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Looking for new dual band mobile radio

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KC9QAJ, Jul 23, 2009.

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  1. KC9QAJ

    KC9QAJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am interested in buying a new dual-band mobile radio.

    I like the Yaesu FT-8800r and the Kenwood TM-V71a

    I want to have the ability to do crossband repeat..

    The ability to do EchoLink on the Kenwood is a big plus for me (I want to try this).

    50w on both bands is a plus for the Kenwood

    Both of these radios are around $375..

    Opinions and comments are welcome.

    Please post away.

  2. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I vote for the Yaesu.
    I would want to see how fast they both scan.
    The power difference on 440 doesn't matter all that much.
    Echolink was interesting to me for about 20 minutes.
    Either radio is probably a very good radio. Just depends on what you want for features and price point.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  3. KC9QAJ

    KC9QAJ Ham Member QRZ Page


    Is the D-Link on the Icom models worth the extra money?

    I was looking at those also.

  4. N7RJD

    N7RJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you are interested in D-Star and there are D-Star enabled repeaters in your area it could be worth the extra. It would not be to me at this time due to the lack of interest in such and the lack of enabled repeaters in the area.

    As to the original question, don't let Echolink be your soul deciding factor. The truth of the matter is you can "do" Echolink with either radio mentioned. If you want to setup your own link you may need an extra interface but that's not likely what you are looking for given that you are asking about "Mobile" radios.

    I like a lot of the Yaesu radios and own a number of Yaesu units. I also like a lot of the Kenwood radios and own a number of them too. I think you will find that of the two mentioned you will have roughly an equal number of votes for each one and each with good reasons for their opinions. In the end you are talking about two radios, either one of which would be worth owning which brings you down to a personal preference decision.

    I have been known to walk into HRO knowing I am going to buy one of three radios but never know which one it will be until I go up to the counter and say "I think it's time to pickup a XXXXX." Funny part is of the three I picked the forth. :)
  5. K6ABZ

    K6ABZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm also torn between the same Kenwood and Yaesu rigs.

    In the end, I'll probably end up getting the FT-8900, since it also does 6 and 10 meters. I want to be able to crossband, so I'll pick a frequency on 6 meters as my home frequency for cross-banding. That way I'm always using the same local frequency...

    I recently had a conversation with an Official Observer, and he reminded me that we need to ID our cross-band repeaters on both sides. Your outbound traffic is okay for the high power side, but you need to ID the local side as well.

    I think the Yaesu will ID if you turn on ARTS and set a CW ID. You can also get an ID-O-Matic from It can plug in to the data port with the right cable, key the radio, and send out a CW ID just like the big boys. It's even smart enough to only ID when there's been incoming traffic in the last 10 minutes. You can also use it as a CW keyer, an ID reminder, and a beacon for t-hunts...
  6. N7RJD

    N7RJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The name alone is enough to make you think Ghallager is running a ham shop. :p
  7. K6ABZ

    K6ABZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Yaesu 7800, 7900, 8800, and 8900 all have a standard 6-pin data port, but you have to add an external interface for around $60-100. You also need a programming cable (if you want to program the radio from the computer) at the cost of $15-30. So price-wise, the same features on the Yaesu end up being $100-150 more.

    However, I believe you can control the Kenwood via the serial port, so you could do cool things like make a frequency-agile Echolink remote station... can't do that with the Yaesu. There's even software out there to run the Kenwood rigs via chat commands in Echolink... or you can fire up Ham Radio Deluxe over the Internet and run it that way.

    Another important thing to consider is that Kenwood's programming software doesn't import or export to other formats. The Yaesu programs do. I actually sold my Kenwood HT and got a Yaesu for that very reason: I can keep all my frequencies in one spreadsheet and simply import that sheet to each radio's programming software. FTB8800 from G4HFQ is very easy to use in this respect, and his programs all have some way to move data between them.

    If you're going to put the radio in your car, then the Echolink thing is moot. ANY radio with a DTMF pad can control an Echolink node over the air.

    The Yaesus come with a removable faceplate and separation kit. I don't know if the Kenwood can be remote mounted.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2009
  8. W9PSK

    W9PSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Echolink feature on the Kenwood is nice, but you need to knonw that all it will do is allow you to use the radio as a node radio without having to buy something like a Rigblaster. You will still have to have another radio to talk through your Kenwood. You also will not be able to use the radio on Echolink and as a regular old 2m/70cm radio at the same time.
  9. W9PSK

    W9PSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    That depends entirely upon whether or not a D-Link repeater is in your area.
  10. VK2FMJC

    VK2FMJC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I love my FT-8800R, had it for about 4 months now & I can't fault it! I even bought the FTB8800 programming software but have found the front panel programming easy enough so I have not hooked it up to the pc yet.

    I will get around to pc programming once I do a bit of camping this coming Aussie Summer

  11. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Get the Yaesu FT 8800. About the best deal on a dual band radio that can crossband repeat nowadays.
    Less than 350 bucks from some dealers, Brand new:

    The 8800 is actually TWO radios in one box, Capable of receiving two different frequencies at the same time!
    And the 8800 is a very easy radio to program/operate, And will do crossband repeat all day long without failure.

    Unless you have LOTS of 6 meter and 10 meter FM activity in your area, I would avoid the Yaesu 8900. Even though it only costs a few bucks more than the 8800, The 8900 has a really crummy memory management system, And is difficult to operate as two radios in the same box like the 8800.

    The Kenwood radios seem to have a very nasty habit of "letting the smoke out" when used as cross band repeat radios, Plus the ones I have operated were not easy to program or operate.

    Icom USED to have some very good dual band radios, But with the introduction of the JUNK 2720H and newer intermod nightmares (That also smoke the finals on a very regular basis) have become overpriced VHF/UHF radios to avoid.
    Check the reviews on Eham on any radio you are considering. The Icoms get some of the very lowest reviews. The 2720H only a 3.3
  12. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, the 2720H was a real bow-wow, and I'm shying away from ICOM VHF as a result. If, however, you live in range of a DSTAR repeater, you may want to consider it. There's a lot of DSTAR activity in the Chicago area, so you might well be in range.

    I haven't played with the FT-8800 or 8900, but we have an FT-7800 in the family, and it's a very nice rig to use - simple and elegant.

    The TM-V71's EchoLink interface is a very good one. Most EchoLink installations rely on VOX operation to start the sending of received audio over the Internet. The Kenwood interface uses the actual received carrier detection - a much cleaner setup. I have the TM-D710, and I really like it. If you're going to do APRS, you could upgrade the TM-V71 to have the functions of the 710 later with the addition of the RC-D710 control head, but it would be much cheaper to get the 710 from the start.
  13. K6ABZ

    K6ABZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm confused... how is the memory management on the 8900 different than the 8800? I'm under the impression that you can only run 6 and 10 from the left side of the radio, but what else is different?

    Admittedly, I'm not too keen on the dual memory concept... having to remember which SIDE I saved a channel on is kind of dumb. If you don't program from a computer, that's one argument in favor of the Kenwood. Fortunately, if you do program from a computer, FTB8800 will happily copy the settings from the left to the right side for you.

    But aside from that, is there something else that's different between the two?
  14. K6ABZ

    K6ABZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If your repeater hums tone, and if you have the VOX gain high enough, you can actually detect the CTCSS tone and use it to trigger VOX on your Echolink station. The radio DOES provide a squelch pin, but I don't know of any commercially made interfaces that use it. I'm building a homebrew audio box.. it definitely will.

    I have heard VOX-triggered Echolink stations where the person talking pauses frequently. The roger beep will happen in the middle of his sentance; it's painful to listen to.
  15. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Quote: "I'm confused... how is the memory management on the 8900 different than the 8800? I'm under the impression that you can only run 6 and 10 from the left side of the radio, but what else is different?"

    In the FT 8800, Whatever you program in to one side of the radio will be on that side ONLY.

    In the FT 8900, Whatever two meter or 440Mhz frequency you program in to one side of the radio will ALSO BE ON THE OTHER SIDE of the radio! So if you want to program your radio to scan police and fire on one side, Or different ham repeaters, or whatever, On the 8800 it is simple. Each side of the radio is actually a different "radio"

    On the 8900, It is NOT.

    To make the 8900 operate like two different radios you have to jump through all kinds of hoops to lock out the programmed memory channels. A real pain in the butt.
  16. NL7W

    NL7W Ham Member QRZ Page

    I vote for the 8800... as I've had one for a few years now, and enjoy it -- no problems whatsoever. It has handled Alaska's cold mobile operation (op'ing it from my left outdoors truck in winter's dipping to -20 to -30 deg F).

    It's also doubled as a base station at times -- no intermod noticed.

    It's a good product, as I hear the 7800 is also.

  17. KG4RUL

    KG4RUL Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I got a new mobile VHF/UHF rig, I chose the Yaesu FT-7900R. It does not have dual receive (hard enough tracking one conversations when you are driving) or cross-band capabilities (which I have never found a use for anyway).
  18. K6ABZ

    K6ABZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    How funny. I hate that behaviour on the 8800, as it's confusing and redundant. I can see where it has its uses, but I prefer the 8900's behavior as you describe it: I want both sides to have the same programming. That's how all of the other dual-receive radio's I've owned have worked, and I like it that way.

    I understand about the lockouts... I've programmed 4 different Hypermemory banks on my 7800 for different situations, but it's a little complex to get everything set up and working if I do a major overhaul on my programmed memories, since I have to coordinate frequencies on different rigs with different capabilities.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
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