Rebuilding my mobile comms setup.

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KS_Explorer

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I had to step away from the Ham radio hobby for a few years, like 9, and am getting ready to get a mobile setup again. I used to have a Yaesu 2M rig with a 1/2 wave on the roof. That was an awesome short to medium range setup.

I want to get a decent amateur setup again, but I also want separate rig to communicate with FRS/GMRS radios since they are so popular and basically license free. My goal is to have the truck be a base station so that we can let the kids roam, but still reach them when it is time for dinner, etc. Also having a QSO from a mountain top sounds fun.

So what are you using? What pros and cons do you see with whatever you use to keep in touch on the trail?
 

Prerunner1982

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The Yaesu FTM-400 is popular due to it's nice display and APRS capability. I have also heard good things about the FMT-300. The new FTM-6000 also looks like a nice dual band if you don't need the dual monitor feature.
Kenwood has kind of backed out of the ham radio game, the D-710g was a good APRS capable radio as well but may not be able to find one, the V71A is a good dual band radio that will go APRS simultaneously using an external TNC and APRS app.
Any of the Icom radios would do fine as well.
Of course there are many cheaper chinese ham radios out there.

As far as GMRS goes, Midland has a number of options and has come out with 2 new 50 watt radios this year. One is already released the other is coming later this year.
If you want the most capable GMRS radio i think that is the Wouxon KG-1000g.
Radioddity has a couple of medium power GMRS mobiles that are reasonably well priced.
And as I mentioned for the ham radios there are also cheaper chinese GMRS radios out there.
 
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M Rose

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@Prerunner1982 pretty much nailed the list I would mention… nothing else to add…

Also to be clear, you will also need a GMRS license… your amateur radio license doesn’t cover GMRS.
 

MojaveJT

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I am in the same boat. I have a dual band icom radio in my ford ranger several years ago. I sold that and got my first jeep. At the time I could not find a great place to mount the antenna. I just got my GMRS license a few days ago so researching what I want and where to put it.

Following
 

Prerunner1982

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Any recommendations for a sturdy dual band antenna? I would like something that is a 5/8 on 2M for better reception in remote areas. However, I am open to any recommendations.
The Comet CA-2x4sr is pretty popular and I believe it's 5/8 wave on 2m.
The Tram 1180 is supposedly also a 5/8 wave on 2m.
 
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MojaveJT

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I am 99% sure I already know the answer to this question, but I will ask anyway. Since I am licensed for Ham and GRMS, is there a legal radio that does both? I know you can modify radios and get transmit access to frequencies that were receive only, but that is not “legal” to do. But interested to know if they have a legal radio that can do both coms.

Thanks,
Scott
 

Prerunner1982

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@MojaveJT no there isn't a legal radio that does ham and GMRS or at least any advertised as such.
The gray area may be a Part 90 radio that is often used (accepted?) on GMRS and may also cover vhf/uhf ham bands. Again, a gray area as my Baofeng UV5R radios show as part 90 certified and yet the FCC still came down on them for their radios being able to operate on frequencies outside of the ham bands.
 

94Cruiser

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@MojaveJT no there isn't a legal radio that does ham and GMRS or at least any advertised as such.
The gray area may be a Part 90 radio that is often used (accepted?) on GMRS and may also cover vhf/uhf ham bands. Again, a gray area as my Baofeng UV5R radios show as part 90 certified and yet the FCC still came down on them for their radios being able to operate on frequencies outside of the ham bands.
As I understand things, the FCC came down on the DEALERS.... To my knowledge, no operator has ever been fined for this 'gray area'

I'm often wrong, but that is what I understand to be true.

#MultiUV5ROwner
 

MojaveJT

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Thai is kinda what I was thinking. Want to put radio in jeep, but I have always been a fan of less is more and do not want to clutter things up.

I know my way of thinking is not “right” but if you are following the power limits and are licensed it should not matter, but I do not make the rules and I would end up being the first case prosecuted. Just my luck.
 

MojaveJT

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I found this good article to kinda breaks it down.

 

FirenzeForza4x4

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Hi. Not only am I new to OB but also literally just got my license yesterday online. Nailed the test but admittedly have zero actual radio experience. Been reading to try and set up a mobile rig to go with the BAOFENG 8w on order. Can anyone opine on which brand might offer the easiest intuitive interface on a dual band? For some reason I have it in my head that Icom wasn’t as easy as the others and I guess they nickel and dime you on needed accessories.
A fellow Lr person also recommended Alamosa Antenna but of course, they are sold out.
 

KS_Explorer

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Hi. Not only am I new to OB but also literally just got my license yesterday online. Nailed the test but admittedly have zero actual radio experience. Been reading to try and set up a mobile rig to go with the BAOFENG 8w on order. Can anyone opine on which brand might offer the easiest intuitive interface on a dual band? For some reason I have it in my head that Icom wasn’t as easy as the others and I guess they nickel and dime you on needed accessories.
A fellow Lr person also recommended Alamosa Antenna but of course, they are sold out.
I think Yeasu has a fairly easy to understand menu system, although I have pretty much only had experience with Yeasu in mobile setups. I remember a couple Elmers telling me that Kenwood had the best user interface but it sound like they are pulling away from Ham Radio market. If you have a local Ham Radio club, maybe some people there would let you "play" with their mobile rigs. Youtube could be a good resource as well. My last suggestion would be to download the manuals for any of the radios you are considering and see what you think of how them describe the process of setting up to bounce off of repeaters, etc.
 
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KS_Explorer

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I am 99% sure I already know the answer to this question, but I will ask anyway. Since I am licensed for Ham and GRMS, is there a legal radio that does both? I know you can modify radios and get transmit access to frequencies that were receive only, but that is not “legal” to do. But interested to know if they have a legal radio that can do both coms.

Thanks,
Scott
I had a conversation with ARRL counsel about the FCC regulations around GMRS/FRS and using Ham Radios to communicate with those services, about 10 years ago. Here are the highlights as I remember them:
1: GMRS/FRS are defined by the FCC as being "channelized" and radios using those services are not allowed to tune to specific frequencies in the GMRS/FRS bands, they are only allowed to change channels.
2: The grey area is the idea that you can program memories into most ham radios and call them channels. However, this really does not get around the issue that the radio can still tune to other frequencies.
3: In an emergency do whatever you have to do to communicate.

I think the fact that GMRS is channelized is the reason that no manufactures want to test the waters by offering a hybrid radio.
 

Wildflower1

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I am 99% sure I already know the answer to this question, but I will ask anyway. Since I am licensed for Ham and GRMS, is there a legal radio that does both? I know you can modify radios and get transmit access to frequencies that were receive only, but that is not “legal” to do. But interested to know if they have a legal radio that can do both coms.

Thanks,
Scott
There is a legal radio from Powerwerx.com. It is the dB 750X. It does both VHF, UHF, and accepts GMRS channels.
 

Michael Golden

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I had to step away from the Ham radio hobby for a few years, like 9, and am getting ready to get a mobile setup again. I used to have a Yaesu 2M rig with a 1/2 wave on the roof. That was an awesome short to medium range setup.

I want to get a decent amateur setup again, but I also want separate rig to communicate with FRS/GMRS radios since they are so popular and basically license free. My goal is to have the truck be a base station so that we can let the kids roam, but still reach them when it is time for dinner, etc. Also having a QSO from a mountain top sounds fun.

So what are you using? What pros and cons do you see with whatever you use to keep in touch on the trail?
OK here is my two cents worth. In my truck I have a Yaesu FT2800 2 meter radio, and a Midland MXT 400 GMRS radio. Those two stay there. If I have to get out and still talk to people I have a Yaesu FT 60 handheld that I can listen to. I'd never talk on a radio that isn't authorized to transmit on GMRS frequencies. :-)
When I get out to say a campsite that I'm going to stay in for a little bit I have a Yaesu FT 857 for HF, 2 Meter, 70 cm. Also with another Midland MTX 400 radio. All this is in a Gator case. The drawer holds two lengths 25 ft of coax and wire antenna for HF, and a slim jim antenna for 2 meters and one for GMRS. I can do Voice and Data on any band we are authorized to be on with those modes. It all packs up in a relatively small amount of space.Gator.jpegTruck.jpeg
 

Michael Golden

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Hi. Not only am I new to OB but also literally just got my license yesterday online. Nailed the test but admittedly have zero actual radio experience. Been reading to try and set up a mobile rig to go with the BAOFENG 8w on order. Can anyone opine on which brand might offer the easiest intuitive interface on a dual band? For some reason I have it in my head that Icom wasn’t as easy as the others and I guess they nickel and dime you on needed accessories.
A fellow Lr person also recommended Alamosa Antenna but of course, they are sold out.
Before I begin Congratulations on your license. I got my first license back in 97 so I've been around for a while. Alamosa antennas may look cool, but their dbi rating is way too low for the size of their antennas. "Remember a dummy load gives great SWR but lousy signal reports" You can get better single or dual band antennas for a lot less money. Also I'd be damned if I would pay almost 200 dollars for a single band mobile antenna.
As for what brand is easier to program. That's like saying which is better Fords, or Chevys. I personally like the Yaesu brand, but I'm used to their menu system so they are easier for me. Get a good radio and learn how to use it, and how to program it. Don't run with the crowd, Lead the crowd.

Look up this site " eHam.net " They have reviews on just about every ham radio piece of equipment. Look over the good and the bad reviews and ask yourself if you would feel comfortable with the piece of equipment you are looking at. Go from there.