View Full Version : new ham looking of rfist HT!
Hi all, Subject should read, "for first rig!" I'm terrible on a keyboard. I'm looking for my first rig, have visited the local stores, #got all the brochures, read reviews OVER and OVER, and still can't quite decide on the unit to buy.
First, is crossband repeat really important? #
What about dual VFOs?
Is dual freq.(on either the same band or on different bands) monitoring a real plus to have?
I've really narrowed it down to a used Kenwood TH79A,
or new Icom T7H, or Kenwood THG71A.
I've leaving out the Yaesu VX5R as it needs to be sent to the U.S. for warantee work if needed(I live in Canada).
Icom has a warantee dept. right here, and Kenwwoods can be serviced here as well.
VA7 RWR http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
03-15-2003, 05:53 PM
You really have your hands full with your approach may I suggest something simpler, from my own experience a year ago as a new ham, and after removing what's left of my hair going about it as you are now?
Think about what you NEED and then what you WANT a radio to do. #Factor in the BUDGET as well (unless, you lucky dog, it isn't a factor). #I can gather you are interested in an HT from the models you've narrowed it down to. #This means that you'll do some local repeater work, maybe some community events, etc and possibly some satellite work as well as APRS. #Factors to consider: #Size... battery life... battery technology... antenna connector... external speaker/mic... memory... computer interface... accessories... size of display... APRS interface.
To answer your points:
"First, is crossband repeat really important?" #It depends on what you'll use the radio for. #If you require your car to be setup a few miles from where you'll be with your HT, ie. you are working a waypoint in a marathon event, then crossband repeat can come in handy. #I work a number of events each year without it though.
"What about dual VFOs?" #A handy feature indeed. #If you want to work satellites from your HT -very do-able- then this is a must as many of them use split frequencies. #Not a needed feature for ragchewing or repeater work.
"Is dual freq.(on either the same band or on different bands) monitoring a real plus to have?" #It's a handiness thing in my opinion, handy to have that is. #You can be listening to your chosen home repeater and talk to someone else on another frequency. #A nice-to-have in my opinion. #I'd like it, but I've gotten away without it so far.
"...Warranty..." #The shop I purchased from is an authorized Yaesu service centre.
So, back to the other things that you may wish to consider as well:
-Size... small is good but can hamper use... can get heavy after a long day
-battery life... longer is better. #Also examine battery saving features (mine goes into a very low power state if no signal is detected, I can run for 2 days if nothing is received)
-battery technology... LiIon offers good advantages over NiMh and are lighter for the same capacity
-antenna connector... mine uses SMA but tends to get a bit loose so I converted it to BNC. #NOT an issue if you never connect coax to the top of it for home/mobile use (like I do)
-speaker/mic... you may want one of these, all newer rigs support them
-memory... a GREAT way to not have to remember all those pesky repeater and simplex "channels" suggested in the RAC bandplans
-computer interface... a SIMPLE way to manage your HTs memory, usually much easier than with the HT itself
-accessories... I use my HT at home, in the car, and on my belt. #I have external antennas, extra battery, carry case, etc etc. #Again, depends on your planned useage but these add up quick. #Compare costs HT vs HT in this area and you may be suprised. #I found Kenwood accessories more expensive than others and budget was a prime consideration for me
-size of display... I goofed here. #The damn numbers are pretty hard to read. #Check this one carefully by examining the radios turned on and hold them at arm's length to give a good comparison.
-APRS interface (TNC)... some have this built in saving you external "boxes and widgets" to do APRS
Whew. #After all that, I got a VX5R. #I liked the Kenwood, and had I known the difference between dual receive and dual VFO would have bought it instead. #That said, I really really like my VX5R. #Small, good battery life, PC software is easy to use etc etc.
One other place to look is on the web, usually Yahoo Groups have discussion groups for various radios and you may pick up tips there.
Good luck, and I trust I have helped.
Budget is really important to me, and I will be using this thing at home in the car, on person, etc. so it's got to be versatile.
I think the Icom has some feature that "mimics" dual receive, but not quite sure what that means. It's the cheapest buy, but supposedly atrocious on batteries, whereas the Kenwood is very good on batteries.
So I need to decide if the $70 savings on the Icom is worth it or not. I know replacement batteries are expensive for any rig.
03-16-2003, 05:12 PM
Looks like battery life will be most important to you as your use is similar to mine.
Accessories I purchased with the radio:
-leatherette case to save the ink from wearing off the buttons
-12V car charger
-1/4 wave antenna magmount
Later on, I purchased:
-drop in quick charger
You can get by without the extra battery IF you have the 12V charger when doing events. I can go through a battery in half a day doing an event. I later learned that a few more watts really helps and purchased, via eBay, a couple of linears, 2w in, 30w out style for about US$40 each. One is mounted permanently in the truck that's my daily driver.
About 3 months ago I came to a better solution if I were doing it all over again:
-Buy a mobile rig, dtmf mic, mounting bracket, antenna for the car
-buy a power supply and antenna for the house
And carry it back and forth. The number of times I've NEEDED a HT I can count on one hand. Any events I've done have been in my vehicle. By the way this is usually cheaper than the HT route with better features and power output too. Just more food for thought for you.
03-18-2003, 12:06 AM
It all depends on your needs. If you think you'll need to monitor two frequencies at the same time, go for a dual-band ofcourse. It not, I recommend a single frequency radio, since it will save you the cost.
03-22-2003, 02:50 PM
Yes, this is indeed a tough issue when you have so many factors to balance.
Do you in fact NEED a handheld? Depending on where repeaters are in relation to you, you may find you have little use for one. If you are in a downtown area with solid local repeater coverage, then yes, the handheld will be very usable. Of course then you get to decide if having the radio blaring away on your hip is socially appropriate. If you do not have THIS use for a handheld, you should consider buying a mobile radio.
A mobile radio will be usable in your car and in your home. You would need a power supply for use in the house, but they're affordable enough. And the mobile radio will have a lot more transmitter power, which you will be thankful for sooner rather than later.
The mobile radio is most likely going to be more affordable with the same features as a handheld, and it will stand up to physical abuse, accidental dropping, etc, much better than the handheld. In fact, it's not likely to get dropped at all. Along the lines of affordability, you won't need extra batteries, power adapters for the car, optional quick chargers, speaker mics, etc.
Again, only you can decide what suits your needs best, but if you're not SURE you have really solid use for a handheld, buying one is not a good investment.
Good luck and 73,
04-20-2003, 12:48 AM
I don't want to scare you or discourage you, but I think there are many good reasons to start with a mobile rig.
The cost of the accessories to make an HT perform as a base or a mobile will soon make the HT more expensive than the mobile. I about had a coronary last year when I bought my new technician son a VX-5R. I also bought the carrying case (an atrocious piece of crud!http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif, a spare battery pack, a high-performance whip antenna so he would be able to hit the repeaters 7 miles from here, and some other small extras. It came to nearly $500!
If added in the amplifiers and antennas to make it a mobile, it would have been another $150.
You can get a good mobile for around $130. Throw in a mobile antenna - a mag mount would be good because that could be used in the house and the car - and a power supply, you are in under $300 I think.
I suggest you contact some local hams and ask them if an HT is a good starter rig or not. Vancouver is hilly as I recall - an HT might be marginal in places.
05-13-2003, 02:47 PM
Recommend looking at the Kenwood V8000
a 75W mobile.....friends tell me they picked them up at ham fests
for cheaper than an HT like $140-150.... New in the box!!
05-28-2003, 12:22 PM
Actually KE4OZD it's the Icom IC-V8000, you won't find it under Kenwood