Building a General Purpose Mobile Comms Suite

My quest to get an amateur radio license started 10 years ago.  Time at sea, away from home, enrolled in school...blah blah blah...excuses excuses.  I finally got my chance and earned my ticket in March of this year and, after all the build up, haven't so much as keyed a mic.  Today, with an FJ60 engine swap nearing completion, I decided that it was time to take the plunge and get things set up in the communication department.

I like to get out with a purpose.  Usually, my rig takes me places where I like to do other things.  I have bikes, kayaks and feet that like to get away from the vehicle more than I tend to take the truck down trails these days.  This is not to say that 4 wheeling is not a goal; time to take advantage of extended outings just hasn't been in abundance.  That said, I decided that I wanted a communication system that would function with a general purpose.  I wanted to use both amateur radio frequencies and CB communications.

The mobile radio I chose was the Yaesu FTM-350R/E.  I purchased a Diamond SPM-NMO magnetic mount and Diamond NR770HNMO antenna at the recommendation of the Ham Radio Outlet genius that helped me.  Did I mention that I'm a newbe at this?  I chose the radio because it had a big/bright easy-to-read remote faceplate with dual frequency display.  It also has dual speakers internal to the faceplate.  The final selling point on this transceiver was its repeater capability.  I chose the antenna, well, because the HRO guy said it was good to go.

Since I like to venture away from the rig, I also bought a hand-held radio.  I chose the Yaesu VX-7R on the advice of a friend and am happy I did.  The thing I like about the set up I've chosen is that I can park the rig in a good location, set the mobile station to repeat and effectively extend the range of my hand-held when I'm out and about.

Finally, I know everyone doesn't have an amateur ticket and wanted to maintain comms with them.  I decided to keep my Cobra 75 WX ST because of its compact design and simplicity of installation.  It is also simple to unplug and stow in my Tuffy console when not in use.  I'm using a Firestik fiberglass whip for this radio.

Stay tuned for an FJ60 installation article in the near future.

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