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Old 08-18-2014, 1:08 PM
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Default Hand held operation in cars

I have 2 different handheld radios and once i start my car if tuned in to a local repeater they are sometimes inop and wont transmit. Other times they just pick up a lot of static. The car has bluetooth and satellite radio, would that interfere?
Is there a good option for a mobile radio if i don't want to install and hardwire a radio in yet?
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Old 08-18-2014, 1:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kd9bku View Post
I have 2 different handheld radios and once i start my car if tuned in to a local repeater they are sometimes inop and wont transmit. Other times they just pick up a lot of static. The car has bluetooth and satellite radio, would that interfere?

Is there a good option for a mobile radio if i don't want to install and hardwire a radio in yet?

Get a mag mount antenna... Cars are like faraday cages when operating on 2m & 1.25m the openings are less than a wave length, therefore on receive and transmit the signals are heavily attenuated.
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Old 08-18-2014, 2:29 PM
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There are a lot of vehicles that have gone to mobile area networks to link their systems together. Some vehicles are very "noisy" because the different components not only have microprocessors, but they all communicate with each other. I've been told by several independent sources that Dodge Charger police package vehicles will have so much noise that even a mobile radio with an outside antenna will have a noisefloor (a baseline value of electromagnetic energy noise that has to be overcome before you can extract anything useful) that is very high and would require many more sites than other manufacturer/models/years vehicles.

I don't know for sure if that is what you're experiencing, but keep it in the back of your mind if your equipment works in other vehicles, but not that one.
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Old 08-18-2014, 2:54 PM
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I'll kind of echo what's already been said here.

First thing to learn is that a handheld radio (with the included "rubber duck" antenna") is for VERY short range communications. Unless you're a few miles from the repeater, you may hit the repeater but you'll be very noisy. And no one wants to talk to someone with a bunch of static in their signal Any notion or idea that may be in your head that an HT is all you need, you should take that idea and forget it. Seriously. Don't even think about it. Now that we've got that out of the way...

As said above, at minimum, you'll want a mobile antenna. A mag mount is a good place to start if you're just testing it out, but a permanently mounted, drilled NMO mount will give you the best performance.

While you can certainly run a handheld "mobile" with an external antenna (and maybe even an amplifier) you'll be much happier with a true mobile radio. Handheld receivers can easily overload with an external antenna attached, if you're in a high RF environment. A mobile radio has a much better front end that will overcome some of the noise.

As for what radio, that depends on your operating style and budget. If you only need 2 Meters, Kenwood and Yaesu both make a 2 Meter mobile that's around the $150 mark. If you need to go dual band (2m/70cm) that will set you back a little bit more.

You don't *have* to permanently mount the mobile radio, if you're not ready for that. The hardest part will be getting the power cable from the inside of the car to the battery. Once you do that, you can probably sit the radio in the passenger seat or floorboard for temporary use. One thing to remember, it's never a good idea to wedge the radio between the center console and seat! The radio needs room to circulate air over the heatsink, otherwise you may damage your radio due to overheating.

When you're ready, mounting the radio can be easy or can be difficult depending on the car. Most modern VHF/UHF radios have optional remote mounting kits that allow you to mount the radio transceiver under the seat or in the trunk, and have the control panel mounted somewhere on the dash.

Have fun, and good luck!
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Old 08-18-2014, 3:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kd9bku View Post
Is there a good option for a mobile radio if i don't want to install and hardwire a radio in yet?
I recently picked up a Kenwood TM-281A at HRO for $137 shipped free.
You can hardly beat that price for a new 2m mobile.
I really like it and I get great signal reports.

http://www.kenwoodusa.com/communicat...obiles/tm-281a

Tell me what year/make/model of noisemobile you have so I never buy one. LOL
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Old 08-18-2014, 3:55 PM
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Has anyone determined what causes the interference from the car? (Old car in my situation).

Mine doesnt have Bluetooth or Satellite, but put a radio in the right spot and scan 142MHz to 162MHz and it will always pick up static.

I created a thread to find a magnet mount antenna to try to hopefully fix the car-radio-interference.
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Old 08-18-2014, 4:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikepdx View Post
I recently picked up a Kenwood TM-281A at HRO for $137 shipped free.
You can hardly beat that price for a new 2m mobile.
I really like it and I get great signal reports.

Kenwood - tm-281a

Tell me what year/make/model of noisemobile you have so I never buy one. LOL
Just wanted to say that I also bought one of these TM-281A radios (you can get them from a few places). I think it works very, very nicely. It's small, can be operated in high power, and has a wide, sensitive VHF receiver that can go from under 2 meters up to 174 MHz (won't do airband AM, though). A few of us on the forums have them and no one seems to have had any problems.
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Old 08-18-2014, 7:33 PM
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Sparkplugs, alternators fans, and onboard computers can all cause RFI.
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Old 08-18-2014, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kd9bku View Post
I have 2 different handheld radios and once i start my car if tuned in to a local repeater they are sometimes inop and wont transmit. Other times they just pick up a lot of static. The car has bluetooth and satellite radio, would that interfere?
Is there a good option for a mobile radio if i don't want to install and hardwire a radio in yet?
I've used HT's and mobiles in a variety of vehicles after getting my Tech/General in 1986. HT's more recently because of car design. Sometimes with a duck, really doesn't work well, mostly with an external antenna.
You haven't stated what the manufacturer of the radios are. I've used Yaesu, Kenwoods, and Icom. The one most recently used is an Icom 80AD.
Let us know what radios you have, and maybe a better answer to your questions can be given.
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Old 08-19-2014, 8:33 AM
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone!
My radios are Yaesu VX 6R and a Baofeng UV 5R
The Kenwood TM 281 A sounds like a good deal.
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Old 08-19-2014, 1:16 PM
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I'll second, third, and forth the Kenwood TM-281. I have one and it's a trooper. Very good receiver, very good transmit audio, very loud front facing speaker, high power output, and rock solid.

My only complaints on the radio are two: 1) Only two power settings: 25W and 65W. Can be adjusted in the service menu to a lower output, but it would have been nice if they had added a 5W low setting. 2) On high power it gets "fry an egg" hot. It has a good heatsink, but could have used a fan to move some of the heat off of the radio.

I've never had any issues with it overheating, and I've had some long conversations on High power with it. So I'm guessing it was built with heat dissipation in mind.
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Old 08-19-2014, 5:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WB4CS View Post
I'll second, third, and forth the Kenwood TM-281. I have one and it's a trooper. Very good receiver, very good transmit audio, very loud front facing speaker, high power output, and rock solid.

My only complaints on the radio are two: 1) Only two power settings: 25W and 65W. Can be adjusted in the service menu to a lower output, but it would have been nice if they had added a 5W low setting. 2) On high power it gets "fry an egg" hot. It has a good heatsink, but could have used a fan to move some of the heat off of the radio.

I've never had any issues with it overheating, and I've had some long conversations on High power with it. So I'm guessing it was built with heat dissipation in mind.
I use one for a base station. I agree with your assessment pretty much, though 70cm would have been nice, but then it's a lot cheaper than the dual band options.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kd9bku View Post
I have 2 different handheld radios and once i start my car if tuned in to a local repeater they are sometimes inop and wont transmit. Other times they just pick up a lot of static. The car has bluetooth and satellite radio, would that interfere?
Is there a good option for a mobile radio if i don't want to install and hardwire a radio in yet?
Not sure why it won't transmit. That should have nothing to do with interference on less the transmit lock out is on. Handhelds are best for monitoring, but subject to the interference as everyone has commented on.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:53 PM
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Does the VX-6R allow you to go into AM mode on the frequencies you have static on? If so put it there and walk and wave it around the car watching the S-meter on the bottom, when it gets stronger pay attention to things 90 degrees from the antenna on the radio. It should help you locate if there's something loose in the 12v socket or if the spark plugs are the cause or a connection is bad somewhere or if there's just an on board computer or your ac fan putting out static. I once has some spark plugs that rust was forming between the plug and the cable, once I had a new distributor, wires and plugs, the noise floor was much lower on my car. Getting into radio you'll learn the value of good electrical connections.

Bluetooth and Satelite radio shouldn't interfere all that much. But I wouldn't say it's impossible. My experience has been they generally play pretty well compared to some other devices.

I'd also say verify it's not a range/dead spot issue, if you have a parking lot or street parking where these issues are occurring does it go away if you step outside the vehicle or are you out of range of the repeater or in the shadow of a building (or I suppose Noblesville does have a few small hills)? Do you have tinted windows? Some aftermarket tints have metal in the mixture, that can enhance the metal cage effect of the car.

Are the radios not transmitting or are they just no longer able to reach the repeater? If two radios are in the car can the one in the back seat not hear the one in the front seat with both on low power? (Usually takes a mobile radio but sometimes they can over load nearby radios and you miss that, and if it's not in repeater range I could see it seeming like it's not getting out at all).

A good mobile setup will pay dividends in signal range ability to participate and ultimately increased enjoyment of the hobby. I have a friend that the last time I rode with him he had a FT-1900 wedged between the seat and console of his explorer, attached to a thru glass antenna on the rear window (for the serious guys out there it was just making 2m rag chew easier when the cross band repeater was setup for the HTs or busy doubling as a scanner). They're also running $134 for the radio. I just pulled a FT7800 (old Yaesu ft7900 basically) out of my car; I used the remote head and separation kit (that was a freebie for the going deal at the time) and zip-tied the head to an OEM wire frame cupholder. The radio was bolted with the bracket it came with to the cover for the cabin air filter access, which if I didn't like the holes and wanted replacement runs about $70, but they're somewhere I don't have to see them and a little electrical tape and I don't hear the air pass through the holes with the radio out. So even if it's a lease or new car or small car, if you get creative (and make sure you attach securely in safe locations so in the event of airbag or accident nothing is breaking loose or at risk of beinglaunched into an occupant) you can find place to tuck things in. I found it helped to sit with the radio in the car for probably 20min trying different locations and methods before deciding where to install. I also had the head as part of the dash for a bit of time but attaching it to the bottom and keeping with no holes left the screen in a hard to read angle, but the install looked almost as though it was from the factory.

If you go with a mag mount antenna I'd suggest getting a NMO or SO239 mag base then an antenna to match up with it. Down the road should you decide to drill or put a lip mount on, you'll already have half of the equation accounted for with the antenna, and just be swapping out feed line. I also as part of the install I just removed, had the factory AM antenna removed, put a NMO mount in its place, put an SSB-2 there and it was actually shorter than the factory AM antenna and used the existing hole, no drilling required. Again keeping the look as factory-ish as possible, and not drawing excess attention from thieves. Heck most car club owners wouldn't catch it unless I told them, and other hams thought I just had the plates and no mobile rig. Best of all the FM antenna was integrated into the glass on a rear window so I didn't have to give up any music on that end (just the AM band coverage, but if I want to hear AM chatter I'll turn on an HF rig). I have an NMObase mag mount so when in other vehicles (YL's car for instance) with just my HT I can pull a corresponding NMO antenna and with a few adapters have great performance on the HT. Antennas before radios (google QRP DX to see what less than 5 watts can do with good antennae), but you'll likely see a big gain in radio performance going from 5 to 50 watts and a decent 1/4 or 1/2 wave antenna (avoid the little ones that are appealing by size and claim high gain, they are made to work with network of sites to support them). Don't forget to pick up an SWR tuner to make sure your antenna is setup properly.
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