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Old 25-08-2013, 09:17   #1
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VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

How many of you guys operates VHF/UHF ham radio on board? I know Nick of Jedi does, but I'm not sure anyone else here has mentioned it.

It's obviously no good for when you're out at sea (that's why we have HF on board), but we all spend a lot of time in port, and it's interesting to hit up the repeaters and meet new people in new places. I am so far operating an Icom 92AD handheld, which works brilliantly when connected to my large Diamond VHF/UHF antenna on my spreader, with good strong contacts from over 20 miles away despite only 5 watts, outperforming people's mobiles running 50 watts (more proof that the antenna is 90% of the battle).

Now I'm looking at 50 watt mobiles and can't make up my mind.

The Icom 2820H is not well reviewed, and needs an expensive extra module to do APRS.

The Icom 880H is too simple -- single receiver.

The Yaesu FTM-400DR is tremendously expensive, and has a digital mode which is not compatible with any known system or radio.

The Yaesu FT-8800R is cheap and looks pretty good, but can transmit on only one band at a time, so you can't transmit APRS position and talk at the same time. I have not figured out whether or not it has the TNC built in or not.

The Kenwood D710A is fairly expensive, but looks pretty good. It definitely has the TNC built in and is very well set up for APRS.

I guess I'm leaning towards the Kenwood.

I would be interested in hearing about anyone using VHF/UHF on board, how they use it, any tips on choice of rig.
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Old 25-08-2013, 09:25   #2
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

Until our lightning strike, we had a Kenwood dual band set that was modified for the marine bands also. Hit a couple of repeaters once or twice, but mostly never used it. Haven't replaced it yet, and don't miss it.

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Old 25-08-2013, 10:51   #3
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

I have a Yaesu FT-8800R aboard - 2M and 70cm. It is great for coastal cruising. Most repeaters on the west coast of the US are at high altitude locations and have good coverage inland. Antenna is a Comet dual band mobile antenna mounted on our arch. So far both the radio and the antenna have held up well after about 2 years aboard.
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Old 25-08-2013, 11:19   #4
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

Sooo.... who do you talk to? does anyone else have these to talk with ... except Jedi...?
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Old 25-08-2013, 12:27   #5
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

Assuming you are asking about FM rigs, I have a flock of Kenwood TM-281s. Boat, Car, truck, shack, Barn, etc. These have proven to be good rigs and relatively cheap. I seem to have fallen into a "rut". Yaesu HTs, Kenwood mobile rigs, and ICOM Base HF rigs. I do have a ICOM 2 meter all mode and use it for CW and SSB. Not much 70cm away from the cities.
2 meter FM all depends upon repeater availability, to me, which is great here in the Chesapeake region. 2 meter SSB and CW is all about band openings and being in the right place at the right. FM can sometimes amaze as well but I think you have experienced that already.
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Old 25-08-2013, 12:46   #6
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Sooo.... who do you talk to? does anyone else have these to talk with ... except Jedi...?
And me. HAMS are a good bunch and will offer ground transportation if you need it. Auto patch on the repeaters was sure nice before the advent of cell phones.
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Old 25-08-2013, 13:13   #7
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

Yeah, I'm a ham, but just wondering how many have these rigs in places where you might want to contact from the boat... limited range etc.....
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Old 25-08-2013, 13:28   #8
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

Depends where you are.

In Maine, there's a 2-meter linked repeater system which covers most of the state.

In the Florida Keys there's also a 2-meter linked repeater system with wide coverage.

In the Chesapeake there are lots of repeaters with wide coverage.

These are just a few I know about. I'm sure there are many others.

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Old 25-08-2013, 13:43   #9
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yeah, I'm a ham, but just wondering how many have these rigs in places where you might want to contact from the boat... limited range etc.....
In the UK, there are repeaters everywhere along the coast. I presume it must be the same in France, although I haven't operate there yet.

So there are certainly plenty of people to talk to.
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Old 25-08-2013, 14:01   #10
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

I have two and think they are very worthwhile.

On the boat, I had a Yaesu 857D (in addition to an ICOM M700Pro), which was all band, all modes. So, did quite a bit of VHF and UHF amateur through that.

Sold that radio and now, at home, have an ICOM 7200 for HF, a Yaesu 1900R ($130!) for 2m VHF and a Yaesu FT60 hand held, that is UHF/VHF. Since UHF repeaters are not as numerous or as interesting as 2m ham VHF, I use the Yaesu 1900R most often. I use it with a Metz marine VHF antenna and it works just great. From inside my home, antenna no more than 10Ft up, I can reliably hit towers 25 miles away.

Bill mentioned that the FL Keys have linked repeaters. That was fantastic. I could talk with any friend or capt I knew, anytime from anywhere in the Keys. Most were hams and were on ham VHF.

With the masthead mounted Metz marine VHF antenna, and on 25W, I could hit the high (1100 ft, I think) repeater antenna in Miami....60 miles away. Amazing.

Echolink adds yet another dimension, I have only begun to explore.

Since VHF/UHF is FM transmission, it is clear signal. So nice.

So, for $130 for the 2m mobile rig (50W) and about $100 for a used UHF/VHF HT, you can have a world of fun and communication for not much money. I felt that the VHF/UHF mobiles were just too expensive for their worth. I rare used UHF, and could get a single band mobile and dual band HT that covers that spectrum, cheaper than a dual band mobile.

On the boat now, I would just add the inexpensive 2m ham mobile, get a coax selector switch and put it on the same antenna as your ships marine VHF.

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Old 25-08-2013, 14:08   #11
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Drake View Post
I have two and think they are very worthwhile.

On the boat, I had a Yaesu 857D (in addition to an ICOM M700Pro), which was all band, all modes. So, did quite a bit of VHF and UHF amateur through that.

Sold that radio and now, at home, have an ICOM 7200 for HF, a Yaesu 1900R ($130!) for 2m VHF and a Yaesu FT60 hand held, that is UHF/VHF. Since UHF repeaters are not as numerous or as interesting as 2m ham VHF, I use the Yaesu 1900R most often. I use it with a Metz marine VHF antenna and it works just great. From inside my home, antenna no more than 10Ft up, I can reliably hit towers 25 miles away.

Bill mentioned that the FL Keys have linked repeaters. That was fantastic. I could talk with any friend or capt I knew, anytime from anywhere in the Keys. Most were hams and were on ham VHF.

With the masthead mounted Metz marine VHF antenna, and on 25W, I could hit the high (1100 ft, I think) repeater antenna in Miami....60 miles away. Amazing.

Echolink adds yet another dimension, I have only begun to explore.

Since VHF/UHF is FM transmission, it is clear signal. So nice.

So, for $130 for the 2m mobile rig (50W) and about $100 for a used UHF/VHF HT, you can have a world of fun and communication for not much money. I felt that the VHF/UHF mobiles were just too expensive for their worth. I rare used UHF, and could get a single band mobile and dual band HT that covers that spectrum, cheaper than a dual band mobile.

On the boat now, I would just add the inexpensive 2m ham mobile, get a coax selector switch and put it on the same antenna as your ships marine VHF.

73

J
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Well, I have specially installed a separate Diamond antenna for VHF/UHF ham! It's on my first spreader, 10 meters (33 feet) above the water.

Your story is inspiring!
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Old 25-08-2013, 14:11   #12
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

You might consider a rig that doe cross-band where you could sit in the cockpit with an HT and TX on 70cm and have it cross band through the mobile rig to 2 mtrs, or vice-versa. Could be used while off the boat at an anchorage or marina too. On the other hand, a rig with detachable faceplate can be setup to operate at the helm pretty easily.
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Old 25-08-2013, 14:41   #13
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yeah, I'm a ham, but just wondering how many have these rigs in places where you might want to contact from the boat... limited range etc.....
not too sure about west coast but here in mid atlantic there are any number of IRLP nodes, my simple ht has yielded me contacts in Germany and England simply walking down the street.
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Old 25-08-2013, 15:21   #14
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

I never knew just how many terrific hams were in my local area, until I got on 2m. And then found the local clubs (both in my home port and where I had stayed for an extended period, in the Keys.

Got on the local club weekly net. Then went to the local meetings and met even more people.

Had no idea...until I got on 2m.

For those in the SE...imagine if there were TALL repeaters in the Bahamas. Or imagine if there were even Echolink repeaters in the Bahamas!

I envy those in Europa, from what I can see, amateur VHF/UHF seems very well adopted there.

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Old 25-08-2013, 21:58   #15
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Re: VHF/UHF Ham Radio On Board?

When I lived on the Wet Coast of Canada there were repeaters all down the coast, into Washington and at the other end into Alaska. Many of the repeaters were on some fairly high mountains. There was always someone who would take the time to explain how to get to "such a such" auto patch.

I agree with John, I had no idea how extensive the ham community was until I got into 2 m.
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