Getting first HT 2m/70cm

Steve2150

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Just recently got my General, did not get a HT with the technician so it will be my first. Want to start out with a quality one not too complicated but also one to grow with. Any ideas. Thanks.
 

mmckenna

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Just recently got my General, did not get a HT with the technician so it will be my first. Want to start out with a quality one not too complicated but also one to grow with. Any ideas. Thanks.
Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom.

Pretty much any one of those brands will work well.

Avoid the "Cheap Chinese Radios". You don't want one of those as your first radio. Horrible quality all around. Might be an option if your budget is extremely tight, but if you want a "quality" HT, CCR's aren't the right choice.

What you probably need to consider very carefully is if you need digital or not. There are (as I'm sure you know) several different non-compatible digital radio modes used in amateur radio, and you'll want to pick the one that will best serve your needs. Probably a good idea to see what is used in your area and which repeaters or networks you'd want to use.
 

Kaleier1

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What are you looking for? Do you want analog only or are you interested in digital voice modes as well? If you are interested in digital do you want D-Star, System Fussion, or DMR? You would have to see what type is most popular in the area where you will use the radio. No sense buying a D-star radio if everyone around you is using Fussion. Check out Repeaterbook.com to find repeaters in your area and see what is most popular.

You can go expensive $400+ on Kenwood or Yeasu or more middle of the road like the $200-$230 Anytone AT-D868UV or AT-D878UV which are popular for DMR radios. I have an Alinco DJ-MD5T which is similar to the Anytones but smaller that I got for $130.

You can get a cheap analog only Baofeng for $25 but you said you wanted to start out with quality.

As for complicated, most have to be programmed using a computer for the channels you want. That involves making or downloading a code plug which is all the settings for the radio as far as frequencies, CTCSS, time slots, power output etc. Some people find it too difficult. Check some You Tube videos on code plugs.
 

K4EET

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Steve2150, congrats on passing the General exam! That opens up so much more on the airwaves; especially in the HF realm.

As for an HT in the VHF/UHF realm, you have some good inputs above to consider. The most important one IMHO being what is popular in your area or your club with respect to digital HTs. I did a 37 mile radius search around Punta Gorda, FL on Repeater Book and came up with zero digital repeaters. Of course, there still may be some in your area that Repeater Book does not know about so be sure to ask around.

Check back in here with us if you have any other questions. We are here to help you!

73, Dave K4EET
 

jaspence

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The Yaesu FT-60R is a time tested and proven great choice. It is analog only, sells for around $160, has 1000 channels and covers from 108 MHz to 999 MHz. Coverage excludes the normal cell, etc and does not do P25.
 

Hit_Factor

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No particular model recommendation. But brandwise: Yaesu, Yaseu, or Yaesu.
I respectfully disagree. Yaesu is lacking behind in technology, Uses a kludge menu structure, has charging quirks, and audio in latest odel is awful. Plus the bluetooth is poorly implemented. If APRS is an interest then you will find Yaesu munged that as well, definitely the Kenwood THD74 for APRS.

Kenwood is top of the line, followed by Icom. Icom ID51 plus 2 may be end of life, so there could be a new HT coming. Icom has lead the way with auto memory writes, repeaters by location (GPS).
 
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popnokick

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You might want to recheck the search on RepeaterBook done by K4EET above. I found the following digital repeaters within 20 mi of Punta Gorda-
- 442.925 W4DUX DMR in Port Charlotte
- 443.600 KN4VOT DStar in Port Charlotte
- 145.250 AA4FB YSF in Englewood
- 444.100 W4AC DMR in Englewood
 

K4EET

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You might want to recheck the search on RepeaterBook done by K4EET above. I found the following digital repeaters within 20 mi of Punta Gorda-
- 442.925 W4DUX DMR in Port Charlotte
- 443.600 KN4VOT DStar in Port Charlotte
- 145.250 AA4FB YSF in Englewood
- 444.100 W4AC DMR in Englewood
I sort of wondered about not finding any digital repeaters but I posted the search criteria. Any idea what I may have done wrong to miss those repeaters?

So all three are available down there for the OP:
  • DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) Various radio manufacturers
  • D-STAR (Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio) Kenwood and Icom only
  • YSF (Yaesu System Fusion) Yaesu only
Now to hear back from Steve2150...

Dave K4EET
 

bb911

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I respectfully disagree. Yaesu is lacking behind in technology, Uses a kludge menu structure, has charging quirks, and audio in latest odel is awful. Plus the bluetooth is poorly implemented. If APRS is an interest then you will find Yaesu munged that as well, definitely the Kenwood THD74 for APRS.

Kenwood is top of the line, followed by Icom. Icom ID51 plus 2 may be end of life, so there could be a new HT coming. Icom has lead the way with auto memory writes, repeaters by location (GPS).
I plead guilty of recommending Yaesu so strongly, yet there are extenuating circumstances. I own a Yaesu HT that was purchased about 1990. As of 18 months ago it was still working perfectly, but I damaged it to the point of making it not worth fixing when attempting to replace the memory battery ( a long story). My experiences, although limited and dated, with Kenwood and Icom were considerably subpar relative to my Yaesu experience.

I recently posted a question on this site regarding the quality of a TYT 2m HT relative to other relatively low cost model/brand radios, and after some research, it seemed apparent that Yaesu has the best radios in the type I desired. Jaspence stated earlier in this this thread, "FT-60R is a time tested and proven great choice." - which is what others stated in reply to my question. Therefore, having never heard of all of the problems that you describe about current model Yaesu HTs, I incorrectly assumed that Yaesu was still making top level HTs. Also, it seems that I misinterpreted the OP's desire for an "uncomplicated" radio.

Therefore, I request that I receive a minimal sentence.
 

Bob1955

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I respectfully disagree. Yaesu is lacking behind in technology, Uses a kludge menu structure, has charging quirks, and audio in latest odel is awful. Plus the bluetooth is poorly implemented. If APRS is an interest then you will find Yaesu munged that as well, definitely the Kenwood THD74 for APRS.

Kenwood is top of the line, followed by Icom. Icom ID51 plus 2 may be end of life, so there could be a new HT coming. Icom has lead the way with auto memory writes, repeaters by location (GPS).
I agree with you 100% on Kenwood.
 

kayleesdad

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Uh oh, he got bit by the HT bug and probably the HT antenna bug, soon his wallet will look like an emaciated addict.

Get a mobile or 2, with HF and maybe a digital mode, good antennas and masts.

Offerup.com has a kenwood 74a with extras and a yaesu 3dr up in springhill, fl. People seem to like the DMR dual banders, i like the alinco dmr HT.
 

robertmac

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I agree with Yaesu FT-60 not complicated and rugged. Kenwood products are limited as are ICOM if interested in APRS.
 

Steve2150

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Was on the phone with Ham Radio Outlet concerning the Alinco DJ-MD5TGP, as it looked interesting, they said I should call Alinco and ask about the Part 90, as it is a business commercial available for amateur radio and what is meant by it.
 

mmckenna

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Was on the phone with Ham Radio Outlet concerning the Alinco DJ-MD5TGP, as it looked interesting, they said I should call Alinco and ask about the Part 90, as it is a business commercial available for amateur radio and what is meant by it.
It does appear to have a Part 90 certification.
However, I'd caution against that radio as a "first" amateur radio.
The FCC rules on Part 90 very specifically forbid a VFO like function or front panel programmability on Part 90 radios. Reason is that the average commercial radio user has no business randomly picking frequencies to transmit on. For this reason, radios that are marketed to both amateur and commercial users will usually come locked down and either not offer a VFO function at all, or require programming it via software to frequencies outside the amateur bands, and it locking out the VFO feature.

For an amateur, you'll find that the VFO and front panel programming is a useful feature, especially as your first HT.

And, yes, you can get commercial radios with a "front panel programming" feature, but it usually comes with a warning to the effect that it's for field programming by radio techs, not for the end user.

The Yaesu FT-60 is a good option. Others in my family have those and they've used them a lot while out on ATV's. Good basic durable radio. Not sure if they are still in production, though.
 

popnokick

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Huh? Am I missing something here? I just looked back through the thread and see that the OP just got his General Class Amateur Radio license. But where did he write that he wanted a radio for LMR / business use that was Part 90 compliant? Why did HRO steer him to Alinco for Part 90 info? Did the OP ask HRO about using the Alinco for Part 90?
 

jaspence

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The list of repeaters within 20 miles is not realistic for an HT. Terrain, buildings, woods, and repeater antenna height will limit even a good commercial HT from dependably reaching 10 miles in portable use.
 
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