Spend My $$$ on a 2m HAM Setup

Discussion in 'Communication & Navigation' started by ewillis, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Looking to get into the HAM world. I am in need of a new single din stereo head unit and will need to have it installed in my 80 series as I don't do electronics. I want to have a HAM installed at the same time in a stacked position if that's possible. I have a few weeks to study for the license and want to get that out of the way. My goals:
    1. A reliable and EASY unit...not a lot of ancillary functions for serious radio guys.
    2. Reliable...did I already say that?
    3. Will be used for trails and emergency communication.
    4. Would like to stay under $200 for the radio alone
    My initial research led me to the Kenwood TM 281A. I do not know anything about these units. I prefer to stay away from Chinesium, but understand that might not be possible these days. I need a good radio, antenna, and whatever else you guys think will make a good system for the American outback...TIA :beer:
     
  2. db3

    db3 SILVER Star

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  3. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Yaesu and KW seem to be the top two manufactures. Is this unit made in Japan?
     
  4. John McVicker

    John McVicker SILVER Star

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    I've got the Kenwood 281 & it a good solid performer. Yaesu is also good, check out their 2900. You won't go wrong with either brand. Find one of these that fits your budget and ticks the boxes you want and you will be fine.
     
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  5. db3

    db3 SILVER Star

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    Always thought all Yaesu radios, like my FT-60R/E HT, were made in Japan. Thought I'd better go out and look at the new mobile to make sure. Very disappointed, as it is made in China. Guess I shouldn't be surprised. However, the unit looks very well made and does work well.
     
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  6. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Yes, I read that some of the newer rigs are made in China. Not necessarily a bad thing as many who are familiar insist that the quality is still there. I just prefer, if I can, to go with Japanese made products. I drive a LC, ride a Japan made Specialized bike (circa 1986), shoot pics with a Japanese Nikon, etc...it's a bit weird, i know. The 281 as @John McVicker mentioned initially caught my attention as it is described as a very robust unit. Been looking at the older Yaesu FT 2800, which is made in Japan and has very good reviews. Might be a Ford vs. Chevy type thing...IDK anything about this stuff..
     
  7. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    I have both Kenwood and Yaesu radios, and a couple of my Yaesu 2800s are 12 years old and still fine.

    I have a Kenwood 281 that is 5 years old and also excellent.

    I have a slight preference for Kenwood, mainly because it's easier to program and has the speaker on the front, not on the bottom. It's also easier to control from the microphone.

    Any of the 2 meter entry level radios will be good. You want to spend some effort and $ on your antenna. It's far more important than your radio.

    And only my oldest Yaesu is made in Japan. The 2 slighly newer 2800s are Chinese and look identical and perform the same. The Kenwood is for sure made in China but like I said has been an excellent machine.
     
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  8. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Thanks for that. I am not proficient with modern electronics so the ease of programming with the Kenwood is very attractive to me. What antennae would you recommend to pair with it on an 80? Also, will it stack with a single din stereo and is there a face plate of some sort to make it look reasonably clean?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  9. Skidoo

    Skidoo

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    Where you mount the antenna would impact what antenna. Mine is mounted in center on my roof rack, best location for coverage and range. Easily talk over 30 miles if I have line of sight. Just have to take it down for garages and the like.
    As far as stacking, these radios generate some heat which needs a place to go, check with folks who have stacked to see if cooling is an issue.
     
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  10. jonheld

    jonheld

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    UltraGauge.jpg
    I'm a Kenwood fan. I've always thought the Yaesu mics felt like a little toy in my hand.
    The 271/281 is a great unit and what I started with. I moved up to a V71A for dual channel capability, but you don't need this (yet).
    No issue with stacking either one and they both fit under a single DIN if you modify the mount a bit.

    You can look for a used V271A. It is identical to the 281, aside from cosmetics.

    FWIW, as far as programming goes, there is 3rd party software out there that makes this stuff really easy. Kenwood makes its own software that is OK, but I like CHIRP better.

    Antenna choices will depend on intended use. If you're going into the trees a lot, then you'll want a flexible SS whip like the Larson 150. This can really take some abuse and will transmit well. However it will flop around and constantly go off axis on the highway, but it never bothered me.
    Another great choice, but more expensive is the Comet SBB-1NMO. This is a dual band unit and is a flexible "rubber duck". This one is always on the truck and gets out pretty well for a shortie.
    If trees are no concern, I have a Diamond NR770HBNMO which will really get out, but will bend if you hit it.

    I like an NMO mount for ease of changing when I feel like it. I use a Diamond K400SNMO mounted to the rear hatch. The RG316 coax with the SMA connector is very thin and easy to route.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
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  11. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Thanks Jon. A used V271A and a Comet SBB-1NMO are well within budget and sound like a solid package for what I'm looking for.
     
  12. jonheld

    jonheld

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    Don't forget a good quality mount with good coax.
     
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  13. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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  14. jonheld

    jonheld

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  15. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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    If you insist on having the radio in that bad location you should consider the front firing speaker radios then.
    Yaesu also offers those radios in a few configurations.
    Yes, you can have a remote speaker installed too if you want that sort of thing and then have your kids spill coke on it. Why not?

    Or a remote instal for the radio and the face plate in front of the useless square cup holder ahead of the shifter.

    Welcome to Yaesu.com
     
  16. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Not sure I like the stacked method. Took a look and think this space will work well. Haven't seen any images with it mounted here...probably because most have 95-97, which don't have this free angled dash space. 20180626_165353.jpg
     
  17. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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    Yeah... '94 are bad :(
    Bad angle.
    But you can get a '97 which I heard are the best. Oh, and '97's have no Pair. :p


    Look around the center console, the other little square cup holder and maybe you like that real estate there.
    Or just get a '97 angled up console in front of that cup holder and you can install a detachable faceplate.
     
  18. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Dang...that space won't work either. Unit is about 8.5 inches long...too big for that spot. Detachable face model will work there though like you said. Maybe I'll just get a solid handheld unit with a car antenna...:hmm:
     
  19. Dragos80

    Dragos80

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    Sure. I rock a Baofeng handheld with a magnet mount antenna.
    A lot of people use the space between the seat and center console to mount their CB/HAM radios.

    You can probably try something like this.

    iu.jpeg

    iur.jpeg
     
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  20. jonheld

    jonheld

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    So...why is that a "bad location"? It's within easy reach, it fills the space left by a single DIN radio very nicely and is easy to run wires to. I had it in that location in my 91 and 97.
    The radio the OP is thinking about has a front firing speaker and my V71A has a bottom speaker. I have no issues hearing either one at speed, so not sure what you're talking about.
     
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