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Old 05-29-2017, 9:05 PM
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Default Mobile Radio Recommendation

Hey All,

Looking for recommendations for a good dual band mobile radio. I'm hoping to not spend more than about $175 for the radio itself. It doesn't need more then 25 watts of TX power. At this point, I don't need more than 120 or so channel memory slots. I do need it to be very heat resistant. I live in Southwest Utah where during the summer, the temperature will be above 103F degrees for all of June, July, August, and the first part of September. This radio will be installed in a vehicle. It is estimated that temperature inside the vehicle will get between 160F-180F during the hottest parts of the day. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-30-2017, 9:13 AM
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Well if you limit it to 25 watts of power that territory is exclusive to CCR , most mobiles can handle temperature extremes well , and honestly I would not even consider a CCR as a mobile , I want a radio that has a decent front end with filtering that will crossband or in band repeat as need, and will remote without a problem in your power and price range your looking at a glorified baofeng 5r in a bigger case , those are not something I would ever infest in , but somebody will be along that uses and can recommend something cheap.

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Old 05-30-2017, 11:24 AM
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I would be very hesitant to consider a no-name Chinese radio for a mobile. Unfortunately, that's the only way to get to your price point.

The Kenwood TM-V71A is, I think, the best dual-band mobile available if you aren't looking for APRS or Digital Voice modes. Right now, the price is around $335.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:28 AM
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I've had two TYT TH-7800 radios for just over a year now. No problems with either the base or mobile radios.
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Old 05-30-2017, 6:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W9BU View Post
I would be very hesitant to consider a no-name Chinese radio for a mobile. Unfortunately, that's the only way to get to your price point.

The Kenwood TM-V71A is, I think, the best dual-band mobile available if you aren't looking for APRS or Digital Voice modes. Right now, the price is around $335.
And with the 71A if you do want that later it can be upgraded with a different face and a firmware flash .the RF deck on these is pretty bullet proof .

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Old 05-30-2017, 7:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrath View Post
Well if you limit it to 25 watts of power that territory is exclusive to CCR , most mobiles can handle temperature extremes well , and honestly I would not even consider a CCR as a mobile , I want a radio that has a decent front end with filtering that will crossband or in band repeat as need, and will remote without a problem in your power and price range your looking at a glorified baofeng 5r in a bigger case , those are not something I would ever infest in , but somebody will be along that uses and can recommend something cheap.

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I don't need more than 25 watts, but I'm open to higher power options. I know that I'm really limiting my options with the price restriction I've listed, but there just isn't much in the way finances that I can divert to amateur radio equipment right now.

Last edited by wrangler_dave9; 05-30-2017 at 7:35 PM..
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:42 PM
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So, let me ask this:
Do you -really- need a dual band radio?
Nothing wrong with that, but often new amateurs have some assumptions that they need specific equipment based off others information.

A single band VHF radio will do a lot, and will easily fit in your budget. If you look at what repeaters are in your area you might find there are plenty of VHF repeaters. You can always add a UHF radio at a later time when your budget permits.

When I first got my amateur ticket I assumed I needed a dual band radio. After having it for a while I realized that I wasn't using the UHF side at all. The few times I did, the repeaters were linked to a VHF repeater, so it wasn't really necessary. When it came time to get a mobile, I went with just a VHF radio.

Maybe you do need a UHF radio, and a dual band would be the right choice, just wanted to bring up the question.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrangler_dave9 View Post
I don't need more than 25 watts, but I'm open to higher power options. I know that I'm really limiting my options with the price restriction I've listed, but there just isn't much in the way finances that I can divert to amateur radio equipment right now.
Then why buy junk sit on the money let it build up over a little time , trust me I know tight budgets I am on compassionate disability since leaving the fire department in '03 ,there are lots of shiny toys i would love to have, half of my entire yearly income goes to rent and medical transportation , stretching the other half to cover everything else is a challenge, I sit on every spare dime I can , no matter how interesting something may be I exercise extreme control ,so when I do get myself something to play with it's not something I am going to have buyers remourse or not enjoy just as much in 6,7,8 months later , it is better to want something for awhile before your able to get, that way you make sure you are going to be happy , and that CCR may seem nifty right now ,but down the road you will get to kicking yourself for not waiting , I know the v71 platform well I have one that's connected to my weather station , and another one thats a work in progress going to be my remote echolink node, i will be able to come in from anywhere that has wifi via echolink and work any of my friends or repeaters like i am sitting in my shack from the other side of the world ,no other radio is going to let you do stuff like that because Kenwood is the only company that builds in the hardware to do it , you can also become an igate or digipeater , no Chinese yaesu knock off is going to give you that kind of stuff.if your budget is $175 now You are halfway there , you can use a baofeng with a great antenna to cover multiple sins a decent mag mount can go from car into house onto a filing cabinet or cookie sheet as a ground plane well you save , you would be surprized what you can do with QRP and a good antenna, I am squeezing every penny out of the $4000 That is left after rent and medical , that's food, phone, internet and making everything count , you know yourself better than we do ,I went from a job I loved making an insult for a check( fireman don't do it for the money) to being border line poverty in palliative care, we are just trying to inspire you to not settle on what you can afford today , my motyo since all of this started is I will make up for the quantity of life I don't have with quality of the time i do have . We are just explaining where the mines are in the minefield so hopefilly you can miss them, and get something that will really last and be a rig you will still love and use later .


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Old 05-31-2017, 3:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrangler_dave9 View Post
Hey All,

Looking for recommendations for a good dual band mobile radio. I'm hoping to not spend more than about $175 for the radio itself. It doesn't need more then 25 watts of TX power. At this point, I don't need more than 120 or so channel memory slots. I do need it to be very heat resistant. I live in Southwest Utah where during the summer, the temperature will be above 103F degrees for all of June, July, August, and the first part of September. This radio will be installed in a vehicle. It is estimated that temperature inside the vehicle will get between 160F-180F during the hottest parts of the day. Thanks in advance.
One thing I have not seen mentioned, is are you willing to have a used radio?

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Old 05-31-2017, 5:57 PM
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I looked around on Utah VHF society repeater list it appears there are an equal number of VHF and UHF repeaters in the southwest and an equal number in the St George vicinity alone.
There is a VHF repeater on Utah Hill near St George that is linked to the Intermountain Intertie system. Unfortunately it looks like the link on Frisco Hill is down so the link between North and South isn't working but they hope to get it fixed late Spring/early Summer.

A cheap chinese radio may work fine for you, I have cheap baofeng HTs rolling around in the floor of my Jeep that I have had for 4 years and they still work fine but I think you could certainly get by with a nice 2m radio.
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Old 06-03-2017, 2:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prerunner1982 View Post
I looked around on Utah VHF society repeater list it appears there are an equal number of VHF and UHF repeaters in the southwest and an equal number in the St George vicinity alone.
There is a VHF repeater on Utah Hill near St George that is linked to the Intermountain Intertie system. Unfortunately it looks like the link on Frisco Hill is down so the link between North and South isn't working but they hope to get it fixed late Spring/early Summer.

A cheap chinese radio may work fine for you, I have cheap baofeng HTs rolling around in the floor of my Jeep that I have had for 4 years and they still work fine but I think you could certainly get by with a nice 2m radio.
My current radio is a Baofeng Uv5r. I plan to upgrade to the 8-watt version in the very near future. The Btech (same as Baofeng) UV25x2 is very appealing, I'm just concerned if it can handle the extreme heat.

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Old 06-03-2017, 3:03 AM
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If your going to consider a cheap Chinese radio I picked up a Jetstream JT270MH at Dayton this year because it looked cute and only cost about $90 new. I've used it briefly and it works surprisingly well with no receiver inermod yet, plenty of loud audio from its internal speaker and its not too bad to program.

The radio puts out 25W and its tiny, being smaller than some handhelds I own. I've not tried it in my radio hell home town yet as I've been on the road since Dayton but should have more performance info in a few days.
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Old 06-03-2017, 5:46 AM
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There is not any reason to get a CCR, I just bought a Kenwood TH-281a for $140 from HRO. YAESU FT-2900 and icom v-8000 all go for $200 to $300 and all are mil spec for mobile operation. I have similar circumstances where I live but I find that I get better coverage / range on 2 meters. I have the radio in my truck and have temperature as well as humidity problems. Good luck on your selection.
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:36 PM
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I really don't understand the stigma against Baofeng (or Btech) radios. I get it: they are made in China (I'm willing to bet some Kenwoods & Yaesus are built there too) , they don't cost a whole lot, "you get what you pay for" - But one fact cannot be ignored: They work. If, by the off chance you do get a bad one, its easily replaced/exchanged.

Do I think they are greatest thing since sliced bread? No.

Do I think that they are great way for younger people or those not as financially blessed to get into Amateur Radio. Yes.

Do I think they fill the niche of a radio that you can buy multiples of and dump into 72-hr kits, Bug-out-bags, glove box, ARES Go-bag? Yes.

I would love to shell out the money for a "name brand" icom or Yaesu, but I just don't have the finances for it. I cannot ignore the low-price, feature rich radios that Baofeng has put out.

I do find it funny that a reviewer of the Btech UV50X3 on eham.com voices his thoughts that none of the bigger ham radio stores (Ham radio outlet, gigaparts) sell Baofeng or similar radios. His theory is that the "Big 3" have strong-armed these retailers to not carry them. I am very inclined to agree.

Last edited by wrangler_dave9; 06-05-2017 at 11:41 PM.. Reason: spelling, correct false statement
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Old 06-06-2017, 6:36 AM
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The Chinese radio argument has been cussed and dis-cussed at length many times.

Kenwood builds many of their radios in Malaysia and Singapore--I'm not aware that they are building any of them in China. Yaesu builds most of their radios in Japan though I understand that they are starting to build lower-end products in China. Icom builds all of their radios in Japan.

It's not the country of final assembly that is the issue. The issue is the source of the intellectual property used to design the radio (the Chinese have a long record of stealing the IP of others), the design standards used in the radio, the parts quality standards used in the radio (there are good Chinese parts and their are not-so-good Chinese parts), the assembly quality standards used in the radio, and the post-sale service of the radio. Apple builds iPhones in China and nobody, well almost nobody, has a problem with that. The difference is that Apple oversees the design and manufacture of the phone and provides a high level of service after the sale. Nobody has ever demonstrated that an iPhone produces spurious emissions in excess of FCC rules. But, some of the Chinese radios look pretty bad on a spectrum analyzer.

If HRO or GigaParts choose to not sell Chinese radios, that's their decision. They probably have looked at the situation and realized that they can't compete with on-line sellers who have no overhead expenses. And, they've also probably realized that there's no way for them to service one of those radios if it fails in the customer's hands. OTOH, R&L Electronics, which sells a ton of amateur radio gear and has prices competitive with HRO and GigaParts, does sell Baofeng radios. Also, Universal Radio, another prominent on-line retailer, sells Baofeng and Wouxon radios.

You asked for recommendations and you've received several. It's your money. You do with it what you think best.
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Old 06-06-2017, 9:46 AM
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The one thing i can say about baofeng thats truly negative , is I know 50 different hams with various versions of baofeng , they all right after the warranty expired had the mic element go , and the element is either not available, or available at an outrageous price like double the cost of a new radio , lots of guys have therefore relegated the baofeng to a slow scanner , and only turn on the good radio for a QSO it saves battery life .

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Old 06-06-2017, 9:47 AM
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My first mobile was an Icom IC-2100. This was the basic version, before the digital modes were added on. This worked great for use in my area, until UHF became more popular. Being in commercial radio, I then decided to use old commercial radios stacked in my vehicles.

Stick with a well known radio that has been sold a while. Kenwood and Yaesu make great dual band mobiles with proven performance.

Most of my vehicles now have a UHF commercial radio on top of a VHF commercial radio, that are used for amatuer use. Vertex VX-3200's, Icom IC-F2020/F-1020, and Motorola CDM1550 LS+. I would not recommend going the commercial radio route for amateur radio use until you have the budget or knowledge first though.
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrangler_dave9 View Post
I really don't understand the stigma against Baofeng (or Btech) radios. I get it: they are made in China (I'm willing to bet some Kenwoods & Yaesus are built there too) , they don't cost a whole lot, "you get what you pay for" - But one fact cannot be ignored: They work. If, by the off chance you do get a bad one, its easily replaced/exchanged.
It's your money, do what you want. You asked for advice and you have received some good stuff.

If reliability isn't an issue and saving money is the most important factor, then they might be a fine choice. I would say that you shouldn't expect a high end product, because these ain't it. They are low end radios, yeah, you get what you pay for.

However, there are many good arguments against these radios. Often the filtering is either bad or virtually non-existent. That can create interference issues.
Quality is hit and miss, I know people that have received dead radios new out of the box, others that have had decent ones last a few years.
I don't know of anyone who repairs them. Sending them back to China is cost prohibitive, if you even get it back. They are basically a throw away radio. Use them for a while, when the break, toss them and buy a new one.

It's your choice, not ours. If cost is your biggest concern, then it might be worth taking the chance. If you want something reliable and is going to last you many years, then you can really do better.
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Old 06-08-2017, 10:16 AM
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Update: I've been using my new Jetwstream JT270MH mobile and really like it. It had a few intermod issues on a big Comet GP-9 base antenna but driving all around LA, CA mobile with a Larsen 2/70 dual band antenna its working as good as any Yaesu, Icom or Kenwood mobile I've owned in recent times.

Jetstream is made in China but its a US specific brand as far as I know and sold through all the US amateur dealers. It cost under $90, is real easy to program via the radio or supplied software and its the smallest mobile radio I've seen. If it breaks in 5yrs you won't feel so bad compared to a broken $350 radio.
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If your going to consider a cheap Chinese radio I picked up a Jetstream JT270MH at Dayton this year because it looked cute and only cost about $90 new. I've used it briefly and it works surprisingly well with no receiver inermod yet, plenty of loud audio from its internal speaker and its not too bad to program.

The radio puts out 25W and its tiny, being smaller than some handhelds I own. I've not tried it in my radio hell home town yet as I've been on the road since Dayton but should have more performance info in a few days.
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Old 06-08-2017, 7:42 PM
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So, let me ask this:
Do you -really- need a dual band radio?
Nothing wrong with that, but often new amateurs have some assumptions that they need specific equipment based off others information.
I never did answer this question and I apologize. Yes, I do need dual band. My local ARES group operates on both VHF & UHF and having a dual band is a must.
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