UHF Handheld - Best Option for Back-up on the CSR

Hi all, I'm currently planning to lead a small convoy on the CSR and am looking for advice. I have a GME in-car unit which works well. However, the aerials regularly break when undergoing extensive driving on corrugations.

As a back-up I am thinking of buying a handheld unit or pair. I am considering the 5W GME TX 6200 but it's pricey at about $400 for a single unit, or the GME TX650 twin pack at about $200.

I am guessing that the 5W unit may be OOT for convoy work but maybe useful in emergencies in other contexts.

Has anyone any experience with these units pls?

Cheers in anticipation.
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Reply By: D200Dug- Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 15:01

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 15:01
I have the GME TX 670 as a handheld

It was recommended to me by the local CFA chief and it works fine

I don't know much about radios, apart from pushing the button and talking. :-)
AnswerID: 415854

Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:01

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:01
Thks for the feedback Dug; have you got any feel for its range in 'line of sight' condits?
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:28

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:28
no not yet we only used it in convoy down from Brisbane to Victoria

Margo had the hand held in the Peugeot and I had the main set in the rodeo.

It was handy to keep in touch and work out fuels and rest breaks.


Coming into one small town we decided to stop for coffee and got a message from someone unknown saying "For goodness sake don't stop at the bakery their coffee is awful !!!"

we stopped at the cafe they recommended and the coffee was good ! :-)

I will try to go for a run out tomorrow and see what the range is.

What range are you looking for ?

2K 5K 10K ??

cheers
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Follow Up By: Allan B, Sunshine Coast, - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 17:28

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 17:28
Maybe the "recommended" cafe has a UHF in the kitchen! LOL

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:37

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:37
Maybe but they were reluctant to recommend a place

Just NOT THE LOCAL BAKERY !!! :-)

My guess is they had a bad experience there
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:04

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:04
Probably no more than 2kms for the convoy Doug, but I'd like more for other purposes - as much as I could get.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:34

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 20:34
I will try to go for a drive tomorrow and see what I can find


I am guessing conditions may change the range but it is flat and open here and it should be a fine clear day.
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Monday, May 10, 2010 at 16:03

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 16:03
OK Cowwarr is dead flat dairy country and conditions were good

2 km was loud and clear

4 km was breaking up but still very audible

5 KM took me up a slight hill overlooking the town and it was loud and clear again.

Any further started taking me into the hills and valleys so I did not bother.

Hope this helps


cheers doug

PS the GME TX 670 is rated at 2W

It would be interesting to compare it with the el cheapo 5 W handhelds for sale out there :-)
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Monday, May 10, 2010 at 17:28

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 17:28
Many thanks Doug, that's a good enough range for me. I have also been now recommended the ICOM units so it looks like a choice betw the GME 670 and the Icom rather than 2w vs 5w.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: D200Dug- Monday, May 10, 2010 at 17:47

Monday, May 10, 2010 at 17:47
No problems. Either sound good.

Hope you have a great trip !

stay safe
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Reply By: Member - Teege (NSW) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 15:23

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 15:23
John
I would be researching a new aerial rather than a hand-held. I have been using the same aerial now for 10 years and it has certainly seen plenty of corrugations. I can't remember the brand, but it came in a dual pack with a 6db and a 9db. I've never used the 9!!! Sounds like the one you are using is too rigid for your use.

teege
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:00

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 16:00
Thks Teege. I've now broken three and have been told it's because the ECB bullbar I have has been fabricated to be compatible with the LC200 airbags, but as consequence, the bar vibrates more than most others.

The three that have broken were all flexible but the new type recommended to me is a 1cm diam white rigid jobby. I haven't really tested it in the field and I am now also carrying a spare.

Cheers.

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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:44

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:44
I'm with Teeg. The aerial should not be breaking like that. Do you have one with a base and screw on tips? The base of ours is mounted on a spring and then there is a range of screw on tips for different purposes. I use a short flexible rubber tip around town and swap it for a longer wire unit that also has a spring in it when in the bush. I carry both tips in the bush just in case but have never had to use the spare. Also have the GME TX650 in the glove box. I've never had to use it but have lent it to others in the convoy when their radio went on the blink and it was just fine for that purpose. The more expensive models give more range, but in a convoy you don't need to have something that gives max range.
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:08

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:08
Yes, I also have the spring base; as before, I think it's the bar.

I've just compared it with a Toyota steel bar on a Troopy and the difference in solidity is marked.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:47

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:47
John,
I also agree with Teege and MFewster.
I travel a lot in convoys and we often have to fix bullbar mounted aerials - especially the elevated feed ones. The cables break in the aerial mounts.
I also find that a trip leader with a bullbar mounted aerial tends to be poorly heard by the rear of the convoy.

It might just be a South Aussie thing, but many South Aussies use roof mounted stubbie aerials because they are indestructible and work well when mounted on the roof. There are simple brackets available that fit into the roof rail mounts of your 200series. The stubbies cost about $20 and I substitute a 6dB when in open country and need some extra range.

This is the aerial I'm talking about:
http://www.electricbug.com.au/product/90
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:56

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:56
Just to add, I also carry a simple 0.5Watt handheld. I put it on scan on the dash, to hear approaching convoys. It is also my backup if my big set were to fail - the range is usually OK for a 3-4 vehicle convoy, but any more, and you need to be in the middle of the convoy.
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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 21:23

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 21:23
Thks Phil, I hadn't considered that set-up at all. I'll definitely consider it.

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Prickle (SA) - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 18:14

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 18:14
We have travelled with people who have had their aerial mounted on the bull bar and also have broken - my guess it is the vibration transmitted through the bar.

To follow on from Phil G, I have bought all my gear from Electric Bug. If you ask them where the aerial should be they will tell you for best reception, on the roof. If you tell them where you want to mount it, i.e. on the bar they will also do that.

Look at all the taxis, police, ambos where are theirs? - on the roof.
Russ


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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 19:25

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 19:25
Aerials mounted on a roof pick up signals equally from all directions wheras those on a bullbar are better at both transmitting and receiving in the forwards direction. The reverse applies if the aerial is mounted at the back. The car body acts as a barrier too some degree. So putting them on the roof makes sense from a reception and vibration isolation point of view (you are getting max benefit from your springs and shockers on the main body. The only issue is clearance. I have mine on the front bar as I am too lazy to remove it when going into my garage/parking stations etc.
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Reply By: Flynnie - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:35

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 18:35
John

I have used the GME6200 for quite a few years. It is a good unit but not perfect. As you are a member you can see my comments about it on my profile page.

Works best with the optional longer antenna. When used with the optional antenna its range is equal to in vehicle mounted units. To get best use out of it you may have to get the optional fast charger unit.

For the Icom I have in the vehicle I use a gutter mounted antenna. I reckon it is a lot less vulnerable to damage from scrub compared to bull bar mounted units.

Flynnie
AnswerID: 415876

Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:06

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 19:06
Thks Flynnie, that's great feedback - I'd only go the expensive option if it was faultless and significantly greater range.
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Reply By: Simon (NT) - Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 23:39

Saturday, May 08, 2010 at 23:39
Another option (though having hand held radios is very good for backup work or if someone has to walk over a dune or something to check for oncoming traffic etc) is to get a bendy aerial for your UHFs.

As you stated you'll be in convoy then you don't need the ability to talk to someone 50 kms away with a whopping great big aerial.

Central Communications here in Alice Springs sold me a stumpy bendy aerial for $13.95 or something, it's only about 10 or 15 cm long, but bendy and won't break.. it's in the glove box as a backup in case of theft or breakage of the big aerial.

Just a thought to have double redundancy on everything.

:-)
AnswerID: 415904

Reply By: Wilko - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 07:05

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 07:05
Hi JB,

Ive got the TX6000 and have had it for 15 years I get approx 8kms or so out of it (flat open ground).

I also have a TX4000 with a ae4028k1 GME aerial and its been on my rodeo since new (11years) and on another rodeo before that (7 years).

Ive never had an aerial snap. Ive seen aerials come undone and the mounting brakets come loose but I use loctite to overcome these.

I personally reccomend at least 1 x 5w radio on board. if you get a couple of dunes between the start and the end of the convoy the reception could get scratchy with a lower wattage.

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 415917

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 09:33

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 09:33
Having a spare UHF is a good idea if funds allow - there are quite a few practical uses while on trips - my handheld is the GME 6200 - a very good performer overall - as mentioned above, the optional longer antenna would improve performance but a bit 'unwieldy' to me - I've not had a need for that yet - we have tried the HH in convoy in various terrain types and it was as good as the in car Icom, except for the longer reaches. We got ours on a show special about 3 years back - fast charger and cradle, trickle charger and leather pyjamas all in for $399.
AnswerID: 415934

Reply By: vk1dx - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 09:54

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 09:54
Another vote for mounting the antenna on a spring. Ours is and has always been. No broken aerial eher.

Don't go spending money on new radios. Borrow a hand held for the trip. There is change in the wind. Check oiut the thread on UHF Band proposed changes, Thread 78316.

Phil
AnswerID: 415938

Reply By: Member - Ian F (WA) - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 12:10

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 12:10
Hi JB.
try this site
Prestigecom.net.au - GME TX670 2 Watt UHF CB Handheld - $176.00The GME Electrophone TX670 is the latest in GME's line of compact UHF 40 Channel Handheld Transceivers. Not only is the TX670 packed with features, ...
www.prestigecom.net.au/index.php?main_page...info... - Cached - Similar
Ian
AnswerID: 415960

Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 12:26

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 12:26
Thks all; some great leads there which we'll follow up.

cheers.
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Reply By: Member - Barry (NT) - Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 16:14

Sunday, May 09, 2010 at 16:14
John

we use an older version of this antennae and have hit trees etc many times and it just flexes and stands back up. Jaycar had it years ago but not in the catelogue now I don't think. Was only about $40 with monting brakets x 2 for flat roof or gutter / mudgaurd mount.

http://www.rfi.com.au/downloads/wireless/mobile-antennas/UHF-band/CSW.pdf

AnswerID: 415989

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