Technical Articles

Going on Vacation? Great Options for Bringing Ham Radio Along for the Trip (Part 4)

Summer’s not over yet, so if you’re still planning on taking ham radio along with you on your well-deserved vacation, we’ve got some more ideas for getting the most out of being on the air away from the home station.

First, a quick review of Parts 1 through 3 of this series—all focusing on excellent antennas for your summer getaways:

One of the best parts of taking a “ham radio” vacation is you don’t need to wait until you arrive at your destination to get on the air if you’re ride is equipped with a mobile transceiver. Here are two affordable and highly regarded options available at that you’ll want to consider for your next journey:

Yaesu FT-2980R 80W 2M FM Mobile Transceiver

This rugged, compact, and economical radio is ideal for mobile or portable stations. At 80 watts, the FT-2980R added extra transmit power over the 75-watt FT-2900R. Even at those output levels, the rig requires no fan thanks to robust heat sinks that easily handle the power. Three watts of audio output deliver improved hearing when noise is an issue.

Other user-friendly features:

  • Intuitive smart scan function that makes it simple to find activity
  • Alphanumeric LCD backlit display with four brightness levels
  • Four power levels: 5, 10, 30, and 80 watts
  • Extended receive coverage from 136 to 174 MHz
  • NOAA Weather Channels with Severe-Weather alert
  • 200 memory channels
  • Comes with DTMF microphone (MH-48A6JA), mounting bracket, and DC power cord with fuse

What do hams say?

Five Stars: “I bought the FT-2980R because I live in Texas and I often find myself too far out of town to connect to a repeater. I must say that this 80W transceiver, along with a high-gain 2M mobile antenna, have made a significant difference. I love this radio. It is a ‘brick.’ It is a high quality, solid, tough, high performing radio that is easy to use, even on rough four-wheel off-road trails. I must add that I have purchased all of my equipment from DX Engineering. They have been great! Their products arrive quickly and they have always promptly answered my questions. They are a great bunch of radio folks.”

Icom IC-2730A VHF/UHF FM Transceiver

This full-feature 50-watt dual-bander has a built-in duplexer so you can use a 144 and 430 MHz dual-band antenna without needing an external duplexer. In addition, you can enjoy VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF simultaneous receive capability plus VHF/UHF receive; built-in CTCSS and DTCS tones that deliver quiet stand-by and repeater access; CTCSS split tone function that allows you to set CTCSS tones separately for repeater uplink and downlink; receiver coverage of 118-174 and 375-550 MHz; and the ability to listen to aviation, marine, weather channels, and other utility communications. Other features include:

  • Cross band repeater capability
  • CS-2730 free PC programming software downloads
  • Versatile scanning capability
  • Squelch delay and squelch attenuator
  • Sub band auto mute function
  • Auto repeater function
  • Auto power off
  • TX time-out-timer
  • 16 DTMF auto dial memories
  • CI-V remote control capability (through the optional OPC-478UC)
  • Comes with HM-207 remote control microphone, microphone hanger, controller cable, and DC power cable

What do hams say?

Five Stars: “For us, JEEP is not a vehicle, it is a lifestyle. We go places where few can follow, living ‘off-grid’ for days on end. We need radios that are robust, functional, easy to use, and don’t take up a lot of space in the already cramped JEEP cockpit. The IC-2730 has it all. Remote control head, small footprint, readable display, plenty of power too. When coupled with antennas not requiring a ground plane (Jeeps have a fiberglass top) they are perfect for our communications needs. This is the third IC-2730 we have installed for our off-road vehicles. Beside HAM V/UHF, we also run APRS, GMRS and CB. Everything needs to be small but reliable. The IC-2730 is all of that and more.”

Also check out the nine available DX Engineering Getting Started Mobile Radio Packages, which come with either an Alinco, Icom, or Yaesu dual-band or monoband transceiver; luggage rack, magnet, or trunk/hatch mount; an upgraded 2M or 2M/70cm mobile antenna; and the correct coaxial cable assembly to make it all work.

Leave a Reply