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 New to ham radios 
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Location: McCleary
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Real Name: Andy
Looking for a ham radio. Nothing special, either a pair of the BaoFeng UV5r or the F8-HP. (Yes, I searched, didn't see my answer)

Is an 8 watt better than a 5 watt, and why? read one article that was pretty high

What other accessories should I get?

Mostly I'll be using these for hunting, but that makes for good practice. Some woody forested terrain. Some effectively desert terrain.

Don't want to spend a ton of money. $60-125 on radios, plus another $40-50 on accessories. I already have a Rino, and other forms of GPS, plus dedicated FRS radios. Mainly looking at the ability to communicate at longer distances in areas where my current FRS radios are having challenges.

Thanks in advance.

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:27 pm
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Location: Maple Valley, WA
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If you have specific people you want to stay in touch with...
GoTenna
This is an option: https://www.gotenna.com/pages/how-it-works


Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:54 pm
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Antennas are more important than wattage. You can have an 8 watt radio with a shit antenna get smoked by a 5 watt with a good antenna.

Put a good antenna on both and the 8 watt will of course have more reach.

Understand that VHF is largely line of sight, and you'll be having problems with obstructed and uneven terrain and greatly cut the range of your signal down. If you just want hunting radios get a GMRS or FRS radio and call it good, unless you really want to get into ham radio or are already licensed.

Short answer, just buy the 8 watt and a good antenna, because people get really, really, really worked up over those extra three watts, just because bigger seems better, and in the end, you'll save yourself hours of second guessing and having other people who went for "ZOMG TEH WATTS!" question your choice of the 5 watt. Me, personally? I'd go 5 watt, an upgraded antenna and carry a a dipole and adapter in my pack, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.

Get these three things, and you'll be good.
http://amzn.to/1XZ8jZ8
http://amzn.to/1XZ8mEh
http://amzn.to/21PXrxF

Add a spare battery if you want http://amzn.to/1Ss41YE

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:58 pm
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I saw the go-tenna. wasn't necessarily what I was looking for. I read about it, it essentially becomes a radio text device. Appreciate the idea though.

Thanks for the suggestion on the antenna upgrade, I forgot to ask about that. I might just go with the 5 watt radio and an upgraded antenna. For the most part I would want to be able to hit the Ephrata repeater from about 30 miles away. Fairly easy to get line of sight. Is that possible or am I just dreaming? I would be anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 feet of elevation above that.

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:23 pm
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If you've got line of sight to it, 5 watts and a good antenna is all you need.

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:24 pm
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Most of the year they'll be sitting, but for two weeks a year they'll get used a bunch. Looks like there is a car charger option as well.

Appreciate the help.

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:54 pm
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Be careful with those cables if your not a tech nerd... The chip that's in many of them are "counterfeit".... Or copy's... They don't work with the disk provided. After 2 hours of being pissed and about throwing my computer out the window I was able to find a program online that you download for chirp that will work so you can program those frequencies. Now, be aware there are some legality issues with using the baofengs on frs and gmrs, I believe the antenna for those frequencies are not allowed to be removable, the wattage is restricted(I believe it's actually less than 5 watts). If you can, I would get ham licensed, especially if you can get your hunting buddies to do the same, then you have a wider range of frequencies you can broadcast on, with less chance of cross talk and such

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:00 pm
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HAM prep:
https://hamexam.org/flash_cards/12-Technician

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:35 pm
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Soldier_Citizen wrote:
Be careful with those cables if your not a tech nerd... The chip that's in many of them are "counterfeit".... Or copy's... They don't work with the disk provided. After 2 hours of being pissed and about throwing my computer out the window I was able to find a program online that you download for chirp that will work so you can program those frequencies. Now, be aware there are some legality issues with using the baofengs on frs and gmrs, I believe the antenna for those frequencies are not allowed to be removable, the wattage is restricted(I believe it's actually less than 5 watts). If you can, I would get ham licensed, especially if you can get your hunting buddies to do the same, then you have a wider range of frequencies you can broadcast on, with less chance of cross talk and such
Actually it's not legal to use amateur radios on FRS and GMRS. Not legal at all.

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:00 pm
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MURS freqs you can use without a license:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-Use_Radio_Service
Only one watt though.

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Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:48 pm
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I'll go the license route. Looks like a lot of folks are pretty uppity (not here) about that issue, but I'm not sure someone would come up and track me down in the woods if I didn't have one. If I had a base station at home, sure. At least that way I'll be covered and gain a little more knowledge so I can make the most out of the tool. Thanks for the info.

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Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:01 am
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dogfish wrote:
I'll go the license route. Looks like a lot of folks are pretty uppity (not here) about that issue, but I'm not sure someone would come up and track me down in the woods if I didn't have one. If I had a base station at home, sure. At least that way I'll be covered and gain a little more knowledge so I can make the most out of the tool. Thanks for the info.


He's another fun thing about getting licensed, you can play on the repeaters, which will add a great amount of distance that you can cover, I can talk to one of my repeaters near where I do some hunting, and it can transmit to my base station at home which is about 70 miles as the crow flys, so my misses can hear me(I can check in and let her know we are alive and or coming home or staying... I'm trying to get her to get listened so she can communicate with me. Instead of just listening to a progress report.

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Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:06 am
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dogfish wrote:
I'll go the license route. Looks like a lot of folks are pretty uppity (not here) about that issue, but I'm not sure someone would come up and track me down in the woods if I didn't have one. If I had a base station at home, sure. At least that way I'll be covered and gain a little more knowledge so I can make the most out of the tool. Thanks for the info.
All the folks at the Mike and Key group I did the class and test with were all pretty cool. Very Techno Ham, but helpful and appear to be looking to add to the herd. Some of the old guys do not have much patience for the new guys, but I know guys in guns that are exactly the same.


Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:35 pm
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Ordered a pair of the upgraded BaoFeng's, cords, charger for the car, spare battery, and a longer antenna. Also downloaded an app for studying. Goal is to get licensed up before hunting season. I'll test out the two antennas and see which is best.

I ran into an old Elks Club member about 20 years ago when I first joined. I think I was 40 years younger than all of them. He comes up to me after one meeting and told me I was too young to be an Elks Club member. My response was immediate, "Well sir, if the rest of the Elks Club members were as old and as rude as you, the Elks are doomed. How long have you been a member? Never mind, don't tell me. You were a new member once too. Were you welcomed the same way I was by you when you joined?" He apologized a few meetings later. Some old guys are grumpy shits.

Worst case, don't like it and sell it.

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Wed Mar 30, 2016 2:11 pm
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Radios in hand.

Suggestions on apps for learning? Any other types of websites or information would be great.

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Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:20 pm
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