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Discussion Starter #1
which ham radio for off-road use?

I have my technician license but don't yet own a radio. I want to be able to do voice and APRS at the same time. What radios do you recommend that won't break the budget?

I realize there is more than 1 way to get voice + APRS. I figured buying 1 radio that can do both and incorporates has an inhibit that won't let APRS transmit if I'm using voice. If you have another solution using a radio for voice plus a dedicated APRS tracker I'd like to hear it. I am just getting into this so I don't really know what my options are. A buddy of mine is going to let me borrow his handheld unit, so I'll play around with APRS on Android, but I'd eventually like a more permanent, and higher powered installation in the jeep.
 

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What benefit do you see to using APRS while offroading? I use a Yaesu 2m and a conventional GPS for my offroad needs, I never felt the need for APRS in my Jeep.

N6TAY
 

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I have my technician license but don't yet own a radio. I want to be able to do voice and APRS at the same time. What radios do you recommend that won't break the budget. . . ?
There are out of the box solutions, but they are not inexpensive so it depends upon your budget whether any are suitable.

Two options are the Kenwood TM-D710GA and the Yaesu FTM-400DR/XDR. Both are good radios. Although I have been a Yaesu owner for many years, I recently purchased a Kenwood 2m single band and am quickly becoming a Kenwood convert.

This thread may help: Single radio for voice and APRS - Expedition Portal
 

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Unfortunately, there's no real inexpensive way of having a radio that will beacon APRS packets while you talk on it. A radio like this has to be dual band and have a built in GPS receiver and a built in packet modem. None of the cheap Chinese radios will do this. You'll need to go for the Japanese offerings

These will be in the $400 to $600 Range.

Kenwood TM710GA https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs/0309.html

Yeasu FTM-400XDR https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/fm_txvrs/5400.html

Kenwood TH-D74 https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/4074.html

Kenwood TH-D72 https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/3072.html

Yeasu VX8-DR (has been discontinued) https://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0008.html

I have the Kenwood TH-D74. I feed the 5 Watt output to a 40 Watt Amplifier and that goes to a magnetic mount antenna mounted on the passenger side of the cowling in front of the windshield.

And.. As a point of interest, ham is a word that's been used as a nickname for amateur radio operators for over a century. It's not an acronym like CB, FRS, FCC etc.. As such it doesn't need to be capitalized. Here's a brief history -> Ham Radio History
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What benefit do you see to using APRS while offroading? I use a Yaesu 2m and a conventional GPS for my offroad needs, I never felt the need for APRS in my Jeep.

N6TAY
Mostly so that family can see where I am. Novelty really, and because I'm a geek and think it would be fun to play around with.
 
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As a point of interest, ham is a word that's been used as a nickname for amateur radio operators for over a century. It's not an acronym like CB, FRS, FCC etc.. As such it doesn't need to be capitalized
Noted and fixed. Thank you :)
 

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. . . As a point of interest, ham is a word that's been used as a nickname for amateur radio operators for over a century. It's not an acronym like CB, FRS, FCC etc.. As such it doesn't need to be capitalized. Here's a brief history -> Ham Radio History
I love grammar nuances, and suspect that I regularly Capitalize when I shouldn't.
 

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I have the Kenwood TH-D74. I feed the 5 Watt output to a 40 Watt Amplifier and that goes to a magnetic mount antenna mounted on the passenger side of the cowling in front of the windshield.

I have the same radio but have coax run through my Jeep to a Diamond 37" tri-band antenna mounted on my high mounted third brake light.

What is the make and model of the 40 watt amp you are using?
 

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I have the same radio but have coax run through my Jeep to a Diamond 37" tri-band antenna mounted on my high mounted third brake light.

What is the make and model of the 40 watt amp you are using?
I'm using an ancient RF Concepts RFC 2/70G dual band amp that's no longer in production. RigPix Database - Power amplifiers - RF Concepts RFC 2/70G

I mentioned 40 Watts, but see it's 30W on 2m and 20W on 440. I've had it over 20 years and kind of forgot the actual output. I rarely look at it :) It still works well..
 

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I like my Yaesu FT-7900R two channel radio. One frequency for talking to my wheeling party and the other for either monitoring a repeater or the national calling frequency.
 

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I have a cheapy BaoFeng handheld. I honestly got my technician license without the thought of using it for jeeping. However I am seeing more and more people going this route within jeep clubs/groups.

I have yet to use mine on a group jeep run (have CB). I know it won't have the range of a built in with a external antenna, but wondering if anyone has any actual experience with using a handheld ham radio like this while jeeping?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have a cheapy BaoFeng handheld. I honestly got my technician license without the thought of using it for jeeping. However I am seeing more and more people going this route within jeep clubs/groups.

I have yet to use mine on a group jeep run (have CB). I know it won't have the range of a built in with a external antenna, but wondering if anyone has any actual experience with using a handheld ham radio like this while jeeping?
Same here. Never actually thought I'd use my ham license for anything more than drone work and remote video.

I have been attempting to use the HT my friend loaned me while driving back and forth to work. Typically I pick a repeater from the list I printed, tune to it, program the offset, PL tone (and turn ON the tone), and just keep it in the cupholder and listen. Not much happens. I've managed to hit a couple different repeaters (they ID and kerchunk when keyed) but am not hearing much real activity at all. Occasionally I give my callsign and say "monitoring" or ask for a signal quality report, but so far, nobody has answered. I don't know if it's something I am doing wrong, or if maybe the radio is just so old it doesn't work well, or what...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You could do a standalone APRS, and then use any other radio you want. Take a look at Mobilinkd | Highly mobile packet radio. Here is an article on it:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5hAAP8sepa_WXh6cGR6UWpxa2ZBekszUVgwWDdQbndCQUdr/view
That looks pretty cool. Along the same line of thought I saw this which simply takes an encoded audio signal from a smartphone running APRSdroid and feeds it into an HT. I guess I'm not quite sure what this Mobilinkd TNC buys you over something like that? Forgive me, I'm new to this.
 

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That looks pretty cool. Along the same line of thought I saw this which simply takes an encoded audio signal from a smartphone running APRSdroid and feeds it into an HT. I guess I'm not quite sure what this Mobilinkd TNC buys you over something like that? Forgive me, I'm new to this.

Rushed this morning, but take a look at this for explanation.
It's even talks about the video you linked, and why not to do it that way.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_1278312025&feature=iv&src_vid=8-9_8HVkvgc&v=uWiN26V3w4w
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Makes perfect sense, thanks for that!
 

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Rushed this morning, but take a look at this for explanation.
It's even talks about the video you linked, and why not to do it that way.
Spag, just thought I'd report back. I bought a Baofeng handheld and have been playing with APRS using just a regular 3.5mm audio cable (I have a 2-way cable on order). Everything on the phone is muted, but it's still able to send the encoded audio to the HT because APRSdroid is set to send the sounds as a "voice call" sound. That means it works even when ringtones, music, and alarms are set to silent. I believe this solves all the problems mentioned by the video you linked, and doesn't require the bluetooth TNC.
 
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