Yaesu: Newbie looking at FT-60R vs FT-70DR

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AK9R

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Many System Fusion repeaters can be linked worldwide using Wires-X. You may say you don't need that functionality, but you will be able to use it later with the FT-70. Not so with the FT-60.
True statements. But, I wouldn't want to give the OP the impression that they wouldn't be able to use a world-wide system of linked repeaters if they didn't buy a System Fusion radio. For the OP, AllStar, Echolink, and IRLP are systems of linked repeaters that use analog radios.
 
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LuckyPennyGS

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Well I just took my online Tech test and made a 94%. I thought I had everything figured out with the FT-60R, but now maybe I should rethink? I have no idea what to do. I definitely just want to ease into this hobby first. I've been using the Baofeng to listen because it was cheap and it allowed me to see if I had any interest without investing a chunk of money right off the bat. But now that I'm interested, I don't mind spending $200 to get something a little nicer and something that I can use and learn on for the next several months. I passed the test, but I'm the kind of guy who can learn "theory", but I really need to see things in "practice" to fully understand.
 

K9DWB

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Congrats on passing. Take a breather and do a lot of research. This is free but the radio is not. Take enough time to decide on what to buy. Know the limitations and strengths of purchasing this vs that. All HT's will be limited to a few miles unless you make it to a repeater. I will repeat, research a lot then buy. There's less regret that way. I myself researched some and bought a very good radio but my research did not take into account the repeater distance to the house.

Yaesu is an excellent brand, and so are Kenwood and Icom. For me, I'd stick with those 3. Maybe consider a mobile radio that installs in the car, but with a power supply and external antenna, it can be a decent base as well. Mobiles have more power, which might be important. It depends on what you plan on doing with the radio, which bands, what digital modes you might or might not be interested in, what's nearby on the repeaters, consider what negative or weakness you're willing to accept, consider what you must have vs what won't be missed, and so on.

Ask questions and listen a lot. Good luck and enjoy the hobby.
 

AK9R

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Well I just took my online Tech test and made a 94%.
Which site are you using? I like HamTestOnline because you can set up an account so the system "remembers" you and drills you a little harder on the questions that you consistently miss. Maybe other sites do this now, too. And, remember, the point of the amateur radio license exam is not to memorize the questions and answers, but to understand the material well enough that you can deduce the answers.
I thought I had everything figured out with the FT-60R, but now maybe I should rethink? I have no idea what to do. ...But now that I'm interested, I don't mind spending $200 to get something a little nicer and something that I can use and learn on for the next several months.
Don't over think it. You have a lot to learn and settle into and the FT-60 will allow you to do that. Unless there are people you want to talk to right now who are using System Fusion, or any other digital voice mode, don't worry about buying a radio that supports that mode right now.
 

K9DWB

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Something that may help you on getting the "right" radio, and this means specifically the right one for your wants and needs. Write some attributes you need or want then find ones that answer that check list. Feel free to post a short list and see what feedback you get.
 

LuckyPennyGS

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Right now, I don't know anyone using amateur radio. I'm trying to convince my friends to look into it, but they're all busy with young families and things going on.
 

LuckyPennyGS

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Something that may help you on getting the "right" radio, and this means specifically the right one for your wants and needs. Write some attributes you need or want then find ones that answer that check list. Feel free to post a short list and see what feedback you get.
I think for me, I really like the idea of a handheld more than anything else. I'm very active outdoorsman, I have a remote hunting property, like to go hiking, ATV riding, stuff like that. I like the ability to be able take a radio and have the ability to get in touch with people if I happen to lose cell service. I like the idea of going to different areas and hitting different repeaters and making contacts with different people. I like the ability to clip a blister pack radio on my son or wife while we're all out at our property and know that I can use my handheld to get in contact with them or them with me if the get lost or need help.

I don't spend a lot of time in my vehicle, even less now with COVID, and I just bought a brand new truck so I can't bare to think about drilling holes or mounting things on it for a mobile rig. I'm not sure if it would even be possible or even much of a benefit, but I MIGHT be interested if there was a way to temporary make a mobile rig that I could use on my ATV for when riding in the summer. But it would have to be easy for me to remove because I wouldn't want it on all the time. And it would need to be somewhat dust and water resistant, so I don't know if that's possible.

I don't really even know that a base station is something that I'm interested in right now. We live in a subdivision that has a lot of restrictions so I'm not sure I could even put up an antenna. And if I could, I'm not sure I could convince the wife either. Here lately, I've been sitting at my home office desk and just listening to net traffic on local repeaters and I seem to enjoy that. This morning I was listening to a net on a repeater that was almost 30 miles away. I tried to hit that repeater later in the day and couldn't make contact. But I could receive at least. Those seem to be my interests at the moment. They may change, but for now that's it.
 

mmckenna

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I like the ability to clip a blister pack radio on my son or wife while we're all out at our property and know that I can use my handheld to get in contact with them or them with me if the get lost or need help.
None of these amateur radios you are considering will talk to an FRS or GMRS radio. They can be modified to do that, but it's a type certification/FCC violation, and not something you want to do as a new ham. You can absolutely and legally listen to FRS and GMRS on these radios, but transmitting is not something they'll do out of the box.

I don't spend a lot of time in my vehicle, even less now with COVID, and I just bought a brand new truck so I can't bare to think about drilling holes or mounting things on it for a mobile rig.
New trucks are the most fun to drill holes in. I've did a new Siverado for my dad, he picked it up at the dealer and drove straight to my house.

I'm not sure if it would even be possible or even much of a benefit,
It's a big benefit to have the antenna outside the vehicle. Transmitting from inside a cage made of metal and tinted glass is going to work poorly. When you are ready, let us know and we'll walk you through it. A dedicated mobile radio with a loud speaker, proper power connection and a mobile antenna outside the truck will make a huge difference in performance.

but I MIGHT be interested if there was a way to temporary make a mobile rig that I could use on my ATV for when riding in the summer. But it would have to be easy for me to remove because I wouldn't want it on all the time. And it would need to be somewhat dust and water resistant, so I don't know if that's possible.
I used portable radios while ATV'ing for years. When I switched to UTV's, a VHF mobile radio was installed with an antenna mounted on the roll cage. All the UTV's in the family have a mobile VHF radio permanently installed. Makes riding a lot safer when we can all communicate over long distances. For ATV use, I'd stick with the portable radio with a speaker/mic installed inside the helmet. For best range, get the radio/antenna up as high on your body as you can. I used to wear a backpack when riding, and I kept the radio tucked in there.

I don't really even know that a base station is something that I'm interested in right now. We live in a subdivision that has a lot of restrictions so I'm not sure I could even put up an antenna. And if I could, I'm not sure I could convince the wife either. Here lately, I've been sitting at my home office desk and just listening to net traffic on local repeaters and I seem to enjoy that. This morning I was listening to a net on a repeater that was almost 30 miles away. I tried to hit that repeater later in the day and couldn't make contact. But I could receive at least. Those seem to be my interests at the moment. They may change, but for now that's it.
I understand. If your desires/interests/needs change, there are ways around the antenna restrictions. You can try the handheld in the house, but usually getting your signal into the repeater can be a problem. After a while, out of pure frustration, you'll either give up or install an antenna outside the house, in the attic, etc.
 

LuckyPennyGS

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I didn't know about the FRS/GMRS stuff. I had just seen some YouTube videos of people putting those freqs in their handheld ham radios. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention to see if they were just monitoring only and not transmitting. Either way, it would still be beneficial for me to monitor.

As for the truck, no way in hell could I drill a hole in something I paid that much money for. I think I would be sick at my stomach!

For ATVs, only the kids wear helmets. We typically cruise gravel roads and there is no traffic to worry about and it's not technically difficult in the least little bit. It's more about just cruising and enjoying the scenary. We stop at creeks and let the kids play in the water and the grownups enjoy an adult beverage or two. :)
 

mmckenna

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I didn't know about the FRS/GMRS stuff. I had just seen some YouTube videos of people putting those freqs in their handheld ham radios. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention to see if they were just monitoring only and not transmitting. Either way, it would still be beneficial for me to monitor.
A lot of amateurs are ignorant to the rules. Some know the rules and choose to do it anyway. I'm not the radio police, so do whatever you want, but there's value in being aware of the rules and making an educated decision.

As for the truck, no way in hell could I drill a hole in something I paid that much money for. I think I would be sick at my stomach!
After you've done a bunch of them, it gets easy. Having the right tools and experience makes it a pretty simple task, but yeah, it's not for everyone. I've done $60-$70K pickups for people and they usually want to look the other way when I fire up the drill.

It does make a difference in performance, and done right, it doesn't impact resale value.

But, it's a personal decision, and I won't give you a hard time for not doing it.

For ATVs, only the kids wear helmets. We typically cruise gravel roads and there is no traffic to worry about and it's not technically difficult in the least little bit. It's more about just cruising and enjoying the scenary. We stop at creeks and let the kids play in the water and the grownups enjoy an adult beverage or two. :)
Pretty much how we ride, but I learned to wear a helmet, even in the UTV's with a full roll cage. Almost lost my brother in law in an "easy" ride. Watching him struggle with the brain damage is hard.
 

belvdr

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As for the truck, no way in hell could I drill a hole in something I paid that much money for. I think I would be sick at my stomach!
Keep in mind there are likely already holes drilled in the roof for your existing radio antenna. ;)

I'm shopping around my area for a shop that will do my Prius.
 

LuckyPennyGS

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Keep in mind there are likely already holes drilled in the roof for your existing radio antenna. ;)

I'm shopping around my area for a shop that will do my Prius.
Not on this truck. It's just not gonna happen. I'm just starting out in amateur radio and I like my new truck WAY more than I like amateur radio right now.
 

AK9R

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Keep in mind that your new truck depreciated by thousands of dollars the day you drove it off of the dealer's lot. A properly installed NMO mount in the roof will impact your resale value very little in comparison to the depreciation.
 

belvdr

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Without drilling, I'm not sure you're going to find a good place for an antenna. I've used hood mounts before and it seemed to work fine for repeater work. It was simply an angled bracket of metal, similar to this:


I still advise looking at a mobile rig. HTs in a vehicle are useless. An external antenna makes a huge difference, but it's still a measly 5 W (ish) of power.
 

LuckyPennyGS

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Mobile rig in my truck is out of the question. There won't be any changing my mind on that front. Now if we ever decide to get a third vehicle to use as a "run around rig" then absolutely. But until then, any talk of a mobile rig is a waste of bandwidth.

As for radios, I've been doing nothing but reading and watching YouTube videos the last few days. The FT-60R is definitely the easiest, most affordable route to go and definitely seems to be well-respected, tried, and trued. The FT-70 also comes up a lot for just being a few dollars more and having the System Fusion capability if I decided to try that in the future. Then I've been seeing a LOT of stuff on the Anytone UV-878 DMR radio and everyone just raves about it. Seems similar to the FT-70 being that it can be used in analog while I'm still learning and also gives the option of DMR if I ever decided to try that in the future.
 

mmckenna

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But until then, any talk of a mobile rig is a waste of bandwidth.
Your truck, your decision, don't let anyone push you on it.

Seems similar to the FT-70 being that it can be used in analog while I'm still learning and also gives the option of DMR if I ever decided to try that in the future.
One of the frustrations I have with amateur radio and digital is there isn't a standard. There are several non-compatible digital modes. Amateur radio clubs pick their favorite and put up a repeater and attempt to get as many people to buy radios as possible. That's all fine and dandy, but buying multiple radios to work different digital modes is a waste of money, at least for most of us.

D-Star, Fusion, DMR, even some P25, NXDN, etc...

Best thing to do is to look at what is actually being used in your area. No point in buying a fusion radio if there are not any fusion repeaters. Search the online repeater databases and see what's out there and decide.

FT-60 is a good solid little radio. I have a few family members that own them. Several are used on our ATV trips, and they've stood up to that use very well.

If I was going to buy any digital amateur radio equipment, I'd likely go the DMR route. It's becoming the more common mode in most areas. It would probably give you the most bang for your buck. But you'll very likely find that analog is still the most common mode, and you won't go wrong with a decent analog only radio.

Get your feet wet, try analog and see how you do. You can chase new radios all day long. You'll likely want to upgrade eventually, it's not like you only get to buy one radio in your lifetime. Start off easy and move up from there. You can really get stuck in 'analysis paralysis' with this stuff.
 

alcahuete

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Mobile rig in my truck is out of the question. There won't be any changing my mind on that front. Now if we ever decide to get a third vehicle to use as a "run around rig" then absolutely. But until then, any talk of a mobile rig is a waste of bandwidth.
As others have said, you are going to be generally disappointed using a handheld inside a vehicle. I don't say that to waste more bandwidth though! :) If you don't want to drill, you likely don't want a magnet mount antenna either, as that can mess the heck out of your paint. There are through-glass antennas (remember the old cell phone antennas?) and window mounts that put your rubber duck antenna outside of the vehicle. Are they ideal? Of course not, but they are usually better than just the plain handheld inside the car.

You also mention the Anytone. It's a Chinese radio, but certainly on the higher end, and I personally have had very good luck with mine. That will get you into DMR as well as analog. Another aspect of DMR is hotspots. There will be those who get into the argument of whether or not that's real ham radio, because it goes through the internet, etc. Whatever. But the reason I bring it up in your case is that you can connect a hotspot in your car to your cell phone and use your handheld that way. Then you don't have to use repeaters at all. Of course, a big part of ham radio at the VHF/UHF level in my opinion is using local repeaters to talk to local hams. That can be more difficult using a hotspot, or not. It just depends on what exists in your local area. Here in Southern California, for example, the SoCal DMR Talkgroup (31066) is very busy and popular.
 
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