Anyone have a HAM radio in their TJ?

Duke-TJ

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Mar 2, 2018
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#1
Does anyone use a HAM radio in their TJ? They seem to be very popular overseas with off-roaders and the distance they can cover is impressive. A good functioning one is triple the price of a good CB. The license looks likes a breeze. I asked about and read about the actual utility of CBs (not just during a trail run) and it seems they aren't much use. I have no idea but would really appreciate your experience and opinions. Thanks and Happy Holidays!
 

Boinked

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Jul 7, 2018
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#3
Does anyone use a HAM radio in their TJ? They seem to be very popular overseas with off-roaders and the distance they can cover is impressive. A good functioning one is triple the price of a good CB. The license looks likes a breeze. I asked about and read about the actual utility of CBs (not just during a trail run) and it seems they aren't much use. I have no idea but would really appreciate your experience and opinions. Thanks and Happy Holidays!
HAM is a great tool to have in your box. But...... most people can not be bothered to get a license and get it set up properly. So you will not find it used by the majority.

You will find most people just stick to CB radios.
 
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lowranger

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Feb 6, 2017
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#4
CBs are great for communication with on Jeep runs in a group. But for really getting out to get ahold of someone in case of an emergency...the Ham is the way to go. I have the CB but would also like to have a HAM radio in my Jeep as well. I believe Jerry has both in his Jeep. I'm sure he will chime in.
 

Mr. Bills

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#6
I have both ham and CB in my jeep.

My current set up is a Kenwood TM-281A 2m ham (top) and Uniden Pro520XL CB with an Arizona Rocky Road mount, Teraflex tail light antenna brackets and Breedlove NMO mount for CB and Breedlove stud mount with quick disconnect for CB.

2m Ham & CB on Arizona Rocky Road Mount.jpg


CB Mount Img 2.jpg
 

Jerry Bransford

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Nov 9, 2015
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#7
Does anyone use a HAM radio in their TJ? They seem to be very popular overseas with off-roaders and the distance they can cover is impressive. A good functioning one is triple the price of a good CB. The license looks likes a breeze. I asked about and read about the actual utility of CBs (not just during a trail run) and it seems they aren't much use. I have no idea but would really appreciate your experience and opinions. Thanks and Happy Holidays!
Ham (not HAM) radios are handy in Jeeps, they can cover more area for a couple reasons. First, the types of ham radios we use in our Jeeps put out a lot more power than CBs do... typically 50-75 watts vs. the 4 watts CBs do. Plus they can connect to what are called repeaters which will pick up your signal and rebroadcast it over a larger area with more power. There are many thousands of repeaters all over the US so you'd want to know which repeaters are in your area so you could take advantage of them.

It's definitely not hard to get a ham license at its entry-level class which is called the Technician Class. There's something like 30 questions on the test and they're pretty easy to learn the answers to. Nothing too technical, they're mostly there to insure the ability to operate properly and not interfere with others.

The website at http://www.arrl.org/ is the main organization for hams, you'll see a couple links on it for explaining what ham radio is and how to get your license. There are a lot of good training course available that will teach you the test. Gordon West's courses are the best and how I got all of my various levels of ham licenses. Here's one at https://www.amazon.com/dp/0945053924/?tag=wranglerorg-20

The Technician Class is the easiest test to pass, the next step would be General Class. General Class also gives you access to the lower frequencies that allow you to talk literally around the world. I've used my larger ham radio to talk with hams in Russia, Japan, Pitcairn Island, Germany, and 50-75 other countries. All on an inexpensive wire dipole antenna. The test for General Class is harder and you have to definitely study more for it but it opens up what ham radio is really all about. The Morse code test is no longer needed, a good thing for most people. I barely passed my Morse code test, it was difficult for me lol. I did talk with hams using Morse code but it left me sweating afterwards each time, I stopped using it as I was never all that good with it.

Finally, get a CB first for your Jeep as 99% of Jeepers use CBs on the trail. I have both a CB and ham radio in my Jeep and I always use the CB every time I go offroad, the ham radio is used far less frequently. There are some times I absolutely have to have my ham radio so they're both needed at different times. I could live without my Jeep's ham radio but not the CB.

Here are my two ham radio setups... in the Jeep, the top radio is my Yaesu 2 meter (145-150 MHz) radio and the CB is on the bottom. On my desk at home, my Kenwood radio puts out 150 watts.

My ham radio callsign is N6TAY.

CIMG3873.JPG
Ham radio.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Duke-TJ

Duke-TJ

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Mar 2, 2018
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#8
Thank you to all for the very helpful replies. I plan to study for and take the test for technician level and spend some time planning to purchase a reasonable ham ( I’m a veteran, wrongly assumed HAM was an acronym. Thanks Jerry) unit. The set ups you’ve shown me are awesome.
I’ll tell you, this is the best Jeep forum by far. Thank You!
 
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XISophos

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Mar 30, 2017
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#10
Great post, Op! I've fairly recently gotten my Technician license, and plan to go on to for the General. My work puts me in with some really good professional RF guys, and they're just waiting for me to start mounting radios in the TJ. I'd be interested in learning what are some good, robust antennas for this application.
 
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Mr. Bills

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Nov 24, 2017
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#11
. . . I'd be interested in learning what are some good, robust antennas for this application.
I am partial to Larsen 2m and 70cm ham antennas with NMO mounts. The Larsen NMO 2/70B is a very popular dual band antenna among jeepers. So is the shorter Larsen NMO 2/70SH. Diamond and Comet are also good brands, but depending upon the particular model are generally not as robust as the Larsens.

There are some 3/8-20 stud mount 2m antennas out there, Hustler markets/used to market one, but they are not as popular as NMO mount antennas.
 

Mr. Bills

TJ Enthusiast
Nov 24, 2017
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#14
Most of the guys I wheel with carry one of these. Dirt cheap and work pretty well. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H4VT7A/?tag=wranglerorg-20
At $28 the Baofeng (pronounced Bo Fung) UV-5R is a viable option for a handheld unit, but these really need an external antenna to work well. I paired mine with a Wouxon WXUHF SMA-Female to SO-239 adapter ($7) and MFJ-1724B mag mount antenna ($25). At minimum one needs a longer "rubber duck" antenna such as the Nagoya NA 771 ($17).

FYI - The FCC recently dropped the hammer on the importers of Baofeng UV-5R radios because they do not comply with "Type" regulations. These radios transmit at greater power on the the FRS/GMRS bands than the FCC limit for those frequencies and the capability of using external antennas for FRS/GMRS transmissions further violates FCC regulations. Licensed hams may be violating the terms of their licenses by using these radios because they are capable of transmitting on the 2m and 70 cm ham bands and the FRS/GMRS bands, but that issue has not yet been resolved by the FCC.

Caveat emptor.

For further reading:

http://www.arrl.org/news/fcc-cites-baofeng-importer-for-illegally-marketing-unauthorized-rf-devices

https://hackaday.com/2018/09/25/buy...cowls-at-unauthorized-frequency-transmitters/

https://www.kb6nu.com/did-the-fcc-just-make-baofengs-illegal-short-answer-no/

https://hamhijinks.com/fcc-orders-c...smit-that-awful-siren-tone-on-local-repeater/

http://www.n4njj.com/baofeng-policy/
 
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RubiconMike

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Oct 25, 2018
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Santa Cruz, CA
#16
On a similar topic, a club I used to frequent chipped in and bought a satellite phone. They would take it on all club runs. Probably too expensive for an individual, but people in clubs might suggest it at their next meeting.
 

Mr. Bills

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Nov 24, 2017
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#17
I just got my technicians last weekend so this thread is very time appropriate for me :)
Which radios and antennas are you considering?

All hams have their favorites and/or prejudices. I used to run Yaesu radios, but now I have a Kenwood. I doubt that I will go back. The 2m TM-281A is a very rugged radio; the dual band TM-V71A 2m/70cm dual band has every feature you could want including true cross-band repeater functionality.

If you want to keep things on the cheap while you decide on a long term radio, check out this link: https://www.thenewx.org/forum/297-electronics/114594-poor-mans-ham-radio-less-than-$100.html Some of the internal links are no longer valid but you can find all of the products with a bit of googling.
 
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OP
Duke-TJ

Duke-TJ

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Mar 2, 2018
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#18
Which radios and antennas are you considering?

All hams have their favorites and/or prejudices. I used to run Yaesu radios, but now I have a Kenwood....
Will the Larsen NMO-K 3/4" mount and Tram 1180 antenna work with this antenna? What is your opinion of these components? (Jerry and others with experience, you too please). I am hoping to mount at drivers tail light as many CB operators do.

If this is an ignorant question, it's only because I am ignorant of such things.... but learning!. Thanks!
 

Mr. Bills

TJ Enthusiast
Nov 24, 2017
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Area Code 530
#19
Will the Larsen NMO-K 3/4" mount and Tram 1180 antenna work with this antenna? What is your opinion of these components? (Jerry and others with experience, you too please). I am hoping to mount at drivers tail light as many CB operators do.

If this is an ignorant question, it's only because I am ignorant of such things.... but learning!. Thanks!
3/4" NMO mounts are common but will not fit a CB antenna bracket like the Teraflex tail light bracket that many people use. However, there are 3/8" NMO antenna mounts that require a smaller hole and will fit into the Teraflex brackets. I use Breedlove antenna mounts because they are very well made. I had to modify my Teraflex tail light antenna mounts by drilling out the antenna mount holes to make them work with the Breedlove mounts.

I do not use Tram antennas and therefore cannot comment on them. They are a lower priced alternative but I have seen no point in experimenting with them because I have been satisfied with my Larsen antennas.
 
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tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Feb 18, 2018
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San Francisco, CA, USA
#20
Which radios and antennas are you considering?

All hams have their favorites and/or prejudices. I used to run Yaesu radios, but now I have a Kenwood. I doubt that I will go back. The 2m TM-281A is a very rugged radio; the dual band TM-V71A 2m/70cm dual band has every feature you could want including true cross-band repeater functionality.

If you want to keep things on the cheap while you decide on a long term radio, check out this link: https://www.thenewx.org/forum/297-electronics/114594-poor-mans-ham-radio-less-than-$100.html Some of the internal links are no longer valid but you can find all of the products with a bit of googling.
I need to read up more. Thanks for the links! I want to have something in the Jeep eventually too mainly for emergencies.