Let me show you how little I know....

The down and simple answer is that is a ham radio and only legal on the ham bands. While it can be programmed to other frequencies you can not legally transmit on it anyplace outside the ham bands. To transmit in the ham bands you need an amateur radio license. Now SOme of the Boefeng are certified for part 90 use, this radio however isnt a boefeng and any certifications would be void.
 
I have heard that the cap will change SWR for CB on a Firestik, I think that is normal.
The plastic cap on top of the Firestick changes the SWR big-time. I've tuned them before (I've got three 4x4s with CBs with the tunable Firestick antennas). I thought it was weird too, but it makes a huge difference. Take the cap off, make your antenna adjustment, put the cap back on, and then check your SWR. Repeat as necessary to get the SWR where you want it.
 
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I went down to visit the Ham Radio Outlet in Tigard, spent a bit of time talking to those who work there and played with the radios on display. The guys down there were really nice, no pressure. I didn't buy anything that day, but a couple of weeks later I called them with options in mind and asked for advice. This is what I ended up with:

- PulseLarsen NMO-2/70B Black antenna for my ham radio. It's a 1/2 wave antenna for 2m, and from what I can tell that makes it less dependent on a good ground plane.
- Firestik 3' antenna for my CB
- 2 NMO-K NMO antenna mounts with 17' coax, and PL-259 connectors not yet connected to the coax. I wanted the connectors separate to make it easier to get the coax through the firewall. It took me a couple attempts to get the connectors connected properly, but in the end it seems to work well
- Tram NMO adapter between one of the NMO mounts and the CB antenna
- Firestik SS-3H heavy duty stainless steel antenna spring for the Firestik
- 2 Larsen Plastic Rain Cap for NMO Antenna - Black to protect the NMO mount for when I take off the antennas

I went with the two identical NMO mounts, on on each side of the hood, so that I can switch between types of antennas in the future. For example, if I decide I want two ham radios and no CB I can simply unscrew the Firestik and put a different antenna on the mount.

I had previously purchased these brackets from Gamviti, they have a 3/4" opening that fits the NMO mounts. I'm sure you can find something similar for the Jeep.

One lesson learned, the Firestik is heavy, and it makes the Gamviti mount flex quite a bit. I might look for a lighter CB antenna to reduce the amount of stress on the mount and the bolt that connects it to the fender. Also, I was surprised to see that the red cap on top of the Firestik changed the SWR on channel 40. I didn't think that piece of plastic would have any impact.
I might have to check out that Tigard Ham Radio place (I'm up in Longview, WA so not too far away).
 
I mounted the little BaoFeng in my Jeep TJ this evening. I used a bracket from Rugged Radio, and I put a footman loop on my dash for the hand mike. I needed to make sure the radio wouldn't interfere with the glove box door opening, any controls or such on the dash, or heaven forbid the passenger airbag deployed. The bracket itself is very unobtrusive if I have the radio out of the Jeep. Both the bracket and footman loop have nuts and washers behind the dash - they aren't just screwed in with a sheet metal screw.
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When I ordered my BaoFeng, I just ordered the radio. Later I ordered an extra battery, a battery delete (lets you plug it into the 12volt accessory plug in the dash) and a BaoFeng hand mike. The BaoFeng hand mike won't attach to the footman loop, so I'm using the Rugged Radio hand mike with this set-up (which has a longer cord and just seems stouter).
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I'm also using the longer antenna I got with the Rugged Radio set-up for now.
Radio.6.jpg Radio.5.jpg Radio.8.jpg Radio.9.jpg Radio.6.jpg Radio.5.jpg Radio.8.jpg Radio.9.jpg
 
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That will be excellent for trail communication and traveling. I have that same antenna on a baofeng and while it is way better than stock, the 20 dollar dual band mag mount from Amazon will blow it out of the water. It is small and can go on a fender or be removed until you need\want it.
 
Looks like you have a number of high-elevation repeaters around you, including some that have IRLP and/or Echolink nodes attached to them. Have you tried listening to or, not that you have your call, talking on any of them?

If not, check out https://www.rfinder.net/ I'm a big fan of their site. If you buy their iOS app you get a year subscription. Otherwise you can buy pay for it on their site ($13). They're cool because you can get coverage maps for Google Earth and get a really good sense of where a repeater should cover. So if you're going out wheeling somewhere you can search that area then check which repeaters will actually be useful. Then, of course, you can export those for importing into Chirp and your radio.

Looks like K7RPT covers a lot of southern WA and northern OR and has both IRLP and EchoLink. If you can hit that you can connect up to a repeater down here (or nearly anywhere). :D The fun/nerdiness begins!
 
Looks like you have a number of high-elevation repeaters around you, including some that have IRLP and/or Echolink nodes attached to them. Have you tried listening to or, not that you have your call, talking on any of them?

If not, check out https://www.rfinder.net/ I'm a big fan of their site. If you buy their iOS app you get a year subscription. Otherwise you can buy pay for it on their site ($13). They're cool because you can get coverage maps for Google Earth and get a really good sense of where a repeater should cover. So if you're going out wheeling somewhere you can search that area then check which repeaters will actually be useful. Then, of course, you can export those for importing into Chirp and your radio.

Looks like K7RPT covers a lot of southern WA and northern OR and has both IRLP and EchoLink. If you can hit that you can connect up to a repeater down here (or nearly anywhere). :D The fun/nerdiness begins!
I've yet to speak a syllable on my little radio (because I wasn't legal), or actually listen in on a ham frequency yet. Time to start playing! So much to learn.
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I plan on attending this event this summer: http://www.nwoverlandrally.com/home.html I wanted to attend last year, but I had just started a new job.
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Last year they had a class on Ham Radio; hopefully they will again this year.
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And this might be a good opportunity for me to pick a few folks' brains about ham stuff coming up sooner (10 March):
http://www.mikeandkey.org/docs/2018FleaFlyer.pdf
http://www.mikeandkey.org/flea.php
 
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That could be fun... I'll tell you where the best place to learn is: on the air.

Hop on the local repeaters and ask if anyone is listening: "K7RPT, are any stations monitoring, K7RPT, are any stations monitoring?" You may get a response like, "K7RPT, W6TDR.." Then just start talking... Or better yet, check around for local "nets" where people are chatting. Listen to the process and then hop in when you feel like you know how. 9/10 times you'll find folks who are happy to teach you the ropes. Kind of like you did with your radio here. :D
 
Don't recall if it has been mentioned in this thread previously but Field Day is another good way to learn more about ham radio.
Granted it is geared mostly towards HF radio but none the less you will get some good hands on experience operating HF and setting up a variety of antennas if you show up early enough. You will also find knowledge people. You may get some flack for the Baofeng, at least from the older hams.

Field day is an exercise in emergency radio operations. Clubs (or groups/individuals) set up at a site using temporary antennas running off back up power. The event runs for 24 hours and you try to make as many contacts as you can.
FD is always the last full weekend in June, this year that is 23-24th.
When it gets closer check out http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator to see what field day sites may be near you.
 
Hey, wanted to check in, see if you've been using your radio at all and if so how it has been.
Haven't had the Jeep out much, so haven't had a chance. I was hoping to go on a little overlanding trip recently but that fell through (wasn't able to go, and that was going to be my test run with the radio).

I've played with it some to see what I can pick-up, but haven't really said anything on the radio (figuring I can hear them, but with my little 5-watt they might not hear me).

I still need to get an external antenna and connect it to my little radio. The antenna mount is mounted on the Jeep (from Rugged Radio - it fit with a lot of dremel tool grinding on the mounting holes). Yesterday got a ham radio catalog in the mail - this weekend I was going to sit down and see what they had as far as antennas and cables.