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jas last won the day on March 23

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  1. Same exact experience as yours with the same setups, except that in FL flat country I was able to go 4 miles. Best, JAS WRKP245
  2. Super info!! Thanks so much. I printed your post and threw it in my bug out bag My long experience with Hurricanes has taught me a great deal. First and foremost, although I am definitely safe at home in a CAT1 or minimal CAT2 I always get out of the way these days. I stayed for a couple of CAT1s early on and after that, thanks but no thanks. We lost power on both, had nothing but a battery radio. One of the storms was a slow mover and lasted 24 hours!! Not fun at all.... So now I leave. I coined a saying: "When the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation" Second, and a really important point is that these storms are finicky. That plus the way Florida sits geographically puts us right where these storms make their turn to the N and then back E. Those turns are completely unpredictable, all the way down to landfall. Charlie for example was coming straight for our home and in the last 3 hours made a wiggle to the east and missed our house by 100 miles! I unfortunately was 100 miles E away and it went right over us. There is really no way to get out of the way with 100% certainty unless you travel 500 miles... Third, the storms are so large that the effects can be felt hundreds of miles away. So radios are CRITICAL. Like you mentioned and I agree, In these situations HAM is not for talking, it's for LISTENING. You are basically on your own and must rely on GMRS for family comms. It is that simple. To answer your question, I already have an MXT275 in my vehicle. I'm planning on installing another in my wife's. The way leases work we need radios that have all the controls on the MIC. I am waiting on my wife's however because there are indications of a Midland 50 watt radio coming out with the same setup as the MXT275. I would be all over that one and pass my MXT275 over to my wife's vehicle. There is always a chance of having to abandon a vehicle, God forbid both. That's why we have GMRS HTs and why I want the HAM radio to be a HT as well. My vehicle has a 110 outlet and I plug all the chargers to it. If the vehicle runs I can charge everything from just that outlet. Plus it has 3 cigarette lighter plugs and I forget how many USB ports, a couple of those are fast chargers. Thanks again for the info!! All the best, JAS WRKP245
  3. Thank you! By they way I love your state. I try to go there often in October,usually to Asheville for some photography (I'll post an image below). You are absolutely right about Florida. It's different down here. We get hit by Hurricanes rather often, so state and local governments have established programs to get information out to the folks, and amateur radio is a big part of it. That said, there is a lot of talk about DMR and such digital stuff, but when the comms go down, analog still wins the day... Thanks again! Best, JAS WRKP245
  4. An addendum.... Did not mention this before. The last time we had a SHTF episode was in August 2017. Again, we left and went to Orlando. And again the brunt of the hurricane winds went over us at the hotel. We were on the top floor and it was iffy for about 3-4 hours. The hotel sprung a roof leak and the lobby got quite a bit of water. The hotel was packed to the gills but luckily there was no power loss. We had a GMRS plan working so we had no comm issues between vehicles. No issues there. On the way back we had a long wait close to home. A large floating restaurant boat got loose from her moorings and ended up caught under the bridge leading to our home. Had to wait until the bridge was declared safe. We had no comms to tell us about that beforehand, power outages were widespread and most cell towers were not working, The one's that worked were jammed up with comms. Sooo, we sat there for a couple of hours before we could get back to our home. By the way, the sheriff department wont let you in on the island unless you have ID with your address on it. We got there and we had some minor roof damage and a lot of tree limbs to clear out. We had no power (that lasted for four days), no Internet, no cell phone, etc. We left the house (it was almost 90 degrees inside the house) and went to stay with relatives that had power, but no cell or internet, until the power came back for us. Still, we had no cell nor internet for a couple more days. I believe that with a HAM HT I could have at least kept track of what was going on..... Attaching an image of Irma's track from the NHC. Our home is only 15 miles west from the center white dot. It was a close one! All the best, JAS WRKP245
  5. That's really an interesting statement. I'd be truly interested in knowing what you suggest as a better option for comms - seriously..... What do you suggest then? Not even licensed for HAM yet so I'm all ears at this point - that would save me a lot of work and expense. In my case SHTF means hurricanes - Driving to get out of the way along with another 1 million evacuees. Afterwards, blocked roads, no electricity, no fuel, no cell phones, no internet, no home to go back to, etc. Maybe your definition is different. Again, I'm all ears. All the best, JAS WRKP245
  6. Wow! Thanks so much, especially for looking at my county info. You sure gave me enough to chew on for a while. Much appreciated. Extremely useful information. I had no idea digital was that involved. It adds a whole other layer of functionality. That always comes with a lot more decision making though but I have the time to so I'm digging in. My plan is to keep evolving GMRS for family evac comms but I also want to augment my capability with the addition of HAM radio. Because of living in a zone A evacuation I need to make everything portable. And once in a safe place (hotel room probably) I want to be able to bring the radio inside with me, More to study now - THANKS! Best, JAS WRKP245
  7. Just looked into it. Seems like a great radio at an Excellent price. Thanks! JAS WRKP245
  8. Wow! I've seen those fires out west on TV and that is some serious stuff! Hopefully you wont see the big shake in your lifetime either! I agree with you about GMRS and will follow your advice on mobiles. I already have an MXT275 in my SUV. Had to get that one because of leasing (No holes). I keep it under the seat and use a magnetic mount on the roof. When I'm in the clear I can open a repeater that has a 500 ft antenna with no issues from about 28 miles. I will be installing another one of those in my wife's SUV as well. We will still have the GMRS HTs as backups for if we have to abandon the vehicles. I find going to a HAM HT gives me important options: I can listen on three different bands. I believe listening is critical to getting good information, especially if you are forced to abandon your home. We live in evacuation zone A and are the first ones to go. With the HAM HT I will be able to listen to emergency broadcasts from CERT, ARES, etc. while also having GMRS comms for the family. A bit off topic but fuel is absolutely critical. These days vehicle gas tanks are not big enough and so range in emergencies can become an issue because of congestion on roads. Add loss of electrical power and gas stations can't pump fuel. Been there and it ain't pretty. Thanks Again, JAS WRKP245
  9. Axorlov, Thank you so much for your quick reply, greatly appreciated. My interests in radios goes a long ways back - 1960's and '70s, Mostly on sport fishing boats using AM and SSB radios. To answer your question on the Ham HT use - I'll try to keep it short. My primary use is SHTF get out of the town, leave the house, probably not see it ever again, and drive. Been there 4 times already. NOT FUN! GMRS is a critical part of the get out of town thing - convoy comms, and that wont change. The problem is getting information when all the normal comms are down - been there more than once. GMRS is not enough though. I need HAM on wheels and I lease vehicles, so I cant drill holes and permanently mount radios. That's the short story. The longer story is below my signature if you're interested. Secondary use starts with the fact that I loved radio since the first time I used them in the '60s. Nothing like talking to someone with PPT 100+ miles away on SSB while fishing 20 miles out for blue marlin. It was magical. So, I would still like to hook up to repeaters and talk to strangers. Lots and lots of HAM repeaters in my county. GMRS is not that. Is there any new information on when Kenwood will have a replacement for the TH-D74? Ever year, if history holds true, I have a 20% chance I will have to leave my home. On the radios, I realize nothing ever stays the same, except for one thing - If you can get on the air, analog, someone should be able to hear you. Digital might be more efficient clearer and such. If that's the way of the future I would like to keep both options open. I believe the Yaesu VX-6R does have some DMR capability, although I'm not 100% sure. Thanks! All the Best, JAS WRKP245 The Long Story: I live in Pinellas county FL, on an Island. When the wind blows, and it really blows down here, it's SHTF, pack up and get out of town. First it was Elena. Much later it was Charlie. Elena in the '80s. Sheriff knocked on our door at 1:00 am and told us to leave NOW. Although my boat was in the water we left for Sebring, FL. Spent two days there with the ceiling rattling. Then we got back with no issues. Second time: GMRS is what I chose to use after the Hurricane Charlie debacle. Wife, two very young kids, two vehicles, 11 hours to drive to Orlando, normally a two hour drive. If that was bad what came next sealed the deal. Charlie went through the center of the FL peninsula hitting our hotel in Orlando. We left the next morning and decided that going back on I4 was not an option. Big mistake (no comms about road closures). We went back on surface roads south so we could then cut West and avoid the I4 100,000+ evacuee vehicle parking lot. We must have driven over hundreds of downed power lines, avoiding downed trees and telephone poles. As we drove, we had no comms whatsoever. Power was down everywhere, no cell phones, no gas stations, no GPS (always have a paper map), no comms between vehicles. Then a squall went through and my wife and I got separated. And she was already low on fuel. By sheer luck, and after going past three of the roads that led west to our home, which had damage or were blocked, with no sign of my wife, I stopped at was the remains of a gas station where people had gathered to figure out what to do next, and 15 minutes later my wife drove by saw my truck and stopped. Whew! She was really frazzled, to say the least. A highway patrol officer stopped told us that there was a road open 20 miles further south. With very little gas in my wife's van we made it there and were able to head West. About 40 minutes of driving after that the cell phones got back to life. Electricity was on and we were able to fuel her van. Got home 14 hours after we left Orlando. I love my family and felt so helpless without comms. It was awful. Sooo, I went GMRS and have used them ever since. Still, it is not an option for listening to reports of closed roads, other emergency related stuff etc....... So I want a HAM HT as well.
  10. Hi All, I have never been afraid to ask for help. I learn a lot quicker that way! So, I've decided to get my Ham Tech ticket. I have the books, and going through them now. Lot's to learn but not really a big deal because this is not work, it's fun! And for relaxation, I'm already looking at radios. I want to go strictly HT at first and see how it goes. So that's what I need help with. The choices are so vast compared to GMRS it is almost too much. Features are all over the map as well. I need help! It would go a lot easier if someone guided me through all the must have options and such, so I'm asking I've been reading about the HTs and price being no object I've kind of zeroed on the Yaesu VX-6R. It's an older radio, and not one of the new fangled touch screen digital capable radios. It seems to have an excellent reputation. It's kind of expensive considering an extra battery and programing cable and software. Still, I always say buy once and save lots of money. The other alternative would be a digital capable radio, maybe something like the Yaesu FT-3DR. Even more expensive but with all the bells, etc. I'm not sold on the idea of a touch screen though. I'm terrible at touch screens and they are impossible to use when driving. I can do keys by touch/feel and not take my eyes of the road. Not so with touch screens. Call me old school. I'm very much open to all suggestions. All the Best, JAS WRKP245
  11. This is true for the MXT275. The MXT400 seems to be both narrow and wide. The designator code for the MXT400 is narrowband just like the MXT275 but, whereas the MXT275 is only authorized as a narrowband radio the MXT400 is authorized as a wideband one (20Mhz). I've attached links to scanned images of the test summary Emissions and Frequencies page for both radios below. Have a look at the designator code for each radio and then look at the bandwidth authorization at the bottom of the scans. This leads me to believe that the designator code just says that the radio is "capable" of using whichever bandwidth is the lowest in the case of a radio with multiple bandwidth capabilities, and it is not necessarily what the radio is authorized or fully capable for FCC authorization. Kind of confusing but it makes some sense if the designator code does not have the space for specifying a bandwidth "range". Link to the MXT275 - both designator and authorization are narrowband: Link to the MXT400 - designator is narroband, authorization is not... Best, JAS WRKP245
  12. Because it is a radio of interest I decided to look at the certification and test reports for the MXT400 as well. The FCC radio grant code is MMAMXT40 The link to the reports and tests is here: https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/reports/ViewExhibitReport.cfm?mode=Exhibits&RequestTimeout=500&calledFromFrame=N&application_id=jULJ9rlL%2F5bYbDlwOgv0jA%3D%3D&fcc_id=MMAMXT400 The test report is not attached because the forum software is reporting that it is too big. It can easily be downloaded from the link above. Of interest, two things stand out. Compared to the MXT275, which exceed its wattage ratings, the MXT400 is below it's rated power. At max power it delivers 36~37 watts of power. The second thing is confusing, and might have changed since the test dates which were done in 2016, The test report cites on page 6 a "GMRS Authorized Bandwidth 20.0 kHz". I have read on multiple post on this forum that the maximum allowed is 25 kHz. It's confusing, If 25 kHz is the maximum, then for some reason this radio was only authorized for 20 Khz? Best, JAS WRKP245
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