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Best GRMS Handheld under$150? Wouxoun 805G? or Your pick?


Guest Pete M
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Guest Pete M

Looking to buy 2 grms handheld.  what is a great handheld for under $150?  Watched a video on the new Wouxoun 805G and it sounded pretty solid.  Any other handheld you would recommend?  looking at used as well. 

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In that price range, I'd recommend a used XPR6550 - hands down. You can buy them in good shape and working for less than $100 with charger on everyone's favorite auction sites. A decent new battery (prefer the Motorola OEM Impres batteries that would last 3-4 years) would run you less than $70. Audio quality is excellent, spec's are very good, and they'll do DMR digital - useful if you're a Ham, or just want to scan other stuff.

 

If you don't like to deal with Motorola software - then go for a used EVX or VX portable by Vertex. Look for an EVX-539 for a Digital capable keypad radio - or the VX-459 if you want an analog radio with keypad. Other Vertex models don't have keypads - which aren't really necessary for GMRS and I've snatched up VX-231 or 261's at less than $20 each in good shape. Vertex parts, batteries, and software are cheap and available. Their radios have decent specs and quality, and they're good performers with a low entry price.

 

If you're still not satisfied - look for a Kenwood portable. I'm not a Kenwood expert, and someone else could probably give you some better specific model advice, but in my experience - Kenwood has excellent audio & build quality and they're easy enough to work on. Parts and software are also cheap and available.

 

ANY of those 3 are better choices than a new CCR.

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I think you asking this question is great... I did not know of other options as an old LEO and lived, used and like Motorola products.  Confession, I have two KG-805G as they are GMRS certified, light, strong as I have kids and $80 each as an entry level HT or throw away.  It is analog and full bandwidth with great sound.  I do have two Chinese adopted twin daughters here in USA and so thankful to be here where it is free.  I know many Chinese business have to do what CCR (CCP) tells them what to do but I do believe CCR (CCP) will not last long.  

 

So do not let me direct you.... this is what was my IMO thoughts.  So after saying that, tell me what, why and where you purchased your radios so we all can see why pick what is best for you and family which is so American and love it.  

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This is a cut and paste from another post I made. You can find these radios for sale on several auction sites. All the ones I got have been from eBay sellers. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 or so depending on the model, radio's condition and accessories included. All pf the radios below are FCC certified for GMRS.

 

Some people like to try and use Chirp for radio programming. While free it may not support all of the features offered by the radio. In some cases its just plain buggy. That's why its far better to use the manufactures software where possible for the commercial radios at least.

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Some of the older used commercial radios are FCC Type 95A certified, which was under the old rules. Those radios continue to retain their type certification under the new rules and are legal to use on GMRS. If you shop carefully and wait you can get some good deals. The programming cables are cheap, and the software, don't use Chirp, are easy to find on line usually for a free download with install key.

 

Personally I have used the following Kenwood hand held models:

 

TK-370G-1

TK-3170

TK-3140 (waiting on slow USPS mail for this one to arrive)

 

The commercial radios have a major advantage over the cheap sub $100 Chinese radios, the receiver sections are far better. As most people tend to discover when in a range fringe area the antenna and the receiver sensitivity and  selectivity makes all the difference.

 

https://www.ameradio...ood_TK-370G.pdf

 

https://pdfs.kenwood...170Brochure.pdf

 

https://www.radiocom...40_brochure.pdf

 

Beware the radios come in several different "band splits" denoted by a model type or suffix number. Look at the brochures in the above links and scroll down to the last page. It's usually list under "General" in the detailed specifications.

 

I don't have a commercial mobile radios so I can't really speak about those.

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Lscott is so great... full of info.  I like his passion and wish I was a member of myGMRS to hear him speak with passion before I picked my radio... He has so much knowledge which makes me respect his viewpoint.  One of my questions that BTWR coached me on was ability to change out the antenna?  I can not tell from eBay info if one can.  No I'm not challenging you Lscott, just asking the question since my coach said it all in the antenna not the watts.  Guest_Pete M_* tell us what you think and what you will pick....  I need to know if I or others made a mistake based on our needs and understanding.

 

I have to acknowledge that Lscott is a ham and has a more technical knowledge then me...  I'm just down to earth and practical with no bias.  I do have several Lexus as they are great long lasting cars.  So back in the 2003 and 2008 when US car makers screwed us with junk cars...  I did buy what I like, so my cars have over 200k and keeps on going, most recent is a 2018 Jeep JLR with all the bells and whistles and it is a fun ride and will use to teach my G daughter to drive like I did for her mother and aunt in the back roads of WNC.  

 

I love this forum and America that we can respect and accept other viewpoints to grow in knowledge.  Yes, I let my employees show me a better way of in making a better mouse trap, they are smarter than me.   

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Lscott is so great... full of info.  I like his passion and wish I was a member of myGMRS to hear him speak with passion before I picked my radio... He has so much knowledge which makes me respect his viewpoint.  One of my questions that BTWR coached me on was ability to change out the antenna?  I can not tell from eBay info if one can.  No I'm not challenging you Lscott, just asking the question since my coach said it all in the antenna not the watts.  Guest_Pete M_* tell us what you think and what you will pick....  I need to know if I or others made a mistake based on our needs and understanding.

 

I have to acknowledge that Lscott is a ham and has a more technical knowledge then me...  I'm just down to earth and practical with no bias.  I do have several Lexus as they are great long lasting cars.  So back in the 2003 and 2008 when US car makers screwed us with junk cars...  I did buy what I like, so my cars have over 200k and keeps on going, most recent is a 2018 Jeep JLR with all the bells and whistles and it is a fun ride and will use to teach my G daughter to drive like I did for her mother and aunt in the back roads of WNC.  

 

I love this forum and America that we can respect and accept other viewpoints to grow in knowledge.  Yes, I let my employees show me a better way of in making a better mouse trap, they are smarter than me.   

Well thanks for the compliments, but the same goes for many others who post on the forums too. There is a lot of experience and technical know how by many others here as you will find out in time.

 

All the commercial radios I posted about have removable antennas. They use the exact same reverse SMA antenna connectors on many of the Chinese radios. The same two-pin stereo type microphone-speaker connections for these radios are also the same as the cheap Chinese radios, AKA" CCR's" here, so the programming cables and many of the accessories will work on both.

 

It's very beneficial to have an antenna you can remove. That leaves the owner the option to use a much better antenna on the radio, or use a vehicle mounted one, some even use the radio indoors as a base station with a roof mounted antenna. The so-called "rubber duck" antennas the radios normally come with are just barely adequate for short range communications. Many people buy a better aftermarket antenna. You'll find a lot of recommends on the forums for various models.  

 

I'm guessing why this is the case is when the Chinese decided to get into the two way radio market they needed a "standard" for the interface and antenna connection, so they just copied what Kenwood did.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

If you have not yet decided, the (new) Wouxun 905G is my new favorite.  Water resistant (near waterproof) and double the battery.. Same simple interface as the 805G .. I have both, but the 905G is what i now use the most.

 

But unavailable.

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Thanks for your question... I'm in the process getting Ham Ticket, test May 29.  So one of my desires is able to scan the channels I want without reconfig the radio.  So question to the Ham guys, do you do both services (Ham-GMRS) in one handheld or not.

Jack

If you are planning on getting your Ham Tech ticket, then a Yeasu FT-4XR or FT-65.

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Thanks for your question... I'm in the process getting Ham Ticket, test May 29.  So one of my desires is able to scan the channels I want without reconfig the radio.  So question to the Ham guys, do you do both services (Ham-GMRS) in one handheld or not.

Jack

I don't. When I'm alone it's FT-1XD, when with family it's TK-3170. But there are dual band Part 90 HTs, for example Alinco DJ-MD5.

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So question to the Ham guys, do you do both services (Ham-GMRS) in one handheld or not.

Jack

Not so far. My part 90 HTs don't cover into ham bands, and the stuff that does isn't approved (one shows as part 9...typo in the db maybe, as that refers to 911 services, 2 are baofengs).

 

Have one on the way that should be 90 or dual cert (evx539) and cover both, but it'll still probably be sparing...lack of travel means family is glued to cell phones, and I have mobile radios in the truck and at home that I use instead.

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I see that now... Those that are Part 90 can only RX GMRS and not TX which is Part 95.

 

Thanks for your answer.

Jack

Not so far. My part 90 HTs don't cover into ham bands, and the stuff that does isn't approved (one shows as part 9...typo in the db maybe, as that refers to 911 services, 2 are baofengs).

Have one on the way that should be 90 or dual cert (evx539) and cover both, but it'll still probably be sparing...lack of travel means family is glued to cell phones, and I have mobile radios in the truck and at home that I use instead.

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Thanks for your question... I'm in the process getting Ham Ticket, test May 29.  So one of my desires is able to scan the channels I want without reconfig the radio.  So question to the Ham guys, do you do both services (Ham-GMRS) in one handheld or not.

Jack

For Ham Radio specific portables, no. However if you look at various LMR, land mobile radios, many used ones have both part 90 and part 95 FCC certification. The radios don’t need part 97 certification for Ham Radio use. 

 

I’ve had good luck with the following Kenwood portables:

TK-370G

TK-3170

TK-3173

TK-3140

TK-3180

 

The programming software wasn’t too hard to find online. While the radios are normally rated down to 450MHz they can be programed lower into the Ham 70cm band. The software will generate a warning for the out of band frequency but accepts it anyway. The radios should work down to about 440MHz which covers most of the simplex frequencies and all of the repeater frequencies.

 

I also have a collection of Kenwood 16 and 32 channel radios that are part 90 certified so not strictly legal for GMRS.

 

TK-3160

TK-3360

TK-D340U (analog/DMR)

NX-340U (analog/NXDN)

All of the radios can be programmed for normal or narrow band FM on a per channel basis.

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Thanks for your question... I'm in the process getting Ham Ticket, test May 29.  So one of my desires is able to scan the channels I want without reconfig the radio.  So question to the Ham guys, do you do both services (Ham-GMRS) in one handheld or not.

Jack

 

I do but all my part 90 gear works on ham, gmrs and public safety. If going after part 90 stuff make sure the band split is correct. 

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I do but all my part 90 gear works on ham, gmrs and public safety. If going after part 90 stuff make sure the band split is correct.

Agreed with this. While some brands are known to allow programming a little out of band (such as kenwood) other simply won't (my evx539's), so if it you're after both bands, watch the splits on what you buy carefully, and double check against photos if possible when going the ebay route.

 

Not sure if it's used with other brands, but for vertex ive found g6 designation is often the 400-470 split I'm after, with g7 being 450-512.

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Agreed with this. While some brands are known to allow programming a little out of band (such as kenwood) other simply won't (my evx539's), so if it you're after both bands, watch the splits on what you buy carefully, and double check against photos if possible when going the ebay route.

 

Not sure if it's used with other brands, but for vertex ive found g6 designation is often the 400-470 split I'm after, with g7 being 450-512.

One way to verify the band split is look for the FCC ID number on the radio. Then go to this site to look up the FCC grant.

 

https://fccid.io/

 

The FCC grant will show the frequency range the radio was tested for, bandwidth and power output.

 

For the popular Kenwood TK-3170 as an example check here.

 

https://fccid.io/ALH34713110

 

I find fairly frequently that some eBay sellers either get the description wrong by accident, and sometimes it's deliberate, so the only sure fire way or knowing exactly what you're buying is checking that FCC ID number.

 

Second if possible would be to look for the manufactures sales brochure for the radio. Normally you'll find the various band split versions listed and their major part number and minor sub part number identifying the band split.

 

Again using the Kenwood TK-3170 as an example.

 

https://www.wirelessvoicedata.com/downloads/kenwood/kenwood-tk-2170-3170-brochure.pdf

 

One more thing some eBay sellers try to sell non-US radio models. Those can be a big problem since they lack any kind of FCC certification and the programming software could be very hard to find. Personally I had this happen with one of my TK-2140 VHF radios. Fortunately I was able to find the special KPG-74D(M2) version needed to program it. The code plug was NOT interchangeable with the US model, the internal electronics was a bit different, thus I need to maintain two separate code plugs. The radio works fine, just a pain since I now have an odd ball in my collection.

 

As a final note some of the used radios MAY be password locked, which prevents you from either reading the current contents of the radio, and if the write password is set, and you don't know it, you now have a brick since you won't be able to over write the code plug already in the radio. I've had that happen twice now. Fortunately I have found a way to get the relevant software to install with the so-called engineers key that allows bypassing the passwords. Newer versions of the Kenwood radio programming software have these features locked out without some software hacking or "creative" installation methods.

 

If you do end up with a radio like this and can't unlock it you can of course send it to your local factory service center, pay a ridiculous minimum fee for the tech to spend 30 seconds using their "special" engineering mode radio programming software, to clear it for you. 

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I will caveat that that fcc.io has some...glitches. it lists the fcc ids for my vx-p824 and vx-924 as part 9, when searching the actual fcc.gov database shows them as part 90.

 

My g7's were kind of a live and learn thing...I didn't look closely enough (or ask) pre-purchase. The (different) seller I got the 924 had mislabeled one spot on the listing as g7 instead of g6 (it's a g6), and he messaged me prior to shipping to make sure g6 was what I wanted...cool of him to do

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I wouldn't mind getting a P25 radio just to experiment with but the used ones I've looked at are way too expensive. I lucked out with the two 32 channel digital Kenwoods I have, TK-D340U (analog/DMR) and the NX-340U (analog/NXDN) relativity cheap. Both off eBay and look in almost new condition. I guess the sellers didn't really know what they were selling since they typically sold for 3 to 4 times what I paid.

 

https://comms.kenwood.com/common/pdf/download/DMR_TK-D240V_D340U_K_letter_1124.pdf

 

https://comms.kenwood.com/common/pdf/download/05_nx240v_340u_K_1117_typeD%20added.pdf

 

I was also gifted a used Kenwood NX-820HG mobile with power cable and microphone, the 400 MHz to 470 MHz band split model. The buddy that gave me the radio is a Ham but said he has no interest in digital modes.

 

https://comms.kenwood.com/common/pdf/download/10_NX-720HG&820HGBrochure.pdf

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I wouldn't mind getting a P25 radio just to experiment with but the used ones I've looked at are way too expensive. I lucked out with the two 32 channel digital Kenwoods I have, TK-D340U (analog/DMR) and the NX-340U (analog/NXDN) relativity cheap. Both off eBay and look in almost new condition. I guess the sellers didn't really know what they were selling since they typically sold for 3 to 4 times what I paid.

 

https://comms.kenwood.com/common/pdf/download/DMR_TK-D240V_D340U_K_letter_1124.pdf

 

https://comms.kenwood.com/common/pdf/download/05_nx240v_340u_K_1117_typeD%20added.pdf

 

I was also gifted a used Kenwood NX-820HG mobile with power cable and microphone, the 400 MHz to 470 MHz band split model. The buddy that gave me the radio is a Ham but said he has no interest in digital modes.

 

https://comms.kenwood.com/common/pdf/download/10_NX-720HG&820HGBrochure.pdf

 

Sounds like you got some steals!

 

Yeah, I've been curious to try out p25, and have a couple repeaters in range with the capability.

 

i can't say it was cheap...found a seller with a bunch of the p824's for $150, radio only, which was a bit less than most anything else. The one I got, the antenna was pretty much wrecked, and the battery is pretty much toast. New antenna is inbound, and I have a spare battery as I bought 2 for the 924, which takes the same battery. 824 can also use the same cable and charger, so I'm already set there, though I may grab a couple more batteries, though waiting to order till I see the state of the last 539 (might want one for that too)

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