FJ Cruisers of Northern California
I've noticed that the only place people use CBs anymore is at Hollister and on the highway. It seems like everyone in the Sierras has moved on to 2m ham.
So I'm going to go with a ham rig. I'm not worried about the exam, since I already have an FCC 605 license, but the equipment is a question.
I'm going with a Boztec ham mount, and he conveniently makes a list of stuff to buy. So no worries there. But I need to get a transceiver, and should I just get a 2m unit like an FT-1900R, or should I go dual-band (2m/440)? Does anyone make a rig that combines 2m with CB?
Any and all advice would be helpful and appreciated.
Any preference for brand, whether Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood, or other?
I will most likely be buying the transceiver at Ham Radio Outlet, since they're a local dealer for all of those.
A removable faceplate would be great: can I mount the faceplate on the dash, and mount the transceiver under the seat?
The Boztec recommendations are good, and I especially agree with his coax recommendation.
There are no combined ham/cb radios.
If you are on a budget, just get a 2m xcvr as I almost never find myself using 440. If you do the Rubicon, there is a 440 repeater at Spider Lake (linked to a 2m repeater with wider coverage), so get dual band. There are quite a few 440 repeaters in the Sierras, so it could be nice to have (but I never seem to use it).
If you are not on a budget, then get a dual band radio with APRS just because it is fun to play with.
I don't know anyone with a FT-1900, so check eham.net reviews. For just a little more, you can get the FT-2900, which I have heard good things about from several people.
Since you probably don't know enough to know what you will use or will want, another option is to just get a Baofeng UV-5R dual band HT at first (<$50) and use that for awhile until you really get into it. It has plenty of power for trail communications, and allows you to take it out of the truck with you when spotting, or just watching others do an obstacle. With only 5W of power, it may have troble hitting repeaters from remote locations, but will have plenty of power to talk to everyone in your group on the trail. Even if you get a mobile radio, the HT is nice to have when out of your truck.
If you do any fishing, having a mobile and an HT can be nice, because you can park your truck on a ridge top, and go fishing in the canyon. Then you can use the mobile in your truck as a repeater for your HT and have enough range to talk back to town.
Sorry for the rambling reply, but the answer can get quite complex. I still didn't touch on features such as Dual Watch vs. Dual receive, or Cross band repeat. Ultimately, I would start out simple and just use a dual band HT, or maybe get an inexpensive 2m mobile (and an HT). If you really get into it, then expand, otherwise keep it simple.
My gear: Yaesu FT-470 HT, Kenwood TM-D710A dual band mobile, Baofeng UV-5R+ dual band HT
Looking at HF mobile gear for the future.
Wow, that Baofeng is cheap as dirt. I've had hamburgers that were more expensive.
So, Baofeng UV-5R or Baofeng UV-5R+ ? The difference seems to be about ten bucks.
Do I need any of that other stuff to start (e.g. handheld speaker/mic, programming cable, upgraded antenna)? Or can I just drop $43.66 or less on the radio kit and have at it?
A speaker/mic is nice if you are hooking it up to an external antenna (the coax is not so flexible), but then it is not as convenient to take it with you when you get out of the truck, because you have to swap to the portable antenna. I don't know how good the Baofeng speaker/mic is, but it gets good reviews on Amazon.
Some consider a programming cable to be essential. They are cheap enough, and you can't give the frequencies alpha-numeric labels without one (I do not have one). You may have to search for the correct driver as many of the cheap Chinese programming cables use a pirated usb/serial chip, and the real driver (Windows) can sometimes refuse to work with the pirated chip. If you are using Linux, the driver will work with the cheap cables no problem (usually).
An upgraded antenna really helps you reach repeaters, but if you are just going to use it for trail coms, the one it comes with will probably be ok. Also, swapping antennas when you get out of the truck is a hassle. It's still not a bad idea to have a mag mount dual band antenna in case you need to call out to a repeater. Or if you plan to do a mobile later, mount a permanent antenna and have it ready for the new radio when you get it. If you are going to use an external antenna, then the speaker/mic becomes pretty useful.
I've looked at the band plan already. I was just wondering if anyone uses 440 in reality.
I did not know about the CARLA system. Pretty sweet. I'll have to give it a go sometime.