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#1 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 03:02 PM
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Arrow Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer & Radio Buyers Guide

Ham Radio Primer for Trail Use, with Buyer’s Guide / Comparison

First of all, a disclaimer: the depth and possibilities of amateur (ham) radio are huge and many, and way beyond the scope of a small article like this. Whole books have been written on the subject. Hence, this write-up is not intended as an introduction to the hobby in general, but only as an informational piece to those interested in its use as super-effective and long-range 4WD trail communication. Many aspects of ham radio will be lightly addressed or not at all. If you desire more information, especially on other technical aspects of amateur radio, additional research on your part will be required. Ham radio is a world-wide hobby, but again for simplicity this article will discuss United States operation and legality only. Finally, this article represents only the opinions of the author on a single narrow aspect of the hobby, with which others may disagree.


What is Ham Radio?

I’m not crazy about wikipedia, but this is actually about as concise of an explanation of amateur radio that I’ve seen:

“Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called "hams," use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training.
Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. An estimated six million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.
The term "amateur" is not a reflection on the skills of the participants, which are often quite advanced; rather, "amateur" indicates that amateur communications are not allowed to be made for commercial or money-making purposes.” (Wikipedia, Amateur radio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

In the U.S., many sub-bands of radio frequencies are reserved for FCC-licensed amateur or “ham” operators for use with voice, Morse Code, images (TV), digital, and other data modes. This article is concerned only with voice communication on the VHF (and only lightly on the UHF) bands, specifically the 2 Meters band, as this is the most common and useful band for 4WD trail communication, and the easiest and cheapest band for the beginner to access.


Why Should I Become a Ham?

In the context of this discussion, you should become a ham because communicating on the trail (and on the road to the trail) is so much clearer, stronger, and farther with a ham radio than with a CB radio. The difference must really be heard to be believed! It is a night-and-day difference. The difference is primarily due to two factors, power and modulation. CB radios are limited by law to 4 watts power output, while mobile 2-meter ham radios are commonly 50-75 watts, more than twelve times the power of CB. In addition, CB radios are by definition AM radios, while 2-meter ham radios are FM. Think of the difference between scratchy AM radio stations and the clear reception of FM music in your car or home stereo – the same advantages are with 2-meter ham; the clarity of voice communication far surpasses anything possible with CB.

Because of the limited power output, a CB radio can only transmit about 10 miles under absolutely ideal conditions, i.e. perfectly flat terrain with no obstructions or interference. Once you get on the trail with steep terrain, many obstructions, and especially minimal equipment (like a hand-held CB without an external antenna), the range of the CB goes down to very little. Personally, I have been in many 4WD trail groups where the front of the group could not communicate with the rear on CB. In rugged canyon country like the Moab area, even small groups may have trouble reaching from the front to the back (depending on the lowest-common-denominator CB equipment in the group). 2-meter ham on the other hand can transmit over long distances, up to 100 miles in favorable conditions. Even reduced by unfavorable trail conditions, the extra power and range far exceeds what is required to communicate from the front to the back of the group, and almost always means you can communicate all the way back to the base camp or office, and usually out to the nearest town. The ability of ham radios to access and use repeaters extends their range even more. Most cities of any respectable size have at least one 2-meter repeater. The extra range of the ham radio can literally be a life-saver in the event of an emergency. It can also mean the difference between getting help and having to hike out in the event of a break-down or being stuck.

Other advantages to ham are the multitude of frequencies available. CB is limited by definition to 40 channels. 2-meter ham does not have assigned channels and can use any open frequency between 144.100 and 148.000 MHz in 0.005 MHz increments, which is like the equivalent of having 780 “channels”. Ham radio is way less crowded than CB, and even if there were way more ham operators than CB there would still be more than enough room for them all on the extended bandwidth available. Because it takes a test and some (minimal) effort to become a licensed ham operator, the courtesy and helpfulness of ham operators is vastly superior to that of many CB operators encountered on the air waves. While every hobby must have its share of irritating people, I must say that I have yet to encounter any in ham radio, while you can hardly turn on a CB (near any major highway) without picking up some seriously-irritating idiots.


How Do I Become a Ham?

You only need two things to be a ham, an FCC license and a ham radio. To get the entry-level “Technician” Class license, you only have to pass a standardized multiple-choice test of 35 questions, getting 26 of them (74%) correct. The test covers very basic radio, electronics, and antenna theory, safety, communication, bandwidth, and legal matters. The Technician Class license is all you will ever need to enjoy great trail communication on the 2 Meters band, plus you will get privileges on the 70 cm and 6 Meters bands, and limited privileges on the 10 Meters band. If you enjoy these bands and want to pursue other aspects of the hobby with additional frequency and bandwidth privileges (for example for longer-distance work), you can learn the material and take similar tests to earn your “General” Class and “Amateur Extra” Class licenses. No Morse Code is required for any of the license classes (although it used to be).

Tests are administered frequently in almost any metropolitan area, by other hams accredited to do so. Many local ham radio clubs offer free or cheap classes to teach you the test material, and administer the exam as a final part of the class. To find a class near you, search on the internet for “amateur radio club (your city)”. To find an exam near you, fill out the no-obligation or registration form here: ARRLWeb: Exam Session Search

Many free on-line resources exist to help you learn and pass the test questions. Here is a place to take practice tests for free (be sure to choose the “Technician” category): QRZ.COM QRZ Ham Radio Practice Tests These tests are identical to the one you will actually have to pass to get your license, but as in the real test, the 35 questions are drawn randomly (by category) from a larger pool of potential questions. If you can consistently pass these free on-line tests several times in a row, you are ready to take the test for real. For many hams, this is the only preparation they do for the Technician-level test, just take the practice tests over and over until you can remember the right answers.

Books and paid courses are also available:
Gordon West Radio School :: Training Materials

ARRLWeb: ARRL's License Manual Series

Hint – you can buy these books second-hand very cheaply on half.com

HamTestOnline™

Your exam will graded and you will be told on the spot whether you passed or not. If you passed, your new call sign will be posted on the FCC on-line database usually within a couple of weeks. The easiest place to check and see is here: QRZ.COM Callsign Database Put your last name and zip code in the “Search” box at the upper left-hand corner of the page, and when you call sign is issued it will show up there.

Hams always use their call sign to identify themselves on every session. It’s the law, and part of the responsibility and courtesy of being a ham. You need to identify yourself by call sign at the beginning and end of every radio session, and every ten minutes during an extended session, but these rules are a little more relaxed on a simplex (single frequency, without using a repeater) net that you would typically have on a trail run.

Once you have your ham license and a radio, I highly recommend that you become involved with a local amateur radio club. They have many opportunities for you to learn how to use your radio and the (minor) protocols and courtesies that are different for operating a ham radio versus a CB, like local chat nets, emergency training nets, and public service events. Hams are very helpful and supportive of new hams. There is a risk however that you may find other aspects of the hobby like storm spotting, emergency communications, search-and-rescue, or long-distance communication interesting, and then you will be in danger of having another hobby to spend time and money on in addition to your 4WD hobby.


Buying a Radio

There are several considerations to buying a ham radio, the most confusing of which for the beginner may be, how many and which bands to get. For the purposes of this discussion (4WD trail use), a 2-meter radio is all that is required. Fortunately, these are among the cheapest and easiest to use of all ham radios.

If you want to spend more money, you can buy a dual-band radio with 2-meters and 70 cm (the 70 cm band is also frequently referred to as “440”, for its wavelength in MHz), or even a quad-band radio. These more expensive radios will give you more frequencies and options, and room to grow in the amateur radio hobby, but are not necessary for trail use. The one useful feature of these more expensive radios for trail use would be the ability to receive (and in some cases transmit also) on two or more frequencies at the same time. That way, it would be possible to monitor a trail group and base camp at the same time for example. Another use of this same function in higher-end radios is the ability to use the radio as a local repeater – the radio in your truck could receive signals from others in the group on one frequency, and re-broadcast the signal on a different frequency, for greater range or coverage area.

Some neat extra goodies now available on high-end radios include GPS and altimeter functions, APRS positioning systems, Auto-range transponder systems, Echo-link, and etc.

Another consideration is the choice to go with a hand-held radio (frequently referred to as an “HT” or “Handy-Talkie”) or a mobile (in the truck) radio for your first one. Although you can sometimes get more features for the money in a hand-held radio, they are usually limited to 5 watts output power. In a ham radio this would be more than enough power for a trail group, but in my opinion you are missing out on much of the advantage of a ham radio if a hand-held is your only trail radio. Like a hand-held CB, you can upgrade them with an external truck-mounted antenna, but you are still limited to 5 watts.

For the average beginning off-road ham, my recommendation is to buy a simple 2-meter-only mobile radio. You get a good radio for the lowest price that will serve you well on the trail, will still be useful back in town and for other hobby uses, and will always be useful in some capacity even if you decide to buy a bigger/better radio later. If you do decide to upgrade later, you haven’t sunk a ton of money into it. And your antenna choices will be simpler and cheaper too. If you are enthused about the hobby and want to spend more money up front, go right ahead! Just be aware that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get great trail results. There are usually some used 2-Meter radios for sale at a ham-fest if there is one scheduled near your locale.

In the case of the mobile radio, you will have to purchase and install a suitable antenna and coax cable as well, much like a CB radio. You can’t use your CB antenna for a ham radio; the antenna height must be a resonant fraction of the wavelength of the radio frequency (2 meters in this case). There are lots of 2-meter antennas available that are suitable for trail use, and dual-band antennas too.

A buyer's guide / comparison for 2-meter, dual-band, quad-band, and hand-held radios follows.

N5MUD
4x4ham.com
TLCA # 16550
High Desert Cruisers

Last edited by 1911; 05-11-2009 at 05:16 PM.
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#2 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 03:48 PM
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2-Meter Ham Radio Buyer's Guide / Comparison

Radios are listed by category, then price (least-expensive first). Prices are street prices as of this date (5/11/2009) and subject to change.


2-Meter Only Mobile Radios


Yaesu FT-2800M - $129.98



The Yaesu FT-2800M is quiet and powerful. This ruggedly-built 2 meter transceivers boasts 65 watts of output. Yet no fan is required thanks to Yaesu's new die cast chassis/heat-sink design. The ergonomics are unsurpassed for safe mobile operation. Four power levels are available: 65, 25, 10 and 5 watts. And weather channels are built in with Severe Weather Alert capability. The FT-2800M is MIL-STD 810 tough. You get extended receive from 134-174 MHz. The backlit display has four dimmer levels. There is an external speaker jack on the rear panel.

The supplied MH-48AJ6 hand mic includes four programmable keys. Other included items include: MMB-83 mobile mounting bracket, DC power cord with fuse, spare 15A fuse, base station feet and operating manual.

Features
  • 200 Memories
  • 65 Watts Output
  • DTMF Memories
  • Voltage Display
  • Backlit DTMF Mic
  • CTCSS Encode
  • CTCSS Decode
  • Packet Ready
  • NOAA Weather Alert
  • Smart Search™



Yaesu FT-1802M - $138.98



The ruggedly built Yaesu FT-1802M brings you Yaesu's legendary mechanical toughness in a low-cost, high-performance, 2-meter FM transceiver. The FT-1802M is somewhat smaller than the FT-7800R dual bander and features outstanding audio on both transmit and receive. It has strong receiver performance, covering 136 to 174 MHz. It has illuminated front panel keys and boasts 221 memories. There is also a 10 channel NOAA weather bank. You get CTCSS and DCS Encoder and Decoder circuits. The FT-1802M even has a unique a CW trainer to practice Morse Code. Keyboard entry of frequencies directly from microphone is supported. It also supports one-touch access to Yaesu's renowned WiRES-II Internet Linking System. There is a security password to help prevent unauthorized use. The FT-1802M has a rugged die-cast chassis and the rear panel has an external speaker jack. 5.6 x 1.6 x 5.8 inches.

The supplied MH-48A6J DTMF hand mic includes four programmable keys. Also comes with the MMB-36 mounting bracket, DC cord and spare fuses. (The FT-1802M does not include base feet).

Features
  • 221 Memories
  • 8 Memory Banks
  • 50 Watts Output
  • APO - Automatic Power-Off
  • ARS - Automatic Repeater Shift
  • Busy Channel Lock-Out
  • DTMF Memories
  • CTCSS Encode
  • CTCSS Decode
  • CW Trainer
  • Password Function
  • Backlit DTMF Mic



Icom IC-2200H - $149.95



The Icom IC-2200H 2 meter FM mobile features a rugged design and an easy-to-read alphanumeric display. The large informative LCD may be set to green or amber. The receiver covers 118-174 MHz and the transmitter delivers 65, 25, 10 or 5 watts of output. The improved receive IMD helps provide protection from excessively strong signals such as pager signals. And the squelch attenuator (approx 10 dB) allows you to reduce interference from strong nearby signals. A winning combination for receive performance. The front panel has an oversized tuning dial is easy to grab while on the move and the large 4-level backlit display clearly provides key information at a glance. Memory channels can be assigned names for easy recognition and easy access. The 2200H supports three different scan modes: Full Scan, Memory Scan, Programmed Scan and four scan resume conditions.

Other features include: 207 memories, alphanumeric notes, 3-way priority watch and independently programmable Rx/Tx and tone squelch. The 2200H is also one of the first mobiles to be GPS NMEA compatible (GPS not supplied). There is an external speaker jack on the rear panel. The IC-2200H is built rugged and has a convenient front mounted mic jack. The supplied HM-133V remote control mic controls everything in the palm of your hand. ICOM's exclusive Hot Keys lets you program the features that you use the most. The bigger backlit keys allow you to operate in low light conditions. Requires 13.8 VDC at 15 amps. A mobile mounting bracket, power cord and mic hanger are also supplied. Size: 5.5 x 1.6 x 5.9 inches 2 Lbs. 10 oz. (140x40x146mm 1.25 kg).

Features
  • Encode/Decode
  • FM Narrow Mode
  • 207 Memories
  • Scanning
  • Squelch Attenuator
  • Call Channel
  • 65/25/10/5 Watts Output
  • Optional Digital Unit
  • Weather Channel & Alert
  • HM-133V Remote Hand Mic
  • NMEA GPS compatible



Yaesu FT-2900R - $164.95



The Yaesu FT-2900R is quiet and powerful. This ruggedly-built 2 meter transceivers boasts 75 watts of output. Yet no fan is required thanks to Yaesu's new die cast chassis/heat-sink design. The ergonomics are unsurpassed for safe mobile operation. Four power levels are available: 75, 25, 10 and 5 watts. And weather channels are built in with Severe Weather Alert capability. The FT-2900R is MIL-STD 810 tough. You get extended receive from 134-174 MHz. The backlit display has four dimmer levels.

The supplied MH-46AJ6 hand micis backlit. Other included items: mobile mounting bracket, DC power cord with fuse, spare 15A fuse, base station feet and operating manual.

Features
  • 200 Memories
  • 75 Watts Output
  • DTMF Memories
  • Voltage Display
  • Backlit DTMF Mic
  • CTCSS Encode
  • CTCSS Decode
  • Packet Ready
  • NOAA Weather Alert
  • Smart Search™



Kenwood TM-271A - $169.95



Mobile communications are easier thanks to the Kenwood TM-271A 2 meter transceiver. The TM-271A provides a big 60 watts output and is built MIL-STD 810 C/D/E/F tough. This radio has NOAA weather built in with alert tone. You get 200 memory channels (or 100 when used with names). This radio is capable of displaying up to 6 large alphanumeric characters. The positive-type green LCD display comes with a 32-step brightness control to suit all driving conditions. Also, the front panel and microphone keypads are both illuminated for ease of use.

This radio is packed with the features you want such as: CTCSS (42 subtones), DCS (104 codes) and 1750 Hz tone burst. Several forms of scanning are supported including: VFO, program, memory, group, call scan, tone scan, CTCSS scan and DCS scan. It has Wide/Narrow deviation with switchable receive filters. There is automatic repeater offset and automatic simplex checker. Automatic power off is supported. And it is built tough to take rough treatment in stride. The TM-271A meets the strict U.S. Department of Defense MIL-STD 810 C/D/E/F.

The TM-271A comes with illuminated DTMF hand mic, PG-2N power cord and mounting bracket. Separate English and Spanish instruction manuals are supplied.



Alinco DR-135T - $179.95



The Alinco DR-135 series features a full-featured 2 Meter 50 watt FM transceiver with an alphanumeric display (up to seven characters), 100 memory channels aircraft (AM) plus extended receive. Three power outputs (50/10/5 watts) are available. CTCSS encode and decode are standard. The receive range is 118-135.995 MHz (AM) and 136-173.995 MHz (FM). This radio is 5.55 x 1.61 x 6.06 inches 1.9 Lbs (141x41x154mm 0.86 kg). Enter the digital age with the optional EJ-40U. The DR-135 series each include the EMS-56 DTMF Hand Mic, mobile bracket, DC cord, alarm cable and mounting hardware.

Features
  • 100 Memories
  • Front Panel GPS Input for APRS
  • Ignition Key On/Off Feature
  • Ten Autodial Memories
  • Encode/Decode
  • Theft Deterrent System
  • Large Alphanumeric LCD
  • Timer Out Timer
  • Airband Receive
  • Optional TNC
  • DTMF Microphone
  • Dimmer



Icom IC-V8000 - $209.95



The Icom IC-V8000 is a powerhouse. This 2 meter FM mobile features high power output coupled with a rugged die-cast design and an easy-to-read alphanumeric display. You can even change the display from amber to green. The transmitter delivers a big 75 watts of output (75/25/10/5 watts selectable). You will be kept informed of weather emergencies with the Weather Alert and Weather Channel Scan features [USA version only]. The fully customizable memory system is awesome. A total of 207 channels (in ten banks) are supported (including 1 call channel and 6 scan edge channels). Each memory is alphanumeric and stores a 6 character name, tone frequency, skip info and more! The V8000 supports three types of scanning.

The supplied HM-133V remote control mic controls everything in the palm of your hand. ICOM's exclusive Hot Keys lets you program the features that you use the most. The bigger backlit keys allow you to operate in low light conditions. This radio is supplied with: HM-133V remote hand mic, OPC-1132 DC power cable, V8000 MMB mobile mounting bracket, spare fuses and mic clip.

Features
  • Scanning
  • DTMF Encode (Decode optional)
  • 200 Alpha Memories
  • One Piece die-cast chassis
  • 10 dB Squelch Attenuator
  • Weather Alert and Weather Scan
  • 75 Watts Output
  • DCS Encode/Decode
  • CTCSS Encode/Decode
  • Remote Backlit Hand Mic

N5MUD
4x4ham.com
TLCA # 16550
High Desert Cruisers

Last edited by 1911; 05-11-2009 at 04:32 PM.
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#3 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 04:46 PM
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2-Meter Ham Radio Buyer's Guide / Comparison (cont.)

Radios are listed by category, then by price (least-expensive first). Prices are street prices as of this date (5/11/2009) and subject to change.


Dual-Band (2-Meter & 70 cm) Mobile Radios



Yaesu FT-7800R - $248.98



The Yaesu FT-7800R dual bander operates on 2 meters and 70 centimeters. High power output is featured with 50 watts on 2 meters and 40 watts on 430 MHz. CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode is built in. Over 1000 memories are available. It is WIRES compatible. The FT-7800R well designed front panel provides simple, safe operation. The FT-7800R is ideal for the amateur who does not require cross-band repeat as found on the FT-8800R and FT-8900R. The FT-7800R has excellent receive range covering 108 to 520 and 700-990 MHz (less cellular). Operating this radio is very simple and straight forward, and you may program it to your operational preferences via a menu system. The FT-7800R features Yaesu's ARTS™ Auto-Range Transponder System, important in search-and-rescue applications. ARTS provides a "hand-shake" with other ARTS equipped transceivers and displays out of range or in range. A six character CW ID is also provided for your station every ten minutes during ARTS operation.

The FT-7800R has a convenient mini-DIN DATA jack on the back panel for a Packet TNC connection to either a 1200 baud or 9600 baud Packet TNC (not supplied).

The FT-7800R comes with a MMB-36 mobile mounting bracket, DC cord and MH-48A6J Up-Down, illuminated DTMF microphone.

Features
  • Five One Touch Hyper Memories
  • 1055 Memories
  • 50 Watts Output (40 Watts on 430 MHz)
  • DCS
  • Backlit DTMF Mic
  • Large Omni-Glow™ Alpha Numeric LCD
  • CTCSS Encode/Decode
  • DCS Encode/Decode
  • Smart Search
  • 1200/9600 bps Packet Jack
  • Menu customization
  • ARTS™ Auto-Range Transponder System



Icom IC-208H - $299.95



The ICOM IC-208H 2M/440 dual bander is priced like a single bander, but it still has all the features you want. You get: detachable control panel, wideband receive, three power settings, built-in CTCSS decode/encode, PC compatibility and 500 alpha memory channels. Power output is 55/15/5 watts on 2 meters and 50/15/5 watts on 440 MHz. It is 9600 BPS packet ready too (6 pin DIN). The 208H also includes a built-in duplexer, OPC-600/R separation cable, HM-133 remote hand mic, mobile mounting bracket, power cord and spare fuses.

Features
  • Encode/Decode
  • 9600 BPS Packet Ready
  • 500 Alpha Memories (6 character)
  • Built-In Duplexer
  • FM Narrow capability
  • Weather Alert
  • Three Output Levels
  • Detachable Control Head
  • Extended Receive
  • 16 DTMF Memories




Yaesu FT-8800R - $339.95



The Yaesu FT-8800R dual bander operates on 2 meters and 70 centimeters. High power output is featured with 50 watts on 2 meters and 35 watts on 430 MHz. It is like having two radios in one with dedicated Volume and Squelch controls on each side. Built in features include: duplexer and CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode. Over 1000 memories are available. It is WIRES compatible.

The FT-8800R features Yaesu's ARTS™ Auto-Range Transponder System, important in search-and-rescue applications. ARTS provides a "hand-shake" with other ARTS equipped transceivers and displays out of range or in range. A six character CW ID is also provided for your station every ten minutes during ARTS operation. The FT-8800R comes with a mobile mounting bracket, DC cord and MH-48A6J Up-Down, illuminated DTMF microphone.

Features
  • Cross-Band Repeat
  • V+U/V+V/U+U Dual Band Operation
  • V+U Full Duplex Operation
  • 1000 Memories
  • 50 Watts Output (35 Watts on 430 MHz)
  • DCS
  • Backlit DTMF Mic
  • Alpha Numeric LCD
  • CTCSS Encode/Decode
  • DCS Encode/Decode
  • Smart Search
  • 1200/9600 bps Packet Jack
  • Hyper Memory (stores complete radio configuration)
  • Menu customization
  • ARTS™ Auto-Range Transponder System
  • Internet Key for Access to WIRES™



Yaesu FTM-10R - $349.95



The Yaesu FTM-10R dual bander operates on 2 meters and 70 centimeters. And it is just the ticket for outdoor motor sports communications! High power output is featured with 50 watts on 2 meters and 40 watts on 430 MHz. Three power levels are available for 2M/440: 50/40, 20/20 and 5/5 watts. Very extended receive includes: 0.5-1.8 [AM band], 76-108 [FM band], 108-137, 137-174, 174-222, 300-420, 420-470, 470-800 MHz and 800-999 MHz (less USA cellular blocked). And the FTM-10R features a rugged die cast chassis that can take punishment. Requires 13.8 VDC at 8.5 amps. 4.5 x 1.6 x 7 inches 2.9 lbs. (112x38x178mm). Your FTM-10R comes with: Mobile Mounting Bracket, Angle Adapter, Spare Fuses, Separation Cable (10 foot), DC Power Cord, Magnet, Front Panel Bracket, Speaker Cable and Hex Wrench (4/3 mm). Please note that this radio has a built-in mic that is activated by the PTT button on top of the radio. If a conventional hand mic is desired, it must be ordered separately. There are many options available for different mounting applications.

Features
  • CTCSS & DCS
  • 500 Alpha Memories
  • Clock with Event Timer
  • Bluetooth Ready
  • Dual Receive
  • Club Channel Monitor
  • VOX with automatic audio delay
  • Extended Receive
  • AM & FM Broadcast Band
  • Smart Search
  • Built in mic
  • Intercom Feature (requires options)
  • High Power 8W Audio Amp for PA
  • WIRES™ Ready



Kenwood TM-V71A - $369.95



The advanced Kenwood TM-V71A dual bander provides sophisticated, high-powered performance on 2 meters and 440 MHz. Power levels are 5/10/50 watts on both bands. The large radio display clearly conveys the status of the radio and can be set to green or amber. The radio's controls are very logical and feature separate volume/squelch for bands A and B.

This transceiver allows you to change the orientation of the front panel. Depending on where/how you installed the transceiver you may wish to flip the front panel upside-down for easier operation. 1000 Memories can be alpha tagged up to six characters. Other features include: scanning, weather alert, password, dual receive on same band and cross-band operation. This dual bander has ten dedicated EchoLink® memory channels as well EchoLink sysop-mode operation. The rear panel has dual audio outputs.

The Kenwood TM-V71A comes with: MC-59 hand mic (with Up-Down and DTMF), DC power cable, fuse, front panel mounting bracket, main unit mounting bracket, microphone hanger and English/Spanish Instruction Manual.

Features
  • 1000 Alpha Memories
  • Dual Display
  • Dual Receive on Same Band (VxV, UxU)
  • EchoLink® Ready
  • Wideband Receive
  • Weather Alert
  • Cross Band Repeater
  • DCS (104 codes)
  • Remote Head
  • Auto Simplex Checker
  • TNC Data jack
  • PL Decode/Encode
  • VHF 5/10/50W & UHF 5/10/50W
  • Selectable Amber/Green LCD



Alinco DR-635T - $389.95



The Alinco DR-635T is a new twin band mobile transceiver operating on the 2 meter and 70 cm bands. It has transmit coverage from 144 to 147.995 and 430-449.995 MHz. Receive coverage is 108 to 173.995 and 335 to 480 MHz. This includes the VHF air band in AM mode and the FM broadcast band 87.5 to 108 MHz in Wide FM mode. 200 alphanumeric memories are available. Power output on VHF is 50/20/5 watts and UHF is 35/20/5 watts. Dual band receiver with V/V, U/U, V/U and U/V capability. Yes, cross-band repeat is supported! The large, easy-to-read three color LCD shows status icons and alphanumeric tags. CTCSS & DCS encode/decode is included plus 4 different tone bursts. Other features include: auto power off, time out timer, tone burst, scan, channel lock-out, dimmer, VFO auto program, theft alarm function, narrow FM, power supply voltage display and remotable head. A fan on the rear panel insures cool operation during transmit. The front panel is remotable via the optional EDS-9 separation kit. The advanced 10F3 digital mode with speech compression technology is available via the optional EJ-47U board.

The supplied EMS-57 Electret Condenser DTMF Hand Mic supports parameter setting and direct frequency entry. The radio also comes with DC cable, mobile mounting bracket with hardware, anti-theft (ACC on/off) function cable and anti-theft sticker.



Icom ID-800H - $499.95



Enter the world of Digital Radio with the ICOM ID-800H 2M/440 dual bander. It features D-STAR Digital Voice Capability and supports 20 character short text messaging with on screen display. The ID-800H can transmit and receive D-STAR format digital voice and 950 bps data communication, simultaneously. The Digital features of the ID-800H are compatible with 2200H, V82 and U82 radios with the optional UT-118 installed. In addition, analog FM mode is also available. You get: detachable control panel, wideband receive, three power settings, built-in CTCSS decode/encode, PC compatibility and 500 alpha memory channels. Power output is 55/15/5 watts on 2 meters and 50/15/5 watts on 440 MHz. The ID-800H wideband receiver covers 118-173, 230-549 and 810-999 MHz (less cellular). The ID-800H includes a built-in duplexer, OPC-600/R separation cable, HM-133 remote hand mic, mobile mounting bracket, power cord and spare fuses. This model requires 13.8 VDC at 12 amps. The ID-800H is built tough to meet stringent U.S. Military Specifications.

Features
  • D-STAR Digital Voice Capability
  • Encode/Decode
  • 9600 BPS Packet Ready
  • 500 Alpha Memories (6 character)
  • Built-In Duplexer
  • FM Narrow capability
  • GPS position exchange with external GPS
  • Weather Alert
  • Three Output Levels
  • Detachable Control Head
  • Extended Receive
  • 16 DTMF Memories



Icom ID-880H - $499.95



Enter the world of Digital Radio with the ICOM ID-880H 2M/440 dual band mobile. Output power may be selected at 50, 15 or 5 watts. The receive range (USA version) is: 118-173.995, 230-549.995, 810-823.990, 849-868.990 and 894-999.990 MHz. Supported modes include: FM, AM (receive only) and DV. You get 1052 memory channels in 26 banks, with 8 character channel names. CTCSS/DTCS tone encode/decode is standard. Weather receive with weather alert is supported. This radio comes with the HM-133 DTMF mic, separation cable, mobile mounting bracket, remote head bracket, mic hanger, DC power cord and spare fuses. Free CS/80/880 programming software is available from the Icom website.



Kenwood TM-D710A - $534.95



The advanced Kenwood TM-D710A follows in the proud tradition of the popular TM-D700A. You will have a full 50/10/5 watts on both VHF and UHF. Key features include: internal clock for APRS®(Automatic Packet/position Reporting System) time and date stamp, APRS sort function, APRS filter function, APRS QSY function, APRS decay algorithm, APRS, proportional pathing, APRS voice alert, EchoLink ready, NOAA weather, 1000 memories and a sound card interface is built in. Versatile message with 100 messages (up to 67 characters each) is supported. There is also a NMEA 0183 GPS I/O port. And it can employed as part of Kenwood’s Skycommand System II+ when used with the TS-2000 series. The screen may be set for orange or green. There is a clock/date function.

The Kenwood TM-D710A includes: mic, DC power cable, panel cable, mounting bracket, panel bracket, manual and CD ROM.



Icom IC-2820H - $599.95



The ICOM IC-2820H 2M/440 dual bander has all the features you would expect and some you would not! You get: separate front panel, wideband receive, 3 power settings, built-in CTCSS decode/encode, selectable amber/green display, PC compatibility and 522 memory channels. V/V and U/U receive is available. The rear panel has two SO-239 antenna jacks to support diversity reception (two antennas required). The diversity function compares the receiving signal strength from two different antennas, ANT1 and ANT2, and automatically selects the strongest signal. This feature is useful when you are listening in a moving vehicle or the transmitting station itself is moving. The band scope function lets you watch conditions near the receiving frequency. Diversity receiving, for improved signal stability is available in 127 MHz, 136 MHz, 146 MHz, 375 MHz, 440 MHz and 500 MHz bands only (two antennas required).

The IC-2820H is D-STAR upgradable with the optional UT-123 Power output is 50/15/5 watts on 2 meters and 50/15/5 watts on 440 MHz. It is 9600 BPS packet ready too (6 pin DIN). This radio comes with full function backlit HM-133 remote DTMF hand mic, mounting bracket, power cord and spare fuses. Please note that the mic plugs into the body (not the head). Main unit size: 5.9 x 1.65 x 7.4 inches 3.3 Lbs (150x40x188mm 1.5 kg). Controller size: 5.9 x 2.6 x 1.25 inches 7.4 ounces (150x58x32mm 210g). This model requires 13.8 VDC at 12 amps. This radio is supplied with both the OPC-1663 (11 foot) and OPC-1712 (3.9 inch) head separation cables.

Features
  • Encode/Decode
  • Diversity Reception
  • 522 Memories
  • Weather Alert (USA only)
  • Band Scope
  • V/V, U/U Simultaneous Receive
  • Three RF Output Levels 50/15/5W
  • Left Band Receive: 118-549.99 MHz
  • Right Band Receive: 118-173.99, 375-549.99, 810-999.99 MHz (less cellular)
  • Optional UT-123 DV Digital Voice / GPS



Quad-Band (10-Meter, 6-Meter, 2-Meter, 70 cm) Mobile Radio


Yaesu FT-8900R - $399.95



The Yaesu FT-8900R quad bander gives you incredible power and flexibility on the road. Operate 10 meters, 6 meters, 2 meters and 70 centimeters. High power output is featured with 50 watts on 10, 6 and 2 meters and 35 watts on 430 MHz. It is like having two radios in one with dedicated Volume and Squelch controls on each side. Built in features include: duplexer and CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode. Over 800 memories are available. It is WIRES compatible.

The FT-8900R features Yaesu's ARTS™ Auto-Range Transponder System, important in search-and-rescue applications. ARTS provides a "hand-shake" with other ARTS equipped transceivers and displays out of range or in range. A six character CW ID is also provided for your station every ten minutes during ARTS operation. The FT-8900R comes with a mobile mounting bracket, DC cord and MH-48A6J Up-Down, illuminated DTMF microphone.
The Diamond Company has designed an antenna expressly for this radio called the Diamond CR8900.

Features
  • Cross-Band Repeat
  • V+U/V+V/U+U Dual Band Operation
  • V+U Full Duplex Operation
  • 800 Memories
  • 50 Watts Output (35 Watts on 430 MHz)
  • DCS
  • Backlit DTMF Mic
  • Alpha Numeric LCD
  • CTCSS Encode/Decode
  • DCS Encode/Decode
  • Smart Search
  • 1200/9600 bps Packet Jack
  • Hyper Memory (store complete radio configuration)
  • Menu customization
  • ARTS™ Auto-Range Transponder System
  • Internet Key for Access to WIRES™



Hand-held 2-Meter and Multi-band Radios

Too many to list! Research them here if you wish:

Amateur Handheld Radios

Prices range from $99.95 (Yaesu VX-150) to $400.00 and up.

N5MUD
4x4ham.com
TLCA # 16550
High Desert Cruisers

Last edited by 1911; 05-11-2009 at 04:57 PM.
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#4 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 04:58 PM
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Re: Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer

Holy crap! Nice... going to take my a while to read that.

There's another nice writeup on AZFJ by Mr_R2FJ... god info all around!

AZFJ › Forums › Technical Discussion › 4x4 Tech › The HAM radio/amateur radio info thread (FAQ)

-Mike (W7FJC)
check out my BLOG thing...
AZFJ.org - Arizona FJ Cruisers!
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down...
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#5 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 04:59 PM
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Re: Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer

Wow 1911... you put some time into this. I haven't read it all yet, got to go up on the roof now to get the cooler going.

I do like that you didn't just show your fav brand, got most of them in there. I'll be getting a mobile soon, more power is good!
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#6 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 05:28 PM
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Re: Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer

Quote:
tibaal89 previously said: View Post
There's another nice writeup on AZFJ by Mr_R2FJ... god info all around!

AZFJ › Forums › Technical Discussion › 4x4 Tech › The HAM radio/amateur radio info thread (FAQ)
I had no idea that was out there, but we must both be Real Smart Guys since we have similar opinions on a lot of this stuff. Even used the same Wikipedia quote!

BTW, do you know any of these (mostly AZ, mostly jeep) guys? I joined their forum recently and they seem like a decent bunch: Discussion Forum - 4X4 Ham Radio Operators

N5MUD
4x4ham.com
TLCA # 16550
High Desert Cruisers
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Re: Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer

Quote:
1911 previously said: View Post
I had no idea that was out there, but we must both be Real Smart Guys since we have similar opinions on a lot of this stuff. Even used the same Wikipedia quote!

BTW, do you know any of these (mostly AZ, mostly jeep) guys? I joined their forum recently and they seem like a decent bunch: Discussion Forum - 4X4 Ham Radio Operators
Yea, I especially like the "Test? OMG! How hard is it?" section title...

I am not familiar with that group/site... looks interesting. I've heard good things from different people about the AZ Virtual Jeep Club's NET, but don't know anything about it myself... the Expedition Portal NET was fun for a while, but I think that sort of took a dump last year...

-Mike (W7FJC)
check out my BLOG thing...
AZFJ.org - Arizona FJ Cruisers!
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down...
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#8 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 06:18 PM
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Re: Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer

Wow!! Fantastic write-up, Lee.

So good that it's worthy of both the How-To Technical Articles - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum and the Buyers Guides & Product Comparisons - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum!!

Thank you so very much for the time and effort that you put into this.


Steve Bolander

'07 FJ Cruiser

TLCA #6727 / UFWDA
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Re: Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer

Ya, just finished reading it all. Well done!

Then in reading replies I joined the 4x4ham forum too. Too cool.
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#10 (permalink) Old 05-11-2009, 07:04 PM
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Re: Ham Radio for Trail Use Primer

Quote:
LandCruiserSteve previously said: View Post
Thank you so very much for the time and effort that you put into this.
You're welcome Steve; I patterned it after your excellent CB write-up.

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4x4ham.com
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