New area, new radio needed.

Osprey1163

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Dec 13, 2017
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I just moved to Colorado about 6 weeks ago & have started getting my radios set up. The first thing I found out is I need to get an HT for 70cm.....there are only two, 2 meter repeaters in the area. The others.....4 or 6.....are 70cm. I'm going to be taking the HT with me it hiking so anything I get has to be rugged enough for that kind of thing.
I'm open to getting either a 70cm or dual-band radio, I just don't know where to start even narrowing things down. I've had my Tech License since 2008 but haven't been able to do much with it, so I'm actually newer at this than you'd think....or I like to admit! Thanks in advance for any advice.

Chris
 

K4EET

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Severn, Maryland, USA
It would help to know if you have connected with a local club yet or talked to anybody about whether or not digital is taking off in your area. That may dictate what you might want in the way of an HT...
 

KK4JUG

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I would stick with the name brands: better quality and generally, better support and customer service. They might cost just a little more but it pays off in reliability.
 

AK9R

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Single-band 70cm handhelds have always been rare, so looking for a 2m/70cm dual-band is probably your best option.

Among new analog radios on the market today, the Yaesu FT-4XR is the least expensive dual-band handheld available from the "big three" (Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu). It's very basic, small, and fairly rugged, but it will get the job done. Next up is the Yaesu FT-65R. It's a little more expensive and has a few more features. I've owned two that had a very specific problem that bothered me, but others love them. Next is the Yaesu FT-60R. This radio has been on the market for a long time and is well-respected for reliability. Unfortunately, Icom and Kenwood have abandoned the low end of the dual-band handheld market.

Unless you specifically want to get into the digital voice modes or you have amateur radio friends who use those modes, I'd avoid them at this time. There are three popular digital voice modes in amateur radio: D-STAR, DMR, and System Fusion. Which mode would be useful to you is very location dependent.

I'd also avoid what are known as the "cheap, Chinese radios". Most of them are basically throw-away radios with lousy user interfaces and questionable RF performance. I do have an Anytone AT-3208UV that's pretty decent, but the user interface is confounding and for about the same money, you could get a Yaesu.
 

K9DWB

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Greencastle, PA, USA
That's the advice I should have listened to. No not me. I just jumped in with a fist full of bucks and got the Yaesu FT3D and a growing stack of antennas with the RT Systems programmer. I just so happen to be about 5 miles too far away from all the nearby repeaters.

Do I regret it? Not really as I'll just take it as a challenge and I'll make it work somehow. I do plan on buying the items to make a portable antenna that will sit outside on a tripod.
 

rja1

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If you just need FM, not digital, look at a used FT-530 or an Icom W32A. The Yaesu FT-530 is the one I like. Back then one criteria I had was I had to be able to take it out of the box & program a repeater WITHOUT looking at the manual. Try doing that with a newer Yaesu. Both of these were well built, reliable HT's. YMMV

Bob
N2OAM
 

K9DWB

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Greencastle, PA, USA
FWIW I've found RepeaterBook.com useful to search for the various repeaters in your area. You can search via state or state/counties or even by miles away from your town/city. And if desired, you can choose the bands or digital modes if you want to get specific. Good luck to ya.
 

KK4JUG

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I frequently use RepeaterBook, not because it's such a great source but, rather, because there simply aren't that many sources out there. I still take the information with a grain of salt, Anecdotally, I've found that it's only about 60% accurate. It's a crowd-sourced reference and therein lies the problem. Many of the individual state administrators don't bother to administer.

Having said that, it's probably still the best source.
 

krokus

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Look at one of the big four brands, adding Alinco to the three mentioned. They have a reputation for a reason. Look for the radios that have some IP ratings, since you are wanting to take them into the wild.
 
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