The Off Road Communications Thread

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SByota

Senior Member
Jul 16, 2003
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I’ve been doing a ton of reading about VHF communications. I’m looking to set up my Jeep XJ with a radio for uses as a spectator at races and talking to buddies etc.

I’ve narrowed it down to a FT-2980 or a Kenwood TM-281. I understand that both will need to be “modded” to be used in the businesses band frequencies that all the desert traffic is on.

Radio will be hardwired into the Jeep, using a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna on the roof, no
 

04yfzkid

I are smarts
Mar 21, 2007
33,365
230
63
Flagstaff, AZ
been eyeing a 730H to replace my 730. does the 790 have any significant advantages over the 730?
That, I don't know. I haven't really researched them to know.

I’ve been doing a ton of reading about VHF communications. I’m looking to set up my Jeep XJ with a radio for uses as a spectator at races and talking to buddies etc.

I’ve narrowed it down to a FT-2980 or a Kenwood TM-281. I understand that both will need to be “modded” to be used in the businesses band frequencies that all the desert traffic is on.

Radio will be hardwired into the Jeep, using a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna on the roof, no
I have a kenwood 281a in my diesel and love it. It works just fine for everything I do. They do say the modded radio's will bleed into other frequencies though. It is nice to be able to punch in numbers when I don't have the frequency programmed already. What I do like about them is there is info all over the internet about them. If you wanted to run a not modded radio, the same one rugged sells is $120 on amazon but you will need a cable to program it. Also if you go that route and get boot leg software, the upload and download buttons are backwards lol.

For the antenna you want to make sure you have it mounted with about a 3' diameter circle around the antenna. If not, get a non-ground plane antenna. I have mine mounted on the roof of a 4 door truck with a ground plane antenna and it's fine. We had a normal antenna mounted on the front of my buddies crew cab truck and it got about half the distance as everyone else. Switched to a non-ground plane and he is right there with the rest of us.
 

yltaco05

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2006
1,023
78
48
Fullerton, CA
That, I don't know. I haven't really researched them to know.



I have a kenwood 281a in my diesel and love it. It works just fine for everything I do. They do say the modded radio's will bleed into other frequencies though. It is nice to be able to punch in numbers when I don't have the frequency programmed already. What I do like about them is there is info all over the internet about them. If you wanted to run a not modded radio, the same one rugged sells is $120 on amazon but you will need a cable to program it. Also if you go that route and get boot leg software, the upload and download buttons are backwards lol.

For the antenna you want to make sure you have it mounted with about a 3' diameter circle around the antenna. If not, get a non-ground plane antenna. I have mine mounted on the roof of a 4 door truck with a ground plane antenna and it's fine. We had a normal antenna mounted on the front of my buddies crew cab truck and it got about half the distance as everyone else. Switched to a non-ground plane and he is right there with the rest of us.
More great info there! I will add that there is a free open source programming software called chirp. I first used it when I got my baofeng handheld (same handheld that rugged sells but like $25 on amazon) they now have it for many different radio brands and models. Including the qyt that you mentioned(or whatever it is). It’s a very good alternative to the buggy bootleg stuff.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

SByota

Senior Member
Jul 16, 2003
280
25
28
37
More great info there! I will add that there is a free open source programming software called chirp. I first used it when I got my baofeng handheld (same handheld that rugged sells but like $25 on amazon) they now have it for many different radio brands and models. Including the qyt that you mentioned(or whatever it is). It’s a very good alternative to the buggy bootleg stuff.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks! I actually just got a Baofeng UV5R and used chirp to program it. Not too bad to use after a few YouTube tutorials. The $6 Amazon programming cable even worked. So for $32 I have what rugged sells for like $60.

I’m definitely going the 281a route in my Jeep. I can’t seem to find anything negative about it. I even read that it’s basically a commercial radio, just modified to be a HAM/2 meter.
 

04yfzkid

I are smarts
Mar 21, 2007
33,365
230
63
Flagstaff, AZ
Yeah chirp kicks ass. If you have a friend that wants to have a rugged programmed, it will do it. The only difference is when you select manufacture you need to go down to rugged instead of baofeng.

Buddy just text me he picked up a 730h. The cool part is I already have the cable to program it. The shitty part is the software has to be used in dos. I thought my duke nukem days as a kid would pay off, but I forgot everything lol.
 
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yltaco05

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2006
1,023
78
48
Fullerton, CA
Yeah chirp kicks ass. If you have a friend that wants to have a rugged programmed, it will do it. The only difference is when you select manufacture you need to go down to rugged instead of baofeng.

Buddy just text me he picked up a 730h. The cool part is I already have the cable to program it. The shitty part is the software has to be used in dos. I thought my duke nukem days as a kid would pay off, but I forgot everything lol.
Hahaha i thought the same thing when I was messing with my radio, though it was wolfenstein. I got the program to work, but can't communicate with my radio. Im thinking its the cable/driver
 

crazyracer

Tres Cuatro Tacos
Sep 27, 2006
2,639
93
48
31
Pacific Beach, CA
Pro Tip:
I installed an intercom for my race radio over the last baja trip. I couldn't find an extender that allowed me to plug the intercom Mic out into the back of the race radio, but instead, I found a splitter with 1 input and 2 outputs. So I plugged one end of the splitted into the race radio, as designed, and the other into the stereo Aux jack. This allowed me to run all 4 door speakers and my sub simultaneously with headsets! It cut the stereo and everything when transmitting and receiving. I could also hear the radio traffic with headsets off for moments where I was near the truck but not in it.
Best part: Sub roaring full bore for that "feel" with headsets on providing crystal clear vocals. :cool:(y)
 
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