HT recommends for beginner in urban environment (Manhattan)

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Equipment Reviews' started by KLAUS57, Jul 28, 2016.

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  1. KLAUS57

    KLAUS57 QRZ Member

    I recently passed the Technician and General exams and am looking for a first radio. I live in an urban environment (Manhattan) and am looking for an HT that would function well at home and on trips to the suburban and rural parts of the tri-state area. I have a professional background in coding and am not that concerned about any complexities regarding the unit's programming (maybe I am over-confident). While I have a pretty good "book knowledge" of bands, propagation, repeaters, digital, D-Star and DMR, APRS, packets, power, antennae, modes, contact protocols, etc., I have zero practical experience with any of these things. I would very much appreciate recommendations for a first HT that would be effective in my situation, i.e., one that would be functional in an almost non-existent line-of-site environment (Manhattan apartment) as well as during frequent hiking and camping trips (and Central Park). Digital interests me, GPS and APRS would be nice, as would water resistance to a degree where I wouldn't have to worry about getting caught in a moderate rain storm. I expect that I will want an antenna upgrade, too. Cost concerns are more about value than absolutes; I would like to grow with the HT and not want to replace it in a year or so. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    To get started a U/V Baofeng works.

    Then you can get a real radio after you get ready to spend a bunch of money.

    Good Luck. Enjoy.
  3. AC2KV

    AC2KV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would stay away from the low end Chinese HTs in and around Manhattan. I had a Baofeng HT, but it was plagued with intermod around the city. The current carry HT is a Yaesu FT60r which holds up much better in a heavy RF environment. Also had a Wouxon which was better than the Baofeng, but not as good as the Yaesu.
  4. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The FT60 would be a good choice. It's FM only, of course. I guess I'd still recommend a cheapie Baofeng just to see if an HT will suit you at all. If it doesn't work well in your environment, you can probably sell it for a few dollars less than you paid for it, so you are out virtually nothing. Amazon has the UV5R for $27 today. The Baofengs do work in most environments, but not fantastically well in all of them. I believe their UV-82, for a couple dollars more, has a better receiver than the UV5R.

    The picture is muddy in regard to the digital voice modes. Right now, there are no HTs or anything else that will do multiple digital voice modes. You have to pick one or get separate radios for each. There are some products coming very soon that will help get around this limitation, at least for home use. the DV4Home is supposed to be able to let you use any flavor of digital HT to operate the other modes as well, so a D-STAR HT could be used for DMR or FUSION for example. The same company has promised a multimode digital voice mobile rig for the 4th quarter, but it's not going to be cheap.

    I'm a fan of both D-STAR and DMR, but I don't know which would be the best choice for you. Monoband UHF DMR radios are currently much cheaper than D-STAR radios, but D-STAR is the much more mature network. Kenwood has announced a really good looking D-STAR HT for later this year. The TYT MD-380 is a very decent DMR radio that you can find for a little over $100, and they are fairly common in the DMR ham community.

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