Looking to get a UHF CB

I'm preparing for a few short trips before deciding if The Big Lap is for me and would like your thoughts on the two CB units I'm looking into buying. They are the Icom IC-440N $449 and the Uniden UH8060NB $349. Given the $100 price difference am I even comparing apples for apples, the specs confuse the hell out of me. The only difference I can see is that the Icom is 12/24v and you can change the colour of the screen.
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Reply By: Member - John - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 08:52

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 08:52
wow, hell of a delta between the prices for the two units............ From what I have been told, Icom is the better unit.............. is it worth an extra $100, probably not. A lot depends on your aerial any way........maybe better putting the extra money into a better aerial.........my two cents worth. I am sure others will provide a more technical answer.
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Reply By: Bludge - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 09:15

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 09:15
John,

90% of the features on a UHF radio are not used, ICOM is well known as a commercial unit and its reputation flows from that. GME (Australian) are good so is Uniden. I use a GME 3100 and a Uniden UH8060NB both are good and work well.

You will be happy with either.
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Follow Up By: wombat100 - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 14:29

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 14:29
GME (Australian)???
Maybe a bit of sub-assembly & packaging here- but all components, boards etc manufactured in China
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Follow Up By: Bludge - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 15:13

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 15:13
Wombat100,

GME is an Australian company "Standard Communications is proud to remain a privately owned Australian company. "

"but all components, boards etc manufactured in China" Wombat100, can you back that up?

Yes all Australian manufactures obtain some components from overseas, but I am reliably informed that ALL vehicle based UHF radios are built/manufactured in Australia.

The handheld units are fully manufactured and imported, but we are talking vehicle based UHF.

"The GME TX3100 radio is Australian designed and built...... "

"The radio itself is fully engineered and manufactured in Australia with a host of evolutionary features developed by GMEs highly experienced two-way radio R & D team including the unique flip menu feature, its super compact size and incorporating the latest Digital Signal Processing technology."
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 18:09

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 18:09
Can't speak for the other brands but the after sales support for the GME product is excellent
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Reply By: Stu & "Bob" - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 09:19

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 09:19
The Icom would probaby be the better unit, but nowadays it is much of a muchness.

As John said, it is pretty much dependant on the antenna anyway.


.
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Reply By: Grumpy John - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 13:30

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 13:30
Hell of a typo on my original post, the price difference should read $100 NOT $1050.
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Follow Up By: ModSquad - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 13:51

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 13:51
Fixed John

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 14:33

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 14:33
Grumpy,

Just had a look at Prestige, in WA, and there is a $200 difference in the 2 units you are interested in. :-)

Been using UHF for work for many years, like 30+, and the one thing that almost always stuffs up first is the microphone. So it's possible the 2 units you "like" may be expensive to maintain if they get more than normal usage. And with all the controls on the mike, there's a lot to stuff up too.

GME makes good gear too, but imagine you've checked them out as well, John?

Bob

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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 16:18

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 16:18
Its hard to go wrong with any of the mainstream units - but they all have many more functions than you'll probably ever be interested in. I have several makes of UHF, but my Icom 400 Pro is just that....for professionals (its upgradable to 25W for commercial applications - vehicle fleets etc.)....I found it very complex and tiresome to configure and the handbook assumes advanced familiarity with complex 2 way radio configuration.... but it could just be me). Get a basic GME with their best antenna and you'd have to be laughing.
AnswerID: 539255

Reply By: Slow one - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 18:58

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 18:58
I have never had a problem with any gme radio over many years and numerous vehicles from big to small.

The only thing I will say if you choose gme is, don't use the super compact models.
AnswerID: 539259

Follow Up By: Slow one - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 19:14

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 19:14
You could look at this radio but make sure it is programmed for 80 channels. This radio is just idling on 5 watts and can be lifted way above the 5 watts which is of cause illegal.

They are very, very good and will with stand extreme conditions.

Motorola 338 uhf
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 19:35

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 19:35
Why not the super compact models?
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Follow Up By: Slow one - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 05:45

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 05:45
Had a problem with the gme truck radio with transmitting and receiving so stopped at Access Electronics in the Curry. I thought it may be the handpiece but it turned out to be in the antenna.

First thing the tech asked is it the a super compact gme. Said no and asked why. His answer was they are not as good as the as they have had problems with some of them.

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 06:43

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 06:43
Fair enough, I have one myself TX3100 and it performs fine. The only negative I found was that the speaker is not as good as the bigger unitsdue to its physical size but I was advised of that pre purchase so I bought an external speaker for about $20 to go with it

All good for me
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 at 14:43

Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 at 14:43
Alby, same as you I've had a TX3100 with external speaker rattling around in various 40 series for the last 8 years - never had aproblem with it.

But as someone mentioned above, the one problem we've had with UHF's in our group has been the mikes packing it in - another 2 on our trip I've just got back from.
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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 19:33

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 19:33
I bought the same Uniden and gave it to my daughter when it just didnt cut the mustard. Went and bought a Icom IC41W and its absolutely fantastic
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Follow Up By: Stu & "Bob" - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 21:51

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 21:51
I had one of the first Unidens, the UH-001. It did what I wanted it to do in the early 1980's, but upgraded it to the Sawtron 999 in 1984.

That Sawtron has been in every one of my cars since then, and it now resides in my 200 series. I'm about to change it for a KG-107, because I can use that on the 80 channels (at reduced power)
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Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 20:34

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 20:34
Grumpy John,

"The only difference I can see is that the Icom is 12/24v and you can change the colour of the screen."

Looks like the Uniden UH8060NB will do this too . . . 7 LCD colour choices

I have the Uniden 7760NB, 3 years now and a great little unit, love having all the controls right there, and just the cord and mike out there.
If you can get this at a cheaper price than the 8060, don't sweat the extra size (not much in it anyway), it fits up under the dash no probs.
I run an external speaker on the dash.
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 20:37

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 20:37
Oh, just running the simple 6db gain AT770 antenna.
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Reply By: howie - Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 23:06

Thursday, Sep 18, 2014 at 23:06
radios are similar, perhaps more dosh and consideration should be spent on the correct aerial and placement of the aerial.
the aerial gets overlooked too often.
AnswerID: 539266

Reply By: olcoolone - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 08:19

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 08:19
There is a difference between Uniden and Icom.

I would choose an Icom over a Uniden any day and as for the price difference...... over 10 years the $100 is such a small amount to pay ($10 per year) for quality.

Icom and GME would be the only two I would look at with Icom winning.

Icom are built on a more commercial platform over Unidens consumer platform.

QUOTE "The only difference I can see is that the Icom is 12/24v and you can change the colour of the screen."

The only difference I can see with a Rolls Royce and a Hyundai is the Rolls Royce is bigger....... but as most know it's more then just size.

AnswerID: 539270

Reply By: Grumpy John - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 08:44

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 08:44
Thanks everyone for the great responses given, and also to the mods for correcting my typo. I wasn't sure whether or not to post the question as I didn't want to start a patrol/cruiser - waeco/engal type argument, but I must say everyone stayed on topic and gave good information.

Since the arial is also important are there any recommendations?

Luckily the place I intend to get my unit from sells all three main brands mentioned here.
AnswerID: 539271

Follow Up By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 12:14

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 12:14
I'll leave the UHF experts to suggest the best antenna option (as they say, the antenna contributes greatly to overall performance)....but I'd suggest avoidance of any antennas that feature bare wire rods down to the base - depending on where they are mounted, they can whip about on uneven ground and invariable break off [ such as ]- those encased in plastic up from the spring base (or elevated feed base) still perform well and the plastic supports the wire.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 20:47

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 20:47
John,

After Darian's opening, I'm a little reluctant to say anything.:-)

Best antenna I've used is a roughly 2M long broomstick whip designed by Adrian from Access Electronics(Rocky, Longreach & Cloncurry). However they are so long, it's pretty much bull bar mount only.

For good day to day work, one of the extended gain antenna work well, especially if you can mount them up on roof of your vehicle. Found this one at Supercheap:



I've used similar types, Polar & GME, before and they perform well, considering they're only 900mm. That's why it's best to mount them as high as possible. Think most people have an opinion on what works "the best".........often it's the terrain, weather or time of day that dictates how well a UHF performs.

Bob



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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 at 06:35

Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 at 06:35
My 4x4 dealer recommends GME. The 6.5 db unit has a small black whip that's not in your face when bull bar mounted.

I like the GME radio with all the controls on the handpiece. Means the box is small and can be tucked away in a nook under the plastics and the handpiece stored in the glovebox when not in use.
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Reply By: jdbb - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 10:23

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 10:23
I went through this exercise last year and after much research decided to get the IC-440N after having a used a GME for many years.

My Icom isn't as good as the old GME I had and I've just sent it back to ICOM to see if they can get it working properly.

When I contacted Icom re the poor radio performance and told them I had bought it from Prestige, they replied "It is really the responsibility of the dealer to provide first level support. Prestige is not one of our direct authorised dealers ............We recommend purchasing only from dealers who can provide personal ongoing support and installation services." When I bought the radio I was unaware that Prestige weren't on the Icom approved list.

I'll have the radio back next week and hopefully it will be better than it was.
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Reply By: coonick - Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 19:52

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 at 19:52
Icom are the top shelf unit, also solely made in Japan.....no Chinese components.
AnswerID: 539293

Reply By: Sigmund - Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 at 08:44

Saturday, Sep 20, 2014 at 08:44
lf you just want to dip your toe into the water take a look at the GME plug 'n play unit.

Doesn't require installation.
AnswerID: 539303

Reply By: Lakers - Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 14:49

Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 14:49
Hi John, I have a Uniden 7760NB 80 channel unit (looks like the precurser to the 8060?) and it has delivered flawlessly for the past three years. I like the idea of having a speaker in the handpiece.. one of the few (if only) units that does. I originally had a 4.5db whip but have since gone down to a 3db one on the same base. Performance is within my expectations... I hear before I see by 15 minutes on flat country like the Nullabor, and built up range is about 5km... ample for me. I don't really want to hear mindless chatter miles away.
Cheers
Greg
AnswerID: 539344

Reply By: Member - Mudduck (NSW) - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 14:45

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 14:45
Everyone has said it all already, but as a Amateur radio operator and user of UHF for 30 years any of the main brand radios work well, I have in my vehicles and house Unidens,GME and Icoms all work well.

The most important thing is the antenna. I have found on 4wds the best antenna is the GME AE4705, its a biggish antenna but works better than anything else Ive run.

I have its bigger broth the 4706 but only use that in the out back because of its length.
Cheers Steve VK2UD
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Reply By: Nev (TAS) - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 18:02

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 18:02
Hi Grumpy John,
have you looked at these? Helluva good price in this weeks Repco cattle dog.

http://catalogues.repco.com.au/offer/automotive-communications-equipment-supplies/oricom-5w-uhf-cb-radio-pack/502ielv6v.html

80 channel unit that I have had for 6 months and no problems. Has the front speaker which I need in my setup.
Rgds
Nev

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Reply By: Grumpy John - Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 at 09:56

Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 at 09:56
Thanks for all the replies guys, I'll probably go with the Icom IC-440N. The antenna that the sales person recommended it the Aerpro CBA36F1L, here are the specs:

3 + 6DBI
477MHz
6dBI GAIN (GROUND INDEPENDENT)
65CM WHIP (6dBI)
15CM WHIP (3dBI)

5M RG 58 CABLE IS FITTED WITH AN FME CONNECTOR. THE KIT INCLUDES AND FME TO PL259 (STD UHF) CONNECTOR
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Reply By: TomH - Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 at 19:02

Saturday, Sep 27, 2014 at 19:02
A GME 1018K 6Db is an excellent aerial and will still go in a normal garage on a bullbar.
Well mine did on a 100ser.
Was the exact height that if it wouldnt go in neither would the vehicle. Gives good distance and is very durable. About $100 worth New tips if you break them are about $35
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