New to radio communication, which radio to buy?

Tips, techniques and accessories for keeping in touch on the tracks
Allrad
Getting to know the place
Posts: 13
Joined: October 18th, 2015, 11:04 am

New to radio communication, which radio to buy?

Unread post by Allrad » October 22nd, 2015, 10:47 am

Hey,

I just bought a 1986 4runner and want do add some accessories to it. I don't know much about radio communication, but I always found it interesting. The only thing I used so far is a handheld walkie talkie haha :lol:

I spent most of my money on the car, so I do not have much left for a radio. I was thinking about buying a used one on gumtree, but what do I have to pay attention to? I want to have it for communicating with other cars ofc, maybe also just as a safety.
If there is a guide, please give me the link! I am in Melbourne, so if anyone would like to show me the basics I would really appreciate it. Hope you can help me.

Thanks!
Johannes

Gary_M
Been here a while
Posts: 240
Joined: June 8th, 2015, 12:20 am

Re: New to radio communication, which radio to buy?

Unread post by Gary_M » October 22nd, 2015, 11:06 am

You are aware UHF is only good for a short range, maybe 16km in ideal conditions (Duplex mode enhances this, but isnt available everywhere I dont think). Car to car, listening to nearby truckies on the highways etc. Its not 27meg or VHF. It is what 4x4ers use, but just letting you know their main purpose and limits.

Some people will tell you to buy Icom, others GME, some will say no need to spend so much, just get a Uniden. Others may even suggest cheap and nasty. Its a bit like Toyota v Nissan, Ford v Holden etc, passions erupt over the camp fire about such things. In fact if you want to guarantee an argument, tell a group of 5 people, that GME is the best hands down, at least 2 people will vehemently disagree. Hell, some might be able to tell you an arsenal of reasons why its not true. But in the end, they all work if they arent broken.

Theres a member here (Chris Stoffa, LOL, I just got thats Christopher, not actually a surname.) selling an Icom 400 for a reasonable sum, $120 I think, new these are $400+ radios. Hes sure to be in here sooner or later, and I think he is in Melbournes west. They are a highly rated UHF.

If you want new, Prestige Communications in WA have an online store and good prices (ebay too), as do Ryda and Radiosourceaustralia, Gadgetcity and theres a few more. They are about $100 cheaper for a top end GME or Icom than most places, around the $400 mark. Prestige do packages with aerials too, and most of them do free delivery and accept paypal.

Youll want a ground independent aerial with spring mount. Something like the GME AE4018 K1, K2 or K3 is reasonably priced, and regarded as decent quality.

You want, 80ch, 5watts, the rest is upto you if want bells and whistles. Personally theres only two brands worth looking at, GME, or Icom. If you like Uniden, buy one I just dont like them but again they are one of the favoured 3 in Aus. Personally I like a simple rotary squelch, this is less common now, maybe you dont care.

Theres some cheap brands, Oricom and such in auto parts stores, no idea what they are like really. Theres cheap and cheerful Baofang chinese radios, apparently pretty decent for Chinese radios, again, just what IVe read never owned one, never used one, maybe ive heard one but I couldnt say lol. If you only need it to last 12 months, then anything will be OK I reckon. They pretty much all have 12 months warranty.


Buying 2nd hand, you need to know who you are buying from, or be in a position to test the radio works over distance. Its easy for a half dead radio to be heard by someone close by, that does not mean its a good radio still. I believe Chris said his has always been serviced yearly as part of a business unit, and hes a member here so theres that going for it. The only reason I haven t snapped it up is Id be buying it as a present for my son, and Id prefer brand new as a present. At $120, annually serviced, its a steal really.

Allrad
Getting to know the place
Posts: 13
Joined: October 18th, 2015, 11:04 am

Re: New to radio communication, which radio to buy?

Unread post by Allrad » October 22nd, 2015, 11:25 am

Hey, thanks for your answer. Yes, that's what I want it to use for. I will also carry an sattelite phone with me for emergencies.
I'll check the brands you listed, but as long as it works I'm happy :D

120 sounds pretty good, hope he reads this topic. But I also thought of the downside of buying a used one, I can't test the radio...however buying a used antenna should be fine? As long as it is not cracked.

Is there a guide how to use the radio, e.g which channels are ok to use and which are special ones?

Edit : He already sold his radio :( looks like I have to get a new uniden. If you have any offers, send it to me :)

Gary_M
Been here a while
Posts: 240
Joined: June 8th, 2015, 12:20 am

Re: New to radio communication, which radio to buy?

Unread post by Gary_M » October 22nd, 2015, 11:53 am

you can message Chris if youre interested memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=27744

I wouldnt buy a 2nd hand aerial. Something like this, New, under $70 delivered http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/GME-AE4018K1 ... 1682895539?

Same store has the K2 version for $75. People seem happy with either of these from the reviews Ive read.

Channels list (I think its up to date): http://www.australiasomuchtosee.com/uhfchannels.htm

Tips re use etc http://withoutahitch.com.au/caravan/uhf ... australia/

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