Best bang for your buck Motorola Ham Radio

hfdrick5488

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#1
Was thinking about purchasing a UHF and a VHF portable motorola brand for ham radio usage. Was hoping I could get some input as to which portable everyone recommends. I apologize if this is the wrong area for this post.
 
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#2
Which digital mode is in use in your area?

For DMR (MotoTrbo), the XPR series

For P25, the XTS series

If analog, there are several older models available but the newer XPR and XTS will still work better on Analog.
 
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#4
Waris series are probably your best bet.
HT-750
HT-1250.
Your choice, VHF or UHF.
HT-1250 is probably what you are looking for, plenty of channels to add the local repeaters plus a couple of simplex frequencies. It's got a fairly nice LCD display so you can alpha tag the channels easily.

Drawback with any Motorola gear is the cost of the programming software. Only legal source for anything modern, including the HT-1250, is direct from Motorola. It isn't cheap. Last time I purchased software for the Waris series it was somewhere around $250.
Plus, you need the radio specific cable. You can get after market.

There are other options, but you'd really need to give us a better idea of exactly what you are looking for, features you want, budget, vintage, and amount of the cool aid you are willing to drink.
 
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#5
If it's pure analog, HT1000, MTS2000, HT750, HT1250 are good performers. Or, you could go with something like a XTS or XPR and just use it in analog mode for now. I wouldn't worry about a older Motorola not talking as well as a newer one on analog. I'd worry about if it works and meets spec, and getting it programmed.
 
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#6
The MTS2000 is hard to beat. They are under $75 each, have 256 memory channels, & program with Windows CPS. Ribless programming cables are $25, & because the CPS is no longer sold by Motorola, it's freely available w/o breaking any copyright laws. Hard to beat.
 
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#8
As posted above, the HT1250 is a good choice for analog only. I assume you already know that you will be single band for any of the "affordable" options with Motorola.

My suggestion in your situation would be to get the XPR6500 series. These do DMR (MotoTrbo) which is rapidly expanding across the world with Amateur Radio. Go to DMR-MARC and see the list of DMR repeaters already in use. Even in the unlikely case that no one in your area puts one up, you are likely to find them as you travel.

Best of all, they are great on analog. They have great receive and transmit with both analog and DMR.
 
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#11
Important to keep in mind that the OP will want wide band FM analog for amateur work. More recent radios will not only require purchasing expensive software, but he'll also need the wide band entitlement key to give back 25KHz.
 
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#12
My extensive experiences with ALL of the major "legacy" Motorola radios makes me heavily favor the Saber (which is wideband only) or, even better, the Astro Saber. Which is usually both wide and narrowband, but as I recall it is possible to get one that isn't narrowbanded in options. (Not sure, it's been a while.)

If you get a good one and get new batteries for it, the only issue you have to contend with is knobs that tend to crumble at a certain age. (which, unfortunately, is right about....NOW. ) A creative person can work around the crumbly knob issue if you can't find spares. But I think Motorola still carries spares for the Astro Saber at least.

However, neither Sabers nor Astro Sabers are dual band. As has already been mentioned, the only multi-band Motorola portable that exists on the used market is the APX7000. (You're not going to find an APX8000, not likely for years if ever.) The APX7000 is ordered from the factory with any two of four band options: VHF, UHF low, UHF high, 700/800. You'd want a VHF/UHF-L (range 1) model to cover both VHF and UHF amateur bands. The UHF-H model starts at 450 MHz and I don't think you can drop it to 440.
 
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#14
Was thinking about purchasing a UHF and a VHF portable motorola brand for ham radio usage. Was hoping I could get some input as to which portable everyone recommends. I apologize if this is the wrong area for this post.
Not sure why you specifically want a Motorola. The problem is they are not Ham friendly. You need to buy the 300 dollar CPS software, then special permission key from motorola to allow 25khz and even that part is not easy, and there are plenty of DMR capable radios for better prices that offer free CPS and programming cable.
 
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#15
Was thinking about purchasing a UHF and a VHF portable.
Nowhere did the OP state he was looking for a dual band radio. Since the MTS2000 radio is older, it does wide, & narrow band w/o an EID. While the Saber is a great radio, it requires a DOS machine to program. The Astro Saber is a great radio too if the OP wants P25, & also uses a Windows machine like the MTS2000. And again, since Moto no longer sells CPS for the MTS2000, or Astro Saber, it's available for free with Moto's blessings.
 
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#16
Not sure why you specifically want a Motorola. The problem is they are not Ham friendly. You need to buy the 300 dollar CPS software, then special permission key from motorola to allow 25khz and even that part is not easy,
Lots of other manufacturers make solid gear. For what you find in the used market and unsupported there are much more modern and, IMHO, better quality. Kenwood makes solid gear, look at the TK-280/380 radios. The TKx80 portables offer 250 conventional channels, and 250 zones. The TK-2180/3180 offer 512 conventional channels and 128 zones. Both the TK-x80 and TK-x180 have companion mobiles that all use the same software for each model type. Vertex offers the VX-530 they have something like 512 channels and at least 32 zones. Even Icom has some decent equipment. The kenwood, vertex and Icom software is significantly easier to learn than the Motorola software. Cables for all those manufacturers are cheap on Ebay.

and there are plenty of DMR capable radios for better prices that offer free CPS and programming cable.

The OP stated he only wants analogue gear.
 
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#17
Was thinking about purchasing a UHF and a VHF portable motorola brand for ham radio usage. Was hoping I could get some input as to which portable everyone recommends. I apologize if this is the wrong area for this post.

Is there a particular reason you are set on Motorola gear? While software is out there, I find that Kenwood or Vertex is better bang for your buck than Motorola. Especially for anything currently supported. If it is not supported, then Kenwood is a much better bang for your buck. Better features, and just as durable.
 
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#18
Lots of great suggestions here. As Elroy said: Saber (my favorite) or Astro Saber, and as Gary said: Mt2000 (great radio also) I do really like the Waris line also (ht1250) but to throw another favorite into the ring: HT1550. A nice Moto Waris series radio, Ham friendly as it is front panel programmable with the correct (red) battery, lots of channels and I think wide/narrow switchable? (Experts chime in..) Pretty slick radio without dipping into the more expensive XTS line.
 
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#19
I'm one of those who really has no interest at all in any non-commercial gear. Kenwood, Icom, and Yaesu may make very good radios but I have always preferred my Motorolas to such an extent that I've never owned a Kenwood, Yaesu, or Icom radio for 2 meters for longer than it took me to sell it for a modest profit.

Despite the limitations and need to program Motorolas via their own unique software and cables, they're still really better radios. Radios made for public safety needs are loud, clear, and rugged. Radios made for hams are none of the above, at least, not to the same level.
 
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