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Old 09-21-2011, 01:50 PM
Twangbanger Twangbanger is offline
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Default Ham Radio Beginner advice on radios



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Hello guys/gals, I know there are threads similar to this, but I was unable to find one specifically on the topic.

I am young (25) and just getting into the Ham Radio scene, I am going to take a class and get my technicians license. My father is the one who got me into it and he has his general and is working on the extra.

The main reason why I am interested in this is because here this summer we had lots of small tornadoes and most of them hit farmland with little to no damage except crops. When we knew the weather was getting bad we turned the old icomm he has on and could listen to the weather net they had set up, and knew the tornado sirens where going to sound before they went off. I like to be "in the know" so to speak.

So after saving a little cash I have a few bucks to burn on a radio and accessories. I would like to keep my initial investment under $200 max, and always cheaper is better, but also willing to pay more if it means quality is that much better. Keep in mind I am new so I dont need one with a whole bunch of functions I cant use yet.

My primary purpose will be to keep in the truck for hunting/traveling trips and mostly around my state. And I plan on getting an external antenna to mount to the truck for better reception.

now the three I am on the fence about are these:

Wouxun KG-UV3D-2/UHF $100-$120

http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-010931

Yeasu FT-60r $170

http://www.radioinc.com/oscmax/catal...products_id=27

TH-F5 VHF HT transceiver - Radio $80

http://www.radioinc.com/oscmax/catal...oducts_id=2416



Now I am leaning heavily towards the Wouxun mostly because of the price and the fact with the research ive done the Wouxun and the FT-60r do not seem a whole lot different. And the guys at my fathers amateur radio club suggested the Wouxun. I have already tried looking for an older used one and cannot find one (of any type), Ham radio is just not all that popular here, which is why I am asking.

I have a tendency to be wordy (my apologies) and any help/advice/something I missed (a different radio) would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
Old 09-21-2011, 03:10 PM
RiveraRa RiveraRa is offline
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I have the Wouxun and its a great little radio! I love the thing. The only drawback is thats its only a 5Watt HT but any HT you get (regardless of brand) wont be more than 5Watts.

My plan is to eventually save up for a cross band repeat mobile radio. That way I can use my HT while out walking around at 5watts and have it re-transmit into the mobile radio out at 50 or so watts.

But yeah...my vote is for the Wouxun
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:15 PM
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I have the FT-60 and I love it. I am from AZ and tonight I am at Fort Lewis WA and popped the mag mount on the roof of the rental car and I have been talking to guys in N Cali and Spokane from the repeater network here.

The FT-60 is water resistant, has the weather stations, will alert if broadcast by NWS. You can find them for around $150 at HRO.

Use http://www.hamtestonline.com to study. $20 and with in 10 hours you should be ready. I used it to study for both Tech and General tests at the same time. Took both at the end of Aug and passed both with -3 on each.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:13 PM
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Go for it. Been taking practice tests here:

http://aa9pw.com/radio/


Got the tech test down to 2 or 3 misses, studying the general, still miss about 40% though. Not bad for an old f^rt with alzheim ... hmmm, forgot how ya spell that... Test isn't till mid Nov. so plenty of time for improvement.
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:46 PM
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You cant go wrong with the FT60. Fairly easy to program and very well made.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:55 AM
ohgary ohgary is offline
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Your big three are Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood. They have the same quality and same price points based on features. Can really do wrong with any of them. Then you have alinco midrage feature/function (sometimes price). At the bottom are the Chinese radios, Wouxun , tyt, and a slew of others (some legal some not). These are the cheapest in cost and sometimes build quality. As my only radio I would want the top 3, a seconday or backup radio anything is game.
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:20 AM
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Get the FT-60 and the progarmming software/cable. Then use this site http://k5ehx.net/repeaters/qrepeater.php to locate repeaters in the area you are in or like me this week traveling to Seattle and working out of Fort Lewis 40 miles south, locate and export all necessary freqs, offsets and tones, directly to the RT software to program the HT.

Saves tons of time and works great.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:32 PM
Twangbanger Twangbanger is offline
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Thanks for the input/advice/links/information guys, I have been looking and doing research for a couple of months now, and it being my first radio I just want something reliable and something fairly easy to work. I am in no hurry to get one (within the next couple of months), because I do not have my license to communicate back yet.

But as a secondary reason I am purchasing one, in case the S does happen to hit the fan! and I figure at that point in time, a license is a mute point, and even though we never know when a situation may occur, we can prepare ourselves for the unexpected moment.

And I was leaning towards the FT-60 but after talking to the guys at my fathers club, they seem to think that the FT-60 and the wouxun, are basically one in the same, which is why I came here for advice/help. And I figured if I can save roughly $50 why not; but if they are not the same and the quality is a lot better in the FT-60 then there is no reason to wast $100- $120 on something I am not happy with or is difficult to use.

And I have not done as much research on the wouxun as I have the FT-60 but everything I have found is that people who have the wouxun seem pleased with it except for the instruction book.

Thanks again guys
Old 09-22-2011, 07:59 PM
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I have the Wouxun KG-UVD1P I can hit a repeater over twenty miles away and the audio is crystal clear and easy to program, I like it better than my Icom and I paid a lot less for it.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armordude View Post
I have the FT-60 and I love it. I am from AZ and tonight I am at Fort Lewis WA and popped the mag mount on the roof of the rental car and I have been talking to guys in N Cali and Spokane from the repeater network here.

The FT-60 is water resistant, has the weather stations, will alert if broadcast by NWS. You can find them for around $150 at HRO.
My suggestion is also for the FT-60, but the Wouxun is also a good radio for the $$. You can't go wrong with either model, but be sure to spring for an aftermarket antenna to replace the rubber "dummy load" that comes standard with all HTs. I purchased a Diamond SRH-77CA and the performance has been great.

XJP5
General Class Radio operator
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:11 AM
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First off a correction. The FT-60R in not water resistant. Just checked the spec sheet. Sorry

I have the Diamond SRH320A antenna for mine also. When traveling like this week at USMC base Quantico, I carry the FT60 preprogrammed with all the repeaters (2&70) between DC and Richmond, the ARRL repeater book, the above Diamond ant, the OEM antenna(in case the Diamond takes a dump), the Diamond Mag mount, the OEM battery pack, the AA replacement pack filled with 2400 mah rechargeables and 2 sets(12 ea) of AAs.

I am here for 6 days and all of this plus cloths for 3 days of Mil trade shows ( tactical casual) and a iPad plus power cords and wall worts, etc, all in one carry one and a 5.11 briefcase.

To pass the time I have Zombie Gunship loaded on the iPad
Old 09-26-2011, 08:17 AM
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The Woxun is an inexpensive throw-away radio. When it breaks it's going into the local landfill. Find something from the late 1980s to early 1990s that has common (usually AA) battery capability or 12V DC operation and is constructed with solid-state discrete components on a thru-hole circuit board. This way you can keep it working and fix it when it breaks.

With the Chinese HTs on the market for well under $100, you should be able to find a late-model HT or mobile for even less.
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Old 09-26-2011, 08:29 AM
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I agree w/ Ohgary, I recommend staying with the Big Three. There are good experiences w/ the Wouxun, but as they are fairly recent to the scene and you will only have ONE radio, I'd stay with the one that has the highest positive rating on Eham.com

Yeasu FT-60R..........4.6/5.0....244 reviews
Wouxun KG-UV3D.....4.2/5.0......36 reviews

There are fewer reviews on the Wouxon, because it is newer on the market, but it doesnt match up in the overall ratings. That is the important thing. I have always consulted Eham.com for product evaluation before I buy any equipment.

JMO
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Old 09-27-2011, 08:13 PM
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The Yaesu FT-60R is a decent little HT, but it also comes down to what else you have. The Kenwood HT's have some "Sky Command" remote control features with mobile/base Kenwoods. What's nice about the FT-60R is that you can drop it, bang it around a bit, etc. and it's o.k. with that.
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Old 10-02-2011, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ticom View Post
The Woxun is an inexpensive throw-away radio. When it breaks it's going into the local landfill. Find something from the late 1980s to early 1990s that has common (usually AA) battery capability or 12V DC operation and is constructed with solid-state discrete components on a thru-hole circuit board. This way you can keep it working and fix it when it breaks.

With the Chinese HTs on the market for well under $100, you should be able to find a late-model HT or mobile for even less.
Maybe he should look for a Heathkit 2m Lunchbox and a Dynamotor. Second thought, go with the Woxun. The one I've seen was quite impressive.
Old 10-03-2011, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffreyclay View Post
Maybe he should look for a Heathkit 2m Lunchbox and a Dynamotor. Second thought, go with the Woxun. The one I've seen was quite impressive.
Heathkits scare me. I always wonder if someone with my level of electronic knowledge was the constructor!
Old 10-03-2011, 11:23 AM
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I don't know why Wouxun gets so much mention here. Whenever you buy something made in China, you're sending an American job there -- or promoting whatever sort of system they have there with your pocketboot. I'll buy Chinese when I have no choice. Yaesu is ostensibly Japanese, though the Japanese have off-shored a lot of their stuff to other Asian countries -- and I know the battery in my Yaesu FT-60R is made in China. It is also a component that people complain about.

So the first thing you want to add to your get-list if you get the FT-60R is the case/cover for regular rechargeable batteries. The internal Chinese-made battrey pack with the FT-60R requires AC power to charge. And in your TSHTF scenario, you want to be able to pop in akaline, rechargeables, etc. at-will.
Old 10-03-2011, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramchek View Post
I don't know why Wouxun gets so much mention here. Whenever you buy something made in China, you're sending an American job there -- or promoting whatever sort of system they have there with your pocketboot. I'll buy Chinese when I have no choice. Yaesu is ostensibly Japanese, though the Japanese have off-shored a lot of their stuff to other Asian countries -- and I know the battery in my Yaesu FT-60R is made in China. It is also a component that people complain about.

So the first thing you want to add to your get-list if you get the FT-60R is the case/cover for regular rechargeable batteries. The internal Chinese-made battrey pack with the FT-60R requires AC power to charge. And in your TSHTF scenario, you want to be able to pop in akaline, rechargeables, etc. at-will.
Darn good Point, Aramchek. for power sources, people need to consider how they would operate their radio with no available AC power. Thats why my 857D is powered by two 12v, 5 amp burgler alarm batteries that can be recharged from a roll up solar panel. I havent got the panel yet (bout $450) but I will do that before I worry about an Astron power supply for my 857D to operate as a base.

question: arent all 3 (ICOM, Kenwood and Yeasu) headquartered in Japan now? I didnt think any of them were American companies anymore.
Old 10-03-2011, 12:13 PM
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I have and love the FT60. Great radio.

Several others in my HAM group picked up the Wouxun and have found quirky little issues about it, but it's a functional and capable handheld as well.
Old 10-03-2011, 12:35 PM
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The Wouxun is a great radio, has great RX/TX. Lot's of support out there for them also, you can't go wrong for the Price.

$99 + $9.95 shipping
http://www.cheapham.com/wouxun-dual-...-uhf-upgraded/
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