Handheld UHF Advise

Submitted: Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 10:27
ThreadID: 9442 Views:6755 Replies:10 FollowUps:3
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I am looking at going around OZ for 6 months next (opps This year) in a Prado and 17' caravan and was thinking about getting a hand held UHF rather than a car mounted one.

Mainly due to portability and cost issuses that anything else.

I have been looking at the Uniden 2W model.

Has anyone used one of these before and how do they perform compared to car mounted UHF units.

Any info greatly received.
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Reply By: Member - Des Lexik(SA) - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 10:35

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 10:35
Macca, the biggest problem with hand helds in my opinion is the lack of range. I get about 5k's with a hand held and about 15 - 20k's from the in car unit. Both distances will be better in certain conditions. The other issue is battery life. Can't comment on life span in a hand held but the in car unit, it's not an issue. Dare to Lead not to Follow
AnswerID: 41525

Reply By: Shaker - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 10:53

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 10:53
I have the Uniden UH044 2 watt handheld to which you were referring. I also purchased the optional rechargeable battery option with the desktop charger. I believe it can be also connected to the cigarette lighter with an extra cable. Obviously it is not as good as an in car UHF, but I am very happy with mine.
AnswerID: 41529

Reply By: Bazza - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 10:56

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 10:56
G'Day Macca50,
I'm not familiar with the Uniden handheld 2W model but I would suggest that if you chose to only have a handheld unit, that you go for a 5W output set. Good units of this output will perform close to that of a in-car unit, but also gives you the advantage of portability, and being able to get to a higher location on foot, that perhaps your vehicle car'nt. Rememder with UHF 'hight is might". I have two 5W Icon 40s as well as a duel frequency Uniden in the 4wd. I find this set-up works well and can highly recommend the 5W Icon 40s, they are well made and have performed faultlessly for many years.
AnswerID: 41530

Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 11:04

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 11:04

We've been using UHF for over 20 years, and you can't beat in car type. Handheld ones have their place, but only as a supplement unit away from the vehicle, say directing driver around obstacles etc. The biggest problem I find with h'held in cars, is hearing the signal, with all background noise, CD blaring etc. We only use h'helds for mustering on bikes, and horses. All other vehicles have in-car type, for reliability over long distance(via repeaters), and safety for staff.

We have some Uniden 1 watt sets here and they are handy to stick in your pocket, to cart around, or use if the better Electrophones units are flat, or being used elsewhere. Their range is a limiting factor too, but at the price, probably make a good buy.

An Electrophone TX3200 is a cheap, but robust UHF, for around $300, plus aerial. Is small enough to fit anywhere, and makes for reliable communication with fellow travellers.

Enjoy your trip, and safe driving,

AnswerID: 41532

Reply By: Savvas - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 11:24

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 11:24
Hi Macca50,

If you're doing the big trip, then seriously consider a 5W and not a 2W. Preferably in-car, but at the very least a 5W handheld.

This place seems to be good value for comms gear and has a huge range of gear ... Prestige Communications
AnswerID: 41533

Reply By: Member - Ken - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 12:04

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 12:04
Hello Macca

Mate, I have a Uniden Duplex(something or other) in the vehicle which is excellent. I use a 4.5DBF aerial which gives me the compromise between distance and height range wise.

I also have a 2W Uniden hand held. Another excellent item for what I use it for and that is getting 'she who cannot be named' involved in guiding duties when mirrors etc are useless, and keeping in contact with the campsite when walking etc. Also chuck it in other vehicles that don't have a UHF for comms purposes when travelling together.

It has an effective range of about 2kms in 'undulating' obstacle littered areas. Even thats stretching it a bit.

Open, flat territory increases this to about 5km.

I have left it switched on under the seat four 4 days and the battery indicator hasn't moved. Also I have never had the batteries go flat. I just change them for each trip and carry spares.

Once again I emphasise its good for what I use it for.

If you choose to have a hand held only - then purchase a 5W ICOM.

A 2W or 1W hand held is really only an accessory to the in vehicle mounted UHF when out in the bush.


Ken Robinson
AnswerID: 41538

Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 13:22

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 13:22
If you're serious about the need for comms you have to look at a 5w model. And in this field you are looking at a GMETX6200 or an ICOM IC40s, these will set you back about $450.

For a little over three hundred you can get a GME TX3200 mobile unit and spend eighty or so on a half decent aerial, $400 so far, the other $50 (or thereabouts) could be spent on a cheapo handheld for use in directing etc .

You WILL be much happier with the performance of a mobile unit over a handheld one.

I can highly recommend the digitor .5w radio, I bought two for work, basicly as throw away units rather than putting the IC40s anywhere near water. These cheapies have performed well and survived some very rough treatment.

Currently also trialling the little Uniden UH036 jobbies as disposable units. Decision is still pending on these guys!
AnswerID: 41552

Follow Up By: Member - Ken - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 17:30

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 17:30
I 'second' all of your above thoughts Dave.

Ken Robinson
FollowupID: 304076

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 07:24

Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 07:24
And I will 3rd it.

All the best

4wd tag alongs to the cape and beyondCape York Connections
FollowupID: 304107

Follow Up By: jtb - Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 10:56

Thursday, Jan 15, 2004 at 10:56
i will have to 4th it ,with a tx 4400(gme) & two uniden uh037 x 2 handhelds under 1h
FollowupID: 305378

Reply By: phil - Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 14:41

Friday, Jan 02, 2004 at 14:41
Jaycar Electronics also have some handy portable units. I think the most powerful is 3 Watt at about $115 ea. Need to add a car charger for the Ni Cd internals.
Have not used, just seen in catalogue. Phil
AnswerID: 41558

Reply By: Member - Eskimo - Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 09:20

Saturday, Jan 03, 2004 at 09:20
If you must get a hand held get a good one....
Gme, uniden etc and preferably one that has repeater and hi and lo power. (1w to a full 5w) A lapel mike is also a good investment when on the move.

Remember as someone has said previously expect range to be somewhat less than car installed one.

However, an outside arial will boost output and recieving capabilities/range of a hand held considerably.

Also "height is might" when it comes to transmitting and recieving, meaning the higher you are the better the range.

Wow! am I cute
If yer ain't fishing, Yer ain't livin
AnswerID: 41626

Reply By: navaraman - Sunday, Jan 04, 2004 at 10:42

Sunday, Jan 04, 2004 at 10:42
If you do buy a hand held and have got kids please tell them it's not a toy. The airwaves have been full of kids playing with their new Xmas goodies, I can't wait till the batteries run out or they go back to school.
AnswerID: 41710

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