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New guy here ...... "getting my first radio" question

Discussion in 'Mobile Radio Systems' started by PRIFFE, Jun 9, 2018.

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    PRIFFE Guest

    I'm currently studying for my first test.
    As I was perusing the local club sites i noticed that some (seemed like a lot) of the local repeaters are Tier II and Tier III and were discuraging the use of some HTs (Baofeng DM-R5 in particular) since using them would cause some hate and discontent since it would " tie up both time slots."

    So, the question is ...... what is a good entry HT for a beginner or what should i look for.

    I would prefer not to, but having the option to use a repeater would be a plus. (The challenge of "how far CAN get on my own? Is appealing)

    I have a little experience from my military days as a radio operator and also worked on a VSC3 RATT rig (some of you now know i am no spring chicken ☺ )

    Practical use would be to call 20ish miles in case of emergency. Work to home. (Wife may be getting license too)

    I know this is a very broad question.

    Looking for good value and usability and I prefer to be called frugal instead of cheap ☺

    Thanks in advance
  2. WB2LBV

    WB2LBV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Tier I and Tier II are for the DMR digital mode only. If you plan to use any local DMR repeaters then you do need to make sure that the equipment you use is Tier II compliant. Most currently available DMR mobile and handheld radios are but there have been some that weren't, notably the Baofeng you mention. Using one of those on a Tier II repeater will definitely not make you any friends.
    Aside from that, you need to determine what bands and modes you plan to operate and research your equipment purchases accordingly. Since it appears you are looking at VHF/UHF handhelds you will probably want to operate through repeaters as the simplex range of handhelds on those bands is limited.
    PRIFFE likes this.

    PRIFFE Guest

    Thank you WB2LBV for yhe information. Now to research ..........
    I am currently looking at the Yaesu FT-60R and the TYT MD-380
    Looks like the Yaesu is UHF and VHF where the TYT is UHF or VHF (different models)
    Any thoughts?
  4. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    First Rule,

    You should never admit that you are using a Baofeng.

    You will get much better signal reports.
    N9LOX, KE8FWJ, N2PPK and 2 others like this.
  5. N2PPK

    N2PPK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you're not looking at digital modes, the FT-60R has been an excellent first HT and many still use them. Mine's taken a back seat to my ID-51A (but I bring it along for hikes and whatnot where I don't want a $400 HT to lose or break).

    That being said, I got started with a Baofeng UV-5R and had no issues. It's an excellent starter rig but if you know you're going to stick with it, the FT-60R is an excellent choice, although there are some newer models that I can't speak to.
    PRIFFE likes this.
  6. WB2LBV

    WB2LBV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The FT-60 and MD-380 are not really good models to cross-shop. The FT-60 is an analog-only dual-band unit, whereas the MD-380 is DMR/analog and UHF only. The FT-60 is certainly a great choice if you don't need digital at this time and if you keep an eye on the classifieds you can get a used one for a decent price.
    The MD-380 is popular among DMR users for its "hackability" but I wouldn't suggest it as a first HT. And yes the original 380 is single-band although I believe there is or will be a dual-band model.
    PRIFFE likes this.
  7. AA7QQ

    AA7QQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would honestly suggest to buy a regular VHF/UHF dual bander from a local ham that is not using it. Have some fun, before throwing the money at features that you may not use.
    Get used to operating & have fun.
    I have talked around the world, but the Stellar moment in my ham life was using my VX5R (50M/144M/440M) standing in the ocean up to my waist. I was having QSOs on repeaters in England, Ireland, France & Spain.
    I was just south of Boston, using 5W on 6 Meters.
    I have more modern, older, cheaper, Fusion & Baofengs.
    I still use the VX5R most often.
    Get a radio & have fun. There are pretty much 3 or 4 digi voice systems. I have D-Star & Fusion. Haven't used them at all.

    PRIFFE likes this.

    PRIFFE Guest

    Thank you all for all the information. I am looking fwd to exploring the possibilities. I must say, this seems like a friendly bunch ☺
  9. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have no experience at all with the digital stuff, but I can vouch for the performance and durability of the Yaesu FT-60R.
    PRIFFE likes this.
  10. KD4UPL

    KD4UPL Ham Member QRZ Page

    An FT-60 is a great radio if you want an Analog HT.
    I would suggest that your first radio NOT be an HT. They are very limited in their capability. A mobile rig, whether installed in a vehicle or used as a base radio, with a good antenna will provide vastly superior performance to an HT, particularly if you want to work simplex instead of thru repeaters. There are many new and used analog FM single and dual band rigs to choose from. Anything from Icom or Yaesu has been great in my 25 years of ham radio. I've also had decent experience with Alinco radios. I've had very poor experiences with Kenwood radios.
    I've heard so many tales of woe regaurding the knock-off Chinese radios that I wouldn't take one if given to me. No support, no manual, can't program it, died in a week, etc, etc. "Their so cheap if it breaks you just get a new one." people say. To that I reply "If it breaks when you're depending on it for communication your out of luck."
    I've just about quit buying new radios of any brand. Most of the radios I have came from hamfests or Ebay. I've had very good luck purchasing used radios at much lower cost than new ones.

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