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ham equipment recommendations?


New Member
Starting a new thread in order to not hijack the call sign thread.
I just got my amatuer radio license, and I'm looking for recommendations on equipment. I'll probably start with a handheld, I see that mrtwinkle says that the Yaesu FT-60R is a good one for the money (I see it for ~$150 after rebates).
Any recommendations on a good mobile setup that won't break the bank? Can I keep it under $1k for a radio, antenna, and mount? I have a 4-door Jeep Rubicon, so a mag mount won't work on the roof.
In addition to communicating in group off-road situations, I'll probably want to mess around with HF frequencies just for fun.
<$1K should be doable even with HF/VHF/UHF mobile. But, it will be close. I'm not familiar with all the options for a full setup like that. There are a few 'all-in-one' radios that offer all those bands. Having all that would require 2 antennas; HF and VHF/UHF. You could go with separate HF and VHF/UHF transceivers in your vehicle.

<$1K is easy for mobile VHF/UHF. ~$100 for budget handheld and antenna. ~$300 - $500 for nice dual-band, 50W mobile and antenna. ~$700 for deluxe mobile (Kenwood TM-D710GA) and antenna.

I don't have HF in my truck; only dual band VHF/UHF. I have a separate HF radio that I use at home and can take portable/mobile. I have a $30 Baofeng, but I haven't used it much since I picked up a used FT1DR. I started with a FT-8800R in my truck; it is a great radio. I have upgraded to a FT-400DR in the truck for integrated GPS/APRS functions. My FT-8800R is now at home being used as an APRS IGate.

There are so many options for how to setup. Your best course will be to try to define why you want amateur radio in your vehicle, how much you expect to use it, and initial budget.


New Member
When you (RMO) are on a trip, how do you use ham radio? Before you set out, do you pick a VHF/UHF simplex frequency that everyone tunes to? Would a Yaesu FT-60R usually be sufficient for this?
Many groups do select a simplex frequency when traveling in a group. A 5W handheld (often called an 'HT') would probably work fine in a group. But it might not have the signal power to get into a repeater on a distant mountain top. That is where the external mag mount would help. The FT-60R is just an example of an upgraded HT from the Baofeng models. As you hear about radios (HT, mobile, base, ...) you can read reviews on eham.com. As with any online review site, the reviews tend to be either 0/5 (crap) or 5/5 (best thing ever). But you can get a general feel about different devices.