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I need help....Moto radios for 2 meter mobile

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n2tmc

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I need a 2 meter radio with a remote head for my van. I want to use a Motorola radio. I can't figure out which radios will do this, Also, how hard is it to program these buggers. I am dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to what radio to use. Help!!!!

TNX
George
N2TMC
 

kayn1n32008

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I need a 2 meter radio with a remote head for my van. I want to use a Motorola radio. I can't figure out which radios will do this, Also, how hard is it to program these buggers. I am dumb as a box of rocks when it comes to what radio to use. Help!!!!



TNX

George

N2TMC


( generally priced lowest to highest )
Spectra (Discontinued) wide band only
Astro Spectra (Discontinued)
MCS 2000 (Discontinued)
CDM 750(I think)
CDM 1250
CDM 1550
PM 1500(i think that is the model)
XTL 1500
XTL 2500
XTL 5000
APX ???? They are available in a mono band configuration


There are also Kenwood and Vertex radios, both current and discontinued models that are able to have a remote head kit added.



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CommJunkie

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I would recommend the CDM1250. You could get an old Moto Spectra, but programming it with a DOS-only computer isn't really worth the hassle of finding an old computer, finding a copy of the RSS, and doing all that. With the CDM1250 you can program with any windows computer up to Windows 7, and even though the CPS is expensive, it's much easier to use than the old DOS RSS.

The radio itself holds 64 channels and can be used as a remote head setup. The CDM750 is only 4 channels, and I've never seen one with a remote setup so I don't know if they can do it. That may be an option if you don't need more than 4 channels.
 

mmckenna

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CDM-750's can be set up as a remote head, I use one on a UTV. The limitation of 4 channels usually turns most amateurs off.
You can pick up used CDM-750s for $100 or so, but expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $80 for the remote head kit.

CDM-1250 and CDM-1550 make great options, I use the 1250 in my wife's car and the 1550 in my truck. More channels, so much more attractive for amateur use. Before anyone complains about not having a VFO, these radios have enough channels to program in all the standard simplex 2 meter frequencies and still have a lot of space left over for repeaters.

MCS-2000's are a good option. They are out of support from Motorola, so not much help from them, but there are loads of them on the used market. The prices are about the same as the CDM's, so personally I'd recommend the CDM's over the MCS's. Some of the CDM models are still supported by Motorola.

The costs related to programming are a big issue, though. Have you looked at some of remote head amateur radios out there? The Yaesu FT-7900 is a good option. It would probably be cheaper and easier in the long run, even purchasing a new one since you don't have to worry about expensive programming software and cables. It'll be much more flexible and less headache than trying to figure out Motorola's if you are not familiar with them.

If you need Part 90 capability, then Consider the Motorola, Kenwood and Icom options. Also, some of the lower end Chinese radios are available in mobile/remote head versions. Not sure it would save you any headaches though.
 

KC4YIN

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I'll second the CDM. Either 1250 or 1550. I found a 1250 already on 2 meters on E bay. Sometimes the seller will offer free programming.
 

jim202

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One big important question here is just how many channels do you require and over how big of an area do you travel?

Reason I ask this is there are a number of features that different radios have that may be of interest.

I do extensive traveling and the Spectra and CDM just don't fit the bill. I recently had to take and split the codeplug in my XTL5000 trunk mount into 2 different versions. I travel from southern New Hampshire all the way down to the New Orleans area. It also covers from Norfolk, VA all the way out to Oklahoma City, OK and Fort Worth, TX.

Just couldn't pre program all the channels into the radio to cover the whole thing. By splitting it into 2 codeplugs, I now have a north and a south load for the radio. The XTL will take up to 50 zones. So I put the repeater channels in each zone, depending on how many repeaters are in a region. This way I can select the region I am in and all the functioning repeaters are all ready loaded. Each zone has it's own scan list.

You might think this is too much work to have to bang in all those channels. Your right, but at least I don't have to take my eyes off the road much. If I had a dial a frequency radio and had to manually put in the tone for each local repeater, I would end up in the ditch.

Just something to consider while your looking for a radio that will fit your vehicle and the area you need to drive. I try to do things by the KISS principle. That way I stay out of trouble.

Over the years I have been driving the country, I have refined my list of repeaters. Most of the repeater databases you find on the Internet are far from being correct. Even the ARRL repeater book is full of errors and missing the tones needed to key up many of the repeaters around the country.

Pick a radio and there are many on here that can help you with the details.
 

jaspence

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Motorola for 2 meters

One other thought is if you are involved in emergency communications. If the repeater goes down and you are forced to an odd simplex channel, a commercial radio is practically useless. Talk around is available on most commercial equipment, but even a simple PL tone change requires the software and computer.
 

jim202

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One other thought is if you are involved in emergency communications. If the repeater goes down and you are forced to an odd simplex channel, a commercial radio is practically useless. Talk around is available on most commercial equipment, but even a simple PL tone change requires the software and computer.
That's only if you don't program it for the simplex channels. On the ham frequencies, the simplex channels are very defined in set aside segments of each band. The 2 meter simplex channels are set aside and used frequently.

Talk around is just one button push away on all the commercial radios. If you don't program a button for that purpose, it's your own fault.
 

jaspence

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Simplex

In both S.E.T. and real situations, we have had to resort to frequencies that are not normally simplex. The only commercial radios I know of that can do this are ones that are FPP, like some of the EF Johnson 5100 series and a very few Motorola HTs.
 

SteveC0625

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Let's not lose sight of the fact that the OP is a beginner to ham radio and is trying to learn the rudiments. He's not involved with emergency communications or he'd be a lot more aware of these things that come with knowledge and experience. He's looking for a recommendation for a Motorola radio (his expressed preference) that he can get started with. mckenna's suggestion of the CDM1250 is a good one, especially because it's readily adapted from front mount to remote mount. Remote kits are easily found, both new and used. I patiently waited for a bargain on several of them over the last two years on Ebay and paid less than $50 for each and picked up a bunch of spare remote cables in the process for free. Same for the CDM1250's. They're all over the place for reasonable prices. And they are still supported by /\/\ so parts and accessories will be available for some time to come. There's already a huge market in used CDM's and all the bits and pieces that one might need to get one installed and running.

The only downside I see is CPS related. The purchase price of Motorola CPS and programming cables is going to be nearly $300 at a minimum. Then there is the learning curve to achieve some proficiency with using the CPS. And, realistically, the downside exists regardless of radio selected. Admittedly, some other radio manufacturer's software is usually less expensive or even free, but the learning curve is there regardless.

My suggested solution to the CPS issue is to find a local ham who already has the software and cables who could program the radio initially and share some knowledge and experience. That recommendation applies regardless of the radio selected. That way the OP has a local mentor and after some learning and experience can make his own informed decisions about future radios and software acquisitions.

FWIW, I think a used CDM that is well cared for probably won't loose much value in the next couple of years. I have several here that I could sell for at least what I paid for them including accessories and shipping. That may be debatable, but from what I see of other Motorola legacy radios like the GM300 and the M1225, their used market value is not falling.
 

cmdrwill

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My suggested solution to the CPS issue is to find a local ham who already has the software and cables who could program the radio initially and share some knowledge and experience. That recommendation applies regardless of the radio selected. That way the OP has a local mentor and after some learning and experience can make his own informed decisions about future radios and software acquisitions.
Exactly, that is one of the things we as pro radio fixers do for our fellow Hams. Providing mentoring, programming and other help.
 

KC4YIN

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To the op:
I just noticed you are in lillington, NC. I am in Kinston and have the CPS and hardware to program these radios. If I can be of help,PM me.
 
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Exactly, that is one of the things we as pro radio fixers do for our fellow Hams. Providing mentoring, programming and other help.






You might think this is too much work to have to bang in all those channels. Your right, but at least I don't have to take my eyes off the road much. If I had a dial a frequency radio and had to manually put in the tone for each local repeater, I would end up in the ditch.

Just something to consider while your looking for a radio that will fit your vehicle and the area you need to drive. I try to do things by the KISS principle. That way I stay out of trouble.

Over the years I have been driving the country, I have refined my list of repeaters. Most of the repeater databases you find on the Internet are far from being correct. Even the ARRL repeater book is full of errors and missing the tones needed to key up many of the repeaters around the country.

Pick a radio and there are many on here that can help you with the details.
This is also how I see it. I use a GTX daily (for to some foresight in Texas, you can cover nearly every 33 cm repeater in the state on 6 or 7 channel).

One of the club's local to me just converted a bunch of TK-680's over to 6m. Plugged every standard offset into the radio's, every simplex channel...no one ever thought about putting the repeaters into different banks, or even programming the unused 5 button for tone change.

Most of my radio's are surplus commercial. The less I have to wrangle microphones (currently have 4 radio's in my vehicular) the safer it is to drive.

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