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Mobile HAM radio on motorcycle

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Hogate
Finally read through the 4 pages and noticed several saying they wanted to get legal (and did). As most of you know amateur radio is not like CB radio which is filled with miscreants and outlaws. You need to earn your license and a lot of the older hams built their radios, the rest of us that came along in the last 20 years bought some very expensive equipment. There's nothing worse than hearing people on simplex never giving out their call sign and when challenged they go silent. Because they aren't licensed! It happened to me last year when I went to Flagstaff for the Overland Expo. It was overlanders using simplex and I kept identifying with my call sign and no one else would especially when I asked. I'm glad all you fellers did the right thing.

I don't ham while on my motorcycle, or haven't yet. Haven't even thought about it until seeing this thread. I'll bring an HT with me (currently have a used Yaesu FT-60R which has a great reputation. It came out in 2004 and is still being sold! That's longevity.

I'm going to search for more threads and if nothing catches what I'd like to do then I'll start a new thread to introduce the basics of Ham radio for those that are interested and those that just started. I don't have any of the cheap Chinese radios currently on the market. Over the years I've stuck with the Big 3 which is Kenwood, Yaesu and ICOM (which folks joke about saying it stands for "I Can Only Monitor"). Like motorcycle brand loyalists there are loyalists in ham radio too.

At any rate this is a good thread for those wanting to get mobile with radios. If anyone else has a setup on their motorcycle we want to see pics! Describe how you've done it to give others ideas. MotoComms.

BTW I have a Comet SBB5 on the roof of my truck, it's a great antenna (NMO mount).
 

RollingJ

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KG5LLD

I bought a 6 pack of bf-888 radios before a big 24 hour ride about 6 years ago. There were 3 of us and I wanted extra batteries. It was less expensive to buy the 6 pack than 3 radios and extra batteries. I programed 1-13 the standard frs/gmrs channels and 14-16 with custom duplex channels with strange offsets, just to be difficult.

I bring a few on group rides, and always have one in my bag. I never use them, though. shrug
 
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The used FT60 I bought locally wouldn't charge a connected battery. The old feller I bought it from said he recently bought it used and also got a new battery. Seemed to work until that battery ran out and that's when I found out it wouldn't charge. The radio works otherwise so I bought a cheap drop in charger from Amazon which arrived today. And two extra batteries. Well they’re all charged now. I think the radio was dropped with the power cord attached and messed up something internal. It
works fine now. The drop in charger charges in 1/3 the time it would if the radio was plugged in.
 
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WB3FYV Dave here

I've been a Ham since 1976, and since I was already knee deep into motorcycles, it seemed natural to combine the two hobbies. Over the years I've owned many types and different brands of radios. (including Baofeng, I had to see what all the buzz was about, especially since I could buy one for less money than the cost of a battery for my Yaesu VX-7R)
I have yet to find the perfect radio that does it all, but the new FT3DR with built in GPS and APRS tracking comes real close, especially since I want to get off the beaten path but don't want to spend the money on a Spot Tracker subscription!
The tricky part of operating a radio on a motorcycle is getting the antenna to work effectively. Learned that when setting up to operate HF on my old Goldwing during my loop around the country in 2007.

Anyway

Can't wait to see where this thread goes, it should be interesting! Ham Radio operators are almost as brand-fanatical as KTM/BMW riders so there might be some name callin' and finger pointin' ....


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WB3FYV Dave here

I've been a Ham since 1976, and since I was already knee deep into motorcycles, it seemed natural to combine the two hobbies. Over the years I've owned many types and different brands of radios. (including Baofeng, I had to see what all the buzz was about, especially since I could buy one for less money than the cost of a battery for my Yaesu VX-7R)
I have yet to find the perfect radio that does it all, but the new FT3DR with built in GPS and APRS tracking comes real close, especially since I want to get off the beaten path but don't want to spend the money on a Spot Tracker subscription!
The tricky part of operating a radio on a motorcycle is getting the antenna to work effectively. Learned that when setting up to operate HF on my old Goldwing during my loop around the country in 2007.

Anyway

Can't wait to see where this thread goes, it should be interesting! Ham Radio operators are almost as brand-fanatical as KTM/BMW riders so there might be some name callin' and finger pointin' ....


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I think youll find APRS connectivity to be lacking. Ive found i rarely get APRS hits if im in a rual area. Basically i typically have cell service in the areas where i have APRS connectivity.

If you don't want to deal with spot or inreach do the one time cost of a PLB/EPIRB. A PLB costs about as much as a new spot or in reach device but doesnt require any extra fees past the initial purchase. You cant send messages with it but its the most reliable way to get help coming to you in an emergency.

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Texas T

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If you don't want to deal with spot or inreach do the one time cost of a PLB/EPIRB. A PLB costs about as much as a new spot or in reach device but doesnt require any extra fees past the initial purchase. You cant send messages with it but its the most reliable way to get help coming to you in an emergency.
+1

I'm a belts and suspenders kind of guy. I run a Garmin inReach on the bike tied to SpotWalla, and I have a PLB in my jacket pocket in the event that I'm separated from the bike and can't reach the SOS on the inReach.
 
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+1

I'm a belts and suspenders kind of guy. I run a Garmin inReach on the bike tied to SpotWalla, and I have a PLB in my jacket pocket in the event that I'm separated from the bike and can't reach the SOS on the inReach.
I recently picked up a Garmin Zumo 396 and can Bluetooth it to my phone. I'll turn on tracking and as long as there's cell signal you can go to a Garmin webpage and view the route I'm taking/riding. I did that so my wife knows where I'm at because I often ride alone around where we live but she can also see when I go to Arkansas where I am. We also share locations through Google Maps but that's not often very accurate.
 

Texas T

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as long as there's cell signal
And that's why I don't use Rever, Bubbler, or any of the other cell-based tracking devices. If I only rode places where there was good cell service it would be a different story, but especially out here in the West there are many places that I go to that have minimal to no coverage.
 

MidlifeCrisis

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I let my KD5IOU expire years ago. Really shouldn't have, since it was almost like a vanity call sign. I wonder if I can take the test again and request my old callsign back?
 
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My new next project is to take the HT along with APRS and see how well it tracks. Will be around Pflugerville and vicinity. Aprs.fi shows where the digipeaters and i-gates are.
 
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What HT are you using? The only thing I have with APRS right now is my Jeep that I have a 40 dollar burner phone with APRSDROID on it which I hook to a HT then run to an external 1/4 wave antenna on the roof. That's a lot of extra crap on the bike but in the Jeep it's no big deal. I've been having issues with showing up on APRS.FI even though I show up on APRSDROID fine.
 
Joined
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What HT are you using? The only thing I have with APRS right now is my Jeep that I have a 40 dollar burner phone with APRSDROID on it which I hook to a HT then run to an external 1/4 wave antenna on the roof. That's a lot of extra crap on the bike but in the Jeep it's no big deal. I've been having issues with showing up on APRS.FI even though I show up on APRSDROID fine.
Two days ago I put APRSdroid on my phone and it shows up. I have a Pixel 3 with Android 10 and the build says it was for an older version but it seems to work, it showed up on aprs.fi where I live. Not connected to a radio, it had -10 after my call sign. My mobile is a Yaesu FTM-350 and it has GPS/APRS built in. I have a roof mounted NMO antenna. It does fairly well.

The HT is a Yaesu FT1XD. It has built in GPS, will do APRS. I don't have a mount so will try it in the tank bag. I'm sure it won't work well there but it's worth a shot. Bought the HT used about 2 weeks ago. When at Queen Wilhelmina this past weekend I tried it up there and it connected to a node somewhere near Nashville, AR. When I connected the J pole antenna and stuck it on the roof of the RV I got a few signals from over 400 miles away in Kansas. Flatlandistan! Anyway that was just a little project I thought I'd try. RV ham, my first try. Being on a mountain helps plenty. That was a little over 2,000 feet.
 
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