Thoughts on handhelds and digital voice on VHF and UHF.

Started by gil, September 07, 2013, 10:34:02 PM

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So, I have been looking into handhelds lately and just dropped $50 on a dual band Chinese model. On the other hand, I was looking at digital models from Icom and Yaesu that cost about 13 times more! Sure, they have a built-in GPS and APRS, even the ability to take and send photos! Photos? Really? Low resolution ones mind you. I can't think of any instance when someone would want to send a photo in an amateur setting. In a professional security related application, sure.. Digital voice is also not that appealing to me. There is the cost issue of course, and you run into compatibility problems. I don't think it brings more to the table, other than some kind of limited privacy, since very few can afford them! As to APRS, it is very much useless to me. I don't believe those handhelds can do cross-band repeat either. A simple GPS unit can be bought for $60... Sometimes more isn't better. Not that I had the money to buy a $500 handheld anyway, but if I did and chose the Chinese El-Cheapo, I would have saved about $450 to spend on other areas of preparations... Hell, I could have bought a dozen of those UV-5Rs for a whole group od friends for the price of one Icom IC-92AD. Even the Yaesu FT-60R sells for only $145, and it has the same bands.

So, is it all about the gear and showing off at the next club meeting, or is there something to those gizmos? I'm not against them.. If I was rich, I might buy one. If it sells, so much the better for the economy. However, when something does the job almost as well and for a fraction of the cost, one might ponder...


PS: That volume knob on the Icom looks likes it's waiting to be knocked off...


Different strokes for different folks.

Don't forget that the Chinese handhelds are still relatively new to the amateur market. Right now they're selling like hotcakes and it seems everyone and their brother is snatching them up. Is this a paradigm shift in the amateur HT market, just a trend that will fade away or something in between? Only time will tell.

I probably should get one myself while they're still available and cheaper than dirt just so I'll have one available if needed, but honestly HT's just don't interest me much. In fact VHF/UHF FM in general interests me very little anymore. At last springs hamfest I sold the majority of all my V/U gear save for a pair of IC-2100's and an old Radio Shack 300mW 2M HT............. and I collected a LOT of gear over the years.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin



Quotebut honestly HT's just don't interest me much. In fact VHF/UHF FM in general interests me very little anymore.

Same here... After getting a taste of QRP CW, it's hard to get excited by anything else. The price was too good to pass though  :)

And actually, talking to some guys on a local repeater, turned out, might have hooked me up for an IOTA activation, and I'll use CW of course!



I can think of lots of uses for photos from a amateur stand point.
ARES or search and rescue. Say I have aprs or gps in my radio and I take a photo and send it back to home base. Then in an hour I take another photo and send it to home base. In the case of wildfires like they have out west U.S. You could see how far the fire line has traveled in one hour giving someone important info as to how fast the fire is traveling. Just as an example.

Same thing with flood waters.
Sending photos back to EMA or the EOC Emergency Operations Center would let them see how bad conditions are where the rescuers are working.
Ive been wanting something like this for a while.