Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

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jj
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Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby jj » Thu May 23, 2013 7:33 am

Here is a synopsis of my talk on radios and antennas from the May meeting.

If you are doing a retrive in a car, using a handheld from inside the car is going to have poor range and reception. Getting an external, inexpensive magnetic mount antenna will help range and clarity a lot. Doesn't need to be big, just get the antenna outside.

The cheap rubber ducky antennas that come on our radios are poor. They work OK when your in the air but once on the ground trying to contact people can be difficult. You can get a good upgrade antenna for about $25. My favorite is the Comet SMA 24 which is about a 15" long very flexible antenna. I usually stuff this antenna in my harness and use it when I land. If you want something that is flexible and only a little longer than the ducky antenna then the Diamond SRH519 is a good option. These are for radios with SMA connectors. If you have an older radio with a BNC connector you need to make sure you get the right connector type. SMAs are very small screw on connectors. Both of these antennas have thin flexible elements so for reliability I always beef up where the element enters the connector. I put a little dab of Goop or Shoe Goo at that point and then put a couple wraps of electrical tape on that after it dries. This makes them very reliable.

Best radio is probably the Yaesu Vertex VX-270, but it is 2 Meter only and costs $140. If you want a less expensive radio that has great features, multiple bands and only 1 watt less powere (4w vs 5w) you can find the Baofeng UV-5RA on Amazon for $45. Need to program it to set it to narrow band, 5k indexing, 30 second transmit timeout (prevents a stuck mic [or mouth] from blocking the channel) and squelch to 1 or 2. I can load the radios with full programming for all our frequencies and 2M channles in a minute with my laptop. If a few people get these I'll bring it to the next meeting with the programming cord. Only other issue with this radio is that to use upgrade antennas you need to get a female to femal SMA converter which you can either get online, or locally at Ham Radio Outlet for $4. Great deal for a radio. If you are a PG when buying the radio you may want to get the remote speaker/mic. Allows you to have the speaker/mic on you harness strap for about $10-15.

If you need an optimal range antenna you may want to build or buy a 1/2 wave dipole out of coax. You can buy them or if enough people are interested we could order some cables and I could help show how to build them. The only deficiencies with the ones you can purchase are that they should have a ferrite bead at the end of the transmission line, and you should put a couple dabs of goop where the elements separate to keep them from breaking prematurely. Do that and your antenna will last many years. There are a few other tricks to making them even better but if you are interested call or pm me.

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UV-5RA radio lower price

Postby jj » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:24 am

The Baofeng UV-5RA radios are now available for $38.15 on amazon. The speaker mic is now $8.97.

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby davidhach » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:14 am

A better antenna is also available for $7.75 shipped (if you have Amazon Prime): http://www.amazon.com/ExpertPower%C2%AE ... feng+uv-5r

I just ordered this 40cm whip: http://www.amazon.com/Etekcity%C2%AE-An ... feng+uv-5r

I'll post how it performs once I get to use it.

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Arnaud » Fri Jun 21, 2013 11:11 pm

Both Darren and I got the "whip" antenna for our VX150, and I could hear him on Boulder's launch from 11,000' around Mt Herman... Pretty impressive.

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby jj » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:57 am

Looks as if that 40cm "whip" antenna is the Baofeng version of the Comet SMA-24J. The Comet is about $29 so you save $10 - 15 and apparently the performance is good from your reports. Looks like the joint where the element enters the base is relatively strong but I still advise putting some electrical tape, goop or epoxy at that area to strengthen it.

I was serious when I said the antenna makes a huge difference in radio reception and performance. Nice to have that confirmed in the field by others. Glad people have a few options and are getting better range from their radios. In an emergency that could be critical. And even if you are just having a great flight, knowing your signal is getting out allows you to focus on flying.

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Taoweiji » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:09 pm

ExpertPower® 7.56" Dual Band Two-way Radio Antenna SMA-Female is now $2.95 on Amazon, using the same link as posted above.

You can get a Yaesu FT-270R from Ham Radio Outlet in Denver for $138 and there is a $30 rebate from Yaesu too.

Ok so now that I have a radio, does anybody know how to bump it?
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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Ed Williams » Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:45 pm

Which radio do you have?

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Taoweiji » Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:47 am

Yaesu FT-270R
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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Ed Williams » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:32 pm

I can bump it for you. I've never done that model before, but I did find the instructions on the Internet. It's very similar to bumping a VX-150 or 250.

Ed Williams 303-419-6188

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Taoweiji » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:34 am

Thanks Ed. I"d like to take a look at the info you got online. Can you forward me a link or something? If I can't figure it out we can look at you bumping it for me. Thanks for the offer.

Who do I contact for a radio lesson?
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"Once you have flown you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will long to return." ~Leonardo da Vinci

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Ed Williams » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:09 am

Here's the instructions on bumping that radio.

http://theprepared.com/content/view/148/47/

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby Taoweiji » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:14 pm

Thanks a lot :)
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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby scotts » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:39 pm

jj-
got my Baofeng UV-5RA radio on order from Amazon. Should be here before next weeks meeting. Any chance you will be there and can download your programming to get me started?? Thanks for your help and posts on this subject.
Scotts
Scott S.
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jj
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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby jj » Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:38 pm

Sure. I'll try to make the meeting and if there I'll have the laptop to program the radio.

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Re: Radios and Antenna info from Meeting

Postby scotts » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:21 am

Hi JJ,
I bought a second Baofeng radio for my girls and as a backup. Anyhow, I've been having issues receiving at LO with my first radio, so I've been using the new one with much better results. The only difference I can tell is new one has factory settings of step: 25.0k, WN: wide. Is it possible that these settings are causing the problem on my first radio since I set them to 5.0k, and NARR as you recommended? or do I have a faulty radio? What are these settings for? Please explain, if possible, and why you recommend changing them? Also, sql is set to 3 on both (what does changing to 1 do??), and both have the same antenna.

thanks!
Scott S.
P4; skywalk Chilli3S; Mesa, AZ of all places!
Get busy living!


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