Amateur Radio (HAM), Trail Coms, and Navigation Resources (1 Viewer)

Tony_Farson

Club President
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Joined
Mar 6, 2010
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1,469
Location
Reno, NV
I am repurposing this thread as general HAM/NAV resource for the group.

Here's Some Gear We Recommend
Everyone has their preference on brand and setup options. This small list is meant as a "getting started" list for folks who haven't yet found their ideal setup. Scroll through the entire thread to see other member's setups and recommendations.

Items #1 are standalone and no additional things are needed to start using them.

OR

Pick anything from items 2 or 3. Then choose the antenna that matches the radio features (single band or dual band). Finally choose the appropriate connector (NMO or PL-259) from item 7 to complete your radio kit.
  1. Entry Level dual band radio (handheld): BAOFENG BF-F8HP (8 Watt) or Baofeng UV-5R (5 Watt). We recommend either on of these radios even if you do not (yet) have your ham license. You cannot transmit (except in emergencies) but you can listen to the trail boss and other members of the group so you know what's going on.
  2. Single band (2M - the main band the club uses) radio (mobile): YAESU FT-2980R (80 Watts!). Several of us have this radio. It is extremely well built and used in Baja and other competitive applications for its ruggedness and power. Pay the extra money for the "MARS Mod" which will allow you to hear emergency and government band traffic.
  3. Dual band (2M and 70cm): YAESU FTM-300DR (50 Watts) or YAESU FTM-400XDR (50 Watts). These are advanced radios capable of dual band transmit and receive on 2M and 70cm as well as digital radio. They also have GPS and APRS capabilities. 70cm is handy because several areas in the region have repeaters in this part of the spectrum. Both of these radios have remote heads or control panels with hideaway casings for more versatile mounting options in vehicles with limited space. Pay the extra money for the "MARS Mod" which will allow you to hear emergency and government band traffic.
  4. Single Band Antennas for 2M mobile: COMET-NCG SBB-25 (1/2 length 57-inches with PL-259 connector) or COMET-NCG SBB-25NMO (1/2 length 57-inches with NMO connector). I use the SBB-25 on my 80 Series connected to my FT-2980R transceiver and I love the combo! These are two-piece antennas with a folding feature that will allow you to collapse the antenna when not in use or going through low hanging branches.
  5. Dual band (2M/70cm) 1/4 length (18-inches) antenna: COMET-NCG SBB-2 or COMET-NCG SBB-2NMO. Same features as item 4 but will support dual band radios like item 3 above.
  6. Dual band (2M/70cm) 1/2 length (42-inches) antenna: COMET-NCG CSB-750A. This is larger antenna with a PL-259 connector.
  7. Connectors: You need to match the mount to the connector type of your antenna (PL-259 or NMO) and you choose your mount based on the location you choose on your vehicle. The taller/higher the better for good transmit/receive. However, you have to balance your mounting location with the ability to clear obstacles on the trail or setup you antenna with a spring or fold over feature. I would either go with a longer 1/2 length antenna and mount it lower to allow for the whip to compensate for obstacles or get a 1/4 with a spring mount and mount it higher. There a bumper mounts (like mine in the pic below), trunk/hatch mounts, lip mounts, luggage rack, magnetic (I don't recommend for offroad) and bolt thru sheet metal mounts. This really comes down to preference and what your antenna needs. NMO is probably more versatile but I have never used one. This is a good universal lip mount NMO connector with cable and radio connector. This would work with any of the NMO antennas listed above and with any of the radios in items 2 and 3. I used a bulkhead mount PL-259 to mount my antenna to the bumper of my 80. Note the option on that page for a PL-259 lip mount as well. You can use that if you choose a PL-259 antenna.
IMG_20210328_104102331-3.jpg


Here's how I mounted my FT-2980R. I clearanced (cut a big freaking hole!) in my shifter console.
PXL_20210305_214520292.jpg


PXL_20210305_190240814.jpg


I took the opportunity to scuff it up, clean it , and hit it with adhesion promotor and some interior paint.
 
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lelandEOD

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
1,664
Location
Northern Nevada
... the hardest part was actually registering for the exam. Once I was committed, it was pretty easy to take a couple practice tests on hamexam.org before test day.
 

rusty_tlc

Dain Bramaged Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2005
Messages
14,120
Location
Reno, NV
... the hardest part was actually registering for the exam. Once I was committed, it was pretty easy to take a couple practice tests on hamexam.org before test day.
If you spend a few minutes a day doing the practice exams for a week almost anybody can pass Tech. Most of it is common sense.
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2007
Messages
1,086
Location
Carson City NV
Well I finally did it. Got my Ham license:pig:. I will now be known as KJ7WRS on the air waves. Thanks to Totally Awesome Cruisers and Tony for including me and driving me to the Ham Cram. It was a day well spent. And you too Rusty for encouraging me to get one every time it came up. Now time to hook up the 2 meter Jack gave me:banana:. Ole Krusty will have a voice.
 

gregnash

Anal Retentive Analyst
SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
12,347
Location
Carson City, NV
Yeah this is going to have to be one of the items on my "to-do" list for this year. Been wanting to do it for a couple years just never been available when they are here.
 

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