This is a list of most of my ham gear. The items were purchased for specific reasons and situations in mind. I’ll elaborate on that as needed. Pictures will be posted soon!
Motorola M1225 (20 channel VHF FM transceiver, modified for 2 meter ham band)
This was a radio that I had from my volunteer firefighter days. I found a way to modify it for the 2 meter band and used it for my first mobile radio contacts. A very rugged rig with some audio compression. It’s produces 50 watts on the public safety portion of the band. It actually has some features that I haven’t been able to find on any amateur radios. Overall, it is a great rugged radio that I already had in my possession. Getting it programmed was the only obstacle.
Kenwood TM 281 (2M FM mobile transceiver)
This was the first mobile radio that I purchased. It is very rugged with a front facing speaker. It puts out 65 watts of power which is 15 more than most 2 meter radios. Great radio to monitor 146.520 on the road! It also has the weather channels to monitor with a scan function that will alert pending any severe weather. The stock mic has the DTMF keypad on it. Something that is an upgrade for others.
icom ID-880H (2M/70CM Digital transceiver)
A great little radio with remote head. It does the typical 2M/70CM FM but also does digital including simplex, digital repeaters and D-Star. The remote head mounts to the bracket via magnets. Very convenient if it’s been taken in and out often. It also comes with the DTMF keypad mic stock which is nice to have.
Yaseu 857-D (HF, 6M, 2M, 70CM) All mode transceiver
My only HF rig at the moment. It has a remote head for mobile installation. It is easily taken out of the truck and placed on the desk as a base station. Given an adequate power supply, it makes for an awesome portable rig for SOTA or other backpacking trips. This has been with me on trips to other countries being the DX. This is also my rig of choice for field day!
Baofeng UV5R (UHF/VHF) Handheld transceiver
It was a cheap radio found on Amazon. Works surprisingly well and fits very well in a small pouch. Great back-up to put in a emergency kit or to take camping/hiking. It will monitor commercial FM stations and weather frequencies. You can also program FRS/GMRS in the memories given that it is opened up beyond the US ham band portion. Oh and it has a siren and a flash light on it just in case you were looking for one.
LDG AT-200 Pro II
Great desktop tuner! It will handle SWR’s up to 10:1. It has several memories for quick tuning and 2 antenna inputs easily switchable by a push of a button. When operating my base station remotely, it auto tunes when the SWRs are above a predetermined level. It’s a sharp looking addition to the desk and it works flawlessly. I’ve been told that it’s almost like cheating! Several ham radio operators have said that it takes all of the fun out of tuning!
Also handles SWRs up to 10:1. It’s small yet very versatile which makes it a great companion for my portable setup. Allows for an external power source that can be comprised of (2) 9 volt batteries or other means of obtaining the required volts. It works well with my Yaseu 857 in that it communicates to the radio by a basic cable. Pressing the tune button on the tuner transmits a carrier initiated from the radio through the full tuning cycle. When tuned to an acceptable SWR, the radio returns to monitor mode and awaits for user input.
Solarcon A-99 (Works well for 10-17 meters)
This is an antenna is produced for 11 meters but works well from 10 through 17 with tuner. It comes in 3 sections and can be trimmed for 10 meters if so desired. There is a ground plane kit avail for this antenna. Reviews are mixed as if this really helps in the performance. Obviously not required, I am satisfied with its current performance. If my setup changes, I may look into the ground plane kit. But for now, it works and works well as is.
Home brew copper J-pole (Primarily made for 2 meters but works surprisingly well on 70CM as well)
This was a project that looked easy enough to build at home. I picked up a few copper parts and assembled it as described. By design, there is no need for a ground plane and it resonates very well on 70CM as well! At only 10′ above the roof line, I’ve made simplex contacts over 100 miles away on 2 meters with only 50 watts. The SO-239 connection integration was very interestingly designed. It allows for fine tuning before it is soldered in place. With proper sealant of the coax end, I have not experienced any moisture related problems with this antenna.
Alpha-Delta DX-CC (Fan dipole antenna covering 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 Meters)
Very well build antenna only 82 feet from end to end. Currently working on my DXCC and breaking through some tough pile ups. Picking up some nice signals from Europe and off of the end of the antenna as well. There is a post about the day that this bad boy went up in the air. In addition, here is a spreadsheet to show the SWR results from its current installation.
Yaseu ATAS 120a (Mobile HF 40 – 6 meters /VHF/UHF “screwdriver” style antenna.)
It’s made to work with the Yaseu 857D. It works well as a mobile HF antenna. VHF/UHF is doable but not very efficient. I choose to use the following antenna for the 2M/7CM ops.
Arrow Dual band antenna with ground plane (GP 146/440)
A great dual band aluminum antenna that comes with it’s own ground plane. It mounts onto just about any mast with a very nice bracket. Very usable for field day operations, camping trips or other tripod mounting scenarios.