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Old 11-14-2019, 11:22 PM
Augustman Augustman is offline
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An Update:

I got my Yaesu FT-4XR and my Tech license about one month ago. The HT has worked well for me on the whole and is generally solid and reliable.

There are several 2 meter and 440 MHz repeaters in my metro area. Most have antennas 200+ feet above ground. My Yaesu usually does quite well with them. I've made several new friends among the hams in my area, talking on the repeaters. But the little rubber ducky antenna can give mixed results when big buildings or trees are present. I have found 440 MHz often works better in such conditions than 2 meters.

I'm learning that 5 watt HTs with rubber ducky antennas are not so great in simplex mode. My friend with a Baofeng HT and I tested our radios in simplex where I drove various distances down an interstate, got out of the car, and tested the line-of-sight range. HTs are useful somewhere between 1 to 2 miles at 2 meters and less than one mile at 440 MHz.

But, if one of the participants has a base station with a taller antenna and a more powerful (50+ watt) transmitter, the useful contact range can go out to 20 - 30 miles in simplex. I found this to be the case with a couple of contacts I met on the repeaters, and then we went to simplex.

The Yaesu is a solid, dependable HT. But the programming can be quirky. For some reason it was automatically doing a repeater offset for every simplex frequency we tried in the 440 MHz band. I couldn't figure out how to turn off the offset until I got home and looked it up in the manual.

I have ordered a Diamond MR73SJ mobile antenna for use when I am in my car and also for a better antenna when at home. When I get a chance to test it, I will post the results here.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:30 AM
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Excellent post.

I chose the 2730A...twice LOL. Wanted a 2m/440 rig only for one of the trucks particularly because of the way the radio is separated. The one ton has a center console that doesn't leave much room for the hump mount center console setup I prefer but the Icom works really good. The first one I got last year came with a rebate that almost paid for the mounting bracket. It was the version that came with the separation kit on sale even. Put it in the shack to set up the menus and such, liked it so much I moved the 2m I had into backup status and kept the 2730 in the shack LOL. Got the truck radio this year when rebate time came around.

I like the 2730's dual VFO' a LOT. Big bright, easy to read display works for my old eyes. Robust knobs and button spacing are compatible with my knarled old fingers LOL. I really like the way the controls are the same on either "side" A/B. Getting to the air band is a one button push. I like that and keep it tuned to one of my local AFB's ATIS. WX channels are also one button push. Menus are like they all are these days but not too bad.

As much as I try to keep with ONE "system" I can't do it LOL. Works the same way with guns, gear, radios. I have rigs from Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu. Each has their specialty and a particular function for me. I deal by keeping those Nifty Quick Reference guides with each. I prefer KISS but....LOL, hard to do when you like'em ALL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagnar View Post
I gave a good long look at the IC-2730A. The low price was attractive until I learned it doesn't even come with a mounting bracket.

$267 radio at HRO.
$35 mounting bracket.
$50 controller bracket. Mounts head to radio body.
$352 total

I paid less than that including tax and shipping for my FT-8900 which comes with a head separation kit and mounting bracket.



https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=71-001866

I really wanted to like the Icom.

Nits to pick on the FT-8900:

The knobs seem fragile and too small. The display and overall radio is smaller than I expected. The speaker is on the top of the radio and sucks. I had an old computer speaker laying around and I use it for an external speaker which takes advantage of the 2 watts of audio power. The menu system is pretty much the same as my other radios but they replaced the F button with a SET button. All the buttons are unlighted and hard to see with the low contrast writing. I 'think' I will like the dedicated squelch knobs, but not sure yet. The S meter is just a bar graph with no S numbers.

Things I like:

The menu system is much the same as the other Yaesu radios I own.
I like the orange display.
The cooling fan is quiet and only comes on when needed.
The head separates by pushing one tab on the side.
The mic has some programmable buttons.
Dedicated front panel buttons for most used functions.
The channel number is displayed along with the frequency or alpha name.
It's easy to append an alpha name for your favorite repeaters.
799 memory locations seems like overkill.
No computer necessary to program in repeaters or other frequencies.


Here's how:

Press V/M (VFO - Memory)key to get in VFO mode if you aren't there already.
Using the mic, enter in the frequency using the number buttons.
Press and hold the SET key to store the frequency into memory. It will automatically index to the next unused memory location, used ones will flash.
Press the SET key to store and exit.
You can add your PL tones to the frequency before you store it or after using the SET key and menus #39 and #40.

I'm guessing the FT-4XR has a similar menu system. Even though I dislike the 'radio on a chip direct conversion' radios, at $80 for a dual band, the FT-4XR is EASILY a better choice than the horrible baofengs with their near impossible user interface.
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Old Yesterday, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augustman View Post
I have ordered a Diamond MR73SJ mobile antenna for use when I am in my car and also for a better antenna when at home. When I get a chance to test it, I will post the results here.
Yes, a good antenna is everything. The SMA connection on the newer HTs is a bit fragile for something like an end-fed half wave that REALLY gets you out compared to the rubber attenuator that comes on these things.

For a mobile look for a 5/8 wave or 1/2 wave and not a 1/4 wave on 2m. Granted the MR73SJ is much better than the rubber duck, but not optimal.

You want to look at the gain numbers.

https://www.diamondantenna.net/Produ...og/mobile.html

dBi is gain compared to a point in space. dBd is gain compared to a reference dipole.

https://www.m2inc.com/blog/dbi-vs-dbd/

====

I can work my friend 40 miles away over 9000 foot mountains, on 2m simplex running 5 watts and a Diamond X200 antenna. He says my signal is S7 or better.

===

I bought the ANLI AL-800 for my old FT-530 which I no longer have.



http://www.advancedspecialties.net/amateurantennas.htm

Then a BNC to SMA adapter to work with my new radios. 3.2/5.6 dBi.
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