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Amateur Radio Equipment - For general and technical discussion of Amateur Radio equipment such as transceivers, repeaters, controllers and receivers.

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Old 05-17-2017, 8:54 PM
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Default Looking to upgrade - suggestions?

I currently have a couple Baofeng GT-3's. I have a big rope-type antenna I can throw over a tree branch and get way up. Use primarily as yet another form of emergency communication while I'm out in the WY wilderness hunting Elk where there's no cell service.

I'm looking to upgrade to a better DMR handheld capable radio/terminal/receiver. Preferably Part 90/95/97 certified, as to legally hit HAM (70cm / 2m+), MURS, FRS, GMRS. Any suggestions. Brand doesn't matter. Been looking at Yaesu and Hytera, but specifications on their pages have a lot to be desired.

I would like to pair the above with a decent digital-capable mobile radio for my truck with the same or more capabilities. IE: Adding 6m & 10m bands, etc. Paired with a good effective antenna and tuner or matcher. Any suggestions here?

Would be nice if both were fully MOTOTRBO Tier I & 2 capable. The idea for me is to extend my capability to hit both analog and digital repeaters wherever I might be to get out emergency messages, as needed. And....to just hobby and play with, of course. Cheaper is better, as always....but I understand I get what I pay for and I'd really like to be legal in all realms.

Much appreciated.
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Old 05-17-2017, 9:03 PM
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Hi from Adam Kb2Jpd

Focus on analogue radio first. DMR radio will be the first to get a major hit whenever there is an emergency. Telephone and emergency traffic will be prototized first with DMR put on the back burner. More and more first responder networks are being implemented and during an emergency those packets along with essential communications will receive priority. Don't be surprised if Netflix goes down along with Hulu.

When Internet 2.0 is fully realized then you will see robust Internet traffic but right now the government is trying to figure out how to defeat wannacry.

Go analogue with newest dsp possible. If you want digital, Kenwood and some other manufacturers are coming out with multiple digital mode radios but their prices will be pricy until enough units hit the markets.

73 Kb2Jpd


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Old 05-17-2017, 9:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csocs_wolf View Post
I currently have a couple Baofeng GT-3's. I have a big rope-type antenna I can throw over a tree branch and get way up. Use primarily as yet another form of emergency communication while I'm out in the WY wilderness hunting Elk where there's no cell service.
HF, Satellite phone, etc are your best options if you are way off the grid. Relying on repeaters that may or may not be there isn't a good plan. If you are really out in the wilderness, a proper HF radio or satellite phone is the only reliable way to get communications in/out of the area.

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Originally Posted by csocs_wolf View Post
I'm looking to upgrade to a better DMR handheld capable radio/terminal/receiver. Preferably Part 90/95/97 certified, as to legally hit HAM (70cm / 2m+), MURS, FRS, GMRS.
You won't find a "part 97" certified radio. Part 97 does not require radio type certification.
Part 95, you'd have to be more specific. There are several individual radio services under Part 95.
MURS, specifically rule 95.655 prohibits a radio from being certified under MURS if it has frequencies in it that are anything other than the 5 MURS channels.
FRS currently only allows 0.5 watts and a non-removeable antenna, so having that in a radio severely limits what you can do legally.

While it is certainly possible to find radios that will do all this, you will not find a "legal" radio, or a legal way to run a radio, like that.

I think you need to narrow down your expectations a bit. Wanting a "do everything" radio and wanting it to be legal isn't going to work out very well.

If your needs are specifically aimed at personal safety, then HF amateur radio, a satellite phone or a personal locator beacon (PLB) would be a better investment. I always try to steer people to either a satellite phone or the PLB if there is a need for any sort of reliable emergency use. I use satellite phones at work and when I take off on my ATV through remote areas of far Northern California or Nevada, I always take a PLB. While we all carry several radios, the PLB is the one I'd rely on in a true emergency.

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Originally Posted by csocs_wolf View Post
I would like to pair the above with a decent digital-capable mobile radio for my truck with the same or more capabilities. IE: Adding 6m & 10m bands, etc. Paired with a good effective antenna and tuner or matcher. Any suggestions here?
Again, this is kind of a big list, and getting one radio that does all of it is either going to be very expensive ($5k and up) or you are going to need to carry several radios to do it all and do it all legally.

Again, HF might be a better solution looking at all the requirements you have. I'd even go as far as saying a really good single side band CB radio might be a good option IF you are not trying to cover huge distances. At least with that, you'd have a chance of making a random contact locally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csocs_wolf View Post
Would be nice if both were fully MOTOTRBO Tier I & 2 capable. The idea for me is to extend my capability to hit both analog and digital repeaters wherever I might be to get out emergency messages, as needed. And....to just hobby and play with, of course. Cheaper is better, as always....but I understand I get what I pay for and I'd really like to be legal in all realms.

Much appreciated.
MotoTrbo is specific to the Motorola brand. While it's DMR under the surface the trunking protocols are brand specific. Finding all you want from your list above AND a Motorola MotoTrbo radio just crossed the "impossible" line.
DMR can be had in single band hand held radios of high quality. If you are willing to go to cheaper gear, I think there is someone who makes a dual band DMR capable radio. You can get mobile radios that will do DMR and stack together to be controlled by a single control head, but again, you are getting into the thousands of dollars budget area.

While amateur radio use of DMR is growing in popularity, you would be MUCH better off sticking with just analog. There are far more analog amateur repeaters out there than there are DMR. Dropping the DMR requirement makes some of the requirements a bit easier to achieve. Wanting it all AND DMR is not going to be reasonably achieved. Not with one radio.

A good idea would be to take a close look at the specific areas where you hunt and then searching for amateur radio repeaters that cover that area. If there are ones that cover that area, then focus on those and find radios that will work on those frequencies. You shouldn't limit yourself to just a VHF or UHF amateur radio, there are -some- 6 meter and 10 meter repeaters, but they are rare.

A good multi band VHF/UHF portable amateur radio might be a good option. You can get ones that will do 6 meters, 2 meters and 70 centimeters. With a really good antenna and a bit of luck, you would probably be able to reach a repeater.

This isn't impossible, but you do need to consider the amount of money involved in meeting all these requirements. Some of what you are looking for is easy to do. Some of it is going to add greatly to the cost and complexity of the equipment you'll need.

Personally, I'd recommend getting a good dual band amateur hand held, a dual band mobile for your truck and a PLB to take out on your hunts. That should cover most of your needs and would be a reasonably priced solution.
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Old 05-17-2017, 9:57 PM
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Thanks for both replies. Exactly what I need to know!

I purposely added in way more than I "need" because I was thinking I don't want to be buying more stuff in a year when I decide I want more. I understand MURS and FRS are out....which was the least of my concerns.

Is HAM (70cm, 2m) + GRMS + DMR + "legal" achievable in a good quality (not Baofeng) handheld?
I understand from my searches HAM (70cm, 2m, 6m, & even 10m) is much easier obtained for my truck mobile. Just not sure who makes good quality rigs in this realm. Still a newbie.

I DO carry a sat phone & GPS while I'm out, as well.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csocs_wolf View Post
Thanks for both replies. Exactly what I need to know!

I purposely added in way more than I "need" because I was thinking I don't want to be buying more stuff in a year when I decide I want more. I understand MURS and FRS are out....which was the least of my concerns.

Is HAM (70cm, 2m) + GRMS + DMR + "legal" achievable in a good quality (not Baofeng) handheld?
I understand from my searches HAM (70cm, 2m, 6m, & even 10m) is much easier obtained for my truck mobile. Just not sure who makes good quality rigs in this realm. Still a newbie.
In a hand held?
Not sure. I think there are some lower end DMR/Analog radios that will do VHF and UHF, but I'm not in that market usually. I do know that most of that stuff is lower tier radios, mainly aimed at the hobby market.

Even a good dual band radio that's legal on GMRS is going to be difficult and/or expensive. In fact, I'm not sure if any of the dual band commercial portable radios have Part 95 certification. There certainly are multi-band portables that can be programmed there, and they would meet the specification. Still, it's going to be expensive.

You are in a common position. Your interests span a couple of areas, and finding suitable/legal equipment is difficult and very expensive. If money isn't an issue there are suitable radios from Motorola, Thales, probalby a few others.
If money is an issue, like most of us, then the choices are limited. Getting it all in one radio is expensive. The market for multi-band portable commercial/public safety grade radios is pretty new, believe it or not. The big players make them, but they are usually aimed at public safety users that have the benefit of federal grant funding or huge taxpayer bases.

You'd have better luck if you did two radios. Get a multi band amateur hand held, they make some that'll do 6, 2 and 70 for a few hundred bucks. On the mobile side, as you found, 10, 6, 2 and 70 are available from Yaesu. You could even go with one of the "all band" radios that covers HF, 6, 2 and 70CM. Reasonably priced, but the antennas get expensive.
Add in a separate GMRS radio to cover that, and you'd be in business.

It's a niche market. A lot of people want radios that will do all this stuff, but they tend to want it cheap. Since the public safety market is new, there are not a lot of used/reasonably priced radios on the market yet. Even some of the ex-military stuff that will fit your requirements is going to be expensive.
Since most of the market is amateur radio operators, the manufacturers stick with that market for the lower priced multi-band radios.

Quote:
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I DO carry a sat phone & GPS while I'm out, as well.
Excellent, that really improves your chance of rescue if things go sideways. Being able to call a human being and give exact GPS coordinates makes it easy for responders. Sounds like you are pretty well prepared and aware of the risks.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:59 PM
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Take a look at the Yaesu FT-817. It's a small 5 watt portable radio that will do HF, 10 meter, 6 meter, 2 meter and 70cm. It might be a good fit for the amateur side. Since it'll do AM, FM, SSB, etc. it really opens up some possibilities. Of course it really depends on a good antenna to work well.

With that radio in your pack and a good antenna, you'd likely be able to reach someone just about anywhere.

Add in a GMRS radio and you'd have the analog stuff covered.
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:07 PM
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I'll add:
There is probably some other options I'm missing. There are some pretty smart guys on this board and hopefully someone will pop up with some other ideas.

You might want to come up with a theoretical budget for this. That might help get a more appropriate answer. The answers for "I just won the lottery" and "regular guy" will be totally different.
If I had a wad of cash to blow, I could come up with some pretty nice radio gear. But, on my budget, it's used Motorola gear for my personal use.
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Old 05-20-2017, 7:56 PM
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The FCC is doing some changes to part 95 that are going to impact any purchase of of FRS/GMRS gear , basicly if you want to do it in as few radios as posdible you better move quickly to get a radio for your FRS/GMRS needs because very shortly from what i understand you will not be able to get a combined radio .

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Old 05-21-2017, 3:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kb2Jpd View Post
Hi from Adam Kb2Jpd
........DMR radio will be the first to get a major hit whenever there is an emergency. Telephone and emergency traffic will be prototized first with DMR put on the back burner.......
73 Kb2Jpd

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Seems to me your knowledge of DMR is questionable. What has anything you just said above got to do with DMR?
Please elaborate. You seem to infer it is somehow dependent on the internet or cell system.

A DMR repeater has no more need of the internet than an analog repeater. If a DMR repeater is to be linked to another repeater or hub, it's no different than the needs an analog repeater would have were it to be linked. Same for DSTAR, P25, NXDN, IDAS.....addiginauseum.
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Old 05-21-2017, 4:55 PM
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Well if we reflect back on 9/11 everything failed or was quickly overwhelmed and crashed , except for good old analog , we passed a ton of traffic ,into and out of the city ,although the cell system was not nearly as built up then , lot of people still using beepers back then, not that i want a do over to test the resilency of the cell system anytime soon. DMR is just a real small subset of the overall amount of repeaters, and you have to figure in an emergency if it can fail it will fail , so count on your lowest common form of comm analog, CW , HF , anything above that is a gift but can't be counted on , even emergency services in a lot of places has been hardened and some degree of redundancy added but very few of these systems have been tried in real world operative emergencies , I don't care what kind of testing the stuff goes thru, you don't know if it will work when it's your bacon on the line , so having whiz bang digital this and that,Is nice if it works and Is reliable ,but none of this fancy stuff is going to beat analog anytime soon , every ham can do analog, but with so many digital protocols and the whole drop $1000 on the latest phone ever year but buy the cheapest baofeng from amazon many people do not the most basic of digital anything, but they have analog .

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Old 05-22-2017, 10:01 PM
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... so having whiz bang digital this and that,Is nice if it works and Is reliable ,but none of this fancy stuff is going to beat analog anytime soon , every ham can do analog, but with so many digital protocols ..
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With the exception of the SLR7550, all of the DMR radios also do analog.
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