RUGGED HANDHELD TRANSCEIVER

alcahuete

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Are the Beofeng radios certified for what he want's to do?
Since it's in the Amateur Radio Equipment forum and he's mentioning other amateur radios, I would guess amateur radio, but you never really know these days.


If you're looking for rugged, Baofeng ain't it. If you're looking for throw away, you're on the right track. Same goes for quality.

I have a few Baofeng (or similar) radios laying around that I take when I'm boating or off-roading or what have you, not because they are rugged, but because if one would fall overboard while boating, or get run over or muddy and stop working while off-roading, I don't care. I walk it over to the trash can and throw it away.

My Moto gear, on the other hand, is extremely rugged and way better suited for the job, but I don't want to lose them or have them beat to hell. It's a little more painful to replace a $1500 Moto radio than a $10 Baofeng.
 

kayn1n32008

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I have a few Baofeng (or similar) radios laying around that I take when I'm boating or off-roading or what have you, not because they are rugged, but because if one would fall overboard while boating, or get run over or muddy and stop working while off-roading, I don't care. I walk it over to the trash can and throw it away.

My Moto gear, on the other hand, is extremely rugged and way better suited for the job, but I don't want to lose them or have them beat to hell. It's a little more painful to replace a $1500 Moto radio than a $10 Baofeng.
I keep my radios secure in cases or pockets designed to hold them. I would much rather carry my quality radios than junk. I spent a decade in the Alberta oil field surveying In the bush and on industrial sites, using quads, sleds, UTVs and helicopters. I never lost a radio, and never had one fail. Got them full of ice, snow, mud and other stuff. Same for doing amateur radio events, spring, summer, fall or winter. I wouldn’t ever think of using cheap garbage radios like Baofengs for any of it.
 
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alcahuete

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I keep my radios secure in cases or pockets designed to hold them. I would much rather carry my quality radios than junk. I spent a decade in the Alberta oil field surveying In the bush and on industrial sites, using quads, sleds, UTVs and helicopters. I never lost a radio, and never had one fail. Got them full of ice, snow, mud and other stuff. Same for doing amateur radio events, spring, summer, fall or winter. I wouldn’t ever think of using cheap garbage radios like Baofengs for any of it.
Well, to each his own. I don't use CCRs for anything other than situations where the radio might get beat to hell or lost, and when I don't particularly need quality. I've lost several on various boats, particularly sailboats in bad weather. I lost one or two while waterskiing. Yep...when I used to waterski all the time, I used to keep one in my ski vest and use a speaker/mic. The last thing I want is my Moto gear getting constantly submerged in salt water. Baofengs? Who cares. Like I said, I would much rather lose or damage a $10 radio than a $1500 radio.
 

k6cpo

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Well, any of the radios you mentioned above will work.
But be careful, it's really easy to buy too much radio and it would be money wasted to blow $3K for amateur radio use.

Many of the "big 3" amateur radio brands will satisfy durability requirements for just about anything an amateur radio operator can throw at it. Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu amateur radios will work well. I used to have a Yaesu VX-170. It was a small 2 meter radio. I used it while riding ATV's. It would get rained/snowed on, covered in mud, dust, etc. I'd get back to camp and rinse it off under a tap or in a bucket of water. Even survived a roll over accident. While no longer made, they were in the <$150.00 range.

The trouble with amateur radio for "emergency communications" is that you need to figure out who it is you are going to talk to, and then design around that. While 2 meters/70 centimeters band is very common, it's going to be short range. You can utilize repeaters to extend your reach, but the same hurricanes that take down cell towers will take down an amateur radio tower. In fact, most commercial stuff is built to higher standards than most amateur radio systems are. But I understand not wanting to rely on cellular for all your communications.

Depending on who it is you want to talk to, you might want to consider an HF radio setup. While not as portable as a hand held radio, it can work without the infrastructure needed for hand held radios.

But then again, for $3000, you can buy a basic satellite telephone and many years of basic service and talk to anyone, anywhere.
The FT-270R is the direct replacement for the VX-170. If it were a dual band radio, I'd be using it all the time.

Welcome to Yaesu.com
 

mmckenna

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Why would that be a waste? Is buying a Lamborghini or a Ferrari a waste? If its what someone wants and they will enjoy it then who are we to judge?
What made you think I was "judging" him? Pointing out that if what he needs is an analog only 2 meter radio to talk to the people he wants to talk to, buying a "Motorola SRX2200, Tait TP9300, or Kenwood NX-5200" might be a spending more money than necessary to get what they need.


Personally I do not care what radio they choose to buy.
But he has a post count of 5 and joined two days ago asking elementary question. Sometimes people have more money than knowledge and assume they need top of the line gear to do something very basic.
 

vagrant

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The Motorola APX7000xe fits your request. Look for one to have VHF and UHF R1 coverage to handle the amateur radio frequencies. They come in different configurations, so double check. I have one and it is fantastic. I mainly use it for P25 amateur repeaters, but it works just fine on analog as well. Program it with what you need/know for your area and setup room for FPP (Front Panel Programming) stuff you may need to program on the fly. It is a brick though at over 1 pound with the lightest battery. With that in mind, I often use the Motorola Bluetooth speaker microphone with it. You should be able to find an APX7000 for under $3k, plus figure several hundred for the customer programming software (CPS).

Again, that thing is a brick so I have Yaesu and Kenwood handheld radios for fair weather use. I also have an XTS5k and 3k, but they are single band and also seem to weigh the same as the APX7000.

I also have a Baofeng radio. I would not hand someone I cared about a Baofeng radio during an emergency situation. They would get the XTS5000. The XTS5 & 3k are definitely less expensive than the APX7000, hundreds instead of thousands of dollars. An XTS5000 R1 model 3 with FPP would be a good starter. It may suffice for your needs and if it does not, it is a fine spare radio that a loved one can use whether you are both using a repeater, or direct.
I like to buy the best, but one time only. I'd prefer an indestructible radio that casts $3K over a pretty durable radio for $300.
 

CHAZZZZ

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May 21, 2020
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You guys have been a huge help with all this info. I've gotten a ton of good info here! I went ahead and bought two Baofengs for a total of $70 - the UV-95 (which seems to be identical except for cosmetics to the UV-5S) and the GT-3WP, along with the one programming cable they both use, which isn't the same as the 5R due to waterproofing. I'm looking into the Moto XTS2500i and 5000 r1 to pick up soon. The UV-9R is in and I thought it would be tough to use but it's easy to understand, even with the most ridiculous owner's manual I've ever seen for any product - "this a IP57dust and waterproof resisting". I guess that means it resists waterproofing? LOL!
 

CHAZZZZ

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The Motorola APX7000xe fits your request. Look for one to have VHF and UHF R1 coverage to handle the amateur radio frequencies. They come in different configurations, so double check. I have one and it is fantastic. I mainly use it for P25 amateur repeaters, but it works just fine on analog as well. Program it with what you need/know for your area and setup room for FPP (Front Panel Programming) stuff you may need to program on the fly. It is a brick though at over 1 pound with the lightest battery. With that in mind, I often use the Motorola Bluetooth speaker microphone with it. You should be able to find an APX7000 for under $3k, plus figure several hundred for the customer programming software (CPS).

Again, that thing is a brick so I have Yaesu and Kenwood handheld radios for fair weather use. I also have an XTS5k and 3k, but they are single band and also seem to weigh the same as the APX7000.

I also have a Baofeng radio. I would not hand someone I cared about a Baofeng radio during an emergency situation. They would get the XTS5000. The XTS5 & 3k are definitely less expensive than the APX7000, hundreds instead of thousands of dollars. An XTS5000 R1 model 3 with FPP would be a good starter. It may suffice for your needs and if it does not, it is a fine spare radio that a loved one can use whether you are both using a repeater, or direct.
This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for! Thank you!
 

AK_SAR

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Really nothing specific. I've got a cousin who's a Ham that wants me to get into it. And it just seems like a good idea since I'm in south Florida where hurricanes are often a threat. If one takes a bunch of cell towers down radios are gonna be the primary form of distance communication. I'm an amateur and I still have to take my Technician test.
Even in south Florida, you will presumably only be experiencing hurricanes now and then. For whatever handheld radio you ultimately choose, I would suggest getting a drybag to protect it during emergency situations. You can get them specially designed for handhelds, alternatively the smaller drybags used by kayakers will probably work.

I carry a marine band handheld when I go sea kayaking. The radio is an older Icom IC-M2A, and is supposed to be waterproof (IPX-7 as I recall). Since I don't really need it most of the time while paddling, I usuallyl keep it in a padded waterproof bag secured in the cockpit. That way it is padded, dry, and floats. Occasionally, if I think I might need it in a hurry, I will take it out of the dry bag and carry it in the pocket of my PFD, which is why the IPE-7 rating is desirable.

If you are thinking purely for emergency use, and you live along the coast, you might consider a marine band handheld. The newer ones are almost all waterproof, many float even without being in a drybag, and you can get them for less than $200. In coastal areas after a disaster, if any comms are still operating the marine bands would be a good bet. The USCG will likely be among the first back into the area after a disaster, and you should be able to reach them on Channel 16.
 

Golay

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I know I'll get flamed for saying this.
But I have a GT-3 by SainSonic. It's a rubberized Beofeng.
I kid you not, it takes just as much of a beating as any Moto handhelds I have, and keeps on ticking. Dropped it, dropped stuff on it.
Myself, I don't seem to have an issue hearing distant machines on it.
Took a peek at Amazon just now, they are going for $40.
 

vagrant

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You’re satisfied with that radio and there’s nothing wrong with that. I can tell you I have used a Motorola to crack a windshield and windows and they worked fine afterwards. A partner once launched his through a window, which was down, of a getaway car and struck the driver in the head. That radio was doing a lot better than that driver afterwards. Scared my partner as the driver had a crazy knot on his head. Numerous times they fell to the ground and looked/worked fine. These were Moto’s from 30 years ago though. Hopefully the OP does not require a rugged radio with those specs.

A friend and I still refer to AstroSaber’s we sometimes use for amateur use as ”billy”, like billy club. Last time I looked, they were $100 or less but I am not sure of their dust & moisture rating. You could use them to grind corn, pepper or coffee beans in your free time.
 

N4KVE

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I know I'll get flamed for saying this.
But I have a GT-3 by SainSonic. It's a rubberized Beofeng.
I kid you not, it takes just as much of a beating as any Moto handhelds I have, and keeps on ticking. Dropped it, dropped stuff on it.
Myself, I don't seem to have an issue hearing distant machines on it.
Took a peek at Amazon just now, they are going for $40.
Stick it on a spectrum analyzer, & compare it to one of your Moto HT’s, & let us know how it does.
 

Hit_Factor

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A friend and I still refer to AstroSaber’s we sometimes use for amateur use as ”billy”, like billy club. Last time I looked, they were $100 or less but I am not sure of their dust & moisture rating. You could use them to grind corn, pepper or coffee beans in your free time.
I carried one of those when I was on the job. Great radio. We had encryption for surveillance and other fun stuff.
 

N5WMT

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Yuma, AZ
Look at the Ailunce HD1. Really rugged and does DMR. EZ programming. Were on sale @$119. Have had one for over a year W/O problems
 

ki4pot

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FWIW, I have owned the now out-of-production VX-7r (slightly more rugged and feature-laden version of the VX-6r) for about 14 years and use it for hunting, hiking, biking (road and mountain), SOTA, and a variety of normal amateur radio pursuits. It has held up well and continues to serve my needs. Before I dropped $3k into a radio in the pursuit of a level of ruggedness above what either Yaesu offers, I'd buy multiple VX-6rs, clone them to each other, and call it good.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have bought the VX-6r to begin with. While nice, I've found I seldom use all of the features that make the VX-7r "better" than the VX-6r. The features I now consider critical are available in both.
 
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