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Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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quote:
Originally posted by chongosuerte:
You want the best advice that I don’t think anyone has given you yet?

Search for your local ham groups and pick one and go to a few meetings and ask for advice.

You don’t know yet what you don’t know. But I guarantee you that they do. And they will help. Many answers to your questions are specific to your geography. And using this equipment, the ham radios specifically, isn’t something you’re going to figure out on the fly in an emergency. I also guarantee you that.

Even getting your license doesn’t instantly make you able to figure it out. You need to be using the equipment and frequencies etc. to understand what you’re doing.


Maybe so, maybe not....

Most the info you can get from a local group you can also get online. Be aware, you start talking about SHTF unlicensed operation or using non-accepted equipment in an official HAM group you can expect to be as well received as the the proverbial turd in the punch bowl. Understand some of these folks spend thousands of dollars on special equipment just to hunt violators down and turn them into the FCC. If you decide to get your HAM license, absolutely take advantage of any such resource, just know that some things in that atmosphere ar strictly verboten.


I do agree that when the "emergency" hits isn't the time to try and figure these things out. Once you settle on a radio (did I mention I am fond of the Retevis RT87? Wink ) get it programmed with FRS freqs and learn to use it while walking the dog, working in the yard to talk to wife in the house, etc. Once you understand how to operate the radio, what freq it is on really doesn't matter.


quote:
Originally posted by InLoveWithSigs:
Following this thread with interest.


You aren't with the FCC are you???? Cool






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



 
Posts: 9324 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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All... Thank you very much. I have learned a lot already. AND 911Boss... Jeez man, thank you for the time and effort you have put into your responses.

Okay... This is where I am at.

1. chongosuerte and 911Boss... I learned from the wife tonight that there is a couple at her church that are HAM operators, the wife is in her bible study. I don't do church and the wife is a different religion than I, so I only know the couple from a shoot I hosted a couple of years back. Long story short, the husband (Ken) is a HAM instructor of some sort. I will be talking to him tomorrow and letting him know my intent and see what radio would be best for a beginner and the traffic in the area (digital, analog, GMRS, etc.). I will also be utilizing his services to expedite getting my technician ticket.

2. I realized after my last post that Yaesu are out for my intended purpose. I looked at the specs and realized the radios cannot transmit in the GMRS/FRS bands.

3. I have watched a lot of reviews and have learned more of the Wouxun KG-UV9D Plus, Retevis RT87 and the BTECH DMR-6X2. I think I will be purchasing a set of one of these three depending on availability of accessories and the info I get from Ken tomorrow. I am still heavily leaning towards the RT87, but will wait on the advice from Ken as to which may be best in our area.

4. 911Boss... I see the programming cable, but it is not available until late October. I have looked for it also at other online HAM equipment sites and cannot find one in stock anywhere. It appears as though Retevis ships from China, so that will take a while to get if I go that route. If I go with the RT87, is programming it through the keypad intuitive, or is it a pain in the ass like the Baofengs (based on what I have read)? I can wait on the cable if I can program them by hand without pulling my hair out and cussing like a sailor. I don't want to wait until late October to start programming, learning and really testing them out.

5. I have given up on the "common battery" power sources. I just don't want NiMH batteries. They must be Li-ion. I will have a fully charged backup battery for both radios and the ability to recharge in the truck if needed.

6. I will look for a compatible long range, high gain antenna that is compatible for whatever radio I get. I will also look for a aftermarket, better quality antenna than the standard (a compatible Nagoya maybe).

7. 911Boss... Thanks for contacting Retevis on my behalf. Please do let me know what the extra batteries are in terms of cost and lead time. If I go with the Retevis, I will get 1 for each radio I purchase AND ALSO ONE FOR YOU as a instant karma and thank you for your help so far

Again... All, thank you very much. I look forward to your follow-up posts. After speaking with Ken tomorrow, I will probably make my decision on the radios and get them ordered either through Ham Radio Outlet or Amazon.


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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Sorry, didn’t notice it was out of stock. When I bought mine it was fulfilled by Amazon and two day delivery.

I am guessing Retevis drop ships to Amazon and uses their distribution system. As far as “manual programming” it depends on what you are wanting to do. Simply pulling up a frequency is no problem, saving it to a memory isn’t much more difficult.

Now programming for repeaters with offset and CTCSS tones makes things a little more complicated, even though so long says you aren’t planning on filling all 128 memories in a sitting it isn’t that hard. I never understood the complaints folks had about BF programming, like many things the first few times you do it it takes some effort, but if you have any technical aptitude you can figure it out.

To program in 2-3 FRS channels to get started shouldn’t taken more than 10-15min first time around as you learn the steps.

I appreciate the battery offer, in the interest of full disclosure though I have to admit yesterdays posts reminded me I had meant to contact them about spare batteries for myself so shot off the email before going to bed. They replied within an hour, 11 PM west coast time, I am guessing they were on China time. I am hoping to wake up to a reply tomorrow.

Glad you gave up on AA, lithium is definitely the way to go. HRO has gotten way too much of my money Big Grin






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



 
Posts: 9324 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Long story short, the husband (Ken) is a HAM instructor of some sort. I will be talking to him tomorrow and letting him know my intent and see what radio would be best for a beginner and the traffic in the area (digital, analog, GMRS, etc.).

Perfect. Like the firearm community, can’t imagine you not being able to get your hands on some radios/antennas to test. Groups like churches seem to bridge the gap between hams and FRS/GMRS well. Keep us posted.
 
Posts: 592 | Location: Washington State | Registered: November 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use these. Work well even up to a mile with good line of sight.

Work best within 1/4 mile.
 
Posts: 3453 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sorry can’t edit last post for some reason...

 
Posts: 3453 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Otto... Good to hear from you. Not sure if you remember me, but we did some business back in 2013 as you were getting out of the firearms business. If I remember, you were going into the Navy(??) to be a spook? I purchased some scout lights, some triggers, and I think my Noveske Chainsaw lower for my first SBR build (I would have to look, but I thought it was you).

Those are Vertex Standard radios? Vertex is Motorola, yes? Anyway... I think I am going another direction, but thanks for the input and take care of yourself.

911Boss... You are getting a battery on me if I get the Retevis (I am 99% sure that is the brand I am going with). I won't take no for an answer. Call it payment for the help so far and the stupid questions I am sure to ask in the future.


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bozman,

How did that build years ago turn out? Been traveling the world for 6+ years so all my goodies are in storage.

Best of luck to you, miss all my long conversations with Hal, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Yarchin!

I loved running the little shop and helping guys out but I needed more so I ran off to do my part in the Navy!





I just wanted to test out the signature line!
 
Posts: 3453 | Location: Seoul | Registered: August 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Otto... Here she is as of about 15 minutes ago. She is the first of many, but this is my war rifle. This is the one that sits beside my bed and accompanies me when I am out and about.

Got the lower, trigger, scout light and a few small other pieces from you.

She is topped with a complete Noveske upper (10.5" with switchblock) from Rainier Arms as they were the only place I could find that had that particular upper and it not be part of a complete rifle.

You helped a bunch with this build and the NFA process... I appreciate it.



The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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Got a reply from Retevis, with a qty of three batteries are $16 each 20 working days from China, didn’t mention shipping - waiting for another email.

They seem pretty responsive and have good English in the email, so that’s a plus.






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



 
Posts: 9324 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks 911Boss... When you are ready to order your replacement batteries, let me know the cost of 1 plus whatever the shipping is and I will send it to you via whatever methods is best for you (PayPal, Zelle, personal check, etc.).

I just got off of the phone with the guy I reference in my earlier post (Ken). He is an Extra and is authorized to administer tests. I guess he is going to be my "Elmer"??? What a funny term.

Anyway, he is a Yaesu guy and knows of, but does not use Retevis radios. He was on-board with my intended use and plan, but had to tell me that I really should not use the radios for anything but monitoring the GMRS and other bands (but he said I will not get in any trouble if I am using a low power setting or use the HAM bands in a true emergency).

He also cautioned that most HT radios that are legally allowed to be sold in the US do not allow transmit on GMRS like they used to. He asked that I make sure that what I want to do is feasible with the RT87's. So, that is my next stop. If I can transmit and receive the GMRS bands on the RT87's, then I am going to order a 3 pack. 1 for me, 1 for the wife and 1 to hand out should I need to have comms with someone during a time of unrest or emergency (like my neighbor). Once I have my ticket, I will probably buy a much nicer HT and these will be relegated to emergency and GMRS use only (backups).

I have been invited to both the local club's meetings and the local ARES meetings.

So that is where I am at... Getting ready to order the radios and ARRL study manual in about 10 minutes (once I confirm the RT87's are gtg for GMRS).


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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quote:
Originally posted by bozman:
Thanks 911Boss... When you are ready to order your replacement batteries, let me know the cost of 1 plus whatever the shipping is and I will send it to you via whatever methods is best for you (PayPal, Zelle, personal check, etc.).


Roger, will do



quote:


I just got off of the phone with the guy I reference in my earlier post (Ken). He is an Extra and is authorized to administer tests. I guess he is going to be my "Elmer"??? What a funny term.


Not sure where the term came from, basically a HAM “mentor” of sorts to help you get started and answer questions.


quote:


He also cautioned that most HT radios that are legally allowed to be sold in the US do not allow transmit on GMRS like they used to. He asked that I make sure that what I want to do is feasible with the RT87's. So, that is my next stop. If I can transmit and receive the GMRS bands on the RT87's, then I am going to order a 3 pack. 1 for me, 1 for the wife and 1 to hand out should I need to have comms with someone during a time of unrest or emergency (like my neighbor). Once I have my ticket, I will probably buy a much nicer HT and these will be relegated to emergency and GMRS use only (backups).



I can confirm for you the RT87 *DOES* TX on GMRS/FRS freqs. I already have them programmed and use them as such.



quote:
So that is where I am at... Getting ready to order the radios and ARRL study manual in about 10 minutes (once I confirm the RT87's are gtg for GMRS).



Good deal. I used the Practice tests on QRZ.com ( https://www.qrz.com/hamtest/ ) to prepare for my tests.


Keep us posted on your progress - Wayne KI7YQW






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



 
Posts: 9324 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by 911Boss:
quote:
Originally posted by bozman:
Thanks 911Boss... When you are ready to order your replacement batteries, let me know the cost of 1 plus whatever the shipping is and I will send it to you via whatever methods is best for you (PayPal, Zelle, personal check, etc.).


Roger, will do



If you don't mind... I'd like in on this too!

I've been intently watching this thread since day one as I'm doing pretty much the same stuff as the OP.
Just ordered some of the radios last night (should arrive on Thursday) and I'd love to have some spare batteries on hand.





This is where my signature goes.
 
Posts: 1097 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: June 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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creslin and 911Boss... I did not intend for 911Boss to purchase my backup batteries and then have to ship them to me.

I will contact Retevis directly and order my own. I just wanted to know how to go about doing it and the approximate cost as I could not find any for sale on Amazon, Ham Radio Outlet or other retailers.

911Boss... If you ordered any for me, I will pay for the shipping to me and a small fee for your time and trouble. If you haven't, I will make contact and purchase my own direct.

You still need to order at least 1 battery for you to keep for your gear (I will pay you as mentioned earlier).

Everything is ordered and I will have my radios (3), a Retevis version of the Nagoya 771 (1 for testing), a remote speaker/mic (1 for testing), a remote mic with G shaped ear hook (1 for testing) on Monday. At the end of October I expect to have the programming cable and a car charger battery eliminator.

Going to start reading the manual tonight and see if I can find any good YouTube videos on programming the radios through the front keypad.


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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Here is a quick and dirty “How To” for Boz, Creslin, and anyone else reading this thread who decides to go with the Retevis RT87


BASIC OPERATION

- To turn Radio on, turn knob on top clockwise. This is also volume adjust clockwise loud, CCW soft.

- The display has two main areas, I refer to them as “Upper” and “Lower” (or A/B). Each area will show a frequency. This is what is called “Dual Watch”. This means you can have radio set to listen for two different frequencies (in VFO mode) or two different channels (in Channel mode) at the same time.

*Note*- While it can listen for both, it can’t actually receive both at the same time. Once a transmission is received on either freq/CH it will hold on that freq/CH until the transmission is over. Any transmission on the other Freq/CH will be missed if the radio is already receiving on the other Freq/CH.


“MODES”

- There are two modes, Channel Mode and VFO Mode (Variable Frequency Oscillator).

- A “channel” is simply a saved frequency along with saved setting for use with that frequency such as TX power level, CTCSS Tones, Repeater offset, etc. Channel memory slots are useful for frequently used or standard frequencies (such as FRS or GMRS channels)

- VFO mode is more of a “direct entry” where you enter a specific frequency or tune to it by stepping up/down using the Up/Down arrow keys. VFO is used to enter the frequency before saving it into a memory slot, scanning a range of frequencies, tuning to a specific frequency that you don’t necessarily need to save as a channel for repeated use, etc.

- You can tell which mode you are in by looking to the right of the freq - In Channel mode it shows a three digit channel number. In VFO mode this area is blank.

- If you program a name when saving a channel and choose to display channel Names instead of the channel freq, it is more obvious when in channel mode because the channel name/channel number is displayed “GMRS 14 014” instead of Freq/channel number “467.71250. 014”.


VFO Mode Display:




Channel Mode Display:




-Regardless of Mode, there will be a “MAIN” icon towards the right hand side of either the upper or lower display. This tells you which frequency or channel is selected for TX when you press the Push-To-Talk (PTT) button (large/top button on left side of radio)

-“MAIN” is toggled between the two by pressing either the “* A/B” key (second row, under “EXIT”) or PF2 (Programmable Function 2) which is the bottom button on the left side of the radio (default setting).


-Switching between VFO and Channel modes is done by pressing the “EXIT” key.

-In VFO mode, the Up/Down arrow keys increase or decrease the frequency by the selected Freq. Step (Item 32 in programming

-In channel mode, you step up/down between channels using the Up/Down arrow keys (empty memory slots are skipped).

-To TX, push the PTT button (top/big button on left side)



PROGRAMMING

Programming is done using the top row of keys “F” (Function), Up Arrow, Down Arrow, EXIT

Think of the radio as having 4 different “displays” Upper/lower for VFO and upper/lower for Channel mode.
When you are programming, the selections you are making are ONLY for the currently active “MAIN” display

In VFO mode and upper display selected as “MAIN” whatever setting you program stays with that display

In channel mode, whatever settings you program are saved for that channel



Programming follows these basic steps:

1. “F” key to enter programming

2. Up/Down arrow to desired programming item (alternatively if you know the item menu number you can key the number in on the keypad)

3. “F” key again to edit the item

4. Up/Down arrow keys to go through item options

5. Once desired option selected, “F” key to save option

6. “EXIT” key to return to programming

7. Repeat steps 2-6 for each programming option as needed.

8. Once done with programming, press “EXIT” to escape from programming and return to display.

9. You may be presented with “SAVE CH” query, select Channel slot to save to if desired and press “F” (YES) or “EXIT” (NO)



EXAMPLE - Programming VHF Simplex calling freq (146.520MHz) into Channel Memory slot 001


STEP 1 - Enter Frequency

1. In VFO Mode, key in “1 4 6 . 5 2 0 0“


*NOTE* You may try to enter a freq and as you key it in, see the display jump to a different (but close) freq. This means the freq you are trying to enter doesn’t match the current “STEP” (Freq Step) setting.

Depending on band and service, frequencies may increase/decrease by 5KHz, 10KHz, 12.5KHZ, 25KHz or some other value “Step”.

If you can’t enter the desired freq, you simply need to change the “STEP” to the proper setting.



For 146.520 you need to be able to enter freq in 10KHz steps. If it will not take 146.5200, change the “STEP” setting by doing the following:

1. “F” to enter programming

2. Enter “32” on key pad for Menu item 32 - “STEP” for setting freq steps.

3. “F” to edit

4. Up/Down arrow until 10K option shows

5. “F” to select “10K”

6. “F” to save option

7. “EXIT” to save setting

8. “EXIT” to exit programming

9. If asked to save Channel, “EXIT” (NO)



STEP 2 - Saving Frequency to Channel Memory Slot

1. Confirm correct freq has been entered into VFO (146.5200 - US Simplex VHF calling Freq.)

2. “F” to enter programming mode

3. If nothing else needs to be set (TX power, CTCSS tones, etc.) hit “EXIT”


Display should look like this:




- The “W” shows it is set for wide band (5kHz) or may show “N” for Narrow band (2.5Khz) TX
- TX Power “H”igh or “L”ow
- (Actual channel displayed number should be First empty channel space)


You can use the Up/Down arrow keys to change the channel memory slot (or key in the 3-digit channel number) to be saved to.

4. Once you have the desired channel number selected, press “F” to save it (note “YES” is right above the “F” key)


5. If you want to exit without saving to a memory slot press “EXIT” (note “NO” is right above the “EXIT” key)



Hope this helps, it sounds more complicated than it is. I would call it “tedious” rather than “difficult”. Once you go through it a couple times it becomes pretty intuitive.






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



 
Posts: 9324 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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911Boss... Again, you're alright man. Thank you so much.

I will be emailing Retevis tonight to inquire about and order my backup batteries.

These being Li-ion, I assume they hold a charge for a long period of time like my 18650's and would have an increased life if kept above 50% versus draining to almost 0% while using?

I will have to read some more on how to properly maintain these batteries to extend their useful life, but if you have any pointers, I would love to hear it.

Again... above and beyond man. Thanks.


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by 911Boss:
Here is a quick and dirty “How To” for Boz, Creslin, and anyone else reading this thread who decides to go with the Retevis RT87


Holy shit dude.
That's way above and beyond!





This is where my signature goes.
 
Posts: 1097 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: June 04, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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911Boss...

I have downloaded the RT87 programming software and am working my way through it now. I am trying to build a file for when my programming cable arrives so that I can quickly program all 3 radios with all of the frequencies I want.

Have you used the software from Retevis?

If so, would you mind sharing your data file for your radio so that I can check that I am, in fact, putting the correct data in the various columns and selecting the correct options for each GMRS and FRS channel? Maybe e-mail it to me or upload it to dropbox, google drive or some other free cloud service?

I cannot find any instructions or help file for the software. I also cannot find any instructional videos.

Specifically, I would like to confirm my settings for Decode, Encode, Tx Power, Bandwidth, etc.

Apparently, CHIRP does not support the RT87 yet.


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Telling cops where to go for over 25 years
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quote:
Originally posted by bozman:
911Boss...

I have downloaded the RT87 programming software and am working my way through it now. I am trying to build a file for when my programming cable arrives so that I can quickly program all 3 radios with all of the frequencies I want.

Have you used the software from Retevis?

If so, would you mind sharing your data file for your radio so that I can check that I am, in fact, putting the correct data in the various columns and selecting the correct options for each GMRS and FRS channel? Maybe e-mail it to me or upload it to dropbox, google drive or some other free cloud service?

I cannot find any instructions or help file for the software. I also cannot find any instructional videos.

Specifically, I would like to confirm my settings for Decode, Encode, Tx Power, Bandwidth, etc.

Apparently, CHIRP does not support the RT87 yet.



You have mail!(from my HAM Call sign email address)

No, Chirp doesn't support but it is pretty similar to chirp.


Also, I got a reply from Retevis, the $16 battery price (each, qty 3) includes shipping via DHL. I sent an email to order three for me not sure how they bill.






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???



 
Posts: 9324 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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911Boss...

Received. I'll respond properly to the e-mail later today when I have a real keyboard in from of me.

Most excellent info. My file, with respect to the GMRS freqs, was damn near dead on. Thank you for confirming what I thought I knew about the software and the info that needed populated.

Like I said earlier... I will be without a programming cable until late October, so your programming how-to post will be followed vs. the manual so I can have a functional set of radios until the cable arrives.

With respect to the batteries, Good. Just let me know when your final invoice is issued. I got 1 of those covered, in full.

I also contacted Retevis Direct through the Amazon "contact the seller" feature, as well as sending the same e-mail via traditional means. Got a response through Amazon very quickly from a nice girl named Angela. From the grammar and formatting of the e-mail, she ain't named Angela (unless she is another fine example of a public school education these days Smile

She thanked me for my purchase profusely and quoted the same cost ($16 per for 3). They also stated 15-20 days shipping because they will be coming from China. I will respond in a few minutes to her to let her know I accept her quote and ask how payment will be handled.

I imagine for payment, they will process it through Amazon. That would be my hope anyway (just got a new card because the old one had been hacked again). If they go another route, I will use a card that I can lock and unlock. That way I can open it up for a short time, then lock it back down again.

Again... Thank you. You have been an enormous help and I am sure others following the thread feel the same.

Until next time...


The "Boz"
 
Posts: 1080 | Location: Central Ohio, USA | Registered: May 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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