Information on using ham radio HT'S or mobile radios
I saw a couple of questions on using ham radio HT's and thought this article might give some of you some useful tips. I wrote this article several years when I was doing a E-newsletter for hams.
GETTING BETTER USE WITH YOUR HANDY TALKIE (HT) AT HOME OR WHILE MOBILE
The following article was written for my E-newsletter several years ago. It may help some of you
get a little more mileage/speed from that HT.
I have been well pleased with the 202 and have used one for packet for several years. I used one in my car/truck for a couple of years, until I decided to replace it with a regular mobile radio. They work well mobile, (as do other htís ) if you will connect them to the truck/car electrical system with an adapter cable and use an external magnetic mount antenna. I have found that the htís will do almost anything the mobiles will, especially if you are in an urban area with several repeaters available.
They (HT's) may be used to control or program repeaters if you program the DTMF sequences needed by the repeater controller. These features are available on most mobile radios now days, as they are adding more features as standard all the time.
Many of the newer Handy Talkies are programmable using your computer, so, by all means if this feature is available, get the programming software for your radio and don't forget the cable to connect to the computer.
USING THE HT FOR A BASE RADIO: HTís may be used as a base radio as well, if you supply the needed voltage and again, use a better, possibly outside antenna.
I have and use several magnetic mount antennas around the house. Most of the HTís
have an extension speaker/mike available for them. These will let you operate with more freedom. If you will clip the HT on one of the cheap metal bookends, this will keep them stable. Also the bookend may be bent back at an angle where you can see the display more readily.
So if you or someone only has an HT, you can make it more versatile, by following some of these tips. And by all means, use whatever brand you want. I personally donít like the very small pocket radios due to the fact that they are hard to see and some are more difficult to program. Some of them are limited as to power (maybe only 200 to 350 mw) and you need as much from an HT as you can get to work the repeaters with a quality signal. This also depends on the better
power supplies and antennas that I mentioned above.
Remember also that, before purchasing your first radio, many of the mobiles (most
with 50 watts available) may be purchased for less than most of the HTís. So check
around with others and see what they recommend and decide what to buy.
I do suggest that, for a mobile antenna. Donít spend your money on one of the quarter
wave versions if you can get one of the 5/8 wave versions for a little more. I use both
so again itís your choice for your money. The ľ wave versions are good for a portable
antenna or one to use at home or at a remote, temporary set up. I use one in the house
during bad weather.
Place them on a tool box, refrigerator, or filing cabinet and they
should work well for you. If you are using an HT the 5/8 will be better, but if you have the
higher power available with a mobile the ľ wave will probably work for you. The lower
power of an HT combined with a lower gain antenna and low capacity power supply (standard ht battery) will make it somewhat marginal. So do consider all these factors.
One other tip: HTís or handy talkies, will operate down to around 5 or 6 volts, while my mobiles have stopped transmitting at around 11 volts. SO, if you might be operating from
a battery supply, this may be another factor to consider.
Copyright © 2004, Jerry Hemby / W1NRA
One question folks. Just wondering how the super cold in winter affects a fiberglass antenna like one of the A-99 verticals. This antenna is mainly for CB radio but they work very well on ham radio ten meters and I have worked one on six meters and 12 and 17 meters (using a mfj antenna tuner).