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JohnnyMac

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Hey I am a newbee myself and don't have a ton of experience yet myself - but my knowledge is getting 'heavier'!

Yea 2 meter is kind of the 'intro' freq for entry level HAMS but has (an is) becoming very popular for mobile use. Kind of like the 'new CB' in a way. While it does not have some of the advantages of lower frequencies for simplex (radio to radio) use - such as 'skip' and the 'bending' of the 27ish MHZ AM CB frequencies, it can still be used on simplex with fair range however repeaters really make it shine.
Great info, thanks for sharing. 🙂
 
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Great info, thanks for sharing.
Hey your welcome!

Just trying to offer some info from a 'newbee' perspective!

I edited my last post to include: When the FCC dropped the 'code ' requirements for HAM radio licensing new HAM licensees increased dramatically' for the benefit of those who may NOT know this.
 
A ham Tech can use the 70cm band as well. Good for poking through buildings and other structures but not so good for long distance.

2m and 70cm each have their advantages. The 2m repeater system is pretty good around the PNW and offers plenty of longer distance comms.

As to the comment about ham radio operators being "hateful" or whatever......

I've NEVER experienced that, only lots of friendly and helpful folks. That claim, to me, is nonsense.
 
As to the comment about ham radio operators being "hateful" or whatever......

I've NEVER experienced that, only lots of friendly and helpful folks. That claim, to me, is nonsense.
Exactly the same experience. My father-in-law, of whom I consider a close friend, is an avid amateur radio operator and helped me tremendously along the way. Same with some other club contacts and when I used to volunteer with Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES). No attitudes, just good guys and gals, to the best of my recollection. :)
 

arrowshooter

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OP, lots of extremely good info here for you to sort through. For now I am going too assume you are in need of a GMRS style radio. I have been through 3 sets of Midlands, the latest being the GXT 1050, and the best advise I can give is don't let things like "35 mile range" get you all excited. Put a bunch of trees or a hill or two between you and your buddy and you'll struggle unless one of you is on high ground. This range they talk about is line of sight, like one side of the flat desert to the other, and it gets muffled by obstacles and won't bend down into a valley. You will be able to pickup say trucks on a highway a good amount of miles away because those guys have uber power going out, but they won't hear you. Back in the 70's we started using these big black monsters (Realistic TRC-206) that took like 8 batteries with a 4' long antenna that actually worked better than these newer ones. Good luck shopping.
 
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I worked as a Motorola service manager for a number of years so I'm a little brand biased, and think that Moto is top shelf, but things that I would consider no matter what brand radio you get, is to get radios that have some of these features:
  • As has been mentioned many frequencies are governed by the FCC so you either can't legally use them, or can't use them without an FCC license for that specific freq. Then those licensed freqs are constrained to a geographical area so really not good for a mobile radio. HAM licenses allow you use the Amateur band of frequencies, but most of these are freqs that require a large antenna to have any efficiency at all, so they are generally either home base stations or vehicle mounted setups.

    The easy way around it is to use FRS (Family Radio Service) or GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) radios. They give you a spread of frequencies/channels to use, but you are sharing them with anyone else in the area using FRS/GMRS radios. FRS radios are license free, but relatively low power (2 watts or less) and limited in frequencies/channels. GMRS radios have more frequencies/channels and higher power (2-50 watts) but require a GRMS license to use (legally). I believe a single license works for the whole family.

  • If you go, other than FRS/GMRS, the get something that is multiband (vhf/uhf) as some frequencies work better under different conditions.

  • Also consider something that has a rechargeable battery pack, but will also take AA batteries. In a pinch if SHTF, you may not have access to power to charge the battery pack, but might be able to scrounge up some AA batteries.
Good luck!

Love me some Motorola. I think lots of people either forgot or don't know that the great Motorola INVENTED the car radio, the cellular phone, walkie-talkies and streamlined and mass produced pagers.

"One small step for man....." Arguably the most famous radio transmission of all time was transmitted from the moon on Motorola radio equipment.


Damn cool company, it saddens me to see their current state of affairs. I miss my StarTac and my Razr (I've probably owned over 100 Motorola phones, I used to run an online business repairing them). :)
 
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Some great things to consider in this video also, not too far off topic, but always good to have these aspects in mind for a later time..

 
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Thanks everyone for the input and tips, looks like I've got a few directions to research...
 
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Thanks everyone for the input and tips, looks like I've got a few directions to research...
This might help you with understanding the frequency & band breakdowns. Note - the licenses are now only Technician, General and Extra.

arrlbands.jpg
 

bbbass

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@JohnnyMac

In the Coast Guard, I was an Avionics Tech that specialized in radio comms, while others did nav stuff like Tacan and radars. When I moved in 1980 from San Diego to La Grande, I found a job as a radio tech with a small Motorola Five Star Dealership. Before I moved to Brookings and did the same work Motorola switched to having it's employed sales reps do most of the big lucrative sales, and we switched to GE... that was a bummer, I really don't like GE radio gear. In Brookings it was mostly Kenwood for sales of new radios. And after I had to shut my home inspection biz down covering 4 E Oregon counties due to illness, and then quit as a rep for Air Life of Oregon, I went back to work at the La Grande radio shop and that became an ICOM America dealership and still is. Lost that job at age 60 because I couldn't do the work any more, feeble in both mind and body.

Small world.


BTW, AFAIK the mom and pop radio shops are being eaten up by larger companies now. Gem out of Boise, and the guy in The Dalles (but he may have sold out too).
 

JohnnyMac

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@JohnnyMac

In the Coast Guard, I was an Avionics Tech that specialized in radio comms, while others did nav stuff like Tacan and radars. When I moved in 1980 from San Diego to La Grande, I found a job as a radio tech with a small Motorola Five Star Dealership. Before I moved to Brookings and did the same work Motorola switched to having it's employed sales reps do most of the big lucrative sales, and we switched to GE... that was a bummer, I really don't like GE radio gear. In Brookings it was mostly Kenwood for sales of new radios. And after I had to shut my home inspection biz down covering 4 E Oregon counties due to illness, and then quit as a rep for Air Life of Oregon, I went back to work at the La Grande radio shop and that became an ICOM America dealership and still is. Lost that job at age 60 because I couldn't do the work any more, feeble in both mind and body.

Small world.


BTW, AFAIK the mom and pop radio shops are being eaten up by larger companies now. Gem out of Boise, and the guy in The Dalles (but he may have sold out too).
It is a small world! I did 20 in the Coast Guard as an ET. I didn't get all the nice perks you damn Airedales got though! 😂🤣

After retirement, worked in Salem at the Day Wireless Systems shop as the service manager, but saw it a bit different. We had to bid all our maintenance contracts (like with the city of Salem's radio system) through Motorola proper. They would give us a number (which would already be high) and we had to add our percentage on top of it so we could be profitable. It priced us right out of the competition. A smaller radio shop came to town (Kenwood Dealer) and beat us (a Motorola dealer) on a Motorola contract.

So many of these radios now-a-days are flash and trash. When it breaks, you just toss it and buy another. Nothing to repair in them much anymore which I think has something to do with the mom n pop shops closing up..
 

bbbass

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It is a small world! I did 20 in the Coast Guard as an ET. I didn't get all the nice perks you damn Airedales got though! 😂🤣

After retirement, worked in Salem at the Day Wireless Systems shop as the service manager, but saw it a bit different. We had to bid all our maintenance contracts (like with the city of Salem's radio system) through Motorola proper. They would give us a number (which would already be high) and we had to add our percentage on top of it so we could be profitable. It priced us right out of the competition. A smaller radio shop came to town (Kenwood Dealer) and beat us (a Motorola dealer) on a Motorola contract.

So many of these radios now-a-days are flash and trash. When it breaks, you just toss it and buy another. Nothing to repair in them much anymore which I think has something to do with the mom n pop shops closing up..
I think we talked about this before, but my memory sucks!!!

Yup. We lost the city/county sales to Moto proper, then they gave the maint contract to the guy out of The Dalles. After we bid the city/county 911 with GE Master II radios, much later it became very problematic with the receivers on the mountain detuning due to aluminum corrosion at the tanks/screws. Then The Dalles beat us out with a bunch of MTR 2000 gear. That gear still failed to talk down to Elgin, but hey not my problem anymore. I was glad to stand down from 24/7 on call.

Bozz wanted me to manage a few stores for him... good thing I wasn't interested since later I lost my faculties.

Yep, all commercial mobile radios are throw-away now... as are computers, TVs, sound systems, etc. Nobody gonna pay much labor to get that stuff fixed when you can buy new for cheap.
 

Mark W.

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For CB I use a Cobra 29 and a 5ft Firestick antenna along with a Radio Shack Walkie
For GMRS I use a Midland MXT-400 409 watt with their 6db antenna and a pair of GXT1030VP4 walkies

I will also be getting a Garmin inReach satellite emergency texting device.

 
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The boy scouts had a large meetup at Lapine State Park yesterday called a JOTA which stands for Jamboree on the air and the Bend and Lapine HAM clubs went out Friday and set up equipment and hung a 140' DIpole antenna in a couple pine trees and set up equipment. It was done with tennis ball guns which fire a tennis ball over the tree with a line, then tied to paracord and pulled up over the tree, then the ends of the antenna are secured to it and pulled up.

I assisted with this and it was pretty impressive how powerful the tennis ball guns are! They easily shot about 125' over the trees. Then about half the day yesterday the scouts talked on the radios to locals on the 2 meter & HF frequencies.

Good to see the scouts are still active and getting out doors!
 
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The above link might be of value.

What I've found most useful in helping people decide on a communications tool is to ask them

1. With whom do you want to communicate?
2. Over what distance?
3. Under what conditons?
4. What do you want to communicate?
5. How secure do you need your communications to be?

These questions help provoke the person to really think about what they want to do with a radio and helps narrow some of the choices.

Cost and complexity (of the radio) can then be considered once the main questions have been addressed. Sometimes, the options have to be re-considered completely because of a budget constraint and/or willingness/ability to invest in, for some radios, a substantial learning curve.

For example, I helped a family member decide that digital ham radios were the best option for his family's disaster preparations (an option he wasn't aware existed). He and several family members already had their Technician license, he wanted some level of secure communications (digital amateur radio transmissions aren't audible/decipherable on an analog-only amateur radio --- and there are far more analog radios in service than digital).

Accessories can also make a great deal of difference in the practical use you may/can get out of a radio. If you want tactical communications, a quality throat mic or speaker mic with a 3.5mm jack for an external ear piece, an ear piece, a flexible antenna (if your radio can utilize a replacement antenna), and --- especially a radio pouch --- will vastly improve the utility of a radio.

There are a lot of choices today and I generally start a conversation on this topic with "what do you want to do with the radio?". This has proven to be a great first question because it can help me zero in on a likely and obvious solution or lead me to asking any or all of the 5 questions listed above --- to start with.

Hope this is of value
 
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