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Old 04-12-2011, 11:03 PM
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Default Opinions on dual band mobiles

Hello. I'm looking for everyones opinions, pros and cons of dual band (2m/70cm) 50 watt mobile transceivers. I'm getting ready to buy, and i've found both good and bad reviews, so i'm looking for your opinions and personal experiences with Kenwood, Icom, Alinco, and Yaesu mobiles. Thanks for your time.
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Old 04-13-2011, 7:40 AM
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I have kenwood and yaesu dual banders. I do a lot of long distance traveling so a lot of memory channels was high on the requirements for me. The Yaesu has been a good radio, I can't find anything to complain about with it. The new version would be the 7900.

The kenwoods on the other hand. I really like the functions and features of the radios. However, my 710 quit receiving on the (B) side, out of warranty. So, I'll have to pay to get it fixed one of these days. After some research I found this is not an uncommon problem. My 71a, great radio, except less than 6 months after getting it, it started randomly keying up on its own. sometimes I could power cycle and it would be ok other times I had to shut it off for the day. That was fixed under warranty, but I was without a radio for a while.

So, I really like the kenwood's features, but I have to seriously question the quality control. I looked at alinco, but they didn't have enough memories for me. I considered the Icom ID-880 but don't really need D-star. If I had to buy a new radio today, it would most likely be a yaesu 8800 or 8900. I want the cross-band repeat capability and the high memory capacity.

Also, check out eHam.net Reviews if you haven't already. There are hundreds if not thousands of reviews of different radios on there.

Jeff S.
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Old 04-13-2011, 8:27 AM
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Opinions on this are going to be pretty much like asking if someone prefers a ford or chevy.

However, since you asked I prefer the Icom or Kenwood models. I have never had a good
experience with Yaesu models and the service dept out in CA was awful.
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Old 04-13-2011, 9:14 AM
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I favor Kenwood radios, had a lot of them. Nothing wrong with the Yaesu's, I just don't like their programming. Never owned an Icom so can't really give na opinion about them. I would suggest picking one that you don't mind the programming 'style', and that at least is easy to listen to. Most of the late models are approximately 'equal' in abilities depending on what you are interested in.
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Old 04-13-2011, 9:17 AM
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I like the Kenwood TM-V71A. It's easy to learn, easy to use and performs excellent both mobile and as a base. The audio from the internal speaker leaves a litttle to be desired, a nice motorola external speaker takes care of that. I haven't had any issues with mine yet, I have two of them. Nice rig imo.
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Old 04-13-2011, 5:29 PM
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It all depends what you want to do with it. The Yaesu FT-7900 is an excellent, basic dual-band radio. Nice big display and backlit buttons. I have a TM-V71A and am really happy with it. It offers dual receive and crossband repeat.

As far as the low audio from the internal speaker I use a KES-4 and i have lots of audio now!
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Old 04-13-2011, 6:22 PM
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I'll give another vote for the Kenwood TM-V71A. That's what I have and I love it.

In fact, today I made a QSO with a station in Ohio through the AO-51 satellite using my TM-V71A and an Arrow J-Pole mounted in my attic!
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Old 04-14-2011, 3:17 AM
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Thanks for the input. I think i might just go with a Yaesu, since i have the FT-60R, just for the similarities in the programming so i don't have to thumb through manuals for different radios all the time. I've already got the hang of the HT functions, since i purchased it beforehand to familiarize myself with it.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparks40 View Post
Thanks for the input. I think i might just go with a Yaesu, since i have the FT-60R, just for the similarities in the programming so I don't have to thumb through manuals for different radios all the time. I've already got the hang of the HT functions, since I purchased it beforehand to familiarize myself with it.
I second the Yaesu mobiles, If you have RT Systems Ver. 4 Software for the ft-60 and the Ver. 4 software for the mobile you can easily move stuff from one profile to the other. I have an ft-8800 , a ft-170 and a ft-277 and have used both monobanders files to create my 8800 profile. An external speaker is required, as the internal speaker sucks, but that seems to be par for the course for modern ham rigs.
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Old 04-14-2011, 1:03 PM
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Maybe I'm wrong, but aren't the 8800 and the 8900 a little long in the tooth? Haven't the both been around for about ten years? I'm betting Yaesu will replace them with new models soon.
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Old 04-14-2011, 1:09 PM
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Hands down the 7800/7900s by Yaesu. I own the 7900R and have used both. For a plug and play radio, it can't be beat. Real slim, stays real cool under the seat operating at full power. If you get it new from most places, they'll send the separation kit. Programming with the software is a cinch, and hand programming can become second nature.
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Old 04-14-2011, 1:52 PM
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If you have not committed to a radio when you get this, hold on for a while and take a look at the Icom 208 dualbander. I've run three of them for more than five years with never a problem or glitch. They have a single display rather than a dual display and they work only one band at a time, but they also tune Aircraft, Ham, PS, 300 to 540 mHz, and 900 mHz ham.
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Old 04-14-2011, 4:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulsan View Post
Maybe I'm wrong, but aren't the 8800 and the 8900 a little long in the tooth? Haven't the both been around for about ten years? I'm betting Yaesu will replace them with new models soon.
They may be older models, but the fact that they are still making them says something about these radios.
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Old 04-14-2011, 5:04 PM
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Over the last 25 years, I have owned dualband radios from all the big companies. Whichever I bought at the time I thought was the best available from anybody. I've always had a dual display radio since they first came out. Right now I have 3 Icom 2720's, because I feel they are the best. When I bought them, the Yaesu 8800 was also out, but the buttons weren't backlit, so I passed on it. I realize the 2820 is out now, but I'm not into D-star, so I'm sticking to the 2720. When they were available, the Standard radios were absolutely the best, but also the most expensive. No intermod, even in downtown Miami. I have not been to downtown Miami since I've owned the 2720's, but between West Palm Beach, & Ft. Lauderdale, they have been fine. GARY N4KVE
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Old 04-15-2011, 7:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayn1n32008 View Post
They may be older models, but the fact that they are still making them says something about these radios.
I would agree, and they are very popular. However my point is that I believe that they will be replaced soon. I don't know that for sure, but considering their age I believe it to be true.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:35 AM
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Default Opinion on dual-band mobiles

I second the previous post about wanting lots of channels. I have had Yaesu 7800's and they have the remote head, 1000 channels and the quality is very good build wise. Also their dual-band the current 7900R is the best price of any of the big 3 if money is an object to your decision. Bear in mind that many have their own likes and dis-likes. Icom lovers, Yaesu, Kenwood or Alinco. Try to play with each at HRO or your nearby ham store yourself and see what is right for you.


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Old 04-15-2011, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danesgs View Post
I second the previous post about wanting lots of channels. I have had Yaesu 7800's and they have the remote head, 1000 channels and the quality is very good build wise. Also their dual-band the current 7900R is the best price of any of the big 3 if money is an object to your decision. Bear in mind that many have their own likes and dis-likes. Icom lovers, Yaesu, Kenwood or Alinco. Try to play with each at HRO or your nearby ham store yourself and see what is right for you.


KJ4DGE
I'm still kind of leaning toward a Yaesu, just to keep things somewhat consistent between the mobile rig i purchase and the HT i already own, but i don't feel it's an absolute necessity. Just getting ready to start out, i have a lot of choices to make for my first mobile. I'm in northern Illinois, and the closest ham store is AES in Milwaukee, WI. I'm going to take a trip up there so i can actually get my hands on some rigs and maybe try before i buy. I'm in no rush. I still have the Azden 2M rig to use, and my FT60. My biggest issue is antennas right now. I didn't want to do any drilling on my truck, and i have about 3" of clearance going into the garage, so i figured a mag mount was the way to go. I had already picked up a Workman ANT58 for the Azden rig, and i just bought a Diamond MR77 for both the dual band capability and the lower profile. I've been researching various mounting options, but haven't been able to find one to suit my needs in regard to a permanent mount. I would assume that the best place to mount an antenna would be the roof, but would i sacrifice much performance wise if i mounted it on the side rail at the front corner of the bed right behind the cab? This would leave me plenty of cable, and i could leave the antenna in place when pulling into the garage. Thoughts, opinions?
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:47 PM
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V71A is my choose of dual band mobiles. I love mine. Easy to learn how to use it. I have had a Icom 2340H that I purchased in 1986 that I just sold about 3 weeks ago. Still working and sounding good. I have a Icom 2200H that I have had for a while that is a work horse. single bander. You will not go wrong with the V71A.
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Old 04-15-2011, 7:04 PM
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I like the FTM-350AR but it is expensive.
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Old 04-18-2011, 10:39 PM
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Sparks -

I have owned several different Yaesu dual-band radios and each of them were good radios and easy to use.

Personally, I don't care much for the Icom FM radios (but I love their HF line). I find their programming to be counter-intuitive and confusing. Your mileage may vary.

My currently preferred dual-band radio is the Kenwood TM-V71a.... True dual-band, good display, remote head capability, cross-band repeat, commercial-style mic, 1000 memories, group scan, wide frequency coverage, and a reasonable price to boot. I have owned two of them for the last 2-3 years.

The above notwithstanding, I think as long as you stay with a radio from the "big three", you'll likely be fine. To a certain extent, your preferences develop because of what you're used to.

73 and congrats on your new ticket.

John
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