need some help deciding on a 2m/70cm radio

BigDaveZJ

Adventurer
Both my wife and I got our tech licenses a couple weeks back and I'm looking for something more than the BFF8HP Baofeng's we've got. There's enough 70cm repeaters in my area that I want a dual band unit, and I really like the idea of the remote display units as well. For now, I just want one or two units, but I have 3 Jeeps, an F350, a 5th wheel, and would like one in my house as well. So cost becomes a big consideration. Ideally they would all be the same unit. My wife passed her tech license just fine, but doesn't want to bothered with complicated operation, so I figured keeping them all the same would make that easier for her. Cross band repeater functionality sounds cool, but not sure it's a need.

As it is, I was able to hit the Salida (50 miles away) and Leadville (30 mi) ColCon repeaters from my land in Park County with the Baofeng HT. So I was pretty impressed with that, but definitely want a higher quality unit in the vehicles and camper. I can hit the 145.145 from my house easily with the BaoFeng, but not as well as the 145.310 ColCon for some reason, which is weird because I think they're both on the same tower.

I've mainly been looking at the ICOM units so far. The 2730 seems like a low cost way to get going, but doesn't have some of the features of the higher end ICOMs. The 4100 has a nicer display IMO, but from what I can tell only has one VFO. The 5100 has all of the features I want, but the display looks a little dated and is pricey by the time I buy enough for each vehicle. Being able to plug the mic into the display is key as well, at least for the install in my truck, so that knocks out the Kenwood TM-V71A, and the TM-D710G would work, but again, price. Also not sure that APRS is important to me. The Yaesu's are great units, I just honestly don't like the look of their displays.

Anyways, hoping for a little advice from you guys who have some of these units already. Also definitely open to any other makes/models you guys might suggest.

Thanks!
 

JimBiram

Adventurer
You can’t go wrong with the Yaesu FTM-400 or the new FTM-300 radios. Both offer APRS on the B side of the radio and offer digital outputs if needed. Pretty easy to program. The 300 is brand new and has a few minor bugs, some of which were cured with a recent firmware update. Most important is the antenna you select. I’m a big fan of the Diamond 7700 as it doesn’t require ground plane like a mag mount. And they have a variety of mounts available. Don’t go cheap on the antenna. A cheap TYT or Baifeng will perform well with a good antenna.


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BigDaveZJ

Adventurer
Might end up buying a used 5100 off Craigslist tonight. If that falls through, kinda back to square one on either the 2730, 5100, or something else.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
Love my D710G, but here in Colorado I dont really use 70cm all that much.. back country is pretty much all 2m, sure there's alot of 70cm stuff here in front range but I work that from home and not really much from the vehicle.. I'm usually either operating 2m on both sides for APRS and Local Repeaters, or APRS and GMRS.. pretty much 100% of my UHF side of the radio been for GMRS use.

If you're not interested in APRS (consider it), then I'd suggest picking up a handful of used TM-281 and like a Comet SBB-25 2m Monoband... they gonna do fantastic in the Rocky Mountain backcountry.
 

BigDaveZJ

Adventurer
Snagged that 5100. Only been playing with it for a little bit so far. Does way more than I will ever utilize, happy with it so far. Just need to figure out where it will permanently reside. Appears the mars/cap may have already been done on it as well as it tx's on GMRS.
 

JimBiram

Adventurer
Snagged that 5100. Only been playing with it for a little bit so far. Does way more than I will ever utilize, happy with it so far. Just need to figure out where it will permanently reside. Appears the mars/cap may have already been done on it as well as it tx's on GMRS.
Just remember, that radio isn’t legal to transmit on GMRS/FRS frequencies, although you can listen all you want.


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BigDaveZJ

Adventurer
Just remember, that radio isn’t legal to transmit on GMRS/FRS frequencies, although you can listen all you want.


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Of course. Given the number of GMRS radios I already own, I certainly don't need another.
 

BigDaveZJ

Adventurer
I've been playing around with the 5100 and really enjoy it. Put a Tram 1180 on the roof of the house and everything is working great. Having used the 5100 now though, the display is a bit large for any of my vehicle installs, so my plan is to just use it as a base unit in the house. The 2730 and 4100 both have smaller displays, which I think would work better in the vehicles. The 2730 has the advantage of dual VFO's over the 4100 I believe, but I really do like the 4100 display better. Especially for my wife, the ability to display a memory channel "nickname" as opposed to just the frequency is going to be a big deal, and I have yet to see where the 2730 can do that, but I could be wrong. Either way, we both prefer the 4100 display. We're headed to Moab in October so I'm hoping to have something at least for my Jeep by then.
 

BigDaveZJ

Adventurer
The 2730 can display names. Its not intuitive though. I'm really liking mine.
I've looked high and low online for a pic of how it looks with the names displayed and haven't seen one. Would you mind snapping a pic of it and posting it? I'm a bit picky when it comes to displays like that. Thanks!
 

Mtn Mike

Observer
You can't go wrong with any Icom. If you get tired of that 5100, I will take it off your hands! Congrats on not falling into the trap of getting a disposable off-brand radio. The Icom will last you a long time.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Love my D710G, but here in Colorado I dont really use 70cm all that much.. back country is pretty much all 2m, sure there's alot of 70cm stuff here in front range but I work that from home and not really much from the vehicle.. I'm usually either operating 2m on both sides for APRS and Local Repeaters, or APRS and GMRS.. pretty much 100% of my UHF side of the radio been for GMRS use.

If you're not interested in APRS (consider it), then I'd suggest picking up a handful of used TM-281 and like a Comet SBB-25 2m Monoband... they gonna do fantastic in the Rocky Mountain backcountry.
FWIW the western slope has a lot of 70cm, the Grand Mesa Repeaters Association are all UHF, the Sinbad connected system in Utah is a mix of both. The Colorado Connection of course is all VHF and the SkyHub Linked system is mostly 70cm. The Roaring Fork is mostly UHF and Ski Country is mostly VHF.

http://gmra.org
https://sdarc.us
https://www.colcon.org
https://skyhublink.com
https://rfarc.wordpress.com
http://www.k0rv.org
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
I wish I could tell you exactly how. It took some research.

The Spider Lake (Rubicon Trail) repeater is UHF which as I understand it was because they couldn't get a VHF frequency that didn't interfere with other repeaters.
 
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