FWIW, as you know but in case anyone wants the rule of thumb, you figure 6dB of gain gives about 2x the distance. If someone wants to do the real calculations the link budget is based on Friis' equation for free space propagation. You can get the 6dB anyway you wish. You usually have most control over transmitter power and antenna gain (either TX or RX) but potentially receive amplifier or sensitivity can be improved. Which is why you'll sometimes see me dig on cheap Chinese radios with poor rejection and sensitivity, they in effect reduce link budget.3dB = 2x ERP. 6db = 4x ERP. 4xERP is NOT 4x range.
I don't condemn Baofengs. I have a UV-5r myself and it's a lot of radio for the money. That said, it is pretty complex to program, which is why I don't often recommend them for beginners. OTOH, once programmed, they're pretty easy to use and are great for the trail, particularly when combined with a magmount (or similar) antenna.I also want to plug a couple of podcasts that are useful for learning more about HAM radio. You can listen to these and therefore learn while driving or working on your truck.
The Ham Radio Workbench podcast originally started by Cale Nelson K4CDN, George Zafiropoulos KJ6VU, and Jeremy Kolonay KF7IJZ, along with other regular guests:
I also listen to the amp-hour podcast. It's mostly non-HAM, but they interview a bunch of SDR folks like Mike Ossmann, Ettus Research, etc. (in the real world, cheapo Baofeng HT's are actually pretty awesome tools used by a LOT of research folks. As opposed to some of the folks on here who aren't RF engineers, yet seem to know everything about anything HAM, which makes them uniquely suited to condemning Baofengs) which is all relevant to HAM.
I've been using CB and ham radio since the early 90's. Lets see if i can answer a few questions:As the title suggests. I've done a lot of reading over the last few years, and have now just simply become overwhelmed with so many options and technologies - especially relating to HAM's. There seems to be some contradicting information, so I was hoping for input to sort it out, or at least be pointed in the right direction.
I am a big supporter of multiple facets of coms. I always run the standard CB, and have been wanting to dip into the HAM world also. However, now there is a big push it seems for the additional FRS/GMRS, and now even sending data through HAM freqs?
So, CB and sat options aside, and forum searching aside (which I have done plenty!), I'm curious to hear where are some good sources for solid info and data on:
HAM - yes I realize you need a license, and am hoping to find a local 'club' to work on that with
FRS/GMRS - yes I realize you need a license for some of the freqs
Other options I'm not aware of (not including InReach)
From my understanding, weboost is one of the better options for cell extenders.
I have recently considered the addition of the Midland MXT400 to add to the coms options. It is my understanding this works on FRS and GMRS freqs?
But as for HAM, here is where I am honestly totally lost. I certainly want to have emergency coms options, but also want to be able to just chat with random people all over the place. I have for a while now considered the Yeasu Ft-875 for its versatility; however, have only recently (in the last few months) seen multiple forums discussing the disadvantage of having an 'all in one' radio, and instead recommending splitting it up to two radios, I think one for HF, and the other for UHF/VHF? Now, to compound this, police/fire/emergency responders - are they also on HAM freqs as I understand it, or do you still need a dedicated 'scanner' to stay up to date on happenings? And what about this whole 'data transfer' and 'texting' and 'internet for computer' stuff I have been reading about lately? Likely much more than what I need, although in specific situations it might be nice to have the option if this in fact is legit.
Lastly - any personal experiences with the President McKinley (CB)?
In any case, the HAM side of things is my biggest confusion point, and due to recent readings, I am now quite confused. Looking forward to getting some direction form the community! Thank you in advance (I may be slow to reply).
A quad band radio isn't necessarily an issue, but a quad band antenna will be of some compromise.Thank you Dave! That's sorta what I was figuring. I appreciate the link to the Yeasu also. I noticed the 8900 is a quad band. From some other research and reading I was under the impression this isn't the greatest way to go, but maybe its just more the matter of preference?