Hand held Ham Radio

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Looking for a good recommendation on a handheld ham radio looking to spend no more than $200. I already have a BaoFeng UV-5R and just looking for an upgraded model, 8-10w.
If $200 is your budget, our recommendation would be a hard mount 2m. You can pick up a good used one, brand new antenna and co-ax and stay with in budget. 50W with and external antenna grows your range exponentially and you already have a handheld when you need to hope out for a spot.

We have a Yaesu 1500M with a 'rubber ducky' trail antenna and Yaesu FT-60. We are pleased with both. They are user friendly and good quality. We also carry two BaoFeng's for camp/back-up.
 
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A few years ago I worked a checkpoint of a 50 mile running event in the Tobacco Roots. I was the youngest and most fit of the volunteers, so I got sent to the most remote and difficult to get to checkpoint. One of the older hams let me borrow a 10 watt Motorola handheld because he was concerned that my 5 watt Yaesu wouldn't be able to get out. He was correct. What was interesting though is that the Motorola couldn't receive any signal at that remote checkpoint, but the Yaesu (with an upgraded antenna) could.

Long story short, you need power to be heard and you need a good antenna to hear. So, whatever radio you go with, make sure your budget includes a good antenna. A mobile setup might cost a bit more than a similar quality handheld, but will have significantly more power and (unless you do something weird) will have a superior antenna. Then again, having a great radio in your truck doesn't do much good if you want to use the radio while backpacking. So, understanding use case is important.

As for a recommendation, I like all of the Yaesu radios. The menus make sense to me. They aren't terribly expensive. The build quality is good. If you choose one of the weatherproof handhelds, be aware that there is a rubber diaphragm over the microphone to keep it weatherproof. Your outgoing audio quality will suffer, but the radio will be more durable.
 
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@Boondocker_153 I have an FT60r. I like it. If you end up going with the Yaesu FT60r, I have a programming cable and computer software. Can dump about 400 preset frequencies on there for you. Law enforcement, fire, county roads, forest service, simplex, MT/ID/WY repeaters...It'll cost ya a beer though. ;) . Offer is good for you other 406 Cruiser guys too, but only for the FT60r.
 
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@Boondocker_153 I have an FT60r. I like it. If you end up going with the Yaesu FT60r, I have a programming cable and computer software. Can dump about 400 preset frequencies on there for you. Law enforcement, fire, county roads, forest service, simplex, MT/ID/WY repeaters...It'll cost ya a beer though. ;) . Offer is good for you other 406 Cruiser guys too, but only for the FT60r.
@90WT (Matt), is that cable and offer good for the FT65r as well? That is the least expensive Yaesu that I could find.
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the cable might be the same, but the software program i have is just for the ft60r. (software was like $15 so not too bad to buy for the different radio.) it programs kinda like a big excel file, so we might be able to get it done.

FWIW, the ft60r has been my rattled around my car, and backpack, and used as home base radio for several years now. it has held up flawless.

IMO, whatever radio you get, unless your are savvy at programming (either by computer program or button functions) and reading the manual all the way through, get a radio that matches your buddies. So you can ask each other questions and get the most out of your radio.
 
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amazon says the programming cable for ft60r and ft65r are not the same.
Roger. I just read the 65R is not an upgrade, but actually a stripped down version of the 60R. I found a few 60R's with HAM Radio online stores for $150. I think I am going to go that route. Like @pigmony said, the weatherproof models suffer from audio quality issues as well. Thanks,
 

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