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Old 03-28-2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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Handheld HAM radio

Getting "close" to leaving on my roadtrip with my son, and the wife asked if I had a HAM radio for the van, which I don't, as emergency communication. Trying to see if a low dollar handheld is a viable option for me.

Anyone have any experience or recommendations for a basic (2M at minimum) handheld Yaesu or Icom?


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Old 03-28-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

I just picked up a Kenwood TH-F6A, it isn't a low dollar handheld however, it works on 2M/440/70cm, has weather channels/alerts and also has a very broadband sub-receiver in it that tunes AM, SW, and FM. It's a pretty amazing little rig, and it IS little.

I tend to favor Icom handhelds but the Kenwood seemed like a good bet. Check out the reivews on eHam; you'll probably find lots of info on handhelds,etc: http://www.eham.net/reviews/

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Old 03-28-2011, 10:55 PM   #3
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

Herb,
Both are good brands. Reviews can be found at http://www.eham.net.
Make sure you know how to use it and see if there are repeaters where you are going. I find that 2M does not get out all that far without a repeater.

Also you will need a license to operate legally.

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Old 03-29-2011, 05:46 AM   #4
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

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Originally Posted by cellularSTEVE
Herb,
Both are good brands. Reviews can be found at http://www.eham.net.
Make sure you know how to use it and see if there are repeaters where you are going. I find that 2M does not get out all that far without a repeater.

Also you will need a license to operate legally.

steve
Steve,

I've had my license for a few years now, and have a Yaesu 7800R in my Bronco. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm well versed in how to use it however, though I do know to identify local repeater frequencies before I head out somewhere.

Ideally, I'd just add a new power harness and antenna to the van, along with a temporary mount, and be able to swtich my radio back and forth, but the last thing I need right now is another project.

I will add that I think I'll very rarely even be out of cell phone coverage, but this will be my wife's first time away from my son for any extended period, so it's all about keeping the homefront happy, and if a small radio fits the bill, so be it.


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Old 03-29-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

Herb-
I have a Yaesu FT-60 that you can borrow for your trip if you like.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:00 AM   #6
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

Have you consider just getting a "Spot" http://www.findmespot.com. Covers off the emergency assistance and you can ping mum (oops sorry its mom over here isn't it) with OK messages as required. I have used mime in both North and South America with good results (and the batteries last forever). Another bonus is the ability to provide tracking so others can see where you actually are on google maps etc. (make sure to turn it off before heading taking that detour to Vegas ). If you use the tracking you can also use the waypoints it has saved to geo-tag your photos.

Sorry but this is the best photo I have of it. Its the orange thing on the right hand side of the handle bars

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:09 PM   #7
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

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Herb-
I have a Yaesu FT-60 that you can borrow for your trip if you like.
Bill
Bill,

VERY generous offer from you. It would definitley buy me some time to make a more educated decision, but it would only postpone the inevitable. Between the SMB and the Bronco, some form of remote comms with the wife is vital.

Will let you know as things get closer if I'd like to take you up on your offer.


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Old 03-29-2011, 01:16 PM   #8
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozrockrat
Have you consider just getting a "Spot" http://www.findmespot.com. Covers off the emergency assistance and you can ping mum (oops sorry its mom over here isn't it) with OK messages as required. I have used mime in both North and South America with good results (and the batteries last forever). Another bonus is the ability to provide tracking so others can see where you actually are on google maps etc. (make sure to turn it off before heading taking that detour to Vegas ). If you use the tracking you can also use the waypoints it has saved to geo-tag your photos.

Sorry but this is the best photo I have of it. Its the orange thing on the right hand side of the handle bars
Hadn't really considered SPOT since it first came out, but seeing the capabilitiues of SPOT 2, it's now in my list of options. Not sure whether to thank you for that or not.

I do really like the SPOT coupled with the DeLorme GPS unit.

The Annual Service fee (basic + options) can get a bit pricey though.


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Old 03-31-2011, 08:47 AM   #9
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

OK, full blame now rests with Ozrockrat recommending SPOT to me. I just bought a Delorme PN-60W SE GPS with SPOT off eBay. As long as it was a legitimate auction, with a real item, I'll soon be getting a nice setup. I did get it for a very good price, but the wife and I recognize that to fully take advantage of all it's functionality, the annual fees can creep up pretty high from the basic service.

I still see advantages to a handheld HAM radio, and I still see advantages to a cell phone booster, but like an SMB, there's not a single best solution.



http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=219


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Old 03-31-2011, 12:09 PM   #10
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Re: Handheld HAM radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Getting "close" to leaving on my roadtrip with my son, and the wife asked if I had a HAM radio for the van, which I don't, as emergency communication. Trying to see if a low dollar handheld is a viable option for me.

Anyone have any experience or recommendations for a basic (2M at minimum) handheld Yaesu or Icom?


Herb

Second vote on a plain Find me Spot.. most economical for emergencies.

I've seen deals on the older model (<$100). I didn't think the service was that much.

Without cellular, I count on my used Globalstar SAT phone but if all else fails...

Not a handheld 2m but here is one of the nicest newer HAM FT857 HF/6M/2M/440 Mobile unit with Automatic Antenna combo I've seen that I want for the van. With a mobile, you can relay your 2meter radio to your Van which can then reach out further.

With HF, you should be able to reach someone for sure..

http://cgi.ebay.com/YAESU-FT857-HF-6M-2 ... 1710wt_906
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