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umpirecali
Forum Regular

Posts: 102
Unit: MER-VA-060

« on: December 22, 2015, 12:22:19 PM »

I am comms novice and have recently ordered some study material to get my technician HAM license.  I am a member of one other SAR group besides CAP and wanted to purchase a radio for my truck. I already have a hand held radio.

I have been looking at the band charts but don't yet know how to interpret them.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Regulatory/Band%20Chart/Hambands_color.pdf

I need the radio to cover 148-156 and 462-468, and dual-band at minimum, but other common bands would be good for when I get my technician.  I plan to run them off 2 12V deep cycle batteries in parallel.  I'd like at least a 25W output.  Can someone recommend any models under $500?
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Capt Chris Cali, CAP
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Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,087
Unit: SI

« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 01:11:38 PM »

To be honest, hang on to your money until you have around $800-$1000.

I got my technician license and owned 0 radios. I then bought (in order) A wouxun kg-uv6x (handheld), A Yaesu 897D (base station/vehicle), and a Baofeng Bf-f8. I then got issued an EFJ radio for CAP.

I spent $900 used on the 897D, and got several extras as part of that deal (AC adapter, battery packs, and some other fun parts.)

The CAP radio and the wouxun are the ones I most commonly use.

If I was going to redo everything, I'd start with the baofeng, since it costs at most $50 for the radio and programming cable. It will also give you the opportunity to learn a lot more about what works/doesn't work for you before you spend lots of money on another radio.

If you find out where your local ham clubs are, you'll find out when the local ham convention is. At that point, you'll have a higher probability of getting a good deal on used equipment.

One note of caution: If the price for a base station/truck radio seems too good to be true, it probably came from a smoker's residence/truck. Expect to smell cheap cigs whenever it gets warm. Fortunately I learned this from someone else's experience and not my own. Be sure to ask when buying used if the radio was in a smoker's household/truck.

The HAM radio hobby is one that you can literally open a hole in the ground and just pour money into. Starting with an inexpensive radio first to make sure you don't have any regrets is a very good idea.

Also, chances are really good your comms officer is a ham radio licensee and has forgotten more than you currently know. Reach out and ask for knowledge/tips.

I will also say that wouxun warranty support is excellent if you order through their US distributor site at powerwerx.com.

I have no knowledge of warranty support on the baofeng (too cheap for me to care if it breaks, especially since it is over a year old now) and Yaesu (bought it out of warranty period.)

I will close with mentioning that I STILL have very little idea with what I'm doing with radios. To advance my knowledge I'll probably try teaching a class on radios next year to cadets.

In review, for your current purchase plan, I'd seriously consider saving a bit more money. If I HAD to buy a new radio in the $500 range, I'd say to examine the big brands out there for what might be available on the compliant summaries portion of the NTC site: https://comm.capnhq.gov/equipment/equipment.cfm
and then look at reviews of them on eham.com.

That isn't necessarily the be all and end all, my 897D is not CAP compliant for example, but here are the eham reviews for it:
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2432

Digging through the eham reviews will help you out of making some costly mistakes down the road. And leverage the knowledge of those who've been in the game longer than you, while taking everything with a grain of salt (Brand advocates especially. If they tell you to just by Brand X, ask them specifically what model and what it gets you for your money.)
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Mordecai
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« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 01:23:51 PM »

Also, for your technician license, a much better list of usable freqs:

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Tech%20Band%20Chart/Tech%20Band%20Chart.pdf
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umpirecali
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Posts: 102
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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2015, 01:49:32 PM »

I already have a Baofeng BF‑F8HP.  If I got issued an EFJ from CAP, I'd give that brick (EFJ) back.  Nice chart but I still don't see which band 148-156 is under on that chart.
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Capt Chris Cali, CAP
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Mordecai
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Unit: SI

« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2015, 02:07:00 PM »

I already have a Baofeng BF‑F8HP.  If I got issued an EFJ from CAP, I'd give that brick (EFJ) back.  Nice chart but I still don't see which band 148-156 is under on that chart.

That's because your technician license gives you privileges between 144-148.

It looks like you are looking at MURS frequencies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-Use_Radio_Service

That is governed by a different part of the FCC rules.

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umpirecali
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2015, 02:19:01 PM »

I checked the MURS link and I am not using those frequencies.  Even though both the CAP and VDEM frequencies are freely available on the internet, I won't post them due to FOUO.  I will send you a PM of some of the frequencies I need.  Maybe that will help you find the name of the band I need.
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Capt Chris Cali, CAP
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SarDragon
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2015, 02:30:21 PM »

That band is most commonly referred to as the two meter band. Broadly, it encompasses both ham and government frequencies. As noted, the ham portion is 144-148 MHz. The remainder belongs to the gummint, and is NOT freely available for general use. Some of the CAP frequencies are below 144 MHz, and some are above, all of which require a compliant radio, and a CAP Radio Authorization to use.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
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Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,087
Unit: SI

« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2015, 02:33:58 PM »

That band is most commonly referred to as the two meter band. Broadly, it encompasses both ham and government frequencies. As noted, the ham portion is 144-148 MHz. The remainder belongs to the gummint, and is NOT freely available for general use. Some of the CAP frequencies are below 144 MHz, and some are above, all of which require a compliant radio, and a CAP Radio Authorization to use.

This. The good news is, if it is your intent to purchase a radio for use with CAP, your choices are on the NTC website. Punch those into eham.com, then check with your comms officer to get authorization before throwing money at the problem... and just try and get an issued radio if you can.
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umpirecali
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Posts: 102
Unit: MER-VA-060

« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2015, 03:59:50 PM »

We don't have a competent comms officer at the squadron or group level.  I only know the wing officer by name.  I am not interested in joining a HAM club, I just want recommendations on radios.  I am not buying a radio "for CAP" per se.  I don't want an issued radio.  I don't really care if its on the "approved CAP list" because I get called out for my other SAR group about 15 times for every 1 of CAP. My Baofeng isn't on the list but I have used in several mission with the other SAR group. I am buying a radio for SAR and other things.  I was looking for recommendation for radios that meet those frequencies.  So far, I seen 1 radio recommended (Yaesu 897D) but not in my price range. 
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 04:03:26 PM by umpirecali » Logged
Capt Chris Cali, CAP
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THRAWN
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Posts: 1,809

« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2015, 04:09:00 PM »

We don't have a competent comms officer at the squadron or group level.  I only know the wing officer by name.  I am not interested in joining a HAM club, I just want recommendations on radios.  I am not buying a radio "for CAP" per se.  I don't want an issued radio.  I don't really care if its on the "approved CAP list" because I get called out for my other SAR group about 15 times for every 1 of CAP. My Baofeng isn't on the list but I have used in several mission with the other SAR group. I am buying a radio for SAR and other things.  I was looking for recommendation for radios that meet those frequencies.  So far, I seen 1 radio recommended (Yaesu 897D) but not in my price range.

Try this then: http://www.buytwowayradios.com/products/wouxun/kg-uv920p-a.aspx
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Strup
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Mordecai
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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2015, 04:14:23 PM »

Erm...

If you aren't using it for CAP and you don't have an FCC license, you using your baofeng on several missions may have put you in violation of FCC rules.

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THRAWN
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Posts: 1,809

« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2015, 04:16:03 PM »

Erm...

If you aren't using it for CAP and you don't have an FCC license, you using your baofeng on several missions may have put you in violation of FCC rules.

Unless he is covered in some way by his "other" SAR outfit...
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
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Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,087
Unit: SI

« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2015, 04:17:21 PM »

Erm...

If you aren't using it for CAP and you don't have an FCC license, you using your baofeng on several missions may have put you in violation of FCC rules.

Unless he is covered in some way by his "other" SAR outfit...

A possibility, which is why I said "may."

The world of radio regulations is chock full of carve-outs, but one should be able to confidently state how they are covered by the FCC/NTIA for whatever it is that they are doing.

The fun giant chart of radio frequency allocations: https://www.ntia.doc.gov/files/ntia/publications/spectrum_wall_chart_aug2011.pdf
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 04:23:15 PM by Starfleet Auxiliary » Logged
umpirecali
Forum Regular

Posts: 102
Unit: MER-VA-060

« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2015, 04:24:27 PM »

I know the limitations for use of the radio and I was within them. I didn't say CAP missions, I have actually never been called out for a CAP ground team; only aircrew.
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Capt Chris Cali, CAP
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umpirecali
Forum Regular

Posts: 102
Unit: MER-VA-060

« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2015, 04:31:07 PM »

The Wouxun KG-UV920P looks like a good option.
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Capt Chris Cali, CAP
Deputy Commander for Seniors
Safety Officer
Emergency Service Training Officer
Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,087
Unit: SI

« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2015, 04:31:52 PM »

Well, I'd suggest reaching out to these people: http://www.vacache.org/

It sounds like they have a good idea of what radios work for your area, and if you know what their inventory is for vehicle radios, having one with interchangeable parts with your state radio cache is never a bad thing.
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Mordecai
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,087
Unit: SI

« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2015, 05:28:22 PM »

So in the Chinese Age of Radio, it looks like some things no longer cost an arm, a leg, and a kidney.

http://www.amazon.com/LT-898UV-10watts-Standby-Programming-Transceiver/dp/B00VFDLWRQ/

The good: Price (under $100), meets your freq requirements.
The bad: only 10 watts where you want 25.
And the amazon reviews aren't bad. The one really negative review had a clarification added later indicating user error.

Assuming it actually has FCC acceptance, I might pick one of these up for my car. Hmm...
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THRAWN
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,809

« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2015, 05:59:11 PM »

So in the Chinese Age of Radio, it looks like some things no longer cost an arm, a leg, and a kidney.

http://www.amazon.com/LT-898UV-10watts-Standby-Programming-Transceiver/dp/B00VFDLWRQ/

The good: Price (under $100), meets your freq requirements.
The bad: only 10 watts where you want 25.
And the amazon reviews aren't bad. The one really negative review had a clarification added later indicating user error.

Assuming it actually has FCC acceptance, I might pick one of these up for my car. Hmm...

Huh. Not bad. Might have found my gift to myself...

Then there is this one: http://www.amazon.com/Juentai-JT-6188-136-174-400-480MHz-Transceiver/dp/B0149KUE84/ref=pd_sim_422_5?ie=UTF8&dpID=51kMLhgl0EL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=097BMP5QFD4FA9VQZ7ME

Looks like it has the output the OP wants.
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Strup
"Belligerent....at times...."
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EMT-83
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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2015, 11:39:19 PM »

I'm from the opposite school of thought. Rather than buy a cheap Chinese piece of crap, buy it once and buy it right. There are decent radios from the big three (Icom, Yaseu, Kenwood) available in your price range. Check eBay and the QRZ forums for used equipment, and eHam.net for equipment reviews.

My mobile radio is a Yaesu FT-8900R quad band, but that's a bit more than you need as a Technician. BTW, after you pass your Technician test, jump right into General while your brain is still in radio study mode.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the idea of joining a radio club. Hams really do like to help out new guys, and they may even have equipment to loan out. You can read books and study on-line, but nothing beats some face time with some experienced operators.
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umpirecali
Forum Regular

Posts: 102
Unit: MER-VA-060

« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2015, 12:44:54 AM »

I don't have time for it.  Between family, church, work, CAP, and another SAR group, I am tapped out.  I always hear people put down the cheaper radios, but I have yet to hear someone explain why.  For instance, why is the Wouxun KG-UV920P-A or  Juentai JT-6188 a bad radio?
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Capt Chris Cali, CAP
Deputy Commander for Seniors
Safety Officer
Emergency Service Training Officer
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Tools of the trade  |  Topic: Truck radio
 


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