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Author Topic: Personal handheld suggestions?  (Read 9738 times)
Dad2-4
Seasoned Member

Posts: 370

« on: November 26, 2015, 11:26:48 PM »

For those with experience, please recommend a CAP compliant handheld and the price you paid for it. I'm just starting the search process and don't want to go all the way through the list on CAP's communications site.
Thanks.
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arajca
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 03:59:24 AM »

EFJ 5100 series (5113/5113/ES) - Ebay - $200. Keep searching as prices do fluctuate. I've seen them from $150 (radio only, no battery, charger, or antenna) to $1000 (Radio, battery, charger, antenna, speaker mike, etc). Some even have encryption set up. Big advantage - your wing comm staff can program them with the appropriate frequencies. You can buy the cables for ~$45 and may be able to get the software from CAP ($0.00).

MT2000 - $125. 48 channels, no P25, no encryption.

Both can also be used for amateur radio in the 2-meter band.
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kirbahashi
Member

Posts: 55

« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 06:10:53 PM »

Kenwood TK-2160.  16 channels, no P25, no encryption.  But it is a cheap little dependable radio.  I got mine for $110.  But it came with a case, hand mike, charger, programming software and USB.  It is compatible with the cheap little baofengs (which can't be used for CAP) so you can get ear buds and what not.  The only thing I do not like, is it does not have a screen to show what channel you are on, so you need to keep cribnotes on you.  Not too hard to remember.

Not a bad little unit.  You can find them on ebay from $75-120. 

Motorola has some "cheap" alternatives.  And when I say cheap, it all depends on the unit and its condition.  And programming may be an issue. 
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Holding Pattern
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, 09:34:31 PM »

EFJ 5100 series (5113/5113/ES) - Ebay - $200. Keep searching as prices do fluctuate. I've seen them from $150 (radio only, no battery, charger, or antenna) to $1000 (Radio, battery, charger, antenna, speaker mike, etc). Some even have encryption set up. Big advantage - your wing comm staff can program them with the appropriate frequencies. You can buy the cables for ~$45 and may be able to get the software from CAP ($0.00).

MT2000 - $125. 48 channels, no P25, no encryption.

Both can also be used for amateur radio in the 2-meter band.

++ on the EFJ. Make certain you check the model number specs to get all the bells and whistles that you can. Assume the battery is dead or trying hard to be that way, and price in a replacement.

When buying replacement batteries, make absolutely certain your charger will support the battery type. A lithium battery won't agree with a nickel charger and vice versa.
When buying replacement batteries, make absolutely certain your charger will support the battery type. A lithium battery won't agree with a nickel charger and vice versa.
When buying replacement batteries, make absolutely certain your charger will support the battery type. A lithium battery won't agree with a nickel charger and vice versa.

(I tell you three times for a reason! BOOM!)
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Toth
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2015, 04:08:34 AM »

So I'm a bit of a comms noob, if I just want a personal radio that can talk to the walkie-talkie style icoms which one do I need? Encrypted or decrypted? Thanks.
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arajca
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2015, 05:55:20 AM »

None of the above. You need one of the Icoms. They operate on military frequencies and from what I've been able to find, no one makes a radio for general use that operates on those frequencies. The ISRs were initially developed as a stop gap measure for the Marines. The military has since replaced them with more rugged, higher capability, multi-band units. The ISRs have been out of production for several years now.
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Toth
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2015, 06:45:47 AM »

None of the above. You need one of the Icoms. They operate on military frequencies and from what I've been able to find, no one makes a radio for general use that operates on those frequencies. The ISRs were initially developed as a stop gap measure for the Marines. The military has since replaced them with more rugged, higher capability, multi-band units. The ISRs have been out of production for several years now.

Thanks, that is helpful to know. If that is the case, are there multiple types of ICOM radios that will work with our frequencies? I am simply looking to purchase an ICOM for myself for use within CAP, on search and rescue, encampment etc. hopefully that is a little more rugged than the CAP standard ICOMs.
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Mitchell #65174, Earhart #17361
GES, ♦ICUT, ♦FLM, GTM3, UDF, SET, MS, MRO, EMT, *GTM2
SarDragon
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2015, 09:15:11 AM »

None of the above. You need one of the Icoms. They operate on military frequencies and from what I've been able to find, no one makes a radio for general use that operates on those frequencies. The ISRs were initially developed as a stop gap measure for the Marines. The military has since replaced them with more rugged, higher capability, multi-band units. The ISRs have been out of production for several years now.

Thanks, that is helpful to know. If that is the case, are there multiple types of ICOM radios that will work with our frequencies? I am simply looking to purchase an ICOM for myself for use within CAP, on search and rescue, encampment etc. hopefully that is a little more rugged than the CAP standard ICOMs.

Nope. The ISRs operate on military channels, and there's nothing out there that will operate on those channels that's legal for CAP use.
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Dave Bowles
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Stonewall
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2015, 04:19:54 PM »

So I'm digging the EFJ 5100 ES...



What I want is to buy one and have everything already programmed.  Is this even possible?  I need things to work out of the box.

I've bought two radios for CAP in my life, both were Alinco, and I was able to program them manually, by hand, without any cables.  Those two radios lasted me 20 years and were simple (one for hand held ground team work and one for my vehicle).  I'm looking to buy something I can use with minimal maintenance and fanfare.  Set it an forget it, kind of thing.
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THRAWN
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2015, 04:53:11 PM »

None of the above. You need one of the Icoms. They operate on military frequencies and from what I've been able to find, no one makes a radio for general use that operates on those frequencies. The ISRs were initially developed as a stop gap measure for the Marines. The military has since replaced them with more rugged, higher capability, multi-band units. The ISRs have been out of production for several years now.

Thanks, that is helpful to know. If that is the case, are there multiple types of ICOM radios that will work with our frequencies? I am simply looking to purchase an ICOM for myself for use within CAP, on search and rescue, encampment etc. hopefully that is a little more rugged than the CAP standard ICOMs.

ICOM yes....ISR no. Pretty sure the IC V82 is.compliant. Check the list for ICOM sets. I have used a variety of their radios and they are good units.

Nope. The ISRs operate on military channels, and there's nothing out there that will operate on those channels that's legal for CAP use.
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Strup
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SarDragon
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2015, 04:57:24 PM »

OK, let's define "standard CAP Icom". The only Icom I know about that CAP uses is the ISR.
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Dave Bowles
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2015, 05:25:48 PM »

OK, let's define "standard CAP Icom". The only Icom I know about that CAP uses is the ISR.

Icom has a number of units listed as compliant and are not ISR. IC F90 and 95.
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Strup
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arajca
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« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2015, 05:30:15 PM »

So I'm digging the EFJ 5100 ES...



What I want is to buy one and have everything already programmed.  Is this even possible?  I need things to work out of the box.

I've bought two radios for CAP in my life, both were Alinco, and I was able to program them manually, by hand, without any cables.  Those two radios lasted me 20 years and were simple (one for hand held ground team work and one for my vehicle).  I'm looking to buy something I can use with minimal maintenance and fanfare.  Set it an forget it, kind of thing.
You can get them preprogrammed depending on the vendor. You can also contact your wing comm folks and have them program the radio with your wing's standard plan. The last batch of handhelds CAP got were 5100 ES (ver. 6) model 2 units. (The one on the right in the picture). The model 3 units, with full keypad, can be programmed from the keypad, but it's a major hassle (BTDT). I haven't had a problem with any of the EFJ handhelds I've purchased - I have three, one with encryption  >:D.
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arajca
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2015, 05:34:48 PM »

OK, let's define "standard CAP Icom". The only Icom I know about that CAP uses is the ISR.
The 'standard' CAP radios are:
ISR - Icom IC-4008M
VHF - EFJ 5100 series handheld, EFJ 5300 series mobile/base
HF - Micom 2B non-ALE, Micom 2E/3F/3T ALE

There are other makes and models of radios that can be used by CAP members and some may have been purchased by units or wings, but they are not 'standard' CAP radios.

All the frequencies CAP uses are military frequencies, controlled by the DoD, authorized by the NTIA. Except for the ISR frequencies, there are a number of options for radios that can legally operate on our frequencies.

The ISR radios are basically FRS radios the operate on military frequencies. Reportedly, Icom took their IC-4008 FRS radio and modified the design to work on the ISR frequencies. You can find IC-4008 FRS radios frequently, but they will not work on ISR frequencies. You'll need the IC-4008M for that.
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SarDragon
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2015, 05:43:02 PM »

OK. I'm on my phone right now, and couldn't get into the list. My concern was the assertion about a "standard" CAP Icom radio.
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Dave Bowles
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THRAWN
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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2015, 05:56:30 PM »

OK. I'm on my phone right now, and couldn't get into the list. My concern was the assertion about a "standard" CAP Icom radio.

No "standard"....compliant but not standard. There are a lot of units in wide use. Think that the V82 was one of the most commonly used HTs at one point. BLUF: check the list on the compliance site, check your budget and go from there.
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Strup
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C/SrA Ravlin
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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2015, 03:11:32 AM »

First off, I would not buy a radio. I have had this pounded into my head by my squadron Comms Officer... CAP will supply one for you if you need it. Second If you do continue with buying one no you cannot get it programmed with CAP freqs from the manufacturer because those are U/FOUO (For Official Use Only). You would have to take it to your Wing DC or squadron Comms Officer to have it programmed.  Third The EFJohnson radios can be extremely expensive. As you may have seen on Ebay already they are usually upwards of $250. Brand new they are in the thousands... I would see if your Wing DC knows how to program a Motorola radio and buy one of those that are CAP certified. You can look at the list on the comms website of approved CAP radios. Fourth not all of the EFJ 5100 radios are able to be used for CAP. Some are UHF and others just are not the right model. I have tried to buy one but finding the correct model and a real EFJ (some are knock off radios that pretend to be EFJ...). Again if you continue with buying a radio I would stick with Motorola or something cheaper than a EFJ. Please message me with any questions or how I can help you further.
Sincerely,
Cadet Ravlin
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arajca
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Posts: 4,350

« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2015, 03:52:15 AM »

First off, I would not buy a radio. I have had this pounded into my head by my squadron Comms Officer... CAP will supply one for you if you need it. Second If you do continue with buying one no you cannot get it programmed with CAP freqs from the manufacturer because those are U/FOUO (For Official Use Only). You would have to take it to your Wing DC or squadron Comms Officer to have it programmed.  Third The EFJohnson radios can be extremely expensive. As you may have seen on Ebay already they are usually upwards of $250. Brand new they are in the thousands... I would see if your Wing DC knows how to program a Motorola radio and buy one of those that are CAP certified. You can look at the list on the comms website of approved CAP radios. Fourth not all of the EFJ 5100 radios are able to be used for CAP. Some are UHF and others just are not the right model. I have tried to buy one but finding the correct model and a real EFJ (some are knock off radios that pretend to be EFJ...). Again if you continue with buying a radio I would stick with Motorola or something cheaper than a EFJ. Please message me with any questions or how I can help you further.
Sincerely,
Cadet Ravlin
Cadet Ravlin,
1. CAP may (not will) supply you with a radio if you need it AND CAP has one available. More often than not, CAP does not have handhelds laying around.
2. Some vendors have been approved to program CAP radios with the CAP frequencies. Buying from these vendors usually means you have to provide proof of membership.
3. All EFJ 5100 series VHF radios can be used for CAP. The easiest way to determine if it will is if the model number starts 511#- 51 is the series, 1 is the band (VHF), and # is the model (1, 2, or 3). Model 1 has 48 channels and no display, model 2 is the CAP standard (display and limited keypad), and model 3 has the full keypad.
4. The Motorola radios that cost less than the EFJ's are either non-P25 capable or have been End-of-Lifed by Motorola, EOL means no only has that radio been discontinued, there is no support for the radios, ie. parts.
5. Motorola are typically the most expensive radios available. The EFJ was selected because it is cheaper (Motorola's equal is the XTS5000 - new $3000, used $800).
6. Any radio capable of doing P25 digital is going to be expensive.
7. If you buy a radio and the wing does not have the programming software and cables, you're on your own to get it programmed. CAP has no obligation to provide radio programming for personal radios, especially if it means buying software and cables. BTW, a legal copy of Motorola's software runs $300 and up. Cables are not included.
8. We generally advise cadets not to buy a radio as they usually loose interest soon and they (or their parents) blame CAP for 'making' them spend money on a gadget they aren't using. Seniors are in a different situation.

As a former wing DC, I do have some knowledge of CAP radio systems.
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ee1993
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2015, 03:28:38 PM »

"We generally advise cadets not to buy a radio as they usually loose interest soon and they (or their parents) blame CAP for 'making' them spend money on a gadget they aren't using. Seniors are in a different situation."

I agree completely.  I buy EF Johnson radios on EBay and also directly from several sources, clean and check them out thoroughly, and re-sell to verified CAP members with CAP programming if requested.  Not trying to make a profit, just cover my expenses and take the risk out of EBay purchases.   I do sometimes get clunkers that I keep for parts.  Version 6 handhelds are best but cost more that the version 1 radios commonly found on EBay but a good version 1 is still suitable for a member owned radio (no need for encryption). 
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Toth
Member

Posts: 61

« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2015, 05:05:52 PM »

None of the above. You need one of the Icoms. They operate on military frequencies and from what I've been able to find, no one makes a radio for general use that operates on those frequencies. The ISRs were initially developed as a stop gap measure for the Marines. The military has since replaced them with more rugged, higher capability, multi-band units. The ISRs have been out of production for several years now.

Thanks, that is helpful to know. If that is the case, are there multiple types of ICOM radios that will work with our frequencies? I am simply looking to purchase an ICOM for myself for use within CAP, on search and rescue, encampment etc. hopefully that is a little more rugged than the CAP standard ICOMs.

Nope. The ISRs operate on military channels, and there's nothing out there that will operate on those channels that's legal for CAP use.

Alright, I might be beating a dead horse here, and if I am I apologize, I'm just trying to make sure I get the right information.

So the only way to communicate with other ICOM ISRs is to have an ICOM ISR? Are there any other radios that can talk to the CAP ISRs? If they would need to be programmed with encryption I could make that happen, I just need to know if there are any other radios that can do that.

Thanks for putting up with my stupid questions.
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C/Capt Toth Mendius, CAP
C/CC RMR-MT-053 (ret.), RMR Ass't Rep NCAC (ret.)
Mitchell #65174, Earhart #17361
GES, ♦ICUT, ♦FLM, GTM3, UDF, SET, MS, MRO, EMT, *GTM2
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Tools of the trade  |  Topic: Personal handheld suggestions?
 


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