Since my last post, only days ago… I came to a decision. For a little too long I have been trying to get by on the cheap and avoid buying more expensive equipment than what I needed. This doesn’t seem to work out that well. I keep running into frustrating limitations. And it’s wearing me out trying to figure out ways around them. So I quit resisting and forked out some money on what I think are the best solutions for my situation (rather than the cheapest). Sometimes you just have to say… what the heck. And I did.
I have only one antenna, in my attic. I run the rest of my VHF/UHF radios on dummy loads. I have no digital voice repeaters nearby. I have four hotspots, a WiRES-X node, and a simplex Allstar/Echolink/IRLP node. I talk into all of those with radios connected to dummy loads and it works great.
I recently got my FTM-100 back from the shop. My intent had been to use this in PDN mode. The selling point for PDN mode is… you don’t need a second radio to run WiRES-X. But that’s misleading. Because if you run PDN mode… WiRES-X is the only thing you can do with that radio. One still has to sacrifice all other functionality of a radio in order to do WiRES-X. I’m thinking that means most people will still need a second radio to do other things. Since I also want to do C4FM with my hotspots, that makes the idea of dedicating my FTM-100 as a node radio to use with my HRI-200 a no-brainer… since I wouldn’t be able to do anything else with it anyway. This means I need another base C4FM rig. My FTM-3200DR won’t do the job. A second FTM-100 would work (I actually ordered one of these a few weeks ago, and then canceled). Yes, but an FTM-400 would have a bonus in that I could use the B band to monitor my Allstar/Echolink/IRLP node. Perfect.
The only thing I haven’t covered, is what radio do I hook to my only VHF/UHF antenna to use for the local repeaters? Analog functionality is all I need. About a year ago when I built up my shack, I bought a Kenwood TM-V71A. But I later sold it in favor of… something that had a digital voice mode. It would certainly be nice to have that V71A now. But a step above that is their TM-D710GA. This radio is the ultimate when it comes to APRS functionality. Back when I was doing APRS I was seriously lusting after one of these. Actually, not only is the Kenwood TM-D710GA a great APRS radio… it’s clearly the best radio available in the analog-only dual band dual receive category. So there we go. Easy choice.
There goes my ham radio budget for the next year.