I have many handheld (or HandieTalkie) radios. My handhelds cover every ham band from 6 Meters to 23 cm (except 33 cm). I use my handhelds to talk to my ham friends when I walk to work, communicate with my family when we are on family outings, and for intertroop communications with our Boy Scout troop on outings.
Yaesu FT-50 2 Meter/70 cm 5 Watt HT - My first Ham Radio
This handietalkie was my first Ham Radio. It is a dual band 5 Watt radio with wide band receive. When I started as a ham this was the latest and greatest thing. I haven't replaced it because it works great and I have a sentimental attachment to it. I have taken this radio backpacking in Alaska, backpacking in Philmont Scout Ranch twice, and it has survived family use which is quite amazing. It's beat up and ugly, but it has never let me down.
Yaesu VX-1 2 Meter/70 cm 1/2 Watt HT
This radio is primarily used for family communications and to listen to commercial broadcast stations when I walk. It has amazing performance considering its size. The radio is the size of a pager and the battery lasts all day listening. This radio would not make a good primary HT. It works good close to repeaters but 500 mW is a deal breaker for most people. My youngest son Chris KF6RSF had trouble using this radio on a scout outing up a canyon. The 5 Watt radios got through consistently but the 1/2 Watt radio was hit and miss.
Yaesu FT-51 2 Meter/70 cm 5 Watt Dual Receive HT
This is a cool little radio that I did not need but I bought it anyway as I ran across a deal I couldn't refuse. I plan to use this radio as a backup radio and to operate FM satellites. It should work well for FM satellites at it is capable of full duplex operation. It's an oldie but a goodie.
Yaesu FT-911 1.2GHz 1 Watt HT
This is an interesting HT. I had a chance to purchase a couple of them cheap which I did to get on 23 cm. There is a local repeater on Mount Lukens (1282.075 - PL 100.0 Hz) that has excellent coverage on 1.2 GHz. I ran around town a couple of days with this radio in my car. This band works a lot better than I expected it to.
Radio Shack HTX-202/HTX-404 5 Watt Mono Band HT
Radio Shack does not have a great reputation in the Ham community; however, the HTX-202 (2 Meter) and HTX-404 (70 cm) were an exception. They do not receive out of band and have tight filters which makes the radio impervious to intermod. I originally purchased the 404 as a spare radio for my office as I usually operate on 70 cm and for my kids to take to school to use the autopatch. I thought this would be the ticket as these radios are tough and cheap. Their school banned cell phones, radios, etc and the radios became backup radios only. I became involved in teaching some Boy Scouts to obtain their Technician license and the few that passed were looking for a cheap entry radio. I acquired a few 202s for them to use and purchase. I ended up with about 4 202's as new 2 Meter radios can be purchased for $100 at HRO. I'm keeping these radios to use for fox hunts or as IF radios for an upcoming microwave project. My family calls these radios "The Brick". Carrying it around all day is good punishment for kids who forget to bring their radios.
Pryme (ADI) PR-222 1.25 Meter 5 Watt HT
This is my only 220MHz handheld radio. I bought it because I needed to monitor a 220 MHz repeater and I wanted to get on 220. I really like the 1.25 Meter band. It has characteristics that fall between the 2 Meter and 70 cm band, kind of the best of both worlds. After purchasing the radio, I was concerned about how robust it would be. My friend Leon KC6JAR has one and he said he has a great experience with it. I was concerned that the squelch is automatic and is not adjustable. This has not been a problem most of the time.
Alinco DJ-S11 (2 Meters) and DJ-S41 (70 cm) 1/3 Watt Radios
You would think a 1/3 Watt radio would not be too useful. That is not necessarily the case. The DJ-S radios are inexpensive ($88 new), have the features needed to work most repeaters, use AA batteries, and are the size of a pager. They work great for close repeaters and for family communications at events. My oldest son David KF6MFW used the DJ-S41 to call me on a Mt. Lukens repeater from Tustin, CA a forty mile distance. I've carried one of these radios as a backpacking spare and have put it to use in that capacity a couple of times.
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Copyright 2002 Page last modified December 29, 2002