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Thread: Dual Band or Single for Ham?

  1. #1
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    Default Dual Band or Single for Ham?

    I'm scouring the interweb to see what's out there for mobile ham radios, and it seems the cheapest option is the irreverently labeled "Chicom" dual band radios. I've read mixed reviews on performance/reliability, and some of the folks here are using them successfully. The negatives could simply be installation issues as we see with CB, but there are enough apparently knowledgeable reviews that critique build quality and component selection.

    In the midst of the "me too's" made in China (most look they're made by one job shop with different labels) I've come across a couple of name brand 2 meter mobiles that have me thinking; I only use 2m when I'm wheeling, do I need 70cm? My understanding is that the shorter wavelength is better in urban settings, getting into buildings, compared to the reach of 2m that can improve line of sight somewhat around and over obstructions that would block 70cm.

    For not much more $ than a VHF/UHF mobile from China there are Kenwood and Yaesu 2m mobiles with more tx power available. So here's my question; Is the difference in quality of a radio made in Japan vs. China worth sacrificing 70cm? I have confirmed the Yaesu is made in Japan, not 100% sure on the Kenwood but it looks like it.
    Mary Anne: 1988 YJ, 258, Weber 32/36 DGEV, AX15/231, 4.11 HP-D30 & non c-clip D35 w/Truetrac, 33" KO2's, BDS 2" lift, a bunch of skid plates, Warn 9.5ti

    Boomer: 1997 Ram 2500 4X4, Cummins 12V, 47RE, work in progress...

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  2. #2
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    I guess it really depends on your budget and how firm you are about it (the difference within ICom or Yaesu between 2m only and 2m/70cm radios is in the range of $70-$100). The reason for 2m/70cm being a pairing is that the same antenna length hits resonant wavelength fractions on both bands.

    My sense is that the difference isn't so much 'black and white quality' as it is 'sample to sample consistent quality'... plus a little bit of 'actually being programmed to honor the local regulations' (f.e. Baofeng being able to be tuned to transmit outside of the frequencies).

    All that said, I may just go with a 'cheapest I can find' 2m rig for the next time I get a radio. I like the Kenwood I have - and it's definitely better than the Baofeng I have, but at the same time I definitely don't use even a fraction of the functionality that I paid for with it.
    -- Tundra (yes, really my name, not my truck!) - KC1DQY

    2013 Wrangler Unlimited Sport 'Wheezy Chicken' - not stock any more - Schoolbus Yellow (er, 'Dozer')
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivoryring View Post
    I guess it really depends on your budget and how firm you are about it (the difference within ICom or Yaesu between 2m only and 2m/70cm radios is in the range of $70-$100). The reason for 2m/70cm being a pairing is that the same antenna length hits resonant wavelength fractions on both bands.

    My sense is that the difference isn't so much 'black and white quality' as it is 'sample to sample consistent quality'... plus a little bit of 'actually being programmed to honor the local regulations' (f.e. Baofeng being able to be tuned to transmit outside of the frequencies).

    All that said, I may just go with a 'cheapest I can find' 2m rig for the next time I get a radio. I like the Kenwood I have - and it's definitely better than the Baofeng I have, but at the same time I definitely don't use even a fraction of the functionality that I paid for with it.
    Which Kenwood did you end up with? I forget...
    Mary Anne: 1988 YJ, 258, Weber 32/36 DGEV, AX15/231, 4.11 HP-D30 & non c-clip D35 w/Truetrac, 33" KO2's, BDS 2" lift, a bunch of skid plates, Warn 9.5ti

    Boomer: 1997 Ram 2500 4X4, Cummins 12V, 47RE, work in progress...

    The Ancient and Honorable Society of the Leaf Spring
    Tread Lightly!
    KC1EIJ WQZJ411

  4. #4
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    Tm d710g
    -- Tundra (yes, really my name, not my truck!) - KC1DQY

    2013 Wrangler Unlimited Sport 'Wheezy Chicken' - not stock any more - Schoolbus Yellow (er, 'Dozer')
    1952 M38A1 'Old Swampy' - pending reassembly into mostly stock form

  5. #5
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    I was recently looking at this one to program GMRS channels onto and get my GMRS license, mainly to be able to communicate with the people I know with Rugged Radios, with the plan of eventually getting the HAM license. Seems to be well liked and reviewed.

    https://www.amazon.com/VV-898S-Tranc...tronics&sr=1-7
    91ish Ranger 351W Narrowed HP D44 SAS 14 Bolt C&C rear 39s 4.88s Locked F+R
    67 Kaiser/Jeep M715 38s 5.89 gears Running Project

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmer View Post
    I was recently looking at this one to program GMRS channels onto and get my GMRS license, mainly to be able to communicate with the people I know with Rugged Radios, with the plan of eventually getting the HAM license. Seems to be well liked and reviewed.

    https://www.amazon.com/VV-898S-Tranc...tronics&sr=1-7
    GMRS is different from HAM.. but...

    If you are going to get a GMRS license (i.e. displaying an admirable desire to work within the FCC rules) - why not use a properly type certified radio for it? The 898 you link is a ham radio, not a GMRS. That doesn't mean it can't be programmed out-of-band to work on GMRS, it means that you aren't working with the FCC rules if you use it that way. I can't speak for their quality, as I don't have one myself - but I believe the Midland MTX series are properly type certified for GMRS - and having seen Ashwin's MTX115, I can confirm they are quite a small package (smaller than my CB which itself fits in 1 DIN slot in my dash with room to spare). Your HAM license when you get one allows you to use any equipment you want (even if you make it yourself or if you modify non HAM equipment) on the bands your license covers (but not just 'any old frequency you want'), because the license applies to you as an individual - however my understanding is that a GMRS license only allows you to use type certified equipment in the GMRS frequencies - not 'any equipment you can find and program or modify'.
    Last edited by Ivoryring; 06-07-2019 at 09:20 AM. Reason: correction on DIN size
    -- Tundra (yes, really my name, not my truck!) - KC1DQY

    2013 Wrangler Unlimited Sport 'Wheezy Chicken' - not stock any more - Schoolbus Yellow (er, 'Dozer')
    1952 M38A1 'Old Swampy' - pending reassembly into mostly stock form

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivoryring View Post
    GMRS is different from HAM.. but...

    If you are going to get a GMRS license (i.e. displaying an admirable desire to work within the FCC rules) - why not use a properly type certified radio for it? The 898 you link is a ham radio, not a GMRS. That doesn't mean it can't be programmed out-of-band to work on GMRS, it means that you aren't working with the FCC rules if you use it that way. I can't speak for their quality, as I don't have one myself - but I believe the Midland MTX series are properly type certified for GMRS - and having seen Ashwin's MTX115, I can confirm they are quite a small package (smaller than my CB which itself fits in 1 DIN slot in my dash with room to spare). Your HAM license when you get one allows you to use any equipment you want (even if you make it yourself or if you modify non HAM equipment) on the bands your license covers (but not just 'any old frequency you want'), because the license applies to you as an individual - however my understanding is that a GMRS license only allows you to use type certified equipment in the GMRS frequencies - not 'any equipment you can find and program or modify'.
    Hmm good to know. I was being told that that radio would work well, when programmed on GMRS channels. But I get that it goes back to the same issues of the baofeng/rugged radios.

    Thanks
    91ish Ranger 351W Narrowed HP D44 SAS 14 Bolt C&C rear 39s 4.88s Locked F+R
    67 Kaiser/Jeep M715 38s 5.89 gears Running Project

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