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WAA96

Rank I

Enthusiast II

250
Salisbury, NC, USA
First Name
William
Last Name
Alt
Hey y’all, I wanna put a Ham radio in my 21 Tacoma. What would be the best mobile set up and everything I’d need?

Thanks in advance!
 

Shawn686

Rank I

Enthusiast I

231
Canada
Depends.

What do the people you want to talk to use?
What modes do you want?
What is you budget?
What bands do you want to cover?
What kind of install do you want? Permanate or Easily moveable to another truck?

Radios are like cars and the answer is always depends. LOL

Shawn
 
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Pragmatic

Rank I

Contributor I

175
Florida, USA
First Name
Dennis
Last Name
Grimes
Ham Callsign
KG6RPX
Service Branch
US Navy Retired
Hey y’all, I wanna put a Ham radio in my 21 Tacoma. What would be the best mobile set up and everything I’d need?

Thanks in advance!
William:
Shawn's shared some great guiding questions. Do you currently have a FCC Ham license *? (* You didn't mention licensing, if you are licensed, my apologies) Ham radios in the USA and other countries require exams and requisite licensing to operate in specified frequency bands.

In the US, Citizen's Band (CB) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios have allocated frequency bands, and legal power ranges that do not require exams. Non-Ham licensed operators can apply for a 10-year no-exam (family) GMRS license that allows you to communicate other GMRS licensed friends/family/others.

These new GMRS radios are affordable and have recently increased power levels in certain channels, and some are even GMRS repeater capable for greater range. These new radios allow you to communicate much better than old CB, or even old Family Radio Service (FRS)/GMRS radios.
 
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WAA96

Rank I

Enthusiast II

250
Salisbury, NC, USA
First Name
William
Last Name
Alt
Hey y’all, I wanna put a Ham radio in my 21 Tacoma. What would be the best mobile set up and everything I’d need?

Thanks in advance!
William:
Shawn's shared some great guiding questions. Do you currently have a FCC Ham license *? (* You didn't mention licensing, if you are licensed, my apologies) Ham radios in the USA and other countries require exams and requisite licensing to operate in specified frequency bands.

In the US, Citizen's Band (CB) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) radios have allocated frequency bands, and legal power ranges that do not require exams. Non-Ham licensed operators can apply for a 10-year no-exam (family) GMRS license that allows you to communicate other GMRS licensed friends/family/others.

These new GMRS radios are affordable and have recently increased power levels in certain channels, and some are even GMRS repeater capable for greater range. These new radios allow you to communicate much better than old CB, or even old Family Radio Service (FRS)/GMRS radios.
Oh I had no clue about any of that!? I have no knowledge of it really… or what the terms of this all really mean, I’m a complete newbie. I apologize
 

WAA96

Rank I

Enthusiast II

250
Salisbury, NC, USA
First Name
William
Last Name
Alt
Depends.

What do the people you want to talk to use?
What modes do you want?
What is you budget?
What bands do you want to cover?
What kind of install do you want? Permanate or Easily moveable to another truck?

Radios are like cars and the answer is always depends. LOL

Shawn
I have no, im a complete newbie to this all. Just want a decent unit that I could move to other trucks later down the road but just wanna be able to have connection when rail riding and lose cell service. And for safety
 

Pragmatic

Rank I

Contributor I

175
Florida, USA
First Name
Dennis
Last Name
Grimes
Ham Callsign
KG6RPX
Service Branch
US Navy Retired
Oh I had no clue about any of that!? I have no knowledge of it really… or what the terms of this all really mean, I’m a complete newbie. I apologize
No apologies needed! We're all here to help w/ info. I'd suggest looking at reviews and ranking of current GMRS radios for your truck and see what fits your budget. There's a mail-in license form and fee for a GMRS radio to FCC, but no exam. Consider nice hand held unit, or an under-dash mount unit with quick release slide mount - so you don't have to leave it in your truck all the time and risk having it be stolen...
 
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WAA96

Rank I

Enthusiast II

250
Salisbury, NC, USA
First Name
William
Last Name
Alt
Oh I had no clue about any of that!? I have no knowledge of it really… or what the terms of this all really mean, I’m a complete newbie. I apologize
No apologies needed! We're all here to help w/ info. I'd suggest looking at reviews and ranking of current GMRS radios for your truck and see what fits your budget. There's a mail-in license form and fee for a GMRS radio to FCC, but no exam. Consider nice hand held unit, or an under-dash mount unit with quick release slide mount - so you don't have to leave it in your truck all the time and risk having it be stolen...
Perfect thank you!!! What’s all specific stuff like bands and watts that I should look for and would like $500 be good for a whole unit? Antenna and all?
 
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donj51

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Enthusiast I

434
Garner, IA, USA
First Name
Donald
Last Name
Johnson
Member #

22984

Ham Callsign
W0WND
Service Branch
Navy
Here is a site that will help when you get your radio, being GMRS or Amateur (.mobile amateur radio operators) installed. I started off with a GMRS and also have a UHF/VHF mobile rig is an ICOM IC-2730A VHF/UHF FM Transceiver and a Diamond Antenna Dual-Band antenna. This last Saturday, a group (army) of us held a day long class and had 40 people, from ages 7 to 67 that tested for their FCC license with a 97% passing rate. A technician license will get you on the local repeaters on a mobile install and with the right installation. Look at YouTube if you are interested, there are many free courses that will give you the knowledge to get your "ticket".
 
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WAA96

Rank I

Enthusiast II

250
Salisbury, NC, USA
First Name
William
Last Name
Alt
Here is a site that will help when you get your radio, being GMRS or Amateur (.mobile amateur radio operators) installed. I started off with a GMRS and also have a UHF/VHF mobile rig is an ICOM IC-2730A VHF/UHF FM Transceiver and a Diamond Antenna Dual-Band antenna. This last Saturday, a group (army) of us held a day long class and had 40 people, from ages 7 to 67 that tested for their FCC license with a 97% passing rate. A technician license will get you on the local repeaters on a mobile install and with the right installation. Look at YouTube if you are interested, there are many free courses that will give you the knowledge to get your "ticket".
Thank you so much!!! I appreciate it! It’ll definitely give me something to do once I get outta the corps for sure!
 
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donj51

Rank II
Member
Adventure

Enthusiast I

434
Garner, IA, USA
First Name
Donald
Last Name
Johnson
Member #

22984

Ham Callsign
W0WND
Service Branch
Navy
Thank you for your service. I bet you will know what the sticker on the back of my window.
 

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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member
Expedition

Advocate III

5,584
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
W7FSB
Service Branch
US ARMY Retired
@WAA96 , Welcome to Overland William.


I did a quick search, where you are located, there is one private GMRS repeater within 100 miles of you… so it’s not going to be much help in that regard.

If you want to discuss Communication Platforms please DM myself or @Prerunner1982. Sadly I see you are confused as well as @Joe Wolf.

In the mean time I suggest you use Wikipedia and look up FRS/GMRS and Amateur Radio services. Also there is a lot of great information in the stickies here in the communication forums.
 

Frdmskr

Rank III
Member
Adventure

Enthusiast III

646
Ashburn, Virginia, United States
First Name
Daniel
Last Name
Sullivan
Member #

25946

First tip, always use what folks you ride with use. This is especially important if you aren’t really technically proficient or really well versed in the capabilities of various radios.

Second welcome and hope you do get your ham license. Useful tool and fun hobby.

Finally, make sure you buy a mobile radio and not a handheld radio for your vehicle. You’ll find it helps to have more power in the boonies.
 
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M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member
Expedition

Advocate III

5,584
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
W7FSB
Service Branch
US ARMY Retired
Finally, make sure you buy a mobile radio and not a handheld radio for your vehicle. You’ll find it helps to have more power in the boonies.
also Mobile Radios are way more convenient than hand helds in the rig while off-road… no HTs bouncing under the seat.
 
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Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
Member

Member III

3,372
Navina, Oklahoma
First Name
Jon
Last Name
B
Member #

16274

For "overlanding" a Technician class license (1st of 3 license classes) is sufficient, however if you think you may want to explore ham radio as a hobby I would recommend getting at least a General class license. "Overlanding" lends itself to the ham radio hobby well with events such as Parks on the Air (POTA), Summits on the Air (SOTA), and Field Day/Winter Field Day. The General license gives access to more HF frequencies for World wide communication. For study material I typically recommend HamStudy.org: Cutting edge amateur radio study tools or No-Nonsense Study Guides - KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog . If you choose to go with the hamstudy.org material I also recommend doing the "Read Questions" section as it gives the question and highlights the correct answer. Read the correct answer only. Go through them a couple of times before taking any practice test, the correct answers should jump out at you. Once you are getting 80% of better, preferrably better then you are ready to test. You can also find test sessions either in person or virtual on at HamStudy.org: Find an Exam Session or check with your local ham club.

To clarify some terminology used in this thread:
Band: Is a range of frequencies typically referred to by their wavelength. The two most popular bands among Technician licensees and overlanding are 2 meters (2m) and 70 Centimeters (70cm). The 2m band ranges from 144-148MHz, the 70cm band ranges from 420-450MHz. The approx. wavelength can be obtained from the frequency by dividing 300 by the frequency. example: 300/146MHz = 2.05. The opposite is true as well, to find approx frequency from a wavelength, divide 300 by the wavelength. Example: 300/.70 = 428. This is part of the ham study material.

Modes: There are different types of transmissions, but in the idea of "overlanding" it relates more to FM voice or digital voice. Within digital voice there are different types such as Fusion, Dstar, DMR, P25, etc. Fusion is pretty specific to the Yaesu brand radios, Dstar is pretty specific to Icom brand radios, there are multiple companies making DMR, and P25 isn't heavily used. This isn't really necessary for "overlanding" and is something I relate more to the ham hobby. Also the type of digital mode used can vary by location and may require some research to see what's used in your area if you plan on going with a digtal voice capable radio.
Another digital mode that is commonly used among "overlanders" is APRS, I will save time here and just link to a previous write up I've done. Intro to APRS | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Ham stores: Ham Radio Outlet (www.hamradio.com), DXEngineering (www.dxengineering.com), Gigaparts (www.gigaparts.com), and MTC Radio (www.mtcradio.com) are the most popular ham radio stores and have better prices than Amazon for name brand radios.
Name Brand Radios: Yaesu, Kenwood, and Icom are typically referred to as the big 3. Alinco could be considered in there as well and may take Kenwood's spot as they seem to be pulling out of the ham radio game.

Radios: You could get by with a 2m mono band radio, but it would be better to not limit yourself since there are repeaters and linked repeaters using 70cm as well.
You can get a name brand dual band ham radio for $260-$310 but there are radios that run $460-$590 depending on the options you want. Also don't forget an antenna, antenna mount and coax in your budget. 2m and 70cm are considered line of sight and as such to get more distance you will want the antenna up high due to the curvature of the Earth, unless you are a flat earther then this wouldn't apply to you. Some people choose to mount the antenna on the fender or rear tire carrier and while it will work it won't reach as far but sometimes you have to make compromises. If the antenna is not mounted near the middle of the roof, it's a compromise to some degree as the radiation pattern of the signal can be skewed.

GMRS as mentioned is also a licensed radio service but it's a pay to play fee, $70 (supposed to be changing to $35 sometime this year), covers your immediate family and is good for 10yrs. GMRS is a good replacement for CB and many of us run both....or all 3 as you never know who you may come across or ride with.

I will stop babbling on with #radionerd stuff but if you have any questions feel free to hit me up.
 

TahoePPV

Rank VI
Member

Influencer III

4,312
Buda, TX, USA
First Name
Rex
Last Name
Drake
Member #

19540

Ham Callsign
KI5GH
Service Branch
Air Force
Also a quicker primer before diving in head first.

 
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TahoePPV

Rank VI
Member

Influencer III

4,312
Buda, TX, USA
First Name
Rex
Last Name
Drake
Member #

19540

Ham Callsign
KI5GH
Service Branch
Air Force
Perfect thank you!!! What’s all specific stuff like bands and watts that I should look for and would like $500 be good for a whole unit? Antenna and all?
You should be able to do quite a bit for $500. For radios I'd suggest sticking with Icom, Kenwood, Alinco. I know Yeasu has an overland following, but I can't say good or bad. They were not a go to choice in the 80s.

I've had good luck with used radios on E-bay over the years. Be wary of the new price from the outlets listed above. Some of the used gear will be priced for a ludicrous amount.
 

M Rose

US Northwest Region Director
Benefactor
Member
Expedition

Advocate III

5,584
La Grande, Oregon, USA
First Name
Michael
Last Name
Rose
Member #

20990

Ham Callsign
W7FSB
Service Branch
US ARMY Retired
You should be able to do quite a bit for $500. For radios I'd suggest sticking with Icom, Kenwood, Alinco. I know Yeasu has an overland following, but I can't say good or bad. They were not a go to choice in the 80s.

I've had good luck with used radios on E-bay over the years. Be wary of the new price from the outlets listed above. Some of the used gear will be priced for a ludicrous amount.
Yaesu has come a very long ways. I prefer my Yaesu radios over my Kenwood and Icoms.
 
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Shawn686

Rank I

Enthusiast I

231
Canada
Apprently you are not allowed to post unless you tell him to buy multi hundred dollar radios. Censorship is alive and well

Shawn