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 did get 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. 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. But it does mean I need another base C4FM rig to use with the node. One of my FTM-3200DRs would work. But since I also want to be able to use my hotspots for C4FM, nope. So the best answer is probably an FTM-400. I could run this on a dummy load. I can use the A band with my WiRES-X node and my hotspots. And on the B band I can monitor my Allstar/Echolink/IRLP node.
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. I have no reason to have digital voice mode capability connected to my antenna. But analog-only radios that have dual band and dual receive ability are quickly fading from the market. It has always been the flagship radios that have featured dual bands with dual receive. And now these typically have a digital mode of some kind tacked on.
However Kenwood is a bit of an exception. None of their mobile FM rigs have digital modes. And their TM-D710GA is the ultimate when it comes to APRS functionality. Back when I was doing APRS I was seriously lusting after one of these. There is no better way to do APRS. Honestly, not only is the Kenwood TM-D710GA a great APRS radio… it’s clearly the best analog-only dual band dual receive radio out there. So there we go. Easy choice.
There goes my ham radio budget for the next year.