typical urban HT distance

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mparker

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what kind of range can i expect out of my vx7r ?

i bought a Diamond RH77CA hoping to get a little bit of gain after reading eham reviews of people hitting repeaters 20 miles away....

i am about 10 miles away from a recieve site and i have to stand near a window and that barely gets me in to it...

i bought a bnc adapter so i can TX on a discone in the attic, but my hopes arent very high...

could there be something wrong with my radio? is there a way to "bench test" the vx7r?
 

N0IU

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Just because someone else can hit a repeater 20 miles away and you can't hit one 10 miles away does not mean there is anything wrong with your antenna or your radio. With VHF/UHF, it is all about line of sight and elevation. You want your antenna as high as possible to give you the best possible advantage of hitting distant stations. Without knowing what is between you and the repeater's receive site, there is no way to tell what the problem is, but I am guessing there is nothing wrong with your radio.
 

kb2vxa

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Generally speaking an HT is good for around town more or less, there are always variables. Repeaters being sited in preferred locations will receive anything much better, the whole idea is to extend mobile and portable operation, base stations are an afterthought. Again there are variables, like they say in the TV ads "location location location".

"i bought a bnc adapter so i can TX on a discone in the attic, but my hopes arent very high... "

It'll help BUT...
Uh oh, don't tell me the HT is your first and only transceiver, oh please no. This is precisely why I tell prospective hams NOT to buy a portable as a starter rig; I can see you like all who do are sorely disappointed in it's performance although there's nothing wrong with it at all. An HT is the LAST thing on the wish list, never put the cart before the horse. Why last? Simply because of it's severe limitations and a case of need, most hams simply don't need them since occasions for portable operation are few and far between.

OK you have a discone antenna, pretty reasonable for 2M and 70cM operation so now you need a full power (50W 2M 20W 70cM) dual band FM mobile and 12V 20A regulated power supply to go with it. PLEASE don't ask "what is the best" since you're the only one who can answer that question, no two stations are alike so what's good for the goose isn't always good for the gander. All you'll get are opinions and the only one that counts is yours, everybody's needs are different so do your homework and go shopping like you would for anything else. The bottom line here is get what suits you, the best purchase is the one that satisfies your needs.

Now that shouldn't be taken like questions are forbidden, only that one. (;->) While doing your homework, that is checking out the features and controls of various radios surely questions will arise so ask away, that's what we're here for. Once you have the information you need it's time for a decision but remember that decision is yours and yours alone since you are the best qualified to make it.

Oh and BTW, once you have a radio with bolas your horizons will expand greatly, not only will you find more repeaters out there but you'll discover the pleasure of simplex operation. Yup, a one on one or small group is relaxing conversation not having to follow repeater protocol.
 

mparker

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it is my first and only, i am by no means unhappy... but your right, i should have gotten at minimum a single bander first...

i think now that i have the HT ill look into the 8800 so i can do cross band repeat... as for power i am on the hunt for a nice linear...

and that is precisely the reason i bought the HT first... you dont need a lot of extra stuff to get going, and i travel a lot so it nice to just toss it in my bag... i guess i just expected it to do more than i thought...
 

N0IU

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it is my first and only, i am by no means unhappy... but your right, i should have gotten at minimum a single bander first...
I think Warren's point was not being critical of your choice of brand or model of radio, it was more a matter of choosing any HT not being the best choice for a first radio. Even though they might all sorts of bells and whistles, they are still low power and pretty much use antennas that are only slightly better than a dummy load... on a good day.

i think now that i have the HT ill look into the 8800 so i can do cross band repeat...
That is a very nice mobile radio

as for power i am on the hunt for a nice linear...
Well its your money! If you are wanting to use an amplifier with that mobile rig, I personally think you are wasting your money. If you going to be installing it in a vehicle, spend the money on a good dual band antenna. If you can't hit a repeater with 50 watts, you probably aren't going to be able to do much better with 100 watts. If you want it for the HT, spend your money on a good outdoor antenna for home use. Low power with a good antenna will beat high power with a bad antenna every time!

and that is precisely the reason i bought the HT first... you dont need a lot of extra stuff to get going, and i travel a lot so it nice to just toss it in my bag...
Well actually that is a good reason to buy an HT. You might want to think about building a twin-lead J-pole to throw in your bag with your radio. String this up and it will do A LOT better than the rubber duckie on your radio. Here is just one link for plans to build one: 300 Ohm Twin-Lead J-Pole by dxzone.com

i guess i just expected it to do more than i thought...
There is nothing wrong with your radio that a good outdoor antenna won't fix!
 
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dsviper22

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Uh oh, don't tell me the HT is your first and only transceiver, oh please no. This is precisely why I tell prospective hams NOT to buy a portable as a starter rig; I can see you like all who do are sorely disappointed in it's performance although there's nothing wrong with it at all. An HT is the LAST thing on the wish list, never put the cart before the horse.
Maybe i'm just an exception to the rule but I actually purchased an HT as my first radio before I even had my Ham license! I was studying for my Tech license and got antsy ( happens alot ) and picked up a Yaesu VX8R with all the accessories and add-ons. I had a blast with it! It helped me stay motivated to study and I passed my exam two weeks later. Once I got my callsign it allowed me to play around with APRS and in the Silverdale/bremerton area there are a lot of repeaters so I never had an issue with reception. I could even hit repeaters in the Seattle and Tacoma areas! Of course those repeaters were high up on mountains. But it allowed me to enjoy Ham radio so much I became an active member of my local Radio club and I upgraded to a General class license. To each his own! You can't tell everyone not to get an HT as a first rig because they'll be disappointed. It's all personal preference! I loved my HT and use it more than any other radio I own! I have a Yaesu 8900 in my truck that I use for long road trips when reception is poor in rural area's.

Just my .02!

Chris
KF7ATX
 

mparker

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thanks everyone for the encouraging words...

i love my 7r it is an amazing rig... i wish yaesu would make a HT that when plugged in it could do 10W...

i cant wait to get a mobile rig and really get my signal out there... i am thinking maybe i can get a good deal on a 2900 in dayton this year and use that in my shack until i get general and shop for an all mode
 

mparker

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Get a 2m amp, 2 to 3 watts in, 30 to 40 watts out.
Make a 2m dipole and you're good to go.
i thought about doing that, but for the price of that amp i could buy a nice single bander... i think the 2900 can he had for around $150.... granted i would need a power supply...

i would like to build a homebrew j pole in the spring, but it will be hard to piece the stuff together and be under the $40 it cost to buy a j pole... (for example Arrow Antenna OSJ146/440 Antenna )

Why not get the HF rig you want now and let that be your incentive to upgrade?
price is really the only reason the keeps me away from a HF rig... plus id like to learn the ropes on 2m and 70cm
 

N0IU

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i would like to build a homebrew j pole in the spring, but it will be hard to piece the stuff together and be under the $40 it cost to buy a j pole...
Actually... All you need is a 10' piece of ½" copper pipe ($7.75 at Home Depot), a ½" elbow (49¢ at Home Depot), a ½" tee (72¢ at Home Depot) and 2 ½" caps (47¢ each - 94¢ total at Home Depot) which brings the whole thing to $9.90 + tax.

Of course you will also need a propane torch, solder, flux, emery cloth, steel wool and a tubing cutter, but as a home owner, these are things I keep in the tool box anyway so I don't count them in the final cost.

The real reason many people build their own stuff isn't necessarily to save money, but in the satisfaction and sense of pride that comes from knowing that you built it yourself and antennas are a great place to start. Soldering or "sweating" copper pipe is very easy, but it does take a little practice to make nice looking solid joints that are mechanically and electrically sound. The good thing about this is that it does not have to be 100% water tight like the plumbing in your house!

You will also need a VHF/UHF SWR meter, but this is something you should have in your shack anyway whether you build your own antennas or buy one.

Give it a try and you probably won't buy another antenna again!
 

mparker

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Actually... All you need is a 10' piece of ½" copper pipe ($7.75 at Home Depot), a ½" elbow (49¢ at Home Depot), a ½" tee (72¢ at Home Depot) and 2 ½" caps (47¢ each - 94¢ total at Home Depot) which brings the whole thing to $9.90 + tax.

The real reason many people build their own stuff isn't necessarily to save money, but in the satisfaction and sense of pride that comes from knowing that you built it yourself
and the knowledge gained too... i dont think there is a better way to learn about antennas than to build one yourself...
 

kb2vxa

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I see many words of wisdom here but two important points overlooked. First, an amp may raise your power comparable to that of a mobile rig but won't solve your problem, then you still need a power supply for base operation. Why waste your money when a decent mobile rig costs around the same and you now have an HT AND a mobile/base? Don't throw good money after bad, trade up for a better investment.

A dual band mobile with cross band repeat would make a nice companion to your HT assuming it can transmit on 70cM and receive on 2M simultaneously. With it at home you can talk on 2M using the repeat function and wander around with the HT as long as you can hear the 2M side directly, it isn't normally repeated on 70cM but if it does it raises legal issues. Putting the repeater in the car gives you the same advantage only out in the field.

To briefly explain the legal issues, when you transmit your callsign on the HT the repeater also IDs itself by repeating your callsign. That's all perfectly legal but here's the rub, ALL transmitters must identify so if you use it as a bidirectional repeater how does the 70cM side identify itself? The answer is it doesn't, that's a violation right there unless you install a CWID module to transmit your call in Morse every 10 minutes.

For now your best bet is to take our advice concerning the mobile rig and power supply, spend your money wisely instead of throwing it away on an amplifier. We can always discuss further developments like building antennas as they come up but meanwhile do like my former boss always said when I got ahead of myself; "one disaster at a time". To borrow a few lines from Bob Dylan, it's too early to get Tangled Up In Blue and you really don't want to end up singing... Oh, mama, can this really be the end? To be stuck inside a mobile with a busted mic again!
 

prcguy

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I have the exact opposite opinion of Warren's (must be an east coast/west coast thing) and believe an HT is a great way to enter into the hobby and many people find no reason to progress to a larger radio for mobile or home use.

I have a feeling your local repeater location and surrounding terrain may be to blame but having someone check out your radio would give you some piece of mind.

In my area we can work most any repeater with a stock hand held and rubber antenna at 75mi or more and as I'm typing I can key one up about 100mi away from inside my house with a stock VX-3 that puts out maybe 1.5w. One of my favorite local repeaters is on an island and the repeater is at least 30mi from anywhere unless your in a boat. This repeater saturates a good 150mi of coastline and many users get into it from way inland, with some reaching over impressive hills and mountains.

The key here is most repeaters in So. Cal are on high mountain tops, some at 8,000+ ft and Ohio has to rely on towers or tall buildings. Maybe your favorite repeater is just too low to the ground to be useful at any good distance.

Can you work any other repeaters at a distance or do you have info on where the specific repeater is located and how high the antenna is?
prcguy
 

mparker

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Can you work any other repeaters at a distance or do you have info on where the specific repeater is located and how high the antenna is?
prcguy
i am working on compiling that info now... ive found some closer repeaters so i am going to try those too...

i think elevation is my enemy.
 

kc2rgw

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General rule, particularly for 2m/440 with repeaters...

When you think you need an amp, you haven't worked on your antenna nearly enough.

There will likely come a time when you get a bit more experience when you may have a specific point to having an amp, but for repeater work, you really need a better antenna long before you consider adding an amp...it's almost always the answer.

It's very rare that I ever run more than 25W for working repeaters. The machines I can't hit with that and my roof mounted vertical are 'fringe' for reasons of sheer distance or terrain/path issues. The right solution there is to get more elevation for the antenna and/or get directional antennas.

For simplex, an amp can help too, but dont' compensate for a bad antenna with more output power...you won't hear the people that will now hear your higher power signal. You want the whole system 'symmetrical' so that you could hear an HT on 5W at great distance and then have enough power to get back to that same HT which will have a lousy antenna on it. So you still want the antenna worked on first.

Do all you can on antennas....you can put a crap radio on an excellent antenna and get a ton more enjoyment from that vs a more expensive radio or more powerful radio on a lousy antenna. People say this constantly and after a couple years with my license, I can tell you that I prove this out each and every time I improve my antennas.

A bad side effect to running a lot of power for repeaters is that trying to reach a very distant repeater with high power, or even running high power into a local repeater, you will interfere with nearby frequency repeaters on the same band. It's not uncommon for people to cause all sorts of interference with repeaters in the path of their signal, trying to work a machine much farther out. Something else to keep in mind.
 
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UPMan

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As mentioned, line-of-sight is generally the issue rather than power. You can talk to the space shuttle using just a few watts if it is over the horizon...but once it goes behind terrain, infinite wattage would do you no good (well, if the moon was up I suppose you might get some moon-bounce action).

While this thread is about reception, it still applies to transceiving and is worth a read in the context of VHF and higher operation.
 

rescuecomm

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To briefly explain the legal issues, when you transmit your callsign on the HT the repeater also IDs itself by repeating your callsign. That's all perfectly legal but here's the rub, ALL transmitters must identify so if you use it as a bidirectional repeater how does the 70cM side identify itself? The answer is it doesn't, that's a violation right there unless you install a CWID module to transmit your call in Morse every 10 minutes.
I understand that some of the newer radios can be programmed to do this.

Bob
 

gdsteele

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Mike,

I understand your frustration. It's can be an expensive hobby and you would like to know you spent your money wisely.

I looked up your call and you aren't too far from the main site for 146.76 the CORC VHF repeater (it's downtown Columbus). Their website is Home. If you use a 123 pl, their remote receive sites might help you out.

Look this club up. I was a member when I lived in the Columbus area about 8 years ago. They are a great bunch and would be happy to help you out in any way they can.

73,

Jerry K8CMI
 

mparker

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Mike,

I understand your frustration. It's can be an expensive hobby and you would like to know you spent your money wisely.

I looked up your call and you aren't too far from the main site for 146.76 the CORC VHF repeater (it's downtown Columbus). Their website is Home. If you use a 123 pl, their remote receive sites might help you out.
you are right, but thats part of learning, and what might work for someone might not work for me... but you are right...

i wouldnt say i regret getting an HT first, but what ive spent in antennas and other stuff i could have bought a single bander and power supply. lol

that is one of the repeats i monitor, its almost intimidating to key up on some of them. there are sometime 4-5 people rag chewing and they all know their stuff very well... once i get my signal cleaned up a little id like to take part in a traffic net...

i think my problem is my expectations for a HT were to high. i was thinking i would be able to lay on my couch and chat away with the rubber duckie... WRONG lol plus my aluminum sided house is a big hurdle to get over... but i am learning and will get their eventually...
 
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