UHF: will this work?

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 10:57
ThreadID: 14274 Views:1747 Replies:9 FollowUps:19
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For a number of reasons I'm not keen to install a fixed radio/antenna so I'm thinking of doing the following: get one of the better (5w) handhelds, which should be okay for most situations like talking to the roadtrain in front of me, and a magnetic-mount antenna which I can just stick on the roof and plug the handheld into when a little additional range is critical. The antenna would normally stay in the boot until required. One of the reasons for getting a handheld is that I can always walk it to higher ground to improve range, and it seems generally more flexible.
Would the above setup work? Would the magnetic-mount antenna significantly improve range when needed?
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Reply By: Member - Jiarna (SA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:38

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 11:38
Should work fine for the uses you are describing. On a recent trip, one of the convoy only had a hand-held, and he stayed in contact for most of the trip. Not sure about the magnetic mount antenna, but would expect it to give better range while travelling, as the handheld is inside the vehicle.

If you haven't already decided on a particular handheld, I'd recommend the GME TX6000 or similar. They are bigger and more expensive than others but give excellent range, clarity, and battery life as well as having all the features of a fixed unit. I use two in Oodnadatta for emergency call-outs, and have had no problems with them.

Cheers
John

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Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 16:56

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 16:56
I was thinking of the TX6200. Is the 6000 also 5w?
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Follow Up By: Davoe - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:43

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:43
yep just less features
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Follow Up By: Member - Jiarna (SA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:19

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:19
6200 is the upgrade of the 6000, pretty much the same as far as I know. Both 5W.
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Reply By: Time - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:20

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:20
Only problem with the magnetic mount is it will get dust between it and the body, it will be moved and you will end up with scratches on your paint work. Despite being extra careful this is what has happened to me in the past.

Cheers

Buggerlux
AnswerID: 65938

Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 16:57

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 16:57
Yes, that worries me too, especially with a shiny new car :-) Is it possible to attach an antenna to the roof rails?
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Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:22

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:22
Easy, A thin cloth underneath the base works wonders.

Steven
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Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:29

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:29
You sound as if you have a magnetic mount. Where do you run the cable to the transceiver? My own plan was just to run it through the open window on the few occasions it was needed while driving, or stand next to the car while using it. Seems to defeat the purpose of a magnetic mount to then drill holes for the cable.
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Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:39

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:39
Don't have one myself but have seen it done. Depends if the base already has something soft under it but the ones I have seen do not. Just a piece cut out of a cotton t-shirt will do. The magnetic bases clamp on pretty strong so it is not going to blow off!

Best of luck with it.

Steven
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Follow Up By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:42

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:42
Concerning the cable, just shut the door on it. It will just mould into the rubber seal and it won't flap around like it would if you dangled it thru the window. If you bring it through the passenger door or a back door (whichever is used less) then there is less chance of snagging it around an arm or foot or something.
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Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:26

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:26
Yeah I guess that would work ok, however I would imagine the only time you would need more range would be in an offroad scenario in which case I wouldn't like the magnetic base on my 4wd. The cany scratch paint work even just driving on the highway, would be worse off road.
There are plenty of ways to install a radio without leaving any permant marks in a 4wd. Use a "Z" bracket mounted with one of your existing bonnet bolts, silicone the unit inside the vehicle somewhere. (that's how mine is and it's never moved an inch!) Wire it direct to the battery so it's easy to remove.

You can stop some of the scratching from the magnetic bases by putting some thinn material/cloth between the base and the car, however this will then make it's magnetic strength a little weaker. Plus I personally think it would just be a pain in the ass. You can buy a cheap $39 handheld for when you are out of the car and a $150 UHF second hand that would be find for convoy/traveling use. I have a 5watt Uniden handheld and 2 x cheapie toy ones. I use the toy ones most of the time because they work great and they are smaller, lighter and doesn't matter if they get dropped or thrown around.
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Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:01

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:01
What do you mean by "existing bonnet bolts"?
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:12

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:12
Sorry, didn't really describe/explain that very well. There are a whole heap of bolts running down under the side of your car just under the bonnet, just unsrew one of those, slip the bracket under it and do it back up. The bracket sticks out between the gap of your bonnet and your side guard and - hey presto, you've got somewhere to put a small arial. I use a little tiny 3db Dipole by GME, cost only $30 from most radio shops or 4wd shops, works better than a lot of the bigger ones. You can probally see it if you look closley at some of my rig pics.
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Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:35

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:35
Now I think I'm with you, thanks. Will dive under the bonnet to have a look tomorrow.
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Reply By: Utemad - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:49

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 12:49
If you use a 5w handheld (like the GME tx6200) with an external antenna you will get the same range as a fully wired unit witht the same antenna. I would personally go the hard wired unit myself however a 5 watt handheld would do the trick. More expensive than the equivalent hard wired unit though if you are getting the antenna anyway.

As said before on this thread there are many ways of installing a unit quickly and damage free. Silicone can be a strong bond and can be cleaned off quite easily. Also what about putting a cigarette lighter plug on the unit and not installing it at all. GME has a range of aerials (4700) that can be unscrewed easily and can use a variety of length and db aerials.

I have a cheapy Uniden 0.5 watt unit also. Handy during recovery situations or when someone does not have a unit or a unit in the convoy dies. Great for just about any situation for short range communications really.

My work just bought 2 new Uniden 5w handhelds. Supposedly water and dust proof and amazingly small for a 5w unit. Were only $369 each. Haven't used them yet so don't know how good they are.

Anyway you have lots of options to choose from.

Utemad
AnswerID: 65945

Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:09

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:09
Some good ideas there, thanks. I just find a handheld unit more versatile: I can wander off with it, take it fishing, or whatever. So the antenna is really only intended as backup for emergencies: if, for example, I find myself fairly close to a repeater but the little handheld antenna won't quite cut the mustard. I've seen the Uniden 5w and they are very small but maybe not the same quality as a GME or Icom?
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Reply By: Davoe - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 14:39

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 14:39
Have spent many hours using gme 5w handhelds in combination with the pouches and they are very tough I have dropped them many times straight onto rocks and they are definitly dust proof you will get over 12 hours continual use with the battery. They have got less range than an in car unit and they wont recieve faint signals because they go into standby and a faint signal will not activate them
AnswerID: 65960

Reply By: Nudenut - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 15:44

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 15:44
hand helds (a good one) have a definite benefit over a in car. If your in range of a repeater and your on foot you have something should an emergency arise.

From my experience good hand helds with external antenae are almost as good as incar as someone else has said above.
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Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:32

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:32
Precisely what I was thinking.
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Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 15:53

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 15:53
Yep, it will work and will work (in theory) as well as an in-car job.

I'd recommend the Icom Ic-40s, over the others, but that will be a personal decsion for you to make!!

It can be difficult getting an adaptor for the aerial but they are around.

If it were me I'd get a GME TX3200, installed, and a cheap handheld!
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Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:33

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 17:33
GME v Icom seems to be a little like Toyota v Nissan around here...
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Follow Up By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 18:13

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 18:13
Yep just like it!

each has their merits, and their flaws!

and everyone has an opinion

(should I add that I use Icoms at work after we gave away the Unidens??)
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Follow Up By: Nudenut - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:21

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:21
icom is top quality ...gme down a few pegs but still good stuff
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Reply By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:12

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:12
Should be ok but don't be surprised when connecting a large antenna to a handheld
you get a lot of front end overload. Handhelds usually have very senstive front ends
to compliment the little antenna.
AnswerID: 66027

Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:34

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 23:34
Front end overload? Me not understand :-) You mean there's a lot of noise because of the sensitive front end being overloaded? I'm guessing here...
As a long shot, I just had a thought: why bother with the magnetic mount: why not just attach a long 6db gain aerial directly as a replacement for the original one? Outside the car, of course...
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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 11:37

Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 11:37
Yep, you'll get unintelligible splatter covering a number of channels.

An antenna of this size if you could get one with the correct connector would be rather unwieldy and place enormous strain on the handheld antenna connector. You'd have to poke the antenna out of the window drawing attention to yourself from Mr Plod who would pull you over and do the car over :)
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Follow Up By: Mungo Explorer - Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 12:11

Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 12:11
The GME TX6200, I notice, has an in-car kit available which is specifically intended for connection to an external aerial. Presumably that means that it wouldn't suffer from front end overload if it's designed to take a larger aerial?
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Reply By: Tim - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 22:43

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 22:43
Don't forget that you will have a cord attached to your UHF, sounds silly but cords clutter up the console and can be a real pain in the @rse, the mobile charger, GPS power and all that stuff.
Tim
AnswerID: 66079

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