It's me again.
This time we are doing VHF. Unlike the CB, I actually need the VHF. I use the FJ for SAR and we predominately use VHF for communication. Also, unlike the CB, I need to communicate for long distances without repeaters. This means a good sensitive setup with a good antenna system.
Since I use it for SAR duty I also need it to be reliable.
So let's see... Reliable, sensitive, robust, and CHEAP! We can do that!!!
First and foremost, the transceiver. Though I love the dual/tri/quad band setups this would totally blow my budget. Also, though I am a fan of the Chinese stuff, for this application I want high quality. Luckily there's ebay to the rescue:
kenwood tk 790 | eBay
The Kenwood TK-790 is a professional, mil-spec rig. These radios do duty as fire-fighter radios, police and other ES. They are really really well built. They are also usually well taken care of. When they end their tour of duty they are sold as surplus. Troll ebay and you can get one of these for less than $100 (I got mine for $65). Also, you can get the service manual that lists EVERYTHING including schematics and circuit layouts. This is great for learning how these radios work and for trouble shooting.
You do need to add a couple of other stuff:
Dual fused power cable ($17):
Kenwood Radio Power Cable TK 690 TK 890 TK 790 G TK880 and More USA Shipping | eBay
Kenwood microphone ($35):
kenwood 12 pin microphone | eBay
KPG-43 programming cable ($25)
KPG 43 Programming Cable for Kenwood TK 890BK TK 790K TK 690H TK 5710H TK 5810H | eBay
VHF 2 Meter 144 152 MHz NMO Quarter Wave Whip Antenna Chrome | eBay
NMO mount with RG-58 cable ($18):
New Antenna NMO Mount 3 4" Hole with RG58 Cable Mini UHF Connector | eBay
and yes, YOU NEED TO DRILL A HOLE IN THE ROOF IF YOU WANT A GOOD ANTENNA.
Speaker (cheap $13):
Kenwood Style External Speaker Ham CB Communication | eBay
Speaker (awesome Kenwood KES-5 -$60)
Kenwood KES 5 External Speaker with Bracket | eBay
I cheaped out and bought the CB speaker and it seems good enough. The Kenwood speaker is awesome and is on my to-buy list.
Less than $190 and you got a super high quality VHF rig. Can you get VHF for less? Probably. But not for much less and not better quality. I'm happy. On to installation!