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Thread: Yaesu VX-8GR: Is it a good buy?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AreaWarLord View Post
    isn't buying a radio BEFORE you get your license like cart before the horse kind of thing ???

    you may really get into am radio and want the biggest baddest thing on the market ?
    You may have a point, however, I believe that with owning a radio prior to receiving my license I can still go through basic functioning and apply that with my learning. I like actually being able to see / use items that correspond to what I am learning / using during the process. Also this will give me the ability to listen to other ham operators during my time without one.

  2. #12
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    they do have back to back weekend classes where you take your test on the end of the 2 nd day, so actually you could have your license in a few weeks, the book if you really need it is like $ 25 and its only $ 15 to take the test, no book - you can study for free on line, you might even meet someone in class with a better recommendation for a radio.

    something I never understood was you need a license to operate a radio, but you can buy equipment with out a license.....I got my license about 2 months before I bought a radio, I took my time

  3. #13
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    Mar 2007
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    Western NC
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    Forgot to add, I would suggest captianhippy that anytime you are looking at electronics to buy go to www.eHam.net and on the left side of their page click on REVIEWS and find what you are wanting to buy and check out what others say about that particular item. Be it Ham radios, tuners, antennas, even SW radios. That will help you when you make your choice of equipment.

  4. #14
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    Thanks for all your help / links guys.


    I will definitely post more to the section when I begin studying up on this

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by captainhippy View Post
    Edit:

    Also important to mention is that I have some Motorola 35 miles FRS radios for communication between my group.

    The ham radio's purpose will be communicating beyond FRS ranges (line of sight) and more importantly communication with others outside the group.
    before you go and buy a HAM radio that operates on 2 meter or 70 CM and expect your communication range to be extended you need to know that those frequencies are also LOS (Line Of Sight).

    As others have mentioned if your looking for a good dual band radio its hard to beat the Wouxun KG-UV2D for the $$..... I use mine almost daily and can easily hit repeaters 30 miles away. but no matter what hand held dual band radio you get, you'll be limited to LOS communication unless your using a repeater which is still LOS from you to the repeater and then from the repeater to the other radios.

    There is 2 meter EME or Scatter but you will need much higher wattage then a hand held can provide and EME/Scatter is not very reliable.

    Edit:

    If you want very reliable communications from 0 to 250 miles look into a HF Ham base station and an NVIS type antenna. The required frequency changes depending on propagation (usually between 40m and 80m) , but you will not find a better way to communicate that distance without the use of repeaters, which might not be working past SHTF. Here is a link describing the NVIS Antenna and its method of operation. http://www.w0ipl.net/ECom/NVIS/nvis.htm and a pretty good .PDF on NVIS http://www.w5jck.com/nvis/W5JCK-NVIS...esentation.pdf
    Last edited by Tdale; 11-19-2011 at 12:57 PM.
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  6. #16
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    line of sight my foot, I can hit folks on simplex 22 miles away both have same Yeasu FT-270R's and up and over a ridge between me and them , not a high ridge, but still works better than basic line of sight ????

  7. #17
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    There are repeaters in my area and I understand that line of sight may be an issue still. As AreaWarLord points out though, handhelds can still transmit reasonable distances. Worse case scenario I would bet money that the ft-270r would transmit / receive significantly further than my Motorola's (FRS).

    Regardless I believe Motorola significantly over-estimates how far their radios can transmit. Even in optimum conditions (Flat land, no obstructions, sunny, etc) 5-7 miles seems to be the range for my "35 mile" radios.

    If I could get a range between 15 - 30 miles out of the handheld ham I would consider it a win for me. I understand a base station and other equipment will get me further but all the stuff I have right now is geared towards a mobile application. Down the road though I will eventually look into this as well.


  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by AreaWarLord View Post
    line of sight my foot, I can hit folks on simplex 22 miles away both have same FT-270R's and up and over a ridge between me and them , not a high ridge, but still works better than basic line of sight ????
    unless your talking hilltop to hilltop or some other close to perfect communication condition I call BS.

    Line of Sight propagation does not necessarily mean that you have to "See" the person your talking to, it just means that the curvature of the earth comes into play. Basically the range of any 2-meter radio is going to be limited by the horizon. However, because the atmosphere refracts radio waves considerably more than it does light, the effective radio horizon is somewhere around 15% further than the visual horizon. This establishes one of the limits on range in VHF and UHF HAM Frequencies: the receiver at the other end must be above the effective horizon. This is a function of four things: the altitude above ground of the transmitter, the altitude above ground of the receiver, the distance between the two, and the terrain between the two. http://www.chem.hawaii.edu/uham/horizon.html I could post a hundrend other links that say the same thing, but there really is no point, it is what it is....

    22 miles Hill-top to Hill-top, no problem, but "normal" radio conditions, it just inst happening with a 5 watt HT. I have used the same radio and have been LUCKY to get HALF that distance when on foot, in simplex, with favorable terrain. Most of the time 6 to 8 miles is the norm with a HT ......heck there have been times I couldn't talk 1 mile with that radio because of poor terrain conditions while hunting with friends in thick woods......with VHF and UHF it's all about the effective horizon, terrain, and obstructions

    It's true that sometimes you can get 2 meter tropo scatter/sporadic E, but it is in no way reliable. like it or not 2 meter and 70 cm are both considered LOS propagation frequencies.

    Quote Originally Posted by captainhippy View Post
    There are repeaters in my area and I understand that line of sight may be an issue still. As AreaWarLord points out though, handhelds can still transmit reasonable distances. Worse case scenario I would bet money that the ft-270r would transmit / receive significantly further than my Motorola's (FRS).

    Regardless I believe Motorola significantly over-estimates how far their radios can transmit. Even in optimum conditions (Flat land, no obstructions, sunny, etc) 5-7 miles seems to be the range for my "35 mile" radios.

    If I could get a range between 15 - 30 miles out of the handheld ham I would consider it a win for me. I understand a base station and other equipment will get me further but all the stuff I have right now is geared towards a mobile application. Down the road though I will eventually look into this as well.

    Sounds like your on the right track

    No doubt a good Ham HT will be superior to a FRS Radio, mostly because they use a better antenna, have more sensitive receiver and transmitter circuitry, and they operate at a higher wattage. Most FRS Radios only use 1/2 a watt when on FRS and around 2 watts when on GMRS, and that's not radiated wattage, their antennas are pretty much crap and don't radiate well so much of their power is wasted. Most good HAM HT's operate at 5 watts on Hi, and they radiate a much higher percentage of that power because their antennas are generally better then a FRS antenna.

    But in my experience anything over 10 miles with a HT in simplex is VERY iffy and requires very optimal conditions. YMMV

    If you find that you need more distance then your HT will give you in simplex, you should have a few repeaters in your area

    Also you might look at getting a good mobile radio with cross band repeat to augment your HT's communication distance if the repeaters in your AO ever go down. This would allow you to use your HT to talk to your Mobile radio and your Mobile will repeat the signal at a much higher wattage. For example you could use the 70 cm band on your HT to talk to your mobile and have your mobile repeat the signal on the 2 meter band.

    If your interested in a Mobile with cross band repeat there is a lot of buzz about the Wouxun KG-UV920R that is coming out soon (Jan/Feb 2012). Should be under $200 and it is suppose to have cross band repeat, I know I'll be getting one to try it out......if money were no object I'd pony up the $$ for a Kenwood TM-D710A, one of my friends has one, it's a super nice mobile radio.
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  9. #19

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    Very well said!
    Here are 2 examples of line of sighte reliability. From my house (down in a hole in the woods) I can hit the downtown columbia repeater 16 miles away with a good signal 90% of the time on the HT Wouxun. I can hit Aiken from my base 40 miles away. Now, At the park about 1.5 miles from me if that, I cant even reach my house with an HT at all. Between me an downtown Columbia or Aiken is ALOT of woods and hills. Those bubble wrap 35 mile radios would be lucky to get out of my neighborhood. We used to give those to the kids when out playing and they wouldnt get a few blocks away without alot of static.
    So with that said, If you get a HT get a GOOD antenna! Dont be afraid of the Chinese junk as much as I HATE to say it, It works well. I bought an external hershey kiss antenna for the Wouxun and it quadrupled the distance and signal reliability. I was told by a friend that when I switched from the duck to the kiss mid conversation he thought I switched to my mobile rig it sounded so much better and stronger.
    HF can be fun but really expensive to get into. My HF rig is down right now with fried finals. Also try tinkering with echolink.
    The thing you really need to ask yourself is.....What am I trying to accomplish with my comms and why?
    Here is why I chose the radios I did:
    My wife and I are CERT members and we also are SKYWARN, ARES/RACES for emcomms. Our RV is set up with VHF/UHF,HF and CB with Cross Band Repeat. Wifes truck has a VHF/UHF with cross band, My truck has same as RV as in an emergency we most likely will use it as it goes anywhere. House has same as RV. Wife and I each have full size dual banders and I have 2 spares for the kids when they get their tickets. We also just ordered a few mini dual banders for back up comms in our go bags.
    Now the reasons. HTs are weaker wattage. They are also line of sight being uhf/vhf. So if we were in an emcomm response and were say doing search and rescue I would tune on cross band repeat in the truck and use the truck as a repeater to get my voice heard.
    Now if you want to get in cheap, Go on E Bay and grab some of the mini HT dual banders for like $45 shipped. They are only 2 watts but stronger than the bubble wrap comms and do a heck of alot more. It all depends on your needs.

  10. #20
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    Missouri
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    Wow, tons of great advice for me in this thread. I have a notepad doc out taking notes

    Most certainly after I study more about HAM radio and take the necessary tests I will invest in a base station setup. This also will give me time to go back over basic electronic modification skills that I have lost since I studied industrial electronics so many years ago. It seems that everyone who owns a HAM radio setup and is serious about it understands their equipment beyond what a normal consumer would. Or at least to me they do.

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