VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

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VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby hyperion » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:07 pm

I was thinking of buying http://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-136 ... B007H4VT7A in hopes that it would work where traditional walkies would not. I am fine getting a license, but is use of this allowed? Would it work do you think?
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:26 pm

Yes, that radio would work just fine. There were several people on 2 meters last year that I talked to and even a couple repeaters that you could hit with it. A technician class license would allow you to use either the 2 meter or 70cm ham bands on that radio and is super easy to get. I'm assuming by "traditional" walkie talkies you're talking about the GMRS/FRS radios which also work well out there but there is a LOT of traffic on those bands. There is also a "ham" camp but I didn't find it last year.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby The_Sheik » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:38 pm

I will have my Wouxon VHF-UHF handhelds in my little travel trailer as well as my Yaesu FT-8800 dual bander in my tow vehicle. You may want to check out the Black Rock Amateur Radio Association web site at http://cq-blackrock.org/ The site is a little dated, but the site states the following: Friends of Black Rock has deployed 2m repeater in the Granite mountain range above the Black Rock desert. The KD7YIM repeater is at 145.23 MHz, PL 123.0 Hz. There is also some language about a UHF repeater: 440.175 MHz with a PL of 100.0 Hz. I guess I will have to try those out when I get there.

Supposedly there are also some IRLP nodes and APRS digipeaters in the area too.

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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby chuckularone » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:40 am

I'm planning on setting up a sched with a friend back on the east coast via the IRLP node on the one local repeater. See http://blog.cq-blackrock.org/ for more info.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby The_Sheik » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:22 am

So, using the IRLP you can relay some health and welfare messages out off the playa? Sort of an "I'm still OK and haven't fallen off the end of the earth" Other than the sheer volume of messages it could produce, it might be something of use to other folks at BRC. Incoming, not so much-hard to track people down to deliver the message.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby chuckularone » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:26 am

Absolutely, provided you have someone on the other side willing to make the calls.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:13 am

I only had a 2 meter rig with me last year and the one repeater I was able to hit was pretty dead. There were a couple locals here and there but I suspect they would not have been too happy if a boatload of burners started using "their" frequency. I found more action on the simplex frequency 146.520 than anywhere else. This year I think I'm gonna bring my HF rig as well as my dual band Yaesu and see what kind of action I can find. I can string up a random wire for HF and just use my tuner.

Maybe we can set up some kind of Field Day at one of our camps and have a little radio fun one day that week.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby chuckularone » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:27 am

TT120 wrote:Maybe we can set up some kind of Field Day at one of our camps and have a little radio fun one day that week.


That sounds like it would be fun.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:39 am

I got to looking at that Baofeng walkie talkie and decided to buy one. One thing I noticed is that it appears to be able to transmit outside the ham bands so you'll want to be careful what frequency you use so as not to attract unwanted FCC attention.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby chuckularone » Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:13 am

hyperion wrote:I was thinking of buying http://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-136 ... B007H4VT7A in hopes that it would work where traditional walkies would not. I am fine getting a license, but is use of this allowed? Would it work do you think?



When you get your license make sure to let us know what your call-sign is.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:49 pm

Just got that little Baofeng UV-5R walkie talkie. It's a cute little thing but it seems well made. I'll play with it more tonight and program in some local repeaters to see how well it does. I also got the programming cable for it since it seems like it would be pretty hard to set it all up from the keypad. It was certainly worth the 40 bux I spent on it.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby GreyCoyote » Mon May 05, 2014 6:31 pm

TT120 wrote:Just got that little Baofeng UV-5R walkie talkie. It's a cute little thing but it seems well made. I'll play with it more tonight and program in some local repeaters to see how well it does. I also got the programming cable for it since it seems like it would be pretty hard to set it all up from the keypad. It was certainly worth the 40 bux I spent on it.


How about an update? Would love to hear your first-hand experiences with this radio. :mrgreen:
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby The_Sheik » Mon May 05, 2014 8:15 pm

Can't comment on the Baofeng, but it is essentially the same as my Wouxon units. They have proved to be tough as nails and have survived two seasons od disaster volunteer work. The programming software is free, and the program cable comes with the rig. I did change the antennas out for something with a little more gain, as well as a mag mount antenna for a vehicle or mounted up high on a painter pole for extra range.

I would recommend either brand for playa use. Besides, if it gets trashed, your not out a large sum of money.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Mon May 05, 2014 8:56 pm

Agreed. The Baofeng radio is well made, and works beautifully. I got the programming cable and with a free program called "Chirp", was able to get it all programmed easily. There are several repeaters around here I can easily hit and everybody says it sounds great. It's a tiny little thing but it works well. Well worth the money. I picked up an extended life battery and a little better antenna for it too.

This radio is capable of transmitting well out of normal ham bands and also MURS, GMRS, and FRS frequencies. Be careful where you are transmitting or you could get in trouble.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby GreyCoyote » Mon May 05, 2014 9:06 pm

Thanks to all! Baofeng it is. At least for playa-use. Amazing they can make a halfway decent HT so cheap! :mrgreen:

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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby GreyCoyote » Wed May 07, 2014 3:48 pm

My two Baofeng UV-5Rplus radios arrived today. Got the external mikes, headsets, and high-gain antennas too.

These are very nice radios for the money, but the programming methodology from the keypad absolutely requires an ancestral heritage that was comfy using an abacus. :mrgreen: It is NOT intuitive. Fortunately CHIRP has no problem programming them as stated by others.

The only quality issue so far is one of the desk chargers thinks the radios are ALWAYS fully charged, so I need to address that. But honestly, for $150 (and that includes all the accessories and overnight shipping plus tax!), you cant go wrong. If they last just one burn, I am money ahead. :mrgreen:

Thanks to the eplaya radio crew for the idea! Would never have tried these if I hadnt heard of them here first.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby digital » Thu May 08, 2014 5:39 pm

As a result of jamming interests I began to research the spectrum and FCC rules. Yikes. Thank goodness I didn't follow through with that one. Thanks for the stern kick in the ass, ya'll.

I never took an interest in HAM radio - equating it to CB. Wow, a whole new world opens up. I picked up my first HT, the Icom ID-51A with the Tx mod. (However, in hindsight, I should have gone with the Yaesu VX-8DR. Oh well.)

Studying up to take the tech and general by the end of the month. Looking forward to communicating with other HAMS in BRC.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Thu May 08, 2014 8:18 pm

Thats awesome Digital! I started out on the CB but stayed mostly on SSB where the regular people talked. Always wanted to get my ham ticket and finally got off my ass and did it. It's very easy to get the tech license and the general class ticket isn't much harder. You can take practice tests here and these questions are all drawn from the actual pool of questions the FCC uses on the test.

Good luck on getting your ticket.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby GreyCoyote » Fri May 09, 2014 5:07 pm

Ditto what TT said.

Another link you may find useful is Ron Chinns / NA0Q's excellent website at: http://www.hamexam.org. That site weighs the questions you are weakest on and then keeps throwing them at you during the tests until you get the right answers. Brutal, but effective. (You can turn this feature on and off). It also has "flash-card mode", which picks questions, and immediately evaluates your answer. It also has some very nice reports that show what parts of the exams you need more help with. All in all, very nicely done and worth a visit. And the owner is a class-act too. :mrgreen:
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Fri May 09, 2014 8:14 pm

I just took the tech and general tests a couple times for fun and I still passed. Even after 10 years, I still remember all that stuff. :D
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby digital » Fri May 09, 2014 8:18 pm

Thnx for the links, guys. Found a walk-in exam on the 15th. Woohoo!

Can't believe I didn't get into this sooner. Looking forward to creating a DSTAR (or other) repeater hooked to BRC's intranet.

:D
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby GreyCoyote » Sat May 10, 2014 3:22 pm

I sat for my FCC exam this morning. Great bunch of VE's too. When I arrived they asked everybody what element they were going to take. When I told them "all of them", I thought the head guy was going to fall out of his chair.

22 minutes later I turned-in the last test. Shortly thereafter the lead VE handed me a CSCE for an Extra license. Out of 120 questions, I missed none on Tech, one on General, and four on Extra. :mrgreen:

Anybody want to scheme about putting a 2 meter repeater on a 30 foot stick near 6 and G? :mrgreen:

Digital: The Tech license is a gimme. Things dont really get interesting until Element 4. I strongly suggest sitting for all of them. The worst thing that happens is you dont get all of them in one sitting.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby GreyCoyote » Sat May 10, 2014 3:37 pm

TT120 wrote:I just took the tech and general tests a couple times for fun and I still passed. Even after 10 years, I still remember all that stuff. :D


As much as it changes, it stays the same. :mrgreen:

I had an Elmer up the street from me when I was 12 and he taught me code and procedure. The theory I picked up from a decade worth of donated ARRL books. Now flash forward 36 years. The onLy thing that seems to have changed was the freq assignments and the transceivers will fit in the palm of your hand.

I just officially started in this journey, and I already feel old! :mrgreen:
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Sat May 10, 2014 4:29 pm

Congrats on the extra ticket GC! All in on session too.....Very nice. :D

A repeater sounds fun. I'm pretty sure my Yaesu FT5100 will do cross band repeat. I have a 6, 2, and 70cm tri band base antenna that would be nice but it's pretty big. We'd have to guy it down pretty seriously. Something to think about anyway.

I'm betting 2 meter simplex on the HT's will cover the whole area pretty easily.

EDIT: Oh yeah, whats your call CG?
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby GreyCoyote » Sat May 10, 2014 4:35 pm

Thanks, TT! Will post my call when it shows up in the ULS. At the moment all I have is an FRN! (Noob alert! Heheheh)

The little experience I have with 2 meter simplex via hand talkies hasnt been reassuring. Was hoping a little elevation and 30 watts would cover the BRC pentagon from fence to fence with fill quieting and out to Gerlach and 12-mile with good quality. My camp could really use some comms, and I would just die for a good APRS setup! Suggestions?
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby digital » Sat May 10, 2014 6:26 pm

Extra in 22 minutes?! Damn, GC!

GreyCoyote wrote:The little experience I have with 2 meter simplex via hand talkies hasnt been reassuring. Was hoping a little elevation and 30 watts would cover the BRC pentagon from fence to fence with fill quieting and out to Gerlach and 12-mile with good quality. My camp could really use some comms, and I would just die for a good APRS setup! Suggestions?

Unfortunately, my Burning Man budget is pretty well exhausted for this year. My camp project for next year will be to set up a 2-meter repeater to cover the city. This whole hobby is new to me but I have extensive IT experience and connections with the BM IT team. Once I'm back in September I will begin prototyping a arduino based solution with the antenna mounted to the commissary as it's a good central location.

We should plan a little HAM meetup. :D
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Sat May 10, 2014 6:55 pm

There are supposed to be 2 digipeaters for APRS out there operated by Black Rock Amateur Association but the info on their site is several years old. I don't know if they are still up or not.

They are also supposed to have an IRLP node in range which could be fun to play with.

Here is the info from their site:

UHF Repeater, EchoLink Node 7238 (W7BRD-R), and IRLP Node 7249
440.175 MHz (+), PL 100.0

VHF IRLP Node 3075
146.7 MHz, PL 100.0 Simplex

APRS Digipeaters GERLCH and RAZOR
144.39 MHz simplex
Gatewayed to the Internet (APRS-IS)
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby Just_Joe » Sat May 10, 2014 8:21 pm

I got one of those baofeng's a few months ago. Taking the exam at the end of the month.
There's a mail-list:
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It doesn't seem to get a lot of traffic, and it took a few days to be added, but there should be enough in the archives to keep y'all busy.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby otakup0pe » Sun May 11, 2014 4:28 pm

Impulse bought one of those radios in the first post. Guess I should get my technician license now.
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Re: VHF HAM 2 Way Radios

Postby TT120 » Sun May 11, 2014 9:15 pm

All this talk about ham radios made me finally get off my ass and put up a wire dipole for my HF rig. I moved here last year and I'm just now getting around to putting up an antenna....

It seems to be working, my first contact was in Lithuania and I was only running 50 watts on 20 meters. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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