Good handheld Transceiver for Beginner?

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Yarnyankee

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Hi,
I am currently studying for the Technicians License. I want to start my collection with a handheld transciever. I am looking at the BaoFeng UV-82HP 3rd generation. Does anyone have any recommendations for or against? I am also looking at the BaoFeng BF-F8HP. I would appreciate any advice.
Thank you!
 

robertmac

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Have you looked at other posts within the Amateur threads or Budget radios. They are full of articles on this same question. I personally would never start with a Baofeng or any other CCR. They are horrible to program in the field. And unless one has a really good understanding of how to program radios they can be a bear to program. Even if using computer there are numerous problems. Just look at all the postings under Budget transceivers. To me the easiest radio to program in the field or with a computer is the FT-60R if you need a dual band HT. However, I would never suggest these HTs for first radio UNLESS one is just going to monitor and learn more about amateur radio. They just do not cut it most times for simplex or repeater use. Unless close to a repeater there is often too much picket fencing, or being in and out of the repeater. The best new radio for any ham should be a good mobile radio. One can use it in both mobile or base operations. A lot of new hams with the Baofeng leave the roger beep on which just is most irritating. So talk to your local amateur radio ops, attend a meeting and find out what they use and suggest. Every ones area tends to vary depending on where repeaters are, topographical limitations, how much simplex is used. These are just my opinions but come from years of using almost all hand helds, CCR and big 4.
 

mmckenna

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Yaesu FT-60 is a good dual band starter radio. Easy to program, lower frustration level, more consistent quality.

It'll cost you more, but it's a solid radio that will last you a long time. The FT-60 is designed from the ground up to be for amateur radio use. It's functions are designed for what you are going to want to do. It's also got the correct band limits built in that will help you keep inside the amateur radio bands and within the limits of your license. It'll work as a receiver on the VHF and UHF bands outside the amateur radio allocations.

Being a new ham, frustration can make for a rough start and take a lot of the fun out of the hobby. You'll really be itching to get on the air, and starting off with the correct radio will really help in the long run.
 

cmjonesinc

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The yaesu ft60 is a rock solid radio. If you're really wanting to get into the hobby it is well worth the extra expense over a baofeng. It has a very wide receive bandwidth and is very durable and is a great performer for its price. I would recommend it to anyone. If you have done some exploring into what is popular in your area you may find some of the digital flavors would be looking into. D-star, fusion, echo link and DMR are very popular in some areas and you may want to consider a digital radio if that is an interest to you.
 

n5ims

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It may be better to get a used VHF/UHF dual band mobile radio and a used 12v power supply as well as a base antenna (or even a dual band mag mount stuck on a steal cookie sheet) than the typical handheld radio as your starter. If your area has little UHF activity, you can save even more with a used VHF only radio. Just make sure that the radio will allow you to program the generally needed PL (or CTCSS) tones so you can use most repeaters that require them.

While handhelds are all-in-one, they often don't work all that well due to the low power, poor antenna, and always moving polarity. You'll probably hear others talking but have difficulty talking to them or get the very common indication of a handheld response, which is "Sorry, you're not making it. Try to increase your power or improve your location.". A handheld does make a good second radio, but as your first radio or as a primary radio, not so much.

If you have some "skills", you can save on the antenna by building your own (there are many designs so I'll let you Google them for yourself). You may also have some of the other parts already on hand if your junk pile is well stocked. I also recommend you check out any local ham radio clubs and go to a meeting. They'll generally be happy to let you visit and often will be quite helpful in assisting a new ham get started in the hobby.

Also if there's a hamfest (basically a ham radio show with vendors, swap tables (aka used equipment marketplaces), and/or presentations of interest to hams. With help from a member of that club you visited you may find a complete starter station for minimal cash outlay
 

jaspence

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First radio

I also vote for the Yaesu FT-60R, but you want to get it soon. The FT-65 is out, and all indications are that it is not the quality of the 60R. A new FT-60R should run around $160 to $180. There is good free software (FT60 Commander and Chirp), and RT Systems (purchase) for programming. If you go with the free software, get a good FTDI cable ($20) for best compatibility with all Windows versions.
 

chief21

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Unless you're surrounded by nearby repeaters, I will second the motion that you're probably better off with a mobile / base rig. It's no fun when you are not able to participate because you can't get a good signal into the repeater. The better antenna and the higher power levels will allow you to hear more and talk farther.

John AC4JK
 

Sconnick

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All here have offered good advice, and I think they all bring up good points. I actually used a Baofeng for my first ham HT and didn't find it as difficult as some others have. I made my first contacts using that little UV-5R with a whip antenna mag mounted to the roof of my car. The CCRs (cheap, Chinese radios) do serve a purpose, and I still carry a backup radio on my vest at work in case things really go sideways someday.

That being said, I also realized early on that I wanted a better radio - a mobile - for the car that would get into the machines better and cleaner. I'm in the market for a gently used Kenwood TM-V71A as I write this.

Understand that if you start with a Baofeng, at some point, probably sooner rather than later, you're going to want to move up. Of course, at $25 a radio, you aren't out much and you can always throw it in a go-bag or use it elsewhere when you move up.

A dear friend of mine started with a Baofeng and now has a Yaesu FT-60 and speaks very highly of it.
 

gonefishn1

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I think you will be fine with a Baofeng 82HP. They are easy to program with the free chirp software or the RT radio programing software for $50. I have 2 Baofengs and they both work great. It really comes down to personal choice and budget because the Baofengs work as well as any of them on analog VHF/UHF.
 

N4KVE

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While you can use a HT like the 60 in the car with a mobile antenna, you can not walk around & use a mobile radio in your shirt pocket.
 
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FT60R

I got my FT60R back in 2010 got it new and still have it today.it's very easy to program by computer good little radio spend the extra money get a good portable.
 

FKimble

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If you decide to go the used radio path, be aware of high prices. Was just killing some time on eBay, new radios up to $100 more than buying thru HRO or other ham retailers. Used radios higher than a brand new can be found. An occasional "deal" can be found but it's always missing a couple little items that are included with a new radio, and the battery may be toast, a new battery can run $20-$60 depending on the model. Older series radios not made in 10 or more years selling for a few dollars less than the newest model from the same company. Unless the price is really right and you can see it work from a local ham, buy a new one. The warranty alone is worth the difference, at least to me. And welcome and enjoy the hobby.

Frank KK4YTM
 

popnokick

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Reading this thread reminds me of my days as a new Tech licensee in the late 60s / early70s. The only affordable way then to get on VHF / UHF FM was to use gear that was not purpose-built for ham radio, but designed for commercial / public safety use. I didn't have $450 bucks to drop on a synthesized Clegg radio, or even $300 for a Drake TR-22C crystal rig. It meant taking a non-ham rig and retuning / recrystalling it onto the repeater / simplex freqs you wanted to use. My first 2M FM radio was a Motorola 41V tube rig. I doubt anyone reading even knows what that was. I look at today's radios built for Part 90 use (non-ham) as being similar to the early days of VHF FM... you have to take a radio not meant specifically for amateur use and modify (reprogram) it. And it's not going to have the purpose-built ham features (What is P1, P2, and P3? Why can't they label the buttons? Because it's not ham gear.) To me, this is part of the challenge, learning, and fun of ham radio... this isn't a ham rig, but hey.... if I'm careful and apply the right tests and processes, I can legally set it up and use it in amateur service.
 
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Dahwg

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I use the Baofeng UV-82 for GMRS (V1) and an iCom IC-T70a for amateur use. I can tell you, there is a definite difference in build quality, in receive selectivity and in transmission sound quality. And even though you can supposedly do 8 watts with the Baofeng, trust me it's not happening with the stock rubber duck antenna. I've had my license since early February and I am already looking into a new mobile rig.

That said,. If your budget is limited, then by all means, get the Baofeng. But get it knowing it's limitations and be realistic about what you can and can't do with it. This hobby is great, but requires investment. I just got my general ticket, and I know it will be a while until I can afford to get on HF. Welcome and enjoy!

Sent from my LG-H918 using Tapatalk
 

Yarnyankee

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Have you looked at other posts within the Amateur threads or Budget radios. They are full of articles on this same question. I personally would never start with a Baofeng or any other CCR. They are horrible to program in the field. And unless one has a really good understanding of how to program radios they can be a bear to program. Even if using computer there are numerous problems. Just look at all the postings under Budget transceivers. To me the easiest radio to program in the field or with a computer is the FT-60R if you need a dual band HT. However, I would never suggest these HTs for first radio UNLESS one is just going to monitor and learn more about amateur radio. They just do not cut it most times for simplex or repeater use. Unless close to a repeater there is often too much picket fencing, or being in and out of the repeater. The best new radio for any ham should be a good mobile radio. One can use it in both mobile or base operations. A lot of new hams with the Baofeng leave the roger beep on which just is most irritating. So talk to your local amateur radio ops, attend a meeting and find out what they use and suggest. Every ones area tends to vary depending on where repeaters are, topographical limitations, how much simplex is used. These are just my opinions but come from years of using almost all hand helds, CCR and big 4.
Hi,
Thanks for answering! Yes, I searched, but most posts seemed to concern the 3W and 5W BaoFengs. The two models I listed are 7/8W. The Amazon reviews (if they can be believed) seem to agree that these are much better than the cheaper 5W.
 

jonwienke

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There's nothing wrong with getting a Baofeng as a starter radio. They aren't high-end radios, but they work reasonably well, especially considering their cost. You'll probably want to upgrade at some point, but having a spare/backup/loaner radio is handy.

I've had good luck with these:
https://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-GT-3WP-Transceiver-Programming-Pack/dp/B01CZU63WQ/

They are weather-sealed, which the other Baofengs aren't. I haven't tried submerging them, but I have taken them kayaking and they've handled being splashed with no ill effects. They use a Motorola-style connector instead of the Kenwood 2-pin connector on the mic, which is more weather-resistant--no holes going directly into the radio. They can be programmed with CHIRP, and the programming cable included in the link has an FTDI chip, so it's plug and play--no driver install hassles.
 

ladn

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The FT-60 is an excellent first radio, but don't underestimate the Baofeng. It's not as well made and his more difficult to hand program, the Baofeng offers a good price point and reasonable performance.

Entering a new hobby, I personally, would rather spend a few dollars to see of the new hobby is a good fit, rather than a larger sum and find it's not for me.

Your mileage will vary.
 

robertmac

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While you can use a HT like the 60 in the car with a mobile antenna, you can not walk around & use a mobile radio in your shirt pocket.
As I said, HH are good to monitor and see how and what amateurs in your area do. There is always a price point and I don't think an HT is the place to really find out what amateur radio is all about. And hand helds are too limited in what they can receive and transmit to. I don't think one can get the full benefit of amateur radio starting with a hand held. Causes too many aggravations with other hams especially when working simplex and repeaters with all the picket fencing and dropped signals. And I believe these CCR radios can transmit on every frequency in the radio. I wonder what that teaches new amateurs?
 
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