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If GMRS, Then Why VHF/UHF Amateur?


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#21 citizensoldier16

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Posted 09 May 2020 - 03:04 PM

Congrats! I recently got my technician license as well. Most of the repeaters in my area are 2m so I bought a Baofeng UV5r with a Nagoya 771 antenna as a handheld, and I have a Kenwood TM-281a in my truck with a Laird quarter wave antenna on a fender bracket. I can hit repeaters 20 miles away on low power. It’s a great 2m setup if you ask me, and including the antenna, radio, coax and bracket, it set me back about $215. Not bad at all!!

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#22 SeldomSeen

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 10:26 AM

I just ordered a Yaesu FTM-7250DR Dual Band radio, base antenna, p/s, cord and LM240 coax today from Universal Radio. After a ton of research on the Internet this radio seemed like a good starter setup. I should get my call sign today or tomorrow. For an HT I will eventually get something like the Yaesu FT-65R.


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"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West


#23 kidphc

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 10:35 AM

I just ordered a Yaesu FTM-7250DR Dual Band radio, base antenna, p/s, cord and LM240 coax today from Universal Radio. After a ton of research on the Internet this radio seemed like a good starter setup. I should get my call sign today or tomorrow. For an HT I will eventually get something like the Yaesu FT-65R.

Just remember there is a lot of loss on 70CM as well as 2m in the coax. Don't get cheap, hopefully you'll only be doing the run once.

 

Here is a chart from DXengineering that will show you some of the losses you can expect. Don't expect a cheap Chinese LMR 400 to have the same losses as something from Times microwave. In fact from reviews the charts that the cheap chinese coax company send it's not even close, almost double the amount of loss they specifiy.

 

https://static.dxeng.../dxe-11u_us.pdf



#24 SeldomSeen

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Posted 12 May 2020 - 01:24 PM

Congrats!!!. I have the FT991a... it's an awesome radio. Well minus the menu system, 99 memory slots and lack of a true second vfo. I personally bought it for an intermediate radio. I wanted a 10m,6m,2m,70cm radio, really to utilize a lot of the technician license. I really hope to have the fan dipole, 2m vertical and 2m horizontal up soon. If you want something like that to grow into there is also the IC 7100. Then you have the likes of icom 706 mk2, Icom 7000, Yaesu FT857d that should be considered. 

 

Even a baofeng will get you on the air. As soon as you get your call, you'll be legal on the 2m and 70cm bands with that radio. Which you already knew. However, I would suggest you spend a little more and get something like a Yaesu 60r. If looking at HTs. Don't exclude some of the mono band mobile units for base station usage.

 

Oh talk to club members. Again a lot of them will loan stuff till you get your own gear. Just to get you on the air.

I am really, really interested in specifics regarding your research for an HF antenna. If I can come up with a sensibly sized antenna that won't make my house look like Cheyenne Mountain I will purchase the FT991a in a heartbeat.


"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West


#25 kidphc

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Posted 12 May 2020 - 02:22 PM

I am really, really interested in specifics regarding your research for an HF antenna. If I can come up with a sensibly sized antenna that won't make my house look like Cheyenne Mountain I will purchase the FT991a in a heartbeat.

You are going to look like a porcupine, just try to get over it fast. If you are lucky enough to get a tower and some verticals. In my land the Sauron (HOA) has eyes on all. I'm not allowed any antennas outside of satellite dish. Even then it has to be hidden. I have no trees on the back side of the house and the house is viewable from the street on all sides FML  :angry:

 

My psedo elmer gave me this article to ponder. He also advised against attic installs, he had it once and was un happy. Guess where all mine are going even with that said. Early plans are 40m,20m,10m,6m home brew fan dipole (the 40m will be in a ramsay configuration) with commercial balun. Diamond x50 or x300 (depends on how much space I have left over from the fan dipole). and a M2 stacked halo for 2m ssb. 

 

http://k3rrr.com/wir...to-choose-from/

 

I hope to add either a scorpion screwdriver home setup or crank ir in a couple of years.

 

If you have trees on your lot in the back. Go for a fan dipole in the trees or long wire.

 

The tree that is circled decided to rest on my neighbors house so it is gone now.

D5UcDV0.jpg

 

Current Progress of setup



#26 jwilkers

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Posted 12 May 2020 - 08:54 PM

I've been studying for the Technician exam for a couple of weeks now. I'm sure I could pass it right now. Last week I purchased a very good GMRS HT with full repeater capability and a mobile antenna. Listening to both GMRS and the 2 meter band on my scanner, I can not tell any difference between the efficacy of either. If you already have a good GMRS stetup, the Amateur repeater bands seem redundant. Sadly I am beginning to lose my motivation for the latter. Are the Amateur repeater bands just a somewhat glorified version of GMRS? Sure, Technician class is a stepping stone to General privileges but I am definitely not interested in HF. The equipment poses an endlessly fascinating prospect but the great majority of participants there do not appeal. Their average age seems to be about eighty, they all sound like the late great Ben Johnson (of John Wayne film fame) and only talk about their equipment or Conservative ideology which gets pretty vitriolic at times. The VHF/UHF folks are an order of magnitude more eclectic. Incidentally I am a moderate so neither paradigm appeals to any great extent. Both bands are obviously geared toward mobile communication. Neither have dedicated base rigs. I wonder how many VHF/UHF proponents actually use their mobile units for a base station. Sitting in a comfortable chair in front of a nice warm fire listening to and or commenting on casual conversations is what I am interested in. So once again I ask, Is the Technician class really worth It?

GMRS is a utility service. Typically, users only wish to communicate with others of their group. Amateur radio is a hobby service, where users wish to communicate with everyone.

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#27 SeldomSeen

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 02:11 PM

How about a long wire antenna like this one: https://www.universa...mwire/1164.html I have plenty of room for it.


"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West


#28 kidphc

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 02:15 PM

How about a long wire antenna like this one: https://www.universa...mwire/1164.html I have plenty of room for it.

 

Sure. It is cheaper to home brew. Just no where on my lot to put it up.



#29 n4gix

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Posted 13 May 2020 - 04:00 PM

I'd dearly love to have that OCF antenna instead of my G5RV-Jr "compromise" antenna, which is 52' long, 40-6m and resonant on no particular band at all...

 

In fact, it says a lot about its efficiency when it takes around six to ten seconds for my IT-100 "Autotuner" to find minimum SWR... :huh:


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#30 kidphc

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 07:37 AM

 It is slowly, very slowly coming together...

 

W8EmBaR.jpg



#31 SeldomSeen

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 09:24 AM

Discovering the OFC antenna has changed my plan. I cancelled the order for the Yaesu FTM-7250DR Dual Band radio and instead ordered the FT-991a. The ability to immediately take advantage of all Tech privileges and only having to buy one modern radio through General seems the best route to keep my interest. I will get the Ham Radio Deluxe software for decoding CW too. I don't want to learn Morse code - tried that unsuccessfully years ago.  I wonder if the old timers find that offensive. No one and I mean no one has the FT-991a in stock. It will be two weeks before my order will be shipped.

 

BTW what is a good ham forum that is beginner friendly?


"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West


#32 kidphc

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 09:27 AM

Discovering the OFC antenna has changed my plan. I cancelled the order for the Yaesu FTM-7250DR Dual Band radio and instead ordered the FT-991a. The ability to immediately take advantage of all Tech privileges and only having to buy one modern radio through General seems the best route to keep my interest. I will get the Ham Radio Deluxe software for decoding CW too. I don't want to learn Morse code - tried that unsuccessfully years ago.  I wonder if the old timers find that offensive. No one and I mean no one has the FT-991a in stock. It will be two weeks before my order will be shipped.

Awesome.!!!

 

If you get the FT991a.

 

A)Read the manual.. It is a really menu driven radio, and it sucks sometimes. To bury down menus to adjust sql and stuff, instead of just hitting a button then adjusting.

 

B)Get RT system download, really just need an old school printer usb cable to utilize cat control and program.

 

Keep in mind, two big downfall of the radio. 1.) 99 memory slots 2.) no true vfo B... Otherwise, I have been loving mine. I am waiting on the SDRPlay RSP1a to see if HRD will let me trying and control the radio through the Panadapter. I heard some week signals on the SDR that the FT991a couldn't hear.



#33 SeldomSeen

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 09:53 AM

 

B)Get RT system download, really just need an old school printer usb cable to utilize cat control and program.

 

Keep in mind, two big downfall of the radio. 1.) 99 memory slots 2.) no true vfo B... Otherwise, I have been loving mine. I am waiting on the SDRPlay RSP1a to see if HRD will let me trying and control the radio through the Panadapter. I heard some week signals on the SDR that the FT991a couldn't hear

 

I have absolutely no clue as to what these two sentences allude to. My ignorance about this new endeavor scares me and I am a pretty smart fellow otherwise. :)

 


"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West


#34 kidphc

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 10:11 AM

RT systems is basically is just programming software much like CHIRP. DO NOT use CHIRP for a Yaesu radio, it has been known to brick the radio.  Even Yaesu basically points to RT Sytems. You don't need it, just easier to download repeaters from Repeater Book from inside RT Systems then upload to the radio.

 

There are only 99 memory slots that you can program. To do memory scans or quick recall. You can not use RT systems  to do quick on the fly changes, Rt-systems require you to perform a reboot of the radio after programming.

 

HRD has it's own memory slots so you can utilize that function. Download the trial AFTER you get your radio setup. You can download a trial key which is good for 30 days.

 

As far as VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator), it only has one. The second VFO "B" is so you can do splits and kinda does a software flop between the frequencies. Unlike a Baofeng that lets you listen to two independent VFO's.

 

The radio itself can get frustrating till you get use to it. If you can get a member of your local club to help, you'll have an easier time with it. It is a lot to take in.



#35 kidphc

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 10:18 AM

You are probably wondering what a split is. Simply put Input and receive are on 2 different frequencies. Kinda like a repeater pair. On the FT991a you can manually program a repeater by using the split feature and then saving it. Nice thing about the radio is if you are a frequency range that is usually used for repeaters it will input the +- split for you. You just need to choose +- or the rep button to enable

 

Some time on HF, the other side will want to split for whatever ever reason.. QRM (interference) or adjacent frequency spacing.due to local users.



#36 SeldomSeen

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 04:14 PM

Okay that helps.


"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West


#37 Lscott

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 05:44 PM

Just a note about antenna restricted areas.

 

I read some time back a Ham had a problem with is HOA with wanting to put up some antennas. Well he researched the bylaws and came up with the following solution. He installed a small crank up tower on a trailer and parked it in his back yard where you couldn't see the trailer part. Cranked it up when he operated. Since the bylaws didn't prohibit antennas on vehicles, which you could reasonably argue applies to trailers. He moved the trailer every once in a while so they couldn't claim it was permanently parked in one spot either to qualify as a vehicle. The HOA couldn't say much.

 

Another Ham did something similar by installing a telescoping mast on his truck parked in the driveway.  He then snaked the coax across the ground to the truck from the house. The HOA wasn't very happy but he wasn't breaking any of the rules either. 8-))



#38 kidphc

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 05:58 PM

Just a note about antenna restricted areas.

I read some time back a Ham had a problem with is HOA with wanting to put up some antennas. Well he researched the bylaws and came up with the following solution. He installed a small crank up tower on a trailer and parked it in his back yard where you couldn't see the trailer part. Cranked it up when he operated. Since the bylaws didn't prohibit antennas on vehicles, which you could reasonably argue applies to trailers. He moved the trailer every once in a while so they couldn't claim it was permanently parked in one spot either to qualify as a vehicle. The HOA couldn't say much.

Another Ham did something similar by installing a telescoping mast on his truck parked in the driveway. He then snaked the coax across the ground to the truck from the house. The HOA wasn't very happy but he wasn't breaking any of the rules either. 8-))

I h was and some will set up a hf rig on the car and run the coax from the base rig to the antenna on the car. With the same thought.

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#39 SeldomSeen

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 12:39 AM

Change of plans. Last weekend I decided to start very simply. I cancelled the order for the 991a and ordered an IC-V86 2m HT. It came today and I tried it out. While sitting on my roof with the HT and two different antennas I tried to access all of the local repeaters with 7Watts. I was unable to access any of them. On one I got some static each time I transmitted but wasn't able to open the squelch. I even tried different areas of the roof.  As expected, this experiment proved that purchasing a dual-band FM base unit would be a total waste of money. My mountains won. Of course I can still use and have fun with the HT when I'm out on the plains.

 

Now, to have any sort of activity with my Technician privileges at home I would need to purchase an HF transceiver such as the IC-718 and use CW mode. Fortunately my Morse code studies have made fantastic progress. I should be able to use all of the letters, numbers and some of the punctuation marks very soon.  Then when I get my General license (hopefully within a months or so) I could then use the HF radio for voice. So there it is.


"Too much of a good thing can be wonderful." - Mae West


#40 berkinet

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Posted 22 May 2020 - 02:20 AM

... I tried to access all of the local repeaters with 7Watts. I was unable to access any of them. On one I got some static each time I transmitted but wasn't able to open the squelch. ...


Are you sure you weren't hitting the repeater? Hearing a short burst of static (called the squelch tail) after un-keying the transmitter is normal, and a sign you have keyed up the repeater. Unless you have a second radio, with a good (I.e. well designed) receiver, to use as a monitor, all you will get is the squelch tail, and maybe that awful roger beep.

However, not all repeaters have squelch tails. So, in that case, you would have no indication as to whether or not you had keyed the repeater. Also, if the repeater has been quiet for over 15 minutes or so, and you key it up, it should ID itself. Though, again, while generaly required, it does not always happen.
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