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Discussion Starter #21
Yes, IMO if you are going with the 3 big players
ICOM
YAESU
KENWOOD

you're dealing with quality equipment[/url]
Agreed, though I would add Alinco to the list. As a matter of fact, that is why I included all four of those brands in the Buyers Guide.

One more factor to consider - the different brands each have their own programming conventions and nested menus, and can be quite confusing for the first-time user. If you know people local to you in your 4WD organization or amateur radio club, it can be very advantageous to buy the same brand of equipment that many of them have, so they can help you program it and set it up. But if you're good at reading manuals and following instructions, have at any of them with some confidence that you're buying proven products.
 

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Just found this thread. Another subscription added. THANKS, even before I read the whole thing. I am this close to taking the test and this appears to be exactly what I was looking for. Already with the "Hams Check in Here" thread.
 

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Excellent write up. It has got me excited. When I start a project I ask three basic questions. Will my son be jealous? Will my wife get pissed? And will I feel stimulated? If the answer to all three is yes I figure it has to be a worthwhile project and I think this will qualify. :)

So in looking into this I have come up with a question or two.

I posted a query to the Walcott CB site, home of the Big Bill Combo, and they had a recommendation of this radio.

Stryker SR 440 HP 10 Meter Radio - Electronics Superstore WalcottCB.com

They said this radio would work on 10 meter HAM and CB frequencies. They also said it would work with my existing 4' firestick CB antenna. That would be nice in that it would just replace my existing radio and I could still talk to people on CB frequencies as well as 10 meter HAM but what about 2 meter HAM? Am I still missing out?

It would be nice to talk to more people and I don't want to end up with three radios and six antennas on the FJ. That's kind of the electronic equivalent of a cat lady I think. :)

Thanks,
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I posted a query to the Walcott CB site, home of the Big Bill Combo, and they had a recommendation of this radio.

Stryker SR 440 HP 10 Meter Radio - Electronics Superstore WalcottCB.com

They said this radio would work on 10 meter HAM and CB frequencies. They also said it would work with my existing 4' firestick CB antenna. That would be nice in that it would just replace my existing radio and I could still talk to people on CB frequencies as well as 10 meter HAM
Yes, that is true for the most part. The CB band is 27 MHz and falls within the 11 Meter band, which is close enough in wavelength to the 10 Meter band that one antenna could be tuned as a compromise for both of those bands, although not ideally for either.

The 10 Meter band uses Single Side Band (SSB) for voice, which is a refinement of AM that focuses more power in less bandwidth. You can reach thousands of miles (though probably not with your Firestick antenna) on 10 Meter SSB. SSB is more difficult to tune than VHF FM, and the voice quality is much less than VHF FM. In the right solar conditions, you could work the world on 10 Meters, but unfortunately no one else in your trail group or 4WD club is likely to have a 10 Meter radio to talk to you. :mecry: Nothing wrong with 10 Meter radios at all for there intended purpose, but trail commo is not their intended purpose. I suspect that Walcott is trying to sell you one because that is the only ham-band radio they have.


but what about 2 meter HAM? Am I still missing out?
Yes! You would be missing out completely on the 2 Meter band, which is where 98.5% of all trail communications are going to be (and the small remainder is probably going to be on the 70 cm band). the 2 Meter (and 70 cm) band is ideal for trail commo because it uses FM for crystal-clear voice and still has enough power to go way beyond the largest trail or extended group on a long trail. If you are serious about 4WD trail communication (as opposed to just ham radio as a hobby to contact people far away), a 2 Meter radio is required.


It would be nice to talk to more people and I don't want to end up with three radios and six antennas on the FJ. That's kind of the electronic equivalent of a cat lady I think. :)
LOL, there are dedicated hams who's cars and trucks look just like that.

Again, if you are serious about trail communication only (discounting other aspects of the hobby for the present) then you will have to commit to two radios and two antennas, a CB and a 2 Meter ham. In a perfect world, every serious off-road enthusiast would get their Technician-class license and a 2 Meter radio and we could completely ditch the vastly-inferior CB, but until that happens most of us are still going to want to keep a CB radio to communicate with the unenlightened masses and rednecks who still persist in using them. :)

Hope this is helpful RD and hasn't just confused you further.
 

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Thanks for the detailed response. I understand it but can't say I am happy about it. :mecry: So it sounds like I would be wasting money going with a 10 meter. Better option would be a 2 meter.

If you would be so kind as to indulge me a couple of more newbie questions.

What about wiring and antenna mount compatibility? If I get a 2 meter radio can I get an antenna that will replace the firestick in the bandi mount or do I have to install a new mount and run new wire?

Also how do you find people to talk to on 2 meter? On CB you have standard channels like 9 and 19 and only 40 total to chose from. From the research I have done you have like 780 channels, or frequencies might be the correct term, and no real special purpose channels. Let's say for example I was wheeling in the Ouray or any other area for that matter. Would I want to research what frequencies the local city agencies or businesses might be monitoring prior to hitting the trail in case I need to call for help? Is there a frequency that other wheelers might be more likely to be monitoring? Perhaps if there is not one, we should pick a frequency for FJers to use when looking for other FJers and post it in this thread.

Thanks for your thoughtful responses,
Dan

P.S. I just realized we are practically neighbors. I live in Arlington, TX.
 

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<snip> From the research I have done you have like 780 channels, or frequencies might be the correct term, and no real special purpose channels. Let's say for example I was wheeling in the Ouray or any other area for that matter. Would I want to research what frequencies the local city agencies or businesses might be monitoring prior to hitting the trail in case I need to call for help? Is there a frequency that other wheelers might be more likely to be monitoring? Perhaps if there is not one, we should pick a frequency for FJers to use when looking for other FJers and post it in this thread.
I'm not an expert, by any means, but from what I know there are no truly 'dedicated' frequencies, in the meaning from what I am deducing you are asking. There's no official FCC designation for the purpose of HAM frequencies, but there are unofficial designations structured within the sponsoring organization of HAM activities (the ARRL, Amateur Radio Relay League). In that aim, there are certain frequencies allocated for satellite communications, digital communications, and voice.

I can't recall the exact frequencies, but I recall that within the 2-meter band there are provisions for digital communications, so there is segmentation for different modes of communication. But, there's no specific 'emergency channel', like channel 9 on 11 meters (CB).

If you decide to study for the license, you'll be provided this type of information in the study materials, in any case.
 

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Excellent work, with this there is no doubt about HAM Radio

73's

KP4ZZ
 

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The Icom IC-208H installs well into the FJC and is a great solution based price/performance.

My install thread from '07
http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/stereo-electronics/35081-pics-icom-ic-208h-2m-440-ham-radio-install.html

:bigthumb:
Nice clean install. Seriously considering taking the plunge myself. Not keen on having two radios and ant to mount. This may be a dumb question, but on your Icom, where do you hear the audio? Does it come from the mic/keypad or do you have an ext. speaker mounted that is not shown?
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
What about wiring and antenna mount compatibility? If I get a 2 meter radio can I get an antenna that will replace the firestick in the bandi mount or do I have to install a new mount and run new wire?
You can use your Bandi mount (although I recommend keeping your CB setup), but you might have to drill the hole for the antenna a little bigger, depending on which antenna you went with. The existing coax cable you already have will work just fine.


Also how do you find people to talk to on 2 meter? On CB you have standard channels like 9 and 19 and only 40 total to chose from. From the research I have done you have like 780 channels, or frequencies might be the correct term, and no real special purpose channels.
There are two or three ways:

1) You can find some local 2 Meter repeaters, program your radio for the input & output frequencies & PL tone, and monitor those repeaters. If you live near a city of any size, you will likely hear lots of traffic, especially mornings and evenings (when people are not at work, or at least commuting). You can buy a repeater directory to find these, or use a free on-line one like here: Amateur Radio Repeater database - Updated daily Once you have some repeaters programmed in your radio's memory, they work like channels - that is, you can just rotate the tuning dial and select the programmed and named frequency.

2) You can set your radio to scan all over the 2 Meter band. You will hear some traffic, either on the receiving frequency of a repeater, or some Simplex communication (direct two-way communication on a single frequency, without the use of a repeater).

3) Besides the frequencies and band portions designated for repeaters, there is by convention a national frequency for simplex communication, so if you are away from home and don't happen to know what/where any local repeaters might be, you can call out on 146.520 MHz and frequently get someone local.

As a side note, this is also a good reason to join a local amateur radio club, as many of them operate their own repeater. Plus, you will know or meet a bunch of people that you can talk to.


Let's say for example I was wheeling in the Ouray or any other area for that matter. Would I want to research what frequencies the local city agencies or businesses might be monitoring prior to hitting the trail in case I need to call for help? Is there a frequency that other wheelers might be more likely to be monitoring?
Sure, you would either scan for a repeater once you got there, or research ahead of time and find the closest repeater(s). Using Ouray as an example, and the link I gave you above, click on Colorado on the map, then click on "Page: 4", and you will find that there are two 2 Meter repeaters nearby in Silverton (one on Engineer Mountain), both of which are linked to another repeater in Farmington, NM that is part of an even larger system. Program the input and output frequencies and the PL Tone into your radio, name them SILVERTON and ENGINEER, and you are set to go when you get within range during the summit.


Perhaps if there is not one, we should pick a frequency for FJers to use when looking for other FJers and post it in this thread.
Bingo! That is exactly what you'd do for an event like the summit, or an individual trail group.


Thanks for your thoughtful responses,
Dan
You're welcome Dan.


P.S. I just realized we are practically neighbors. I live in Arlington, TX.
Good deal, from the ArtSci web page for Texas, Amateur and GMRS radio repeaters in Texas there are at least two 2 M repeaters in Arlington, plus there are TONS of other 2 M repeaters all over the DFW metroplex. I have a spreadsheet with 70 or 80-odd 2 M repeaters in the several counties in and around the metroplex.

There is a group of FJC drivers in the metroplex that meets regularly (usually monthly) for lunch, wheeling, or wrenching. If you came to one of these meet & greets, you would likely see two or three FJC's with 2 M ham radios installed and running. Look here in the Texas subforum to keep abreast of the next meeting. You just missed one last Saturday: http://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/texas/85442-may-m-g-dfw-others-too.html

You'd be welcome any time, hope to see you there one of these days.

Lee
 

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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)
Looking for advice on programming my Yaesu VX 6. Cables/software, etc.

I'm a big fan of Yaesu, all three ham radios I currently own are Yaesus, but IMO this is the one big weakness of Yaesu - you have to buy the cable and the software to program them from a PC. I've heard that Kenwood gives you the software at least for free.

There may be aftermarket software, and I've heard of people making their own cables (the pin-outs are out there on the www), but most people end up buying the cable and software from Yaesu. To make matters worse, the different Yaesu models use different cables (not sure about the software). Once you have the software and connection, programming them is just a matter of populating a spreadsheet with the repeater/frequency data and names and importing that.

I was able to borrow the software and cable for my FT-2800M radios, and so far I've just been programming my VX-7R by hand. Let us know if you come up with a better solution than just buying the Yaesu cable and software. Sorry I can't be more help.

EDIT ADD: the guys in my TLCA chapter recommended this aftermarket shareware, "VX Commander": Jim Mitchell - KC8UNJ
 

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I have heard that VX Commander is good. I have downloaded a copy and will check it out. Will also order a cable that he recommends.


I'm a big fan of Yaesu, all three ham radios I currently own are Yaesus, but IMO this is the one big weakness of Yaesu - you have to buy the cable and the software to program them from a PC. I've heard that Kenwood gives you the software at least for free.

There may be aftermarket software, and I've heard of people making their own cables (the pin-outs are out there on the www), but most people end up buying the cable and software from Yaesu. To make matters worse, the different Yaesu models use different cables (not sure about the software). Once you have the software and connection, programming them is just a matter of populating a spreadsheet with the repeater/frequency data and names and importing that.

I was able to borrow the software and cable for my FT-2800M radios, and so far I've just been programming my VX-7R by hand. Let us know if you come up with a better solution than just buying the Yaesu cable and software. Sorry I can't be more help.

EDIT ADD: the guys in my TLCA chapter recommended this aftermarket shareware, "VX Commander": Jim Mitchell - KC8UNJ
 

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I got my software for my FT-60R last week. I've been plugging in a few freqs a night. Setting up the memory banks by state, then naming each by the name of the city the repeater is near. Then I'll read more on actually storing this, or "cloning" as Yaesu calls it.

The cable that can with the software is a 9 pin serial. So I had to order the USB adapter for another $20. That should be here tomorrow.

Then I'll need to get at least the cable to program my next radio, maybe the 8900 or 857. This will be mounted in the FJ full time.
 

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I have the software and cables now. Will need advice on the best way to set up the memory for AZ/UT/CA. I mainly drive near Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff here in AZ. Just need an easy way to call up the repeaters as I drive through.


I got my software for my FT-60R last week. I've been plugging in a few freqs a night. Setting up the memory banks by state, then naming each by the name of the city the repeater is near. Then I'll read more on actually storing this, or "cloning" as Yaesu calls it.

The cable that can with the software is a 9 pin serial. So I had to order the USB adapter for another $20. That should be here tomorrow.

Then I'll need to get at least the cable to program my next radio, maybe the 8900 or 857. This will be mounted in the FJ full time.
 

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N5MUD,

I am new to FJ. I just picked up my 2007 Black Cherry 6 speed yesterday. I saw your article about Ham Radio. Good article. We need new blood in the hoby. I am very active in emergency comm in our community. I am also very active in CERT in our local community. I am about to go out to the garage to reinstall all of the AR equipment I removed from my previous vehicle. The critical issue is the seperation distance between my TM-D700A and my AvMap Geosat 5 for APRS. That cable length is the critical item.

73

AE5PT
 
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