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Handhelds: top of the line or nothing at all?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KI6MU, Nov 12, 2021.

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  1. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If I were headed into the backcountry and worried about communications, I'd take a sat-phone with me, not an HT that might get you 20 miles range if you climbed a tree. ;)
    G8FXC, WD0BCT and (deleted member) like this.
  2. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Or a Satellite Communicator such as InReach or Spot.
    WD0BCT likes this.
  3. W5ESE

    W5ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would take an HT with me into the backcountry for fun, not because I'm worried about communications.

    Although I camp and hike a fair amount, I've never taken a communications device with me because I was worried about communications. Consider that most people that hike the Pacific Crest Trail or Continental Divide Trail (both Mexico to Canada) don't carry satellite messaging devices. How do they manage that?

    In the lower 48, there are just a few areas I would consider taking a Spot or InReach; mostly in Montana and Idaho.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
  4. KE8OKM

    KE8OKM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am tempted to pickup a latest and greatest HT and probably will soon. With that said, my FT60R isn’t sexy but it is a workhorse and built like a tank.

    I am using it on my VHF SOTA quest now with over 160 activations in the last 15 months. I’ve used it in drizzle, light rain, snow and burning hot desert temperatures. It still looks and operates like new.

    I also have a VX6R that I use on occasion for SOTA and I like it’s performance also. Today while hiking up a mountain I was thinking “why am I not using the VX6R right now?” The area I am operating in this weekend has a ton of VHF simplex activity.

    The FT60R rates near the top of current radios for front end overload resistance. For my particular needs (summits with QRM) it is perfect. Coupled with a Rollup Jpole- bandpass filter a little elevation and making contacts is a blast.

    What I really want is a 2m/6m FM/SSB/CW HT I guess one could argue that is the FT81x series.

    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
    W5ESE likes this.
  5. KD5TXX

    KD5TXX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    We took a sat phone the first time I went to BWCA. This year they gave us a spot I think. Usually I just take my MTR3b. I have backpacked with a HT before, but there's never anyone to talk to where I go.
    W5ESE and WD0BCT like this.
  6. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Indeed! I think it is a 21st century version of the American "frontier spirit" - you never hear any European ham justifying the possession of an HT as "emcomms"...

    Martin (G8FXC)
    G8ADD likes this.
  7. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    With PLBs being so cheap these days, I would suggest that anyone in the habit of walking outside call phone range should carry one. A middle-aged friend of ours was out walking with her husband earlier this year when he had a minor heart attack and could not move any further. This was on hills in the north of England - not the depths of rural America - but there was no cell phone coverage and the poor woman had to leave him behind and walk several miles before she could call for help. He did survive, but it was by no means certain that he would - she lost an hour summoning assistance which could have been disastrous for him. A PLB costing less than £200 will get you help within 20 or 30 minutes from any place on earth.

    Martin (G8FXC)
    W4NNF likes this.
  8. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've owned about 6 HTs the past 20 years. I think I've had about 6 QSOs total on them.

    They're pretty useless to me ... but I just keep buying the stupid things. Same thing with mobile rigs but stopped buying new ones about five years ago. Don't keep one in the vehicle anymore, although I still have an old one in the shack.

    Basically, there's nobody I need or even want to talk to on V/U FM.

    But I just sort of feel like as a ham I should keep an HT in the car in case All Else Fails while I'm driving somewhere.
    KD5TXX likes this.
  9. W5ESE

    W5ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, this is one of the reasons I bought the IC-V80 Sport instead of a Baofeng. Front end overload on summits with commercial radio towers.
  10. W5ESE

    W5ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    My Icom IC V80 is my first HT purchase since my Ten Tec 2591, which I bought in about 1983.
    I like the old Ten Tec HT, but it's kind of large and doesn't have a CTCSS tone encoder.

    For $80, the Icom wasn't too big an investment. I'll take it on hiking and camping trips to areas that have proximity to repeaters.

    I monitor 146.52 MHz simplex on a mobile rig that I've set up in my home office, and have had a few interesting QSOs. There isn't enough activity for it to become a distraction, and I've met a few local hams that I wouldn't have met otherwise.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021

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