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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know nothing about 2 meter radios, but I want to get one.

I know I want something simple.

I understand that some or maybe all of them can be programed to transmit and receive on the same frequency without using a repeater, so this would be nice.

I know a license is required, no problem there.

I want a mobile unit and not a hand held.

My budget is around $500.

So, that's my knowledge. I've tried reading some information posted on ham websites as well as here and it like trying to read a book in a foreign language. You understand a couple of words, but that's all.

A few questions;

1. What are some good brand names?

2. What transmitting power is better? I see 25W up to 65W are available.

3. Are multiple frequency ranges needed, VHF, UHF & what ever else there is?

4. What else should I be looking for?

I really don't care trying to make contact with a local club, since most of those folks will talk to me in a similar language to the posts I've read and don't understand.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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I know nothing about 2 meter radios
No problem. We all started somewhere. :)

I know I want something simple.
Assuming that means you want something simple to program and operate, I strongly suggest you stay with the "big name" Japanese brands. Personally, I am a huge fan of Yaesu radios and their ease of use.

I understand that some or maybe all of them can be programed to transmit and receive on the same frequency without using a repeater
They can all do this, yes. Generally, no programming is required; you just punch in the desired frequency and go.

I want a mobile unit and not a hand held.
Wise choice.

My budget is around $500.
I have good news: you won't need to spend near this much to get a high quality 2m setup for your Jeep. You could even get a quality dual band radio and still come in comfortably under budget.

1. What are some good brand names?
The major players are Yaesu, Kenwood and Icom.

2. What transmitting power is better? I see 25W up to 65W are available.
Most quality Japanese radios will put out 50-75 watts peak, depending on the model. Combined with a good antenna, this will typically be very sufficient for the usual mobile operation.

3. Are multiple frequency ranges needed, VHF, UHF & what ever else there is?
The cheapest radios will be 2m (VHF) only. The next step up the ladder would be a dual band radio, which does 2m and 70cm (UHF) bands. You can go even higher and find some quad band mobile radios which also do 6m and 10m, though I personally don't recommend such a radio (especially to newcomers to the hobby).

4. What else should I be looking for?
A high quality antenna, for sure. I suggest the Larsen NMO2/70B because it offers proven performance, excellent durability, and its 1/2-wave design makes it very forgiving when mounted without a large ground plane beneath it (such as we are forced to do with out Jeeps). Find an NMO cable, plus a mounting bracket (if needed depending on where you mount the antenna), and you'll have everything you need for solid, reliable operation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks very much for the reply and breaking it down by my questions. It was very easy to follow.
 

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Another good choice of Yeasu would be the FT-2900R. With 75 watts it has plenty of power and it's darned near bulletproof. They're under $200 on sites like Amazon.com. Mine has been flawless for nearly 10 years in my TJ.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=Yeasu+FT-2900R+

That's it on top, a CB is bolted to it from the bottom.
 

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If you are looking for a 2m only mobile rig, I'll suggest checking out Yeasu FTM-3100.
Another good choice of Yeasu would be the FT-2900R.
These are both great suggestions for anyone shopping for an easy-to-use 2m-only mobile radio. For the record, the FTM-3100R is the new generation of Yaesu radios; it essentially combines and replaces two of their older models: the FT-1900R and the FT-2900R. Being a new design, this model has a variety of new features and capabilities (such as an 8-character display) that are very appealing. The FTM-3100R is only $150 at Ham Radio Online.

While an older model, the FT-2900R has earned quite a reputation for durability. It offers slightly higher maximum output at 75 watts, and its housing incorporates a beefy heat sink which allows it to run without a fan. This model is still available new for purchase; it currently runs $170 at HRO.

My favorite Yaesu mobile radio is the FT-7900R. This is a dual-band radio, and I get frequent use out of its 70cm capability. Even better than that, this model has a removable faceplate (which the FTM-3100R and the FT-2900R do not have), which gives you many more mounting options when you install it in your vehicle. Its additional buttons across the faceplate make operating it even easier than the FT-2900R (which I used to own before upgrading to this model). The FT-7900R is priced at $270 at HRO.

I hope this info helps.
 

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I would suggest studying for the technician and general exams. That should be useful in determining what you may need.
 

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X2, study and pass the Technician class license test first. By the time you're done with that you'll know more about what you're looking for. Don't put the cart before the horse. :)
 

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x3 on the whole license thing. I didn't mention it simply because you made it sound like you were already planning/working on that. However, I definitely agree with Jerry and Leadnut--studying for the test will probably help you decide what you'd like to have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Studying for the test at the time this was posted.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
 

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LBJ I will be very curious what you come up with as I have been studying for the tech exam as well. Test is the 14th. In my own OCD state of mind I have been researching hard and have been looking at the ICOM 5100. The reasons are:
 

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Re-direct issue or something sorry - Continuing

1. Simple to use - (I know nothing even after a month of study)
2. Big visible screen - (I'm getting older)
3. Room to grow into the hobby - ( there is so much I don't know but with all the HAM options out there talking to someone orbiting the earth or digitally connecting to someone in Japan might be cool someday and convincing my spouse to let me buy another radio ---- not so sure)
4. Did I say simple to use? Maybe simpl ..ish to use.

So keep me posted on your search as I am in the same boat and just as concerned about installing the dang thing correctly once I decide what to get as I am about what to get. Good luck on your test.
 

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eHam.net is a good place to start for product reviews.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
LBJ I will be very curious what you come up with as I have been studying for the tech exam as well. Test is the 14th. In my own OCD state of mind I have been researching hard and have been looking at the ICOM 5100. The reasons are:
The 5100 does look nice and it's within my budget. I do like the large display screen and many of the other features.

Yaesu FTM 400DR also has a large display screen with many of the same features, but is a little high than my budget.

Still not sure what I want yet, not in a big hurry to decide until I pass the test.
 

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Those are nice radio's.

Please take this in the correct spirit. As you both are just getting into the hobby you are not aware of various aspects.

Historically mobile communication was done on FM, either 2 meter or 440 band, a little on 220. In the past number of years digital modes have started appearing. There are advantages and disadvantages, and many, many discussions about it.

First, digital is not the simplest to setup in the radio. There are more steps involved than using a FM repeater.

The Icom uses a digital coding called D-Star, the Yaesu uses System Fusion. They are not compatible, they can't talk to each other using digital. Both radios do have FM also. FM is fully compatible across any brand.

Before buying a digital radio, you need to find out which mode (D-Star, System Fusion, DMR) if any, is being used in your area. If you buy a D-Star radio and there are no D-Star repeaters around, you can't use that part.

My opinion, look at dual band FM radio's for about half the price. Find a club(s) in your area. Search for ARRL Affiliated Clubs They can help get you started with testing, answering questions, providing information on local resources.

I'll answer any questions you have either here or off-line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
LBJ I will be very curious what you come up with as I have been studying for the tech exam as well. Test is the 14th. In my own OCD state of mind I have been researching hard and have been looking at the ICOM 5100. The reasons are:
Those are nice radio's.

Please take this in the correct spirit. As you both are just getting into the hobby you are not aware of various aspects.

Historically mobile communication was done on FM, either 2 meter or 440 band, a little on 220. In the past number of years digital modes have started appearing. There are advantages and disadvantages, and many, many discussions about it.

First, digital is not the simplest to setup in the radio. There are more steps involved than using a FM repeater.

The Icom uses a digital coding called D-Star, the Yaesu uses System Fusion. They are not compatible, they can't talk to each other using digital. Both radios do have FM also. FM is fully compatible across any brand.

Before buying a digital radio, you need to find out which mode (D-Star, System Fusion, DMR) if any, is being used in your area. If you buy a D-Star radio and there are no D-Star repeaters around, you can't use that part.

My opinion, look at dual band FM radio's for about half the price. Find a club(s) in your area. Search for ARRL Affiliated Clubs They can help get you started with testing, answering questions, providing information on local resources.

I'll answer any questions you have either here or off-line.
Thanks very much for the information. I'll be contacting you off line in the near future.
 

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Those are nice radio's.

Please take this in the correct spirit. As you both are just getting into the hobby you are not aware of various aspects.

Historically mobile communication was done on FM, either 2 meter or 440 band, a little on 220. In the past number of years digital modes have started appearing. There are advantages and disadvantages, and many, many discussions about it.

First, digital is not the simplest to setup in the radio. There are more steps involved than using a FM repeater.

The Icom uses a digital coding called D-Star, the Yaesu uses System Fusion. They are not compatible, they can't talk to each other using digital. Both radios do have FM also. FM is fully compatible across any brand.

Before buying a digital radio, you need to find out which mode (D-Star, System Fusion, DMR) if any, is being used in your area. If you buy a D-Star radio and there are no D-Star repeaters around, you can't use that part.

My opinion, look at dual band FM radio's for about half the price. Find a club(s) in your area. Search for ARRL Affiliated Clubs They can help get you started with testing, answering questions, providing information on local resources.

I'll answer any questions you have either here or off-line.
This is a very good topic. I've been a ham for about a year now and still haven't bitten off on any digital modes because of the broad cross-incompatibility and the fear of spending hundreds of dollars on a digital rig and having to use analog FM 99% of the time.

What's really needed is the ability to use our own encoding schemes in conjunction with commercial hardware. If only there were a radio that could pair up with a Raspberry Pi or Arduino and hand off encoding tasks and then pipe them back through the transceiver. :drool:
 

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still haven't bitten off on any digital modes because of the broad cross-incompatibility
Yeah, this feels like 1982 all over again--I want to buy a home video player, but the whole VHS-vs-Betamax war is still underway. I'm waiting until the battle is over and a clear victor has been declared.

In the mean time, I use my analog FM ham radios every day. :)
 
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