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Favorite Radios for Linking

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Kenwood

Kenwood has several series of commercial land mobile radios which can be programmed for ham radio usage using a PC and readily available software and cables. The total startup cost to be able to program the Kenwood radios is about $40 plus an appropriate computer. All of the Kenwoods I've bought worked without internal tuning. Adequate radios are available for under $50 including shipping if you are willing to watch eBay and wait. I have created links to eBay searches which will show you radios. See below.
Links to Ebay with searches for Kenwood radios

Note: All of these radio models key up and unkey quickly. TXDELAY settings of 15 usually work.
Kenwood TK760H,
Kenwood TK762H,
Kenwood TK805d,
Kenwood TK862G TK862H TK862HG,
We have wiring instructions under BUILDER (see lower right corner of the page) for making cables for these.

The photo to the right shows an iPod on top of TK762H 40watt 2 channel radio, on top of another TK762H, on top of a TK760H 40 watt 32 channel radio, on top of a TK862G 25watt 8 channel radio

2015_i6_04229_kenwood_tk_mobiles_sm
ipod shown for scale

Vertex

One model of Vertex has been very useful. The Vertex FTL-1011 is a VHF lo-band radio that can be programmed to the 50Mhz ham band and delivers about 40 watts. The FTL-1011 is available in 3 different sub-models. They use different software to program them, although all of the software requires a slow MSDOS PC, 300Mhz or slower.
The FTL-1011 is pretty easy to align but alignment is often required. They lose sensitivity above 51Mhz but they can be operated in the repeater subband. They are excellent on the 50.9 to 51.0 packet range.
Check out YO4HFU on Vertex. Contact the TARPN yahoo group for info.
See below for ebay search info. These should be available for under $70 each including shipping, often as low as $35.

The Vertex FTL-2011 is a VHF hi-band radio. I've never owned one but I understand it programs up the same way and is available in the same versions and uses the same mike cable.

The Vertex FTL-7011 is a UHF radio. I have one and it works well at the top of the 440 band but has limits to how low it can be used without cracking open coils and making difficult adjustments.

TNC-PI and Vertex wiring instructions shows how to wire the TNC to the Vertex radio.

FTL-1011
The FTL-1011 is available in 3 different models, 4 channel, 12 channel, 99 channel. They all have the same RF characteristics as far as I can tell and they tune the same way. The biggest difference is the software required to program the radios, and the way the channel is displayed.
The 4 channel model shows a light for each channel and is programmed with CE5 v3.0. Later versions of CE5 will not let the radio be used in the ham bands. I don't know why.
The 99 channel radio is programmed with CE7.
I'm pretty sure all of the FTL-1011 radios will align into the 6m band. I've bought about 30 of them and all but seven worked. Five of the failure cases came from the same flea-market purchase. One of the others had a bad final. None worked without alignment.
Ebay link to search for FTL-1011 radios: Yeasu FTL-1011,
W4RFQ and KF4EZU can both tune the radios. KE4VNC is working on a web page sequence for alignment. Look for it here eventually.
2015_i6_04245_vertex_ftl_mobile_sm
ipod shown for scale
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