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Old 03-08-2006, 10:34 AM   #16
Stephen
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HT is awesome bike-to-bike. Yaesu FT50 w/ a pretty cheap dual-band mag-mount ziptied to the luggage rack of the KTM worked great. Eight-plus miles, clear as a bell. Wind noise in the helmet was the biggest problem. Hardmount antenna makes a big difference over the rubber ducky. 12v bike power makes a big difference over little batteries. PTT and helmet headset is good -- Motocomm is $60, saw no need for more.

Yaesu makes stout, feature-packed HT's that are a PITA to work. Little buttons, complex menus and keystroke combos. I presume that we're expected to pgm them with a PC, but I don't have one. The FT50 was a good deal at the time, if I did it now I'd likely just get an Icom or similar cheap sturdy 2m HT.

BNC, SMA, whatever, don't see how it matters much if the HT stays in the tank bag. Ain't gonna be workin' any buttons or knobs while ridin' in glove no matter what. Certainly, these old eyes can't see the displays of any of'em, even a lot of mobiles much less HT's. Would be nice to be able to trigger some scans of repeater lists on occasion, though, and switch to WX, but it's just another excuse to stop for a minute.

Cig-lighter plugs are crap, wiggle loose all the time, although duct tape fixes that, of course. Still, some PowerPoles would be a lot better.

And absoluteley, you get in trouble, you got help on amateur radio. Always somebody monitoring the call freq. Like they say, when nothing else works, amateur radio does. It was the only useful commo in and out of NOLA for awhile.
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Old 03-08-2006, 01:09 PM   #17
TonyA
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A good HT for bike use is the Icom T2H Sport. It goes for about $90, has 5 watt transmit even on internal batteries (some others limit you to 2W or less), accepts vehicle 12V to trickle charge the 8 AA NiMH or NiCd batteries you loaded into it, you can use it while the batteries charge, and it uses a BNC connector for the antenna.

I used one hand-held with a longer ducky antenna when working on communications for a bicycle ride. I had no big troubles with 30 mile non-line-of-sight links to another ham ona mountain top. But that's very terrain-dependent.

Get a radio that suits your needs, and a good antenna installation will take care of the link quality. The antenna is more important than the power. I like the 1/2-wave design because it doesn't require anything from the vehicle to make it work right.
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Old 03-08-2006, 01:35 PM   #18
Stephen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyA
A good HT for bike use is the Icom T2H Sport... The antenna is more important than the power. I like the 1/2-wave design because it doesn't require anything from the vehicle to make it work right.

Yes, a nice simple HT.
And yes, the half-wave.
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Old 03-08-2006, 03:53 PM   #19
Karl in NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eeyore
I own a Yaesu VX-5 and carry it with me on the bike whenever I ride. It has proven to be a very reliable radio, but it [and the later models you have mentioned] are VERY menu intensive...meaning that most operators have to refer to the manual to do anything other than its basic operations. They are very capable, flexible, and have many features but their complexity and small size requires multi-layer menus with keypad buttons sharing 3-4 functions. They are complicated devices.

Even if you do the research and spend the hours necessary to program dozens of possible repeater frequencies of the areas in which you are going to be traveling, there is no guarantee that you will be able to access one from any given location, and if you are....there is a possibility that no one will be monitoring. Unless you have an emergency, even those monitoring a repeater frequency may not respond to you as repeaters tend to be "clique-ish" with a small group of operators visiting only among themselves a couple of times a day. In some areas, activity is high....others, not. In some areas, strangers are welcomed...others, not.
These comments are right on the money.

I'm an Extra-class ham, licensed for nearly 40 years...

The handheld VHF radios are indeed very complex, and unless you use one almost daily, you need to carry the owner's manual, or at least the "cheat sheet" often supplied. These devices are generally not menu-intuitive, even to geeks...

Your comment about repeater cliques is also accurate, unfortunately.

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Old 03-08-2006, 05:53 PM   #20
TomW
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...If you have a HF radio you can sometimes mod them to pick up 11M but it's frowned upon....The other problem is if you unlock a radio to TX all-band, you can really damage the TX circuit. The antenna is tuned for the frequency it is designed to work with. You could swap antenna's and then TX though. It is illegal to modify the radio to work out of Amature band though....
Virtually all modern HF radios will receive CB frequencies out of the box -- not frowned on. Be sure to use an antenna that is tuned to the frequencies you intend to transmit on. Actually, it's not illegal in the U.S. to modfiy an amateur radio to transmit outside the amateur bands; however, it is illegal to transmit on bands you're not licensed to operate on and/or using equipment that is not type-accepted (certified by FCC) for FRS, GMRS, CB, etc. Ham gear is not type-accepted for these services. Dunno about the Yaesu gear, but the Icom T90 VHF/UHF handheld will also receive CB.
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Old 03-08-2006, 07:58 PM   #21
Jeffy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
Virtually all modern HF radios will receive CB frequencies out of the box -- not frowned on. Be sure to use an antenna that is tuned to the frequencies you intend to transmit on. Actually, it's not illegal in the U.S. to modfiy an amateur radio to transmit outside the amateur bands; however, it is illegal to transmit on bands you're not licensed to operate on and/or using equipment that is not type-accepted (certified by FCC) for FRS, GMRS, CB, etc. Ham gear is not type-accepted for these services. Dunno about the Yaesu gear, but the Icom T90 VHF/UHF handheld will also receive CB.
AH, that's right.

I don't have code. I just got Tech since it was easy and a lot of Jeepers were moving away from CB. Listening to Bubba with his 1000W Linear bleading into every channel wasn't fun. I run a 2M single-bad Yaesu FT-1500M in my Jeep with a 49" Larson NMO-150 whip. 2M single-band won't pick up more then 137-174 MHz. The HT dual-band are more like scanners and will pick up a broader range.

For RACES some people used ICOM IC-706 on bicycles so anything is possible... I think a HT would be a lot easier.

Oh when looking for repeaters, look for city govt repeaters. RACES/ARES repeaters are all over. Some Hospitals have repeaters also. Privately run repeaters can be a pain since they are like clique's but no one will refuse an emergency call.

For those wondering here's the frequency table for CB.

Channel Freq Channel Freq Channel Freq Channel Freq
1
26.965
11
27.085
21
27.215
31
27.315
2
26.975
12
27.105
22
27.225
32
27.325
3
26.985
13
27.115
23
27.255
33
27.335
4
27.005
14
27.125
24
27.235
34
27.345
5
27.015
15
27.135
25
27.245
35
27.355
6
27.025
16
27.155
26
27.265
36
27.365
7
27.035
17
27.165
27
27.275
37
27.375
8
27.055
18
27.175
28
27.285
38
27.385
9
27.065
19
27.185
29
27.295
39
27.395
10
27.075
20
27.205
30
27.305
40
27.405


And for FRS.


Channel No. (MHz)

1................... 462.5625
2................... 462.5875
3................... 462.6125
4................... 462.6375
5................... 462.6625
6................... 462.6875
7................... 462.7125
8................... 467.5625
9................... 467.5875
10.................. 467.6125
11.................. 467.6375
12.................. 467.6625
13.................. 467.6875
14.................. 467.7125
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:24 PM   #22
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More great info. Thanks again! I went tonight and got the book to read so I can study for the test. I am leaning towards the kenwood radios for easy integration to the autocom I just installed but I've heard that they make cables for the Yaesu also. I saw a kenwood today that actually got am/fm as an added bonus. I spoke with the manager of the Ham Radio Outlet here and even he conceded that the Yaesu radios are hard to use. I'm trying really hard not to make this a $1000 plus hobby but the more I see the more I want. I think I'm definately gonna pursue a used kenwood or yaesu that can be or is modded appropriately for frs/gmrs/cb etc. I dont want to buy a cb but I do like to hear the updates from the truckers when I'm out there. Wading throught the BS is the only downfall....


Thanks Again,
Ride safe
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Old 03-09-2006, 09:29 AM   #23
bubbas45
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Thanks for the inter-bike HT info. That's a big help.

bws
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Old 03-09-2006, 12:16 PM   #24
Jeffy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdmotor
More great info. Thanks again! I went tonight and got the book to read so I can study for the test. I am leaning towards the kenwood radios for easy integration to the autocom I just installed but I've heard that they make cables for the Yaesu also. I saw a kenwood today that actually got am/fm as an added bonus. I spoke with the manager of the Ham Radio Outlet here and even he conceded that the Yaesu radios are hard to use. I'm trying really hard not to make this a $1000 plus hobby but the more I see the more I want. I think I'm definately gonna pursue a used kenwood or yaesu that can be or is modded appropriately for frs/gmrs/cb etc. I dont want to buy a cb but I do like to hear the updates from the truckers when I'm out there. Wading throught the BS is the only downfall....


Thanks Again,
Ride safe
The VX series of Yaesu's have small buttons and to do certain things you need to press a few of them at once. But then once you set it, are you really going to channel jump on the move? (There is one big knob on top that will let you scroll though individual channels or go through your preprogramed frequency's. You can display the freq. or type in a name.)

The Dual-banders will be able to pick up Radio, TV, Air traffic, Fire and Police is they're not on Digital, etc...

I've never heard traffic updates on CB out here. Just the one guy rambling about something stupid for hours on end. One thing to keep in mind is that you can call out onto local Repeaters or in Simplex and ask if anyone's ahead of you. Basically it would go like this, " This is XXX, mobile. I'm on hwy XX heading to XXXX. Can any available stations give a traffic report, please." Somtimes it works sometimes it doesn't. Guy's running mobiles are more willing to talk to anyone then those sitting at home.

If you get a HT, I highly recommend the PC cable. Entering in a bunch of repeater with the buttons is a PITA. The VX family are a snap with the PC cable though. The only hard part is scrolling though all of them. Also, with the VX you can unlock them so they are All-Band through software. So no hardware hacks are required. Less of a chance of screwing up too.

I sold my VX-5R to a friend who does part-time for the Forestry Dpt. He got the radio, seperate hand mic, 18" 3db whip, PC cable, neoprene case and upgraded belt clip for $300. I wish I could have kept it but I wasn't getting much use from it and wanted to downgrade. Since the 6 and 7 series came out, people started dumping their 5's.

I don't know much about the autocoms since I'm just getting into bikes, but I think $500 for multi-band radio and hardmount antenna, PC software, is doable. If you go with a single-bander, you could probably cut it down by $200-300.
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Old 03-10-2006, 02:34 AM   #25
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Thanks for the insight Jeffy. I have been shopping VX-5's tonight after doing a little research with the autocom. The autocom will integrate the Yaesu HT just as well as the kenwood, so I'm back on with the Yaesu. I was unaware that you can modify the Yeasu for all bands with software only. That's another pro for the Yaesu I guess.


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Old 03-10-2006, 03:11 AM   #26
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Old 03-10-2006, 03:11 PM   #27
Jeffy
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There are many mod sites out there to mod your radio. One site I was pointed to recently was http://www.mods.dk/. It requires a membership but it's free. In any case, it should he helpful for any radio out there. Most of the mods are hardware related though.

One of the reasons why I went with the VX-5R was that it was compact and had a lot of features. I know some people who use them as their mobile in their car or trucks. I used mine for doing volunteer work for parades and emergency services.

I might come off as being a bit biased towards Yaesu but that's what I use and know more about. The VX-5 and subsiquent series can be programmed with a patch cable. This is great for entering a bunch of stations into the radio without having to peck at the small number pad on the radio. I highly recommend buying or making a patch cable then using the free software to program it. (I'll get into that later.)

If you get a VX-5, 6 or 7 you'll want to check out this site; http://home.comcast.net/~sllewd/. It is not being updated anymore but still has a lot of good stuff on it. You might notice that there is nothing under the VX-5 side. Click Commander or EVE and it will take you to another page. All of the other pages for the VX-5 are still there but the owner removed the menu on the first page.

Scrool all the way down and you'll see the menu and will be able to access those pages.

Getting back to the software, Commander, EVE and ADMS are all programs that help you store and unlock your radio.

With EVE you want to go here; http://www.geol.com/vx5/ and download EVEv170.zip & VERO50.zip. Unzip the files then run Eve. I think I usually drop EVE ito the VER folder. I haven't bothered to look but I think there migth be some info here; http://home.comcast.net/~sllewd/eveinfo.zip.

Although, even if you don't get a Yaesu, you should be able to do hardware mods and most should have their own software. There might even be some DIY instructions on how to build patch cables also.

http://www.ehams.com has a bunch of reviews which are helpful when choosing a radio. There are also practice tests. If you want a good book that's simple to udnerstand, look for "Now You're Talking". It's a bit easier to understand then the generic handbook from Radio Shack.
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Old 03-10-2006, 07:24 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffy
There are many mod sites out there to mod your radio. One site I was pointed to recently was http://www.mods.dk/. It requires a membership but it's free. In any case, it should he helpful for any radio out there. Most of the mods are hardware related though.

One of the reasons why I went with the VX-5R was that it was compact and had a lot of features. I know some people who use them as their mobile in their car or trucks. I used mine for doing volunteer work for parades and emergency services.

I might come off as being a bit biased towards Yaesu but that's what I use and know more about. The VX-5 and subsiquent series can be programmed with a patch cable. This is great for entering a bunch of stations into the radio without having to peck at the small number pad on the radio. I highly recommend buying or making a patch cable then using the free software to program it. (I'll get into that later.)

If you get a VX-5, 6 or 7 you'll want to check out this site; http://home.comcast.net/~sllewd/. It is not being updated anymore but still has a lot of good stuff on it. You might notice that there is nothing under the VX-5 side. Click Commander or EVE and it will take you to another page. All of the other pages for the VX-5 are still there but the owner removed the menu on the first page.

Scrool all the way down and you'll see the menu and will be able to access those pages.

Getting back to the software, Commander, EVE and ADMS are all programs that help you store and unlock your radio.

With EVE you want to go here; http://www.geol.com/vx5/ and download EVEv170.zip & VERO50.zip. Unzip the files then run Eve. I think I usually drop EVE ito the VER folder. I haven't bothered to look but I think there migth be some info here; http://home.comcast.net/~sllewd/eveinfo.zip.

Although, even if you don't get a Yaesu, you should be able to do hardware mods and most should have their own software. There might even be some DIY instructions on how to build patch cables also.

http://www.ehams.com has a bunch of reviews which are helpful when choosing a radio. There are also practice tests. If you want a good book that's simple to udnerstand, look for "Now You're Talking". It's a bit easier to understand then the generic handbook from Radio Shack.

Took me to a real ham site
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Old 03-10-2006, 07:37 PM   #29
mars
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i just took my test last Saturday. The testers said that the test will be changing in June. I studied the online practice test at QRZ. they didnt tell me what my score was, just that i passed. i would try to get it done before they change all the questions.

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Old 03-10-2006, 09:05 PM   #30
Jeffy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdmotor
Took me to a real ham site
LOL, damn I did that again. It's http://www.eham.net/

Quote:
Originally Posted by mars
i just took my test last Saturday. The testers said that the test will be changing in June. I studied the online practice test at QRZ. they didnt tell me what my score was, just that i passed. i would try to get it done before they change all the questions.

KE7GWB
Hmm, I'm wondering if they're going it make it even easier. That's the going trend. Not as many people are getting licenses.
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