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This topic contains 12 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  PhilTheBiker 3 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #1082

    PhilTheBiker
    Moderator

    Here are two of my radios. The top is a Yaesu FT-8900 quad band, 70cm, 2meter, 6meter, 10 meter. The bottom is a Kenwood D700 70cm/2meter and can do APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System). I have two other radios, a 2 meter only radio and a 70cm/2meter hand held. After I move and get my antennas setup I’ll take more pictures, probably spring time. Might even have a permanent setup in the house someday.

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]665[/ATTACH]

    #10720

    PhilTheBiker
    Moderator

    Here is how crazy ham radio is. I was able to talk to one guy that was about 20 miles west from me as the bird flies without a repeater, but a guy that was north of me about 11 miles away I could barley hear. The band opened up and the guy 20 miles west of me was able to talk to a guy that was 30 miles to my east. I couldn’t hear the guy that was to my east.

    At the same time a guy about 20 miles south of me was on the repeater and he might as well have been in the same room as me when we were talking.

    Now I don’t have my good antenna up and I’m using a mobile mag mount for 146.520 mhz fm and 52.525 mhz fm.

    #10729

    Stocker
    Participant

    Awesome, you beat me to making this thread. Thought I’d post a pic of what I got in my rig.
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]666[/ATTACH]

    #10730

    Stocker
    Participant

    Ofcourse it had to come in sideways huh! Well just flip your pc monitor 45 degrees to the right to get the full effect.

    #10721

    PhilTheBiker
    Moderator

    @stocker 7467 wrote:

    Ofcourse it had to come in sideways huh! Well just flip your pc monitor 45 degrees to the right to get the full effect.

    Nice mobile setup!

    #10722

    PhilTheBiker
    Moderator

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]691[/ATTACH]

    The two hand helds are FRS/GMRS radios (0.5 watts), the hand held on the right is an ICOM W32A (5 watts) that supports 70cm/2meter (440mhz/144mhz). The remote head is to my Kenwood D700A (50 watts) 70cm/2meter (440mhz/144mhz). The Kenwood can be setup as a ‘cross band’ repeater so if I needed to walk around with my hand held I could transmit on the 440mhz band and it would rebroadcast it to the 144mhz band at 50 watts with a better antenna. The D700 also supports something called ‘APRS’, aka, Automatic Position Reporting System. Essentially packet radio that will transmit it’s location to other ham radio operators as well as ‘text’ messages. Think Google Latitude but you do not need the internet (however people have applications that put the data that has been heard onto the internet, see http://www.openaprs.org ).

    What does this mean? Well, i can hand someone that is unlicensed an FRS radio during an emergency, they can talk to me, and I can then pass on the word to 911 over the ham radio on licensed frequencies. When would I do something like this? How about the hurricane that is heading for my back yard in the next day or two.

    I have two more FRS radios, I could only find 3 of the 4 and obviously 1 is not in the picture above.

    #10723

    PhilTheBiker
    Moderator

    Ok, update here. Now that I’ve moved I finally got all of my equipment setup.

    Top left is the kenwood d700 (VHF 144mhz – 148mhz / UHF 420mhz – 450mhz). The detached face plate is the bottom left. The radio is currently connected to the motorcycle battery, for now.
    Left middle is an IC-706 HF radio (1.8mhz to 148mhz) – . I haven’t been able to get the antenna to work very well so I’m still in ‘setup’ mode. But I’ve heard stations.
    Bottom left behind the face plate is the power supply connected to the IC-706 HF radio.

    The two handhelds on the right are Baofeng UV-5RA hand held. These are VHF / UHF radios just like the kenwood above except they can transmit in a much larger range than I’m authorized to transmit on as a ham radio operator. (136mhz – 174mhz / 400mhz – 480mhz). Technically they can transmit on FRS and GMRS frequencies but doing so is a violation of the FCC rules.

    At some point I plan on getting a second power supply so I do not need to use a battery. But in the mean time, I have battery backup communications 🙂

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]1562[/ATTACH]

    #10726

    JulioTheSavage
    Moderator

    I wish I could contribute but sadly I lacking in the communication department . I only have a set of 2 way radios with NOAA.

    #10724

    PhilTheBiker
    Moderator

    @juliothesavage 14611 wrote:

    I wish I could contribute but sadly I lacking in the communication department . I only have a set of 2 way radios with NOAA.

    Everyone starts someplace! Years ago I had a crystal cb walkie talkie radio. Don’t ever remember what happened to it. And when growing up my parents bought me these small hand held toy walkie talkies that didn’t work for more than 50 feet. Communications is important. I made a contact on my ham radio over 350 miles away yesterday on my HF radio to Indianapolis and then a 180+ mile contact to Springfield VA from my location north of Pittsburgh PA. I was thrilled!

    #10719

    TeknaBuzz
    Keymaster

    A few weeks ago our Nextel’s at work stopped working due to the death of Nextel network which my company was completely unprepared for so for a few days we had to use the 2 way Motorolla radios and they’re really not very reliable for constant use. Now we have multi channel radios very similar to what some police and fire departments still use and they’re ok but the disadvantage versus our nextels is now everybody on the same channel can hear what you say. Sometimes at work we want to report things to our immediate supervisor without letting the entire project management know what’s going on.

    #10727

    JulioTheSavage
    Moderator

    Hey Phil are there any reasonably priced hand helds that you would recommend? Some of the guys I’ve been training with use the Baofeng that you mentioned in the earlier post. Is that an ok model or would you recommend another?

    #10725

    PhilTheBiker
    Moderator

    Let me make a few quick statements up front and you decide.

    The problem with Baofeng is that unless you have an amateur license or can not legally use them. They may not even be legal for commercial use.

    That said.

    Baofengs can technically be FRS and GMRS frequencies. Just remember, because they are not compliant they are not legal to transmit on those frequencies. Also remember, that GMRS frequencies require a $80 FCC license. Now that fee includes everyone in your home.

    Next Baofengs can transmit and receive on frequencies that are used by a number of agencies. You can talk to that cruise ship that is going by. Here is a frequency chart. You can listen to NOAA weather alerts and in some areas you can listen to fire, police, ambulance and such. In my area some of the agencies have moved to an 800mhz band which the baofeng does not pick up.

    Is the Baofeng a good radio?
    The Baofeng has a max output of about 4 watts. It transmit line of sight. The 400mhz band will work better through buildings and walls, but again, it is line of sign. The antenna that comes with the Baofeng is mediocre. It functions. I used a mag mount antenna on the roof of my pickup truck for about 6 months with this radio and I was able to transmit and talk with people without the use of a repeater 80 miles away on max power. Now that person WAS on top of a 3,000 foot mountain and I am in a valley. In general I have had good range with my radio with that external antenna. The stock antenna would never have given me that range.

    The Baofengs are hard to program. I actually purchased a programming cable so that I can setup my Baofeng.

    Is there a better radio?
    That all depends on what you want to do.

    My opinion. Get an amateur radio license. The license cost less than $20 and about 6 hours of your time. Have your friends do the same. Then you are completely legal. There are TONS of frequencies that a Baofeng can use that no one is ever on so you will never have interference. And where you are there are repeater systems that will let you talk from Richmond to Baltimore and from DC to Frederick.

    How to get licensed?
    The best way is to find a class. That way you learn the material. The QUICK way is to
    1. Download, read every single question and answer (I never read the wrong answers, only the correct answers so they get embedded in my brain). There are only like 400 questions, so memorize as many as you can you need to get 26 out of 35 correct to pass. Here are the questions: July 1 2014 license pool and here are the graphics (three figures) that go with the questions: Figures 1 – 3

    2. take the online practice tests, for abut 2 – 3 hours or until you get about 80% each time. Use the various websites to get different feelings of how the questions are. Now, unfortunately, on July 1 the question pool changed and the online exams have not all been updated. So keep checking these websites. However, I have a feeling most of the questions and answers are the same. The first link HAS the current exam questions, the other links are the old test
    New test
    HamExam.org: Free Amateur Radio Practice Tests with Flash Cards
    Old test, but should have updates soon
    Practice Amateur Radio Exams by QRZ.COM
    eHam.net Ham Radio Practice Exams

    3. Find some place to take your test. First, what do you need to bring to your exam? Read this link: What to Bring to an Exam Session
    Find your exam: Find an Amateur Radio License Exam in Your Area

    After a few days your information will show up in the FCC license database. You are good to go. For my General exam (next up from tech) I literally studied for 4 hours just by reading every question and answer, then took the practice exam over and over again. Took a 3 hour break, showed up at the exam location and took the test the same day. It’s not hard. From that point you can get involved with emergency communications with the Maryland ARRL RACES and ARES program

    the technician class license allows a certain frequency band that will let you talk on HF. The 10 meter band (28 mhz). I talked to a guy in Guam from Western PA on that frequency, but only when conditions are just right. Other than that, the technician license allows you up to 1500 watts of output power. You can basically put out enough power to talk through a mountain with that many watts!

    #10728

    JulioTheSavage
    Moderator

    Thanks Phil, much appreciated. You answered all my questions.

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