A week spent in VHF/UHF land

Greetings Amateur Radio Enthusiasts & the like! There’s something noble about the ham who has all home brew gear. I certainly aspire to learn more and more each day...

Greetings Amateur Radio Enthusiasts & the like!

There’s something noble about the ham who has all home brew gear. I certainly aspire to learn more and more each day in this hobby, but sometimes I just don’t think i’ll catch up fast enough to those who have been in the hobby for 30+ years! If you are one of those… consider yourself lucky! I think that would have been neat to see how amateur radio has developed over the years, although some of the technology may still be the same believe it or not! One day I hope to have an old shiny transceiver from either the WWI or WWII era, but until then, my Baofeng will just have to do! LOL!

Speaking of Baofeng’s, this past week I have spent the majority of my time on VHF on a local repeater (N5OAK) here in Austin, TX (147.320 PL Tone 114.8, EchoLink Node 7448), I met a great group of guys on there that have been really helpful, they have a net every Thursday night @ 8PM (CST) called the GeekNet, although I may not always be the most talkative in the group, I check-in, and usually there’ll be someone talking about some antenna issue they’re having, so I’ve been picking up experience that way too. I’ve since discovered that the J Pole in my attic isn’t serving me so well after all, so I’m going to make some adjustments and attempt to put it outside (if I can conceal it well enough). If not, I’m considering building a moxon antenna to get some gain, but then I believe I’d lose the 70cm. To be honest, UHF doesn’t seem to be so active, and the traffic that I usually do find is being crossbanded over to VHF.

I’ve been active so much on VHF in the last couple weeks that I’ve been swapping my 2m radio in & out of my truck when I go on trips, because lets face it, my Baofeng can receive spotty reception when inside my truck, but the FTM-400 works wonders.  Frankly I’m tired of swapping the radio in & out, so figured a second vhf/uhf radio would be a good idea.

(Excuse me for a second while I have a conversation with myself)

Wait a second (voice inside head)…

You just spent your left arm & your soul on the FTM400DR, and you want to get another radio? (still voice inside head)

Go ahead and slap yourself…

Maybe I should sell some of the stuff I have…


(End conversation with self)

And then this little device popped up in my head:


Why not just use my Baofeng inside the truck! Surely i’ll be able to hit the repeater with a mag mount antenna & five watts!
I’m not sure I can even justify installing a mobile radio in my vehicle. I’m not sure how most folks do if you live in the city? I mean, my commute to work is about 15-20 min long, so I don’t particularly spend a long time in my vehicle. Now if being in the vehicle longer than your average joe is part of your job or duties for some reason, then a mobile radio may be the way to go.
I probably could have found an sma connector of some type & just wired this myself, but for $5, I don’t mind.
I would really like to get a Kenwood TM-V71A rig. I’ve read nothing but good things about the radio, and I read somewhere that once you get used to a particular brand of radio, it’s best to stick with that brand because it’ll be easier for you to operate since the manufacturers tend to keep most of their menu options standardized across most platforms. The rig runs about $350 new. If I chose this rig, I would be able to listen to vhf while I’m at work because I could crossband the repeater output into my HT
Then again I could just go with the Kenwood TM-281A, it’s only running $130 right now, but it’s just a 2m rig, and very limited on features.
Any thoughts on what kind of rig goes best in a vehicle? One with all kinds of options? For now the Baofeng with the adapter cable will work great while I research other options.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, & thanks for stopping by!
VHF/UHF Antennas
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