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Portable comms thread

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by The Heretic, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I just learned that there is a new Baofeng (pronounced pofung) handheld out on sale on Amazon

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PTJ43FU/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=AM1AKWRN957PC

    This looks almost identical to the F8HP (which I have), but is over $10 cheaper - i.e., below $50 which is pretty good for a dual band (2M/70cm) that provides 8 watts.

    I think I may order two of these.

    The idea is that these will be cheap HT comms for GHBs, stashed in vehicles for backup comms. One for my GHB, one for each of my kids

    Next weekend I take my tech license test and eventually I will get better comm systems components (looking at the new Yaesu digital units) but these would not cause me a lot of grief if they got stolen out of the car or something like that.

    What do you have for comms that don't depend on third party systems?
     
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  2. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    These are also what the local militia guys recommend...just FYI.
     
  3. westcoastal

    westcoastal north coast of oregon Active Member

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    I've got an f8+ & hp
    Very good little ht's
    Also studying for license. Right now they do a good job as scanners from here in TILLAMOOK I can eves drop on Clatsop Lincoln Polk & Yamhill ems
     
  4. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I just ordered two of the F9 HTs
     
  5. sailorfej

    sailorfej Scappoose Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    I just ordered the UV-5R, it hasn't even shipped yet. What is the difference between the BF-F9 and the UV-5R?
     
  6. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Four main differences:

    1) 4 watts for the UV-5R vs. 8 watts for the F8HP & F9

    2) F8/F9 have updated firmware fixing some problems with the older HTs

    3) Wider freq band in UHF

    4) The cost
     
  7. sailorfej

    sailorfej Scappoose Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Thanks, looking at the cost, it definitely seems worth it, although the UV-5R I ordered was just supposed to be a starter radio to begin with, once I have my license (studying now) and am more familiar with amateur radio in general as applied to preparedness, I had planned on buying either Yaesu, Kenwood, or Icom anyway, and keeping the Baofeng as backup. I am expecting to have to pay $300 to $400, but get better ruggedness and better transmit/receive clarity. Any opinion on whether the higher end radios are worth the much larger price tags?
     
  8. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Are the brand name radios ten times better (they can cost ten times as much)?

    I don't think so.

    Are their features (submersible, built-in GPS, digital, etc.) worth that much more?

    That depends on how much you value those features.

    For my usage, the Baofengs are backups, HTs that I may handout to neighbors in a SHTF situation, something that I won't cry over if they get stolen or lost or dropped in a lake or run over.

    I am thinking I will want a Yaesu digital setup - the DR series of their transceivers. The FT1-DR would be where I would start (maybe):

    http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cm...B444A927CD14417BFD&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0

    The features I am looking at as desirable in that HT are:

    1) Digital modes (anyone with an analog only setup would not hear the digital transmissions) to talk to others with digital radios.

    2) Built in GPS. Transmission of GPS position.

    3) Digital messaging.

    4) Water resistant - good enough for most everything except submersion, and some of the Yaesus are submersible.

    I could then add a mobile setup, with similar features and a base station with repeater functionality.

    When you look at something like a Garmin Rino with GPS as costing as much or more than the FT1DR, the only real advantage to the Rino is that it has a much better GPS display. If Yaesu offers bluetooth for the FT1DR like they do for some of their other HTs, then a person could maybe use a smartphone as a GPS display (depends on what they allow to go back and forth over the bluetooth, if it is just audio, then no).

    I don't want to just talk to people in my group, I want to know where they are - I might need to get to them if they are lost or injured, if I was setting up a defense perimeter, knowing when they will arrive, etc.
     
  9. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    But yes, it is good to start with an inexpensive radio.

    That may be all you ever need.

    They would be handy as backups and handing out to people who don't have one - the latter being the most likely. No way I am going to be handing a $300 HT to any of my neighbors who didn't think to prep with such an item - a $30 HT that I have ten of? Sure - not a problem.

    They will bring down the prices of, add features to, the more expensive brands by means of competition.
     
  10. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    The problem with the Garmin Rino is that it is FRS/GMRS only (limited freqs., the antenna cannot be removed/replaced with a better one), is probably not as rugged, and some models are too expensive for what they are.

    The GPS system is probably better though.
     
  11. Medic!

    Medic! What just happened? Has eagle eyes. But cant remember what he saw. Bronze Supporter

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    Radio? To talk to people far away? I don't even want to the guy standing next to me in the elevator.
     
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  12. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes it can be useful to communicate with others.

    One of the reasons I got the F8HP HT was that I often have no cell coverage outside my house (I use wifi inside). If I "fall and can't get up" while out in the woods, then with a 2M HT I can have a better chance of calling for help.

    If SHTF, then I can listen to what others are talking about. If my kids have to bug out to my place on the mountain, and the phone system is down, then I have a better chance of rendezvousing with them if they have a radio and I have one too.

    I don't talk much to people (I am borderline Aspergers) - I have a prepaid cell phone with 1000 yearly minutes - about the amount many people use per month (how do they do that?! That is 17 hours of gabbing on the phone a month). Last year I only used 750 minutes of those 1000. I mostly talk to people in person or online.
     
  13. westcoastal

    westcoastal north coast of oregon Active Member

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    Anybody have any tips I (new to ham, grandad was a member of React, I think it was called) i could use any tips on study material
     
  14. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Do you have any experience with basic electronics theory?

    Radio propagation?

    If so, just take the online tests over and over again until you pass with a 90% or better.

    http://aa9pw.com/radio/

    Even if you don't understand the theory, take the tests and research each question until you understand the theory enough to answer the questions, and keep taking the tests as you do better.

    I had an advantage, I already understood, but I took it again and again until I aced it enough times to be confident I would pass it every time.
     
  15. westcoastal

    westcoastal north coast of oregon Active Member

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    Thank you I appreciate the reply. I do have a pretty good occupational understanding of electronics. I've taken a few online tests. And been in the mid 80's. I'm stoked about getting involved in this. The local test is the first Saturday of the month in Lincoln city.
     
  16. receo

    receo Sandy, Oregon Active Member

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    There are many free/cheap smartphone apps that you can use. They use the actual test questions so no question should be a surprise. I also used an online video that helped clarify many io the concepts that were new to me.

     
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  17. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Ok... So here's a few things I know. I got my AR ticket in 2008 after an earthquake locally scared the crap out of me (I was pouring explosives when the quake hit) talk about pucker factor. Since then I've gone on to get my general ticket.

    I've owned quite a few ham radios in that time, but I will get to that in a minute. First, the Baofeng UV5R's are great little radios for handheld use, honestly there are a few things they are lacking (scanning functions, easy vfo programming, not waterproof, etc) but they are by far the best handheld radios you can get. Really, if they made them waterproof and made them tri-band with either 220mhz or 6m they would be the perfect radio. Also, take a look for the extended battery pack, it fits all of the standard UV5R cased models and it is 3800mAh, and easily runs for almost a week even with moderate use. Honestly, I think it makes the radio feel better because it just makes it a bit longer.

    As far as yaesu goes, they're really becoming the company I love to hate. First, you think programming a BF from the keypad is hard? Yea, you can do it on a yaesu, but only if you have a spare 20 minutes of digging through byzantine and poorly labeled menus. I swear whoever does UI design for yaesu should be taken out and shot several times for good measure. The advantage to yaesu is they are making radios that are at least in principle waterproof, and have a lot of nice features like tri and quad band, however the IPX rating definitely strains the definitions of what "waterproof" actually means. What really lets most ham radios down is the form factor. They seem to think you're going to be carrying it around in a shirt pocket and want something with the same form factor as a donut. Meaning: wide, short, and fat. They really do a piss poor job of fitting into any kind of 'tactical" pouch. Worse still is the amount of technology they've packed into these radios comes largely at the expense of battery life, and battery size. The BF with it's drop charger (even the large battery) is usually recharged in about 3 hours. My Yaesu VX7 takes about 5-12 hours, and brings a craptacular 8 hours of standby to the table. Frankly it spends more of it's life in a box in my "oh crap" kit than it does anywhere else. By BFUv5R pretty much lives in my pocket.

    Now, what you should be looking at when it comes to amateur radios... mobiles. Even 8 watts out of a handheld is poor for many types of communicating. It's useful if there are repeaters to use, but that's about it. Get separated too far from you're group and line of sight is no longer going to cut it.

    My personal preference in mobile radios is Icom, the main reason for this, Icom's menu system and UI is identical across every icom model I've ever used. My IC-2200H is the same as my 2300H, as well as my dads IC706mkiiG, to my friends IC7100, and all the way back to my old HT a ICT7H. If they added a new feature they just appended a menu option that's written in plain english at the end of the rest of the menu system. I don't have much experience with Kenwood radios, some of my friends do, but the main complaint there is the radios themselves seem to be kinda fragile, and they are more expensive than the Icom generally. That said, if you get a radio that has cross-band repeat as a feature, this will allow you to setup your in-car radio as a tactical repeater. You just need to create a memory on the BF that it will transmit on one band and listen on another. I've done this, and it works famously.

    The other option, is some of the chinese makers are also making mobile radios, I know at least one of them is a feature-set copy of the Yaesu FT8900, which has cross-band as well as 10m FM, 6m, 2m and 70cm and goes for about a third the price. I might jump on one of these when I get some extra cash.

    All that said, the simpler your radio, the better. Radios with built in GPS, APRS and all the other goofy feature sets usually just make for a radio that's too difficult to use quickly for it's main purpose. My dad just bought a new yaesu mobile the stupid thing is so complex no one has managed to figure it out in the month it's been there. I went over to look at it, and it sums up what I've come to expect from yaesu, a technologically advanced, expensive piece of machinery that on paper meets all the requirements I could ever want, but fails dramatically when it matters.
     
  18. John Gault

    John Gault clackamas county Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Any ICOM guys who could do a Cloning onto my new ICOM 2730 or Downloading onto my laptop with your radio so that I have a nice database of Repeaters and such.... I'd buy lunch, coffee or ?
     
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  19. ChiefStealth

    ChiefStealth Graham, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    I also got an F8HP. Got an upgraded antenna so it works fine as a hand-held, portable. I can hit repeaters up to 20 miles with the whip antenna. I also put a DIY 1/4 wave ground plane antenna on the roof of the house. So, I sorta have a base station setup. I don't yet know how far I can hit repeaters with the 1/4 wave. I'll be testing that this coming week. By my count, there are 37 repeaters within 40 miles of my home, and I want to hit them all.
    Then, I gotta work on a solar generator to charge the batteries in the radio. Bingo.. Total off-grid comms.

    KI7EIZ
     
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