Prepared Society Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
715 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for a hand held radio for non-cellular communication in and around my local metropolitan area. I suppose that means using repeaters, as anything further cannot be hand held, correct? I'm told a 2M/440 HT will be best. I think nothing lower than 5W. Any recommendations?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
715 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My situation: I have a license, but I have never used it, and I am very rusty on the technology since I passed the test a few years ago...and I know nothing about the commercially available equipment.

Here is what I learned by attending a local Ham radio club for the first time:

Manufacturers I should consider:
  • Yaesu (FT2900?)
  • Kenwood
  • Icon
  • BaoFeng (but only 2 watts???)

I haven't done too much googling on this, because I wasn't sure what to look for.

Should I buy new?...or is used good enough? I'm leaning towards new, but I wonder what the expected lifetimes are for these things.

One of the guys at the Ham club said that several people in the club have dozens of used radios they will sell, but later, another guy said I should be careful who I buy from, which kind of shut me down from buying used, since I didn't know any of them.
 

·
Supporting Member
Joined
·
885 Posts
Depending on what you are looking to spend, what bands (2m and/or 70cm) and what features you believe that you'll want, most any radio by the "name brand" manufacturers should work for you. I have HT's made by Icom, Yaesu, Kewood, and Alinco, and they all work well. I'd recommend getting one that can take alkaline batteries in addition to the standard rechargeable batteries, or has optional battery trays for doing so.

Used is another way to go, for saving money. Just be mindful to add the possible cost of replacing the rechargeable batteries. A good basic 2m only radio is the Icom IC-T2H. It can take AA batteries, has a 6w output on full power, and can be picked up used in the $50 to $75 range. It is a bit larger than a lot of the "micro" radios out there, though.
 

·
Track Layer
Joined
·
2,453 Posts
So you got me thinking about all this. My grandpa had this big set up, huge box with all these gauges and meters and such and he had this 30 foot radio antenna outside the house. It would appear that like everything else these day things have gotten a lot smaller. So I know I would need to study and take the FCC test, (There is a club that meets a mile from my house), but after that I was wondering what it might cost to get started in Ham radio. I know, like everything else its all about how far I want to take it, but for a basic setup that I could use if we loose communications in a disaster type setting. I believe the new radios are battery power right? So they could be used if grid goes down right? Unless Im missing something it would appear that I could get into this for around $200 or so and that sounds pretty cheep compared to what I thought it would cost. I know Ive posted more then one question and it might require a bit to answer but I thank any one who dose in advance.
 

·
Supporting Member
Joined
·
885 Posts
So you got me thinking about all this. My grandpa had this big set up, huge box with all these gauges and meters and such and he had this 30 foot radio antenna outside the house. It would appear that like everything else these day things have gotten a lot smaller. So I know I would need to study and take the FCC test, (There is a club that meets a mile from my house), but after that I was wondering what it might cost to get started in Ham radio. I know, like everything else its all about how far I want to take it, but for a basic setup that I could use if we loose communications in a disaster type setting. I believe the new radios are battery power right? So they could be used if grid goes down right? Unless Im missing something it would appear that I could get into this for around $200 or so and that sounds pretty cheep compared to what I thought it would cost. I know Ive posted more then one question and it might require a bit to answer but I thank any one who dose in advance.
You are right about equipment getting smaller. As with all things electronic, integrated chips and surface mount technology is constantly reducing the space needed. One of my base radios includes 13 bands, ranging for 1.8MHz up to 1.2GHz, in a surprisingly small package.

Getting started in Ham radio can be very cheap. Buying a used hand held 2m radio and working through a local repeater would get you on the air easily. However, the cost would depend on what you want to accomplish. For close in comms (tactical), VHF/UHF HT's are fine. You can use the HT's for around town if repeaters are up, but you may want to consider VHF or VHF/UHF mobiles for better range if they aren't. Out several hundred miles and further, then HF is the way to go. What would you be trying to accomplish?

All mobile radios are 12v and the vast majority of base radios are also. So operating in a grid down situation is doable as long as you have a 12v source. HF (and even VHF) Wire antennas can be easily built and there are a lot of books on constructing them.
 

·
random gibberish
Joined
·
1,061 Posts
So you got me thinking about all this. My grandpa had this big set up, huge box with all these gauges and meters and such and he had this 30 foot radio antenna outside the house. It would appear that like everything else these day things have gotten a lot smaller. So I know I would need to study and take the FCC test, (There is a club that meets a mile from my house), but after that I was wondering what it might cost to get started in Ham radio. I know, like everything else its all about how far I want to take it, but for a basic setup that I could use if we loose communications in a disaster type setting. I believe the new radios are battery power right? So they could be used if grid goes down right? Unless Im missing something it would appear that I could get into this for around $200 or so and that sounds pretty cheep compared to what I thought it would cost. I know Ive posted more then one question and it might require a bit to answer but I thank any one who dose in advance.
Cost is going to vary a great deal depending on what you're looking to do. If you just need 5-10 mile range, then a $50 handheld and a cheap homebrew antenna or two will get the job done. The cost goes up from there.

Edit: I have a Yaesu Ft-60 and have been happy with it. I'll be installing mobile units in both of our vehicles before long though...just not enough range with a HT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
My situation: I have a license, but I have never used it, and I am very rusty on the technology since I passed the test a few years ago...and I know nothing about the commercially available equipment.

Here is what I learned by attending a local Ham radio club for the first time:

Manufacturers I should consider:
  • Yaesu (FT2900?)
  • Kenwood
  • Icon
  • BaoFeng (but only 2 watts???)

I haven't done too much googling on this, because I wasn't sure what to look for.

Should I buy new?...or is used good enough? I'm leaning towards new, but I wonder what the expected lifetimes are for these things.

One of the guys at the Ham club said that several people in the club have dozens of used radios they will sell, but later, another guy said I should be careful who I buy from, which kind of shut me down from buying used, since I didn't know any of them.
Baofengs are 5 watts and from Im reading, since Im in the market as well, have a huge following...price, features for said price, etc. That's what Im goin' to buy, I think.
 

·
random gibberish
Joined
·
1,061 Posts
Baofengs are 5 watts and from Im reading, since Im in the market as well, have a huge following...price, features for said price, etc. That's what Im goin' to buy, I think.
Some of them are only 4 watts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I've been around Ham radio all of my life and it's cheaper to get started in it now than it was when my grandfather and my uncle got into it. I own almost every brand of rig and HT. My favorite Ht is my Quansheng TG-UV2 because I can program it from the front panel on the fly and they sell less than $90. I just got a new Baofeng UV-B6 and I want to learn how to program it on the fly also. I know a lot of people swear by them.
My favorite rig is my Icom IC-880H and works better than I ever expected. I can hit the Big Island from Oahu on only 15 watts through the repeater on top of Maui 150 miles away at full quieting. I can do the same with my HT if I go on the other side of Diamond Head and have been about to do it with one watt with a lot of path noise but 5 watts is pretty effective. I believe the current record is 230 miles with an HT and I suppose it could be possible.
I own Yaesu FT-90's,Kenwood HT & TM-71E and a few Motorola's also. I like to learn to program manually except for my Icom 880,which I have to do by computer for the D Star feature.
The bottom line is that if you are serious about disaster preparedness,survival or prepping, it really doesn't take much to get your Technicians License and it really doesn't cost much to get good radios anymore even if you are low on funds.
Once you're up and running, you'll find so many new doors open up for you and can become part of the bigger picture within your community's disaster plans and recovery. Whether it's volunteering with local Red Cross,Department of Emergency Management or even your State Civil Defense, you will get a new sense of being a greater member of your community. You'll even be offered lots of free training such CERT or even Traffic Control, possibilities are almost endless.
You'll meet new people,make new friends but I'm not going to lie either, we do have our "cry baby Ron's" too. A person whose been in Amateur radio since they were young and are completely burned out all these years later and acts spoiled to the core. Every other radio club has them.They might know their way around a radio but they have nothing on you as a person. Just take it slow, pair up with someone you feel comfortable with and someone just starting out also maybe a very good place to start. Two heads are always better than one and able to learn almost at the same rate.
Remember, you are about to enter a whole new world that you never knew existed and learn so many new ways of doing things that it's simply amazing. You'll wonder why you didn't take this step sooner and that my friend will make you a better person and who knows,maybe a hero in your own community. Don't be surprised if no one knows that we even exist but hey, in this day and age, I wouldn't have it any other way,lol.
 

·
Function over Form
Joined
·
524 Posts
The Bao and other cheap radios are GREAT for starting out--getting SOMETHING decent in your hands (affordable) and allowing you to talk NOW to hams and others. Accessory selection/quality and radio durability are not on par with the major players such as Icom, Yaesu, etc. Especially compared to the models that were derived from commercial use.

One niche radio is the Standard Horizon HX series. The HX370S is widely regarded as the best quality bang for the buck, bar none. Marine, amateur radio and arguably land mobile legal as well. Already narrow band capable. Excellent battery, high quality accessories, waterproof, cloning cable, etc. Even an internal plug-in voice inversion module. The HX400 recently replaced it, but you can still find the HX370S in stock.

The HX400 is more expensive by about $50. It has a much larger capacity battery and the voice inversion module built in.

These are VHF radios. My greatest concern is the antenna connectors on these smaller radios (Bao, Yaesu, etc.). I'm not convinced on dual band importance, but it never hurts to have extra features.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Aloha PositivePrepper,
If you were told back in high school that you were going to have an open book test,you were probably jumping for joy. If you were told that for your finals,you will be give the questions and the answers to those finals in advance,you'd thought you'd died and gone to heaven,right?
Guess what, taking your FCC Technicians and General Exam is just like that. You pay your $15 bucks and you take your test from the pool of questions and answers that you were given in advance. In fact,it's actually easier than that even. You can take practice tests over and over until you get the answers 100% right. Better yet, you can download a free app onto your fancy iPhone for both,the Technicians Exam and the General Exam,and pass both on the same day for that same $15 bucks you paid to take the test. Guess how much both of those FCC licenses are going to cost you for 10 years?....
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top