Just getting started in Ham w/ a Yeasu 8900 (1 Viewer)

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Hi there,
Just getting started in Ham radio and have a Yaesu 8900 w/Comet UHV4 antenna on the way that I plan to mount in the 80. I haven't decided on a mount yet, I'm thinking either the Diamond K400 that so many others swear by or maybe a magnetic.

A couple questions for you Elmers out there...

1)I'm down in Mexico and am off to Africa next. Since I haven't had any luck finding VEC's down here to test me, how do I get licensed? I'm consistently scoring in the mid 90's on the Eham.net exams and feel like I could even get my General but just can't take the test. Legally, I'm sure the answer is I MUST be licensed, but practically, I doubt the FCC is going to make the trip to Mexico or Africa to come and get me. If they do, hopefully they'll bring the test and materials with them:)

2) My plan with the 8900 is to pick up another base station, a couple handhelds, and with the cross repeater feature, basically cover the city. My thinking is that my wife at the house can transmit with the other base station on frequency 1 to the 8900 (in my work parking lot), which will then act as a repeater and transmit on freq 2 to my HT (inside the building). Once I hear her, I'll switch over to Freq 1, transmit to the 8900 which will retransmit of Freq 2, and hopefully reach back to the house. Since the city we're headed too is about 100 square miles and my house will be up on a hill, we'll hopefully have full coverage of the city. I could also use the 8900 to go just one way, from my HT to the truck and from the truck to the house. When she responds, she can talk back on the HT original freq so I won't need to switch with the handheld. In this config, I could get a Yeasu 7800 or 8800 and be good to go.

When she's away from the house and in the 80, I was thinking about connecting an APRS tracker to the 8900 so I can monitor where she's at via a scanner plugged into my laptop.

3) What's a good affordable HT that will work with this plan? I'd like to keep it budget since I'm already jumping into pricey waters with the 8900, but don't want to sacrifice quality or future expansion either.

4) Any huge holes in my plan?

Thanks in advance y'all!
 
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I'm a new HAM as well and chose the 8800 over the 8900.

From what I've gathered, the 8900 is not worth the extra $50 unless you really want the HF abilities. In addition, especially for a beginner a quad band might be too much to start off on. The 8900 was also designed before the 8800, thus there are some improvements on the 8800 that are not on the 8900.
 
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I'm a new HAM as well and chose the 8800 over the 8900.

The 8900 was also designed before the 8800, thus there are some improvements on the 8800 that are not on the 8900.
Could you expand on this, what features does the 8800 have that the 8900 doesn't?

The reason I picked the 8900 is that when my HAM skills get better, I want to have enough radio and not have to buy again.
 
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The 8900 offers FM on a small section of the 10m band which is mostly useless. It has 6m, but that's also of limited use). You would outgrow the 8900 about as fast at the 8800 since both are FM rigs - if that's a concern.

Also, just because you are licensed in one country doesn't give you the right to transmit when you are in another country - to be 'legal' you would need to get an appropriate temporary license in that other country unless they honour a reciprocal agreement - you will need to check either way...

cheers,
george.
 

Brentbba

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From what I've heard, even tho Mexico does have a reciprocal agreement, 'most' of the police down there won't honor it. Best to contact a Mexican consulate here and ask!
 
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George,
I'm not licensed in either country, and have no way of getting licensed, that's my point. Even if they honor the US license, I don't have one and don't have the ability to get one at this point (geographics, not knowledge).

Brent,
As far as other countries enforcing HAM laws, my experience in other parts of the world has shown that just by the sheer ability to purchase the equipment, you're given free reign to use it. DISCLAIMER: Most of my travels aren't to the wealthier nations, I imagine that they are a bit more stringent.
 
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Could you expand on this, what features does the 8800 have that the 8900 doesn't?

The reason I picked the 8900 is that when my HAM skills get better, I want to have enough radio and not have to buy again.
The two are very similar, other than the HF abilities of the 8900.

But one difference is the memory system. The difference can be seen in the manual depicted here:





Note that the 8900 has 799 memory channels, whereas the 8800 has 1024 (512 per side) memory channels. In addition the 8800 has four times (10 per side) the PMS memory channels and almost twice as much home channels (5 per side).

The 8800 also has memory banking (10 banks per side) which the 8900 does not.

Now these features may or may not be important, and being new to HAM my viewpoint may have little weight.

I too looked into the HF side and will get my Gen. in a month or so. But even with the HF capabilities, I opted for the 8800 over the 8900. The reason being is that as others have stated the 8900 isn't as robust of a HF rigs as I would like. For instance there is only one antenna input, so you would either need a quad-band antenna or a duplexer for two antennas.

I have found very low opinions on quad-band antennas. So running a duplexer and independent HF/VHF-UHF antennas will probably be the result.

You really can't go wrong with the 8800. It's highly rated and resale value on HAM equipment is very good.

On the other hand you can just go with a multiband such as the Yeasu FT 857d or Icom 706mkiiG.
 
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The two are very similar, other than the HF abilities of the 8900.

But one difference is the memory system. The difference can be seen in the manual depicted here:





Note that the 8900 has 799 memory channels, whereas the 8800 has 1024 (512 per side) memory channels. In addition the 8800 has four times (10 per side) the PMS memory channels and almost twice as much home channels (5 per side).

The 8800 also has memory banking (10 banks per side) which the 8900 does not.

Now these features may or may not be important, and being new to HAM my viewpoint may have little weight.

I too looked into the HF side and will get my Gen. in a month or so. But even with the HF capabilities, I opted for the 8800 over the 8900. The reason being is that as others have stated the 8900 isn't as robust of a HF rigs as I would like. For instance there is only one antenna input, so you would either need a quad-band antenna or a duplexer for two antennas.

I have found very low opinions on quad-band antennas. So running a duplexer and independent HF/VHF-UHF antennas will probably be the result.

You really can't go wrong with the 8800. It's highly rated and resale value on HAM equipment is very good.

On the other hand you can just go with a multiband such as the Yeasu FT 857d or Icom 706mkiiG.
Good info on the memory comparison between the 8800 and the 8900. I'll have to consider that. I don't know however if the Icom 706 will be a viable alternative to the 8900 for the OP given that he is looking to make use of the cross band repeat feature which I was told, and believe I read, does not have the cross band repeat feature.

As to ht recommendations, if you are going with the 8900 and want an easy set up for cross band repeat why not go with the VX-7R. I did this ass backwards and got the VX 7R first and now am hunting down the 8900. It would have been more useful to have the mobile 8900, which can be adapted for use as a base station BTW with the AC power source, and then grab up the HT.

As to getting liscenced overseas, go on the ARRL website. There is a testing section which if you drill down deep enough has a list of FCC licesnced test sites both in the U.S. and in Central America and Mexico. Pick one of the VECs and give them a call. My problem was that they didn't list anyone here in El Salvador, the closest to me was Costa Rica. I ended up sitting for both my Tech and General on near my dad's house back in the U.S.
ARRLWeb: Exam Session Search

ARRLWeb: Exam Session Search

The above three guys are giving the test in various places in Mexico over the next two months.

As to licensing, first step get the U.S. liscence, then follow the steps on the ARRL site for foreign licensing requirements in Mexico. Follow the directions and get your reciporical liscence to operate in Mexico.

Good luck,
John
 
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Jason,
Thanks for the links, I appreciate it. Unfortunately, Nuevo Vallarta is a decent distance away from me...about a 16 hour car ride. I think I might be headed back to the States in late July, I plan to get tested then. I wish there was a way to do it sooner, I'm ready to sit for my tech and general.

On the HT's, I ended up going with the FT60R's. At $180 a piece, they were considerably cheaper than the 7's and I think they'll fit the bill. I didn't research them quite as long as I did with the 8900 (I need the crossband as you noted) but I think I picked a winner. Hopefully they'll get here tomorrow, Im eager to try them out.

Thanks again for the input!
 
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One thing to consider when running a radio in your car during your day at work is juice being pulled from the battery. Do you have a dual battery setup? Having a deep cycle to run your radio system would be a good idea. I am also curious what type of draw HAM radios require; 1. for standby mode when listening and 2. for transmitting mode. I bring this up because I have considered running the same setup you describe when hiking away from my truck in the outdoors away from help.
-Randy
 
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Well, just downloading the 8900 manual shows 0.5A on receive (when squelched - i.e. just monitoring a quiet channel) and around 8A on transmit.

Amazing what can be found in the manual :)

cheers,
george.
 
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One thing to consider when running a radio in your car during your day at work is juice being pulled from the battery. Do you have a dual battery setup? Having a deep cycle to run your radio system would be a good idea. I am also curious what type of draw HAM radios require; 1. for standby mode when listening and 2. for transmitting mode. I bring this up because I have considered running the same setup you describe when hiking away from my truck in the outdoors away from help.
-Randy
Randy,
Even with the relatively low power draw on listening, I still plan to hook the radio to my second battery. Since my rationalization for the radio purchase was to have commo in case I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere, I'd hate for the radio to be cause of me being stuck in the middle of nowhere:)

For what it's worth, I'm running a dual battery and will have my winch, radio, sometimes laptop, and possibly cooler all running from the second battery. I figure the cooler and laptop to be the main power draws and since I'll rarely be in one place more than 2 nights, I should be good to go as long as I get a decent battery.
 
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Hybrid,
That is similar to the setup I would like to eventually run. Just got a winch and SOA is almost under way. The cooler is really pricey for me at the moment though...

I look forward to seeing your finished setup and details on what hardward you put together for the handhelds etcetera.
 
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Just a quick update:

I took an unexpected trip to the US, found a test being given the same night, ended up studying that afternoon and sat (and passed) for my tech and general. I tried for the extra even though I hadn't studied for it and just fell short of passing (blind luck I got as many right as I did).

Next week I find out if I'm headed back to the States for another short trip and if so I'll start studying next week and sit for the extra when I get there.

Also, I ended up going with a FT-8800, the 857D, and two FT-60R's. I haven't needed the other FT-60 so once I sell it, I should be good to go on my setup.
 
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Also, I ended up going with a FT-8800, the 857D, and two FT-60R's. I haven't needed the other FT-60 so once I sell it, I should be good to go on my setup.
Dang.....Lemme know if you want to sell the FT60.

Congrats on passing.
 

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