenda & Wall-E) who know radios please post up your opinions.  I am not posting prices since the price is relative to what you get and I am not posting all the bells and whistle since most of the time you adapt to what you have.

Yaesu FT-2900 R/E--mobile, 75 watts, 2 meter only

Kenwood TM-271A--mobile, 60 watts, 2 meter only

Yaesu FT-270 R/E--handheld, 5 watts, 2 meter only

Yaesu FT-60 R/E--handheld, 5 watts, Dual Band FM with wideband receiver coverage

With the handhelds I would being using an external antenna and cigarrette lighter power adapter.  I am leaning towards the last Yaesu  handheld because I feel that you can always use a handheld.  Let me know what you think .

Onix:
Brenda and i where talking about this and think you should get a
mobile unit .

DZRT:
OOOOOOOK, here we go... Brenda's Advice:

Go Practical.

Knowing you Defib... and this includes others too... the reason why you got in to radio is because you recognized the benefits of it in regards to wheeling... i.e. more reliable truck-to-truck communications and more reliable "last resort" communications. So, for the best reliable truck-to-truck comms and for "last resort" comms, get a mobile. You’ll have the gain from the antenna (when you running a high gain) and have the power from the radio… you will not have these from the HT. Plus, you don’t have to worry about charging it. Plus, it won’t be bouncing all over the set as you wheel. And plus, the HT in the car is just a pain with all the cables hanging out of it (antenna, power, mic).

Get an HT as the next step for like hiking or whatever… but you will not use it as much as the mobile.

So, with that said… we are down to two choices from your list. I don’t know why you chose these two and I’m not going to bother doing the research to understand the options… cause at this point of the game, options don’t matter. They really are just pain in the butt to learn and program. All 2 meter radios already have the standard functions that you need to get on the air and play on repeaters.

When you become an old fart ham, then you can worry about options. Right now, worry about getting on the air, learning a lot and being the best operator you can be.

“I’d rather be a good operator on a cheap radio, then a crappy operator on an expensive radio.” I just made that up. LOL.

My advice: walk in to HRO and say, “I’m a new ham, what do you got on sale?” Get the cheapest radio on sale. Also, just pick up the cheapest antenna for wheeling right now. Your going to break it anyway, lol. Later you can see what others are using and why. Then you can take yourself and go buy a nice one. I have two, one for wheeling and one for prettiness/gain. You’ll also need to buy extra antenna cable and an antenna mount.

Now, I will say… I do have a duel bander with cross-band repeat and bla, bla, bla. But I’ve also been playing ham for many years. I’m very comfortable with these functions. It’s only after many years of activates, games and volunteering that I have learned to really appreciate these functions. I wouldn’t want a nubie to be turned off because of the pain of understanding all this. You don’t need it. I really don’t need. No one really needs it. But, at the time, I was in the market to buy a radio as an experience ham, so it made sense for me (AND NO, I'm not an old fart ham, that applies to men only anyway).

OK, so I broke down and called HRO to see if they had any “smashing deals” that we couldn’t live without. Not so much. But that’s ok, ‘cause I think the prices are really good anyway. They got the FT 1900 for $129.95. It looks very similar to Wally’s radio. This is what I would buy. The FT2900... the real only difference is the output. $30 difference for an additional 25W… oh heck, I don’t know, why not. But if it came down to it… spend your last $30 on a better antenna rather than on a better radio. You might not ever notice anyway… who knows.

Make sure you have lots of time when going to HRO. I ALWAYS spend hours there. And just calling them on the phone right now, I was chatting for like 15 minutes.

BTW… I guess I’m a real ham… my post is long winded.

defibvt:
Thank you Brenda for doing the leg work.  I spent about 30 min at HRO speaking with and being schooled by one of the guys that works there.  He was nice enough to show me an antenna that doesn't need a ground plane.  I was interested in that.   I didn't see the FT-1900 so I am glad you called.  I do value your opinion albeit long winded  :o ;D.  Thanks for the input.

I am going to hold off on the handheld until I really can find a use for it.  Now I have to figure where to get the funds. 

MiniAPC:
I don't know anything about ham other than what I learned from watching Dukes of Hazzard all those years but Brenda your post was informative to me.

I know that most of the groups require you to have one if you got on ride with them so was good to get some recommendations out of the way.

Heck it may be funny just listening in to local stuff

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