2M Recommendations For Beginners Please!

Wow, what a read. I have to agree with AlbanyTom for the most part. A few things to keep in mind as well.

For your first radio, simplicity is the best. And if you do get a radio with detachable face, watch where you mount the main unit. If its under the seat and you get swamped, then you have problems. If you are just getting into ham radios, understanding the system and keeping it simple is worthy until you feel comfortable.

If you buy used, ask if the "MARS" mod has been done. I bought a TS-480HX off of a ham swap board. Hooked it up in my truck and guess what, MARS mod done. Most hams won't admit it if it has been done. I currently have a Kenwood 281a in my truck that may/may not getting the mod "for emergencies" as certain areas in Alberta the logging trucks operate on 154.10 mHz (Ladd 1 I think its called). My exploring time is during the week when they are working compared to weekends where the roads are full of weekend warriors.
dumb question from a noob here but is there a unit that will do 2m AND cb? I am in the same boat as the OP about the CB thing but if i'm on a trail chances are my buddies don't have a 2m and I have limited space to mount thing in the rig.
You could get a Cobra 75 and one of the 2m/440 rigs with the detachable faceplates. I've been looking at doing this in my truck to save space around the dash but still get the dual band HAM rig and a CB.
Thanks binrat and terry

what does everyone think about a Yaesu FT-60R 5W 2m/70cm HT?


Baofeng UV5R 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band DTMF CTCSS DCS FM Ham Two-Way Radio
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Thanks binrat and terry

what does everyone think about a Yaesu FT-60R 5W 2m/70cm HT?


Baofeng UV5R 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band DTMF CTCSS DCS FM Ham Two-Way Radio
the FT-60 is a good radio, but you can get 4 or 5 of the Baofengs for the same price. Also, there are models newer than the UV-5r. Look for the UV-82 and the UV-B6 models now, and you may also find them under the name Pofung, which is the new name of Baofeng.

Whichever of those radios you go with, if you plan on using them while mobile, is get an external antenna. You can find dual band mag mount antennas terminated with an SMA connector for less than $20 on ebay and amazon. While you're at it, consider picking up an aftermarket antenna like the Nagoya 771 for use when youre not mobile. Diamond and Comet make great antennas too, but you're likely to spend twice as much as one as you spent on the Baofeng.
I actually just got one of the UV-5RA radios. I bought the Diamond antenna upgrade for it on the advice of a friend and I'm really happy with it so far. I made a contact yesterday from inside a E350 van and from what I can figure it was about 16 miles to the repeater.

It also receives regular FM radio stations, does a dual watch on two channels and so far I'm really pleased with it. I got the programming cable to use with the CHIRP software, the external mic, and just ordered two of the extended use batteries. I may get a Yeasu or Icom in the future but right now this is working fine.


Expedition Leader
Aquafbody, that is a good entry setup, but you are also probably going to want an external antenna with a mag mount or something to stick on the roof. An external antenna SIGNIFICANTLY improves transmission and reception range and clarity
Just got my extended battery and they don't fit the 5RA without some mods. I got my 5RA for $30AM off Amazon and if you buy the cable with it you'll get free shipping. I'll try to post some links this evening if I get a chance.
Click item for Amazon page I ordered from:

Radio: $30.97
Mic: $6.36
Programming Cable: $6.69
Good Diamond Antenna: $29.95

Order them all and they qualify for free shipping over $35.

This is the set-up I ordered and everything works good. I did my first check-in on the local net from it last night because I didn't have anything to say really and didn't feel like setting up my other rig. Got a good report from the net controller considering I was inside my house and no where near line of sight of the repeater. I'm going to modify one of my extended batteries to work with it and see how it does before returning the other. From what I can find no one makes an higher capacity battery for the 5RA.

That Diamond antenna was recommended to me by a Extra class HAM buddy of mine who dealt with several of these radios a few years ago when people in his local HAM club were snatching them up. Like has been said, a good mag mount for mobile use will trump any attached antennas but that Diamond is probably a better bet than the other cheaper antennas you see advertised.

Don't use the included software with the cable. Just plug the cable into your computer without the radio plugged to it. It should automatically search out the right drivers (mine had to go through a few extra "should I look for it?" steps but it didn't take long). Then download CHIRP to do the programming with. It works out quick and easy. I found a manual online that really explains a lot of the functions better than what comes with the radio here.
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Just a quick update. I did the cutting on the extended batteries and they are working fine with my 5RA. I got somewhere around 20hrs out of the first charge the first battery running dual watch and some transmitting.
Complete noob here

So I have a radio (ICOM 5061) Which I use for work and I got it pre programmed with all the AAR channels. I am finally going to actually mount it in my truck but I would like to listen to other channels for when I'm out in the backcountry or when traveling for work (I mean its going to be in my truck full time so id like to use it for recreation or emergency) But besides talking to trains and co workers I know nothing about this radio.

I plan on taking the test to get a license, Im assuming ill need one if I ever plan on broadcasting on anything besides AAR channels. Anyone have recommendations on a good place to start learning basic fundamentals? Also the antenna I have is a short magnetic base type and I would like to change over to a whip style so I can mount it somewhere other than under and in between bars on my roof rack, any downfalls going this route?