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Ham Radio??

I'm working on getting my ham license and I've been looking at all the different radios out there...Any advice on what brands are better than others?? I am liking the Yeasu....Any comments on that brand? What are the pro's and cons of a dual band over a single band? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
My main/'base' Ham gear is a Kenwood (10 -160m). But my mobile unit is a Yaesu FT-8800 2m/70cm rig. If you are new to it; I recommend getting a simple radio that won't confuse you with all of its bells and whistles. Like I said; I have the 8800 but the 7900 is just fine and saves a bit of money too. The new Wouxun KG-UV920R is as decent a radio as the Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood - and cost much less. If I had to buy a new radio - I would spend my money there - and get a lot more radio for far less money spent.
Something to consider - IMO . . .
 
You are pretty much good with any of the brands....I wouldn't worry too much about brand. Think type, cost, features, etc. If you go dual band...make sure it's the FULL dual receive. The current Yaseu (7800R) is dual band, but not with dual receive. I'm probably gonna sell mine so I can eventually get another Icom IC 2720 (my old one burned up in an autofire I had a few years back). If I had the cash though...I'd get the top of the line Kenwood though. When money is no object...that is the way to go.
 
Pretty much all of the offerings from YaeComWood are solid. You really can't go wrong with any of them. Definitely go dual-band. It increases your options for not too much money. The higher end ones are dual-receive, but when you really think about it, it's not that bad. I know I find myself turning down the volume on one side so I can hear the person on the other side constantly. That said, I'm a feature junkie, so I went for the big boy. I have a Yaesu FTM-350R. Goes for about $550, but I got a great deal on it from a guy on QRZ - $450 INCLUDING the internal GPS module (that's a $100 addon). I am in love with any radio that has a full dot-matrix display versus the regular fixed numeric/alphanumerics. It makes operating the radio and changing settings much more intuitive, and the alpha-tagging makes keeping track of frequencies easier. Of course you get to know the ones you use regularly, but get enough frequencies in there that you don't use that often and you're going to start forgetting which one is which.

The one that is out now is called the FTM-350AR, but by all means try to find a 350R version on the secondary market. With a firmware update it does everything the AR does. The only thing I was disappointed with in the 350R is the head mounting "device" (it's a suction cup, which is pretty much useless for dash mounting). They supposedly include a much better mount in the 350AR, but I just used a piece of scrap steel to make my own anyway.

Oh, and since you haven't taken your exam yet, study up for the General exam while you're at it. If you ace the Tech exam, the VE will offer you the General exam at no additional charge. I missed passing the General by one question, and I didn't study for it. Had I known I could take it, I damn well would've read up! :D But now at some point I have to make time to make the 2 hour drive to the test site to take it again.

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The new Wouxun KG-UV920R is as decent a radio as the Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood - and cost much less. If I had to buy a new radio - I would spend my money there - and get a lot more radio for far less money spent.
Something to consider - IMO . . .

Unfortunately the Wouxun mobile isn't available yet. It's even been suggested that it is vaporware and will never hit the market. I have a KG-UVD2P that I ordered direct from China before the Part 90 models came out, but even that distributor doesn't have them. It's a shame because it looks like a nice rig and the suggested price is fantastic and I want one to use at home.
 
In my view Yaesu is better for HF work than other brands. I operated yaesu for years and was very pleased with the results. For a 2 meter rig I like Icom over other brands . I operate the Icom 2200H out in the field and it is a very durable rig.
 
I have a Kenwood TM271A VHF 65w mobile in my car with a dual band Comet 1/4 wave antenna attached to an NMO trunk lip antenna mount.

I also have a HT1250 (VHF/UHF/Low Band) portable w/ adapters to attach to my vehicle antenna.

Don't worry so much about antenna size, my 1/4 wave on low power hits repeaters over 15 miles away. On high power I can get easily get 35 miles to the to Chicago repeaters. Car-2-Car (Simplex) I get about 3-5 miles on high power and a 1-3 miles on low power.
 
You are pretty much good with any of the brands....I wouldn't worry too much about brand. Think type, cost, features, etc. If you go dual band...make sure it's the FULL dual receive. The current Yaseu (7800R) is dual band, but not with dual receive. I'm probably gonna sell mine so I can eventually get another Icom IC 2720 (my old one burned up in an autofire I had a few years back). If I had the cash though...I'd get the top of the line Kenwood though. When money is no object...that is the way to go.
Icom V8000 is one of the most cost effective dual band quality mobiles on the market. I would have definitely picked one up, but I am cheap and I got a brand new Kenwood TM271 a steal for $120, win! lol
 
I love my Yaesu 8900R. Its a quad bander with dual receive. It only cost me an extra 25-30 dollars over the dual bander plus you have the ability for cross band repeat. You may not have use for that though but I like having more than I need.

2 meter and 70cm are your most common you will use so a dual band radio will suit you fine. Brand is personal preference but I have had the best reliability from Yaesu.
 
It might be a good idea to think about how you will use a radio. Will it be for chase season only? The manufacturers keep coming out with more features that add to operating complexity. If you don't plan on using it through the off season, you may find a simple radio will do the job for you.

One thing you don't want to skimp on is the antenna. Look for high gain, then read through the reviews on eham.net.
 
It might be a good idea to think about how you will use a radio. Will it be for chase season only? The manufacturers keep coming out with more features that add to operating complexity. If you don't plan on using it through the off season, you may find a simple radio will do the job for you.

One thing you don't want to skimp on is the antenna. Look for high gain, then read through the reviews on eham.net.
I agree with 100% of that. Some of these radios have too many features and makes them anything but simple to use and understand. Start out simple is very fair advice. Also, the antenna is the heart of receive and transmit. Not the place to be trying to save a dollar. The better the antenna; the better off you will be with it. I would rather spend a modest amount of money of the radio; but spare no expense for the antenna.
 
Icom V8000 is one of the most cost effective dual band quality mobiles on the market. I would have definitely picked one up, but I am cheap and I got a brand new Kenwood TM271 a steal for $120, win! lol
I loved my 251...a two model run prior version. Non-existent on the used market I certainly would go for one again. If not much different than the 251/261 models...I would say the 271 is another one that is probably the most solid single band mobiles out there. I've had mine chasing since 1997, bicycle mobile (lots of vibration), VHF contesting, portable (with a H.Duty fanny/hiking pack & gel cell battery) and more. Very solid radio. In fact, a few years ago the power output started going down, so I bought a part radio to fix the problem (still hadn't done it), I still got $50 for the pair by someone who knew how to do the work. Not bad for a semi-working radio.
 
If you decide on a single band radio, the Icom 2200H is a good one. It is simple to use and includes 65 watts on full power rather than the usual 50 of most other radios.

And like others have said, a good antenna is very important. (Location for mounting is key. Grounding too.)
 
My husband and I are looking into a dual band mobile radio. Are there any recommendations for one that is GPS compatible? We were looking at a Kenwood D710 but I am not sure if there is anything better/cheaper for beginners.
 
My husband and I are looking into a dual band mobile radio. Are there any recommendations for one that is GPS compatible? We were looking at a Kenwood D710 but I am not sure if there is anything better/cheaper for beginners.
That is where Kenwood exceeds the rest. Go for the 710
 
If you want a radio that works "no matter what" look at surplus Motorola Spectras. I have several 110 watt units that have been flawless. Can find at many hamfests in the several hundred dollar range despite the MSRP of $2500. Simple no frills control head that is hard to mess up in the heat of the chase. Downside is they must be pre-programmed. With 129 channels (modes in Motospeak) not too difficult to manage.

You will be hard pressed to find a mobile radio that consistently gets 5 of 5 stars by the actual owners on eHam.net.
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2996

If you want to be heard, get a good antenna and these babys will TALK. The receiver rejects intermod better than any ham rig that I have found.
 
One thing I would think about is what your local club and or Skywarn/ARES/RACES people are using, feature-wise. Get yourself communicating with them, then when you want to add features, there are more radios out there. Which is part of the fun of ham radio! My first radio was a Yaesu, from my dad for Christmas (he was so glad to have his techno geek eldest daughter get a license, lol!) so I am partial to them, but the best thing to do is consider with whom you will be communicating.
 
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