Icom: ICOM with FM & D-Star

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KB8KOJ

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Ha, that's a good question. The ID- 5100 is the current flagship mobile. But I could never buy one due to it lacking the 6 pin audio/PTT DIN found on every other modern Ham radio. That may not matter to some though....
 

KB8KOJ

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It's just a convenient port for passing audio and keying the radio. This makes for a clean setup running sound card digital modes. You can use that port to plug into computer/micro-computers that act as repeater controllers, Echolink and other VoIP nodes, and APRS setups (like mentioned in another active thread).

I do have a Ham buddy that loves his 5100. He is into all that stuff that port could be used for, but he's willing to forgive that lack of port. In fairness, there are probably messy ways of using the mic connector and speaker outputs. But as a true Dstar/FM voice radio, it's pretty nice!
 
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bhadresh

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I am new to HAM world. Don't even understand what D-Star is an what is it capable of.

My primary requirement is FM. I should be able to communicate with FM repeaters near me. If I get a radio which supports technologies like, D-Start, DMR, Fusion along with FM, then I will save future cost. Because a day will come when I will get use to the HAM work and would like to explore more. Hence looking for something which will satisfy my future needs.

I have all kind of repeaters within 20 miles from my apartment.
 

mmckenna

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Good plan. If you have the budget, get a good radio now.

As for the digital modes, there are several to choose from, and none of the amateur digital modes are compatible with each other. So, whatever digital capable amateur radio you purchase is what you are stuck with. You'd need to do a thorough analysis of what digital modes are popular in your area, which ones actually get used, and which one you are willing to be stuck with.

Personally, I'd avoid buying into an amateur digital radio. Since there is no "standard", there is no way you'll know you'll get the right one. The only common mode on amateur radio VHF and UHF is FM. Getting a good FM analog radio now would be an easy task, there's lots of good ones out there, and it'll last you a long time. There are far more analog FM repeaters out there than there are digital, so you'll almost always have a repeater you can use.

Until the amateur radio community gets it's collective act together and picks a common/standardized digital mode on the VHF and UHF frequencies, it's always going to be an issue.

If you are a new amateur and you have a decent budget to work off of, I'd suggest not going down the digital road right now. Instead get yourself a good dual band mobile, maybe one capable of APRS (GPS integration allows tracking radios) might be a better choice. You'll likely get way more use out of APRS than you will the latest "digital du jour".

Kenwood TM-D710 is hard to beat. I had one of those many years ago and really liked it.
Yaesu makes a good one: Welcome to Yaesu.com

I think you'll get more use out of that than trying to pick one of the digital modes. The digital modes are only good if you have someone to talk to that has made the same choice you did.
 

bhadresh

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Does Yaesu software to program the radio comes for free? If not then how much will I have to pay for an compatible software for FTM-350AR?

I believe programming software for Kenwood comes for free.

What other accessories do I have to buy to make this a complete package?

I am still trying to choose between these two radios.
 

mmckenna

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It's been a while since I purchased any amateur radio gear....

Last time I did:
Kenwood Amateur radio = free downloadable software. Must purchase programming cable.
Yaesu = programming software cost $, must purchase programming cable.

What else do you need?

Well, the radio will come with the mounting bracket, microphone, power cable.

You'll need to purchase an antenna mount. I'd -strongly- recommend a permanently installed NMO mount on your vehicle. Doing the install right from the beginning saves a lot of headaches. NMO is the de facto standard on the professional side and is popular on the amateur side. Going with a standard like an NMO makes it easy to change antennas as your needs/interests change. You'll want one with the PL-259 (aka UHF) connector to match your radio.
http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/larsen-nmokhfudpli-1867.html
$22.95

You'll need to purchase an antenna. NMO base, name brand, Larsen, ComTelCo, Laird, etc. There are a few dual band models available. Here's a good one:
http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/larsen-nmo2-70b-1712.html
$69.95

If your car is quiet inside and you don't drive with the windows down a lot, the stock speaker on the radio will be sufficient. If it's noisy, or you drive with the windows down a lot, I'd strongly recommend a good external speaker. They'll make for better sound, better intelligibility, etc. Well worth the investment, if you an fit it in your car, that is. Newer vehicles are pretty cramped, so it can be a challenge:
http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/vertex-mls-100-264.html
$44.95, but you can find suitable speakers much cheaper.

Installation of all this is another question. If you are comfortable working on your own car, basic electrical work, etc. there isn't any reason you can't do it yourself. If you are not comfortable with that sort of stuff, then it might be best to get help. Either a friend or a shop.
The antenna install will require a 3/4 inch hole drilled. There are specific hole saws for doing this.
The coax connector installation isn't an issue with the one I linked to, it's pre-installed, but it's a heck of a lot easier to route the cable without the connector installed. Installing your own takes some skill with a high wattage soldering iron.
The power cable routing requires routing from inside the car to the battery. This will mean passing through the firewall.
The power cable really needs to be connected to the battery, actually the + to the battery and the - to the body ground.
Installation of the radio means putting it somewhere that it's safe, and out of the way of airbag deployment. Physically attaching the radio to the dashboard, center console, etc. really is important since it can become a projectile in an accident.

Really nothing you can't do yourself, just depends on your comfort level, skill level, and if you have the right tools.
 

mmckenna

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I think you'll be happy with that setup.
The Larsen is a well proven antenna. My brother in law has used one for a long time now. With a tiny bit of maintenance, it'll last decades. Might cost a bit more than the Chinese knock-offs (Tram, Browning), but it'll very likely outlast them.

I always had good luck with Kenwood amateur radios. I had the TM-D710 for a while (sold it to my brother in law). Good solid radio.
Keep in mind that (I think) you'll need an external GPS to feed the radio.
 

W9BU

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Personally, I'd avoid buying into an amateur digital radio.
I agree with this statement. Ask yourself who you want to talk to. Are your friends using digital voice (DV) modes? If so, then you may want to buy a radio that will let you talk to them. Then, ask yourself if there are nearby repeaters that support DV modes. If the answer is "no", then there's not much point in you buying a digital radio.

I fully understand that experimentation, learning, and advancing the art of radio communications is part of amateur radio. OTOH, most DV modes being used in amateur radio follow standards that were developed for services outside amateur radio or were developed by major corporations. How much experimentation and learning is involved when you buy a radio that has fully-developed DV capability built in and you load a pre-programmed list of frequencies, aka "codeplug", into the radio that someone else assembled?

When it comes to DV modes, you also have to ask yourself what you plan to do with that mode that you can't do with other modes. One of the selling points to DV modes is that you can extend the reach of your communications and talk to people around the state, around the nation, or around the world with just a handheld radio that accesses a local repeater. Well, you don't need DV to do this. Hams have been linking FM repeaters using EchoLink, IRLP, and AllStar Link for years...long before DV came along.

So, as a new ham, I encourage you to take the advice to just buy a good FM radio for now. Learn its capabilities and integrate into your local amateur radio community. Once you get your feet wet and can make an informed decision about what interests you in amateur radio, then maybe a digital radio would be a good second purchase.
 

W9BU

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I always had good luck with Kenwood amateur radios. I had the TM-D710 for a while (sold it to my brother in law). Good solid radio.
Keep in mind that (I think) you'll need an external GPS to feed the radio.
Not any more. The TM-D710GA includes a GPS receiver built into the control head.
 

popnokick

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Regarding "services outside amateur radio"...Since there is a possibility that someone else reading this might be interested in scanning public service and commercial users ;-) in addition to digital amateur radio.... there are really only two digital formats that are used in both ham radio and commercial / public service: DMR and P25. If you have a DMR radio, there is a very high likelihood that you'll be able to use it to receive things OTHER than amateur radio. Yaesu C4FM / Fusion and D-Star are exclusively ham radio usage. As a ham who is also a scanner enthusiast... and I think there may be someone other than myself in that category.... DMR bears a close look. P25? Well, a little slow on the uptake by hams at this point.
 

W9BU

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...there are really only two digital formats that are used in both ham radio and commercial / public service: DMR and P25.
Add NXDN to that list, though it's acceptance in the amateur radio community is probably down there with P25.
 

wrath

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If you are so close to repeaters you might consider the Kenwood 74 A it is a tri band HT that does both dstar and APRS, that will put you on 2/220/70 cm as well as dstar APRS and with its extended recieve you can listen to everything between HF and 70 cm , it's a very versatile handheld.

Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
 
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