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Old 02-18-2018, 10:41 PM
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HAM Radio Choice/Install Validation?

I have my Technician license since the summer but have not used it much. I got it for communication when I am on the trail as kind of a fail safe if the cell does not work. I have a Baofeng BF-F8HP handheld but am not too impressed with trying to use it in the rig for driving around. It just is not too easy and I think the range is limited. My experience as a HAM is VERY limited and I would like to get better at it.

I swung by my local Ham Radio Outlet and talked to the guy there. He recommends the Yaesu FTM-100DR
as a good rig for all around use. I like the small size, the remote head and the fact that the mic doesn't connect to the faceplate. I was thinking of installing the head to the area above the rearview mirror and the mic on my ProClip mount. It looks like the fender/hood mount is the best location for the antenna, although I would prefer the rear area.

Looking for some comments on this setup as being good or not.

Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:46 AM   #2
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Hi Dave. I'm also a ham and just bought a Jeep I'm outfitting with amateur radio equipment. I would recommend something that will run APRS. read up on it.

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Old 02-19-2018, 07:11 AM   #3
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APRS? For a Ham starting out? Let's get comfortable with more basic communications first!

Handhelds have their place. In a motor vehicle is not one of them, in my opinion and experience. You can plug a mobile antenna into them for much better range but you are still limited by power output. Plus they are very difficult to see the readouts and to toggle through things.

A dedicated mobile rig is worth every penny. Mounting the antenna up front will work fine, but you can use the CB mounts for Jeeps that mount in different locations with very good success. Just pick the right antenna for that mount.
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:16 AM   #4
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Do a youtube search for installing a mount for Jeep Wrangler. Great video from start to finish using a mount designed to be incorporated with the spare tire carrier. Are you really in need of a two band radio?

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Old 02-19-2018, 08:01 AM   #5
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APRS is not as complicated as it used to be. There are several radio's from Yaesu and Kenwood that are single unit trackers.The radio, TNC. and GPS all in one unit. Following the manual, it takes less then 10 minutes to get them OTA and transmitting your position. See mobile units Yaesu FTM400D, or Kenwood TMD-710A, or handhelds FT-2DR ,and D-74a.

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Old 02-19-2018, 08:33 AM   #6
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I looked at the FTM-100, but found that you can't transmit APRS bursts while listening (and occasionally transmitting) to another frequency. That means I cant listen to others on the run while transmitting my location. Since I didn't want to go all the way up to the FTD-400 which can do the dual frequencies, I ended up with the FT-7900.

I just finished installing yesterday; I mounted the radio base under the drivers seat and tucked all the wires behind the trim. Instead of the proclip mount I got a 1.5" wide galvanized steel flat bar from home depot for 70 cents, and bent it to match the dash contours while picking up the screw under the top dash tray. I need to get some neoprene on the underside of the bracket I made to allow it to rest against the dash to ease vibrations. And I also need to secure some wires and maybe shore up the mounting under the seat as something is rattling around, but otherwise I think it came out really clean.
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richlw View Post
Do a youtube search for installing a mount for Jeep Wrangler. Great video from start to finish using a mount designed to be incorporated with the spare tire carrier. Are you really in need of a two band radio?

Rich
Thanks! Honestly, I do not know if I NEED a two band. Like I said, I am very new and do not have much experience. Any advice on single or dual band?
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:15 AM
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I looked at the FTM-100, but found that you can't transmit APRS bursts while listening (and occasionally transmitting) to another frequency. That means I cant listen to others on the run while transmitting my location. Since I didn't want to go all the way up to the FTD-400 which can do the dual frequencies, I ended up with the FT-7900.

I just finished installing yesterday; I mounted the radio base under the drivers seat and tucked all the wires behind the trim. Instead of the proclip mount I got a 1.5" wide galvanized steel flat bar from home depot for 70 cents, and bent it to match the dash contours while picking up the screw under the top dash tray. I need to get some neoprene on the underside of the bracket I made to allow it to rest against the dash to ease vibrations. And I also need to secure some wires and maybe shore up the mounting under the seat as something is rattling around, but otherwise I think it came out really clean.
Thanks!, where did you mount the antenna?
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:51 AM   #9
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I mounted it on the front driver fender. The mount was stainless and I had to drill it out to 3/4" from 1/2" and then notch the hole further with a dremel because of the thickness. what a pain! I'd go with Aluminum next time: https://www.extremeterrain.com/pro-c...-pcss2801.html

If you want a 2m band only, the FT-2980 is on sale for 140 at HRO. However, it has no removable face. I needed the removable face because I didn't want it above the rear view mirror, and my wife didnt want it sitting on top of the dash blocking her visibility. With the FT-7900, I could move the face to sit just above the stock radio. I'll try to take some photos later today.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:51 AM   #10
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I looked at the FTM-100, but found that you can't transmit APRS bursts while listening (and occasionally transmitting) to another frequency. That means I cant listen to others on the run while transmitting my location. Since I didn't want to go all the way up to the FTD-400 which can do the dual frequencies, I ended up with the FT-7900.

I just finished installing yesterday; I mounted the radio base under the drivers seat and tucked all the wires behind the trim. Instead of the proclip mount I got a 1.5" wide galvanized steel flat bar from home depot for 70 cents, and bent it to match the dash contours while picking up the screw under the top dash tray. I need to get some neoprene on the underside of the bracket I made to allow it to rest against the dash to ease vibrations. And I also need to secure some wires and maybe shore up the mounting under the seat as something is rattling around, but otherwise I think it came out really clean.
I've got an FT-7800 in mine. Older unit I got from a friend.

Base is mounted under driver's seat as well. Mounted the face and an external speaker under the dash.

For an antenna, I have one of these, mounted at the top left of the windshield frame.

https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/...QaAiEbEALw_wcB

It folds down easily. I can reach it from the driver's seat, so I don't have to get out to remove it when pulling into the garage or passing under low branches.
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:16 PM   #11
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Ham

I am also a Hamiltonian , off topic question is there any off road trails in this are , nothing to severe just do some mudding . Thanks in advance
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:28 PM
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I looked at the FTM-100, but found that you can't transmit APRS bursts while listening (and occasionally transmitting) to another frequency. That means I cant listen to others on the run while transmitting my location.
Where did you see the info about the APRS issue? I am reading through the manual, but its kinda a lot to digest.
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:54 PM   #13
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Thanks! Honestly, I do not know if I NEED a two band. Like I said, I am very new and do not have much experience. Any advice on single or dual band?
Part of that will be your mounting choice, unfortunately they do not make any single band radio with a removable faceplate.

Any of the big three are good. They each have their quirks. Best thing, if you can is go to a store where you can works the controls. See which seems the easiest to you. Are you a member of a club or know any local hams? Most love to show off their setups.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:00 PM
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I am not a member of a club, but I did spend some time at the Ham Radio Outlet nearby. That was where they recommended the FTM-100DR as a good beginner choice. And yes, the guy did take me out to his car and show me his set up he was pretty nice. Not sure if I need to worry much about receiving two channels at once or not.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:00 PM   #15
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I've got an FT-7800 in mine. Older unit I got from a friend.

Base is mounted under driver's seat as well. Mounted the face and an external speaker under the dash.

For an antenna, I have one of these, mounted at the top left of the windshield frame.

https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/...QaAiEbEALw_wcB

It folds down easily. I can reach it from the driver's seat, so I don't have to get out to remove it when pulling into the garage or passing under low branches.
You may want to reconsider the under the seat mounting of the base unit. I speak from experience.

I had my Kenwood under the passengers seat and got caught in a situation where I had standing water in the Jeep. Enough to put the Kenwood underwater and destroyed it.

Mine is now mounted to the passengers side kick panel with the bottom above the lower sill plate so that standing water can't get to it.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:03 PM   #16
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I ran a Yaesu FT7900 first and now run a Kenwood TMV71a. I have the faceplate over the mirror and a Larsen 2/70 mounted to the drivers side fender.

Works pretty good.


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Old 02-19-2018, 01:11 PM   #17
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The FTM-100R is a good rig. I'm an Icom fan, but wouldn't steer anyone away from Kenwood or Yeasu A good dual band antenna is the Larsen NMO-2/70 https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/lsn-nmo2-70b

A few notes.

As far as range. If you have repeaters in your area to boost your signal, and a decent external antenna, you can talk very long distances.

I live on the flat prairie. One repeater I use is on top of a 300 foot building. I can be 30 miles away and talk to someone 30 miles in the other direction giving a reliable communication range of 60 miles. A mountaintop repeater can give you a range of 100 miles or more. Some places link their repeaters together into a system, in some cases providing state-wide coverage. With no repeaters, then you'll be stuck with line of sight communications.

If you purchase a non-Chinese dedicated ham radio made by the major manufacturers, you won't be able to use it out of band. This means no MURS, GMRS or FRS ability. Most radios can be modified to transmit out of band by cutting a diode or circuit board trace, but this is illegal. Technically most Chinese radios can't be used on GMRS/FRS either. They don't meet the FCC requirements for radios operating in those bands.

Also, when using ham frequenices you can only talk to other hams. If none of your friends have their operating license, then they can't talk on ham frequencies.

In regards to APRS, I've always liked Kenwood. They seem to provide the most support for the mode. For APRS, I use a Kenwood TH-D74 handheld. It connects to an amplifier that boosts the signal from 5 Watts to 30 Watts which is fed to my Larsen NMO-2/70 dual band antenna. I use it in my car and not my JK. In the JK I use an Icom IC-7000. It has HF/VHF and UHF.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:23 PM   #18
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I meant to get a fender mount for my Larsen 2/70.. I initially mounted it using a magnetic mount. It worked so well, I never got around to changing it. It's been like this for over a year.

Below is my IC-7000 head on a home made cupholder mount and the Larsen VHF/UHF antenna on the mag mount. The IC-7000 body is mounted under the passenger seat.
.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:14 PM   #19
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Where did you see the info about the APRS issue? I am reading through the manual, but its kinda a lot to digest.
Question on dual-watch FTM-100DR w/APRS

also mentioned in the reviews on eham.


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Old 02-19-2018, 04:15 PM   #20
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Here's my current HF mobile, and first Jeep setup. I installed a Kenwood TS-2000 to allow me to work local repeaters, HF. APRS, 2m 70cm SSB, and as the radio is fullduplex I can also work Satellites with it. As my 2 door sport has little room inside, I decided to mount the radio body on the tailgate. This was a convenient spot, and also the HF antenna cable i very low loss :-) The VHF/UHF antenna is mounted on the front, and the HF antenna is mounted on the tailgate. The control head is mounted on a stalk, this allows it to be moved around to any position...

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Old 02-19-2018, 10:43 PM   #21
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You may want to reconsider the under the seat mounting of the base unit. I speak from experience.

I had my Kenwood under the passengers seat and got caught in a situation where I had standing water in the Jeep. Enough to put the Kenwood underwater and destroyed it.

Mine is now mounted to the passengers side kick panel with the bottom above the lower sill plate so that standing water can't get to it.
Good advice and I appreciate the concern. But I live between Las Vegas and Death Valley. So the likelihood of fording any deep streams is about zero.

The closest 'river' has about 2" of water when it's running at it's best.

And if a sudden downpour happens and I'm caught in a flash flood, I'll have other things to worry about!
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:04 PM   #22
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I'm not one to push a dual band radio and/or APRS on a new ham just wanting communications for Jeep related activities either. Keep it simple for now, a single band 2M radio will work fine. I went from thinking I needed a dual band radio with all the digital modes as a new ham 25 years ago to a single band 2m radio 20 years ago and never looked back. I do have a full digital packet device on my HF rig at home but for communicating in my Jeep while offroad? Nope, never had or saw a need for it.

Don't forget you'll want a CB too. By far most off-road Jeep groups use CB as their primary means of communications. I use my CB 98 times for every 2 times I use my 2m.

I wouldn't be without both. And never, not once, did I wish or need anything but the 2m band when needing VHF communications.

The below is my Yaesu FT2900r 2m ham radio with my Uniden Pro-520XL CB bolted to the bottom plate of the Yaesu. The overhead mount (no drilling required) is from Arizona Rocky Road. Both mics are held by automatic spring loaded mic retrievers which eliminate the need to have to replace the mic in a clip after each use. It all works well and I wouldn't change a thing after many years of use.

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Old 02-21-2018, 12:18 PM   #23
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I, too, would suggest any new ham operator not worry about diving into the most complicated radio options out there. Start simple and gain some experience. Eventually, you'll know if you need to upgrade to that capability or not.

As for single band verses dual band, the answer can vary by area. Jerry is a big proponent of single band, because that's all he needs and uses. Nothing wrong with that. In my case, it's a different story. Utah has more 70cm repeaters than 2m repeaters, and I communicate on 70 cm multiple times every week, without fail. For me, I quickly learned a 2m-only radio wasn't going to cut it... which is why I sold the FT-2900R I had initially purchased and replaced it with an FT-7900R instead. Later, I bought another FT-7900R for my tow rig (which I also drive frequently while not towing).

Is a dual-band radio right for you? I don't know. But rather than make a blanket statement about how the right choice for me ought to be the right choice for you, too, I will instead tell you to do a lot of local research. What repeaters are around you? What repeaters are in/near places you are likely to go Jeeping? What do other Jeep hams in your area suggest? Don't just ask one guy; ask a lot of them. Get an overall feel, and then make your decision.

I will say this, however: if you are sitting on the fence about dual band and not completely decided one way or the other, go ahead and buy a dual band radio. Why would I say this? Because buying a dual band up front will cost you less money than buying a single band radio now, figuring out later that you want dual band, selling your single band radio at a loss, and then buying the dual band radio you wanted in the first place. Ask me how I know.

As for an antenna, go for a quality 1/2-wave design such as the Larsen NMO2/70B. Yes, this is a dual band antenna. But even if you buy a single-band radio, it's nice to have an antenna that can do 70cm in case you upgrade down the road. (Again, ask me how I know.)

Here is my antenna on the front fender of my TJ:


My 7900 faceplate is mounted over the sun visor (horrible old photo before I cleaned up the wiring):
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Old 02-21-2018, 02:23 PM
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Thanks! I have an app (repeater book) that lists repeaters around me and it looks like I have 40 2meter and 96 70cm within 50 miles of me. Not sure how many are active though...
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Old 02-21-2018, 05:22 PM   #25
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Realize that range is better on 2m than 70cm which is why in some areas you need and have more 70cm repeaters to cover the same area.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:00 AM   #26
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Thanks! I have an app (repeater book) that lists repeaters around me and it looks like I have 40 2meter and 96 70cm within 50 miles of me. Not sure how many are active though...
Good useful app. Use your Baofeng to start listening, closest first. That could take some time, but you get to play with the radio. You will probably find there is not a whole lot of traffic. Repeater usage has gone down, at least in my area. YMMV

Talk to the people at HRO and the customers, they should have some idea what machines are being used.
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