Ease of Use

kymarkh

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For those of you who have multiple HT's, which do you find the easiest to use or the most intuitive? For instance, I find Uniden Scanners to be relatively easy to use compared to some of the other brands that I have tried. When you compare the big name HT's, which brands operation do you prefer? Is an Icom any easier to use than a Kenwood or a Yaesu or other brand? Do any stand out? Thanks in advance.
 

mmckenna

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It's an individual preference thing.
Often what I've seen is a new ham picks a radio at the recommendation of someone else. If they like it, they learn that radio and get comfortable with it. Since the manufacturers use similar interfaces on different radios, a user tends to be most comfortable with that specific interface style.

Short answer, pick one, learn to use it.

After decades of doing this stuff, both as a hobby and a professional, I've ditched all my amateur gear and switched to commercial gear. Some of my favorite radios are the commercial ones that can be programmed to do exactly what I want, nothing more, nothing less. Removing all the whiz and/or bang options and just setting up the radio simply tends to be much more favorable to me. On/Off/Volume, channel change. Lock everything else down.

After playing with amateur gear for a long time, I personally, and my very own opinion (no one else's and before anyone jumps on me, I'm just speaking for myself, so relax…)
I found the Yaesu easy to use. First couple of radios were Yaesu. But I found their microphones to be cheap and would fail after a few years.

I found the Icom's harder to use and especially annoying/over complicated microphones. Way too easy to hit the wrong button and change a function that would be difficult to undo while driving.

Kenwood, As complicated as the others. Annoying remote head, but mic was still on the RF deck stupidity. At least the mics were built off their commercial models and didn't fall apart. Less buttons on the mics to screw up, too.

If I was going to buy another ham only radio, It would probably be a simple single band Kenwood. But I'm not in the market.
 

AK9R

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Often what I've seen is a new ham picks a radio at the recommendation of someone else. If they like it, they learn that radio and get comfortable with it. Since the manufacturers use similar interfaces on different radios, a user tends to be most comfortable with that specific interface style.
True.

I started out with a Yaesu FT-23R and learned its quirky user interface even though others complained bitterly about. I have since owned more Yaesu handhelds than I care to think about, but along about the VX-8, I think Yaesu went off the rails. For that radio, they built a user interface that required negotiating a flat menu scheme that has you scrolling through a long list of items to get what you wanted. They improved the interface a bit by grouping menu items a bit with the FT-1D and improved a little more with the FT-2D. The FT-2D still required too many button presses to find what you were looking for.

My first Kenwood handheld was a TH-78 and the less said about that intermod-ridden radio the better. I later bought a TH-D72 because I wanted its APRS capabilities. I found the basic user interface and the menu structure to be easy to negotiate since it was similar to the Kenwood mobile radios I owned. That structure is even easier to negotiate on the TH-D74.

When amateur radio stores were open for walk-in customers and you could go visit them to play with the radios, my often-used suggestion was to go to the store and play with a few radios to get a feel for them. Walk through the process of programming a memory channel, setting up a CTCSS tone, or changing the output power level. Mentally note how many steps it takes you to do each task and how many times you take a wrong turn. It's a little more difficult to do this these days, but you can still download the user manuals for most radios and walk through basic tasks in the manuals.
 

jaspence

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Ease of use is based on previous experience. My first scanner had 4 crystals, and there was not much more the user controlled beyond on-off, volume, and which frequencies to lock out. My first experience after that was a scanner with the V Scanner folders, so I prefer it but still learned the quick key system. My latest scanner is the IC-R30, and I doubt if I will ever memorize everything in the the two manuals. The Yaesu FT series was very consistent, but the VX radios are more complicated.
 

popnokick

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"Ease of use" for handheld (and even desktop) radios can also be affected by other "individual preferences", such as -
- How good is your vision?
- Are you colorblind and if so, do you know it?
The answers to above may be more important than any other considerations. Many are sight-impaired, requiring reading glasses (or removing their glasses)... without being without vision at all. A question then becomes "How useful is the display.... and can you see it in all conditions in all the manners you intend to operate?"
 

kymarkh

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Some very good points here, thank you for taking the time to reply. I ask this question as a coworker had stated that Kenwood radios menu system 'made sense` and was similar to how Uniden menus are set up, which i am familiar with. I never though of logging the steps necessary to set up a repeater, etc. Great way too determine ease of use. And my vision is not the best, so a high quality display with plenty of contrast is helpful. Maybe a trip up to R & L is in order as nothing replaces having the radio in hand. Thanks again all.
 

AK9R

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Check with R&L before you go. I have heard from others that they have closed their showroom and are just doing mail orders or curbside delivery.
 

DS506

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Out of curiosity, I just looked and DX Engineering Tallmadge OH showroom is closed.
 

kymarkh

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While on the phone with R&L I stupidly asked them if they had any SDS100's in stock and they were down to one unit. Ended up making the drive up to Hamilton to pick it up. So far very impressed with ease of use and ability on the NKY P25 system.

So my HT purchase is going to have to wait a little bit longer, still have the 5X3 for now.
 
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