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Handhelds and amplifiers

NWI_Scanner_Guy

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Of late, I've been monitoring the gmrs/frs/murs frequencies on my scanner, and I've noticed a lot more activity on those freqs as opposed to the 2 meter / 70cm bands, so I'm considering getting a GMRS license so I can join in on the conversations. If I do get licensed, I'm thinking I'd buy one of those gmrs-v1 radios from BTECH and then pairing it up with the BTECH amp-U25 amplifier I already own for much greater range. Since the transmit power limit is up to 50W (depending on which freq you're xmitting on) for the gmrs service and the max output for the amp is 40W, I figure it should work out okay (the freq range for the amp is 400mhz thru 480mhz).

I was just wondering if anyone here who might also own one of those amps uses it with a handheld gmrs radio and if so, how the performance is? Thanks in advance. :)
 
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DeoVindice

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One user on my local GMRS net has been experimenting with an amp hooked to BTech handhelds. He's reported strange behavior such as one radio changing frequencies at random with the amplifier attached, and the audio quality with it is not so good. You'd be better off with a quality external antenna than an amp, in my opinion.
 

a417

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One user on my local GMRS net has been experimenting with an amp hooked to BTech handhelds. He's reported strange behavior such as one radio changing frequencies at random with the amplifier attached, and the audio quality with it is not so good. You'd be better off with a quality external antenna than an amp, in my opinion.
yeah sounds like cheap junk sending RFI into more cheap junk causing issues. I can't think of a worse idea for improvement than using a poorly designed amp and blasting 40watts basically right into the RF deck of something produced to a meager price point.

elevation and a good antenna are your friend. You don't need more power, you need to get it up and out.
 

NC1

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"elevation and a good antenna are your friend. You don't need more power, you need to get it up and out."

I could not agree more with that statement. A UHF antenna tuned for the transmit frequencies, along with a good quality coax cable (I'm using LMR-900) which is properly installed and grounded, will do wonders on GMRS.
 

DeoVindice

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yeah sounds like cheap junk sending RFI into more cheap junk causing issues. I can't think of a worse idea for improvement than using a poorly designed amp and blasting 40watts basically right into the RF deck of something produced to a meager price point.

elevation and a good antenna are your friend. You don't need more power, you need to get it up and out.
Pretty much. His signal quality is actually far better without the amplifier. Terrain in New Mexico is such that you can get on a repeater 50+ miles away on a handheld and talk all over the state on 1-5W (my personal record is 88 miles to a repeater on 4W). A good antenna with some height, and a quality transceiver will do some pretty impressive things out here.

I use entirely older Kenwood dual-certified equipment and am often told how clear my transmissions are. What really galls me about that is that a used Kenwood handheld costs about the same as a GMRSv1, and a TK-880 is far cheaper than a Baofeng or Midland mobile. People are spending more money for an inferior product to save some time on programming.
 

RadioGuy7268

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Nah, more power is ALWAYS the answer. This is why guys put big blocks into Pintos, overclock their CPU's, and make compact pickups into oversized Rollerskates.

Roll with your bad self. Peak it, tweak it, and turn it up! All the while, running a cigarette lighter power plug and putting 50 watts of glorious spurious noise into a 6dB triple mag mount.
 

mmckenna

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By the time you buy the radio and amplifier, you could get yourself a -real- mobile radio.

Seriously, the BaoFeng radios sound like crap on toast. You can —easily— do better.

Kenwood TK-8180 on e-Bay will be cheaper, sound way better, and work better. Add a proper exterior mounted antenna and you'll be much happier than with the Cheap Chinese Junk.
Once you start using the good stuff, you'll understand. Don't waste your money on the BTech setup. Even if it was a good radio, it's a compromise solution. It'll never be up to the quality level of a decent mobile. Also, in mobile use, you want a big loud speaker to hear it over road noise. The little handheld radios really fail when it comes to that.
 

mmckenna

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Rereading your original post, looks like you own the amplifier already and are just considering getting the radio. Is that correct?

Then maybe going that route might be a cheap way to get your feet wet. Looks like the radio itself is in the $50 price range.
I can sort of see some logic behind that.
But still, a used TK-8180, or even an old TK-880, wouldn't be that much different in price and would give you better performance.

If you were going to use this mobile….
Back many years ago I was following my brother somewhere. He had a Yaesu FT-60 connected to an external antenna on his truck, I had a mobile radio in mine. It worked, but the issue he had was that the hand held radio audio was too low. It made listening difficult and tiresome. He had to keep the speaker mic right up close to his ear, even then the tiny speaker was an issue for intelligibility.
Add in the extra cabling, hassle, issues with lighter sockets, etc. and it was less than ideal.

If mobile use is your plan, get a mobile radio. Power it directly off the battery and put a good antenna on the roof. Better performance, better audio, you'll be happier, so will the people listening to you.
 

NWI_Scanner_Guy

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Rereading your original post, looks like you own the amplifier already and are just considering getting the radio. Is that correct?

Then maybe going that route might be a cheap way to get your feet wet. Looks like the radio itself is in the $50 price range.
I can sort of see some logic behind that.
But still, a used TK-8180, or even an old TK-880, wouldn't be that much different in price and would give you better performance.

If you were going to use this mobile….
Back many years ago I was following my brother somewhere. He had a Yaesu FT-60 connected to an external antenna on his truck, I had a mobile radio in mine. It worked, but the issue he had was that the hand held radio audio was too low. It made listening difficult and tiresome. He had to keep the speaker mic right up close to his ear, even then the tiny speaker was an issue for intelligibility.
Add in the extra cabling, hassle, issues with lighter sockets, etc. and it was less than ideal.

If mobile use is your plan, get a mobile radio. Power it directly off the battery and put a good antenna on the roof. Better performance, better audio, you'll be happier, so will the people listening to you.
I currently don't drive due to vision issues, so whatever set-up I end up doing, it will at my desk with the rest of my radios.


Thanks everyone for all the replies. I appreciate them. After reading thru them, I think I'll look into that Kenwood radio, or something similar. Last thing I want to do is send out a bunch of "noise" when keying up.
 

stingray327

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Of late, I've been monitoring the gmrs/frs/murs frequencies on my scanner, and I've noticed a lot more activity on those freqs as opposed to the 2 meter / 70cm bands, so I'm considering getting a GMRS license so I can join in on the conversations. If I do get licensed, I'm thinking I'd buy one of those gmrs-v1 radios from BTECH and then pairing it up with the BTECH amp-U25 amplifier I already own for much greater range. Since the transmit power limit is up to 50W (depending on which freq you're xmitting on) for the gmrs service and the max output for the amp is 40W, I figure it should work out okay (the freq range for the amp is 400mhz thru 480mhz).

I was just wondering if anyone here who might also own one of those amps uses it with a handheld gmrs radio and if so, how the performance is? Thanks in advance. :)
What is the range on those BTECH BaoFeng 5UVR handheld radios?
 

TailGator911

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Other than preamps that are built in, I never use amps on any of my radios. As someone else said - get it up and get it out. It's all about the antenna and the height of it.
 

chief21

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I'm thinking I'd buy one of those gmrs-v1 radios from BTECH and then pairing it up with the BTECH amp-U25 amplifier I already own for much greater range.
If you don't have any particular need for a handheld, I believe that you would be much happier with a quality, desktop-style radio. Better audio, more power, no battery issues, and no dangling antenna cables. You should also be aware that many of the less expensive handhelds may overload on receive when attached to a base antenna.
 

stingray327

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If you don't have any particular need for a handheld, I believe that you would be much happier with a quality, desktop-style radio. Better audio, more power, no battery issues, and no dangling antenna cables. You should also be aware that many of the less expensive handhelds may overload on receive when attached to a base antenna.
What about a mobile antenna for the BTech 5UVR? Do they sell any mobile antennas to increase range for these low cost radios?
 

chief21

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Everyone can certainly make their own choices, but I don't think you'd be too happy by connecting your UV5r to a larger mobile or base antenna. These inexpensive radios with direct conversion receivers have little in the way of filtering and you're likely to receive a lot of interference that might actually reduce your reception.
 
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