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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 02-13-2018, 5:56 PM
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Default TYT 9800 or Kenwood TM-281A for first mobile HAM?

Going to get my license and just want to go ahead and get a ham to listen to in my truck.

Im not looking to spend hundreds of dollars, truthfully. $250 is my max.

Im debating between the dual band Kenwood 281a or the TYY 9800 quad band.

I would like to hear local fire, police,if possible..though I also have a Midland from work that I can do that with.

Any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 02-13-2018, 7:35 PM
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The Kenwood you mentioned is a single band VHF radio. But the TYT mentioned is a very poor clone of the Yaesu quad band radio. I'd go to a local repeater club meeting, & find out what repeaters are available where you live. Maybe VHF is all you need there.
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Old 02-13-2018, 7:50 PM
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Good advice, N4KVE. A used dual band might be a good choice if you have VHF and UHF. The reviews on eham.com are a good place to check out a radio, and the classified section may have just what you want.
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Old 02-13-2018, 8:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefighter6070 View Post
Going to get my license and just want to go ahead and get a ham to listen to in my truck.
Good idea. While many choose a portable radio as their "first", the benefits of a mobile can be a better choice for some. An external antenna will improve performance over trying to use a radio alone inside the vehicle. The better audio is a big upside, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefighter6070 View Post
Im not looking to spend hundreds of dollars, truthfully. $250 is my max.
That's a very realistic budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefighter6070 View Post
Im debating between the dual band Kenwood 281a or the TYY 9800 quad band.
My personal opinion is the Kenwood would be a better choice. Even on the amateur side, Kenwood makes good radios.
As for the TYT, here's what I'd suggest considering:
2 meter and 70 centimeter is nice to have, but you really need to look at what's being used in your specific area. Some parts of the country 2 meters is more popular. Some areas 70cm is more popular. Since we don't know where you are located, it's hard to say. My own experience is that 70cm isn't as useful around me as 2 meters.
The 6 meter band can be 'fun', but again, it can be a local thing. There are a few 6 meter repeaters in my area, but they don't get much use. You can sometimes talk over longer distances, but sometimes you can't.
The 10 meter band can be useful, however if you get your Technician license, the FM portion of the 10 meter band is not within your license grade. That means that until you upgraded your license you couldn't transmit (legally) on 10 meters.
If you do upgrade your license, you'll probably want more than just the 10 meter band, so saving that money for a full HF radio might make more sense.

And then there is the antenna. Quad band antennas exist, but they're tall and often quite ugly (my opinion). If you are going to mount this on top of a full size pickup, you might have some issues.

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I would like to hear local fire, police,if possible..though I also have a Midland from work that I can do that with.
Depends on what frequencies they are on. If they are all analog VHF, then either radio will work fine.
If they are on some parts of the VHF Low band, UHF, or 700/800MHz and analog only, then the Tyt will work.
If any of them are digital, trunked, etc. then a dedicated scanner might be a better choice.

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Originally Posted by Firefighter6070 View Post
Any suggestions?

Thanks
I've always had good luck with Kenwood gear. While all my radios are now commercial and I have a few amateur frequencies programmed in, if I was in the market for a true amateur radio, I'd go with a Kenwood.

As for the Chinese stuff…
I know some people absolutely love the stuff and have had great experiences. I know just as many people that have had nothing but issues, so it's hit and miss.
While you may save some money, consider all the other ramifications of buying cheaply produced Chinese products.
In the end, it's your decision.
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Old 02-13-2018, 8:09 PM
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Im in southeast georgia
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Old 02-13-2018, 8:13 PM
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Im in southeast georgia
Not enough info, unfortunately. If you wanted to know what the agencies you want to listen to are using, we'd need to know the city/county/agency, or you could look under the "Database" on the upper left side of this screen.
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Old 02-13-2018, 8:21 PM
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6 meters is in very few areas, even less than 222 MHz, and without a repeater is almost useless. A 6 meter mobile antenna is also not as car friendly as the higher frequencies, and the radio choices are few. I have had several radios, and the FT 897 is still the best, but my TYT TH-8600 has been surprisingly good for the $100 I paid.
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Old 02-13-2018, 8:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
Not enough info, unfortunately. If you wanted to know what the agencies you want to listen to are using, we'd need to know the city/county/agency, or you could look under the "Database" on the upper left side of this screen.
https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...ty&loc=Douglas

https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...y&loc=Waycross

https://www.repeaterbook.com/repeate...d=13&loc=Jones


Are a few areas that i checked on repeaterbook
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:05 AM
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I have the TYT-9800 and it's a decent radio. I got it for 2m/440 and have never used it on 6/10m. However for a first radio, I'd go for the Kenwood or an equivalent Yaewu or Icom.

IMHO, the Japanese radios are better quality products and have far better user and company support. I use my TYT when I go camping. Same holds true with handhelds. My first handheld was an Icom (there were no CCR handhelds 25 years ago). It was easy to program and had good support. Since then, I've acquired other units from Alinco to Yaesu and Baofeng to Wouxoun.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:38 AM
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You mention three counties, but you don't say where you are located. If you are in Coffee or Ware, you won't be able to access repeaters in Jones county.
Simple matter of physics and distance.
Now, if you want to monitor LE/FD, the Kenwood 281 is perfect for Coffee and Ware. But not for Jones which is on a NXDN trunk system.
HTH,
Larry
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N8IAA View Post
You mention three counties, but you don't say where you are located. If you are in Coffee or Ware, you won't be able to access repeaters in Jones county.
Simple matter of physics and distance.
Now, if you want to monitor LE/FD, the Kenwood 281 is perfect for Coffee and Ware. But not for Jones which is on a NXDN trunk system.
HTH,
Larry
Im around atkinson,coffee,ware,clinch and most other southeast Ga counties. I got to Jones/Bibb as well during some weekends
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Old 02-14-2018, 5:20 PM
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Quote:
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Im around atkinson,coffee,ware,clinch and most other southeast Ga counties. I got to Jones/Bibb as well during some weekends
Well, for monitoring Bibb, you will need a digital scanner. One that does P-25 digital. For hearing Jones, one that does NXDN. Only ones on the market right now are the TRX-1 and 2.
For talking on repeaters, as mentioned here, get a decent dual band radio. I have two of the CCR (cheap chinese radios), and don't recommend them. Find a good Kenwood, Icom,or Yeasu. You'll be better off. Don't know about southern GA, but most up here by me are quiet with the exception of nets. There is some D-Star and DMR.
JMTCW,
Larry
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Old 02-14-2018, 5:56 PM
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So a good 2m/70m dual band will be good?
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Old 02-14-2018, 6:44 PM
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Quote:
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So a good 2m/70m dual band will be good?


Depends. Do you NEED dual band, or will a single band radio work?
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Old 02-14-2018, 8:59 PM
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Not sure...what would you use in your vehicle
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Old 02-14-2018, 9:54 PM
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Not sure...what would you use in your vehicle
Personally?
I have a VHF only Motorola CDM-1550, but that's because I use it for work as well as play. When I use my radio for amateur use, 2 meters is good enough for me. There are 70 cm repeaters in my area, as well as 10 meter, 6 meter, 220, 900MHz and 1.2GHz amateur machines. 10 meter FM and 6 meter FM are dead quiet. I've never been on 220. I knew one guy that had a 900MHz mobile, but I never saw him use it. I had a neighbor that was on 1.2GHz, but that was 10+ years ago.

What you need will depend on who you want to talk to, where you travel, what your interests are, etc. None of us can tell you that.
The other part to consider is the budget. You can spend a lot of money really quick thinking you need access to everything. Truth is, you will probably find that you only use one or two bands heavily. The rest of the investment might be wasted, or it might be a "fun to have" thing. That's a tough decision for you to make (maybe).

After 30 years of being an amateur, I've found that 2 meters fits my needs. I used to have dual band radios. Used to have HF, 6 meter, etc. Over time, I got rid of all those and found that a basic VHF radio does what I need. Saves me money, too. Maybe some day when I retire, I'll find the time, money and space to do more. Honest truth is I "do" radio at work, and usually the last thing I want to do when I get off work is talk on the radio. To me, life is more than radios.

Keep in mind that the radio isn't the only thing you need. If you have a budget of $250, don't run out and buy a $230 radio and throw a cheap $20 antenna on top of your car and call it done. If you are serious about this, consider your antenna first, then look at radios. You really want a good antenna if you want it to work well. Ideally you want a permanent antenna dead center on the roof of your truck, anything else in a compromise. Skip the gimmick antennas and just get a basic 1/4 wave or dual band antenna. Then look for a suitable radio based on your needs. Install it correctly, that means power directly to the battery, not tapped in under the dash, not cigarette lighter plugs, not half-assed.

You'll get much more enjoyment out of a good radio with a great antenna than you will with a great radio and a cheap antenna.

You'll need to decide what bands you need. Don't buy what someone else says you need until you've determined that those needs actually exist. Amateurs often will claim you "must" have a digital radio if you want to do anything. Don't fall for that. Most amateur radio repeaters are analog, so spending a bunch of money on one digital mode can be a waste. There are several popular digital modes used in amateur radio, and NONE of them are compatible. If you buy into one digital mode, that's what you are stuck with. Often one club will pick a digital mode for their repeater. Another club might pick a different one. Chasing the digital mode du-jour can get really expensive quickly.

As a new ham, stick to the basics. Don't blow a lot of money on radios until you know more about what you are going to do. Start slow, get something basic and get experience. As you learn, you'll figure out what you need. Then, save up, but something better. But you'll never go wrong with a good, solid, basic analog radio.
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmckenna View Post
As a new ham, stick to the basics. Don't blow a lot of money on radios until you know more about what you are going to do. Start slow, get something basic and get experience. As you learn, you'll figure out what you need. Then, save up, but something better. But you'll never go wrong with a good, solid, basic analog radio.
This is the best advice. I couldn't have said it better. Stick with what mmckenna says.
Larry
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Old 02-15-2018, 1:11 AM
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Given your budget, I think the Yeasu FT7900R Dual band mobile would be a reasonable choice. Its wideband receiver would cover almost any analog FM services that may be available in your area. It includes a selection kit so you could mount the body where there is space for it and mount the compact control head where it is convenient.
https://www.gigaparts.com/yaesu-ft-7...UaAhy2EALw_wcB
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Old 02-15-2018, 8:02 AM
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thanks

Well i see 2m/70cm are the most used...so i guess the dual band will be fine.
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Old 02-15-2018, 9:55 AM
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Quote:
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thanks

Well i see 2m/70cm are the most used...so i guess the dual band will be fine.
That would be a respectable radio to start with.

As Steve said, one of the benefits of the amateur dual band radios is the ability to do a remote head mount. That can make installation easier, especially in smaller vehicles.

Keep in mind what I said above, though. Buying the radio is only half the equation. Without a good antenna (and properly installed) it's a waste of good money.

The drawback to most of the remote head amateur radios is lackluster audio performance. Figure on adding an external speaker to the install if you want decent audio quality. The tiny speakers used in most of these radios are fine if you are cruising around in an electric vehicle, but just about anything else is going to be a chore to listen to.
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