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
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.
EchoLink, IRLP, Allstar and DSTAR linking - adding interest to repeaters worldwide 24X7
Originally Posted by K9KJM
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?
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.
Originally Posted by K0RGR
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.
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.
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.
Not in but around Palmer, Alaska
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).
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.
Originally Posted by K9KJM
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 by KI6ABZ; 07-24-2009 at 09:03 PM.