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2 Meter HAM Question

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by jeverich, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. jeverich

    jeverich [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Plain and simple..

    Anyone ever use their mobile HAM rig to call for help while on the trail? The last 3 areas that I've explored in have had absolutely no cell coverage, are isolated and were about 15 miles to the nearest developed road. I feel like I've been "lucky" so far, and decided that I needed to get a way to reach out if it's needed.

    Just ordered a Yaesu FT-1900R and Larsen 150 w/NMO kit, passed the last 5/5 practice exams on Eham.com, and plan on taking the test on the 6th of May.

    Say I end up stranded in the middle of a National Forest.. Try to access a repeater and hope that one of the operators listening will come help? Or, access an Autopatch and call a friend?

    I carry an ACR 406 Mhz. Personal Locator Beacon in the truck at all times, but that's a measure of absolutely last resort.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  2. Desert Drifter

    Desert Drifter Well-Known Member

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    I just got my Technician lisence myself. According to the hams administering the exam it takes "1 to 2 weeks" for FCC to post your call sign and then you are good to go. I plan to get a 2 meter radio also. From my information a 2 meter radio is about the best for off-roading, but if your antenna is down in a valley or canyon you may be unable to contact anyone on the "other side of the mountain". In this case a handheld 2M radio carried up out of the canyon might be best. In any case you are way ahead of a CB radio and their sketchy range limitations.

    My plans are to get either the Yaesu 2900, a similar Kenwood (model 281 ??), or the Yaesu 1900 like you have. If you have trail buddies who use 440 MHz you might consider a dual band radio... A straight 2M rig will suit my needs for now...
     
  3. The Traveler

    The Traveler REBELTACO

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    Having a ham is very beneficial during an emergency. It really depends on who is listening, and how far you are from a repeater, but calling out an emergency usually yields the attention of ANYBODY listening.

    It's actually why I have one in my truck. You can never be too prepared.
     
  4. MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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    I use a free android app that has all the frequencies listed, and its always being updated to keep current. The app is pretty cool and easy to use, you should check it out...

    http://www.repeaterbook.com/

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/...gle&utm_medium=organic&utm_term=repeater+book
     
  5. The Traveler

    The Traveler REBELTACO

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    RF Finder is another app, not free, but it does really come in handy. It uses your phone's GPS to populate a list of all the closest repeaters as well as give you information behind each one like who runs it, PL tones, +/- offset, etc.
     
  6. Desert Drifter

    Desert Drifter Well-Known Member

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    Good information guys, thanks for sharing! This comraderie is what is best about Amatuer Radio.
     
  7. Crom

    Crom Time is precious; use it wisely

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    I plan on acquiring a dual band radio quite soon, I want cross band repeat, so most likely the Kenwood TM-V71A. In my area and places I travel to there are plenty of 70cm repeaters as well. I passed my Tech exam on Saturday and on Monday the ULS was updated with my auto assigned call sign. Not bad, only 48 hours. I too carry an ACR beacon as I do a lot of backpacking and hiking away from the vehicle.
     
  8. jeverich

    jeverich [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Right on!

    Thanks for all of the positive input, my FT 1900R just arrived - going to install it tomorrow.

    Monkey - How'd you install your Yaesu in the single DIN slot? Looks like the radio is a little too deep to fit in without some serious trimming.
     
  9. MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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    Oh yeah..it took some trimming of the dashboard with a demmel but that was mostly for the added switches I installed onto the face of the double din mount..I think there would be no trimming needed if if weren't for the switches. I used a double din and stacked the radios on top of each other. If you go this route I would suggest in using the Metra double din kit as opposed to using the scosche kit like I did. The metra kit will allow you to use the stock OEM metal brackets, you can't with the scosche kit.
     
  10. jeverich

    jeverich [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I like the thought of using the stock brackets - I've got the Schose double DIN at the moment, maybe take look at that and see what I can make fit..

    I know heat is a concern of a lot of people with mounting these in DIN slots, personally I don't see it.

    I like the idea of mounting in the recess ahead of the shifter; although - I'm someone who likes to push buttons. It's not something easily done when it's in that location..
     
  11. MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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    One thing you have to be mind full about the yasue models we are running.they don't have a fan, only a large heatsink, heat might be a problem down the road. For me, I've had my radio mounted this way since early 2009 and never had a problem with it over heating.
     
  12. jeverich

    jeverich [OP] Well-Known Member

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    For sure..

    I'm contemplating putting a small PC fan on a switched power source. But honestly I don't anticipate heat being an issue. Think I'll have adequate space once I do my trimming for ventilation anyways..

    Will post pics of install tomorrow.

    Biggest hurdle is getting the cajones to drill thru roof to install NMO mount.

    Most sources I've seen recommend using an NMO hole saw - what'd you use?
     
  13. Desert Drifter

    Desert Drifter Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind the Yaesu 1900 draws only about 1 amp while receiving, so no concern of heat buildup (this is 13 watts power consumption) so think of the heat made by a 10 watt bulb worst case, not much.

    But if you are on full power transmit (55 watts) your radio can pull almost 20 amps, much of which is dissipated as heat (think of the heat from a 100 watt lightbulb). If you talk a lot and listen a little all the more heat.

    Remember use the lowest transmit power that will get the job done, this reduces heat significantly and wont drain the truck battery as much if you have the engine off.

    KG7DDR
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
  14. MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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    I used a 3/4" step drill..

    When I did my install I removed the temperature/ compass assembly thingy and also removed the dome light assembly. I also stuffed a small 4"x4" box in between the headliner and the roof to help make space to work with. I also placed a sheet of paper up there to capture the metal savings from drilling, made clean up nice and easy.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. jeverich

    jeverich [OP] Well-Known Member

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  16. MonkeyProof

    MonkeyProof Power Top

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  17. jeverich

    jeverich [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Lots of measuring. Lots of drilling.

    The wiring and attaching the PL-259 took all of about 20 mins..
     
  18. kd8bao

    kd8bao Well-Known Member

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    I have 2 dual band radios. A Kenwood TMD-700 and a Yeasu FTM-350. I have not used them off roading but I use them daily and when traveling. Both my radios are remote head so I keep the chassis under the seats. I taped off the heat vents.
    Original set up
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1367551596.919812.jpg
    New set up
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1367551861.514100.jpg
    Go on...Drill, Drill, Drill
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  19. jeverich

    jeverich [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Excellent install! The NMO-style mounts are pretty great little pieces of hardware. I did ream the hole before threading the base in - but, I did't scrape paint away to get better conductivity for a ground.. Think I'll be alright?

    Pretty impressed with the capability and functionality of even a low end radio like the Yaesu!

    Did a short "test" and was able to contact a repeater 52 miles away on 10 watts, with a great signal report! I'm hooked on HAM. Can't wait to get a call sign:D.

    Also, how important is it that I get my antenna tuned? Running a 5/8th Wave Larsen 150B... Think I'll be picking up a rubber ducky for trail comms.
     
  20. Mxpatriot

    Mxpatriot Busted Knuckles Fabrication

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    Amazon sells some pocket size repeater reference books as well, not a bad thing to have.
     
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